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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Global Manager | Differentiate between the symbolic view and the omnipotent view of management. Include specific examples of each view to support your answer.

Differentiate between the symbolic view and the omnipotent view of management. Include specific examples of each view to support your answer. 

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  1. Answer:

    The dominant view in management theory and society in general is that managers are directly responsible for an organization's success or failure. This perspective is known as the omnipotent view of management. In contrast, others have argued that much of an organization's success or failure is due to external forces outside managers' control. This perspective is called the symbolic view of management.

    a. In the omnipotent view, differences in an organization's performance are assumed to be due to decisions and actions of its managers. Good managers anticipate change, exploit opportunities, correct poor performance, and lead their organizations. When profits are up, managers take the credit and are rewarded with bonuses, stock options, and the like. When profits are down, top
    managers are often fired in the belief that "new blood" will bring improved results. When things go well, managers also get the credit—even if they had little to do with achieving the positive outcomes.
    The view of managers as omnipotent can 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.

    b. The symbolic view says that a manager's ability to affect performance outcomes is influenced and constrained by external factors. According to this view, it's unreasonable to expect managers to significantly affect an organization's performance. Instead, performance is influenced by factors over which managers have little control such as the economy, customers, governmental policies, competitors' actions, industry conditions, and decisions made by previous managers. This view is labeled "symbolic" because it's based on the belief that managers symbolize control and influence by developing plans, making decisions, and engaging in other managerial activities to make sense out of random, confusing, and ambiguous situations. However, the actual part that managers play in organizational success or failure is limited according to this view.
    In the 1990s, Cisco Systems was the picture of success. Growing rapidly, it was widely praised by analysts for its "brilliant strategy, masterful management of acquisitions and superb customer focus." As Cisco's performance declined during the early part of the twenty-first century, analysts said that its strategy was flawed, its acquisition approach was haphazard, and its customer service was poor. The symbolic view would suggest that declining performance was due to the external circumstances beyond the control of the managers.

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