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What Is Nonlinear Management?

Jim B.
Jim B.

Nonlinear management is a concept that attempts to adapt old-fashioned business and management strategies to the increasingly complex modern business world. The main idea behind this concept is that the old ways of doing things may not be acceptable in an environment that is rapidly evolving. For that reason, business management must be ready to try new things even before problems arise or the market calls for them. This type of nonlinear management also calls for increasing reliance on employees for business ideas as well as the willingness to take risks in an attempt to get ahead of competitors.

For a long time, business managers all tended to think and act in the same manner. Following the laws of supply and demand, they would wait to see how their products were received, study the results, and then react. In terms of business structure, a typical hierarchical relationship between management and employees existed which called for the laborers to work and management to make decisions. As the business world has become more complex and complicated, it has often necessitated revolutionary thinking and nonlinear management styles from businesses in order for them to stay head of competitors.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

In essence, nonlinear management is a style of management that forges its own path: it isn't beholden to the structures and practices of the past. Whereas standard management techniques might produce predictable responses to business problems, managers thinking in nonlinear ways might attack before any problems arise. Such a management style has no preordained rules and is flexible enough to respond to sudden changes in the modern business world.

One of the hallmarks of most nonlinear management approaches is a willingness to force the market to respond to an initiative. This is in contrast to the typical management approach that waits to see what the market needs before reacting. By being proactive, firms can create a niche in the market that might not have existed before, thereby creating a need in consumers that they didn't even know they had.

It is also common for those practicing nonlinear management to take advantage of all of the resources at their disposal. For firms without a lot of capital, those resources might be their employees. The skills of modern employees are extremely advanced and varied, giving businesses an invaluable source of information. By utilizing the strengths of these employees, giving them more responsibilities, and listening to their suggestions for business improvement, firms can help to atone for what they might lack in funds.

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