Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Control | Feedforward, Concurrent, & Feedback Controls

Explain feedforward, concurrent, and feedback controls and provide an example for each one. 

Feedforward control is the most desirable type of control—feedforward control—prevents anticipated problems since it takes place before the actual activity. Example—at St. Joseph's Hospital in West Bend, Indiana, a new facility was designed with identical rooms, nonslip floors, and glass walls to reduce errors in patient care and to increase employee safety.

Concurrent control, as its name implies, takes place while an activity is in progress. When control occurs while the work is being performed, management can correct problems before they come too costly. Example—When managers use management by walking around, which is a term describing when a manager is out in the work area interacting directly with employees, they're using concurrent control.

Feedback control, the most popular type of control relies on feedback. In feedback control, the control takes place after the activity is done. Example—when the Denver Mint discovered flawed Wisconsin quarters, it was discovered with feedback control. The damage had already occurred even though the organization corrected the problem once it was discovered.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Control | Organizational Effectiveness is a Better Measure of Organizational Performance Than Organizational Productivity

Organizational effectiveness is a better measure of organizational performance than organizational productivity. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? 

Organizational effectiveness is a measure of how appropriate organizational goals are and how well those goals are being met. So an effective organization is certain to meet its goals. High organizational productivity does not necessarily indicate that organizational goals have been achieved. Hence organizational effectiveness, as a measure of organizational performance, can be considered a more accurate tool of measurement.
Productivity is the amount of goods or services produced divided by the inputs needed to generate that output. So it could be easier to calculate productivity. Students could disagree stating these reasons.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Motivation | Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

List and discuss the five needs that are based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. 

Maslow was a psychologist who proposed that within every person is a hierarchy of five needs:

1. Physiological needs: A person's needs for food, drink, shelter, sex, and other physical requirements.

2. Safety needs: A person's needs for security and protection from physical and emotional harm, as well as assurance that physical needs will continue to be met.

3. Social needs: A person's needs for affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship.

4. Esteem needs: A person's needs for internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy, and achievement and external esteem factors such as status, recognition, and attention.

5. Self-actualization needs: A person's needs for growth, achieving one's potential, and self-fulfillment; the drive to become what one is capable of becoming.

Maslow argued that each level in the needs hierarchy must be substantially satisfied before the next need becomes dominant. An individual moves up the needs hierarchy from one level to the next. In addition, Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower levels. Physiological and safety needs were considered lower-order needs; social, esteem, and self-actualization needs were considered higher-order needs. Lower-order needs are predominantly satisfied externally while higher-order needs are satisfied internally.
Managers using Maslow's hierarchy to motivate employees do things to satisfy employees' needs. But the theory also says that once a need is substantially satisfied, an individual is no longer motivated to satisfy that need. Therefore, to motivate someone, you need to understand what need level that person is on in the hierarchy and focus on satisfying needs at or above that level.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Motivation | 3 Elements of Motivation

Define motivation and discuss the three elements of motivation. 

Motivation refers to the process by which a person's efforts are energized, directed, and sustained toward attaining a goal. This definition has three key elements: energy, direction, and persistence.

The energy element is a measure of intensity, drive, and vigor. A motivated person puts forth effort and works hard. However, the quality of the effort must be considered as well as its intensity.

High levels of effort don't necessarily lead to favorable job performance unless the effort is channeled in a direction that benefits the organization. Effort that's directed toward, and consistent with, organizational goals is the kind of effort we want from employees.

Finally, motivation includes a persistence dimension. We want employees to persist in putting forth effort to achieve those goals.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Human Resource Management | Downsizing

What can managers do to manage downsizing? 

Downsizing or layoffs is the planned elimination of jobs in an organization. When an organization has too many employees—which can happen when it's faced with an economic recession, declining market share, too aggressive growth, or poorly managed operations—one option for improving profits is to eliminate some of those excess workers.

In order to manage downsizing, managers should:
a. communicate openly and honestly - Managers must inform those being let go as soon as possible. They should also tell the surviving employees the new goals and expectations and also explain the impact of layoffs to them.

b. follow all the laws regulating severance pay or benefits.

c. provide support/counseling for surviving employees.

d. reassign roles according to individuals' talents and backgrounds.

e. focus on boosting morale - Managers should offer individualized reassurance, continue to communicate, especially one-on-one, and remain involved and available.

f. have a plan for the empty office spaces/cubicles so it is not depressing for surviving employees.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Human Resource Management | Decruitment & Options

Define decruitment and list the various decruitment options. 

Decruitment is the process by which an organization reduces its workforce. 

The various decruitment options available to an organization are:
a. Firing - This refers to permanent involuntary termination of employees.
b. Layoffs - These refer to temporary involuntary termination of employees. Layoffs may last only for a few days or extend up to years.
c. Attrition - This is achieved when an organization does not fill the openings created by voluntary resignations or normal retirements of its employees.
d. Transfers - This happens when employees are moved either laterally or downward. This usually does not reduce costs but, it can reduce intraorganizational supply––demand imbalances.
e. Reduced workweeks - This is achieved by having employees work fewer hours per week, share jobs, or perform their jobs on a part-time basis.
f. Early retirements - Here, the organization provides incentives to older and more senior employees for retiring before their normal retirement date.
g. Job sharing - This is achieved by having employees share one full-time position.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Human Resource Management | Recruitment

What is recruitment? What are the commonly used recruitment sources?  Include a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each major source to support your answer.

Recruitment is the process of locating, identifying, and attracting capable applicants.

Commonly used recruitment sources are:
a. The Internet - This reaches a large number of people and can get immediate feedback. But, it also generates many unqualified candidates.

b. Employee referrals - The knowledge about the organization is provided by the current employees. This can generate strong candidates because a good referral reflects on the recommender. But, this may not increase the diversity and mix of employees in the organization.

c. The company Web site - This has a wide distribution. It can be targeted to specific groups, but on the flip side, it also generates many unqualified candidates.

d. College recruiting - This allows access to large centralized body of candidates. But, this source can be only used for filling entry-level positions in the organization.

e. Professional recruiting organizations - They have a good knowledge of industry challenges and requirements. But, on the negative side, they have very little commitment to specific organizations.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Human Resource Management | Why Human Resource Management (HRM) is Important to Organizational Success

Explain why human resource management (HRM) is important to organizational success. 

HRM is an important task that involves having the right number of the right people in the right place at the right time.

A major HRM challenge for managers is ensuring that their company has a high-quality workforce. Getting and keeping competent and talented employees is critical to the success of every organization.
HRM is important for three main reasons.

First, various studies have concluded that an organization's human resources can be a significant source of competitive advantage. The Human Capital Index, a comprehensive study of over 2,000 global firms has concluded that people-oriented HR gives an organization an edge by creating superior shareholder value.

Second, HRM is an important part of organizational strategies. In order to achieve competitive success through people, managers must change the way they think about their employees and also the way they view the work relationship. Managers must stop treating people as costs to be minimized or avoided. Rather, they should treat them as partners.

Finally, it has been found that the way organizations treat their people significantly impacts the organizational performance. For instance, one study reported that significantly improving an organization's HRM practices could increase its market value by as much as 30 percent.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Strategic Management | Corporate Portfolio Matrix & The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix

Discuss the corporate portfolio matrix and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix. 

When an organization's corporate strategy encompasses a number of businesses, managers can manage this collection, or portfolio, of businesses using a tool called a corporate portfolio matrix. This matrix provides a framework for understanding diverse businesses and helps managers establish priorities for allocating resources.

The first portfolio matrix—the BCG matrix—was developed by the Boston Consulting Group and introduced the idea that an organization's various businesses could be evaluated and plotted using a 2 × 2 matrix to identify which ones offered high potential and which were a drain on organizational resources. The horizontal axis represents market share (low or high) and the vertical axis indicates anticipated market growth (low or high). A business unit is evaluated using a SWOT analysis and placed in one of the four categories: dogs, cash cows, stars, and question marks.

a. Dogs - They should be sold off or liquidated as they have low market share in markets with low growth potential.

b. Cash Cows - These have low anticipated growth rate but high market share. Managers should"milk" them for as much as they can, limit any new investment in them, and use the large amounts of cash generated to invest in stars and question marks with strong potential to improve market share.

c. Stars - These have high anticipated growth rate and high market share. Heavy investment in stars will help take advantage of the market's growth and help maintain high market share. The stars eventually develop into cash cows as their markets mature and sales growth slows.

d. Question Marks - These have high anticipated growth rate but low market share. The hardest decision for managers relates to the question marks. After careful analysis, some will be sold off and others strategically nurtured into stars.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Strategic Management | 3 Main Types of Corporate Strategies

List and discuss the different types of corporate strategies.  

The three main types of corporate strategies are growth, stability, and renewal.

a. Growth - A growth strategy is when an organization expands the number of markets served or products offered, either through its current business(es) or through new business(es). Because of its growth strategy, an organization may increase revenues, number of employees, or market share. Organizations grow by using concentration, vertical integration, horizontal integration, or diversification.

b. Stability - A stability strategy is a corporate strategy in which an organization continues to do what it is currently doing. Examples of this strategy include continuing to serve the same clients by offering the same product or service, maintaining market share, and sustaining the organization's current business operations. The organization does not grow, but does not fall behind, either.

c. Renewal - When an organization is in trouble, something needs to be done. Managers need to develop strategies, called renewal strategies, that address declining performance. The two main types of renewal strategies are retrenchment and turnaround strategies. 

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Strategic Management | 3 Levels of Strategy That a Large Organization Must Develop

List and discuss the three levels of strategy that a large organization must develop. 


a.     Corporate strategy—this strategy seeks to determine what businesses a company should be in or wants to be in. Corporate strategy determines the direction that the organization is going and the roles that each business unit in the organization will plan in pursuing that direction.

b.     Business strategy—this strategy seeks to determine how an organization should compete in each of its businesses. For a small organization in only one line of business or the large organization that has not diversified into different products or markets, the business strategy typically overlaps with the organization’s corporate strategy. For organizations with multiple businesses, however, each division will have its own strategy that defines the products or services it will offer and the customers it wants to reach.

c.      Functional strategy—this strategy seeks to determine how to support the business strategy. For organizations that have traditional functional departments such as manufacturing, marketing, human resources, research and development, and finance, these strategies need to support the business strategy.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Strategic Management | Explain Strategic Management & Why It Is Important

Explain strategic management and why it is important. 

Strategic management is what managers do to develop the organization's strategies. It is an important task involving all the basic management functions—planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

There are three reasons as to why strategic management is important.
The most significant one is that it can make a difference in how well an organization performs. Generally, there is a positive relationship between strategic planning and performance. Generally, organizations that use strategic management have higher levels of performance.

Another reason it is important has to do with the fact that managers in organizations of all types and sizes face continually changing situations. They cope with this uncertainty by using the strategic management process to examine relevant factors and decide what actions to take.

Finally, strategic management is important because organizations are complex and diverse. Each part needs to work together toward achieving the organization's goals; strategic management helps do this.

Today, strategic management has become so important that both business organizations and not-for-profit organizations use it. 

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Change | Why Do People Resist Change

Why do people resist change? 

An individual is likely to resist change for the following reasons: uncertainty, habit, concern over personal loss, and the belief that the change is not in the organization's best interest.

Change replaces the known with uncertainty. For example, when quality control methods based on sophisticated statistical models are introduced into manufacturing plants, many quality control inspectors have to learn the new methods. Some inspectors may fear that they will be unable to do so and may, therefore, develop a negative attitude toward the change or behave poorly if required to use them.

Another cause of resistance is that people do things out of habit. Every day, when going to work, people probably go the same way, whether walking, driving, or using mass transit. Usually, they find a single approach and use it regularly. People do not want to have to consider the full range of options for the hundreds of decisions they make every day. To cope with this complexity, they rely on habits or programmed responses. But when confronted with change, their tendency to respond in their accustomed ways becomes a source of resistance.

The third cause of resistance is the fear of losing something already possessed. Change threatens the investment people have already made in the status quo. The more that people have invested in the current system, the more they resist change. They fear the loss of status, money, authority, friendships, personal convenience, or other economic benefits that they value. This is why older workers tend to resist change more than younger workers. Older employees have generally invested more in the current system and thus have more to lose by changing.

A final cause of resistance is a person's belief that the change is incompatible with the goals and interests of the organization. For instance, an employee who believes that a proposed new job procedure will reduce product quality or productivity can be expected to resist the change. If the employee expresses his or her resistance positively, this actually can be beneficial to the organization.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Change | "Calm Waters" & “White-Water Rapids” View of Organizational Change

Describe the "calm waters" and “white-water rapids” view of organizational change. 

The calm waters view of organizational change envisions the organization as a large ship crossing a calm sea. The ship's captain and crew know exactly where they are going because they have made the trip many times before. Change comes in the form of an occasional storm, a brief distraction in an otherwise calm and predictable trip. In the calm waters metaphor, change is seen as an occasional disruption in the normal flow of events.

It is best illustrated by Kurt Lewin's 3-step description of the change process.

According to Lewin, successful change can be planned and requires unfreezing the status quo, changing to a new state, and refreezing to make the change permanent. The status quo can be considered an equilibrium state. To move from this equilibrium, unfreezing is necessary. Unfreezing can be thought of as preparing for the needed change. It can be achieved by increasing the driving forces, which are forces pushing for change; by decreasing the restraining forces, which are forces that resist change and push behavior toward the status quo; or by combining the two approaches.

Once unfreezing is done, the change itself can be implemented. However, merely introducing change does not ensure that it will take hold. The new situation needs to be refrozen so that it can be sustained over time. Unless this last step is done, there is a strong chance that employees will revert back to the old ways of doing things. The objective of refreezing, then, is to stabilize the new situation by reinforcing the new behaviors.

Lewin's 3-step process treats change as a move away from the organization's current equilibrium state. It is a calm waters scenario where an occasional disruption means changing to deal with the disruption. Once the disruption has been dealt with, however, things can continue on under the new changed situation. 

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Social Responsibility | 4 Approaches That Organizations Can Take With Respect to Environmental Issues & Going Green

Explain the four approaches that organizations can take with respect to environmental issues and going green.  

a. Legal approach - This approach is also known as the light green approach. Under this approach, organizations simply do what is required legally. They exhibit little environmental sensitivity. They obey laws, rules, and regulations without legal challenge. This approach illustrates social obligation.
b. Market approach - As an organization becomes more sensitive to environmental issues, it may adopt this approach. Here, organizations respond to the environmental preferences of their customers. Whatever customers demand in terms of environmentally-friendly products is what the organization provides. This approach illustrates social responsiveness.
c. Stakeholder approach - Here, the organization works to meet the environmental demands of multiple stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, or community. This approach also illustrates social responsiveness.
d. Activist approach - If an organization pursues this approach, it looks for ways to protect the earth's natural resources. It is also known as the dark green approach. This approach reflects the highest degree of environmental sensitivity and illustrates social responsibility.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Social Responsibility | Compare & Contrast - Social Obligation, Social Responsiveness, & Social Responsibility

Compare and contrast the ideas of social obligation, social responsiveness, and social responsibility. 

Social obligation occurs when a firm engages in social actions because of its obligation to meet its economic and legal responsibilities. The organization does only what it is obligated to do and nothing more. This idea reflects the classical view of social responsibility that says that management's only social responsibility is to maximize profits.

In contrast to social obligation, however, both social responsiveness and social responsibility reflect the socioeconomic view. According to this view a manager's social responsibilities go beyond making profits to include protecting and improving society's welfare. This view is based on the belief that corporations are not independent entities responsible only to stockholders, but have an obligation to the larger society.

Social responsiveness occurs when a company engages in social actions in response to some popular social need. Managers are guided by social norms and values and make practical, market-oriented decisions about their actions. A socially responsible organization views things differently. It goes beyond what it is obligated to do or chooses to do because of some popular social need and does what it can to help improve society because it is the right thing to do.

Social responsibility is defined as a business's intention, beyond its legal and economic obligations, to do the right things and act in ways that are good for society. A socially responsible organization does what is right because it feels it has an ethical responsibility to do so.

Source: Management, 11e (Robbins/Coulter)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Control | Major Reasons Why The Control Function is Important to Managers?

What are the major reasons why the control function is important to managers?

Control is important because it's the only way managers know whether organizational goals are being met and if not, the reasons why. 

The value of the control function can be seen in three specific areas: planning, empowering employees, and protecting the workplace. 

As the final step in the management process, controlling provides the critical link back to planning. 

If managers didn't control, they'd have no way of knowing whether their goals and plans were being achieved and what future actions to take. 
The second reason controlling is important is because of employee empowerment. Many managers are reluctant to empower their employees because they fear employees will do something wrong for which they would be held responsible. Many managers are tempted to do things themselves and avoid empowering. But an effective control system can provide information and feedback on employee performance, thus reducing potential problems. The final reason that managers control is to protect the organization and its assets. Today's environment brings heightened threats from natural disasters, financial scandals, workplace violence, supply chain disruptions, security breaches, and even possible terrorist attacks. Managers must have plans in place to protect the organization's employees, facilities, data, and infrastructure. Having comprehensive controls and backup plans will help assure minimal work disruptions.