Challenges facing management practice

By Samer H Skaik


Management principles should be deeply understood by organizations to be mature enough to face the challenges of the 21st century. The search for better and more efficient ways of utilizing people’s knowledge and skills in providing services has become a must to handle challenges like globalization, micro-electronic technology, Market changes, lack of skilled employees and increased expectations of customers…etc.



Because of globalization, organizations seek to expand and search for new markets to remain competitive, increase profitability, find talents and reduce risks. However, globalization has a continuous influence on the basic issues of operation management; location strategies, supply- chain management, human resource issues, quality, and process strategies. Such challenge firstly requires establishing an explicit vision, mission, culture and goals. Those could be developed by excellent leaders having high knowledge to keep the performance of organization at high levels.


Moreover, for all global organizations, there are significant needs of standards of excellence throughout the organization and balancing global control with the culture and practice of local business unit. Developing global strategies in light of the international trade is also essential to strengthen the performance of organizations (Cole, 2006).


Micro-electronic technology


Micro-electronic technology becomes widely used by successful competitive organizations to increase productivity and enhance the outcome results. It includes the use of automated manufacturing process, advanced telecommunication, internet, software, etc. High technology opens the door up to the globe marketing and this requires innovative ideas to cope with such change and to minimize costs. It also helps communicate more effectively with internal corporation and external market and customers.


Lack of skills


Lack of skills is another challenge facing organizations. It becomes harder and harder to find talented and experienced people. That is because other organizations take prior precautions to retain the skilled employees by applying motivation and empowerment theories to secure their loyalty and job satisfaction. According to Thurow (1998), an academic economist, competitive advantage springs primarily from the knowledge and skills of the workforce (Cole, 2004).


Market changes


Coping with continuous rapid changes in marketplace and the need to find new ways in anticipating changes are as challenging as they ever were. For example, current global financial crisis is considered a significant change which requires innovative enlightened management skills to adapt it. Reshaping the organizational structures, strategic merging with other organizations, searching for new markets and reducing overhead costs are some of the initial solutions which can be implemented to cope with such change.


Power-added manager: new concept arises


Rowley (2003) introduced a new concept of power-added manager to meet the challenges of the new millennium. Power-added managers are considered the strategic leaders of an organization who formulate and drive through visions which are innovative and creative. They need exceptional competence and experience in relation to both knowledge and people to face different contexts, cultures and communities. Knowledge management, social acumen and global orientation are the three areas of competence which characterise the power-added managers. They make effective use of technology and social networks to elicit the necessary knowledge for creativity and innovation.  Such managers are the strategic leaders for the organization who are really mature to meet the challenges of the 21st century (Rowley, 2003).


Furthermore, Kanter (1989) identified that the leaders’ ability to develop a combination of the right people in the right place with the right skills was crucial; developing partnerships and alliances with others and developing new streams of ideas and services within the organization are probably now the greatest requirements for organizational success (Hackett, Spurgeon, 1998).


Motivation: The way forward


Since it is a big challenge to retain the highly skilled employees especially in view of the strong competition from other organizations, then attractive motivation measures should be implemented to adapt the changes in culture. Managers should have better understanding of what motivates the employees. Rewards, recognition and incentive programmes can positively affect performance and interest with the organization (Milne, 2007). Leaders should play an active role in motivating the employees to share their knowledge and ideas within the organization.


Empowerment: The road to success


Nowadays, Empowerment is another key to keep the organizational successful. Making decisions becomes more complex than before, that is why asking the employees to share the decision is a vital and a strategic tool to secure the most appropriate decision to be made. Researchers have concluded that employee’s participation in decisions has at least a moderately positive affect on job satisfaction and productivity (Nykodym, 1994).


HR departments: Call for a new role


Recruiting the right people for the right jobs and training them to improve performance is another challenge for HR departments in light of the lack of skills and the market huge demand. HR departments play now more significant roles than before, however, they need to develop new roles and agenda to deliver organizational excellence such as creating partnering with senior managers and becoming agents of continuous transformation and shaping a culture to improve the organization capacity for change (Aghazadeh, 1999).




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  2. Cole, G. (2004), Management theory and practice, sixth edition, Thomston, London.
  3. Hackett, M. and Spurgeon, P. (1998), Developing our leaders in the future, Health manpower management journal, volume 25, number 5, pp 170-177
  4. Horner, M. (1997), Leadership theory: past, present and future, Team Performance Management journal. Volume 3, number 4, 270-287.
  5. Milne, P. (2007), Motivation, incentives and organizational culture, Journal of knowledge management, Vol. 11, no. 6, pp 28-38
  6. Nykodym, N., Simonetti, J., Nielsen, W. and Welling, B. (1994), Employee empowerment, Empowerment in Organizations Journal, Vol. 2 No. 3, ,pp. 45-55
  7. Rowley, J. (2003), The power-added manager: strategic leaders for the new millennium, Industrial and commercial training journal, volume 35, number 3, pp 109-111
  8. Simatupang, Wright, Sridharan, (2002), The knowledge of coordination for supply chain integration, Business Process Management Journal, volume 8, number 3, pp 289-308

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