Autocratic management is the form of leadership that enables managers to make decisions unilaterally. Such leaders do not inquire about the consent and the considerations of subordinates and do whatever they feel is necessary in order to achieve a goal. In relation to treatment of subordinates, there are two types of autocratic management -- Directive Autocrat and Permissive Autocrat leaders.
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Professor Jacqueline C. Mancall, specialist in the psychology of leadership, explains that autocratic managers have the power to control a confident business structure. If properly exercised by a skilful manager, this management style might contribute to successfully running a business because the less control people have over the decision-making process, the less likely it is for fraud to occur in a business structure.
Autocratic management has been a subject by severe criticism by management specialists such as Derek Breton. He explains that such leaders are overconfident and likely to make the wrong decisions because they have no respect for the opinion of their subordinates. In a rapidly evolving market environment, managers need to take into account of the expertise of skilful subordinates and thus make the best decision for the company. Autocratic managers lead business activities according to their own considerations and often ignore the expertise of their employees.
Economist Mark Van Vugt also states that autocratic management might lead to instability in the working environment. By not counting on the opinions of their subordinates, autocrats can place extreme hardship on employees in a company. Their subordinates often lack the motivation to contribute to the business structure because they feel suppressed and underestimated by their leaders. Autocrats are often compared to political figures such as the Italian leader Mussolini.
A directive autocrat is a manager who makes decision unilaterally and without the consent of his employees. He closely supervises the work of his subordinates in order to make sure that the tasks he has imposed are being completed. Such a directive autocrat might consider the workforce he has and the potential of further development by observing his subordinates, but would not inquire about their views on any further business activity.
The permissive autocrats again make decisions without inquiring about the opinions of subordinates. However, such managers leave some discretion to their employees as to the means through which a task can be achieved. This is a more democratic concept of the autocratic management style. It favours some extent of decision-making among the subordinates and might contribute to a more successful relationship between leaders and employees.
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- "Against Management"; Jacqueline C. Mancall et al; 2000
- "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology": Autocratic Leadership in Social Dilemmas: A Threat to Group Stability; Mark Van Vugt; January 2004
- "Modern Management Theories and Practices"; Dr. Yasin Olum; July 2004
- Management Styles: Autocratic Management
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Management Styles