Do management models and theories work?

“What Management & Business Methods, Models and/or Theories have provided executives/managers and their organizations (e.g. company, institution, team) benefits and improvements”

Over the years I have used many of the management, leadership, business and change models and theories and unfortunately the answer to “do they work?” is YES and NO.

One of the difficulties with any management, business or leadership models is that we forget that the original success for using a given strategy was withing a given set of circumstances:

  • business life cycle
  • culture
  • environment
  • economic cycle
  • financial position
  • staffing/ resource levels
  • growth phase/ maturity… etc

and if used again in a similar situation I am sure that the model would work fine.. The problem is that many practitioners fail to take notice of culture, growth phase etc and apply their ‘favourite’ model – either because it ‘worked before’ or they have just read about it and want to apply it.
I have been on several management and organizational development diploma programmes, and none of which have highlighted the culture prevailing at the time of success. They talk about the models, what its aim is, sometimes where it came from.. but rarely WHY it was selected or developed in the first place.

As consultants and change agents we need to understand where the client is now (holistic) and where they want to get to – and only then design the BLEND of models and strategies required.

Authors and the major consultancy organizations want us to believe that a ‘single’ model or theory is the ‘right’ one, but as most experienced consultants and changes know – its the right tool for the job that works….

Management and business models change


Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. He has been involved in HR, OD and strategic development for over 20 years. He can be contacted via

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