"Getting management out of the office is another contributor to informal exchanges." (Peters & Waterman, 1982)  "At American Airlines, Ed Carlson labeled it "Visible Management" and "MBWA - Management by Walking About." and HP treats MBWA (Management by Wandering Around) as an all important tenet of the HP Way." (Peters & Waterman, 1982)

Many successful organizations have put into practice the Management by Walking Around approach for driving efficiency, important key business aspects, and interpersonal communication.  

Here are some of the basic benefits from using the Management by Walking Around Techniques: 
(In no particular order of significance).
  • Informal communication with staff can allow staff members an opportunity to mention smaller issues they are encountering in completing their tasks.  In turn, this can allow Management an opportunity to implement minor changes that addresses the issue being reported, which normally improves overall job performance and satisfaction.

  • Some staff members are not comfortable in formal meeting environments, especially staff with a technical skill set.  Given these personality types, they are not comfortable contributing in formal staff meetings. Informal communications with Management is more suited to these personality types.

  • By maintaining informal one-on-one communication with staff, the Staff members normally feel Management has a greater interest in their tasks and they are actively involved to ensure they are successful in their jobs.

  • Maintaining informal communication with staff allows Management an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings regarding corporate goals and/or to reinforce the importance of successfully achieving the goals of the company.

  • Business environments are constantly changing.  Maintaining informal communications with staff allows Management an opportunity to communicate new information in a near real-time manner, to ensure the employee is kept apprised of all relevant information.

By Beverly Jordon

Reference List:

Peters, T.J., & Waterman, R. H., (1982). In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies. New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

5/17/2016 10:50:51

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    We are Beverly Jordan, Hannah Kawamoto and Jessica McKean, graduate students at San Diego State University in the Department of Learning Design & Technology. 


    November 2013