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Management Styles of Lumber Mill Managers in the Northern United States

Published: Mar 1, 2009

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Abstract:

The management styles of chief executives largely determine how firms perceive and react to a myriad of challenges and opportunities that arise in the marketplace. Today more than ever, the management styles of chief executives influence a firm’s ability to successfully compete in an increasingly globalized world. U.S. sawmills face a growing number of challenges, from declining housing starts and increased competition, to currency devaluations, credit restrictions and environmental regulation. To better understand how these mills navigate through this ever-changing environment, we studied the management styles of chief executives at 32 sawmills operating in the Northern U.S. Five management styles were derived from a synthesis of the literature – autocratic, bureaucratic, authoritarian, democratic, and participative. The frequency with which these management styles were used by chief executives was determined based on responses to a series of questions related to five key areas of management (i.e., planning, organizing, leading, staffing, and controlling). Three-quarters of the managers surveyed used a combination of between two and four management styles across the five areas of management; just 25% exhibited a single style. Management styles were largely independent of demographic profiles and mill characteristics like product type and mill capacity.

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