Management refers to the organization and coordination of a business’ activities to achieve established goals (Delbecq, 1967). Management practice, therefore, involves actions, decisions, and resource provision to facilitate the rendering of services for an organization’s goals to be met. In medical practice, it entails the understanding of the needs of healthcare professionals, patients, non-medical personnel, and the community at large. Finance, technology, planning, information, and more significantly, people, are involved in management processes (Cotton, 1985).
Autocratic Management Style
This is a style of management where the manager makes decisions without involving others (Price, 1976). Managers who employ this style are domineering. They have no regard for what any other member of the organization thinks. The management style fosters an environment in which work is finished on time because only one individual handles the decision-making process. It is suitable for situations that require prompt decisions. Additionally, it can lead to trouble-free operation because employees are only expected to follow instructions as given. However, it also has some well-known demerits, including the loss of motivation among employees and employee turnover. Research indicates that employee empowerment leads to job satisfaction. As such, the restrictions that characterize the autocratic approach demoralize employees because they operate in tight environments where personal initiative is strictly prohibited. Consequently, employee turnover is likely to increase as employees seek organizations in which they can be part of the decision-making process. This type of management is unsuitable for most organizations as it can lead to poor service delivery due to employee dissatisfaction.
Democratic Management Style
This style of management involves all employees in decision-making processes. It anchors on the majority rule approach. It fosters a democratic environment in which managers and employees communicate freely back and forth. The style is quite helpful when difficult decisions are to be made. The manager does not bear the brunt of the pains of tough decisions as everybody participates. Consequently, it encourages the active involvement of all staff members in organizational activities. The outcome of this approach is a good quality of work, which in turn translates to better organizational performance. The style is however not efficient. The decision-making process is usually slow because it is bogged down by divergent opinions. Additionally, the need for a compromise when making sensitive decisions may lead to bad decisions. Further, some employees may feel that a manager is delegating a job that is not meant for lower cadre employees and refuse to participate wholeheartedly. In the overall sense, this style is better than the autocratic management style as it improves relations between managers and operational staff.
Participative Management Style
Participative or consultative management is somewhat dictatorial, but employees’ best interests and the wellbeing of the organization are prioritized. Lots of feedback is taken from the staff before a decision is made. This approach fosters loyalty among employees. Like the democratic approach, it places some value on employees by involving them in organizational decisions. Finally, the style is good for idea generation as it offers everyone the opportunity to make their contribution. Since it is somewhat dictatorial because the final decision-making authority lies with the management, it shares limitations with the autocratic management style. For instance, it encourages the over reliance of employees on their leaders and colleagues. A key problem with this management style is that employees may not feel valued if their opinions are not incorporated into the final decisions that are made.
In conclusion, it is important to note that no single management style is suitable for all management situations. Managers often combine several styles depending on the prevailing circumstances. This approach is necessary because each style has its merits and demerits and as such, when combined, they complement each other to overcome management challenges.
Cotton, H. (1985). Medical practice management (3rd ed.). Oradell, N.J.: Medical Economics Books.
Delbecq, A. (1967). The management of decision-making within the firm: Three strategies for three types of decision-making. Academy of Management Journal, 10(4), 329-339.
Price, K. (1976). Success, failure, no evaluation in participatory, autocratic and leaderless groups. Journal of Management, 2, 41-46.