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Chapter 18 Strategy and the General Manager

Chapter Contents 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Introduction A Historical Perspective on the General Manager What do General Managers Do? Case Studies of General Managers The Roles of the General Manager The General Manager as Entrepreneur The General Manager as Organizer/Implementor The General Manager as Contractor The General Manager as Powerholder The General Manager as Facilitator The General Manager as Competitor The General Manager as Adapter The General Manager as Agent The General Manager as Entrepreneur The Tensions of Managerial Work The Changing Definitions of Managerial Work Chapter Summary

Chapter Summary This concluding chapter discusses the breadth of opportunity and responsibility for modern general managers. The general manger (GM) is both a problem-solver and a visionary. As a problem solver, the GM defines and manages the boundaries of the firm, sets a competitive strategy, and oversees the firms internal incentives, culture, and structure. As a visionary, the GM identifies a sustainable position for long-term success. GMs use both formal and informal means to accomplish objectives. While relying on qualitative analyses as much or more than quantitative analyses, they also rely on formal agendas and information networks. The GM may play one or all of several roles: entrepreneur, organizer/implementer, contractor, facilitator, competitor, and reevaluator/changer. Tensions arise when these roles require conflicting actions. GMs have to change their roles in response to changing technological, regulatory, and competitive conditions.

Suggestions to Teaching this Chapter This chapter, more than most, lends itself to a wide-ranging class discussion. Students should be pushed to envision themselves as general managers and explore now the issues they will face in that role. Job Audits Can students predict the influence, roles and responsibilities of different jobs in specific organizations? What questions would students ask (in research or of recruiters) to determine the true nature of a position? Roles We list several roles of managers in this chapter. Do students think they could prioritize these responsibilities? For which of these roles will formal schooling prepare students? Where do managers learn all of the other skills? Responsibilities 1) Does a general manager have a job description? There are two schools of thought. Some believe every job can be described. If a position cannot be defined, it may not be real. The other belief is that the general manager does whatever needs to be done. If an employer can define the limits of a general manager's job, s/he isn't a general manager. What do students think? 2) Managers' salaries have skyrocketed in the last ten years, while average wage earners have seen little or no salary increase. Have the new roles and responsibilities of today's managers sore defined these jobs that the compensation for senior managers should be 100 times more than the average worker? Can there be a market-generated salary that is too high? Morals While beyond the scope of this endeavor, ethical situations are crucial issues facing managers of today's corporations. Students should explore their personal understanding of morality and ethical limits. We list below several readings that might supplement an ethics discussion. Work/Life Balance Most employees wrestle with how to balance family and career. The old saying goes that no one says on his deathbed, I wish I had spent more time in the office. How much of an individual's happiness comes from the fulfillment of work or the material comforts of life? As senior management positions become more and more demanding, will students have to choose between a family and a high-powered job? If so, how would they make that decision? Will the demands on senior management change in a society dominated by dual career or single parent families? Should they?

Suggested Harvard Case Study1 The Lyric Dinner Theater HBS 9-386-057 A, B: These cases describe the efforts of Deborah Denenberg to affect the turnaround of this ailing dinner theater. As General Manager, she faces the problem of restoring the Lyric to profitability or having the business closed by its investors. Case A describes her efforts in the first six months on the job. Students should prepare a complete action plan for Denenberg. Case B describes the actions she took. Peter Olafson HBS 9-475-025 A-E: This case series describes the problems facing a recent MBA graduate in his job as general manager of a cable television company owned by a parent corporation. Case A raises the issues of corporate divisional relationships and the difficulties facing an inexperienced manager who seems to be receiving little support. Case B is a one-paragraph case that adds to the data presented. Cases C and D focus on the strained relationship between the new manager and his bosses. Case E presents a description from the corporate president's point of view.

These descriptions have been adapted from Harvard Business School 1995-96 Catalog of Teaching Materials.

Extra Readings The sources below provide additional resources concerning the theories and examples of the chapter. Bailyn, L.. Breaking the Mold: Women, Men and Time in the New Corporate World. New York: Free Press, 1993. Barnard, C. The Functions of the Executive. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1938. Bennis, W. and B. Nanus. Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge. New York: Harper and Row, 1985. Chandler, A. The Visible Hand. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1977. Donaldson, G. and J. W. Lorsch. Decision Making at the Top: The Shaping of Strategic Decisions. New York: Basic Books, 1983. Eccles, R. G. and N. Nohria. Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1992. Gabarro, J. J. When a Manager Takes Charge, Harvard Business Review, article # 85308. Hill, L. A. Becoming a Manager. New York: Penguin, 1992. Kotter, J. The General Managers. New York: Free Press, 1982. Lawrence, P. R. and J. Lorsch. Organization and Environment.- Managing Differentiation and Integration. Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1969. Leavy, B. and D. Wilson. Strategy and Leadership. London, UK: Routledge, 1994. Mintzberg, H. The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper and Row, 1973. Quinn, J. B. Strategies for Change: Logical lncrementalisrn. Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1980. Selznick, P. Leadership and Administration. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957. On Ethics and Management, these resources make good teaching tools: Friedman, M., The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, New York Times Magazine, Sept. 13, 1970. Goodpaster, K. E. and J. S. Matthews, Jr., Can a Corporation have a Conscience?", Harvard Business Review, #82104. Shleifer, A. and L. H. Summers, Breach of Trust in Hostile Takeovers, University of Chicago Press article. United Technologies and the Closing of American Bosch, Harvard Business School Case #9386-174, R.5/96.