Magazine article Management Today

EDITORIAL: Shafts of Sunlight in an Overcast Year

Magazine article Management Today

EDITORIAL: Shafts of Sunlight in an Overcast Year

Article excerpt

As we come to the end of a tricky 12 months, most British managers will feel they've experienced far more enjoyable years than 2002. Never mind the general economic climate - which maintains a perpetually cool, damp greyness - it's the self-esteem many now have trouble with. As a cadre, the UK's managers have taken a reputational battering from all sides in the past year and are probably feeling more than usually unloved at the moment.

The first morale-sapper was the notorious Radio Four Today programme poll of Britain's most - and least - respected professions, which put manager 65th, 40 places below road sweeper and 60 below paramedic.

('Company director' came 84th and there were only 92 categories.)

Then the Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, further reminded them of their shortcomings by saying that while 'the best British managers are among the best in the world ... the average manager is lagging well behind their international competitors'. She has now put Michael Porter of Harvard Business School on the case with pounds 50,000 to spend on his research.

In some ways, however, the most insidious slur on the manager's reputation has also come from the BBC. This year's most compelling management icon has, of course, been David Brent, Ricky Gervais' grotesque creation in the television series The Office. …

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