W. Edwards Deming, credited with launching the Total Quality Management movement, wasn’t a fan of Management by Walking Around.
This is what Deming (2013) had to say about Management by Walking Around:
Management by walking around is hardly ever effective either. The reason is that someone in management, walking around, has little idea about what questions to ask, and usually does not pause long enough at any spot to get the right answer.
Deming’s view is entrenched in Lean management practice in the form of “Genchi Genbutsu”, literally “go and see” at the “real place”. Where practitioners of Management by Walking Around merely visit the workers for a chat, practitioners of Genchi Genbutsu stay with the workers to understanding what is going on.
Personally I favour Manage on the Ground. Getting the information first hand and providing a morale effect of having a leader nearby.
Deming, W. E. (2013). “The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father”. McGraw-Hill Professional.