Review of Selected Literature, 1950-1970
In the 1950s, discussion on the means for "getting things
done" centered around "motivation". Many psychologists
have established the existence of a prioritized hierarchy of needs
that motivate individuals towards satisfactory performance. In particular,
Maslow, often quoted in project management literature, put forward
a hierarchy depicted as a pyramid. This displayed basic psychological
needs at the base and worked up to 'self-actualization' at the top.
Some years later, Herzberg postulated a controversial Motivator-Hygiene
theory in which only some of the needs represented a positive motivation.
The absence of fulfillment of other needs simply had a negative
effect. Verma, in a recent
Project Management Institute (PMI) book publication,
has brought these two positions neatly together by shading that
part of Maslow's pyramid which corresponds to Herzberg's positive
motivators, see Figure 1. The problem with these
approaches is that people are treated as though they are all the
Figure 1: Maslow's Modified Hierarchy of Needs
In the 1960s, Huber attempted to move the discussion of motivation
towards "on-the-job development" through the work of behavioral
scientists. He chose to categorize and document professional attitudes
and abilities in terms of what he called general and specific motivation
and interpersonal and professional competence.
Huber recognized that the numerous combinations, when applied to
particular situations, could give rise to both functional and dysfunctional
Blake and Mouton moved the discussion to the issue of management
style. They proposed a 9x9 "Management Grid" in which
"Concern for Production" is set against "Concern
for People", two elements of a manager's job characterizing
the manager's leadership role.
Positions on the grid show five essentially different management
styles ranging from Impoverished Management (1,1) to Team Management
(9,9) as shown in Figure 2. The problem with
this is that everyone wants to be an "ideal" manager at
"9,9", and there appears to be no question of matching
style to situation. Indeed, anyone placed at "1,1" would
appear to be bereft of any good reason to be a manager at all, let
alone a leader!
Figure 2: Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid
In the 1970s, Hersey and Blanchard observed that "... the
evidence of research clearly indicates that there is no single all-purpose
leadership style. Successful leaders are those who can adapt their
behavior to meet demands of their unique situation." They proposed a line chart comparing Task
Behavior, i.e., providing direction, low to high, against Relationship
Behavior, i.e. providing support, low or high. They show four levels
of "direction" appropriate to four levels of 'maturity
of the followers', the higher the maturity the lower the direction
required. This phenomenon is often clearly evident in a corporate
setting as "team building" progresses.
Maslow, Abraham, Motivation and Personality, Harper and Brothers,
New York, 1954.
2. Herzberg, Frederick, One more Time: How do you
motivate employees? Harvard Business Review 46(1), 1968, pp53-62.
3. Verma, Vijay, Human Resource Skills for the Project
Manager: The Human Aspects of Project Management, Volume Two, Project
Management Institute, 1995, p61.
4. Huber, George. P., The Application of Behavioral
Science Theory to Professional Development, Academy of Management
Journal 10(3), 1967, pp273-286.
5. Blake, Robert R., and Jane S. Mouton, The Managerial
Grid, Gulf Publishing, Houston, 1964.
6. Hersey, Paul, and Ken H. Blanchard, The Management
of Change, Training and Development Journal, 26(1, 2 & 3), 1972.