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  • Writer's pictureAragon Search

Management styles, the pros and cons

Both 'Management by Walking Around' (MBWA) and hierarchical management styles are approaches that leaders can adopt to lead their teams and organizations. But which style fits best?


Management by Walking Around (MBWA):

The benefits:

  • Engagement and Better Communication: MBWA encourages direct communication between leaders and employees, fostering a sense of engagement and strengthening communication channels within the organization.

  • Quick Problem-solving: By regularly being on the work floor, leaders can quickly identify and resolve problems, contributing to an agile organization.

  • Team Spirit and Morale: Showing interest in employees' work and their individual contributions promotes a positive team spirit and can boost morale.

The drawbacks:

  • Time-consuming: MBWA can be time-consuming for leaders, especially in large organizations. It requires regular investments of time and energy.

  • Potential Inconsistency: Because decisions are often made decentrally, there is a risk of inconsistency in policies and execution.

Hierarchical Management Style:

The benefits:

  • Clear Structure: Hierarchical management provides a clear structure with defined roles and responsibilities, which can contribute to an efficient organization.

  • Consistency in Decision-making: Decisions are made at higher management levels, ensuring consistency and uniformity in the organization.

  • Efficiency in Larger Organizations: In larger organizations, a hierarchical structure can be efficient for streamlining communication and managing complexity.

The drawbacks:

  • Lack of Engagement: A hierarchical style can lead to a lack of engagement among employees, as decisions are often made top-down.

  • Slow Response to Problems: As decision-making moves through multiple layers, it may take longer to resolve issues or implement new initiatives.

  • Limited Feedback: Employees may have fewer opportunities to provide direct feedback or suggestions, which can hinder innovation.

Hybrid Approach

The choice between MBWA and hierarchical management depends on the nature and needs of the organization. In some situations, a hybrid approach may work best. This involves combining elements of both styles to maximize benefits and minimize drawbacks. Aragon Search finds that especially companies in a growth phase benefit from a hybrid approach. Also, companies in an acquisition phase benefit from a hybrid approach; by first inventorying where the tasks and responsibilities lie from an MBWA style, a CEO can gradually transfer his role to others in the organization.

It remains important for organizations to carefully consider which management style is most suitable for their specific context and objectives.


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