The Entrepreneurial Grid

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The "Managerial Grid" is referred to throughout the literature on management and leadership. Because the grid is both dated and inappropriate for classifying entrepreneurial work, the purpose of this paper is to restructure and update the managerial grid concept by creating an "Entrepreneurial Grid." It is asserted that, while the nature of entrepreneurial work activities differs from the nature of managerial work activities, "true entrepreneurship," the essence of which is the creation of a new organization, combines elements of both.

INTRODUCTION

The Managerial Grid, originally developed some 30 years ago, identified leadership styles that managers use to motivate workers. While these styles have been useful for understanding management, they have been deficient for delineating entrepreneurship. This deficiency has been empirically demonstrated by a number of researchers (Dunphy, 1993; Smith & Miner, 1983; Vesper, 1980) who have asserted that the nature of entrepreneurial work differs from the nature of managerial work. This paper attempts to develop an entrepreneurial grid to fill this void.

The "Managerial Facade" refers to the face or intellectual persona managers adopt to accomplish tasks. The original grid illustrating these facades was developed by Blake and Mouton in the 1960's and is based on two axes: 1. a concern for production and 2. a concern for people. From these two dimensions, Blake and Mouton identified five managerial styles depending upon the positional plot of the manager's facade on the grid.

THE MANAGERIAL GRID

The 1,1 position characterizes a low concern for both people and production defined as "impoverished management" (Blake & Mouton, 1966) This style has no salient features since it represents "the exertion of minimum effort." The opposite part of the grid or 9,9 position is defined as "team management." This style is characterized by a high concern for both people and production. Here, people are committed, interdependent, and share a "common stake" resulting in "task accomplishment" while maintaining trust and respect. According to the authors, the leader fosters this trust through the judicious use of praise coupled with the avoidance of being led astray by the flattery of others. Concern for others is also fostered by being a good listener, by not criticizing directly, and by punishing indirectly.

Other positions on the grid include 1,9 or "country club management." Here a comfortable, friendly organization atmosphere yields satisfying relationships but little work. The 9,1 or "authority /obedience" style develops efficiency in operations but reduces the human relation elements of trust and mutual respect. Perhaps many managers end up "stuck in the middle" (Porter, 1980) in the culturally ingrained mentality of the organization man. Here, at point "5,5" a balance is achieved so that performance is merely "satisfactory" on all levels.

Literature Review

Prior studies on entrepreneurship have attempted to differentiate between the nature of entrepreneurial work and the nature of managerial work (Dunphy, 1993; Gartner, Bird & Starr, 1992; Carrol & Gillen, 1987). Statistically significant differences have been found in the pattern of activities which characterize entrepreneurial versus managerial work. While past research studies have been criticized for using small sample sizes and simplistic or even inappropriate methodologies (Smith,Gannon & Sapienza, 1989), a consensus seems to have emerged that the lack of structure which characterizes the nature of entrepreneurial work makes the entrepreneurship process akin to "managing chaos" (Dunphy, 1993; Mintzberg, 1988; Vesper, 1980). It is believed that, while management involves "directing, leading, controlling" (Mintzberg, 1968), entrepreneurship involves the more chaotic activities of "creating, spontaneity, and selling" (Dunphy, 1993).

The historical discussion, which attempted to differentiate entrepreneurial work from managerial work, seemed to focus on entrepreneurial characterisitics until Gartner's pivotal article demonstrating that '"Who is an Entrepreneur? …