Hewlett’s Management by Walking Around

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Posted by Dave Murphy on January 14, 2001 at 06:56:33:

In Reply to: William Hewlett Dies At 87 posted by christian on January 13, 2001 at 20:40:53:

Hewlett’s style defined the term “management by walking around.” His style of business management demonstrated his interest in how HP’s employees were fairing, and he didn’t rely on layers of sub-managers to report to him. He preferred to visit the operational departments himself — he walked around.

The term and it’s acronym, MBWA, entered public consciousness following the 1982 publication of the book “In Search for Excellence,” authored by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

Streetwise Business People defines MBWA as:
his communication style is wonderful for managers who are actively engaged in the day-to-day activities of the business. This approach works well when a manager has made a commitment to spend a dedicated amount of time on the floor with the employees or in various employee offices each day. This approach must be compatible with your style; it should not be forced or just a charade. Employees will see through you if you are “just doing this to do it.” In effect you are being yourself walking throughout the organization looking for opportunities to make positive comments and/or receive input and feedback. This approach allows you to see everything going on, and it allows you to listen directly to the employees. It is especially effective in an organization with many management layers. The approach permits all employees direct access to the boss and frequently generates high levels of spontaneous, creative synergy while employees and the boss exchange ideas.

The management style became popular in the military during the early 80’s as the transition from wartime directed leadership to business-style personal responsibilty & relationship leadership was being made. At that time I was serving in the military as a leadership and management instructor — Peters & Waterman’s book, and the books Peters solo-released in the few years following, were widely accepted by military leadership developers.


My source: http://itrain.org


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