Updated in 1/18/2012 1:37:23 AM      Viewed: 426 times      (Journal Article)
Organizational Dynamics 21 (4): 5-14

Doing Things Right: A New Imperative for Middle Managers.

Leonard R. Sayles
ABSTRACT
This article discusses on the major shift in managerial focus on strategic issues, and its implications for middle-level managers in the U.S. More recent studies of companies like Wal-Mart Inc. and Toyota Corp. come to the same conclusion: that operational capabilities are replacing strategic brilliance as the source of competitive advantage. One clear reason is that it is easier for a competitor to copy a strategic decision (or product design or marketing campaign) than duplicate a finely tuned, highly effective day-to-day business operation. To some, it may be surprising that companies are now turning their attention to the concept of core competencies. It has been observed that traditional middle managers, who managed by results, massaged data, shifted blame and costs to adjacent departments when problems arose, and devoted their attention primarily to looking good and pleasing the boss. They had little understanding of their role as prime movers seeking to build self-maintaining work systems. Their focus was not on work, but on plans and results. They often appeared to meet their budgeted performance requirement, but their part of the organization never attained high effectiveness or achieved anything resembling core competencies. INSETS: About the research.;Why has operations management become so critical for...
ISSN: 00902616