When the survival of an organization is threatened, it is absolutely worth to take the right decisions although they are tough decisions. Survival of the organization takes precedence over all other consideration.
However, in some companies, the decsions were not taken as fast as the situation would have required and now those organisations are moving to a kind of management style that is really unefficient.
The first reflex of an organism when it feels threatened is to retract, to protect itself and to fight against the threat.
In organizations, doing so often results in a hardening of the work conditions. The employees are pushed to do their best to save the company. When the company has a strong value of corporate responsability towards its employees, customers and shareholders, this often results in survival and then, performance again.
Unfortunately, some leaders seems to ignore this virtuous circle…
They seem to discount the basic rules of organization effectiveness and efficiency.
For the sake efficiency and lower costs some organization adopt an autocratic-coercive management style, forcing the whole organization to refer to few overwhelmed bosses before to decide the simplest action (and especially the smallest expenses).
In some organizations I observed even worse strategies that appears to be like receipts for turning organizations to madness:
- First, make redundant the less docile managers without any consideration to their level of performance
- Promote the most docile without consideration to their level of performance, to higher management roles
- Hire new managers (to avoid the risk that old relationships decrease the effectiveness of the change), and give them the mission to put everything under control
- Use the Coercive – Autocratic management style to push the best performers to their limits to make them misunderstanding the sense of their actions.
It is then possible to lead the organization to a breaking point, where the employees will begin to justifying the lack of results with the justifications like “we lack means“, “top management shall clarify the strategy“, …
Then, the management will reinforce the autocratic – coercive management style, pushing the employees to become passive (increase of mistakes, sikness, burnout, accidents, overwhelming, violence,…)
By doing so, we can get the worst of the organization. I call this process the “Coercive Ripple Effect”Legend: N+1 = Senior Manager. N = Middle manager. N-1 = Line manager or employee.