New Management Practices: Empowerment, Information, and Control
During the last two decades of the 20th century something of a sea change was ascribed to the practice of management. Managers were exhorted, by a number of extraordinarily vociferous ‘gurus’, to adopt new ways of thinking about, and practices of, organization and its management. At the heart of much of this advocacy of the ‘new wave’ was a proclaimed need to shift from a ‘command-and-control’ mode of management to one that can perhaps best be captured as that of ‘facilitate-and-empower’. This chapter examines the role played by information systems in this putative change. In practice, ‘empowerment’ seems only to be seen to work and is thus only ‘granted’ when mechanisms are in place to ensure that the empowered continue to perform as the empowerer would wish them to. These mechanisms, in the main, revolve around knowledge of the production and dissemination of information on that performance.
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