This article throws light upon the five main factors influencing manager’s environment. The factors are: 1. Competition and the Global Economy 2. Ethics and Social Responsibility 3. Information and Technological Change 4. Employment Values and Individual Rights 5. Importance of Non-Profit Sector.
Factor # 1. Competition and the Global Economy:
Quite recently, Japanese management consultant Keniche Ohmae suggests that the worldwide boundaries of business have almost disappeared, or are, at least, disappearing fast. In fact, we are fast approaching what Ohmae calls ‘the borderless world’ of intense business and economic competition for global markets.
While government leaders worry about the economic competitiveness of nations, corporate leaders worry about business competitiveness in a global economy. This is more so because large multinational corporations like Honda or Adidas (a German company) views itself equidistant from all customers, wherever in the world they may be located.
Tomorrow’s business managers must have the ability not only to deal with ‘domestic’ markets and issues, but also to deal globally amidst diverse forces.
Factor # 2. Ethics and Social Responsibility:
Most modern societies are becoming more and more strict day by day and are expecting business firms and their managers to conduct their affairs according to high moral standards. Today’s managers are therefore expected to set high standards of ethical and socially responsible conduct.
It is to be noted that ethical and social responsibility issues extend into all aspects of organisations, the behaviour of their managers and the changing needs of an increasingly diverse workforce.
Factor # 3. Information and Technological Change:
Another important aspect of the contemporary environment is the emergence of high technology as a dominant force in life of nations. With computers and high technological work will never be the same. In today’s world, the facts speak for themselves.
Computers, supercomputers, computer-assisted design and production, expert systems, group-decision software and related developments are all part of our ‘information-intensive’ workplace and work lives.
There is no denying the fact that, for better or worse, we now live in a world increasingly dominated by ‘bar codes’, automatic tellers, computerized telemarketing campaigns and the like.
In his revolutionary title Power-shift futurist Alvin Toffler considers the speed of business transactions and decision making a major power source to be harnessed by individuals, organisations and countries. He foresees a world complicated by power differences based not only on economic development, but also on access to information technology.
In his words:
The new system for making wealth consists of expanding global network of markets, banks, production centres, and laboratories in instant communication with one another, constantly exchanging huge — and ever-increasing — flows of data, information and knowledge.
Today’s technology and control point to the fact that managers must understand new technology, be able to use it, and be able to assimilate future developments as they occur. In a world where change occurs at an accelerating rate, information and technology must be used to their maximum possible advantage.
Factor # 4. Employment Values and Individual Rights:
Not only must today’s managers deal with new social values and employee expectations, they must deal with both as they continually change. In such a changing environment, new pressures in human resource management and supervisor-subordinate relationship are inevitable.
So, managers must be most prepared to deal with various types of pressures. First there is demand for equal employment opportunities, which can be guaranteed by removing a glass ceiling.
The glass ceiling refers to an unseen barrier that prevents women from advancing beyond a certain point to the managerial hierarchy. At present, such a glass ceiling limits career opportunities for many women. Numerous disabled workers are denied employment because short-sighted employers fail to see their true abilities.
Moreover, employees are nowadays demanding more self-determination on the job (or at the work place). They want to be part of everyday decisions on how and when to do their jobs, and they expect real opportunities for ‘participation’ and ‘involvement’ in job-related decisions.
Moreover, issues like employee rights to privacy, protection against job discrimination and freedom from sexual harassment are causing considerable concern. Controversies over computerized work monitoring and employee testing for drugs, AIDS and honesty are also lively issues.
Job security is also a very critical issue at a time when many organisations are cutting back their workforce in the search for productivity. Today’s workers also demand security through better health care and safety measures in the work-place. Furthermore, equality of earnings remains a potent issue in many settings, especially as it relates to the ‘comparable worth’ in work performed by men and women.
Factor # 5. Importance of Non-Profit Sector:
There are also non-profit services, especially in a modern economy. These together contribute what Peter Drucker calls the important third sector of the economy. The basic units (components) of this community include organisations like hospitals, schools, churches, museums, symphonies, cultural- art centres, and many other local institutions.
Pursuing social service goals, as opposed to for-profit performance, these organisations are important to society. And, like businesses, they must be well managed if they are to survive.
There are certain issues which are of special concern to managers in non-profit organisations such as motivation of volunteer workers, working with boards of directors and developing community financial support and identification.
Moreover, managers from the business sector are asked to discharge social responsibilities by providing their expertise to non-profit organisations on a volunteering basis. Yet, as Drucker points out, the lessons and successes of managers in profit organisations are themselves worthy of study and broader applications.