Management – How to Do it

Anne Goulding (Department of Information Science, Loughborough University)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Goulding, A. (2000), "Management – How to Do it", The Electronic Library, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 285-304.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book claims to be an entertaining and practical guide to the “11 key skills” of management written in a “no‐nonsense” style. The “110 great tried and tested ideas” that it presents in 11 sections cover many of the situation managers are likely to encounter, from setting goals and priorities, to running effective meetings, to encouraging teamwork.

Each “idea” takes up one to one and a half pages with the heading often taking up half a page on its own. This should give an indication that the amount of detail and depth provided is minimal. To be fair, the authors do not claim that they will cover the theory and principles of management; rather, this is meant to be a book that managers can dip into as a ready reference to help them deal with issues and problems they encounter at work. As such it achieves its task competently, although many of the suggestions provided seem obvious and common‐sense.

There are those, of course, who would argue that all management is self‐evident and that management skills and expertise are best learned on‐the‐job, rather than through textbooks and classroom‐base training. Others would suggest that, although much of management is common‐sense, practice is informed and enhanced by research and theory. The authors themselves acknowledge that many of the ideas in the book seem simply common‐sense. Had they been supported with more detail and a more in‐depth critique then perhaps this book would not seem quite so facile. The lack of any mention of management concepts or principles, however, means that it appears light and superficial, relying merely on homespun wisdom and homilies. Although no doubt based on the authors’ own experiences as managers and management consultants, this book still seems trite and lightweight. Advice such as “Always consider the risks as well as the benefits” or “Make someone responsible for each task, and set a deadline” seems, at best, simplistic and, at worst, patronising.

There is a need for a common‐sense approach to management grounded in real‐world experience and using helpful and relevant examples. I would imagine, however, that most practising managers would find this text superficial and uninspiring.

Related articles