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-- [ Page 5 ] -- Research on Other Theories Blake and Mouton point to studies of other theories which contain elements parallel to elements of grid management theory, or which describe as desirable management behavior which is equivalent to the 0,0 style recommended by grid management theory as

desirable. (Blake and Mouton, 1080) assert that:

Another test of the relative value of various Grid styles is made possible by comparing leadership style options as they have been studied and characterized in various disciplines within the behavioral science area. The behavioral sciences incorporate some twenty disciplines. These are aeas of scientific investigation of behavior and organization in which efforts are made to identify (1) conditions favorable to effective human behavior and (2) conditions that are likely to produce ineffectiveness.

In these disciplines we find the 0,0 orientation identified as the soundest basis for effectiveness. This repetitive conceptual "discovery" of a 0,0 orientation in discipline after discipline is a source of strong support for the view that there are sound principles of behavior, and that these have been detected and described, regardless of the subject matter of the discipline under examination.

... Since scholars in any one behavioral science discipline are unlikely to be familiar in depth with other disciplines, this widespread recognition of the 0,0 orientation can be treated as something approaching a series of independent discoveries, (p. 222) Note that although many studies are cited which are claimed to recommend the equivalent of the 0,0 orientation, no demonstration is given of the nature of this equivalence. Without such a demonstration, the claim of equivalence remains unsupported. Therefore, Blake and Mouton's statement that grid management theory has received extensive validation by other researchers can not be accepted. Research on Grid Management Theory In their publications, Blake and Mouton repeatedly refer to the results of field studies on grid management. However, only one study is actually described (Blake and Mouton,

1080) It shows the effects of grid management on profitability.

Figure 2-2 illustrates the profitabilty of two autonomous corporations operating nationwide on opposite sides of the United States-Canada border. Corporation A engaged in Grid Organization Development. Corporation B did not. They are owned by the same parent, located in a third company. They engage in similar businesses and face the same character of competition in comparable markets.

Starting in 1061, the comparisons show that for five years prior to the

–  –  –

Figure 2-2: Typical Impact of Grid Organization Development introduction of Grid development, the control corporation, B appeared to to be obtaining somewhat better economic performance, but the results were well within the range of chance fluctuations.Then, after introduction of Grid organization development, Corporation A experienced a continuous and rising curve of profitability during the next nine years. By 1974, the profitably in the Grid company was 400% greater than in Corporation B, which had not engaged in Grid organzation development. Corporation B had just managed to hold its own over the fourteen year period.

No further details are given on how this study was conducted.

A report on the effect of grid management training is given by (Blake et al, 1064). The training was given to the 800 managers of a 4000 member industrial plant (whose type is not specified). Improvements were recorded both by changes in the profitability of the plant, as well as by self reports and questionnaires which indicated changes in group performance which improved the working environment. However, it is not possible to determine from the description of the program given what actual changes took place in the communicative behavior of the participants.

Information is also presented to demonstrate the helpful effects of grid management training on the career paths of individual managers and on behavior changes in the workplace (Blake and Mouton, 1085), but no account is given of how this information was obtained.

One study which is somewhat related to the aviation context, (Malouf, 1066), investigated the results of a one-week grid management training seminar on eleven managers. The participants, their subordinates, and their bosses were given a questionnaire on changes in the participants' behavior five months after the training. By these measures, most participants became more effective in terms of discussing work-related topics with others, conducting better meetings and functioning more effectively as a member of meetings, listening better, and getting more contributions from others. The improvement was noted more by participants and subordinates, and less by bosses. This study suggests that self evaluation and evaluation by co-workers is a measure which shows lasting results of grid management training. However, it is not entirely possible to evaluate this measure, since the test instrument is not fully described. Research on Grid Management in the Aviation Context Grid management training has been utilized as the basis of United Airline's Command/Leadership/Resource Management program since 1081. While Blake and Mouton claim that there is research showing the success of this program, the only research cited is (Feaver, 1082), a story in the Washington Post on National Transportation Safety Board public hearings on a Pan American Airlines crash in Kenner, Louisiana, near New Orleans, on July 0, 1082. As part of a discussion of airlines management training, the United Airlines program was described, and a United Airlines official was quoted as stating that since the program was started, United Airlines crew members have had much lower error rates on flights with FAA inspectors. This, of course, does not constitute acceptable evidence in either a scientific or an applied context, and it is not legitimate to cite it as such.

United Airlines training personnel have told the researchers in this project that no studies have been done since the time of the story mentioned above, and that they would like to see controlled studies of the Command/Leadership/Resource Management program.

However, they said that it is not possible for United Airlines to conduct such research inhouse because of crew members1 fears that such evaluatory studies could be used to influence individual career paths. They would prefer to see such a study done by an independent agency such as NASA 2.4.4 Conclusions As the above discussion indicates, grid management has not been subjected to a thorough and controlled validation. The one controlled study does not give details on its design and execution. Furthermore, this study is not directly relevant to the aviation context, since it examines long-term patterns of profitability, involving change over eight years.

In contrast, training in the aviation context must influence communication patterns characteristic of relatively short term interactions (although, of course, such patterns may persist over a long period). It is not at all clear what transfer can be expected from a study of large scale management changes to the moment to moment communication patterns which are dominant in the cockpit.

Similar assessments have been given by a number of works on management and organizational communication. (Huse and Bowditch, 1077) conclude that Although the managerial grid is one of the popular approaches to leadership and grid training is worldwide, there seems to be little independent research evidence that this approach, as a "one best way," is effective.

A more detailed assessment is given by (Sanford et a/, 1Q76):

There are basically two types of evidence concerning the effectiveness of organizational Grid styles. One type is symbolic, and the other is an overall empirical test. (p. 237) While it tends to be piecemeal, there is substantial evidence that the team style is the most effective organizational leadership described by the Grid, if it is a true, sincere style, and not a facade. Evidence also indicates that other styles are less effective, both concrete data on the relative effectiveness of the various styles are still not available. Common observation leads us to believe that all of the styles, with the possible exception of the impoverished style, can achieve some measure of effectiveness.

One partial test of the organizational Grid styles was done by (Blake et al, 1064). The managerial personnel of a relatively large organization were trained in an effort to move the organizational style toward the team style. Rough measurements indicated that the organization did move significantly toward this style. There is also evidence that this move increased the effectiveness of organizational communication and organizational effectiveness, as measured by several factors. The data are certainly not conclusive and more tests of the other Grid styles need to be done, but it does seem that organizations can change styles and that some styles are more effective than others, (p. 146) Given the state of research in grid management, there are a number of questions which remain open on its effectiveness.

1. What evidence is there that management styles are stable, especially since the existence of several possible backup styles is posited? Blake and Mouton cite Held experience on this point, but do not validate it.

2. If management styles are stable, what evidence is there that they can be changed?

Blake and Mouton claim that management style is not related to personality style, which appears to be relatively fixed. However, there is no demonstration of the relation or lack of relation between management style and personality style, so this question remains open.

3. What evidence is there that self report of management style is reliably related to any other criterion for determining management style?

4. What evidence is there that the 9,9 style is the only effective style?

5. Perhaps most important, what evidence is there that the Effective Cockpit Management program indeed produces long range changes in crew members' behavior?

Given the state of the research, and the existence of these questions, we must conclude that grid management, like assertiveness training, is a widely used training model, with many attractive features, but it has not yet been given proper experimental validation for the aviation context. The lack of such validation is not surprising, since grid management training is a commercially marketed training package, not an abstract scientific theory. It is unlikely that any Firm marketing such a package will conduct rigorous research on its own product.

2.5 Social and Linguistic Assumptions of Grid Management Training Thus far, we have considered the theoretical foundations of grid management training, and the attempts to validate it. We turn now to the issue of the social and linguistic assumptions which underlie it.

2.5.1 Social Assumptions of Grid Management Training One of the most basic assumptions of grid management training is that an individual's management style is not determined (at least not wholly determined) by his/her personality type. Rather, a major determinant of management style is the nature of the team and of the larger organizational context in which it works. Disfavored management styles are at least partially the result of a poor working environment or a disfunctional corporate culture. Therefore, grid management training attempts to change the communicative behavior of the whole organization, not just of the individual. This contrasts with the.focus of assertiveness training on individual behavior.

In the United Airlines' training program, training is given only to cockpit crew members, and to pilot managers, but it is not extended to higher levels of management, and hence does not change the corporate culture in which crew members function. Thus, although there is an attempt to change behavior in the cockpit, crew members must function in a larger environment which includes people who have not received the training given to the flight crew members, and who presumably do not behave in the ways recommended by this training.

Blake and Mouton also assume that proper management eliminates conflict between deffering sectors of the corporation, and hence obviates the need for unions. (Blake and

Mouton, 1078) describe the reasons for unionization as follows:

Subordinates who find themselves ignored or offended by arbitrary treatment and who are unable to redress what they regard as injustices or wrongs pursue other, more militant, ways of correcting problems. Given effective leadership, they can achieve through numbers what they are unable to accomplish individually. Recognizing their individual helplessness, workers, foremen, supervisors and professional employees (engineers, etc.) join together to force upon employers the recognition of their common strength. There are many reasons why people join unions, but such a commitment is almost always antiorganizational. This means that the reason for joining the union is to resist the organization's attitudes and treatment of its employees. The recent rush toward unionization among whie-collar technical workers, school teachers, and government employees indicates that this trend is accelerating, (p. 27) The assumption is that that when management is functioning properly, there are no substantive difference of interest which would lead workers to unionize. Although airline pilots are already unionized, this assumption is still problematic. The assumption is that conflict is due to misunderstanding, and can be eliminated by improving these factors.

This has never been proved, indeed, has not been argued explicitly, and can not be taken as a given.

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