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INSEAD Working Paper 2013/75/ST
This paper explores how general management matters and presents the foundation of a theory of general management as a theory of collective performance in the presence of the general manager. It proposes that general management is the disciplined art of creating a collective performance superior to that which would naturally occur. This brings the relation between management and performance to the fore. It tells us why management matters, not just what management is. General management matters because it creates value by improving collective performance relative to what such performance would be in the absence of general management. This paper goes beyond the dominant sequential model of company performance and refutes the notion the general manager is a designer. It describes a conceptual model, M.EOS, which models company performance as the dynamic interaction between environment, organization and strategy (EOS) that M, the general manager, improves by purposefully intervening to shift EOS. Unlike existing models, M.EOS is not a model of the company but a model of company performance. M.EOS can be used to understand what general managers do or can do in order to fulfill their most fundamental responsibility: augmenting collective performance.