Management Development Literature


            Contemporary organisations and corporations still perform much of the economic activities in the world. As the effects of globalisation continues to be felt all over the world, organisations need managers who can deftly manage the changes brought about by the increasingly competitive global market. Management Development is therefore the process of helping managers grow and learn the processes that could help them lead their organisations implement and manage the changes occurring.

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            As managers undergo management development, they enrich themselves as well as the company employing them. This is because the development of the organisation depends so much on the skills of the leader. As part of organisational development, the quality of leadership and management cannot be overestimated. Alongside the learning opportunities that managers have in their workplaces, they also have to go through formal training and schooling at universities. In the United Kingdom, management development has been growing.

The Future of Management Development

            Contemporary times have introduced a number of concerns that managers have to deal with: technology, diversity and multiculturalism, the importance of culture in the organisation and the importance of innovation and knowledge management among others. Because of these trends, establishing the future of management development is a difficult task. When these trends are examined more closely, managers and management development stakeholders will be able to deal with these drivers of change and innovation.

            Storey (1990: 5) conducted a survey of management development literature and described how managers are being made in the course of their stay within the organisations. He also examined the management development process and analysed its strengths and weaknesses. The author identified an important gap in the management development literature—the failure to describe initiatives toward management development initiatives as separate from other organisational tasks and training involving managers and other employees in the organisation. More importantly, Storey also noted that management development is not accounted for in the wider context of the organisation together with the prescriptions given for management development.

            These failures in the field of management development have been explained by Mabey (2002: 1140) that it is because of the fragmentation of the discipline of management development. Such fragmentation is the result of the overlapping themes of organisational learning and management development. In addition to this, the process of learning for management has to be neatly tied between theory and practice. Otherwise, it will easily become highly theoretical but impractical. The fragmentation of management development is not helping the field achieve its potentials for managers and for the organisations, too. As such, a reconstruction of the field may be needed and a renewed focus on management learning be established.

            There are several areas of trends in the field of management development which are worth looking at. These areas, which directly affect the business practices of organisations and corporations around the world, will continue to make significant changes in the field of management development. As noted by several observers in the field, the trends and developments in the organisation, its culture, its strategies are not far removed from the concerns of management development. What is needed is a means to make the two closer to each other and enable practice to coincide with theory.

Globalisation and Management Development

            As the barriers to trade between and among nations are eroded, it has become highly possible for organisations from different countries to establish branches and presence in different countries. It is no longer surprising to learn that Dell has branches and operations in Southeast Asia. Globalisation also fuels the growth of the business process outsourcing industry, which has spawned a whole new level of management practices and difficulties for organisations. Because of the knowledge economy and the technologies available at the disposal of people—individuals and corporations alike—globalisation has gone in leaps and bounds.

            The global operations of businesses have made it possible for businesses to be fragmented further. Not only does a manager have to deal with local workers. He also spends a great amount of time on the phone and on the internet communicating with employees located overseas. This kind of work arrangement is something new and managers have to deal with cultural issues as well as communication barriers so they can fully administer their roles and their jobs as managers. The multi-national character of contemporary corporations also calls for stricter compliance with the laws and regulations not only of the organisation’s home but also with that of the host country. The level of involvement of managers has taken a new level. In addition to this, management development also has to take into account the managers located in the country where the organisation has branches.

Technology and Innovation

            Globalisation is being powered and driven partly by technology and innovation. With the breakneck speed at which technology and innovation are being churned out now, managers are hard pressed to come out with innovation that could help them steer the organisation into right directions. Some of the issues that management has to contend with is the level of technological capacity of the organisation and how to keep staff and employees abreast with the developments in technology. The interaction between customers and the management would also be an important facet of management development. Although the managers are not directly in contact with the customers, the managers are ultimately responsible for customer relationship management and the way that technology and innovation is practiced by the organization.

            Given the importance of research and development in today’s firms, management also has to come up with ways of inculcating the value of innovation. Otherwise, the organization will always be at the mercy of organizations that are able to introduce innovations. With the emerging knowledge economy, leveraging on information and innovation is a great tool in enhancing the competitive advantage of the firm. Management development needs to include the processes in integrating innovation, information and business practices. Such skills could not be learned easily while on the job. As such, the learning of managers should be continuous and intentional. Theory will not be enough as this process requires managers to put their hands into such processes. Innovation is now the fuel for growth of most organisations. Innovation helps lower costs or boost productivity. Good managers therefore have to develop means of integrating innovation into the organisational culture so that their employees could also benefit from such innovation.

Digital Information Overload and Productivity

            With the onslaught of digital information in the knowledge economy, workers and management are increasingly beset with the dangers of information overload. With too much information available to employees and managers on the internet, it becomes more difficult to make crucial decisions. In addition to this, the manager, himself, is inundated with more information than he can effectively handle. This issue gives rise to efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. The whole organisation is concerned with productivity and habits and situations that could impede the overall performance of the organisation.

            Management development should help managers deal with their workload. Productivity is very crucial in an organisation so the managers should be able to effectively protect themselves from too much data. Otherwise, the process of managing and decision making will be seriously affected. In this regard, the way that information is presented has a relationship with the way that the task is adhered to by managers. So these are additional sets of skills that managers have to learn.

Effective managers undergoing management development will then lead the organisation into discovering means of saving time, resources and money. Some of these means will have to be technological in nature, so organisation has to turn into the learning organisation so that managers can guide the workforce towards learning and implementing those lessons in the quest for management development. Digital information overload and leakage of data may well become a security threat in the workplace and will compromise the kind of job that management will perform. Over the long run, the productivity of the organisation will suffer.

Socio-economic factors: diversity

            The twenty-first century guarantees a number of freedom and privileges among different groups in the society. There are issues of race, gender and sexual preference, age, disabilities and other sources of diversity. More than ever, the society and the government is aware that although not everyone can contribute the same amount of contribution in an organisation, different people can still work together. As such, management development also has to include matters of dealing with diversity, or the way that workers differ from each other.

            Globalisation has brought countries together. Cultural sensitivity is now a part of the required skills in managing an organisation. Although this is a very crucial area, most managers and organisation do not see the need until they are forced to do so. Government regulations and legislations have been enacted to protect various classes in the society. Yet, good managers would do well to go past these laws and really integrate people of diverse backgrounds into the life of the organisation and into the operations (Martin & Butler, 2002: 198).

Since different people of different backgrounds see things different, the perceptions and brainstorming sessions in the organisation will improve as a result of the involvement of different people from diverse backgrounds. Traditionally, whites have been the dominant race in the United States and most of Europe. Yet, with the increasing legislative protection for marginalised groups and the growing importance of pluralistic perspectives, managers could not favor any distinct race, religion or even gender. Management development should therefore include the means by which managers can effectively integrate various groups of people together so they can work harmoniously together for the benefit of the organisation. Managers have their own cultural and social background. Management development should focus on minimizing prejudice and any bias that a manager might show. Cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity can greatly enhance the culture of the organisation.


            Managers are faced with a myriad of problems and issues that they have to confront in the highly competitive world of the twenty-first century. If they will have to rely only on their experience and on the books they have read and the advice of others, they may not succeed. Hence, organisations have to always be on the lookout for ways and means for management development to flourish as a discipline within the organisation. When they do this, they can help the managers grow but not by themselves alone, the organisation also benefits from managers’ expertise and added learning.

            Management development is needed for managers to face the issues of the twenty first century. Globalisation has been advancing rapidly in recent years, providing growth and radical changes in the way that international business is conducted. Technology and innovation is also at the heart of most organisations. They provide the momentum for growth in this emerging knowledge economy. Ironically, however, they can also lead to digital information overload and less productivity. And there are also socio economic factors that must be considered. With all of these things and all other factors, management development should provide help to managers do their job well.


Fine, M., Weis, L. Pruitt, L. P., & Burns, A. (2004). Off White: Readings on Power, Privilege, and Resistance. London: Routledge.

Mabey, C. (2002). Mapping Management Development Practice. Journal of Management Studies, 39 (8): 1139 – 1160.

Martin, G. & Butler, M. (2002). Comparing managerial careers, management development and management education in the UK and the USA: some theoretical and practical considerations. International Journal of Training and Development, 4 (3): 196-207.

Storey, J. (1990). Management Development: A Literature Review and Implications for Future Research – Part II: Profiles and Contexts, Personnel Review, 19 (1): 3-11.


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