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“The Madness of Outdated Management” by Ed Frauenheim Essay

In his article “The Madness of Outdated Management,” Frauenheim Ed reveals John Challenger’s perspectives on human resource management. In the published interview with Challenger, it is arguably detrimental for organizations to focus on face time (time spent by employees at work) at the expense of their productivity. He ideally vouches for a results-based approach to managing a company’s human resource.

Challenger points out that the lack of emphasis on productivity in favor of “clock-in clock-out” time is more harmful than time wasted by employees in the NCAA tournament, otherwise known as March Madness. He continues to underscore that those managers caught up worrying a lot about the distraction to their employees resulting from the March Madness college basketball tournament are themselves distracted. There is therefore need for companies to pay adequate attention to esprit de corps (a group spirit that drives the members to desire the group’s success) rather than worry about employees watching too much basketball. Companies which wish to improve on their employees’ productivity and team building could use the March Madness instead of worrying about it.

Measuring workplace effectiveness using time in today’s era is an erroneous way of thinking, he points out. Unfortunately, a number of bosses, companies, and workers still find themselves caught up in this way of doing things. Challenger calls this their “puritan ethic”. He asserts that it is not just about that anymore, but about the quantity and quality of work one does that counts.

On distraction in the workplace, Challenger asserts that distractions are a lot different from what they were. Whilst previously, a supervisor would regulate how and when his juniors would listen to radio at work, today one can login to social networking sites or even shop on Amazon. In fact, he intimates that these distractions are out of control, contrary to what they were. Therefore, there is no clear-cut boundary between personal and work time.

It is evident that the bond between employees has diminished in recent times and companies ought to be deliberate in restoring and fostering interactions that can involve and maintain their staff. He further points out that people are more disengaged at the workplace today than in the 20th century. The more disengaged employees are, the more susceptible they are to distractions. In fact, some workers can easily lose touch with the ideals of the company through this phenomenon of isolation.

With the higher levels of work expected of employees, Challenger admits that smart companies know the significance of giving their employees opportunities to let off steam. This provides them with the necessary rejuvenation to achieve higher job targets. These companies are furthermore acquainted with the emerging trend that lays little emphasis on work as time dependent, but rather as reliant on results. Furthermore, they could easily utilize the March Madness as one of the avenues for improving the esprit de corps of their employees.

Challenger concludes his thoughts by asserting that the March Madness tournament is a very popular sporting activity that influences the life and work of employees. It is therefore incumbent upon companies to build around its existence to boost the productivity of their employees instead of disparaging it. The tournament brings together teams from all over the country and has the potential to do the same to employees irrespective of where they come from. Strong relationships and trust are achievable by bringing people together. These values are essential in achieving company synergy.

The article resonates quite well with the tenets of contemporary management, especially with regard to the dynamic nature of employees. In essence, it gives significant credit to productivity-based performance review of employees, which is the new normal that most organizations have adopted. Results and targets are highly emphasized in productivity-based performance. This makes the motivation of staff pivotal. One of the essential means of motivation is through the entrenchment of incentive mechanisms for employees in the organization.

The study material provided by Jones and George further confirms that by “linking the performance of specific behaviors to the attainment of specific outcomes, managers can motivate organizational members to perform in ways that can help an organization perform its goals” (421). Managers are consequently equipped with the wherewith to entrench an organizational culture through otherwise potentially harmful externalities such as the NCAA basketball tournament. Rigorous research on the organizational benefits of the March Madness could further help in entrenching its strategic benefits in the organizational culture of a company.

Although the perspective of Challenger on performance-based management is not entirely new, his choice of using the March Madness tournament in his exposition is novel. Many managers would dismiss such events as unimportant to management. Therefore, the managers avoid incorporating these events in human resource management. This could potentially drive a company into a human resource crisis caused by demotivated employees who eventually detach themselves from the company’s goals. Conversely, the inclusion of these events in organizational culture offers more promise to human resource management if properly embraced.

In as much as it is not possible to dismiss entirely the “clock-in clock-out” approach to management, it stands utilized in a better way as a subordinate of performance-based management. It is almost impractical to measure productivity without factoring time. The growing ambiguity in the boundary between personal and work time further compounds the challenge of dismissing face time as a determinant of performance. Clear guidelines ought to exist to regulate usage of social networking sites and other social activities during working hours.

The weight given to the tournament in management by Challenger must not however be overemphasized without due regard to other fundamentals of human resource management. These fundamentals such as recruitment, training, and employee motivation deserve the necessary credence as they equally play a crucial role in enhancing the productivity of a company’s workforce. While it is important to ventilate through such synergistic events as March Madness, companies should deliberately use them to achieve their goals. They can attain this either by ensuring their employees watch the matches together or in departmental cohorts.

It is not necessarily appropriate to assert that modern managers face more challenges in the workplace but rather just different challenges. The fast-paced technological advancement coupled with an emerging preference for shorter contract jobs by employees, demands that managers keep pace with this reality. In so doing, managers will reduce “The Madness of Outdated Management” in the human resource management field. The reality is that contemporary management calls for a thorough paradigm shift in the way companies handle their human resource. Employees could all the same be more productive if they feel more empowered to make decisions on their time usage as long as they meet their job targets.

Works Cited

Frauenheim, Ed. “Talent Management 2014: 4. Web.

Jones, Gareth, R and Jennifer, M George. Contemporary Management. Eighth. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2014. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"The Madness of Outdated Management" by Ed Frauenheim'. 5 June.

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