Although it’s not very trendy among academics and HR professionals, the command and control approach to management still has its advocates, as Glyn Lumley noted in his post yesterday.
Command and control feels safe. You tell people what to do and watch them while they do it. Feeling in control reduces the manager’s anxiety. Empowering people and letting them organise themselves seems a lot riskier. Whether it is appropriate for modern, complex organisations is debatable.
Management theorists have questioned the effectiveness of command and control over the last few decades but it seems that some managers had their doubts long before that. Here is a quote from a management textbook that pre-dates F.W. Taylor:
Nowadays I make it a practice to call them into consultation on any new work and to discover by this means what sort of ability is possessed by each of them. Furthermore, I observe that they are more willing to set about a piece of work on which they think that their opinions have been asked and their advice followed.