Management practices and business development in Pakistan, 1950-1988
The impact of systematic and organised strategy on investment patterns is essential to an understanding of management development; an effective organisational strategy stimulates diversification of business house investments. There is a copious literature on management techniques which demonstrates its status as an intellectual discipline in its own right. In recognition of managers' role as decision makers, this thesis investigates those factors which were the necessary and sufficient conditions for better managed organisational systems and how these two conditions when harmonised, enabled Pakistani business groups to diversify their investments from trading to primary and light-engineering goods production. Using the case study approach, this thesis attempts to isolate the external stimuli (the necessary conditions) which contributed to the initial formation of business houses from the internal stimuli (the sufficient conditions) provided by effective management policies, which directed business house investments from 1950-1988. The exogenous factors which directed the structure of investments in the short-term, were derived from the groups' relations with the State and access to discounted sources of finance from credit lending institutions. As organisations matured, the impact of their internal systems, which were a function of the prevalent management philosophy, superseded and replaced the original stimulus provided by State largesse for enabling diversification; that is, the endogenous environment became increasingly responsible for the direction of future investments made by the managers of these groups. Endogenous organisational factors affecting long-term transition, were qualitative inputs such as the impact of training on employee skills and productivity. Where family managers consistently, although not necessarily consciously, applied the principles of the Systems Approach which are internal organisational factors, the business structures which so emerged were rationalised to produce a results-driven record of diversification. Management as a generic subject incorporates general concepts as well as specific techniques which mould the portfolio of business house investments. Management theory, in particular the tenets of the Systems Approach, focus on general concepts which have universal applicability as a problem-solving technique, which are tested on practical organisational situations. The principles of this approach are holistic and iterative since they deal with a general class of situations to which the methodology of the Systems Approach is applied to solve problems. A major premise of this approach is that those managers who viewed the form of a problem in order to develop a criterion to solve it, before addressing the content of the problem, (which was the domain of subject specialists such as engineers or economists), produced better managed organisational structures.