Why Managers Matter

In their book Why Managers Matter, Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein (2022) argue that as business struggles to adapt to a rapidly changing world, managers are bombarded with a bewildering array of schemes for how to be a boss and make an organisation tick. It’s tempting to be seduced by futurist fantasies where every company has the culture of a start-up, and where employees in wacky, whimsical office settings, liberated from hierarchies and bosses that oppress them, are the foundation for breakthrough performance.

“Get real,” they warn. These fads ironically lead to micromanaging and, often, to disaster. Companies and societies, they show, need authority and hierarchy to coordinate work, including creative work. And, counterintuitively, Foss and Klein illustrate how the creative use of authority and hierarchy helps companies to be more agile and flexible, enabling educated, motivated people and teams to thrive.

Ultimately, the message of Why Managers Matter is that the bossless company narrative is just as flawed as Frederick Taylor’s command-and-control version of management. Managers do—and will continue to—matter, but their roles will change with the times. “What we want,” declare Foss and Klein, “is well-functioning hierarchy.”

“Bosses matter, not just as figureheads but as designers, organizers, encouragers, and enforcers.” – Theodore Kinni

So often we see great technical experts and specialists being promoted into management positions but little is done to help them make the shift from team member to team leader. This is why we designed our programme Leadershift in 2020 (the new upgraded 2023 version is being published this week!) 

Set your managers and team leaders up to win by giving them the skills and tools they need to be great at their job, contact us for more information about our Leadershift programme. 

OD Talk – Tuesday 21 February 2023


We have some ideas that we would love to explore on this subject with you at our first OD Talk of 2023. Please join us on Tuesday 21 February

Join us to explore solutions to the “Quiet Quitting’ trend by getting this important topic on the EXCO agenda. Sign up for free and join us for an hour and a half of straight talk about OD. Join the discussion on Tuesday 21 February 2023 from 09h00 – 10h30. 


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