Friday, July 20, 2012

Managing in a Global Environment | Methods Firms Enter New Global Markets

Discuss the methods firms can use to enter new global markets.

Firms can enter new foreign markets in the following ways: exporting products to the new market, licensing products to local firms, acquiring or creating strategic alliances with local firms, or establishing operations within the new market. Exporting involves manufacturing products in a firm’s home country and shipping them to a foreign market. Licensing arrangements allow a local firm in the new market to manufacture and distribute a foreign firm’s products. Strategic alliances are cooperative arrangements between two firms in which they agree to share resources to accomplish a mutually desirable goal. Acquisitions of local firms made by foreign firms to enter a new international market are called cross-border acquisitions. When a company creates a wholly owned subsidiary in a foreign country, it makes a direct investment to establish a business that it solely owns and controls there.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Managing in a Global Environment | Multidomestic Corporation, Global Company, and Borderless Organization

Explain the differences among a multidomestic corporation, a global company, and a borderless organization. Include examples of companies for each of the types of organizations discussed.

  • a. A multidomestic corporation is a multinational corporation that decentralizes management and other decisions to the local country. This type of organization doesn't attempt to replicate its domestic successes by managing foreign operations from its home country. Instead, local employees typically are hired to manage the business and marketing strategies are tailored to that country's unique characteristics. This type of globalization reflects the polycentric attitude. 
  • For example, Switzerland-based Nestle can be described as a multidomestic corporation. With operations in almost every country on the globe, its managers match the company's products to its consumers. In parts of Europe, Nestle sells products that are not available in the United States or Latin America. Another example of a multidomestic is Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, which markets a Dorito chip in the British market that differs in both taste and texture from the U.S. and Canadian version. Many consumer companies manage their global businesses using this approach because they must adapt their products and services to meet the needs of the local markets.
  • b. A second type of MNC, called a global company centralizes its management and other decisions in the home country. These companies treat the world market as an integrated whole and focus on the need for global efficiency. Although these companies may have considerable global holdings, management decisions with company-wide implications are made from headquarters in the home country. This approach to globalization reflects the ethnocentric attitude. 
  • Some examples of companies that can be considered global companies include Sony, Deutsche Bank AG, and Merrill Lynch.
  • c. Other companies are going international by eliminating structural divisions that impose artificial geographical barriers. This type of MNC is often called a transnational or borderless organization, and reflects a geocentric attitude. 
  • For example, IBM dropped its organizational structure based on country and reorganized into industry groups. And Spain's Telefonica eliminated the geographic divisions between Madrid headquarters and its widespread phone companies. The company will be organized, instead, along business lines such as Internet services, cellular phones, and media operations. Managers choose this form of international organization to increase efficiency and effectiveness in a competitive global marketplace.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Managing in a Global Environment | Three Attitudes Managers for International Business

List and discuss the three attitudes managers might have toward international business.

  • a. Ethnocentric attitudethe parochialistic belief that the best work approaches and practices are those of the home country. Managers with an ethnocentric attitude believe that people in foreign countries do not have the needed skills, expertise, knowledge, or experience to make the best business decisions as people in the home country do. They wouldn't trust foreign employees with key decisions.
  • b. Polycentric attitudethe view that managers in the host country know the best work approaches and practices for running their business. Managers with a polycentric attitude view every foreign operation as different and hard to understand. Thus, these managers are likely to leave their foreign facilities alone and let foreign employees figure out how best to do things.
  • c. Geocentric attitudethis is a world-oriented view that focuses on using the best approaches and people from around the globe. Managers with this type of attitude believe that it's important to have a global view both at the organization's headquarters in the home country and in the various foreign work facilities. Major issues and decisions are viewed globally by looking for the best approaches and people regardless of origin.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Managing in a Global Environment | Parochialism

Define parochialism. Next, discuss why parochialism is a problem for U.S. managers and discuss reasons why it is important to overcome parochialism in today's business environment.

Answer:  Parochialism is the process of viewing the world solely through one's own eyes and perspectives. People with a parochial attitude do not recognize that others have different ways of living and working. Parochialism is a significant obstacle for managers working in a global business world. If managers fall into the trap of ignoring others' values and customs and rigidly applying an attitude of "ours is better than theirs" to foreign cultures, they'll find it difficult to compete with other organizations around the world that are seeking to understand foreign customs and market differences.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Organizational Culture and Environment | How Is Culture Transmitted to Employees of an Organization?

How is culture transmitted to employees of an organization? In a short essay, explain the four primary transmission modalities and provide an example of each.

Answer:  Culture is transmitted to employees in a number of ways. The most significant are stories, rituals, material symbols, and language.

  • a. Stories: Organizational "stories" typically contain a narrative of significant events or people including such things as the organization's founders, rule breaking, reactions to past mistakes, and so forth. 
  • For instance, managers at Nike feel that stories told about the company's past help shape the future. Whenever possible, corporate "storytellers" (senior executives) explain the company's heritage and tell stories that celebrate people getting things done.
  • b. Rituals: Corporate rituals are repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the values of the organization, what goals are most important, and which people are important. 
  • The "Passing of the Pillars" is an important ritual at Boston Scientific's facility near Minneapolis, for example. When someone has a challenging and tough project or assignment, they're "awarded" a small two-foot high plaster-of-Paris pillar to show that they've got support from all their colleagues.
  • c.  Material Symbols: Material symbols convey to employees who is important, the degree of equality desired by top management, and the kinds of behavior that are expected and appropriate. 
  • Examples of material symbols include the layout of an organization's facilities, how employees dress, the types of automobiles provided to top executives, and the availability of corporate aircraft. At WorldNow, a provider of Internet technology to local media companies, an important material symbol is an old dented drill that the founders purchased for $2 at a thrift store. The drill symbolizes the company's culture of "drilling down to solve problems."
  • d.  Language: Many organizations and units within organizations use language as a way to identify and unite members of a culture. By learning this language, members attest to their acceptance of the culture and their willingness to help preserve it.
  •  For instance, Microsoft employees have their own unique vocabulary: the term work judo is used to mean "the art of deflecting a work assignment to someone else without making it appear that you're avoiding it.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Organizational Culture and Environment | Symbolic View and Omnipotent View | Management

Differentiate between the symbolic view and the omnipotent view of management. Include specific examples of each view to support your answer.

a. The view of managers as omnipotent is consistent with the stereotypical picture of the take-charge business executive who can overcome any obstacle in carrying out the organization's goals. This omnipotent view, of course, isn't limited to business organizations. We can also use it to help explain the high turnover among college and professional sports coaches, who can be considered the "managers" of their teams. Coaches who lose more games than they win are fired and replaced by new coaches who, it is hoped, will correct the inadequate performance.

In the omnipotent view, when organizations perform poorly, someone has to be held accountable regardless of the reasons, and in our society, that "someone" is the manager. Of course, when things go well, we need someone to praise. So managers also get the crediteven if they had little to do with achieving positive outcomes.

b. The symbolic view says that a manager's ability to affect outcomes is influenced and constrained by external factors. In this view, it's unreasonable to expect managers to significantly affect an organization's performance. Instead, an organization's results are influenced by factors managers don't control such as the economy, customers, governmental policies, competitors' actions, industry conditions, control over proprietary technology, and decisions made by previous managers.

The "symbolic" view is based on the belief that managers symbolize control and influence. How? By creating meaning out of randomness, confusion, and ambiguity or by trying to innovate and adapt. Because their effect on organizational outcomes is limited, a managers actions often involve developing plans, making decisions, and engaging in other managerial activities, which are done for the benefit of stockholders, customers, employees, and the public. However, the actual part that managers play in organizational success or failure is minimal.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Management History | Scientific Management | Frank and Lillian Gilbreth

Discuss the work in scientific management done by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth.

Answer:  Frank Gilbreth is probably best known for his experiments in bricklaying. By carefully analyzing the bricklayer's job, he reduced the number of motions in laying exterior brick from 18 to about 5, and on laying interior brick the motions were reduced from 18 to 2. Using the Gilbreth's techniques, the bricklayer could be more productive on the job and less fatigued at the end of the day. The Gilbreths were among the first researchers to use motion pictures to study hand-and-body motions and the amount of time spent doing each motion. Wasted motions missed by the naked eye could be identified and eliminated. The Gilbreths also devised a classification scheme to label 17 basic hand motions, which they called therbligs. This scheme allowed the Gilbreths a more precise way of analyzing a worker's exact hand movements.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Management History | Two Significant Historical Events in Management

Which two historical events were especially significant to the study of management? Describe these events and discuss how they helped develop the management profession.

Two historical events are especially significant to the study of management. 

  • First, in 1776, Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, in which he argued the economic advantages that organizations and society would gain from the division of labor (or job specialization). The division of labor involved the breakdown of jobs into narrow and repetitive tasks. Smith's work showed that division of labor increased productivity by increasing each worker's skill and dexterity. It also saved time lost in changing tasks, and it encouraged the development of labor-saving inventions and machinery. Division of labor continues to be popular as a principle for managing work.
  • The second important event is the Industrial Revolution, which started in the late eighteenth century. During the Industrial Revolution, machine power was substituted for human power. This made it more economical to manufacture goods in factories rather than at home. The shift to factory work increased the need for management professionals. Large efficient factories needed managers to forecast demand and to ensure that enough material was on hand to make products. Managers were also needed to assign tasks to people and to direct daily activities. The increase in managers in turn necessitated the development of formal theories to guide managers in running large organizations.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Management and Organizations | Three Main Types of Managerial Skills by Robert Katz

Describe the three main types of managerial skills identified by Robert Katz. Which skills are most important to each level of management, and why?

Research by Robert L. Katz concluded that managers needed three essential skills. These are technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. Technical skills are the job-specific knowledge and techniques needed to perform specific tasks proficiently. Human skills involve the ability to work well with other people both individually and in a group. Conceptual skills are the skills managers use to think and to conceptualize about abstract and complex situations.

  • Technical skills tend to be more important for lower-level managers. This is because lower-level managers typically manage employees who use tools and techniques to produce the organization's products and services. 
  • Human skills are equally important at all levels of management, because all managers must deal directly with people. 
  • Conceptual skills are most important at top levels of management. Managers at top levels must use conceptual skills to see the organization as a whole, to understand the relationships among various subunits, and to visualize how the organization fits into its broader environment.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Management and Organizations | Four Basic Functions of Management

List and explain the four basic functions of management.

  • a. Planninginvolves the process of defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving those goals, and developing plans to integrate and coordinate activities.
  • b. Organizinginvolves the process of determining what tasks are to be done, who is to do them, how the tasks are to be grouped, who reports to whom, and where decisions are to be made.
  • c.  Leadingwhen managers motivate subordinates, influence individuals or teams as they work, select the most effective communication channel, or deal in any way with employee behavior issues, they are leading.
  • d. Controllingto ensure that work is proceeding as it should, managers must monitor and evaluate performance. The process of monitoring, comparing, and correcting is what is meant by the controlling function.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Management and Organizations | Efficiency and Effectiveness

Discuss the difference between efficiency and effectiveness and include a specific example to support each concept.

  • a. Efficiency refers to getting the most output from the least amount of inputs. Because managers deal with scarce inputsincluding resources such as people, money, and equipmentthey are concerned with the efficient use of resources. For instance, at the HON Company plant in Cedartown, Georgia, where employees make and assemble steel and wooden office furniture, efficient manufacturing techniques were implemented by doing things such as cutting inventory levels, decreasing the amount of time to manufacture products, and lowering product reject rates. From this perspective, efficiency is often referred to as "doing things right"that is, not wasting resources.
  • b. Effectiveness is often described as "doing the right things"–that is, those work activities that will help the organization reach its goals. For instance, at the HON factory, goals included meeting customers' increasingly stringent needs, executing world-class manufacturing strategies, and making employee jobs easier and safer. Through various work methods and programs, these goals were pursued and achieved. Whereas efficiency is concerned with the means of getting things done, effectiveness is concerned with the ends, or attainment of organizational goals.

Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Management and Organizations | First-Line, Middle, and Top Managers

Describe and provide examples of first-line, middle, and top managers.

  • a. First-line managers are the lowest level of management and manage the work of nonmanagerial individuals who are directly involved with the production or creation of the organization's products. First-line managers are often called supervisors, but may also be called line managers, office managers, or even foremen.
  • b. Middle managers include all levels of management between the first-line level and the top level of the organization. These managers manage the work of first-line managers and may have titles such as department head, project leader, plant manager, or division manager.
  • c. Top managers are responsible for making organization-wide decisions and establishing the plans and goals that affect the entire organization. These individuals typically have titles such as executive vice president, president, managing director, chief operating officer, chief executive officer, or chairman of the board.

Source: Management, 10e (Robbins/Coulter)