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What is "command-and-control" management?

"Command-and-control" is the phrase informally used to describe the status quo style of leadership that exists within modern organisations: it emerges from the predict-and-control worldview (see: "What is predict-and-control?"). Organisations characterised by command-and-control typically:

  • Centralise decision making
  • Have a pyramid-like organisational structure, but they may also be flat (command-and-control is more a culture than a structure)
  • Increasingly privatise information the higher you go
  • Allow more autonomy the higher you go
  • Take a top-down approach to virtually everything, especially strategic thinking
  • Create a strong distinction between (senior) management and workers
  • Increase salary, perks, and flexibility with seniority
  • Have specialised internal departments such as Human Resources
  • Standardise and coordinate the monitoring, measuring and motivating of employees
  • Do not let anyone other than senior management set the rules
  • See employees working to please their boss as a priority
  • Do not have a culture that allows room for failure
  • Police its employees’ movements
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  1. John Featherby

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