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Needed: The Integrator Manager HR managers, take note: Today's complex business problems require managers who can integrate numerous skills and styles and incorporate alternative views.
In the past decade, management has become an increasingly complex and fragmented task. Managers can no longer rely on simplistic, narrowly focused solutions to solve most of their problems; instead, they need to attack problems from multiple directions, developing solutions that take numerous perspectives into account.
In most organizations, human resources managers are responsible for developing managers who can integrate a number of strategies and skills in formulating plans and programs. If the HR department fails to develop such managers, serious problems for the organization can result.
A Case in Point Consider the magnitude and complexity of problems that did arise in the following case example. For years an industrial company grew beyond the expectations of its owners and general manager. As the company confronted new types of problems, it hired additional specialists; and as the number of specialists on staff increased, so did the number of management reporting levels needed to coordinate and control the organization's diverse functions.
Despite added staff support, the general manager began to encounter more work delays, increased complaints and turnover, and decreased productivity. According to one senior operator, "Everyone tells us what to do and how and when to do it. Who's really in charge around here?" Supervisor and staff conflicts surfaced concerning such tasks as setting work priorities and schedules and monitoring and evaluating performance. Changes were introduced even during peak work times.
In the face of these developments the general manager, intelligent and experienced as he was, became defensive and inflexible. His earlier postgraduate management classes had not prepared him to handle these compounded problems. How could he promptly address the right problems and their underlying causes?
What Are the Symptoms? This case illustrates what can happen …