The future of management is changing rapidly. Starting at the end of the 20th century, corporations began restructuring themselves. The introduction of the Internet, advances in technology, globalization, diversity, and social responsibility have forced many companies to rethink old management styles and look for more innovative ways to compete for their market share. This rapid change has left many companies on the decline because they either were not willing or were not ready to adapt to such rapid change, and it caused stagnation. Because our world is constantly changing, corporations must not only face the changes presented today, but also be aware and be able to adapt to the changes of tomorrow.
The Four Functions of Management are the core foundation for business management today. However, because the only thing that is constant is change itself, these functions should not be the only principles taken into consideration to help achieve success.
As companies become more technologically advanced, and the global market continues to change, so will the definition for The Four Functions of Management.
To understand the difference between management and leadership, a quick look at their definitions is useful. The Oxford English Dictionary defines management as "Organization, supervision, or direction; the application of skill or care in the manipulation, use, treatment, or control (of a thing or person), or in the conduct of something" (management). Leadership is defined as "[...] ability to lead; the position of a group of people leading or influencing others within a given context; the group itself; the action or influence necessary for the direction or organization of effort in a group undertaking" (leadership). So generally speaking, management is the application or function of controlling others, whereas leadership is the relationship between leader and follower - the leader is the one to guide others.
Leaders help their followers to achieve success by removing obstacles and making sure they have the right skills and resources provided to them. They share information and authority to make decisions, challenge them to meet difficult goals, and express confidence in their ability to meet those goals. Good leaders offer rewards and recognition for past performance as well as using them to serve as a motivation tool for achieving future success.
The future of management will have to deal with a variety of issues. One of these issues is diversity. A more diverse workforce is occurring since more minorities are receiving a higher education and demanding (rightfully so) an equal opportunity to succeed. Diversity will only accelerate in the future, and will be reflected by rapid progress in the workplace for women and minorities. According to Roger Selbert, a futurist and publisher of Growth Strategies, "Women will continue to make inroads in the workplace [...] (they) are earning more college degrees than men and will soon occupy more and more positions of authority. [...] (T)he balance between work and home life will be a major trend in the coming five, 10, 15 years." (Van Dusen)
John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks workplace trends, predicts that management will soon have to deal with not only the retiring of the baby boom generation, but also the return to work by seniors "[...] companies may have workers of ages that span four generations. A consultant may be needed to mediate conflicts and develop programs to increase the harmony between groups." Selbert states that by 2010, there will be only 158 million workers for 168 million jobs, so seniors will be turned to by companies to provide freelance work and job sharing (Van Dusen).
A scary prediction by Selbert, is that it will no longer be a normal practice for an employer to offer health insurance. "The only reason health care is tied to employment is because they had wage and price control during World War II and couldn't offer raises except by giving out benefits [...] (c)ompanies cannot keep up with the costs now, and that's expected to worsen in the future." (Van Dusen)
A fun change in business practices is not entirely related to business at all, and that is the business fashion trend. It began in the 90's with "casual Friday" and has now extended to "everyday casual". Business suits being the norm are gone, and even top management has become more comfortable shedding the 3-piece suit. I have noticed in my own company that top management wears formal suits only when meeting with important clients, and will even sport the occasional jeans and sneakers on Friday.
In conclusion, today's management has to look forward to detect trends that keep them ahead of their competitors. They have to develop strong leaders to motivate their employees, and not be afraid to look differently on the norms that have been established through out the years. With the advancement of society on many different levels and the rapid change occurring in the technological field, it would be easy for an organization to fall behind on the trends that are emerging. And just as it is important for an organization to stay on top of our changing world, it is important for the workers to seize every opportunity to learn and educate themselves to ensure that they also don't fall behind.
"management, n." Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. John Simpson. 3rd. ed. OED Online.
Draft Mar. 2000. Oxford University Press. 16 Apr. 2000.
"leadership" Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. 2nd ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 4 Apr. 2000.
Van Dusen, Christine, "Futurists peek at the workplace". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nov 5,
2003. Nov 9, 2003.