Simply Managing

Jan 24, 2019

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What Managers Do—and Can Do Better

Managing is important for anyone affected by its practice, which means not just managers, but everyone. We all need to understand it better, in order that it be practiced better.

In this program, Henry Mintzberg explores the characteristics, contents, and varieties of managers, as well as the conundrums they face and how they become effective. These insights are based upon his observations of 29 different managers, from business, government, and nonprofits, working in diverse settings ranging from a refugee camp to a symphony orchestra.

What he saw led him to develop a new model of management, one firmly grounded in his conclusion that management is not a profession or a science. As he writes, “It is a practice, learned primarily through experience and rooted in context.”

Mintzberg will offer a compelling discussion of some of the inescapable conundrums of managing: 

  • Why most organizations are overled and undermanaged
  • Is social media, email, the Internet, etc., helping or hindering managers from doing their jobs?
  • A framework of managerial effectiveness that includes five “managerial mindsets”



Henry Mintzberg is Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies, at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University in Montreal. His work has focused on the work of the manager, and how managers are trained and developed.  He has received awards from prominent academic and practitioner associations, including the Academy of Management, the Strategic Management Society, and the Association of Management Consulting Firms. He was the first person from a management faculty named to the Royal Society of Canada, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and l'Ordre national du Quebec.

Mintzberg is perhaps best known for his work on organizational forms—identifying five types of organization: simple structure; machine bureaucracy; professional bureaucracy; the divisionalized form; and the adhocracy. He is also credited with advancing the idea of emergent strategy—the idea that effective strategy emerges from conversations within an organization rather than being imposed from on high.

He is the author or coauthor of 15 books, including Managers Not MBAs, Strategy Safari, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, Managing, and Management? it’s Not What You Think!