The human management revolution

On an article is about the human management revolution and what "management gurus" like Charles Handy, Henry Mintzberg, Tom Peters and Gary Hamel have been preaching for years: people first! In the following we summarize the article for you.
Brunette woman wearing a dark top stands in a warehouse and smiles at the camera.
Today we see the first signs of a global human management revolution. Some progressive organizations have already put out their feelers and brought new ideas in this area to the world. Pioneers are the Dutch health organisation Buurtzorg and the Chinese manufacturer Haier. They have completely reorganized their companies and reinvented them on a global scale. They are implementing the motto "Man first! This works by eliminating bureaucracy and streamlining unnecessary levels of hierarchy. Interestingly, these companies manage to organize thousands of employees without employing a single manager.

Who are the Corporate Rebels?

The Corporate Rebels are called Joost and Pim. They left their frustrating jobs in big companies and now travel around the world to pursue their mission: To make work fun! Their blog is now known in over 100 countries and many newspapers and magazines report about them. Because of their innovative ideas they have been awarded several prizes for business thinkers and groundbreaking ideas.

First signs of global human management

Almost three decades ago, Peter Drucker wrote the article "The new productivity challenge". In it he predicted that companies in the 21st century would face a major challenge: increasing the productivity of their employees. He is therefore known as the father of modern management, because his predictions were correct.
The productivity of employees determines the performance of companies. 100 years ago, productivity was downright miserable from today's perspective. Inefficiency, even intentionally operated, was omnipresent. The gap between rich and poor was immense. Workers were dissatisfied in the workplace and so frustrated that it became a challenge for them to perform as little as possible during the given working hours. All this always led to strong tensions between bosses and subordinates. In some cases there were downright riots. Karl Marx predicted class war and saw even then that there was no long-term sense in oppressing the working class. So it came to a revolution. But not in the way he had predicted. In the end, the revolution was not led by angry workers, but by scientists from America - for example, Frederik W. Taylor. He was shocked that the workers and managers were so hostile to each other. Taylor studied working conditions in general and their impact on productivity. Ideas emerged that can be read in almost all modern management books today.

Productivity versus humanity

As early as 1911 Taylor postulated that thinking work should be separated from physical work. This is how the managerial profession came about. Taylor also said that every job can be described scientifically, so that even workers who don't feel like thinking can do their work according to a given description. In addition to this approach, there was always the human approach. In the last century there have been several attempts to integrate the human factor into management. Many humanists wanted to focus less on efficiency and more on humane and humane working conditions. Nevertheless, the books of the humanists are far less well known than the standard works on management and productivity enhancement.

Jobs in the 20th and 21st century

Although the humanists invested a lot of energy, it must be said that the bureaucrats and economists have clearly won the battle for jobs. Overall, productivity rose by an average of three to four percent annually from 1880 to 1991. The working class had more and more money and soon had better access to education, health care and leisure activities. The success was groundbreaking. Today, less than 10% of the world population lives in extreme poverty. In Taylor's time, it was around 80%. Today, nearly 90% of the world's population has access to basic education. Bureaucrats have not only won in the 20th century; they have also largely determined the 21st century to date. Statistics still show that the number of managers continues to increase, much more than the number of people who actually do basic work. This costs a lot of money, 3,000 billion a year in the US alone and an estimated 9,000 billion in the OECD countries. At the same time, productivity has not been increasing at all or hardly at all since 1991. Why spend so much money on a system that is actually already considered obsolete? Economists cannot explain why productivity is stagnating. The gap between managers' salaries and workers' salaries is widening and widening. The economists have no suitable explanation for this either. The third problem: demotivation in the workplace continues to spread. More than two thirds of all employees do not like to go to work. The question arises: what have we missed in the past three decades, since there is obviously little or no improvement here?

An era of losers

Many large companies suffocate under the burden of bureaucracy. Think of Lehmann Brothers, Nokia, Kodak, Enron or Blackberry. Among the losers are many other companies that you have not heard of. Of the 500 richest companies from 1955, only 12% have survived today. More than half of them have disappeared from the market in the last 15 years. This shows that change is now urgently needed!

The revolution

So the revolution of the 21st century is long overdue. After all, we know that productivity can certainly be increased, just not with the old model. New successful companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google show us how it's done. The Corporate Rebels have interviewed and analysed many companies and employees and have identified the following principles that will play a role in the revolution of the 21st century.
These are: the shift from profit to value as the ultimate goal; the shift from a hierarchical system to a network of teams; the shift from direct leadership to supportive leadership; the shift from planning and forecasting to experimentation and adaptation; the shift from rules and control to freedom and trust; the shift from central authority to horizontal decision-making; the shift from secrecy to radical transparency; and finally the shift from job descriptions to talent search and development.
Author: IAPM intern

Keywords: management, project management, leadership culture, economy, Bureaucracy, Human Managemen

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For better readability, we usually only use the generic masculine form in our texts. Nevertheless, the expressions refer to members of all genders.