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with minor changes here and there in order to cope with changing orga-
nizational pressures. The authors write (p. 26),
[This] traditional mindset arose in an era where the pursuit of predictability and
order constituted major organizational tasks. To counter chaos and disobedi-
ence, [organizations] were designed as hierarchies, emphasizing efficiency and
pursuing the optimal use of resources. In an organization built on the image of
the machine, planning was a critical activity. Managers contributed to the
smooth functioning of organizations through authoritarian leadership.
The authors argue that this approach to the future is detrimental to
organizational life. To anticipate and deal with rapidly changing organiza-
tional pressures, or what they call the age of emergence, organizations
require leadership that doesn't pre-plan a specific strategy in a changing
environment, but one that allows all members of the organization to be
involved in responses to a crisis. Of the new approach to the demands of
the future, the authors write, “The 'age of emergence' refers to the grow-
ing acceptance that organizations cannot predict what is going to happen
[in] the future” (p. 27) and must instead adapt to changing times by not
holding rigidly to prior plans of action that may be completely unusable
and counter-productive and argue that strategic anticipation of crises
“must be complemented by mechanisms able to facilitate strategic adap-
tiveness” (p. 27).
In describing the elements of strategic adaptiveness, the authors urge a
melding of the old with the new, suggesting that managers operate as lea-
ders of a quiet revolution by inspiring workers to think outside of the box
and to come up with new solutions that are considered, discussed, and, if
they seem appropriate, utilized. This new style of management, which the
authors liken to jazz, with its improvisation within a set structure, allows
managers to approach the future in a creative, subjective, and open way.
Rather than fearing change, this approach recognizes and encourages
change because it keeps the organization youthful and energized.
Communicating effectively with workers is also a highly important
aspect of middle management. Loganbill, Hardy, and Delworth (1982)
describe critical communication interventions with workers that should
be a strong part of any middle manager's skills and include the following:
1.
Facilitative interventions are worker-centered and help workers learn
and apply the necessary work skills either in face-to-face meetings or
in a more indirect way (memos, telephone conversations, and emails).
2.
Interventions that use confrontation are used to examine and compare
work because workers are experiencing conflict in their work-related
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