1. How can you prepare yourself to become an effective manager in an increasingly uncertain and global business environment?
2. Would the task environment for a cellular phone company contain the same elements as that for a government welfare agency? Discuss.
3. What do you think are the most important forces in the external environment creating uncertainty for organizations today? Do the forces you identified typically arise in the task environment or the general environment?
4. Contemporary best-selling management books often argue that customers are the most important element in the external environment. Do you agree? In what company situations might this statement be untrue?
5. Why do you think many managers are surprised by environmental changes and hence are less able to help their organizations adapt?
6. Why are interorganizational partnerships so important for today’s companies? What elements in the current environment might contribute to either an increase or decrease in interorganizational collaboration? Discuss.
7. Many companies are “going green” or adopting environmentally friendly business strategies. Clorox, for example, now offers an eco-friendly household cleaner called Green Works. How do companies benefit from going green?
8. Cultural symbols are usually noticed through sight, sound, touch, and smell. For example, Abercrombie retail stores use music, attractive models, and fragrance to communicate elements of its retail store culture. Why are symbols important to a corporate culture?
9. Both China and India are rising economic powers. How might your approach to doing business with Communist China be different from your approach to doing business with India, the world’s most populous democracy? In which country would you expect to encounter the most rules? The most bureaucracy?
10. General Electric is famous for firing the lowest-performing 10 percent of its managers each year. With its strict no-layoff policy, Valero Energy believes people need to feel secure in their jobs to perform their best. Yet both are high-performing companies. How do you account for the success of such opposite philosophies?