Monthly Discussion: Management (Part 1)

This month we are taking a topic suggestion from one of our ILN participants, and it’s a subject that affects us all: management.

globe sign CC Taro the Shiba Inu

globe sign CC Taro the Shiba Inu

Management comes from all sides; from the bottom up, from the top down and even sideways. We all have or have had managers, team leaders, supervisors, directors, shift leaders plus we have all been on teams lead by managers.

Management styles can vary greatly from country to country. This article from Move One Inc, a moving management company, compares multiple international styles

…Management styles valued in the Netherlands may be perceived as weak in Romania, where authoritative leadership prevails. Or, calling subordinates by their first names is seen as a gesture of friendliness in the United States, but will be considered rude or impolite in France or Germany. High level of punctuality of someone from the United States may seem “pushy” for someone from Latin countries. Still, the indifferent response to time by a Latin person can be wrongly interpreted as being lazy or unresponsive. And when it comes to actual planning of activities, in British firms, for example, the planning staff is often reduced when anticipating future events becomes more difficult, but Germans would rather increase their planning activities in such a case….

This Slideshare presentation further compares the differences in business styles around the world. If your home country is mentioned in these reports, do they reflect your work culture?

As the year comes to a close, reflect on the management in your own organisation and how it might differ to that of your partner’s. Where are the commonalities and where are things completely different?

Here are a few ideas of thing you might want to discuss with your partner:

  • What is the management structure in your organisation?  Is it a formal or relaxed?
  • Do managers and team members work in partnership or do managers primarily direct the work?
  • Are meetings collaborative or mostly informational? (i.e. do team members contribute or do the managers to the most of the talking?)
  • Is it considered inappropriate to contradict a manager?
  • Do staff have a say in their work or are tasks primarily assigned by managers?
  • If you are not a manager, would you like to be? Why or why not.

We hope this gives you plenty of material to discuss with your partner, and we encourage you to share your views in the comments below. If you’d like to take the discussion to Twitter remember to use the hashtag #InterLibNet. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

In part 2 of the discussion we will look at management from different perspectives including managing up, down, sideways and outward.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 1 and tagged , .


  1. Many a times “Management” goes hand in hand with “Administration” . Can we in this discussion find out how these two words are used in as far as organizations are concerned? Emmy

  2. I believe the management style of any organisation is somewhere in between formal and relaxed. One of the many challenges in managing an organisation is to strike the balance between these two styles.

  3. @Emmy- very good point. There are many administrative tasks that tend to fall on the shoulders of managers. What do you think? Is it one of those things that just comes with the territory or should the admin tasks be distributed more evenly?

    @Leo- Its is a challenge to find that line. Any good advice or successful models you know of?

    • I doubt very much if there is any common model that is applicable to every individual in different part of the world. It all depends on the cultural tradition of the country/region that you reside. Also, we have to take corporate culture into consideration as well. It is always a good idea to set up various communication channels, formally and informally, to listen to what the staff would like to say about their organisation and workplace.

  4. I’ve found that smaller workplaces tend to have less formality in their management. While my current workplace is still quite informal and collaborative, in jobs where there have been less staff and less levels in the organisational structure, there’s been more scope for my input into the work I do.

    Here in Australia it’s usually acceptable to question or contract a manager, if done in the right way! Most managers I’ve had have been open to hearing good arguments as to why something should be done a different way.

    • I do agree with Alyson, small places have less formality in their management due to only a few people working and having to do many different tasks at the same time. Small places are more open to implement new ideas or suggestions due to the nature of the place and not having to get an approval from superiors or other department heads.

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