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Paternalistic Management

Being in a work environment enhances a person’s social skills. He needs to be able to relate with several types of people and adapt accordingly. If you want to earn a living, you have no choice but to work with others. But while it can be hard on an employee, it is even harder for a manager. He will need to oversee the smooth flow of operations in an entire organization or operation.

Paternalistic management focuses on the social health of a company. It is all about communicating and listening to the feelings of the workers. This is an old management style and some organizations and companies no longer follow this approach. However, there are still companies that practice this because it works for them and their employees. This type of management approach has some semblance to Autocratic management.

The Meaning of Paternalistic Management

Paternalistic management gives full control to the manager. He is responsible for all his employees. As a manager, he values their interests and thinks of their wellbeing.  The paternalistic manager is essentially like a father to the workers. He is concerned about the feelings of his employees but he does not ask their opinion when it comes to decision-making. He proceeds with what he has decided although the interests of his employees are taken into consideration.

Paternalistic management focuses on the employees more than company’s bottom line. Employee satisfaction is the goal of the company when it applies this approach. The management believes that if the employees are happy, they are more productive and will work very well. This management style is ideal for smaller organizations with a fewer number of employees. Large, multinational corporations cannot make this management style work for them.

When Does this Management Style Work Best?

As mentioned, paternalistic management works best when the company is smaller. Start-up companies, family-owned corporations and companies with less than fifty employees can adopt the paternalistic management style. Because the manager has all the authority, the company must be small enough for him to handle all of them. The manager is able to communicate and talk with his employees on a personal basis. He is seen more as a father than a manager.

This type of management is ideal for companies who are just starting out. When a company is still in its infancy stage, it needs all the inputs it can get from its workers. A smaller organization’s employees also have better camaraderie than that of a mammoth corporation. A huge company may have so many departments that others may not who they are working with. A small company is similar to a close-knit family where everybody knows everyone else.

Positive Aspects of Paternalistic Management

  • The manager is seen as a father figure than a boss. He is approachable and cares deeply for his workers. And the decisions he makes take into account the workers’ welfare.

  • It invokes loyalty to the company. The employees develop loyalty to the company because they feel that their welfare is always taken into account.

  • There is minimal turnover of employees because they will not desire to transfer to another company. Their satisfaction is of primary importance to the company and so they will not easily leave it.

  • The employees can perform well because they are happy in their work environment. They feel like they belong in the company so they give it their best effort. They become more productive and thus goals are easily achieved.

  • The employees are less stressed. They feel no pressure from management and their movements are not strictly monitored. They also do not feel fear for top management.

Qualities of a Good Paternalistic Manager

A good manager must be able to provide a clear vision for the company. But a paternalistic manager also considers the welfare of his employees. He knows that his company will not be able to achieve its goals and targets without the cooperation of his workers. This type of manager is like a father who tells his workers that he knows what is best for them. Even if control and decision-making lies solely in his hands, he still thinks of how it will affect his workers. He strives to let them feel content and satisfied with the organization.

At times, profits are placed next to employee satisfaction. A good manager knows how to communicate well with the employees. He is also calm under pressure and will not automatically place the blame on anyone when problems arise.

Paternalistic Management and Special Treatment

Sometimes, paternalistic management can be thought of as a form of special treatment. Especially when companies are just starting up, they strive to create a wonderful work environment for its employees. They offer high salaries, attractive incentives and benefits so that employees will not leave the company. But paternalistic management offers more than special treatment. The manager is also genuinely concerned for the welfare of the workers. Their feelings are taken into consideration. The manager is seen as a father figure in the company. Special treatment merely entices a worker to join a company, but the paternalistic manager is the one who can make a worker stay. Special treatment can be removed anytime should a worker not perform up to par but the manager will be there with the company and its workers in good times and in bad times.

Is Paternalistic Management the Same as Autocratic Management?

Both management styles may seem similar at the onset. For one, authority is in the hands of one person alone.  But there is a distinction between the two. Autocratic management is considered the classical approach. The manager retains all power and makes decisions by himself. He does not ask for any opinion or input from the workers. He expects the employees to follow all his orders without any questions whatsoever.

The paternalistic manager similarly makes the decision himself. The difference is that he consults with the employees and is concerned about their welfare. Employee satisfaction is very important in this management style. In fact, the employees are considered more important than profits. This type of management can be seen in new companies who wish to lure in qualified employees. They entice employees by offering them a wonderful work environment where they will be valued highly.