Management Principles From Edgar Schein
As a professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Edgar Schein dedicated his career to researching and teaching topics related to organisational development, change and innovation. His work on teamwork, culture, and leadership has significantly impacted how firms approach management today.
Here are five management principles from Edgar Schein that have endured over time.
Understand Your Organisation’s Culture
Organisational culture is a crucial component of any successful business and should be considered when deciding how to structure teams, initiate change and foster collaboration. According to Schein, an organisation’s culture can be divided into three levels: artifacts (visible behaviours and symbols), values (guiding principles) and basic assumptions (unspoken beliefs). By understanding all three levels of an organisation’s culture, leaders can make better decisions about responding to environmental changes.
Foster Open Dialogue
Schein believes that open dialogue is critical for fostering collaboration between team members and developing customer relationships. He encourages managers to create a safe space where employees can express their opinions without fear of retribution or judgment as this will help build trust within the organisation. Additionally, by listening carefully to customer feedback leaders acquire practical wisdom about what their customers need and develop strategies that meet those needs more effectively.
Change is inevitable in any business environment, so it’s important that leaders embrace it rather than resist it. Schein states, “change should not be viewed as a threat but rather as an opportunity for growth.” Leaders should strive to create a comfortable environment for employees as this will help foster innovation within the organisation. Additionally, open-minded leaders about different approaches develop more creative solutions for challenges in their industry.
Diversity brings energy and creativity into organisations essential for success in today’s business world. Schein encourages managers to leverage differences among team members such as age, gender or cultural background, as these differences will bring unique perspectives that can strengthen the organisation’s competitive advantage in the marketplace. Additionally, ensuring everyone feels included will foster stronger relationships among team members, improving overall morale within the organisation.
Develop Leadership Skills
For organisations to succeed, they need strong leadership at all levels of the organisation from top executives down through middle management and front-line staff members alike. Strong leaders understand their own strengths and weaknesses and their team members, which helps them make better decisions in difficult situations. They also understand how different departments work together towards shared goals and objectives, which helps align resources towards achieving them. Finally, strong leaders set clear expectations for themselves and their teams while providing support when needed, which helps build trust within the organisation.
Edgar Schein’s research has shaped our understanding of organisational development. His ideas on understanding culture, embracing change, leveraging diversity and developing leadership skills are just some of his enduring contributions to management theory. His work provides valuable insights into how businesses can navigate complex challenges while keeping employees productive. By incorporating his ideas into our own practices, we can ensure our organisations perform consistently, and remain competitive today and into the future. If you need help incorporating his ideas into your own practices, send us a message or give us a call.