Purpose - The purpose of this article is to show that the tools of modern management which are supposed to promote effectiveness, efficiency and responsible behaviour, may in fact contribute to the opposite, and to present the outline of an alternative based upon new ideas of self-organisation and value-based leadership. Design/methodology/approach - Practical examples are used to discuss and demonstrate the problematic consequences of using management tools like detailed work descriptions, standards, comprehensive measurement schemes, and rule-based specifications of responsibility. Constructed examples and emerging theoretical concepts are used to discuss and propose an alternative to the use of such tools. Findings - The discussion indicates that the use of detailed work descriptions, standards, comprehensive measurement schemes, and rule-based specifications of responsibility will result in mind-less and care-less behaviour by employees, while an alternative relying on self-organisation and value-based leadership might preserve and enhance insight, motivation and responsibility. Research limitations/implications - The paper is mainly a conceptual discussion using examples. Practical implications - There are important implications for the management of knowledge intensive companies and institutions. The paper refers to one large-scale implementation of the alternative in a Danish bank. Originality/value - The paper represents a first step in constructing an alternative to the tool-based views of management found in mainstream theories.
Quality Management for Organisational and Regional Development, 2005, p. 359-370