HR Manager's Bookshelf<br> Management history’s broad sweep and putting people into project management

Every once in awhile, a book comes along that helps us situate ourselves and our profession in the broader context of business and society. In Stuart Crainer’s The Management Century we have a guided tour that helps us understand the underpinnings of the HR profession including:

•organizations and approaches to designing and studying them;

•work and job design;

•involvement and empowerment;

•human resources and its issues in business;

•the need for efficiency and scale; and

•balancing compliance and predictability with independent thought and creativity.

Peter Drucker has said that management is 90 per cent the same process and practice, whether in a software company, a bank, a hospital, church or retail chain. This book sheds light on the elusive topic of management and its evolution over the past 100 years.

The second book reviewed in this issue addresses a key subject of our times: project management, and the essential, intertwined role of effective change management to support its success. Plans, schedules, followup, cost control — all are necessary, but not sufficient to guarantee that people will embrace the change or that the organization will be ready to absorb and optimize it.

Project Change Management presents a solid overview of project management, overlaid by the technology for managing change developed by leading author and consultant Daryl Conner.

HR leaders will want these books on their shelves for frequent reference, but the audience for both titles extends throughout the organization.

The Management Century
By Stuart Crainer, 266 pages (2000), Jossey-Bass. At bookstores or Wiley Canada, 1-800-567-4797,

“Management has been practiced since the very dawn of civilization. But only during the last 100 years has it been recognized, analyzed, monitored, taught and formalized.”

Crainer, a UK business journalist, subtitled this book “a critical review of 20th-century thought and practice.” It sounds heavy and serious, but in reality, anyone interested in organizations, management and work environments will find this a lively and enjoyable trip through history and a glimpse into the future

The Management Century is a survey, decade by decade, of the major issues, developments, theories and thinkers of the time. There’s a timeline showing key historical events and highlights.

One of the key changes highlighted by the book is the shift from striving to increase the productivity of manual workers in the 20th century, to increasing the productivity of knowledge workers in the 21st century.

1900 — From 1900 to 1910 “stopwatch science” emerged, as French engineer Henri Fayol identified management as a discipline and published his 14 general principles of management (including division of work, unity of command, equity, stability and esprit de corps).

A contemporary, American Frederick W. Taylor, established the scientific management approach stressing efficiency, specialization and measurement. Taylor, an inventor, sportsman and analyst, is often described as the first management consultant. His work had a profound impact on the entire century, and led directly to the predominant role of Henry Ford in the following decades.

1921-30 — dubbed “discovering the organization,” saw the rise of bureaucracy in Alfred Sloan’s General Motors and in the writings of Max Weber and Chester Barnard.

1930 — “Discovering people” is the keynote of the 1930s. Attention turned to work dynamics, human experience, motivation and group behaviour with the writings of Australian Elton Mayo, Mary Parker Follett and researchers at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant in Illinois.

1944 — IBM produces the first large-scale calculating computer – more than 50 feet long and weighing nearly five tons.

1950 — Peter Drucker becomes professor of management at New York University – the first person anywhere to have such a title. Drucker would be a dominant figure in the 1960s, the era of strategy and beyond.

1950 — In the 1950s, strong corporate cultures emerged (the tone was set by IBM under Thomas Watson Sr.) and management development grew in importance. In its extreme form (at GE), Edgar Schein compared it to war-time brainwashing. The ’50s also saw the rise of marketing, branding and consumerism.

During this decade, worker motivation became very important, with works by Abraham Maslow, Frederick Hertzberg and Douglas McGregor, names that influence much of HR and general management thinking even today.

1970 — A shake-up of conventional thinking is profiled in the 1970s: Toffler’s Future Shock, which painted the picture of rapid, disorienting change; British researchers at the Tavistock Institute who developed the “sociotechnical systems” framework; the influence of the Volvo way of manufacturing cars; and Canadian Henry Mintzberg who profiled three sets of managerial roles (interpersonal, informational, decisional).

Mintzberg challenged fundamental views of what managers actually do: “Instead of spending time contemplating the long term… managers were slaves to the moment, moving from task to task with every move dogged by another diversion, another call. The median time spent on any one issue was a mere nine minutes.”

1982 — Tom Peters and Robert Waterman ignite the business book market thanks to their human and optimistic blockbuster In Search of Excellence.

1983 — Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s Change Masters published. The challenge from Japan and rise of the quality movement (Deming, Juran) marked the new directions taken in the 1980s, while the ’90s saw the rise of the organizational model. At ABB, GE, Dell Computer and Toyota, success “is not based on what they make. Their products are important — but less important than how the companies are organized and managed.”

The organization as a network, a matrix, as a federal system… there was no shortage of new views. Accompanying, and shaping all this, was the re-engineering movement and its emphasis on processes rather than traditional functional units.

Crainer notes that “most management phenomena have a limited shelf life. They disappear from the corporate radar as quickly as misdirected Scud missiles.” And “management continues to defy the theorists who would like to guide it into a corner and nail it down.”

One of his observations is the blurring of lines between business schools and consulting firms, with thought leadership now coming from both sources. The book demonstrates that there is never a final answer in management issues, just enduring questions.

Project Change Management
By H. James Harrington, Daryl R. Conner and Nicholas L. Horney, 332 pages plus CD-ROM, McGraw-Hill (2000). At bookstores or 1-800-565-5758,

Project management and change management: they’re natural allies, intertwined necessities. Yet most HR and general management readers will be aware that one is often emphasized and the other neglected.

Project management (PM) has become an everyday success factor in most organizations given the number of business change and improvement projects. This book applies the Managing Organizational Change (M.O.C.) methodology developed by Daryl Conner’s consulting firm, to the steps and disciplines of PM.

Conner’s change management approach, his concept of resilience and the theme of human due diligence are presented in his popular books Managing at the Speed of Change (Villard, 1993) and Leading at the Edge of Chaos (Wiley, 1998). Here, his co-authors are James Harrington of Ernst and Young, and Nicholas Horney, a seasoned HR executive and vice-president at the Centre for Creative Leadership.

Tools and approaches from the M.O.C. methodology are integrated with 10 elements of PM including scope, time, cost, HR and quality management. For instance, one chapter is devoted to the tactical risks involved in successful project implementation:

•sponsor commitment;

•target resistance (targets are individuals or groups affected by change);

•cultural alignment; and

•change-agent skills.

Another chapter addresses preparation and seven phases of project implementation advises that you:

•clarify the project;

•announce the project;

•conduct the diagnosis;

•develop the plan;

•execute the plan;

•monitor progress and problems; and

•evaluate results.

About half the book is taken up with descriptions of the systematic application of M.O.C. to a process design project and an SAP (R/3) project.

Typical SAP project phases are current-state analysis, future-state scoping, the prototyping of business transactions, infrastructure development, end-user training and solution deployment. Numerous M.O.C. activities are mapped to these phases to support success including:

•organizational and individual readiness strategies;

•stakeholder profiles;

•sponsor, advocate and change-agent strategies;

•deployment coaching;

•communication strategies;

•managing resistance; and

•rewards and recognition tools.

The accompanying CD-ROM contains PM and M.O.C. methodology overviews as well as high-tech enablers such as ISO 9000 step-by-step.

Ray Brillinger is a senior consultant with the IBM Consulting Group. He provides change management, business transformation and organizational effectiveness services to client organizations. He can be reached at (905) 316-4646 or [email protected] His column appears regularly in Canadian HR Reporter.

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