Literature Review – Managerial Skills Essay

History of Management Tanz (2003) provided a brief history of management over the period 1909 to 2001. He notes that despite all the advancement of almost a century we still do not know what quantifies management, and alludes that maybe some theorist in the next century will come along and discover the key to managing. Tanz (2003) accredits Peter Drucker as the most influential and wide ranging management thinker of the 20th century. Drucker’s work is still being used today in many organizations.

Tanz (2003) also makes mention of Frederick Winslow Taylor who created “Taylorism” which encouraged management to see employees as replaceable. There was a big change in the late 1920’s to another style of management, which came about from the results of a study known as the “Hawthorne Experiments”. The results revealed that workers were not only motivated by wages. They also needed to have their emotional needs satisfied. Group Decision Making was introduced in ? and is now the norm at the same time the Human Relations movement was born.According to Tanz (2003) James MacGregor Bruns who is noted for his doctrine on transformational leadership and Robert Greenleaf on his philosophy of servant leaders also were influential in bringing management to where it is today. Waters (1980) This research paper written while at McGill University looks at the process of management, how managers do their jobs, the behaviors and the skill set required. This research paper although written for education professionals also covers areas of interest for business professionals.

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LeadershipStronge (1998), notes that there is no common definition for leadership. He however cites a definition provided by Warren Bennis from his 1994 publication On Becoming a Leader. Leadership is like beauty it is hard to define, as beauty to one person is not the same to another, however when a person observes beauty or in this case leadership qualities, you realize and acknowledge it. Stronge (1998) also used a definition provided by James MacGregor Burns, which really sums up the definition of leadership as being one of the most observed and least understood observable facts on earth.Effective leaders possess three desirable skills; those skills are identified by Stronge as technical, human and conceptual skill.

Technical skill encompasses the specialized knowledge, tools and techniques that leaders utilize to accomplish tasks. Conceptual skills refer to an individual’s ability to use intelligence when making decisions. It also is the ability to see the big picture; the use of imagination to speculate and visualize change. Human skill is the ability to work well with others; enabling and encouraging them to achieve an objective.According to Berkman (2002), the ability to communicate effectively is the single most vital skill required of a corporate executive. He came to this conclusion during the course of a survey, which revealed three of the most important skills required of executives. Of those three skills 70% agreed that communication was the most important. The art of communication was identified as involving several areas including public speaking, professional writing, listening and observing.

Knowledge of the business processes and operations received the second highest score at 58%. The third skill identified at 46% was strategic thinking and planning. Berkman (2002) also noted a shift in the way executives viewed hard core technical skills as more important than critical skills. This is a shift from the management style of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where critical skills were deemed more important than technical skills as they were used in the strategic planning process.However he alludes that executives are involved in the strategic planning process when they brush up on technology trends, when they have dialogue with their business colleagues or when they envision potential business scenarios.

Communications Browne (2001) utilizes several works on human development in this literature review/research paper. Of interest are his findings on human development. Browne covers both technical and human development. He looks at human development over time and human’s willingness to continually adjust and adapt learning principles based on our environment.Browne also touches on executive development, technological organization and career development as a factor in employee and employer communications. Morton, Brookes, Smart, Backhouse and Burns (2004) introduce teams, organizational structure and the boundaries of organizational grouping. This research paper concentrates on informal social networks and in group communication.

Also covered are team members and the varying skills each individual brings to a group effort and the potential for improving organizational performance. ManagingBrumback (2010) looks at the old management style of narrowed training and experience, no product allegiance, savvy, imagination or vision. This type of management style no longer exists as todays manager are required to be involved in strategic planning, directing the organization and themselves. Brumback defines management as follows: management should exclusively mean a process of getting work done and, more precisely, getting work done by self-managing individuals at lower levels, with everyone being a performance manager and no one being above or having authority over another.

He critiques Henry Mintzberg’s book written on the topic of Managing, specifically his definition of managing as according to Brumback, Mintzberg definition of management is too broad. This is the definition provided by Henry Mintzberg as quoted by Brumback: someone responsible for a whole organization or some identifiable part of it. Brumback disagrees with Mintzberg on several issues, one being that organizations are over led and undermanaged. Another point of contention is Mintzberg’s analysis of the relationship between a supervisor and subordinate as being mostly hierarchical.He also refers to Mintzberg’s theory of management as professional gibberish. The theory states that managing takes place on three planes, from the conceptual to the concrete: with information, through people, and to action, directly.

The research paper Debunking management skills and competencies myths although anonymously written provides insight into the myth that management skills and competencies cannot be developed away from the workplace. The author refers to many hours of academic research, which have succeeded in debunking the theory of “abstracted competence”.An individual cannot become competent and acquire the necessary management skills if they are not exposed to the proper content or environment. The author quoted the following from McKenna (2004) “to become an effective manager get out of cloistered university surroundings and immerse yourself in the real world of work”. Also noted by the author is the need to develop common sense in managers. He/she alludes that common sense has become uncommon sense. That it is a neglected area in the academic field – it is not written about nor is it taught. Common sense can be learned as it is built upon experience and learning.

Skills Levenson and Zoghi (2010) investigate the attributes of a job function and the correlation of that occupation with the skill required and the wages for that occupation. Their investigations concluded that people obtain both formal and informal on the job training. This equips them with the skills and training necessary to be successful at their jobs.

Levenson and Zoghi (2010) also argue that jobs need to be classified correctly as each job or occupation requires a specific set of skills and knowledge, which allows the individual to master the specific tasks of that job.The mastery of occupation specific skills is one of the determinants used to establish a benefits package. Levenson and Zoghi (2010) argue that this, occupation specific skills, forms the basis of wage discrimination between predominantly male versus female jobs.

They concluded that skill requirements varied across occupations “occupation indicators decrease wage residuals by far more than can be explained by skill alone. ” (Levenson & Zoghi, 2010) Sullivan (2001) presents and discusses the differences in a Professional Services Firms (PSFs) when compared to a traditional organization.Sullivan also identifies the existing promotional practices of PSFs; at the same time exploring the importance of acquiring technical skills, internal and external connections in the promotional process. The research paper findings conclude that technical skills is an important criteria at the lowest levels, external and internal connections were more valuable to higher level positions. Excerpts from Nelson-Jones (2006) Human Relationship Skills: Coaching and Self-Coaching the 4th edition pertaining to human skills were sourced, particularly the areas of communication, relationships and mind skills.Of interest is the role that feelings and physical attractions play in the communication process. Pant and Baroudi (2007) claim that employer expectations of the skill requirement of their employees have changed.

No longer is the requirement just a degree in your field of study. Employers now require that employees possess soft skills, such as teamwork and group development. They also argue that universities need to include technical and human skills training in their academic syllabus. One aspect of human skills is the ability to communicate.

Communication between team members and the entire network is vital to support a shared understanding of the project and its goals” (Pant & Barodi, 2007). They go on to state that leadership requires more than technical “know how”. Leadership also requires the utilization of human skills to effectively manage people. A successful leader uses soft skills to get things done. Sheikh and Ahsan (2011) ask the questions what makes the difference between the prepared and the unprepared and what makes the prepared survive in difficult times?The answer they provided is managerial skills.

The use of managerial skills makes the prepared valuable to the organization. Sheikh and Ahsan go on to state that most successful people have the following observable traits. They are humble and disciplined, excellent relationship builders, great communicators, optimistic, accept and act on feedback and they also have the ability to solve problems. Sheikh and Ahsan believe that problems should be looked upon as opportunities to learn, explore, change, improve, innovate, construct and to broaden horizons.

They discussed several problem solving techniques including fixing the symptom and not the issue a major blunder in management and leadership. They also note that the ability to lead and become a leader is a difficult topic of discussion, and go on to state that leaders are formed through patience, persistence and hard work. Leadership is attainable provided you are willing to put the time and effort needed to attain your objective. Waldman (1992) conducted a research study of one hundred and fifty nine managers to ascertain the degree of technical skills required to manage effectively.Twenty eight job related skills were identified, each was provided with two areas of ratings – importance to the job and level of performance effectiveness.

Each participant was also required to assess the performance of their subordinates work. The study revealed that technical knowledge and skill was viewed as extremely important at the higher levels of management. Mentor Traynor (2008) defines a mentor as a trusted friend, counselor or teacher.This person is usually more experienced in a particular area and is willing to share their expertise with someone who is inexperienced in that area and also willing and eager to learn.

He also provided a brief history on the art of mentoring, which dates back to the circa 800 B. C. Mentor was originally an individual’s name.

Mentor was an old and trusted friend of the warrior Odysseus, who was entrusted to oversee Odysseus’s family and palace. The word mentor with its meaning was first recorded in 1699 in a French book. A mentor has certain traits and qualities.They have something of distinct value to share. They must be patient and understanding, open and direct. A mentor does not stress perfection, but effort and understanding.

Mentoring has many rewards including “the ample personal reward you will feel impacting someone else’s professional and personal development” (Traynor, 2008). Other rewards to mentoring identified by Traynor (2008) are the developing of strong leadership skills, which advances the organization and the employee. Mentoring also builds confidence and helps to identify and retain talented individuals for the organization.

It is also a two way street as the mentee can bring a fresh perspective to a task or situation. Mentoring also brings recognition and praise to the mentor for their dedication and commitment to the training process. According to Skipper (2009), some companies offer both an informal and formal mentoring system. In an informal mentoring system a new hire is teamed with a knowledgeable person to ‘learn the ropes’ – at this stage the employee watches and learns then attempts to copy what they have learned.The danger with this type of training is that procedures may be lost over time if not monitored. A formal mentoring system on the other hand consists of in house training, supervised by a knowledgeable individual, most times in a classroom type of setting.

Based on his research, Skipper (2009) concluded that attaining technical skills either formally or informally was an important factor in employees being able to perform their jobs. He also notes that technical skills are acquired over time through training and experience, and provided the following example.A new hire in the construction industry would start out as a helper, then move to the next level at their own pace – as they learn and master each facet of that position. He also noted that employees must have incentives to grow and not be dead weight employees. Methods and/or Standards The criteria you used to select the sources in your literature review or the way in which you present your information. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Questions for Further ResearchWhat questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review? Conclusions/Recommendations Discuss what you have drawn from reviewing literature so far.

Where might the discussion proceed? References Paula J Caproni, & Maria Eugenia Arias. (1997). Managerial skills training from a critical perspective. Journal of Management Education, 21(3), 292-308.

Retrieved December 4, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 13170498). Tanz, J. (2003). A Brief History of Management. FSB: Fortune Small Business, 13(8), 54.


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