The current transformation in managerial practice and theory can be seen as signalling the end of the so-called ‘organizational man’ (Whyte 1956) and heralding a new type of entrepreneurial professional manager. While the organization man was the prudent, caring, risk-averse, autocratic, obedient, security conscious, status and rule-oriented traditionalist, the new professional managers have little loyalty to institutions. The loyal, moderately paid and secure organization man has now been replaced by the highly paid, overworked, insecure and job-hopping entrepreneurialist. These new professional managers are self-interested, adventurous and seeking change (Leinberger and Tucker 1993:367). The managerial discourses that mark the terrain of this new professional reveal the languages and practices of the post-industrial entrepreneur, someone enabled by the macro-economic processes surrounding globalization and new technological forms of communication.
Traditional loyalty to the organization, the value of unreflective, role-bound and role-obedient conduct have been undermined by the growing need for flexible, organic and decentralized structures, seen as necessary to shift organizations into this post-industrial, post-Fordist era. These trends have resulted in the emergence of fluid organizational networks, replacing dated hierarchical structures. Key extrinsic rewards, such as job security, status and hierarchical career progression, are now weakened in this new era. Effective competition in the changing political economy now requires, on the one hand, the release of the dynamic determinants of growth by breaking free from bureaucracy, tradition, loyalty and fixed culture. On the other hand, in order to be successful in this new global context, companies need to enhance their employees’ opportunities for flexibility, creativity and cooperation. In other words, the very changes to the work environment which facilitate managers’ capacity to detach themselves from any particular alliance also increase organizations’ demand for managers’ commitment. Ironically, then, the growing importance of cooperative relationships takes place in the wider context of the erosion of trust production. Consequently, as companies try to release the dynamic determinants of creativity and growth, managers come to ‘revel in ambiguity’ (Mintzberg 1994:313).