The manager’s directing task
2011 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
The managers’ directing task
This paper examines the manager’s role in the post-industrial work system. The post-industrial work system is complex and cannot be planned, managed, and controlled by one person - the manager alone cannot overlook, coordinate and comprehend ongoing activities.
The central question of the study is how managers purposely can create possibilities for and influence interactions and relations that facilitates self organisation and develops collective competence. The study is theoretically grounded in theories on industrial work systems; leadership theory and theory within the field of organizational learning. The research was designed as a quasi-experimental study where interaction abilities within the employees were assessed before and after an intervention where their managers participated in a learning network. In all 20 managers participated, from different lines of business, each of them managing approx. from ten to 30 employees.
Results point at the importance of the manager to support integrated autonomy among the employees who then become responsible and empowered actors. It is by participating in and directing the interaction in the workplace that the manager can lead in a post-industrial work system. We maintain that the actors’ understanding of and ways of talking about work and market are constantly emerging, re-created, and altered in interactions between them. How the actors understand and communicate influences, and are influenced by, how they work and how they cooperate in order to solve the work tasks of the organization, is crucial. We also maintain that managers have significant influence over the conditions for interaction. This managerial task, which has become important in the post-industrial work system, is seldom acknowledged in the literature on leadership and education.
(Conference theme: Leadership studies in work and learning)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Directing manager; intervention study; competence development
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-70054OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-70054DiVA: diva2:478907
Paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, December 4-7 2011 in Shanghai, China.