Horizontal and participatory management: a project-based approach

Horizontal and participatory management

Horizontal management can be adapted to several different situations, namely project management and organisation. It refocuses a company on its primary needs in relation to liaison and coordination across multi-disciplinary teams. This type of management technique is particularly useful for overcoming problems concerning task allocation and the fragmentation of the business into specialist domains or silos.

The limits of a company with isolated teams and a lack of coordination between the company’s different departments have been demonstrated by the emergence of quality assurance processes. This has led to the creation of multi-disciplinary teams working on a single project, process, or product.

The aim of horizontal management is to:

  • Limit information loss
  • Eradicate hierarchical barriers which can slow down considerably decisions and their implementation
  • Ensure smooth intra- and inter-team exchange
  • Accelerate innovation and improvement processes
  • Increase employee motivation, engagement, and comfort at work
  • Increase quality, proactiveness, productivity and therefore profitability

Advantages and difficulties with this type of management

The issue here is to coordinate the team which is now made up of employees from different roles and departments in order to optimise their collective skills to reach their targets. Horizontal management, then, goes beyond hierarchical relations, breaks down barriers and increases responsiveness.

This type of operational management will lead to an increase in team empowerment since the different roles and professions in the company are now collaborating together and promoting cooperative behaviours. This management style also meets the needs of younger generations who strive for increased autonomy.

The “horizontal” manager needs to affirm their legitimacy and mobilise the team. They might struggle to apprehend this new role, and sometimes feel as though they are interfering or meddling. The manager in this structure must deploy managerial skills and communicate clearly.

How can an ERP solution support horizontal management?

It has been observed that an ERP is usually implemented when a business has reached its organisational limits, or in other words, when there has been a significant change or important development which requires setting new operating rules. An ERP makes it possible to better manage growth stages, particularly when the business hasn’t yet reached maturity. The company will therefore refocus on its primary liaison and lateral coordination needs, to overcome difficulties relating to task allocation and the fragmentation of the company into specialised activities or groups.

Process management must happen by managing the interactions and information flow between the company’s different departments Setting up an ERP makes perfect sense when you are defining the main outlines of the organisational process in the mid- and long-term. In fact, it is precisely along these outlines that the ERP settings and configurations will be based.

Decision-makers will gain an overall and horizontal but equally, highly accurate, view of the company’s information flow, meaning that they can accelerate and sharpen decision-making processes. This is when management truly becomes horizontal.

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