The Blake and Mouton Management Grid
Robert Blake and Jane Mouton developed this model in the USA after researching management and leadership styles in the oil industry in USA in the 1950's. They compared the distinguishing characteristics of high-performing and low-performing management groups.
They concluded that the two key factors were:
- concern for tasks and results
- concern for people
This research led to a self-assessment where managers could analyse their own preferred style and plot the results on a 9 by 9 management grid as below.
(1,1) Minimal Management
Has little concern for people (they’re just lazy & difficult) or for production. Keeps the manager in a job and out of trouble.
(1,9) Country Club Style
Looks after people. Values friendly relationships & lack of conflict more than productivity.
(9,1) Task Focus
Concentrates on the task regarding people as ‘units of production’ or ‘ hands’. Manager’s job is to plan, direct, control the work of others.
(5,5) Middle of the Road
A compromise position. Balances people and productivity. Sticks to rules & procedures. Aims to produce as much as possible without upsetting people.
(9,9) Team Focus
Focuses on getting high productivity through gaining commitment. Harnessing individual & group motivation to common task.
Their work became enormously popular (over a million copies of their book Management Grid were sold of the first two editions alone) and it really started managers thinking about style and approach.
The implication, write Blake and Mouton. is that managers should aim for the 9,9 combination, a ‘goal-centred team approach that seeks to gain optimum results through participation, involvement, commitment and conflict-solving of everyone who can contribute.’
The authors go on to explain how, on their analysis, individuals can adapt their style to become more effective personally; and, working in a team, can build the synergy needed to raise output above the level that could be achieved individually.