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Managing by Henry Mintzberg

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5 The Inescapable Conundrums of Managing

The centipede was happy quite Until a toad in fun Said, “Pray, which leg goes after which?” That worked her mind to such a pitch, She lay distracted in a ditch Considering how to run.

Mrs. Edward Craster (1871)

Managing is rife with conundrums. Every way a manager turns, there seems to be some paradox or enigma lurking.

McCall et al. identified “questions about management that emerge time and time again across organizations,” including these:

• Why don’t our managers have a broader perspective? They seem to be firefighters, but not fire preventers?

• Why don’t our managers delegate more?

• Why doesn’t information pass up the hierarchy? (1978:38)

If such questions could be resolved simply, they would ...

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