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Management by Interaction

A Provocative Paradigm for Business in the 21st Century

Management by Interaction emphasizes communication and balance of male/female energy as well as integration of all human aspects (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual), creating an empowered, high-energy, high-productive workforce.  It is based on shared goals and active participation of all parties, especially through communication, caring and sharing.  Actively using energy produced through synergistic and symbiotic differences to complement and enhance shared goals. 

According to Webster's New World Dictionary,  "Interaction" means participating with each other reciprocally (equally on both sides, mutual, complementary, to give and to get, to return in kind, to move back and forth, to interchange positions, to be equivalent).  

The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus lists as synonyms: Coact, Interplay and Interreact, and lists the related words: Collaborate and Cooperate.

The Management by Interaction style of working consists of recognizing:

  1. Thoughts, feelings and actions culminating in teamwork.
  2. Creative energy, aliveness and excitement that constantly builds and recreates itself in new ways.
  3. An opportunity to a deeper connection between people who spend a great portion of their waking hours together. 

In the last 20 years, we have been moving slowly away from the idea that each person is separate and must compete with each other in order to be successful to the concept of shared responsibility, team work and deeply inter-related, inter-connected dealings whether inside a business, in an industry or on a global level.  We can no longer function in isolation.

As people who must inter-relate with each other, we find the old ways of doing business no longer fit.  Our old beliefs no longer serve us as they once did.

We need new models of doing business, new models of getting along with each other in business, in the community, in the world.  Our workforce is becoming more diversified, yet as long as we cling to the idea of protecting "mine" against "them," we will not achieve the productivity and success that we desire.

"Management by Interaction" is a light-hearted way to deal with change a provocative theory to help us face some of our beliefs and change them in a way that is a natural outgrowth of our most human aspects.

Change is always difficult for humans, yet it is the nature of the universe to change and grow constantly.  We can view change as fun, as challenging, as invigorating and exciting or we can view it as something that is done to us.

"Management by Interaction" is a light-hearted approach to solving very serious business problem.  Change does not have to be difficult. We can chose to have fun as we change. 

The sole point of this management style is to inspire people to see things in new ways, to empower them to trust themselves in their changes, to learn to trust others in a partnership with all of life, especially those they work with in business.  And most of all, to enjoy the process! 

It has been proven many times that people who enjoy their work and are self-motivated do work harder and produce better products.  The results are solid business improved bottom line, increased profits, fewer accidents and injuries, lower turnover, and higher quality.

In the old business models, thoughts (intellect) and actions were the only things valued a 2-dimensional model   me against you and/or us against them.

In the new business models, we must also deal with feelings (emotions) as well as the larger context in which we operate a 3-dimensional model.

And, we must begin to deal with the unknown factors that are operating at all times the spiritual, mysterious, unseen forces that operate around us and often are stronger than those forces which we can see with our eyes, hear with our ears or touch with our hands.

We must understand that the "context" in which we operate (our beliefs, values and principles) may be stronger than any of the physical forces.  This "context" may be called anything you want to call it.  Some people call it "God," "soul," "spirit," "Great Spirit," "Mother Nature," "Father Sky" or "the Universe."  Others call it the "ultimate stuff' or the "x factor" or the "Big Picture."  Whatever the "context" is, it is at work in everything we do.  To avoid a conflict with people's belief, we use the word "context" to cover all of these and more.

We can argue about it, try to define it or just assume that it is there and leave it alone.  It's like "Truth."  Truth exists and is, whether we believe it or not.  We each carry our own version of "truth."  "Context" is like that unseen, yet a very powerful force.

"Management by Interaction" implies using information, systems and people as in other management methods yet in a more participative, interactive people-oriented exchange.  It implies that "managers" are not only givers, but receivers as well.  Managers may give direction as they receive participation.  Managers may give empowerment as they receive productivity.  Managers who give orders without understanding this reciprocal give and take process will usually receive resentment or resistance.   

To connect and interact in such a way, a great deal of communication, trust and respect is required from all parties.  The possibility of deeper communication and stronger teamwork, partnership and connection exists between people when those are present.

The definition of the synonym "interplay" provides for the potential for humor, something often missing in management theories something very much needed in the very serious times we're in. 

Creativity is needed to break down some of the stereotypes and combative issues that surface in many workplaces.  There is a huge opportunity for using humor and proactive approaches to look at the problems we all face 

As you review the definitions and components of Management by Interaction, allow your mind to open, allow yourself to find joy in seeing the humor in the processes and allow yourself to laugh, giggle or snicker as you begin to enjoy the process of looking at business in a whole new way!

color bullet Components 

Intellectual / Thinking/ Components: 

Information   Knowledge
Planning Documentation
Preparation Systems
Methods Tools 
Process: How, when, where, what, why History
Research Rules/Guidelines
Truth Wisdom
Understanding Awareness 

Emotional / Feeling Components: 


Bonding Satisfaction 
Friendship  Passion 
Warmth Excitement 
Anticipation  Fulfillment
Compassion Creativity
Caring Sharing
Fun / Playful Communication

Action / Energetic Components: 

Giving Energizing
Receiving Participating
Productive Electrifying
Supporting Unifying
Changing  Joining
Growing  Ebb and Flow 
Partnership Expansion / Contraction
Chaos / Confusion Involvement
Dynamic Powerful

Context / Unseen Components: 

Truth  Paradox 
Instinctive Intriguing 
Mysterious Basic
Balance  Freedom
Safety Security
Strength Nourishing
Trust Community
Independence / Dependence Complementary Differences
Symbiotic Synergistic

Note: The name of this management style was changed from "Management by Intercourse" because it was a bit too provocative for some of our readers.  Our society places too much energy on this word for it to be easily "acceptable" yet in some business settings.  Our original explanation of the style was: The dictionary meanings of "intercourse" are predominantly directed toward business issues of business and commerce, dealing with people, as well as exchanging services and ideas in a deep personal sense.  According to Webster's New World Dictionary, "intercourse" means "1. Communication or dealings between or among people, countries, etc; interchange of products, services, ideas, feelings, etc."  The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus lists as synonyms: 1. Commerce, 2. Communication, 3. Contact.

Source: This management style was created and developed by Barbara Taylor and Michael Anthony in 1992.

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Page updated: May 11, 2023   
Institute for Management Excellence, Copyright 2002 All rights reserved

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