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Six Axioms of Management Theory

Press Release: June 10, 2017

Is it really time to replace the human-manager? You can find the answer to this question in Sergey Vikharev’s article “Six Axioms of Management Theory”
In order to consider that management in fact exists, and not just in words, it is necessary to comply with a number of conditions that are identified in economic cybernetics as axioms.

You can read about them for yourself in the book “Economic Cybernetics” (Milov, Timokhin, and Chernous)
Axiom N1: A necessary condition is the presence of observability of the management object.
Observability herewith means the availability of data on the state of properties (indicators) of the managed object at different moments in time.
For example, an employee. Let’s understand whether we manage the employee or not proceeding from the first axiom.
First, we should understand what qualities of the employee we consider important for management.
For example, professionalism, or in other words, the ability to go to a decision maker.
The next step is to understand whether we have the data for this skill at different moments. Let's say we have decided to evaluate this skill on a 10-point scale. Do we have the estimated data for this skill for the year on a monthly basis? Or for 10 years annually?
And regarding other qualities of the employee? Do we have the necessary collected data over the necessary time period?
If our management does not comply with one of the axioms, then we can assume that we do not manage our employee.
Axiom N2: management availability or the ability to transfer the object under management from one existing state to another under the influence of the management system.
This axiom is the most obvious. If we see that under the influence of management actions, the employee’s qualities are changed where we need, we understand that we manage the employee. It is easy to see that this axiom will not work without the first, and in order to verify the response of the management object it is necessary to have the data on the state of the object, both prior to the management action and thereafter.
Let's continue the example with the employee. If we measured the manager's ability to go to a decision maker within a year, and we have noted the point where the management impact-training was applied and if after this we saw that the measured object was changed as we planned, then the condition of Axiom N2 has been fulfilled.
And if not? If the object has not been changed or has changed differently than we planned, then we are not managing this object.
Axiom N3: Management Goal. Management Goal means a set of values of quantitative or qualitative characteristics that determine the required state of the managed object.
If the goal is unknown, the management is of no sense, and changing the object’s state turns into an aimless task. The goal can be known at the point which the system is to be moved from its existing state.
It seems to be obvious that without a purpose, there is no management,its but this axiom establishes the right emphasis – the goal should be precisely quantitative, according to the same properties and their states of the managed object.
Axiom N4: The ability to select management actions (solutions) from a set of acceptable and available alternatives.
One of the most interesting axioms. It says that we must have a definite (permissible and, therefore, thoughtful) set of the management actions.
In the previous example, we talked about such a driving influence as training, but Axiom N4 states that there should be several such factors and the managing director should be free to choose. For example, it could be: writing a script, motivation, demotivation, and change of the employee, etc.
In fact, the company should specify a list of the permissible management actions. And, of course, data collection will allow us to assess the quality of the management actions, that is, such a “catalogue of management actions” should also be analyzed, improved and developed.
Axiom N5: Management Effectiveness Criterion.
A generalized criterion for the management effectiveness is the degree to which the system (organization) achieves its goal.
In general, according to the organization, the whole set of the management actions can be considered effective if the organization achieves its stated goals. But, individual management actions can be evaluated if one measures the degree of their influence on the change in the state of the managed object.
Several interesting observations follow from this axiom:
In most cases, ordinary people appreciate the quality of the organization elements without knowing its goals.
The criterion is not achievement of the goal, but the degree of achievement. This axiom takes into account variability by default,and the question is about the level of variability.
Tracking indicators according to the goa becomes a priority in relation to other indicators.
Formation and formulation of the goals are the basic strategic functions.
Axiom N6: Availability of resources (material, financial, labor, etc.) that ensure the implementation of decisions taken.
A lack of resources is equal to a lack of freedom in choosing management actions.
Returning to Axiom N4, a lack of resources significantly reduces our “catalogue of management actions”.
What major conclusion should I draw from these axioms?
A person, in principle, cannot be a totally effective manager. I have not heard of a manager whose management corresponds at least 90% to these axioms.
Even if there are such supermen/superwomen, they are only available for large companies with a good management budget.
So, what should us mere mortals do? We have to come to terms with the fact that we are ineffective, don’t we?
Yes, we could have reconcilled, but there is a way out and our competitors will surely take advantage of it.
What is the way out? The solution is to transfer our management to the information systems of the new generation.
What, if not the automated management system, will be able to comply with all six axioms?
Collect and quickly process a lot of data? It can do it!
Objectively evaluate the transfer from one state to another? Yes, only the information system can accurately estimate it.
Choose from the catalogue of management actions the most necessary at the present moment? It can do it.
Evaluate according to management effectiveness criteria? Certainly. A person would need to rely on intuition or use very complicated calculations.
Information systems have many more resources, such as time or computing performance. The modern automation systems can do a lot of things at once – remind, transfer tasks, collect data, analyze, interpret and much more.
What will remain for people to do? Will people become unnecessary? Of course they will! People will be working in more interesting and more highly paid positions. Yes, this is goal-setting!
Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit in this article, and many people will not agree with me that it's time to replace the human-manager,but this is the trend! And the question is, who among your competitors will do it first?
Atlas Software developed and are already implementing in dozens of companies an automated system of organization management that fully complies with these six axioms. Isn’t it time your company made this step too? Visit our site http://atlasbpm.com/en/

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