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THE ManAGERIAL Grid

The managerial grid was an output from Blake & Mouton's (1985) research. Their work revealed that;
1. managerial competence in leadership could be learned, thus helping to dispel earlier trait theories which
stressed inherent characteristics.
2. managers have a dominant orientation (task or people) but they frequently alternate their style according to
the situation. This is the “back-up” style and becomes apparent when the dominant style cannot be applied.

High 1.9 Country Club Management Team Management 9.9


9 Thoughtful attention to needs of Work accomplishment is from
people for satisfying relationships committed people; interdependence
leads to a comfortable friendly through a "common stake" in
8 organization atmosphere and work organizational purpose leads to
tempo relationships of trust and respect.
Achievement of goal congruence
7

Concern 5.5 Organization Man Management


5 Adequate organizational performance is possible
for through balancing the necessity to get work done and
People maintaining morale of people at a satisfactory level
4

1.1 Impoverished Management Authority-Obedience 9.1


2 Exertion of minimum effort to get Efficiency in operations results
required work done as appropriate from arranging conditions of
to sustain organization membership work in such a way that human
1 (just doing enough to keep the job) elements interfere to a minimum
Low degree
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Low Concern for Production High


Blake & Mouton’s grid is a two-dimensional continuum which has five extremes;
A. 9.1 Authority-Obedience Management - focuses overwhelmingly on production. A 9.1 manager is an
exacting taskmaster who expects schedules to be met and people to do as they are told, no more and no less.
Anything that goes wrong will be viewed as someone’s mistake, and the someone must be found and the
blame squarely placed. Managers make decisions - subordinates carry them out. The manager should run
the show, and disagreement is likely to be seen as the next thing to insubordination.
Positives : can achieve high production - at least in the short run.
Negatives : subordinates’ creative energies go into defeating the system rather than improving it.
Disagreements are ruled out and suppressed rather than settled.
Subordinates do what is required, but no more.
Subordinates seem “obviously” indifferent and apathetic
win-lose thinking results in a struggle between managers and subordinates.
9.1 management is prevalent in a competitive industrial society because inadequate education leaves many
people unable to use more than limited skills and compelled to endure this kind of supervision.
B. 1.9 Country Club Management - emphasizes sole concern for people. It does not push people for
production. People are encouraged and supported, their mistakes are overlooked because they are doing the
best they can. The key word is togetherness and informal conversation -”no work discussions during
breaks”.
Negatives : people avoid disagreements/criticisms and production problems are glossed over.
New ideas/initiatives that would cause trouble or strain are let slide.
1.9 style grows up easily in quasi-monopoly situations or when operating on a cost-
plus basis.
Ultimate end will be the closing of an uncompetitive unit.

C. 1.1 Impoverished Management - whole organizations don’t last long with this kind of management but it is
frequent enough in individual managers and supervisors.
It is characterized by the avoidance of responsibility or personal commitment, and by leaving people to work
as they see fit. 1.1 managers do just enough so that if things go wrong they can say “I told them what to do -
it’s not my fault.” They minimize contacts with everyone and are non-committal on any problems. The 1.1
approach typically reveals the frustrations of someone who has been passed over for promotion, shunted
sideways, or has been in a routine job for years.

D. 5.5 Organization Man Management - managers frequently alternate between 1.9 Country Club Management
and 9.1 Authority-Obedience Management styles. They tighten up to increase output but when human
relations begin to suffer they swing back to 1.9
The middle of the management grid shows the 5.5 Organization Man Management style, typified by
marginal shifts around the happy medium.
This middle of the road style pushes enough to get acceptable production but yields enough to maintain
acceptable morale - to aim for both is too idealistic.
Such managers aim at a moderate “carrot and stick” standard, fair but firm, and have confidence in their
subordinates’ ability to meet targets.
5.5 management is not effective, it is a management “cop-out” which gives rise to compromise rather than
versatility - it gives rise to “splitting the difference” on problems, to attempting balanced solutions rather
than appropriate ones.

E. 9.9 Team Management - is highly participative and considered the most effective because;

• it shows high concern for both production and for people and does not accept that these concerns are
incompatible

• the team manager seeks to integrate people around production


• morale and managerial inspiration is task related
• it tries to discover the most appropriate and most effective solutions
• it aims at the highest attainable production to which all involved contribute and find their own sense of
accomplishment

• people satisfy their own needs through the job and working with others, not through incidental sociability
in the Country Club style

• the 9.9 manager assumes that employees who know what the stakes are for them and for others in what
they are doing will not need boss direction and control. This needs much participation to be achievable -
see next bullet point

• the manager’s responsibility is to see that work is planned and organized by those with a stake in it, not
necessarily to do the task personally

• objectives should be clear to all. They should be demanding but realistic


• even when conflict occurs, problems are confronted directly and openly and not as personal disputes.
This encourages creativity

• it builds long term development and trust. Organizational performance improvement and the personal
growth of those in it are both aims and outcomes of the 9.9 style.

The value in Blake & Mouton’s leadership theory is that managers can match their style to the hard demands of
production and softer people needs. They can also learn through critique (from colleagues) and feedback (from
control outputs) in order to change/improve their management style.

Blake, R., R., Mouton, J., S., (1985), The Managerial Grid III: The Key to Leadership Excellence, Gulf
Publishing Company