Managing people effectively in extension programmes is a skill that requires constant planning and development. An extension programme manager can be defined as the person who is vested with formal authority over an organization or one of its sub units. He or she has status that leads to various interpersonal relations, and from this comes access to information. Information, in turn, enables the manager to devise strategies, make decisions, and implement action (Mintzberg, 1988). Management is concerned with the optimum attainment of organizational goals and objectives with and through other people. Extension management organizations are characterized by many strategies, wide spans of control, democracy, and autonomy. Their management practices cannot be reduced to one standard set of operating guidelines that will work for all organizations continually.
However, all managers of professional organizations face the same challenge: to manage one’s time, objectives, and resources in order to accomplish tasks and implement ideas (Waldron, 1994). Managers of extension programmes are painfully aware of the need for revision and development of the new skill sets held by today’s high performers. If change is not handled correctly, it can be more devastating then ever before. High performers reflect, discover, assess, and act. They know that a new focus on connecting the heads, hearts, and hands of people in their organization is necessary. Astute managers know what needs to be done but struggle with how to do it. Quite often they prefer to consider themselves as teachers or communicators rather than managers. This results in under-utilization of the increasing amount of literature on management theory and practice.
The root of the problem is implementation. They must learn how to motivate others and build an efficient team. More formally defined, management is the process by which people, technology, job tasks, and other resources are combined and coordinated so as to effectively achieve organizational objectives. A process or function is a group of related activities contributing to a larger action. Management functions are based on a common philosophy and approach. They centre around the following: 1. Developing and clarifying mission, policies, and objectives of the agency or organization 2. Establishing formal and informal organizational structures as a means of delegating authority and sharing responsibilities 3. Setting priorities and reviewing and revising objectives in terms of changing demands 4. Maintaining effective communications within the working group, with other groups, and with the larger community 5. Selecting, motivating, training, and appraising staff
6. Securing funds and managing budgets; evaluating accomplishments and 7. Being accountable to staff, the larger enterprise, and to the community at large (Waldron, 1994b). The management functions listed above can be categorized by using the acronym POSDCORB (Bonoma & Slevin, 1978, from Gulick & Urwick, 1959): • Planning: outlining philosophy, policy, objectives, and resultant things to be accomplished, and the techniques for accomplishment • Organizing: establishing structures and systems through which activities are arranged, defined, and coordinated in terms of some specific objectives • Staffing: fulfilling the personnel function, which includes selecting and training staff and maintaining favourable work conditions • Directing: making decisions, embodying decisions in instructions, and serving as the leader of the enterprise • Coordinating: interrelating the various parts of the work • Reporting: keeping those to whom you are responsible, including both staff and public, informed • Budgeting: making financial plans, maintaining accounting and management control of revenue, and keeping costs in line with objectives Planning
Planning is the key management function of any extension worker. It is the process of determining in advance what should be accomplished, when, by whom, how, and at what cost. Regardless of whether it is planning long-term program priorities or planning a two-hour meeting, the planning aspect of management is the major contributor to success and productivity. Stated simply, “If you don’t know where you are going, then you won’t know when you have arrived!” Planning is the process of determining the organization’s goals and objectives and making the provisions for their achievement. It involves choosing a course of action from available alternatives. Planning is the process of determining organizational aims, developing premises about the current environment, selecting the course of action, initiating activities required to transform plans into action, and evaluating the outcome. The types of planning that managers engage in will depend on their level in the organization and on the size and type of the organization. Generally there are four major types of planning exercises: strategic, tactical, contingency, and managerial.
Strategic planning involves determining organizational goals and how to achieve them. This usually occurs at the top management level. Tactical planning is concerned with implementing the strategic plans and involves middle and lower management. Contingency planning anticipates possible problems or changes that may occur in the future and prepares to deal with them effectively as they arise (Marshall, 1992). Managerial planning is usually considered as microlevel planning. It helps in combining resources to fulfil the overall objectives of the extension organization. A needs assessment may initiate a need for developing a plan. The planning process begins with the creation of a philosophy that consists of statements describing the values, beliefs, and attitudes of the organization. Its mission statement is a proclamation of its purpose or reason for being. After the philosophy and mission statements have been established, various goals and objectives are defined. Goals are usually general statements that project what is to be accomplished in the future. An objective is a concrete statement describing a specific action. Policies are predetermined guides to decision making; they establish boundaries or limits within which action may be taken. Managers are related to policy formation in two ways.
First, they play a crucial role in implementing organizational policies that have been established by higher management. Second, they create policies within their departments as guides for their own work groups. Procedures outline the series of steps to be followed when carrying out a designed policy or taking a particular course of action. Rules are used to provide final and definite instruction. Usually they are inflexible. Planning is designing the future, anticipating problems, and imagining success. In short, planning is essential for anyone who wants to survive. The functions of organizing, leading, staffing, and budgeting are means of carrying out the decisions of planning. Everyone is a planner – a planner of meals, of work time, Of vacations, of families. Formal planning, however, distinguishes managers from non-managers, effective managers from ineffective managers. Formal planning forces managers to think of the future, to set priorities, to encourage creativity, to articulate clear objectives, and to forecast the future in terms of anticipated problems and political realities. Long-Range Planning
Long-range planning is vitally important in that it focuses attention on crucial future issues which are vitally important to the organization. It involves studying societal trends and issues, surveying current and anticipated learners’ needs, and being aware of long-term research directions and changes in technology. Many extension workers may think that such management is beyond their level of authority, control, or involvement. They may feel that such management is the prerogative of the director, the deputy minister, or the president. However, while senior levels of management must be involved, those who implement the objectives resulting from long-range planning should also be involved. Strategic Planning
Strategic planning has been defined as that which has to do with determining the basic objectives of an organization and allocating resources to their accomplishment. A strategy determines the direction in which an organization needs to move to fulfil its mission. A strategic plan acts as a road map for carrying out the strategy and achieving long-term results. Occasionally a large gap exists between the strategic plan and real results. To boost organizational performance, people must be a key part of the strategy. A stronger, more capable and efficient organization can arise by defining how its members can support the overall strategy (Figure 1).
Strategic planning is different from long-term planning. Long-range planning builds on current goals and practices and proposes modifications for the future. Strategic planning, however, considers changes or anticipated changes in the environment that suggest more radical moves away from current practices. When doing strategic planning, the organization should emphasize team planning. By involving those affected by the plan, the manger builds an organization wide understanding and commitment to the strategic plan (Flemming, 1989). The elements of strategic plans include: • Organization mission statement – What
• Strategic analysis – Why
• Strategic formulation – Where
• Long-term objectives implementation – When and How
• Operational plans – When and How
Changes are essential to better position the extension organization and focus on client needs and moving forward in rural development and sustainability programmes. The strength and resilience of the traditional rural and farm population and the trend towards a decentralized society with more and more urbanites moving to the country suggest that successful rural communities will depend on people’s ability to change, to adapt, and to work toward a better future. In the 1990s, facilitating farmer participation is a major extension activity (Chambers, 1993). Reorganization provides a framework for longer-term commitment to rural development.
Organizations and sub units are being encouraged to put work teams in place to ensure that each sector integrates staff and services into a cohesive, focused business unit. Consultation and participation are believed to be essential for the successful development and implementation of organizational goals and objectives. Each work team is asked to develop an effective process for discussion of major challenges and opportunities facing the organization, if possible, over the next decade. Updated strategic plans are then developed. These plans form the framework for focusing organizational resources on the most strategic areas by using a staged approach. Updated plans are then implemented by work teams at all levels of management. Work-team objectives include: 1. Involving all levels of staff in consultation
2. Designing and implementing a process to develop-goals and objectives for the organization and unit; a strategic process for the next five to ten years 3. Defining and clarifying organizational structures and identifying functions, customers, and service delivery models 4. Identifying changes and staged approaches needed to move from the current situation to what will be required over the next three to five years 5. Identifying and recommending priorities for policy and programme development 6. Incorporating goals for expenditure reduction, service quality improvement, workforce management, accountability, technology, and business process improvement 7. Stating the start date and first report date
Figure 1. Strategic planning model (Source: OMAD Strategic Planning Factsheet, 1991). Managerial Planning
If long-range planning can be linked to “macro,” then managerial planning can be linked to “micro.” Managerial planning is the implementing of the strategic plan; it is the combining of resources to fulfil the overall objectives and missions of the organization. Managerial planning focuses on the activity of a specific unit and involves what needs to be done, by whom, when, and at what cost. The strategic planning process serves as an umbrella over the management planning process which deals with the following: 1. Establishing individual goals and objectives
2. Forecasting results and potential problems
3. Developing alternatives, selecting alternatives, and setting priorities
4. Developing associated budgets
5. Establishing personnel inputs
6. Establishing specific policies related to the unit
7. Allocating physical resources
8. Appraising how the management unit has succeeded in meeting its goals and objectives Decision making
Closely related to both strategic and managerial planning is the process of decision making. Decisions need to be made wisely under varying circumstances with different amounts of knowledge about alternatives and consequences. Decisions are concerned with the future and may be made under conditions of certainty, conditions of risk, or conditions of uncertainty. Under conditions of certainty, managers have sufficient or complete information and know exactly what the outcome of their decision will be. Managers are usually faced with a less certain environment. They may, however, know the probabilities and possible outcomes of their decisions, even though they cannot guarantee which particular outcome will actually occur. In such cases, there is a risk associated with the decision and there is a possibility of an adverse outcome. Most managerial decisions involve varying degrees of uncertainty.
This is a key part of a manager’s activities. They must decide what goals or opportunities will be pursued, what resources are available, and who will perform designated tasks. Decision making, in this context, is more than making up your mind. It consists of several steps: |Step 1: |Identifying and defining the problem | |Step 2: |Developing various alternatives | |Step 3: |Evaluating alternatives | |Step 4: |Selecting an alternative | |Step 5: |Implementing the alternative | |Step 6: |Evaluating both the actual decision and the decision-making process |
Managers have to vary their approach to decision making, depending on the particular situation and person or people involved. The above steps are not a fixed procedure, however; they are more a process, a system, or an approach. They force one to realize that there are usually alternatives and that one should not be pressured into making a quick decision without looking at the implications. This is especially true in the case of nonprogrammed decisions (complex and novel decisions) as contrasted to programmed decisions (those that are repetitive and routine). One of the most difficult steps in the decision-making process is to develop the various alternatives. For example, if one is involved in planning a workshop, one of the most crucial decisions is the time, format, and location of the workshop. In this case, one’s experience as well as one’s understanding of the clientele group greatly influence the selecting of alternatives. Often decision trees can help a manager make a series of decisions involving uncertain events.
A decision tree is a device that displays graphically the various actions that a manager can take and shows how those actions will relate to the attainment of future events. Each branch represents an alternative course of action. To make a decision tree it is necessary to: (1) identify the points of decision and alternatives available at each point, (2) identify the points of uncertainty and the type or range of alternative outcomes at each point, (3) estimate the probabilities of different events or results of action and the costs and gains associated with these actions, and (4) analyse the alternative values to choose the next course of action. In extension, the decision-making process is often a group process. Consequently, the manager must apply principles of democratic decision making since those involved in the decision-making process will feel an interest in the results of the process.
In such a case, the manager becomes more of a coach, knowing the mission, objectives, and the process, but involving those players who must help in actually achieving the goal. The effective manager thus perceives himself or herself as the controller of the decision-making process rather than as the maker of the organization’s or agency’s decision. As Drucker (1966) has pointed out, “The most common source of mistakes in management decision-making is the emphasis on finding the right answer rather than the right question. It is not enough to find the right answer; more important and more difficult is to make effective the course of action decided upon. Management is not concerned with knowledge for its own sake; it is concerned with performance.” Organizing
Once strategic planning and management planning are implemented, organizing to get the job done is next. Organizing is the process of establishing formal relationships among people and resources in order to reach specific goals and objectives. The process, according to Marshall (1992), is based on five organizing principles: unity of command, span of control, delegation of authority, homogeneous assignment, and flexibility. The organizing process involves five steps: determining the tasks to be accomplished, subdividing major tasks into individual activities, assigning specific activities to individuals, providing necessary resources, and designing the organizational relationships needed. In any organizing effort, managers must choose an appropriate structure. Organizational structure is represented primarily by an organizational chart. It specifies who is to do what and how it will be accomplished. The organizing stage provides directions for achieving the planning results. There are several aspects to organizing – time, structures, chain of command, degree of centralization, and role specification. Time Management
Managers must decide what to do, when, where, how, and by or with whom. Time management is the process of monitoring, analysing, and revising your plan until it works. Effective planning is a skill that takes time to acquire. It is difficult to implement because you have no one but yourself to monitor how effectively you are using your time. Everyone has the same amount of time – 168 hours per week. How that time is managed is up to the discretion of each person. One extension agent joked that he was so busy taking time management courses, he had little time left to manage. Effective time management involves philosophy and common sense. Time is not a renewable resource – once it is gone, it is gone forever. To function effectively, managers have to be able to prioritize and replace less important tasks with more important ones. Most of us work for pay for only 1,800 hours per year. Effective and efficient time management encourages us to achieve and be productive while developing good employee relations. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). Once the goals are known, it is important to think about how they can be achieved.
Effective time managers facilitate planning by listing tasks that require their attention, estimating the amount of time each task will take to complete, and prioritizing them – deciding what tasks are most important to do first and numbering them in rank order. It is essential to know what is crucial and what is not. Some activities have relatively low levels of importance in completing a given task. By planning ahead, managers can decide what to do and take the time to come up with ideas on how to do it. They can make their own list of steps to eliminate or reduce time wasters. Maintaining a daily “To Do” list with priorities attached and maintaining a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly diary is helpful. Managers should analyse their daily activities to see which are directed toward results and which are simply activities. They could learn how to manage meetings more effectively since considerable management time seems to be wasted in nondirectional formal meetings.
One of the methods that helps allocate time according to priorities is Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule: if all items are arranged in order of value, 80 per cent of the value will come from 20 per cent of the items. For example, 80 per cent of the complaining in your department is likely to be done by 20 per cent of your staff. Four suggestions for better time management are (1) never handle the same piece of paper twice; (2) learn how to say “no” without feeling guilty about requests that do not contribute to the achievement of your goals; (3) when a visitor drops in to your office, stand up while you have your discussion to ensure that only a brief period of time will be consumed by the visitor’s interruption; and (4) avoid being a slave to the telephone. By managing time well, managers are better able to solve problems quickly, make decisions, avoid frustration, keep from getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks, handle crises, work on their goals and priorities, and manage stress. Guidelines for scheduling time include:
1. Always put your schedule in writing.
2. Focus on the objectives you are trying to accomplish.
3. Continually review objectives, priorities, and scheduled actions to keep on track.
4. Schedule around key events and actions.
5. Get a productive start by scheduling early-day actions.
6. Group related items and actions whenever possible.
7. Do not hesitate to take large time blocks for important tasks.
8. Be sure to allow enough time for each task, but not too much time.
9. Build in flexibility for unexpected events.
10. Include some thinking time for yourself.
11. Consider how to make waiting and travel time useful or otherwise
productive. 12. Try to match your work cycles to your body cycles.
13. Learn to control your unscheduled action impulses.
14. Prepare tomorrow’s schedule before you get to the office in the morning.
Structures: Centralized versus Decentralized, Line versus Staff Working productively and developing feelings of cooperation and effectiveness are related to having the right people doing the right jobs. Structure, then, can be defined as a system of interrelated jobs, groups of jobs, and authority. There is no standard organizational structure, but most organizations and agencies follow the “Christmas Tree” system with the star (e.g., president, minister) at the top, smaller branches at management levels, and bigger branches at the production levels. Some would claim that the lower branches support the upper branches, but as in the tree, the branches are supported by a single trunk, which can be thought of as the organizational mission and objectives. Each part of the tree has its specific function. When all parts work together, the system survives, functions productively, has balance, and is a pleasure to see!
There are four primary elements in designing an organizational structure: 1. Job specifications – what each division/office/unit is responsible for 2. Departmentalization – the grouping of jobs and responsibilities in common sectors with the objective of achieving coordination 3. Span of control – a definition of how many job roles should be in each unit and which roles require coordination by a unit manager 4. Delegation of authority – assigning the right to make decisions without having to obtain approval from a supervisor The resulting organizational structure will vary according to these four elements. An organization with decentralized authority and very heterogeneous departments will appear very different from one with centralized authority and a very homogeneous product. Chain of Command
Once an organization starts delegating authority, then there is automatically a chain of command, “the formal channel which specifies the authority, responsibility and communication relationships from top to bottom in an organization” (Ivancevich, Donnelly, & Gibson, 1980). Thus authority flows from presidents to vice-presidents to divisional managers, from ministers to deputies to directors, from principals to vice-principals to deans, etc. In complex organizations, there may be bridges from one level to another and there will be complex procedures for maintaining the chain of command. Adult and extension educators, if working for an organization or agency, will be part of a structure and part of the chain of command. One cannot often make major changes in these two elements; it is wise, however, to be very aware of the organizational structure and chain of command if you wish to accomplish things efficiently. Centralized organizations are those in which the key authority and decision-making role is focused on one or a very few individuals.
Where authority is distributed among many managers, then one can see a decentralized structure. As the organization’s various roles become more diverse in terms of programme, product, or geographical location, one can see a more decentralized organizational structure with authority being delegated to those who are closest to the action. Centralization refers to authority, whereas centrality refers to the proximity to the organization’s stated mandate and objectives. One could have a very decentralized organization with each unit being responsible for programmes, staffing, and budget, and yet be very close to the main mission and objectives of the organization. Another important point in terms of structure is the concept of line and staff functions. Line functions are those involved in creating, developing, and delivering a programme. Staff functions are those that are of an advisory and consultative order. Line functions contribute directly to the attainment of the organization’s objectives, and staff functions contribute indirectly. Staffing
A key aspect of managing an adult and extension enterprise is to find the right people for the right jobs. Much of one’s success as a manager is related to appropriate human resource planning, regardless of whether it is the hiring of a secretary or an instructor for a particular work-shop. The staffing function consists of several elements: 1. Human resource planning – how many staff resources, with what backgrounds, and at what cost can be considered for objectives implementation? 2. Recruitment – how does one proceed to find the person with the appropriate mix of education, experience, human relations skills, communications skills, and motivation? An important component of the recruitment process is writing the job description.
The description must be exact and specific but sufficiently general to solicit interest among potential candidates. The nature of the job, scope, authority, and responsibilities form the core of the job description. Indications of preferred educational background as well as salary range must also be included. In times of high unemployment, one can always expect several dozen applications for any one opportunity for employment. This leads to the next task of staff selection. Staff Selection
The process of staff selection involves evaluating candidates through application forms, curriculum vitae, and interviews and choosing the best candidate for the specific job responsibility. One can even have a list of criteria and a score sheet for each individual. Even then, successful hiring is often a very intuitive act and involves some degree of risk. As a means of giving some structure and design to the staffing process, the following guidelines are useful (dark, 1973). Each job interview should be characterized by:
1. A clear definition of the purpose of the interview
2. The presence of a structure or general plan
3. The use of the interaction as a learning experience in a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere
4. The creation and maintenance of rapport between the interviewer and interviewee
5. The establishment of mutual confidence
6. Respect for the interviewee’s interest and individuality by the interviewer
7. An effort to put the interviewee at ease
8. The establishment and maintenance of good communication
9. The willingness to treat what is being said in proper perspective
10. The just treatment of each interviewee
This is the process of formally introducing the selected individual to the particular unit, to colleagues, and to the organization. The selected person should be aware of the mission and objectives of the unit, the nature of responsibilities and level of authority, the degree of accountability, and the systems and procedures followed to accomplish the tasks associated with the job. A motivated individual will simply ask for such things as personnel manuals, administrative procedures handbooks, and aims and objectives statements. Such orientation tools should be available. Directing
At one time there was a management emphasis on “directing” in the directorial (autocratic) sense, but in recent times, the concept of directing has become more congruent with leading than with pushing. Thus today, directing is more related to leading and leadership styles. Leadership in this context means the process whereby a work environment is created in which people can do their best work and feel a proprietary interest in producing a quality product or service. McGregor (1960) proposed that managers might assume that employees are motivated in one of two ways. His dichotomy was labelled theory X and theory Y. Theory X relates to traditional management whereby managers assume that they must control, coerce, and threaten in order to motivate employees. Theory Y, the opposite of theory X, suggests that employees want to do challenging work, that they are interested in accepting responsibility, and that they are basically creative and want to be involved in policy development and objective setting. Today, theories X and Y don’t really sound very revolutionary; the problem is that management styles and employee motivation do not fit easily into two theoretical labels. As a result, additional theoretical labels (e.g., theory Z) are being developed. Coordinating
This important stage consists of interrelating the various parts of the work. It involves coordinating the various job roles and responsibilities of yourself and other staff, of your unit and other units within the same organization, and of your unit with the broader community. There are two forms of coordination: (1) vertical reporting to your supervisor(s) and to your staff, and (2) horizontal reporting to your colleagues and your management team. Adult and extension educators are usually involved in very complex organizations such as governments, colleges and universities, and boards of education. Because of the size of the organization, the increasing demands for public accountability, the many government regulations and policies, the increasing competition among providers of adult education opportunities, and the changes in technology, it is essential that the coordinating role be given top priority. How, then, can effective coordination be accomplished?
• Coordination needs professional, competent leadership, a democratic style that leads to trust, open communication, and ease of information flow. • Coordination needs a constant definition and communication of mission and objectives that are understood by all managers. • Coordination, to be effective, must have open, two-way channels of communication. • Coordination involves a sharing atmosphere as well as commonly agreed on direction. Because effective coordination requires cooperation and communication, the meeting technique is still the most effective format for assuring the interrelationships among the various job responsibilities. In recent years, formal systems of community coordination of adult and extension education activities have been developed. Such councils of continuing education provide more than just a network of workers but in fact lead to discussions of community needs, agency priorities, and an agreement as to who is going to look after what. Such voluntary coordination does not eliminate competition; it focuses on the multiway flow of information. Reporting
This function, closely related to the coordinating function, consists of keeping those to whom you are responsible informed as to what is going on. It is essential that competent managers keep the information flowing, especially in this age when there is so much information being transmitted in so many forms. The reporting function is more than preparing an annual report, quoting statistics, and informing your staff of current developments. The reporting function is almost an evaluation function since it compares how you are doing with what you set out to do. It reviews your objectives and determines to what extent you are meeting your objectives. It consists of more than course numbers or annual statistics, but relates programme direction, policy changes, refinement in objectives, and changes in structures and priorities.
It also uses the vertical and horizontal flows of information as presented previously. One of the key elements of the reporting function is the annual report. Such a report gives you the opportunity to summarize programmes, projects, and activities and to provide statistics as well. Such a report can be used as a public information document by having it distributed to other adult education agencies in the community, to your senior levels of management, to your own managers, to your colleagues, and to the press. In addition, it will prove to be a valuable document to satisfy the requests you receive asking about your programme activities. Budgeting
This management function includes fiscal planning, accounting and revenue, and expense controls. Budgeting requires specific planning, a thorough understanding of objectives and future programmes, a sixth sense of economic conditions and realities, and a hunch for predicting the unpredictable. In many cases, an organization specifies the budget system being used. It could be based on (1) historical data (what you had last year with variations for the coming year); (2) 0-based data where the budget is created and justified on a line-item basis according to programmes and priorities; (3) an MBO system – management by objectives whereby specific objectives are funded; and (4) a PERT system – programme review and evaluation technique – where each programme is reviewed and assessed according to its contribution to specific goals.
These are only a few of the budgeting systems in use. However, the key elements of any budget system consist of (1) determining what line items are necessary in terms of objectives; (2) in line with policies, determining the financial amounts for each line; (3) determining overhead, surplus, and/or profit margins; (4) determining anticipated revenue from fees, grants, gifts, contracts, etc.; (5) drafting a budget with specific amounts and justifications; and (6) discussing and making adjustments to produce a working budget. The budget then becomes a guide which, however, may always be in a state of change. The budget process is not in a vertical something that one does only once a year; it is a continual process of regular review and possible revision. One should always be checking to see how one is doing compared with how one anticipated doing. Budget management, then, consists of three parts: (1) budget determination – allocating revenue according to priorities and by line items; (2) budget accountability – how well the anticipated budget matches reality; and (3) using a +, 0 – notation in answering the questions and by placing the notations in the boxes on the chart.
In this way, one can get a picture of the predominant types of management modes currently being used. While this may be useful in describing what is, it could be even more useful in describing what could be. It is also useful in providing some clues as to possible areas of role conflict – the scholarly research model would likely collide with the competent practitioner model (Waldron, 1994a). Structure is the basis for many modern business organizations because we live in a structured society, although the concept of structural rigidity and hierarchy is now being challenged by a more educated, creative, and intrinsically motivated workforce. The structural approach shows graphically that the organization has a distinct physical shape or form provided by an internal form. A competent manager in this system is able to solve problems, to figure out what needs to be done, and then enlist whatever support is needed to get it done. This approach is favoured by traditional, hierarchical, job-specific, uncreative organizations. A more organic management method is based on paradigms. A paradigm refers to a method of approaching a problem or situation and the kinds of assumptions, values, and attitudes associated with thinking about the situation (Ottaway & Terjeson, 1986).
It connotes a pattern or structure that is dynamic, changeable, and responsive to the environment (Waldron, 1994). The most dramatic illustration of a paradigm shift was the shift from the Ptolemaic theory, which saw the earth as the centre of the universe, to the Copernican theory, which saw the sun as the centre of the universe. A paradigm shift results in a total restructuring in the ways we think about a situation and the kinds of assumptions we make about former observations. Covey (1992) speaks of paradigm shifts: things, people, and structure can and do change – nothing is constant. He shows how almost every significant breakthrough is first a break with tradition, with old patterns, with old ways of thinking, and with old paradigms. Senge (1990) states that a “shift of mind” is necessary because “the unhealthiness of our world today is in direct proportion to our inability to see it as a whole.” In terms of management, extension managers should view people not as “helpless reactors, but as active participants in shaping their reality – from reacting to the present to creating the future” (p. 68-69).
The use of models is common practice in management thinking. Models are useful because various aspects of the structures can be viewed from different positions that can then lead to new perspectives. The goal of modelling is to achieve an accurate yet relatively simple representation of a system, complex entity, or reality usually on a smaller scale. It implies both structure and change. An important aspect of model building is collecting and preparing data. Information gained from the data is the foundation of the model. The model should reflect the major aspects of the problem as simply as possible. Often, this requires tradeoffs because simplicity and accuracy rarely go hand in hand. The constants, if any, within the model should be known with a high degree of precision. One mistake that inexperienced model builders often make is failing to take a broad perspective of the problem. They do not take into account other dimensions of reality that a solution may have an impact on.
To accomplish this broad perspective, the extension manager should adopt a systems approach to model building and should focus not only on the immediate problem, but also on interrelationships that exist within and outside the organization and how these relationships will be affected (Stevenson, 1989). One model is usually dominant. To examine which model fits the needs of a particular extension manager’s programme and his or her criteria, one can create a matrix similar to Figure 2. By answering questions similar to those presented in Figure 3, one can develop a good understanding of the specific model which would apply to extension programmes.
Modern management is characterized by two approaches, the systems and the contingency approach. The systems approach views the organization as a total system comprised of interacting subsystems, all of which are in complex interaction with the relevant external environment (Lerman & Turner, 1992). Organizations are pictured as “input-transformation-output systems” that compete for resources. The survival and prosperity of an organization depend on effective adaptation to the environment, which means identifying a good strategy for marketing its outputs (products and services), obtaining necessary resources, and dealing with external threats. Survival and prosperity also depend on the efficiency of the transformation process used by the organization to produce its goods and services, on worker motivation, and on cooperation.
Efficiency of the transformation process is increased by finding more rational ways to organize and perform the work and by deciding how to make the best use of available technology, resources, and personnel. Top management has primary responsibility for designing an appropriate organizational structure, determining authority relationships, and coordinating operations across specialized subunits of the organization (Yuki, 1994). A system can survive only when it delivers an output that can be exchanged for new inputs as well as for maintaining the system. Similarly, an extension service is expected to produce some beneficial output.
Theories that explain management effectiveness in terms of situational moderator variables are called contingency theories. The contingency or situational approach recognizes that neither the democratic nor the autocratic extreme is effective in all extension management situations. Different traits are required in different situations. Table 1 describes the major features of five contingency theories and the Vroom and Yetton (1973) normative decision model. The table makes it easier to compare the theories with respect to content and validation. A synopsis of each is presented below: • The path-goal theory examines how four aspects of behaviour influence subordinate satisfaction and motivation. • Leadership substitute theory identifies aspects of the situation that make leadership behaviour redundant or irrelevant. • The multiple linkage model uses a model of group performance with six intervening variables to explain leadership effectiveness. • Fiddler’s LPC model deals with the moderating influence of three situational variables on the leadership between a leader trait (LPC) and subordinate performance. • Cognitive resources theory examines the conditions under which cognitive resources such as intelligence, experience, and technical expertise are related to group performance.
Organizations constantly encounter forces driving them to change. Because change means doing something new and unknown, the natural reaction is to resist it. Extension programme managers must overcome this resistance and adopt innovative and efficient management techniques to remain high performers. They must improve their personal, team, and cultural management skills if they hope to adapt themselves to a changing world. Overwhelmingly, current management wisdom touts the goal of getting decisions made as low down in the organization as possible. The basic idea is that since people closest to the work are likely to know the most about solving problems in their areas, they should be involved in the decisions concerning those areas. An added benefit is that they are more motivated if they have some control over their work and over their own destinies.
There is still considerable discussion as to whether management is an art or a science, a philosophy or a skill. No one sustainable model can holistically encompass all management situations and environments. Management can be defined as the rational assessment of a situation and the systematic selection of goals and purposes; the systematic development of strategies to achieve these goals; the marshalling of the required resources, the rational design, organization, direction, and control of the activities required to attain the selected procedures (McNeil & Clemmer, 1988). Managers typically engage in a large number of discrete activities each day, and the average number of activities appears to increase at lower levels of management. The activities, however, are usually very brief in duration (Mintzberg, 1973). To carry out their responsibilities, managers need to obtain recent, relevant information that exists in books, journals, and people’s heads who are widely scattered within and outside the organization.
They have to make decisions based on information that is both overwhelming and incomplete. In addition, managers need to get cooperation from subordinates, peers, superiors, and people over whom they may have no formal authority. Factors that affect managers include level of management, size of the organizational unit, function of the unit, lateral interdependence, crisis conditions, and stage in the organizational life cycle. Despite all these demands and constraints, managers do have some alternatives. They have a choice in what aspects of the job to emphasize and how to allocate their time. Generally managers are engaged in four types of activities: 1) building and maintaining relationships, (2) getting and giving information, (3) influencing people, and (4) decision making.
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