Management Development ForumVolume 2 - No. 1(99)
Reminder Guideline Questions: Practical Tools for Effective Management/Leadership Development
Erwin Rausch and Herbert Sherman
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Reminder Guideline Questions: Practical Tools for Effective Management/Leadership Development

Erwin Rausch and Herbert Sherman


As we step deeper into the post-industrial knowledge-driven age, management training and development must address the critical competencies that managers should possess to be effective in the 21st century’s increasingly fluid and complex environment. Flexibility will be a key success factor for managers of the future and for their organizations. Managers/leaders will be needed who can react rapidly to the increasing frequency of unusual events brought by the growing demands of expanding technology, rising expectations, greater diversity, and global competition. (The term manager/leader is used here, for lack of a single word that describes a manager with significant leadership competence. Exceptional leaders display qualities beyond the learnable issues and skills that are discussed in this article.)

Managers will need to “lead” employees in the accomplishment of organizational goals and objectives without exercising position authority, or by using it only as a last resort in appropriate situations (Peters & Waterman, 1982). While facilitating change and effectively responding to a changing environment, managers will have to continue to provide their staff members and associates with a measure of stability in an increasingly turbulent world. These are daunting challenges which require an understanding of the technical as well as the social foundations of sound leadership and management.

Educating and Training Managers in Turbulent Times

People who are competent in their fields are often called on to assume managerial responsibilities. A large proportion come from various professional disciplines and have never attended management classes during their college years. Even those who have had a formal business education may have had very little exposure to leadership or organizational behavior concepts. Much of whatever they learned is likely to have come from exposure to leadership and motivation theories. Theories without practical bridges to application are rarely adequate preparation for effectively leading a work team or organization.

For example, if architects and structural engineers were taught primarily theory, especially mathematics, and then had to discover their own formulae for beams and columns, it is highly likely that many structures would not be safe. Education of architects, structural engineers, and other people in technical and business functional fields, therefore, provides formulae, procedures, tables, databases, and professional codes, which serve as guidelines for specific application decisions.

Such guidelines bring structure to decision making and also to continuing learning. At the same time, they can encourage discovery, and leave ample room for creative expression and application of new learning.

The Need for and Use of Reminder Guideline Questions

Like professionals in other disciplines, managers/leaders too need such sound guidelines. They receive them in the functional areas (accounting, marketing, operations, etc.) but not for the management/leadership component of their work. Management development should, therefore, fill in when education has been insufficient or inadequate. It should provide at least initial guidelines, so managers can apply them as given, gradually adapt them, or use them as a foundation for formulating their own, as they gain experience and confidence in their use. Use of such guidelines could reduce bureaucratic behavior and inappropriate growth, and thereby avoid much painful downsizing and reengineering.

Management/leadership guidelines need not be similar to the “prescriptive” formulae, procedures, and data tables that are provided in the functional areas of management and in most professions. Questions which serve as reminders of the issues that should be considered in a decision can serve a similar purpose. They can be even more useful because they can be modified or even replaced to better fit the users’ needs.

Such guideline questions can benefit managers at all levels, in organizations of all sizes, and in all professional fields in the private and public arenas. They can also apply to low- to mid-level managers who have no one reporting to them directly, yet whose decisions affect one or more groups of stakeholders. In fact, we agree with those who argue that leadership is a shared activity and, therefore, followers should also acquire much understanding of the management/ leadership issues and skills.

Guideline reminder questions can be more useful for performance evaluation than the harsh, retrospective criteria of ultimate success or failure. They can be applied no matter what decision-making process or theory is followed, and they allow factual/objective assessment of decision quality prior to, and after, implementation.

Guidelines can help learning managers navigate the serious conceptual and practical conflicts in many managerial activities, such as in effective goal setting, deciding on participation levels, and equitable performance evaluation. Some of these conflicts are almost totally ignored in the widely-known literature. For instance, in their authoritative volume and in their follow-up book, Locke and Latham (1984 and 1990) do not make the critical distinction between task/action steps and goals, which is a key to effective use of goals in management (Rausch, 1978).

The “Problem” with Management Development

A comprehensive model of management/leadership with appropriate reminder guidelines can provide a foundation for a management development (MD) program that brings strong incentive to continuing learning. Forward-looking management development professionals in the past have attempted to provide such a program, but their efforts have often been constrained by two obstacles:

1. Implementation almost always required extensive support by higher level management and a change in the organization’s culture before new learning could effectively translate into changes in organizational and managerial behavior.
2. Most programs, rather than presenting comprehensive approaches, placed considerable emphasis on coverage of narrow popular concepts. Over the years, many highly popular seminars failed to deliver their promise because they lacked the comprehensiveness needed for lasting success. They have included sensitivity training or T-groups, managerial grid, Johari window, time management, transactional analysis, management by objectives, standards of performance, quality circles, and one-minute management. Even such widely-known techniques as Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), self-directed teams, and the “learning organization” have not provided foundations for continuing learning by individual managers.

Management education and development programs do provide some guidelines in the form of procedures. However, in critical segments, emphasis is on theories and relatively little help is offered to assist in the translation of theory to practical use. Programs provide too little guidance and leave too much for the learner to discover.

McGehee and Thayer (1961) noted that practitioners do not implement recent trends in management theory because they find the theories too complex and too difficult to translate into business practice. Weick (1979) expanded on this notion by stating that “it is impossible for a theory of social behavior to be simultaneously general, accurate, and simple. If you try to secure any two of the virtues, you automatically sacrifice the third one” (p. 35).

Given the focus of management development on the application of intervention techniques to induce positive organizational change, MD and organizational development (OD) “change agents” are challenged to find and use models and methods that combine simplicity and generality with modest accuracy (French and Bell, 1995). There appear to be no models available that are indeed “simple, easy to remember, portable, and seem to apply in a wide variety of situations” (Weick, 1979, p. 39).

A Foundation for Reminder Guidelines

A system of reminder guidelines could provide a model that meets Weick’s specifications. Fundamental to the development of such guidelines is the need for greater awareness that management/leadership involves primarily decision making, including the decision chains in planning. Furthermore, every management/leadership decision or plan involves two sets of considerations – those that apply to the functional aspects and those that pertain to the management/leadership aspects. This distinction, though obvious, is of crucial importance, yet rarely receives the attention it deserves.

There are many models, formulae, and databases for the functional aspects of decisions that meet Weick’s requirements. There are also several models for the management/leadership aspects. However, the 3Cs model discussed here seems to be the only one with a focus on the leadership aspects of managerial decisions (Rausch, 1978), is both simple and general, and lends itself to significant accuracy. Other models either are inadequately coordinated, or too general to satisfy these requirements.

The 3Cs model was originally organized into three groups of decision considerations: control, competence, and morale. These three symbolic words represent the three facets of an effective organization. The model was recently recast to make it much more user friendly and therefore potentially more valuable as a tool for management development (Rausch and Washbush, 1998). The three groups have also been updated to reflect the critical issues facing managers and organizations entering the 21st century. In the revised version, the key words are control, competence, and climate (the 3Cs).

The word “control” does not mean tight control by higher levels in an organizations, nor bottom-up control where managers are believed to relinquish their responsibilities. The meaning of the word control, as used here, is appropriate control, with high degree of participation and with most decision authority at the lowest level where adequate information and competence is available. The word “climate” is defined as the extent to which the organization’s management considers the satisfaction of stakeholders in its decisions.

Individual managers who develop the relatively simple habit of using the guidelines suggested by the model, or similar ones, can put them to use immediately, first in simple form and then in gradually more thorough, comprehensive ways. They can modify them as they see fit to fully enjoy the benefits. Higher level managerial support, for example, though highly advantageous and desirable, is not necessary. There is no need for the organizational culture to change, or for new incentives or encouragement. The individual manager can learn to become a more effective leader, and with it a more competent manager, by developing some easy-to-learn habits which then lead to continuing learning.

Though not strictly a leadership model, the 3Cs model can assist with the design of programs that develop learners who will be competent as managers and as leaders. It builds progressively on three simple reminder questions with great depth of meaning, one for each of the 3Cs. The questions help to ensure that more thought is given to all relevant issues for implementing plans, strategies, and other decisions. These reminder questions can be thought of as nonprescriptive guidelines. From the perspective of management education and development, the leverage that is gained from the simple start this model allows can be highly advantageous, especially because significant motivation to continuing learning is stimulated. Simple reminder questions are tailor-made for effective, easily administered, participative/interactive management development sessions.

Foundation for a Model of Leadership in Management

Managers have two related, yet distinct, decision making/planning roles:

a. They apply their functional/technical expertise, based on education in their respective professions and on experience gained in the past, to problems, challenges, and opportunities they face.
b. They apply management/leadership knowledge they have acquired in their formal education, from their work experience, and in seminars offered publicly or in-house to the same issues and to those decisions which involve only these latter aspects.

Functional considerations in decisions concern those issues that pertain to the type of work (accounting, research, engineering, operations, sales, information systems (IS), marketing, etc.), and to the type of organization (governmental agency, trade, manufacturing, health care, banking, insurance, non-profit, etc.). These could also be considered the technical aspects of decisions. (Entrepreneurship, too, involves many functional decision considerations, usually concerning at least marketing, research, and finance). Managers who focus on these aspects and give relatively less thought to the leadership aspects are likely to emphasize transactional leadership principles in their style and behavior (based on Bass, 1990).

The management/leadership considerations pertain to the decision aspects that are common (transferable) to all management positions, regardless of the function/activity (private/public, business/institution/association) in which the organization is involved.

The distinction between the two sets of considerations is similar to the more widely documented one between the technical and social aspects of leadership (Tailor & Felten, 1993). It is different in significant ways, especially with respect to some of the requirements to ensure coordination and competence.

Because most managers have received meaningful and practical education in their respective fields, it should not come as a surprise that functional aspects usually receive far greater attention than the leadership aspects. Furthermore, short-term job success, at least in the past, often heavily favored functional competence. That, however, may be changing as we move further and further away from an industrial to a post-industrial knowledge/service economy.

For thorough and effective decisions and plans, the management/leadership considerations should be superimposed on the functional/technical ones. Managers who strike an appropriate balance by considering both are likely to accentuate transformational (Bass, 1990), “full-range” (Bass and Avolio, 1993), and even the “post-industrial, leadership which require behaviors that create . . . an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes” (Rost, 1991, p.102).

Managers must, of course, be competent in their respective fields. In addition, they should be fully knowledgeable in all the management/leadership issues, so they can effectively consider both aspects in every decision. The 3Cs model (Rausch and Washbush, 1998) described below may be the most comprehensive and integrated one currently available to help students and managers achieve high levels of competence in the management/leadership issues.

The 3Cs Model and the Basic Guideline Reminder Questions

The 3Cs model is based on the statement that it is the leader’s responsibility to lead the team, the organizational unit, or the organization toward doing the right things correctly. This requires involving and affecting people. When people are involved, their reactions must be considered. Managers must therefore bring alignment between the characteristics and needs of the organizational unit, and the characteristics and needs of the people involved and/or affected (the stakeholders). If managers/leaders are able to do this, they satisfy all the requirements of enlightened transformational and shared leadership.

To achieve true alignment, three sets of characteristics and needs must be satisfied. They can be expressed in the form of three questions, the basic 3Cs questions:

– How can the control needs of the organizational unit or of the task best be aligned with the attitudes of all the stakeholders toward the methods used to achieve and exercise control?
– How can the competence needs of the organizational unit or of the task best be brought into alignment with the knowledge, skills, and abilities of all stakeholders?
– How can the psychological and tangible needs of stakeholders best be satisfied by the organization’s climate?

The model on which these questions are based is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1:. The 3Cs Model
(shown at 50% of original size; select the graphic to view the full-size version)

Figure 1 (half-size)

Six Sets of Issues Provide More Detailed Guideline Reminder Questions

Aligning the three characteristics and needs requires looking at the deeper meaning of these questions, at the issues for which the questions serve as symbolic reminders. They are the leadership considerations that should enter every decision, together with the functional considerations. The suggested six sets of issues below are offered only for learning purposes. When in use, they can and should be modified, expanded, or pruned to fit a specific organization’s and manager’s need and situation. Each set of issues raises one or more “how-to”questions that refer to the process that should be used (control, competence, and climate).

These six sets of issues do not correspond neatly to the basic 3Cs questions. Rather than being a disadvantage, that is an advantage because more than one of the 3Cs questions can remind of one of the subsidiary issues, reducing the chance that one will be overlooked. To illustrate these connections, the most likely of the 3Cs to remind one of an issue set is listed at the end, in parentheses.

1. How to set realistic but challenging goals for the organization or organizational unit (decide on direction and priorities, including vision, and on the norms/values to be shared), how to organize to achieve them, and how to assign accountability (control, competence, and climate).
2. How to ensure appropriate participation, including delegation, in decision making, planning, and action, with consideration for who should participate in what, when and how (control, competence, and climate).
3. How to communicate with stakeholders, individually and in groups, and how to ensure that such communications are as thorough and effective as possible (control, competence, and climate).
4. How to ensure coordination, and stimulate cooperation, while anticipating, preventing, and managing potentially damaging conflict (control and climate).
5. How to ensure that there is at least adequate competence of all stakeholders (through selection and management of learning), and that most effective use is made of strengths of individuals and/or teams. Self-development of leaders, stimulating continuing individual and team learning, and facilitation of learning how-to-learn, are involved in this set of issues (control, competence, and climate).
6. How to ensure that intangible, as well as tangible, rewards are appropriate for all stakeholders, and that work-related stress is held within acceptable bounds (climate).

These six sets of issues should be considered when answering the basic 3Cs questions. They support each other and all 3Cs. However, appropriate participation and competent handling of communications involve issues that apply extensively to all three alignments, while the other four sets of issues each have stronger primary impact on one of the 3Cs.

To effectively respond to the six sets of issues, personal managerial skills are needed. They include interpersonal communications, ability to select the most appropriate participation level and timing, understanding what is required of the manager/leader so that goals become a useful management tool, conflict management, interviewing, management of learning and coaching, performance evaluation and feedback, and providing recognition.

Expansion of these six sets of issues to encompass specific ones to consider and the skills for dealing with them inevitably begs discussion of still greater detail. In fact, there are so many of these issues and skills that the entire Rausch and Washbush volume (1998) often provides only broad-brush discussions. Still, the questions implicit in the six sets of issues may generate many ideas and possible solutions. These ideas and solutions are situation-specific and not canned. They emerge from consideration of the issues by the manager/leader and any others who participate in the decision and/or in the development of a plan.

It might be useful here to briefly address the question of how to ensure appropriate participation, and to provide some idea of the many subsidiary issues that lie behind each one of the six sets of issues. A review of the appropriate participation issues can give a fairly clear picture of the way in which these issues point to answers and to specifics on how to respond to the issue raised by a question. Because much knowledge is necessary to fully understand what might be useful when considering them, the subsidiary issues, like the six groups, also lend themselves to learning in levels, with key concepts during the first “visit” and expansions at later times.

An Example

Appropriate participation (allowing the right amount of authority – not too much, not too little, with the right people, at the right time, etc.) has major impact on all 3Cs (control, competence, and climate). It is so critical an element of effective management/leadership that it deserves exceptionally careful attention.

Sharing of decision making has far greater impact on organizational performance than is commonly assumed. Obviously, appropriate participation brings better decisions because it focuses the expertise of several minds on the issues. By satisfying the expectations of people that their views are, at least, considered and often given considerable weight, appropriate participation creates a more motivating climate, more open communications, and often a higher level of mutual trust.

Participation in planning and decision making is not a “yes” or “no” issue. Instead it is a series of continuums:

– Who should be invited to participate? (from no one, to everyone)
– How much weight should the views of staff members be given? (from the slightest consideration to letting their views be the controlling issue)
– When should the staff members be brought into the decision-making process? (from the very beginning, to the time when implementation is about to start and the die is essentially cast)
– Who, should be informed of progress toward the decision or plan, and how and when? (from no one, to everyone)

These four ranges involve at least six interconnected subsidiary issues, some with a number of sub-issues:

1. Selection of decision participants (see 3, 4, and 6 below).
2. Level/extent of participation — how much of a voice each participant should have in the decision (see Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s Autocratic-Democratic Continuum, 1958, and Vroom & Yetton’s Leadership-Participation Theory, 1973).
3. Technical and acceptance quality — how much technical expertise is needed for a sound decision and to what extent acceptance by stakeholders affects implementation (Maier, 1974).
4. Work-maturity of participants — to what extent participants can be counted on to accept responsibility for their input into the decision, and for their respective roles in implementation (Hersey-Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model, 1969).
5. The urgency and importance of the decision — greater urgency tends to restrict widespread participation, while importance has the opposite effect; in many decisions these requirements oppose each other (Didactic, 1975).
6. Other elements of the situation — these include the time and cost of participation (to the organization and to the participants), the extent to which potential participants expect, or want to be, involved, the likelihood of conflict, the information that is available or can be made available, the extent to which the decision is predetermined by procedures and policies, and the impact of the decision on the participants.

Though much as been published since the ’70s, building on the concepts cited above, the original publications remain the clearest expressions of the respective ideas.

It is useful to appreciate the extent to which appropriate participation can actually help to achieve better rather than reduced control for the manager/leader. It gives staff members greater freedom to make independent decisions, but it clearly identifies the limits. Experienced and competent staff members are given wider limits than those who are new or less competent. By establishing and revising these limits for each decision, managers/leaders are adequately involved in the control process. Better control, when understood as a joint activity and appropriately implemented, will also lead to higher levels of competence and performance, and greater work satisfaction for staff members, further strengthening effective control while also enhancing competence and climate.

Using the Guideline Questions

There is effectiveness, even a certain beauty, to a thought process that starts with a simple set of very few guidelines (possibly only the basic 3Cs questions) that serve as a reminder of a larger number. Those, in turn, then serve as reminders of as many issues as the individual user wishes to consider. Not only does this thought process adjust almost automatically to the user’s style and preferences, but it also is always useful, no matter how comprehensive the user’s background knowledge may be.

When first used, the simple set of questions still ensures better decisions because it reminds the user of the three areas that should be taken into account, in addition to the functional considerations. At that level, users apply the knowledge which their background has provided. Even when that knowledge is limited, such use is likely to bring more thorough consideration of relevant issues than would have occurred if the questions had not been asked.

Pedagogical Considerations

There is considerable incentive to learning which is likely to be stimulated by the use of guidelines at the initial stage. The reminder questions are likely to make many users wonder what issues might be raised if they had a larger knowledge base on which to draw. That, in turn, leads to motivation to learn, at least for some of the users. The motivational process continues, especially as the managers or students learn more about what else there is to learn that might be useful to them.

The soundness of a learning foundation which builds from a simple set of ideas to more and more specific and detailed ones, is strongly supported by the literature:

1. Making a subject relevant and providing expanding foundations for material to which the learners will be exposed later on can make absorption of new information, and even discovery, more effective, and efficient. Organization of material can thus provide neural receptors and prepare pathways for storing new information (Bloom, 1956; Bass & Vaughn, 1966; Lefrancois, 1995).
2. A conceptual model, and guidelines based on it, can give learners such a structure for learning (Bruner, 1966; Gagne, 1977). At the same time, as foundation for vicarious and practical application, this structure adds further to the effectiveness with which new information is absorbed and prepared for use.

Some Critical Questions

When first becoming acquainted with the 3Cs model, some potential users question why the model is based on three alignments: why on these three, and why not on more, or possibly on the six sets of issues in the first place?

The answer to these questions is based on the fact that the three words – control , competence, and climate – are really only short-hand expressions of the six complex sets of issues (and far more individual issues) that can and should be considered, as summarized above. It is not difficult to develop the habit to think of three words which represent the key alignments, and to let them serve as reminders of all the other issues that one wants to consider when making the alignments comprehensive. That makes it easier to develop the habit to consider the six sets of issues.

Four questions, and even five, of course, would not be much more difficult to remember. For some users, even all six would be convenient. However, the three basic questions cover all the alignments between the characteristics and needs of the organization and the stakeholders, and more are not needed. Nothing stops a user, though, from using a different set of reminder questions or other guidelines. The key point is that an appropriately complete, integrated, and coordinated set of reminder guidelines can ensure that an organization or unit will make the most effective decisions possible in light of the many uncertainties that may exist. It will be in a position to best meet the challenges in the changing environment, and to take maximum advantage of the opportunities that may exist and develop. All that, of course, requires that the reminder guidelines are used consistently, and that their components are thoroughly understood and competently addressed.

Another question that might be raised concerns the relationship of the 3Cs model to the findings of research in leadership and the theories that emerged from them. The 3Cs model is not a leadership theory, but managers who follow the habit of using reminder guidelines that cover these issues will be better leaders than they would be otherwise. The 3Cs model, or a similar model, supplies a perspective in line with almost all leadership theories, not only those that see transformational leader behavior as most effective, but also those that consider, possibly in addition, transactional behaviors, the contingency factors, path-goal theories, expectancy theories, member-leader exchange concepts, even charismatic leadership views, and any others that may be thought of as useful. An exception are the leader trait theories that point to the importance of physical attributes and difficult-to-acquire personality features, including eloquent expression of thoughts and ideas.

The scope of this article does not permit thorough proof of this sweeping statement. A brief explanation is, however, in order. It is based on the question: What type of leader is a leader who considers all six sets of issues and, at the same time, is highly competent in a functional area and in the underlying personal managerial skills? It would not seem difficult to conclude that such a leader meets almost all the criteria for competent leadership, regardless of what leadership theory supplies them, except for any theory that stresses traits, as mentioned above.

Though the 3Cs model is not the only one that can possibly serve as foundation for alignment of the needs and characteristics of organizations and stakeholders, it appears to be the most comprehensive and coordinated one that is currently available. The model has been used widely in management development programs, in such diverse organizations as the American Management Association, U.S. Air, Cabrini and Jersey City Hospitals, the federal prison system, General Electric, the Girl Scouts, and JC Penney. The entire model, or portions of it, have been published in various books (Associates, Office of Military Leadership, 1976; Rausch 1978; Rausch 1980; Heyel, 1982; Rausch and Washbush, 1998). In a special edition, the model is required foundation for the fire officer exam in many states (Carter and Rausch, 1999, 3rd ed.).

Unfortunately, as is the case with many management and leadership models (even the renowned Maslow, Tannenbaum and Schmidt, and Blake and Mouton models), no formal empirical evidence was developed during initial uses. Considerable informal empirical evidence for the 3Cs model was gathered, however, during the experiential learning sessions that were used in the management development programs referred to above. Still, acceptance of the model continues to depend primarily on the compelling soundness of the logic and the conceptual structure, as foundation for similar models that may better fit the needs of individual organizations and leaders more closely.

Using the 3Cs model with its six sets of issues, or a similarly comprehensive model, leads to decision processes and habits that dig deeper and deeper into the needs of the situation and of the changes that occur within and outside an organization. Beyond helping to effectively initiate and respond to change, beyond the obvious and often superficial responses to the explicit challenges and opportunities, the model draws attention to the more long-term ones that lie below the surface.

The 3Cs model has the potential to significantly strengthen management development programs. At least in their basic form, the three questions do not list any of the issues, or even groups of issues specifically. They therefore challenge learning managers to step beyond the knowledge they have gained as they advanced to their current positions to find out more about what lies behind the questions themselves. The model thus motivates them to learn more and more about the more specific issues, and to sharpen the relevant personal leadership skills which help to deal effectively with them.

Other Models

Other models that could be considered fall short in one way or another, usually by being insufficiently comprehensive, specific, or practical. These others include, first of all, Henry Fayol’s landmark description of managerial functions (Fayol, 1916 and 1949), which was the first and the longest-lasting of the models of management. More than 75 years after its original publication, Fayol’s management cycle is still a major foundation for management education. It continues to be taught as a fundamental concept in most basic management courses.

Fayol divided a manager’s duties into five primary functions: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. Other theorists who have studied and written about duties of a manager have used various terms intended to overcome the misunderstandings, vagueness, and other problems that Fayol’s original definitions sometimes created, to little avail. The model is still a very incomplete source for effective guidelines.

Still other models that could be considered, include:

1. The set of questions – what, why, who, how, when, where – that is even less specific than the Fayol cycle.
2. The three-dimensional Reddin model (Reddin, 1970) which is difficult to visualize and has many other shortcomings.
3. Leadership and motivation models such as those mentioned among the leadership and motivation theories above.

All are less useful as foundation for a comprehensive, integrated set of guidelines than the 3Cs model.


While no empirical proof has been provided for the efficacy of the use of possible management/leadership guidelines, nor for the model on which they are based, there is compelling logic and literature support for the benefits they can bring. Furthermore, in the years since 1978, when a comprehensive version of the model was first published that covered the basic 3Cs and almost all of the six sets of issues, there have been no conceptual challenges to its validity.

The only objections that have been raised pertained to the complexity of the way it was initially presented. Hundreds of managers have explored the model in management development workshops, have found it to have “face validity,” and have had minimal problems utilizing it.

Nevertheless, to overcome the complexity objections, to make the model more learner/user friendly, and to add a learning-motivation component, the pedagogical approach has been developed that draws reminder guideline questions from the model. These guidelines start from the three simple questions and can then gradually expand to encompass the entire body of knowledge on the leadership aspects of managerial work, or as much of it as suits the user’s needs, capacity to learn, and interests.

Neither the model nor the guidelines are presented here as the final word on leadership decision making or on management development. On the contrary, they serve only as stimulants to development of habits for thorough consideration of the issues that should enter every decision, and as foundation for personal models and reminder guidelines that may be more appropriate for the user and the situation.

Before management development can effectively use the reminder guidelines approach, however, MD and OD professionals need to first become comfortable that the 3Cs model is indeed highly practical, is easy to apply, and does not require organizational approval or cooperation. The 3Cs model as recast no longer can be considered to suffer the disadvantages of the original model. Furthermore, it is flexible enough to allow practitioners to “bend” it to fit any specific set of organizational needs. Limited trials can provide confirmation of these statements.


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Weick, K. E. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Erwin Rausch is president of Didactic Systems, Inc., Cranford, NJ, designers of participative management development programs and conferences. A manufacturing executive in prior years, he is author or co-author of several books, including the recently published High Quality Leadership: Practical Guidelines to becoming a More Effective Manager. He holds an M.S. degree from Columbia University and an M.A. from NYU.

Herbert Sherman, Ph.D. currently serves as Director of the Business Division at Southampton College, Long Island University. He has nearly twenty years of management, research, and teaching experience in academics and is a founder of several medical transportation companies. He is the author of two texts and a case writer, and has published articles in the field of management. Dr. Sherman holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from Union Institute, an MS in Management from Polytechnic Institute, and a B.A. in Political Science from City College.

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