Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises IX: Interplay Between Entrepreneurs and Maturity, Tasks, Problems and Environment
Nature of the Convening Task
We have all observed that different types of leaders tend to be found in different functional units. People who lead sales departments often differ from those who lead production or research-and-development departments. It is surprising, therefore, to discover that leadership styles are rarely related to the nature of the task assigned to a group. Woodward is the major source of analysis with regard to this second criterion. Building on her research, we have identified four different kinds of organizational tasks: mass production, process production, unit production and specialized production.
Mass production and large-batch production is particularly common in the industrialized world. This is a highly mechanized manufacturing process that is characterized by long production runs of standardized parts. Output often goes into inventory from which orders are filled, because customers do not have special needs. Examples of this type of task include most traditional assembly lines, such as we find in the production of automobiles. More recently we find the use of this production mode in a wide variety of products ranging from fast-food hamburgers to modularized homes.
Typically, assertive entrepreneurship is the best match with this type of task, given that repeated, long-term tasks usually require ongoing monitoring and an emphasis on time-sensitive task accomplishment. When mass production is working smoothly, and as an enterprise moves toward higher levels of technology in its mass production processes, participating entrepreneurship may become more appropriate.