What are management building blocks?

What are the most important fundamentals of the management profession? Or, what should a manager concern himself or herself with when managing an organisation? This question is not that easy to answer and, moreover, heavily dependent on the type of organisation that is involved. And yet there are six areas that require attention that are of interest everywhere and under every condition. These are: strategy, structure, culture, people, resources and results. These areas that require special attention or manage-ment building blocks are also sometimes referred to as the management or design variables of an organisation. Further study shows that most building blocks appear in the most important management reference models, to a lesser or a greater degree, that are used on a global scale. The figure below, for example, shows the INK (Instituut Nederlandse Kwaliteit) management model. This is the Dutch variant of the European EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) excellence model.

   

Larger consultancies use their own reference models. Below we show the 7S model of McKinsey and the KPMG model. The 7S model is developed by Richard Pascale, Tom Peters en Robert Waterman and used in their management-classic In Search of Excellence.

An overview is included in the following table of the building blocks as taken from the most important reference models.

        Overview of management building blocks

S T R A T E G Y
The strategy area deals with the objectives of the organisation (mission and vision) and with the method used by the organisation to attain these (strategy and policy). Basically, finding the balance between the desired external results and the existing internal possibilities is what is important. A good strategy, therefore, makes provisions for both the outside of an organisation (what do we want to achieve) and the inside of on organisation (which structure, culture, people and resources do we need to achieve the required results).

S T R U C T U R E
The structure area is related to the organisation and the process structure. Basically, it deals with the issue on how business activities are organised and which tasks, competences and responsibilities employees have. This area that requires special attention is called processes in the INK/EFQM model to highlight the importance of it. The result is that attention is not paid to the organisation model, which is actually incorrect.

C U L T U R E
The culture area deals with the question on how people interact just as structure does. The soft or informal side of manners is, however, involved. Essentially, culture is about the basic values of the organisation. The leadership INK/EFQM area is related to the behaviour side of managers (leaders) and, therefore, falls under culture. This also applies to management style and shared values as used in the 7S model of McKinsey.

P E O P L E
The people area mainly relates to managing competencies (knowledge and skills). Use is made of two approaches: developing and safeguarding knowledge and skills of an organisation and the personal career development of the employee himself or herself.

R E S O U R C E S
The resources area involves the broad range of “other” resources. That is: financial management (money), information management (ICT), facility management (accommodation, materials, secretarial services, security and catering) and communication management. There is no unambiguous opinion about the place of purchase management (chains) amongst the different models. There is even a difference between INK (not a separate area that requires special attention) and EFQM (an area that requires special attention under resources) regarding this issue.

R E S U L T S
The results area is not present in all reference models. This area is best worked out in the INK/EFQM models. Basically, the question regarding what the work carried out by the organisation has provided is involved. The starting point is looking “outside-in”. The rating is determined (measures) in relation to the four most important groups of stakeholders; that is: employees, customers and suppliers, society and end results (financial and operational objectives).