Characteristics of public enterprise management in Bangladesh
Although public sector industries play a very significant role in the economy of Bangladesh, from the very beginning of their inception they have been a cause of concern. It is alleged that they have failed to meet their expectations mainly because of inefficient management. On the other hand the public sector managers do not agree that the absolute responsibility for unsatisfactory performance should go to them. It is true that public sector enterprises in Bangladesh have failed to initiate the breakthrough as to profitability and productivity, and thus the public sector managers cannot avoid their bigger responsibility in this regard since they are supposed to play the dominating role in an organisation. It was logically thought that an investigating study would be able to provide important insights into the subject matter. This empirical study has thus tried to examine the managerial world in order to draw a profile of managerial characteristics by taking into account the personal, behavioural and the contextual issues. It also has examined the progress of industrialisation and the position of professionalisation of management in the perspective of Bangladesh along with the roles that are being played by the Bangladesh managers in the industrialisation process. The study has been quite successful in identifying a wide range of interesting issues having influence on managerial performance. It was found that the Bangladesh managers are in general highly educated and relatively new generation managers having little industrial experience to their credit. They mainly came from the vast rural areas of the country. Their position is comparatively stronger with respect to job related training. But the higher education and wider training have failed to bring positive results with respect to productivity and profitability, because the education has very little relevance to the managerial profession. Again, the higher education has been mainly responsible for increasing the level of managerial aspirations with very little realisation and thus has been generating widespread frustration. Poor job description and inadequate delegation were also responsible in this regard. The public sector managers have been found very much concerned about the security of their jobs. Their dealings and actions apparently are directed towards maintaining a good superior-subordinate relationship but under careful scrutiny this apparently encouraging situation was found to be non-existent. Interestingly the public sector managers are almost united in saying `No' to any prospective changes which may affect their jobs and interests, but they are also less concerned about the changes which appeared to have no apparent adverse effect. The policies of the successive governments in Bangladesh have made the situation worse. The required power, authority and freedom has not been allowed to practice to the enterprises; instead they are expected to follow the regulations covering almost every operational area and also to follow lengthy and bureaucratic procedures. Despite the presence of preconditions the industrialisation process has not got momentum as yet. The absence of powerful elite has been mainly responsible for this situation. The symptoms of professional management were found absent there which is an indication that the management has still a very long way to go in the way of becoming a professional group. What is evident from the study is that all the revolutionary changes (as they are often labelled by the authority) have virtually failed to bring the desired results; even so the government is planning to introduce more changes, when it is almost certain that some vital aspects have continued to remain unattended throughout the period as there have been very little effort to increase the managerial capacity and to release their willingness to cooperate with the government plans. Time, money and efforts would have been worth investing if these could have been diverted towards creating a congenial environment and developing the human resources working in the Bangladesh public sectors especially the managerial personnel. Some of the 'costly' experiments would have easily been avoided and much of the criticisms of the public sectors would not have appeared if there were such efforts from the very beginning.