Human Resources Management
An Essay on People Management: Tony Watson versus Leary-Joyce (2010)


In this report, the article written by Tony Watson and Leary-Joyce (2010) will be compared. The two articles are selected for comparison purposes due to the contradicting arguments on how effective management for business success can be achieved. The report is structured as follow. Firstly, the two articles will be compared and contrasted. Later, critical analysis and discussions on the views from both scholars will be presented. The article is concluded by summarizing the lessons learn from the comparison process.


In order to perform critical comparisons on the ideas between Viewpoints of Tony Watson and Leary-Joyce (2010), Table 1 is presented. The contrasting views are outlined.




Without comparing the arguments presented by Tony Watson to other viewpoints, it seems that managing work is sensible and the holy grail for business success. However, the arguments from Leary-Joyce (2010) are more convincing. To explain, from the perspective of Leary-Joyce (2010), it is through managing talents that will ultimately deliver business success for an organization. Business success is found to be largely contributed by the few high achievers in any organization. In contrast, Tony Watson assume that just by putting a person into a well-design work scope, and to manage the work relationships, effective management for business success can be achieved.

Then, in the view of Tony Watson, managing people is unethical. However, it is apparent such a view is not considered by Leary-Joyce (2010). The two contradicting views happen perhaps due to the perspectives of Tony Watson that to manage people is equal to manipulate to persuade people to do something that, may be, these people are not willing to do. However, from the mindset of Leary-Joyce (2010), managing achievers will not only provide fair rewards to these achievers, but also to enable the top talents to growth together with an organization.

Overall, the views of Tony Watson are found to be too limiting. The discussions are centered on finding out the single elements that will lead to business success, while in reality, there are many factors required, to be working simultaneously, for any organization to achieve business success. For example, after outlining the limitations of managing people, Tony Watson reject the notion of managing people directly and entirely, without considering there are possibilities that in certain situation, managing people is the key to business success. Similarly, from the perspective of Tony Watson, managing system is also being rejected. In contrast, Leary-Joyce (2010) hold a more flexible and sensible view. The author does not explicitly reject the importance of any other elements that could lead to business success. Aside from managing talents, it is also asserted that organizational culture and providing a platform to nurture these talents are crucial for better corporate performance.

Analysis and Discussions

Apparently, managing work does come with many limitations. Firstly, such a view neglects the importance of top talents – those contributions from certain super achievers in an organization. For example, the success of Apple is due to the brilliant and leadership of Steve Jobs. The view of Leary-Joyce (2010) makes more sense in such instance. Besides, there are also many views from different scholars arguing that leadership is the most important factor leading to organizational success. As argued by Scarnati (2002), it is the leadership processes that can truly change or manage an organization for success. Under the leadership process, human dimensions are placed utmost importance, as it is human that determine the success or failure of any organization. It is ultimately, human that determine the organizational structure, system, culture, work, and the subsequent people management process to be applied in the organization. Then, Kohnen (2004) gave an example on leadership process being applied in Berkshire Hathaway. Accordingly, it is crucial to focus on several ideas on people leadership as follow: selection of the right people, delegation of task, empowerment of the people as well as motivating the workforce. In contrast to the idea of managing work, leadership is a people process, and it focus tremendously on the people dimensions for organizational success and sustainable growth in today dynamic and demanding business environment.

Secondly, the concepts of managing work ignore the fact that every person is different. People simply have different needs, expectations, demands, passion, interests, talents and motivation. As argued by Senguder (2002), effective management style must consider the distinctive characteristics of the different workers explicitly. Under such an argument, the idea that to put the right person in the right position at the right timing is important. However, the ideas of managing work put the focus on the work itself, and ignore the complexities of people behaviors in the organizational context. Thereby, to manage an organization by managing work, it is assumed that people have same motivation, interests, passion, desires and behave similarly. The idea of aligning the people desires and aspiration to the correct job or position in the organizational is ignored.

Apart from that, the idea of managing work is also not relevant when the workers are found to have attitude or character problems. Although managing work sound compelling, it is rational to believe that such perspective fail miserably when the work is assigned to employees with attitude problems. The attitude issues, however, can be solved more effectively through managerial leadership perspective. Through effective leadership style, instead of managing the work assigned to the employees, effective leadership can be useful in changing employees with attitudes problems, to unleash their potential to contribute to the organization willingly (Steinhouse, 2011).


Management is a complex subject. To approach the subject from any single dimension will likely to have its limitations. It is correctly argued by Tony Watson that the perspective of managing people and managing system does come with inherent limitations. However, there are many limitations associated to the view of managing work as well. As discussed above, managing work may not be effective in leading the company for change, adapt to fast changing environment or to inspire the workforce to perform to their very best and to utilize the workforce conscience and inner desires to growth in line with a corporation. Perhaps it is more important to view the issue of organizational management from different perspective. Effective managers should evaluate the relevancy of managing people system or work in accordance to the specific circumstances he is facing in an organization. By having in-depth understanding on the situation and the trend persists in the globalized world, manager can choose the best approach that fit the organization for success and profitable growth in the every challenging business landscape.

References & Bibliography

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