The consultative management style – sometimes referred to as ‘Paternalistic’ employs the style of the autocratic management style in decision making regarding business processes and work execution but the needs of employees on a social and personal level are taken into consideration to a greater degree. In the consultative approach communication flows in both directions but the way things are done is firmly controlled by management. Employees don’t participate in the decision making process but their responses and feedback to managerial decisions are permitted.
As with the autocratic style – the consultative style is best suited to employees that require specific direction. In other words they’re told what to do and how to do it. The difference is that orders are issued in a ‘friendlier’ manner. This is usually an attempt by management to maintain moral among employees who are more inclined to independent thought.
The consultative management style will tend to increase employee dependence on management. The fact that this style doesn’t allow for or require independent thought coupled with the friendly personal manner in which it’s meted out makes it more attractive to employees resulting in them seeking this type of interaction. This can have the adverse effect of too much responsibility being placed on the manager.
This writer’s opinion is that no management style will be effective if applied across the board and that the best approach is to employ the best style for the circumstances at hand. Some employees have greater social needs than others and those that require explicit instructions on what to do and how to do it may be best suited to the consultative style.