Why study Organization and management?

Organizations are in the news and in our conversation every day. On July 19 and 20, 2003, for example the headlines of the New York were filled with references to organizations:

1. Random House Children’s Books Headed for PCs
2. Microsoft to Charge for Technical Help
3. NASA is Preparing, Again for Shuttle Launching
4. MTA Proposes Free Bus Subway Transfer for Commuters

Your conversation with friends, parents, classmates and co-workers are probably filled with talk about organizations such as colleagues, musical ensembles, athletic teams and companies where you work.

In a world where organizations are everywhere, there are three compelling reasons for studying and the practice of management. In each case involving the past, present, and future the effects of people collaborating as an organization under the guidance of managers can be far reaching.

Living in the present: First, organizations contribute to the present standards of living of people worldwide. We rely on organizations daily for food, shelter, clothing medical care, communications, amusement and employment. The Red Cross, for example, is an organization that is particularly focused on the present as it offers assistance to specific groups of people in times of need.

Building the future: Organizations build toward a desirable future and help individuals do the same. New products and practices are developed as a result of the creative power that can emerge. When people work together in organizations have an impact positive or negative on the future status of natural environment on the preventive and treatment of disease, and on war around the globe. A number of organizations are addressing concerns about the future in their products and practices such as Tom’s of Maine which produces a line of all natural personal care products with environmentally sensitive packaging.

Remembering the Past:
Third, organizations help connect people to their pasts. Organizations can be thought of as patterns of human relationships. Every day that we work with others adds the history of the organization and to our own history. We often define ourselves in terms of the organizations we have been a part of whether schools, teams, political groups, or businesses. In addition, organizations maintain records and value their own history keeping alive in our minds.

Management as a specialty in time and human relationship:

Management is a specialty in dealing with matters of time and human relationships as they arise in organizations. We have just seen how organizations affect the past, present, and future. Our idea about time in organizations has several elements:

1. Management is an attempt to create a desirable future, keeping the past and the present in mind.
2. Management is practiced in and is a reflection of a particular historical era.
3. Management is a practice that produces consequences and effects that emerge over time.

The importance of human relationships also involves several ideas:

1. Mangers act in relationship that two way streets; each party is influenced by the other.
2. Managers act in relationships that have spillover effects for other people, for better and for worse.
3. Managers juggle multiple simultaneous relationships

In our articles of this website on HR management, we emphasize these twin themes of time and human relationships throughout because we believe they greatly aid your learning about management. Managers think about time and human relationships all the time. And so do you. The college years, regardless of your age, are period in your life when you envision a new or revised future for yourself. These are also years when you may develop new relationship (or modify existing relationships) with spouses, friends, teachers, and employers. Since you are living these two themes every day, we appeal to that personal experience when we define management as a specialty in time and human relationships.