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Importance of Line or Staff Departments and Methods of Effecting Change Essay

Which type of department (line or staff) is most important to an organization? Why? Could an organization function without either of them? Why or why not?

In every organization, authority is divided in order to make sure the firm is successful. This division ensures that no one department is responsible for everything. As an organization grows, there must be two departments that are given the authority to make decisions to benefit the firm. These are the Line department and the Staff department. While both have management authority, there are certain differences. Line departments “headed by a line manager, are the departments established to meet the objectives of the business and directly influence the success (profitability) of a business.” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 7) These managers are on the frontline, responsible for producing goods, marketing and distribution.

“Line managers who head such departments exercise line authority” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 7) Staff departments “headed by a staff manager, provide assistance to the line departments and to each other.” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 7) These managers are there for support, giving advice, service and assistance. Examples of staff departments may include: the I.T. department, legal or Human recourses. While not directly contributing to the firm’s objectives, they are there to lend a helping hand.

In my experience, it is the line department that is most important to the success and profitability of the company. While it may be agued that without the staff department one couldn’t market and sell the goods and services produced by the line department. But it is ultimately it is the line department that generates the revenue to sustain the company and there fore is most important. Granted that one cannot function without the other, and it is that synergy that ensures longevity and further success of the organization.

Discuss three (3) different methods of effecting change. Why are most organizations and individuals resistant to change? What can managers do to facilitate change? Use practical examples from your experience or knowledge, and describe your experience in implementing change.

Effecting change in one’s environment can be a daunting task. Many individuals are reluctant to change and react differently when it occurs. “Most will accept the need to learn new skills and update their knowledge, but most resent efforts to change their attitudes” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 8) To solve this problem Kurt Lewin developed a three-step approach that consists of three phases, unfreezing, change, and refreezing.

In the first step unfreezing, mangers must identify and discover the source or cause of the deficient behavior. “They confront the individual with the behavior and the problem it causes; they then begin to convince the him or her to change by suggesting methods and offering incentives.” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 8) This step is the foundation to helping the insubordinate employee open up an discuss why this deficient behavior is occurring. Often time this causes the employee to become emotional and upset.

The second step change, the employee discomfort increases. This will cause the employee to question their reasons for their conduct, it is then that the manager has the chance to provide a role model to foster the preferred behavior. “As the individual adopts that behavior, performance will improve; but the manager must support and reinforce that behavior if it is to last.” (Plunkett, Alan, Attner, 2013, Ch 8)

In the third step refreezing, new desired behaviors should be rewarded. Frequent praise at first is important for the continuation of preferred behaviors. Also, if any incentive was promised, then it must be honored. Failure to do so will cause a reversion to old deficient behavior and the manager would have to start again.

In my experience, cold calling is a requirement to draw up business. Earlier last year, sales were down. An increase in production was needed to boost our P&L, so management enforced mandatory call nights. Each employee was given a list of clients to set appointments. Many of the veteran employees saw this as a waste of time, and although they attended, did little or no work. Management sat with each of these employees individually to figure out what the cause of the issue was. Management created a reward system in which the employee with the most booked appointments gets a free lunch the next day and the employee with the most booked business from these appointments gets to take off the next two Mondays. This incentive had everyone dialing clients consistently and business increased dramatically. To reinforce these behaviors, a scoreboard was put up and the leading 5 employees numbers were updated weekly. Giving a competitive twist to this approach really helped motivation for production, especially in sales.

Plunkett, R. W., Allen, S. G., & Attner, F. R. (2013). Ch 7 Organizing Principles, Ch 8 Organizational Design, Culture and Change . Management: meeting and exceeding customer expectations (10th ed., ). : Mason, OH :.

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