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Management & Strategy


Middle managers in Swedish listed companies being pushed to be stronger and riskier decision makers.

Tuesday, 08 October 2013
Hard economic times call for harder resolves. This is what economic schools claim to teach business graduates: How do you handle stressful times or how do you remain calm during a stressful time. We here on this network ask: how do you maintain your position as middle manager during turbulent economic times?

During a period like this which is also influenced by faster product to the market, increased customer demands, high competition, price wars, quick decision making etc., management decision has to be fast, bold, and risky by a strong leader. This is what many Swedish listed companies are going for now, ditching the slow Swedish censuses bureaucratic decision-making style.

Middle ManagementIt may look rosy on paper but many Swedish companies are operating under stressful times right now and the middle managers are the ones taking the heat. In three of four listed companies, there is growing reduction in the number of middle managers blamed on the quest for efficiency savings. Those who are left are thus left with a pile of work and more additional powers to deal with that work. This is stressful, according to a recently concluded survey.

Listed companies' top managers feel more and more frustrated with slow decision-making. Now, most are departing from the traditional Swedish consensus culture and are introducing a top-down structure with fewer, but stronger middle managers.

Four out of five of the listed companies are considering  it appropriate to establish a more effective internal decision-making system. Furthermore, three of the four feel that they should accomplish this by cutting down on the number of middle managers.

Some 85 percent of companies also think that they should give increased powers to managers and employees to make their own decisions.

This is the conclusion from a survey "Säljindikatorn" translated, "Sell Indicator" which is conducted twice a year by the training and research firm PMP "Marknadskonsult" in English PMP Marketing consultant. The survey is based on telephone interviews with sales and marketing managers of some 100 listed companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

"The need for rapid decisions is increasing faster. In the manufacturing industry, many products are having a very short life cycle  from 20-25 years to perhaps 5-8 years. Costs for the development and commercialization must be down, increasing demands means effective decision-making, "says Mikael Julher, CEO of PMP Marketing consultant.

He believes that many listed companies still suffers from financial crisis of 2008 and savings measures that were introduced then still play today.

"I have heard many stories of middle managers who do not have the mandate to take decisions on little things such as a trip between Stockholm and Malmo, "said Mikael Julher.

A word that is emphasized in the survey is "courage." Nine of the ten listed companies indicates that it is of high priority to employ bolder and courage managers - risk takers.
"Many employees are fed up with managers who draw things on the back burner. They feel constrained by managers who cannot take a decision in a few weeks without letting process bounce around in the group for six months or a year, "says Mikael Julher.
by Team

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