1. Review the definition of management at the beginning of the chapter and briefly define each of the 4 functions. What are the challenges in carrying out these functions in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace?
Planning- Determining organizational goals and action plans for how to achieve those goals. Organizing- determining a structure for both individual jobs and the overall organization. Leading-directing and motivating people to achieve organizational goals. Controlling-monitoring performance and making adjustments as needed. The challenge in planning is that planning is essentially forecasting future actions and events. Most actions or events are dependent upon contingencies that must occur in order for the plan to be successful. The highly competitive nature of today’s marketplace requires planning that can accommodate changes so management plans continue to stay on target.
2. How has the role of the manager changed in the last couple of decades? What forces have driven the changes?
The old concept of a manager was one that drives employee’s to work. The assumption with this model is that people that come to work do not necessarily want to work and that micro-management techniques and a heavy hand over employees is the only thing that will motivate them to complete work according to company requirements. Now however, the new theory of management is one where the employee is expected to be more of a self-managing professional. The manager’s role is more inspirational, leading by example and instructing employees rather than “lording over” them. This change has occurred primarily in response to evidence that has found that employees who are satisfied with their workplace and enjoy their job are more highly motivated, higher producing and more focused on the interests of the company.
3. Define technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. How do these three skills connect with the different levels of management? How do critical thinking and decision- making skills come into play?
Technical- Expertise in a specific functional area or department Human- the ability to work effectively with and through other people in a range or different relationships. Conceptual- the ability to grasp a big picture view of the overall organization, the relationships among its various parts, and its fit in the broader competitive environment.
Front-line managers must have a high degree of technical skills, which help them hire, train, and evaluate employees; avoid mistakes; and ensure high quality production. Middle-level managers need an especially high level of human skills. They typically act as the bridge between departments, coordinating people and projects that sometimes have mismatched priorities. Top-level managers must demonstrate excellent conceptual skills in order to formulate a vision, interpret marketplace trends, and plan for the future.
4. Which theory of motivation do you find most compelling? What factors should you consider when choosing a motivational approach? Explain your answers.
Personally, expectancy theory is the most compelling. I believe motivation is self-created. Therefor the reward is also self-created. For example, going for a run requires self-motivation, the self-reward is feeling better about yourself and looking better in return. You should consider the reward, the cost, the supply and the demand.
5. Outline the three levels of management planning in terms of scope of planning and typical questions and concerns. Why does communication withim the organization play such a vital role in effective planning?
Strategic planning: Senior Management, Typically five-years time frame
Should we acquire a new company? Should we begin manufacturing in China? Should we expand to overseas markets? Should we take our company public?
Tactical planning: Middle management, Typically one-year time frame Should we spend more time servicing each customer? Should we hire a public relations agency to handle PR? Should we spend fewer ad dollars on TV and more on the web?
Operational planning: First line management, daily, weekly and monthly TF How should we schedule employees this week? When should we schedule delivery for each batch of product? How should customer service people answer the phones?
Successful firms often encourage flow of feedback up and down the organization to ensure that all key plans are sound and that all key players “buy in.”
6. What is the purpose of a mission statement? Why are the most effectictive mission statements simple, vivid, and compelling?
The mission defines the organization’s purpose, values, and core goals, providing the framework for all other plans. It is simple, vivid and compelling so that the employees from the janitor to the CEO, from the customers to investors can easily understand.
7. Name five potential sources of competitive advantage that might be strengths in a SWOT analysis. Are these advantages likely to change over time? Why or why not?
Premium brand name, proven management team, lower costs/ higher margins, diverse workforce, higher consumer demand. I think these are definitely likely to change simply cause who knows how long you can maintain a low cost, high margin company. Anything can happen.
8. What are the pros and cons of each key organizational structure? Which do you think would be the best fit for you? Explain your answer.
Pros: simple and efficient and the result tends to be a strong corporate image and a uniform customer approach across the front lines.
Cons: typically respond more lowly to customer needs and have lower employee morale.
Span of Control:
Pros & cons are determined based on the abilities of both the manager and the subordinates, the nature of the work being done, the location of the employees, and the need for planning and coordinating.
Pros: quick decision making and no fuzziness about who is responsible for what. Cons: lack of specialists to provide advice or support line managers. Inflexibility, too much paper work and even incompetence.
Same pros as line organizations without all the drawbacks.
Pros: encourages teamwork and communication. Offers flexibility, lends itself to innovative solutions. Creates a higher level of motivation and satisfaction for employees. Cons: The need for constant communication can bog down a company in too many meetings. The steady state of flux can be overwhelming for both manager and employees. And having two bosses can cause conflict and stress for everyone.
I think Spans of Control fits me best because I work best based off the location, manager, work being done and the planning and coordinating.
9. What are the characteristics of effective leaders? What leadership style do most effective leaders use?
Leaders are trustworthy, visionary, and inspiring. Also includes empathy, courage, creativity, intelligence, and fairness. I think Democratic Leaders are the most effective.
10. If an employee falls short of meeting his or her goals, what factors should a manager consider before engaging in disciplinary action? Explain your answer.
I think disciplining employees for poor performance should come only after exploring the reasons for not meeting goals and making changes if necessary.
“Planning – The Practice of Proactively Structuring.” Planning – The Practice of Proactively Structuring. 4Shared, n.d. Web.
Kelly/Williams, Introduction to Business, BUSN Student Edition 7