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Management Theory of Charles Handy Key Terms

Michelle Cramer

Understanding elements of the gods of management and other Charles Handy management theories

The management world knows Charles Handy best for his Four Cultures Theory, also known as the Gods of Management Theory. This theory explores classifications of business structures and organization based upon the functions and roles of the individual. Each culture defines the origin of power within that particular organization and how that affects the success of other employees and the business.

Below is information on each of the four god-like cultures as well as information on other management theories and thoughts developed by Charles Handy.

Zeus Culture

Zeus Culture, also known as Club Culture or Power Culture, is the first in Handy's Gods of Management Theory. In this business culture, the power is centralized around one person, the boss.

Apollo Culture

The Apollo (Role) Culture has a hierarchy of power distribution among employees and has a primary focus on order and efficiency. The culture generally ignores change on initial onset and, rather, attempts to rely upon the already established routines. Life insurance companies are a prime example of an Apollo Culture.

Athens Culture

The Athens, or Task, Culture distributes power to employees based upon their ability to perform the task necessary at a given time. Everything within this business structure revolves around the work/tasks. Individuals tend to receive a bit of independence within this business culture.

Dionysius Culture

The Dionysius Culture, also known as Person Culture, is existential in nature (and often also called Existential Culture). The focus of these businesses is the success of the employees, rather than the company. Employees view themselves as specialists, temporarily loaning their skills and services to the corporation.

Motivation Calculus Theory

Handy's Motivation Calculus Theory is an extension on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Handy believed that our own personal analysis of a given situation produces additional needs, more results and a higher degree of effectiveness.

Rules of Trust

Handy believed that, in order for a business to be successful, the management must trust the employees. He covers seven rules of trust as follows: trust is not blind, trust needs boundaries, trust demands learning, trust is tough, trust needs bonding, trust needs touch and trust requires leaders.
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Michelle Cramer