Product Management: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?

by Robert Fulmer



The article presents information on the practice of product management and the difficulties involved. The problem of the concept's scope has particularly manifested itself in the areas of authority, responsibility and definition. A universal answer to the initial question of how much and what kind of authority the product manager should have can still not be given. A safe generalization, however, would be that sufficient authority must be granted to achieve the requirements of the position. A product or brand specialist with only staff authority lacks the quick, decisive power to act which can make the most effective use of his specialized knowledge and interest. Considerable functional authority is often given to the product manager because of his importance as a coordinating influence and because of the need to equate authority and responsibility. In order to avoid, or at least to minimize, conflict, functional authority thus delegated should be subject to over-all coordination one or, at the most, two levels immediately above the product manager. Authority cannot be delegated, employees cannot be properly selected or trained, performance cannot be evaluated and responsibility cannot be exacted until there is agreement on the meaning and scope of the position involved.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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