Management Articles


Who is Responsible for the Way Your Organization Behaves?

By: Robert H. Kent, Ph.D., CMC

President of The Mansis Development Corporation, Dr. Kent is a specialist in the structure and management of small and medium-sized organizations, and frequently serves as a personal coach and management consultant to executives for solving their management and employee performance problems. Before founding his consulting company, Bob held senior management and executive positions in federal and provincial government and private corporations. He has been a director of several health care and service organizations and a consulting member of private and government task forces in the areas of government finance, organization structure, personnel management and executive development. Since 1972 he has lectured in management at several Canadian and American universities in the faculties of Management, Administrative Studies, Medicine and Continuing Education where he has been an award winner for excellence in teaching and professional expertise; and he has published over 125 books and articles on management.

"I hire top quality people and give them the freedom to do their jobs as they see fit. I'm just interested in the bottom line -- results are what count!"

This sounds admirable -- probably from a gutsy goal-driven entrepreneur -- but it can be a very dangerous management practice. Some executives get carried away with goal-setting and MBO (Management By Objectives) and only hold others accountable for "results". But when this is done, be prepared to live with the fallout from "how" the goal was achieved.

The disappointing history of MBO has shown that instead of promoting teamwork, the opposite frequently happens when only results are demanded. Everyone ends up protecting his or her own backside.

What is forgotten is that executive behavior is the model for the organization. Since, for most industries, service is paramount: how you reach the bottom line in the short run will determine whether you have a positive bottom line in the long run.

The fundamental question that needs answering is just who should be responsible for the way your organization behaves, if it isn't you, the organization's leader? If you only stipulate results, you leave the means to that end (employee behavior) up to each individual's choice and therefore no one is in control of your organization between goal designation and goal achievement. Each individual employee's interpretation or choice of work values and direction is left to chance. When your employees learn that what counts is only whether or not they achieve pre-determined "results" and not what they do or how well they perform their job, co-operation diminishes, political games abound and your organization's disintegration begins.

Even executives must be managed, given clear direction and control. Their behavior will be copied by the rest of the organization and should therefore be of interest to the C.E.O. It's simply irresponsible to hire someone and "turn 'em loose to do their own thing" and then punish them for doing just that.

© Copyright 2001 The Mansis Development Corporation

Other Articles by Robert H. Kent, Ph.D., CMC

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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