The European Model presented a different approach to management that is uniquely different from its counterparts in the United States. The innovative form of management in Europe gain popularity because of the noticeable faster pace of innovation of Europeans as compared with the Japanese. The radical change in Europe is brought about by the tendency of firms from this continent to continuously seek new forms of organization by reforming structures, processes, and boundaries.
The distinction of European firms from other countries is there degree of lateral flexibility wherein they can adjust to the differences of cultures, socio-economic, and legal systems across national boundaries. As a result, European firms excel on temporal flexibility that includes innovations that are related to progress, development of technologies, and the changes in social and economic realms over time (Tsutsui, 2001).
In relation to this, European firms become more competitive because of the different management style that they implement, which is based on humanizing work in order to develop the needs of people in an organization that is increasingly becoming more nationally diverse. Being the case, the European management style has great implications on managers when it comes to the way they handle the operations and processes of the organizations and most especially on the way they manage employees (Grint, 1997). The Digital Equipment Corporation’s (DEC) is a manufacturing plant in Ayr, Scotland.
During the end of the 1980s, DEC decided to respond to the need of American organizations to adapt to the commercial requirements of the European market when it comes to computer technology. The main problem highlighted in the Western-style of management is that it strictly follows the Taylor model of management. Western firms believe that effective management entails that there should a strict distinction among executives and workers. The executives have the responsibility of thinking what the employees should do and workers only have to follow it.
In line with this, DEC adopted the “high-performance work design” in order to address the requirements for new product development, especially in the Far East. Due to the changes in the operation of DEC, the management styles of the organization have to change. The employees of DEC were trained and autonomous work groups were established in order to respond to the need of employees for flexibility and skills acquisition (Armstrong, 2006). The employees of DEC need a supportive style rather than a directive style of management.
Being the case, the management style veers away from the concept of mass production and also of Taylorism and point towards the idea that management is a natural process that can actually happen by means of flexible workforce and production organization (Andersen & Taylor, 2005). The change in the management style of DEC has a huge implication on the managers of the organization. The managers of an organization have a pivotal role in the overall operations of the organization namely: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (Lewis et al. 2006). In the case of DEC, managers have to do different tasks during the transition of the organization to a high-performance work design. First, the concept of focus is highly emphasized in the view of management when it comes to influencing the workforce when it comes to selling the development of new products. Second, managers have to give attention to the support of policies. Managers have to encourage employees to develop their skills by means of implementing a reward system.
Third, managers have to establish a good and responsible working organization. DEC established work groups wherein each group that is compose of 12 members need to properly accomplish their responsibilities, including clocking in and out individually because flexitime was implemented. Fourth, the management style of the organizations greatly affected the managers because they have to implement a different style of leadership that gives individual support for employees rather than directive coordination.
Fifth, project managers also have the responsibility to create new product line and collaborate with other employees in order to get their opinion and help in creating a competitive edge for the product. Sixth, managers have to make sure of engendering ownership when it comes to the process of the organization wherein managers have to gain the participation and enthusiasm of the employees (Jackson, 2002). The responsibilities of the managers of DEC during the transition in the management style of the organization represent the importance and pivotal role of managers.
Contrary to the common belief that managers only have to deal with creating new ideas, planning, and managing the finances and other aspects of the company, a different perspective of managers is given by the European model that is exemplified in the case of DEC. Managers are viewed not merely as executive managers but rather leaders that actually inspire, direct, and guide their employees. In a world that is increasingly becoming competitive, managers of different organizations have to learn from the European model that humanizes the way of management (Leavitt, 2005).
Managers in this kind of model do not merely relate themselves more with the employees but they are actually making the organization more relevant to the employees. The employees can actually realize the objectives of the company and be participative and enthusiastic enough to take part in achieving these goals rather than merely thinking of it as mechanical work that they have to do in exchange for money. Managers have the capacity to direct the organization towards its success and in doing so, they also have to give importance to development and growth of the employees.
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