Differentiate between the symbolic view and the omnipotent view of management. Include specific examples of each view to support your answer.
a. The view of managers as omnipotent is consistent with the stereotypical picture of the take-charge business executive who can overcome any obstacle in carrying out the organization's goals. This omnipotent view, of course, isn't limited to business organizations. We can also use it to help explain the high turnover among college and professional sports coaches, who can be considered the "managers" of their teams. Coaches who lose more games than they win are fired and replaced by new coaches who, it is hoped, will correct the inadequate performance.
In the omnipotent view, when organizations perform poorly, someone has to be held accountable regardless of the reasons, and in our society, that "someone" is the manager. Of course, when things go well, we need someone to praise. So managers also get the crediteven if they had little to do with achieving positive outcomes.
b. The symbolic view says that a manager's ability to affect outcomes is influenced and constrained by external factors. In this view, it's unreasonable to expect managers to significantly affect an organization's performance. Instead, an organization's results are influenced by factors managers don't control such as the economy, customers, governmental policies, competitors' actions, industry conditions, control over proprietary technology, and decisions made by previous managers.
The "symbolic" view is based on the belief that managers symbolize control and influence. How? By creating meaning out of randomness, confusion, and ambiguity or by trying to innovate and adapt. Because their effect on organizational outcomes is limited, a managers actions often involve developing plans, making decisions, and engaging in other managerial activities, which are done for the benefit of stockholders, customers, employees, and the public. However, the actual part that managers play in organizational success or failure is minimal.
Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)