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Superior-Subordinate Relationships

  • Rosemary Stewart

Abstract

This is a subject on which a great deal has been written and innumerable studies conducted. Much of the earlier writing and research focused on first-line supervisors and their workers. In this chapter the focus will be primarily on relations between superiors and subordinates within management and between managers and those who are employed for their brains — sometimes called ‘knowledge workers’. These are the relationships that characterize most managers’ jobs today rather than the management of manual and routine office workers. This chapter aims to look briefly at the problems of the superior-subordinate relationship, to describe what research has revealed about it, and to discuss how the nature of the organization can help to determine the character of this relationship. It focuses upon individual relationships rather than upon that of the superior with a group of subordinates.

Keywords

Social Distance Chief Executive Leadership Style Knowledge Worker Formal Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Michael White and Malcolm Trevor, Under Japanese Management: The Experience of British Workers (London: Heinemann, Policy Studies Institute, 1983).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. L. Kahn and others, Organizational Stress: Studies in Role, Conflict and Ambiguity (New York: John Wiley, 1964).Google Scholar
  3. Quoted in D. Katz and R. L. Kahn, The Social Psychology of Organizations (New York: John Wiley, 1964) p. 192.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Harold J. Leavitt has a useful discussion in Managing Behaviour in Organizations, 5th edn (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1988) ch. 8.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Stuart M. Schmidt and David Kipnis, ‘Managers’ Pursuit of Individual and Organizational Goals’, Human Relations, vol. 37, no. 10 (October 1984).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Rensis Likert, New Patterns of Management (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    In the UK, John Harvey-Jones, Making it Happen: Reflections on Leadership (London: Collins, 1988) was possibly the start of his new career as a management guru after being a successful chief executive of ICI.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rosemary Stewart 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Stewart

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