The discipline of Organizational Behavior can be regarded as the psychology of leadership, not necessarily the psychology of management. The basic psychological principles of management have found expression in different management theories but they have not been summarized under a fundamental title. Here I present the 20 laws of the psychology of management.
The fundamental laws of management, as I conceive them, are as follows:
1. People need to be managed if they are ever to be organized.
2. Humans can be managed.
4. The process of management changes people’s behavior.
5. The ongoing practice of management requires management theories to be revised and reset.
6. The practice of management must vary with the type of people managed, the situation, and the nature of task to be accomplished.
7. A group of people can be managed only if it has a common goal.
8. The theory of management can be compared to a complete human being: it has a head, a heart, eyes, ears, hands, legs, and a mouth. The head symbolizes knowledge; the heart symbolizes shared values and culture; the eyes and the ears symbolize the methods of scanning the environment; the hands symbolize the capabilities, experience and skill; the legs symbolize the mobility of resources and capabilities; and the mouth symbolizes the methods of communication.
9. The process of management not only needs knowledge, but also creates it.
10. If people are given an attractive goal to achieve, they will look for a leader to manage them. This is why good management involves the setting of attractive goals
11. If a group of people has a good manager, it will look for an attractive goal to achieve.
12. The process of management works by destroying the destructive freedom of people.
13. An organization is like a complete society, with only the imaginary difference that the people outside the organization consider an organization to be comprised of some mechanical principles, while those inside the organization believe that the real society is outside. Good management involves managing these opposite views.
14. One either loves or hates his/her manager. There can be no other possibility.
15. A man loves his workplace most. If the management fails to discern this, then it is the management’s failure, not the employees’.
16. Management theory should vary according to what is being managed. In managing a person, a manager actually manages the person’s desires, knowledge, capabilities, consciousness, ethics, errors, intelligence, creativity, time, dreams, etc. A manager can never be an efficient manager until he/she has these considerations in the mind.
17. Managing something completely means simultaneously managing its polar opposite. For example, while managing the use of a resource, a manager must also manage its waste. Likewise, while managing knowledge, one must also manage ignorance. Again, while managing people’s expectations, one must also manage their indifference. The list can be lengthened in this way.
18. Managing means the process of unifying and separating simultaneously. The general principle is that if people are to be unified in a particular way, then they must also be separated in another relevant way.
19. Managing people also essentially requires that some aspects of their minds must be unmanaged. Hence the need for freedom, recreation, a culture fostering creativity, and informal groups.
20. A manager must have the conviction that people can never be completely managed.
21. Those who are not satisfied cannot be managed effectively because they cannot manage themselves. Conversely, those who are fully satisfied cannot be managed effectively because they cannot ‘unmanage’ themselves. A good manager must understand this paradox. Therefore, a good manager’s duty is to make the employees satisfied to the extent that they are managed and also let them have an opportunity to feel unsatisfied to the extent that they are not managed. Hope, fear, knowledge, creativity, intelligence, commitment, dutifulness, loyalty, love, a sense of competition, self-esteem¾these are the streams of internal energy that an employee can be expected to manage in himself or herself. If this can be done prudently, then there can always be an opportunity to overcome complacency at one extreme and dissatisfaction or the related stress at the other.
(Published with Author's Permission, from the Observer Magazine, 16 July, 2004.)