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The future belongs to (management) systems ‘,with people”.

In his latest study, Guido Bosbach examines how burdens can be reduced, how system conflicts can be resolved, and how a human-centered management system can enable a better new start after the pandemic. For this purpose, 93 companies were surveyed online between mid-December 2020 and the end of February 2021. We highlight the key findings and recommendations for action in our "Study of the Month" section.

Our study of the month April

Corona has changed the previously familiar working environments in many companies in a previously unknown dynamic. In addition to the fact that the familiar work locations, places and times were adapted in a short period of time, structures were changed and previously familiar processes were redefined. This dynamic took many companies to their limits. The respective patterns of thought and action in which the individual companies operated were the aspects that determined how well the companies were able to adapt to the new situation. At the same time, companies with a human-centered management system are significantly better prepared for a dynamically complex future than traditionally operating companies. Guido Bosbach achieved these results in his latest study. Guido Bosbach is one of the most influential and renowned consultants and process facilitators in the field of “future-oriented management” in the German-speaking world.

The study examined whether and how different management models proved useful or harmful during the pandemic. In this reference, the changes in the amount of bureaucracy and commitment were analyzed. Based on this, Guido Bosbach formulates recommendations for action that lead to a reduction of stress in the respective organizations.

For this study, 93 companies were surveyed online between mid-December 2020 and the end of February 2021. Among them, 28 human-centered companies, 61 traditional companies and 4 companies with no information participated in the survey.

Evolution of bureaucracy volume and engagement during the pandemic.

The factors “amount of bureaucracy” and “commitment” define symptoms of conflicts in the management system. An increasing amount of bureaucracy and decreasing commitment are both indicators of contradictions and conflicts in the management system. The present research found that people-centered organizations have significantly higher levels of engagement and, at the same time, significantly lower levels of bureaucratic processes than traditional organizations. Compared to traditionally operating companies, in human-centered companies

  • The workload of bureaucratic tasks and process reduced by 20%.
  • the value for employees who are overloaded with bureaucratic tasks by more than 30 % is almost 24 % lower and
  • the value for “productive energy and engagement” 39% higher

The author of the study justifies this result with the respective pattern of thinking and acting in which the respective companies operate. The management model and the operating/management systems of human-centered companies derived from it lead to a more relaxed working atmosphere, more adaptability and flexibility on many levels.

Development of conflicts in the management system during the pandemic

Often, regardless of the requirements of the environment, companies are still managed according to the principle of “instruction [&] control”. A concept that works well in stable contexts and low-innovation environments, but which reaches its limits in today’s prevailing dynamic-complex environments. Conflicts at the system level arise in particular when principles and assumptions are adapted that do not or only partially correspond to the principles of the management system. This is also supported by the present study. The short-term significant changes are not compatible with the management system in traditional companies. This has resulted in 48% of traditionally managed companies being additionally burdened by conflicts in the management system during the pandemic. In contrast, human-centric companies were able to adapt more flexibly to the new situation. Therefore, only 36% of human-centered companies were additionally burdened by conflicts in the management system during the pandemic. The frequency of conflicts during the pandemic thus increased, especially in traditionally managed companies.

Recommendations for action

It is a challenge for organizations when individual elements of the management model no longer fit together. The result is that employees have difficulty making the right decisions, working together on the right issues, or even reacting sensibly to impulses and changes. For this reason, it is important for companies to establish the optimal management system, stabilize it and continuously adapt it to new necessities in order to minimize all unnecessary burdens and conflicts and to open up space for maximum commitment. Often, even small changes bring about big changes at the system level.

The study formulates two options to achieve this goal:

Option 1: Identification and implementation of the optimal management model for your own company. This option opens the space for future-oriented cooperation.

Option 2: Focus on reducing existing conflicts and preventing new ones. This option allows to reduce some loads without changing the overall structure.


People-centered organizations will not only manage the post-pandemic reboot easier and better, as expected, but also have distinct advantages in the dynamic-complex future, as:

  • hybrid work concepts can be implemented faster and more successfully,
  • more flexible and agile work and decision-making,
  • there is easier access to employee engagement,
  • fewer internal system conflicts burden the managers,
  • Overall, there is significantly less bureaucratic ballast, and
  • cooperation takes place with more appreciation.

You can download the entire study here.

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