It has always been the goal of man to be able to describe humanity and the world in which they live in. In doing this, we are inclined to search for answers, to find resolutions to our needs and problems. Decisions become important and the ability to use knowledge to make intelligent choices become essential. It is not such a wonder then that through all those years, man has developed countless theories and practices and had reinforced them with countless examples. In the world of management and leadership, the conventional approach to things involves a rigid and tested way of creating solutions.
Traditional management science, furthermore, involves the use of computational processes to organizational decision making. It starts off with the recognition and definition of the problem in the real world. The ultimate goal then is to find what is needed is to be able to bridge what the present situation lacks to what the intended result is. It is a beginning of the search for improvement. Conventional methods use an idealized and linear manner to fuse the problem and a known pattern or puzzle to create a solvable model.
To make a good intellectual decision, it is necessary to conduct optimization, forecasting, modeling and simulation, and decision analysis. It involves finding out what the best feasible option is, what it entails for the future and what its result would be for varying situations. Models are used wherein the object is to be able to match a puzzle to represent the problem in the real world. Traditional models such as linear and dynamic programming, queuing, discrete-event simulation and causal models are used and from all of these, ultimately the best decision is made.
This discipline has become integrated to the basic field of management and has become a standard for various functions of business. (Whalen, 2001) In the context of marketing, traditional methods of simplification and reduction to formulae are used. Highly structured devices, pre-determined market and brand standards are employed to achieve desirable goals. Marketers are the one controlling and driving these goals and therefore consumers respond to this. (McKernon)
Robbins, in the article of Summers et al. , further reinforces these patterns of cause and effect by relating organizational behavior through scientific methods. The real world is “mirrored” by organizational behavior through methods of investigating behavior”. (Summers, 1997) Robbins argues that most of the generalizations of man are made on the basis of intuition, not proven facts and thus investigation is needed. Intuition is likened to common sense and that, most of the times, it is inaccurate. Robbins further explains that common sense is different for different groups of people and that investigation tackles diversity. By investigating, managers can better and more precisely handle and predict the behavior of their personnel.
This investigation must be coupled with good research especially on the comparison and weighing trade-offs. The use of case studies, surveys, and experiments must be implemented. Robbins further reiterates that generalizations and conclusions must be based on systematic study, scientific evidence supported by verified data. Organizational behavior knowledge is attained by avoiding intuitive approach and focusing more on knowledge based on meta-quantification analysis and surveys. (Summers, 1997) The leader or manager eventually uses these techniques to properly guide the organization and his/her employees.
Optimal leadership ultimately depends on internal and external factors. In the organizational behavior perspective, leaders use contingencies such as national culture, gender and race to improve and strengthen the relationship with subordinates. This contingency theory theoretically provides the manager with the capability to independently make decisions and to do amendments necessary to obtain the desired result. Summers et al. , argue that this is a one-sided view. The conventional organizational behavior methods only show how managers can exercise their influence on the workers but not the other way around.
Traditional ways involve exploitation and discipline and encourages an ideology of domination. “Managers are taught skills in getting workers to accept the status quo, to get ahead and to get along with others but not to question the game plan”. (Summers, 1997) As evident in the deconstruction of Robbins article, Summers et al. propose a de-emphasis on this rigid structure of conventional management. Whalen et al advocate this postmodern view and puts focus on discourses and de-emphasized precise and fixed meanings. With this premise, the dynamic quality in knowledge is established.
Soft computing is rallied to be a faster, more creative approach to solutions although admittedly, it welcomes inaccuracy and ambiguity. In the perspective of knowledge management, however, this postmodern approach provides ways for problem management that cannot be quantified through mathematical computations. Whalen et al. further discuss three types of knowledge approach, creation by means of evolutionary and neurocomputing, deployment through decision support systems, and discovery by data mining, applied virtual reality and data visualization.
In neural methods, the model build on gathered data and experimentation and proceeds by the random systematic search. The model is based on a fixed database and relies on the matching that of an existent criterion. With experimentation, on the other hand, the aim is to look for an action from a set of choices and parameters that would result to the desired outcome. Decision support systems may also use the case-based approach. Knowledge is derived from various case studies and banks on experiential logic to create the optimal response to a problem.
Moreover, data mining utilizes different techniques to look for patterns that associate and correlate various fields of databases. Data visualization and virtual reality applications likewise bring the important contribution of human perception that is irreplaceable by artificial computer simulations. Whalen et al. stress the importance of humanizing the decision process and that the organization’s stakeholders are best catered to when managers are able to produce the right choices that assert the organization’s goals and mission.
As the world is getting more complex and dynamic, a postmodern stance must be advocated and that this will “greatly advance our ability to understand how humans make perception based rational decisions in an environment of imprecision, uncertainty and partial truth” (Whalen, 2001) The postmodernism approach also applies to consumer marketing. The media and marketing are important to aid the people in knowing and explaining the things around them and the events that are occurring. While the consumers are getting smarter, a need for a more suited method arises.
In postmodern marketing, the styles of consuming and strategies of the consumer are given more emphasis and focus. In an environment that is mobile and complex, sustainable dynamic techniques must be employed. This approach challenges diversity and creates avenues for discourse among differing people. This is beneficial to managers, employees, consumers, and stakeholders alike. With the right facilitation of information, a brand can reach more of its market and thus generate more favorable returns. Postmodernist approach also banks on the use of critique and story-telling for consumers.
Effective stories would be able to connect to the consumer and that its result relies on its ability to provide the consumers with meaning and explanations. Critique, on the other hand, is essential for a brand in that it generates feedback; whether it was a success or not depends on the informed reactions of the users. Reinvention and smooth changing of styles are important techniques in a rapidly changing world. A careful way of guiding the consumers from the familiar and traditional to the contemporary and new must be done with good aptitude. McKernon) It is a fact that the world has increasingly become more complex and ever-changing. At the very least, the knowledge that we have to gain and understand about life in general is much more vast and challenging and that traditional methods and techniques for problem solving, whether in organizational behavior or marketing might actually be lacking in such that they may not be able to solve and explain the entirety of the world’s troubles and unquantifiable conceptions.
It is therefore imperative that a healthy mix of traditional and postmodernist approach to business and management be utilized to be able to grasp more of what the world is telling us. Leaders, employees, customers and stakeholders alike must be able to make informed decisions and take into consideration the various models, theories and practices both old and new for them to make real and objective sense of the world and its organization.