Management by wandering around

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Management by wandering around
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Management by walking around or management by wandering around is an approach to communication between the manager and the employees, suppliers, customers and all others who are within reach of the impact of the organization.

The method originally was developed in Toyota production system by Taiichi Ohno. In TPS it was called Genchi genbutsu.

Origins of management by wandering around (MBWA)

Management by walking (or wandering about) is a popular form of organizational communication and collaboration. The idea is that the manager keeps in touch with what is going on in his company through "Walking around" and spontaneous conversations with experienced people (employees, suppliers, customers and others in some way related to the company). This approach allows managers to better "feel" company led by him and obtain first-hand information and understanding of the moods of the people. Integration of the management with employees also helps to achieve high awareness and team spirit. This approach is also the perfect complement to the dry data and reports, which are often detached from reality and could lead managers to take wrong decisions.

Example of management by walking around

One of the prominent figures who use this method of management is Bill Marriott Jr. (co-owner of the Marriot Hotel chain), who spends a lot of time just walking around the hotel. He goes to the kitchen, loading ramps, laundries and other regions. He claims that his best ideas and innovations came to him because of free discussions with employees.

Other definition of Managing by Walking Around - MBWA

Term management by walking is often used for other, but similar approaches to communication within the company. One is the rotation of managers. Managers changes their positions between themselves to get a different perspective on the problems of the company. Another and the most radical kind are the so-called: days of contacts. This technique helps managers to get information about daily routines and problems of employees by taking on their daily roles.

Managers temporarily perform the functions of maids, receptionists, carpenters, turners, cooks and other workers on low and lowest corporate positions. A similar approach is found in many family businesses in relation to family of owners, taking management positions. Son of the owner or manager of such a company starts working from the lowest positions and learns in this way from the centre of the action. This information can be very helpful and informative when he takes a leadership position in future or take over the running of the company.


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