Although management is vested with the authority and responsibility to direct the business activities of subordinates, its power is limited. In fact, ethics exist in business to address issues that management cannot directly control. Unfortunately, for management, a lack of control does not usually translate into a manager being absolved of responsibility for an employee’s indiscretions. This means managers should recognize and be aware of the constraints they encounter in their role.
Management exists between the cultures of executive management and subordinate employees. Accordingly, all managers must carry out the will of their superiors while addressing the interests of their underlings. Unfortunately, this can create conflicts that the managers may not be able to resolve. To make matters worse, a failure to implement a directive or the fallout of a faulty policy can often result in a manager taking the blame when he or she had little to no decision making power.
While an inability to resolve the interests of upper management and subordinates can limit the effectiveness of a leader, the resources afforded to a manager can also be quite limited. Simply because executives predict a target for productivity, does not guarantee success. A boss can only be successful when he or she is supported by subordinates who have adequate resources to accomplish a goal or pursue alternative solutions. It also means managers are only as free to manage as their bosses allow them to be.
Furthermore, personal issues and legal ramifications for addressing certain qualities of employees can leave a manager in a bind. Employees are individuals, so they will do as they please. Because an employer cannot always offer consequences for poor behavior, managers are left to struggle with personal issues that spill into the workplace. Issues like sexual harassment or drug use can seriously undermine the workplace, yet management must be careful not to violate any of the protections afforded to subordinate employees.
Moreover, the constraints of management revolve around a lack of resources and a lack of cooperation when interests within a firm conflict. Although upper management has near absolute authority and subordinate employees enjoy certain protections, management is caught in the middle of a struggle to ensure the interests of the company are met by addressing the interests of others. Moreover, the constraints of management are most obvious when employees decide they cannot work with management to solve these conflicts or executives expect far too much.