Micromanagement is a widely used word nowadays because any practices of bad management are perceived as micromanagement. Generally, it is regarded as a negative management style, and it occurs when a manager gets involved with every detail in the workflow process (Porterfield, 2003).
According to the definition presented by Wright (2000), micromanagement means to manage things closely and to evaluate process or work under scrutiny. As argued by Khatri (2009), in a high power distance organization, micromanagers emphasize on routine, operational aspects of management instead of broader, strategic management issues. Based on qualitative research, Alvesson & Sveningsson (2003, p.973) deduce that micromanagement is regarded as bad management, which ‘takes away decisions and interfering in details supposedly best understood by subordinates down the line’. Defining in an objective way, Sowers (2011, p.20) states that: micromanagement is ‘where superiors control in detail the actions of their immediate subordinates’
The dilemma of lacking managerial skills gives way to inappropriate management styles. According to Bacon (2006), the high power distance, high centralization, focus on details at the expense of bigger picture, and lack of employee participation result in micromanaging behavior of management i.e. bad management. Consequently, micromanagement is contemplated by organizations as a serious problem.
Generally, the traits of bad management are categorized into micromanagement (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003). Micromanagement can be simply defined as a management style characterized by excessive control (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003; Sowers, 2011) and close supervision (Porterfield, 2003; Wright, 2000). The effects of micromanaging behavior are not limited to the micromanager and the subordinates (Badger et. al., 2009; HernsonYes & Krauss, 1987), but also extend to the whole organization (Sahay et al. 2000; Hansson et al. 2003). The major causes of micromanaging behavior include corporate culture (Badger et al., 2009; White, 2010), manager’s personality (Badger et. al., 2009; Livingston, 2003; Maloney ; Federle, 1991), and attributes of subordinates (Rosen ; Jerdee, 1977)
The first step towards the resolution of the problem is the identification and recognition of the problem. Thus, analysis of the symptoms is a viable approach. On the basis of Chambers (2009), we categorized five major symptoms of micromanagement as: excessive control over methodology (Khatri, 2009; Wright, 1999), excessive reporting and updates (White, 2010; Hirsch et al., 1958), control and manipulation of time (Pixton et al. 2014; DeMaio, 2009), failure to subordinate self (Bacon, 2006) and excessive approval requirement (Bacon, 2006; Hernson ; Krauss, 1987).
Traditionally, organizational performance and value have been evaluated through financial measures or hard numbers (Luthans ; Peterson, 2002). Such simple and objective outcome based financial indicators also dominate in most organizational strategy research, for example, putting the balanced scorecard to work by Kaplan ; Norton (1998). In contrast with this financial approach, Pfeffer (1998) argues that the so-called human-oriented measures such as employee satisfaction, perception and traits are now being recognized as key predictors of employee behavior, performance and productivity. According to Luthans and Peterson (2002), multiple researchers found that following factors are significantly related: employee cognitive attitudes and performance (Petty et al., 1984; Ostroff, 1992); personality traits and job performance (Barrick ; Mount, 1991; Tett et al., 1991); emotions and favorable job outcomes (Staw et al., 1994). Thus, to boost these human-oriented measures the managers need to learn soft skills to bring out the best of their employees. As noted by Hernson and Krauss (1987), it is important that managers are cultivated from within the ranks. However, technical specialists are generally not ideal to perform managerial roles; a managerial training can be an asset. This is due to the reason that technical skills are not the only requirement for a managerial position and it is also essential that the manager possesses management skills that are consistent with the organizational culture (Maloney ; Federle, 1991) to ensure effective operation of the engineering firms (Evans ; Bredin, 1987). Furthermore, Summers et al. (2004) state that employees having MBAs or PHDs are more suitable for senior management positions because of sufficient training in communication, leadership and management skills.
According to Kosiba (1987), managers frequently does not play the role of a manager because they are in charge of a group of technical personnel who possess special skills that require special management attention. In a survey conducted by IEEE, approximately 70 percent of engineers indicated that they had some supervisory responsibilities (Aucoin, 2002). As an engineer climbs the ladder of organizational hierarchy earning promotions due to excellence in technical performance, the size of the team he or she leads increases. Moreover, to reap the maximum reward out of this team-work he or she must broaden his or her horizons and continue to develop new job skills that go along with his increasing managerial role (Thilmany, 2004). Murphy (1989) argues that management education does not only support the strategy, it is the strategy. Thus, the effect of a manager’s management skills goes far beyond his or her team. It influences overall organizational performance that are measured by productivity, quality and financial metrics (Paton & Wagner, 2014).
The literature of Leadership and Management identifies five drivers of performance; rules, emotions, initiative, immediate action and integrity (Sabourin, 2012). These drivers were examined to explore the obstacles that can pose a challenge to a manager. Sabourin (2012) concludes that most of the identified obstacles were related to management and needed a set of management and behavioral skills for resolution. Moreover, Evans & Bredin (1987) concurs as they define a good manager as the one simultaneously using his ability to apply principles and skills in organizing and directing resources, people and ultimately, their projects.
Micromanaging is when the manager closely perceives and controls, extremely so, the work of employee. A micromanager gives too much attention to the minor details, telling their employees what to do, how to do it, every tiny bit of it. He or she dictates how a work should be done no matter whether that way is the most effective or efficient one. For a micro-manager there is only one way to do things — own way. Micromanagers tend to require constant and detailed performance reports focusing excessively on procedural and not on overall performance, quality and results. A pattern of micromanagement suggests to employees that a manager does not trust their work or judgement; it is a major factor in triggering employee disengagement, often to the point of promoting dysfunction in which one or more managers, or even management, are labelled “control freaks
From the analysis, it shows that the director obsessed with control and is overly concerned with all aspects of employee’s work. Employees unable to come up with new ideas and procedures on their own and this prevent innovation from them. This is also making the employees to work hard with tight deadlines and excessive supervision. This particular director tends to dictate every detail of the work for which the subordinates are responsible, and truly believe that the way is not only the ideal but also the only way to accomplish a goal. From the observation, she also often assigns work and micromanage to enable her to take credit for any positive results, and also to blame the employee for negative results. In this case, she delegates the accountability for failure to the employee and without giving them a chance to take the initiative that might made the work successful.
From the assessment, it clearly shows that the director owns the negative value from the micromanagement perspective: –
• Doesn’t delegate work – Delegation improves productivity but in this case the director has no confidence within the employee.
• Indulge themselves in the work assigned to others – Often there’s no clear direction from the director and often changes things at the last hour,
• Detailed oriented rather than big picture – At the director’s level, it should be at the big picture and the details will be worked out by the employees. In this case, both is being managed by the directors itself since there’s no trust on the employees.
• Discourage employees to make decision – This is because the director don’t trust employees to make good decisions,
This director has a demotivated team, the employees seems to be frustrated and depressed. She always pushes aside the experience and knowledge of the employees which can make the work much easier but rather than that gives much importance on the least priorities.
Also, much of the time the directors often get offended when an employee makes a decision within their capacity which is at their level of authority. This effect the overall results, quality and performance. Below are the various negative effects which contribute due to the director’s micromanagement.
• Prevents innovation – Employees constantly need to check with the director for every single detail of the work.
• It reduces and slowdown the process/workflow – Every details need to go through the director and that creates inefficiency within the work process.
• It prevents using the full capacity of talents and skills of employee – Employees are being monitored and being oppressed. Talent and skills are not being used in full capacity.
• Ineffective communication – No clear or direct communication, that created confusion and misunderstanding.
• Discourage teamwork – Zero emphasis on team’s collaboration, this decrease the ability of employees to meet the challenges.
Many case studies have proven that causes of micro management and its impact on employees’ job satisfaction and productivity and micro management is directly responsible for increased paper work, last minute meetings, restrictive bureaucratic policies and bad decision-making.
It is clear that micromanaging is involved with close monitoring. This style of management is usually used by managers who require that all business processes are done according to how they themselves would have done. Working under a micromanager can be very challenging since many people prefer to be permitted to make some choices at their workplace. In many cases, micromanagement is observed negatively. One of the main benefits of this style is that the manager can closely monitor employees; therefore, various responsibilities are likely to be completed more efficiently. However, this style has more shortcomings than advantages in many cases. Micromanaging is seen as a waste of a manager’s time, stressful to both employees and employers, and a way of restricting creativity. Consequently, most of the values are negative. Therefore, it is important that employers refrain from using this style of management.
Micromanagement is created when managers are unclear about their duties. With no guidance they never know when they have done enough and have no idea how their performance is being judged. Below is the recommendation: –
Encourage managers to delegate – Delegation establishes responsibility and accountability, and builds mutual trust and reciprocity between superiors and subordinates.
Allow mistakes – Organizational environment should be open to innovation and new ideas. When mistakes happen managers should have been empowered with decision making authority and risk taking.
Substitute micromanagement with leadership – Be resolute with strategy but flexible with tactics. Create an atmosphere of open communications by encouraging employees to speak up and insuring that they are heard. Value their opinions and judgment not matter what the decision is.
Abolish unnecessary hierarchy – Moving decision which making way for the lower levels can reduce a manager’s workload while developing employees’ skills, knowledge, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.