Management = Jargon :(

So last night was the first time LBSC 635: Management and Administration for the Information Professional met. The instructors seem expert and definitely have interesting professional backgrounds. (I much prefer a class taught by practitioners as opposed to theorists.) They had all the information for the course laid out (ad nauseum) but the reading list wasn't actually dated, so that was a little confusing. This was the only class where there was pre-work for the first night of class (which I was surprised to find really interesting) and so it was nice to show up to class and feel like were were going to dig right in.

After the obligatory 1st day business (thanks for agreeing to partner with me Abby, Alana, and Kelly!) the instructor jumped into the lecture. Immediately my head started swimming and I felt completely lost. I don't understand what went wrong! I had done the reading prior to class (mostly) and had even gone through the powerpoint and created my own guided notes handout (bullet points and graphics from the ppt copied and pasted to a word document). While the instructor was presenting I just kept hearing the same terms over and over again without context or explanation. Or the context/explanation felt convoluted with other terms. I lost the narrative, or more accurately couldn't identify the narrative :( So what I learned in my first management class came mostly from the readings I did and the notes I prepared prior to class.

The outline for the night was:

  1. Management and Administration (An Overview)
    • Historical Summary
    • Administrative Theory
    • Change and Innovation

I started with the Koontz reading and found it relatively quick and a good overview. However, I did immediately notice that it was over 30 years old and so I wonder how applicable the information that it conveyed really is. The article address the variety of ways to study management and pokes (valid) holes in each of the methods. Koontz argues that none of these methodologies adequately provides a complete picture of management. My take away from this article is that the study of management needs to include people, resources, and systems. I would be interested to see a more current revision of this article.

Lubans' article merely listed the names of various management formulas and philosophies, about half of which were Greek to me. On the plus side this means that I recognized about half of the terms (yay!). I appreciated the definition of "Theory X and Theory Y." Theory X being the idea of micromanaging and Theory Y viewing the workplace as an opportunity for self-actualization (both of which statements are over simplifications I realize). If you were to put me on an X and Y axis I think I would land at (0,0). That location seems to fall into the team/leadership philosophy which I strove for in my classroom. I found Lubans' breakdown of a team as a management system/philosophy very relate-able.

Finally we read a series of biographies about notable management theorists: Rensis Likert, Peter Blau, Douglas McGregor, Lillian Gilbreth, Frederick Taylor, Max Weber, and Henri Fayol. I found Lillian Gilbreth's life/career inspiring. I heart Max Weber - he wrote the story of my life before I was even born. The most intriguing were Rensis Likert and Frederick Taylor. They are definitely worth more study than the few pages we were assigned. Additionally we were supposed to read two monographs about management, but we didn't come near to addressing those readings during the lecture. So I will skim over them for next week :)

The only thing that really stood out in my mind from the lecture was that:

  1. Administration has to do with looking outside the organization
  2. Management is focuses on the inner workings of the organization

But I did really enjoy viewing the TED talk on Magic + Management. What can I say I'm a sucker for anything about magic ;)

Koontz, Harold. (1980). "The Management Theory Jungle Revisited." Academy of Management Review, (5)2, 175-87.

Lubans Jr, John. (2000). "I Borrowed the Shoes, but the Holes are Mine: Management Fads, Trends, and What's Next." Library Administration & Management, 14(3), 131-4.

Have a great day and keep smiling! :)