Monday, May 17, 2010

Chapter 18 - Resisting Change

Chapter 18 defines the resistance of change into 11 reasons

An individual's predisposition towards change
Surprise and fear of the unknown
Climate of mistrust
Fear of failure
Loss of status or job security
Peer Pressure
Disruption of cultural traditions or group relationships
Personality conflicts
Lack of tact or poor timing
Non reinforcing reward systems
Past success

This provides a clear understanding of the common reasons why some people simply hate change. After reading it, I know what are the main points to address when I have to be the one that issues change. Most of these feelings of uncertainty because of change can be combated with in depth information. For example, people wouldn't be that worried about the loss of status if they are well informed of it and how to combat it beforehand. The fear of change is mainly due to the lack of information.

Personally, I resist change mainly because of the surprise and fear of the unknown. There is so much that is unpredictable when it comes to change. I think that's a lot of peoples' concern as well; what is the unpredictable. You can inform someone of change to the extent of what you know is going to happen, but what you don't know is the issue that most people are afraid of. The best that one can do is throw out some educated guesses but that's it. That's my personal reason on why change can be viewed as more negative than positive.

Chapter 17 - Dell and its Single Formula Growth

There was a very interesting article in Chapter 17. It talked about the growth and decline of Dell Computers. Dell is a company that does one thing well and thats selling computers at a cheap price. It doesn't have any retail stores so it avoids overhead fees. They do all their business online. This business model has worked great for Dell, until recently.

The problem is that thats all Dell does. It relies on one formula for its success. The problem is, according to the article, is that when the company exhausts its one forumla, the company starts declining. It needs to start a new growth platform while it can, as there is no point in waiting. Dell is slowly slipping into decline and if it does not change its strategy, they will lose a lot of market share.
The reinstatement of founder Michael Dell as CEO seems to be a good change for Dell. He claims that although his company's main business strategy will always remain it's best one, he want's to implement other strategies to effectively bring the company back up. This is the mark of an organization being effective.

Chapter 15 - Making a Good Impression

Constantly I would hear the same advice before I went to an interview. "Dress to impress. It is better to overdress than underdress. A firm handshake and eye contact will take you far." Are all these techniques proven to give off a good first impression? Or are these formalities overplayed?

In chapter fifteen, impressions, influence, and empowerment are discussed. I was most interested in the section that talked about how much an impression can affect one's work life. There are three types of impression tactics:

Job Focused: manipulating information about ones performance
Supervisor Focused: praising and doing favors for one's supervisor
Self Focused: presenting oneself as polite and kind

It seems as most of these focus around the art of deceiving. I think the best way to make a good impression is by taking the initiative and going above and beyond, like that which was suggested in an excerpt on page 454. One should not try to go out of their way to look as if they deserve recognition when they could spend that time doing something that would ultimately bring them recognition.

Chapter 14 - Privacy in the Internet Age

Chapter fourteen talks about the fastest growing form of communication, internet communication. Although it is filled with advantages, I would like to talk about a very important disadvantage, privacy.

The internet is full of opportunities to make money. Unfortunately, one of the best ways to make money is collecting private information. A rising problem is Facebook. Users of Facebook are giving away a ton of information and most people don't even know they're doing it. Facebook is gathering a lot of information, whether it'd be your demographics or the things you like. Information that is unique and information advertisers would love to get a hold of.

Another example would be the one that was discussed in the book. Google bought this company called Neven Vison which specializes in analyzing and reading facial expressions. This would be great information to buy as well, as advertisers would love to see how their consumers react to ads or webpages, be it a smile or a frown. There is a lot of controversy behind this as people are generally not to keen on having their facial expression read to the benefit of advertising.

Privacy infringement is a growing concern, and the internet is adding fuel to the fire.

Chapter 13 - Cross Culture Conflict

Chapter 13 is all about different types of conflicts. I think one of the most important conflicts that constantly arise, is the cross culture conflict. Cross culture conflict can really make or break a deal, and these deals are often very crucial if they are international in the first place. It is very important to learn how a culture deals with business before engaging them.

I once read an article on how different American contract signings are from Japanese ones. American contract signings would usually consist of a company representative that has the authority to sign a contract and the specialist of the department which will be affected the most by the contract signing. Japanese contract signings would usually have a large team of maybe ten company representatives. Unlike American culture, a contract signing in Japan can take well over a week of constant meetings, negotiation, and simply getting to know one another. While in American culture, contract signings are usually brief, and centered around profit margins as opposed to positive business relationships.

If one were to do international business without knowing the culture of the country they are intending to do business with, conflict, that could have been easily avoided, would indefinitely surface.

Chapter 12 - Basic Intuition

We've all experienced basic intuition to an extent. It could be small, such as calling the all-in bet on the river of a poker game when you only have a pair of twos. It could be buying stock in Apple when it was falling. It could even be going to Dominican when everyone else tells you to go to a different school. We make decisions based off our intuition, or gut feeling, all the time. Whether it turns out good or bad is a whole different story.

Chapter twelve focuses a lot on individual decision making and one form of decision making is simply intuition. Our book defines it as "a process, intuition is automatic and involuntary." The book also provides an excellent example of a great decision that was made because of intuition. The decision was Ray Kroc purchasing Mcdonalds from the Mcdonald brothers. It wasn't a rational decision at the time, but that didn't stop Ray from making $500 million from the purchase.

Sometimes you have to trust your gut on decisions that don't seem right on the surface. It's often these decisions that will net you the most profit. But that doesn't mean you should avoid using rationality as well. The best decisions that you can make are the ones that include both rationality with intuition.

Group Dynamics

Chapter 10 on group dynamics is a very important chapter for everyone to read and make note of. Working in teams successfully is one of the most important skills for anybody to learn. One checklist of sorts, is Tuckman's model. Tuckman provides a 5 step model to follow to successful progress in a group or team. His model is: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. The stages are described in the book like this, "How do I fit in?, What's my role? What do others expect of me?, How can I best perfume my role, and What's next?" His original model had only four points, and adjourning was added later.

This model has been used by many since 1965, so much so that it seems to be more common sense than a theory. I think it is a good model to follow. It addresses the process needed to get tasks done in a group. In groups, if one were to follow this, I believe that the group as a whole would benefit. If used properly, the model can help prevent conflict and confusion on roles and everything as a whole.

J Welch ans S Welch, "From the Old, Something New," BusinessWeek, p 124

Chapter 11 Top-Ranked MBA program

Chapter 11 talks a lot about group processes and I think the perfect example that they provided would have to be the one about how Queens University got ranked the top school for an MBA. The reason they are the best, is that they treat their students more like employees. They assign their students to small teams that are kept throughout the whole program, and they would make sure that each team member would have different backgrounds so conflict would arise. I believe this is a great strategy on preparing the students for the real world. In real world applications, people are forced to work with smaller groups and they don't get to choose them, unlike classroom exercises.

The pros of such a practice is that the students are simply more prepared for the real world through this system. They learn to deal with conflicts and problems that wouldn't normally deal with if they were in a conventional program. Because of this, students will have more experience in team environments.

The cons to such a system is that it might be too much of a job environment. Working long office-hours being assigned to a cubicle to work on assignments and projects could seem too much like an actual job. Except that the students are paying the school.

Although there are cons to this system, it is far outweighed by the pros. Queens University is differentiating themselves from other schools, and it's working. Why else would they be ranked as the top MBA program in the world.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stress Reduction

Reducing stress improves the work environment and often leads to higher efficiency. In order to reduce stress, one needs to be able to first define stress. In chapter 18, I found a section which explains what stress is and how it affects us. The text defines stress as, “an adaptive response, mediated by individual characteristics and/or psychological processes, that is a consequence of any external action, situation, or event that places special physical demands upon a person.”
Stress and methods to reduce it varies from person to person. It is important that people research their personal experience to understand the causes and activities that aid in clearing their mind. An effective manager ensures the efficiency of their department while also setting realistic deadlines to keep stress to a minimum. Stress at the appropriate level can be healthy and encourage hard work.

Organization Design in a Changing World

In chapter 17, a sectioned titled “Organization Design in a Changing World,” discusses various structures that have been used in management. It discusses traditional designs along with the functional structure, divisional structure, and matrix structure. These structures are found in organizations which are typically defined as “the traditional approach.”
A functional structure groups people based on the function they perform and links them with a supervisor who specifically understands their function. A divisional structure groups together activities which work together to complete the product. This allows them to focus on their specific task and share ideas to improve the product. The matrix structure is intended to create a stronger horizontal alignment and is effective when the organization needs to focus on a particular goal.

Power Corrupts

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This has been proven throughout history and is the reason the word power evokes passionate reactions. “Power must be used because managers must influence those they depend on. Power also is crucial in the development of manager’s self-confidence and willingness to support subordinates.” By accepting this reality that power is necessary to our way of life, it is important that we understand how to avoid abusing power. If a manager lacks power, the department’s efficiency will be impacted and the same is to be said if they apply too much pressure.

Management by Walking Around

A section titled “Management by Walking Around” discusses a technique where managers walk throughout the organization and communicate with all levels and departments. Employees favor this method because they often prefer to hear information directly from their manager. It is much more effective than sending an email. This section is informative and offers six different tips when managing this way.
They recommend dedicating a certain amount of time each week without a cell phone which could become a distraction. It is not effective if the manager is distracted during these walks. The next suggestion is to use active listening and to discuss casual topics not always related to business. Showing interest and positively responding to feedback builds stronger working relationships and develops trust amongst the organization.
In my opinion, “Management by Walking Around” is vital to being a successful manager. The atmosphere it encourages is an appropriate balance between levels and promotes a flow of communication which is constructive for the organization.

What is Functional Conflict?

It is important to understand functional verses dysfunctional conflict. The text discusses the difference between the two and provides several examples. Certain types of conflict support the goals of the organization and are seen as constructive. This is functional conflict whereas dysfunctional conflict negatively impacts the atmosphere or performance of the organization. When engaged in functional conflict, negotiation is often necessary which promotes a win- win strategy. This is advantageous and can improve the image of the company.

This section is a reminder that we must evaluate the circumstances and pick our conflict wisely. By approaching conflict with the correct attitude, it is possible to improve conditions are keep the business in line with their objectives. Dysfunctional conflict can sometimes appear beneficial at the moment, but can hold unintended consequences.


Humility is a necessary trait for a manager to have. It is “a realistic assessment of one’s own contribution and the recognition of the contribution of others, along with luck and good fortune that made one’s own success possible.” It is vital that a manager acknowledge the hard work of their department and not overestimate their own performance. Although they are trusted with oversight, they are still a member of the team and must act as such.
Lately we have seen several examples of managers who lack humility. Egos get out of control and CEOs take pride in their personal successes. Without their team backing them, their success would not have been possible and it is important that they acknowledge this. The competition capitalism creates presents luck as a factor in reaching success.

Home Depot - Case Study

In chapter 3, they discuss Home Depot and how its management style created problems amongst the organization. A former CEO of Home Depot fostered a hierarchy culture which stripped managers of their ability to efficiently manage. They saved money but the effects where damaging. The financial records where in decent shape but the culture deteriorated. The individual stores lacked the ability to modify their inventory to what was fitting to the climate. As a result, the stores where stocked with goods for the wrong season.
This example indicates the impact of management on the organization. Had the top executives respected the decisions of management, Home Depot would have been able to provide a better experience for their customers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

ch 12

In chapter 12 it talked about individual and group decision making. The rational model caught my attention because the first step is to identify the problem, and then generate alternatives solutions, selecting the solutions, and implementing and evaluating the solution. My process of figuring out a solution is always indentifying the problem, freaking out a little bit, then selecting the first solution I come up with even though it isn’t the best one. It could be that I didn’t take in the whole information which the book said, which can make it difficult for me to make optimal decisions. This website I got information of how you can become a better decision maker, which hopefully will help me in the future.
Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem to be solved? Why it should be solved?
Gather information. What factors does the problem involve?
Identify the principles to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgement criteria should the solution meet?
Brainstorm and list different possible choices. Generate ideas for possible solutions. See more on extending your options for your decisions on my brainstorming tips page.
Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences. Use your standards and judgement criteria to determine the cons and pros of each alternative.
Determine the best alternative. This is much easier after you go through the above preparation steps.
Put the decision into action. Transform your decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute your plan.
Evaluate the outcome of your decision and action steps. What lessons can be learnt? This is an important step for further development of your decision making skills and judgement.

ch 10

In chapter 10 it talked about Groups and social networking and how it all starts with 2 or more people freely interacting sharing goals and collecting ideas, then realizing they both share a common identity. As I was reading this chapter it made me realize some of the groups that I am currently in here at school. I also feel that it was easier for me to be in my group because before I came here I played a sport and it a common and quick ice breaker for you to become in a group. Then I thought about being in an all athletic group and a business as my major and how much networking you do. The chapter then talked about women facing an uphill battle in mixed gender task groups. I found an article and video of how that the Navy is now letting females on the submarines for the very first time now.

CH 6

In chapter 6 it talked about counter productive work behaviors and really caught my attention. It said that “these behaviors harm employees and the organization as a whole. It also includes theft, white collar crime, absenteeism, tardiness, drugs and alcohol abuse, disciplinary problems, accidents, sabotage, sexual harassment, and violence. “In an article I found its talked about how violence at work are reaching at a high level in some parts of the country. "Bullying, harassment, mobbing and allied behaviors can be just as damaging as outright physical violence," the authors say. "Today, the instability of many types of jobs places huge pressures on workplaces, and we're seeing more of these forms of violence." In a sports team when a team member gets upset and throws a tantrum during practice it can always bring moral down and to cause an awkward feeling to the rest of the team. The only way for a coach to not let it affect the team is to kick that one person out and to let them cool off.
Amble, Brian. Violence at work has reached epidemic levels. 15 Jun 2006. 7 5 2010 .

Ch 3

In chapter 3 it talked about organization culture and how important it and how it can impact the employees motivation, satisfaction, and turnover. Southwest is also able to maintain low employee turnover and high job satisfaction by creating a positive, employee focused culture. I think that it’s true that if you feel that your organization is taking care of you, you feel that your also obligation to take care of the company and making sure your setting good and positive examples to customers and other people as well. There are also different types of organizational culture such as clan culture which has an internal focus and values flexibility rather than stability and control. One company that is considered a clan company would be Zappos’s a company that sells shoes. They encourage their employees to be free and fun, while still maintaining a productive work environment.
Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

ch 2

In chapter 2 it talked about diversity and how important it is in the business world. In the book diversity is described as the individual differences that make people different from and similar to each other. It’s not an issue of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. The chapter also talked about the positive and negative effects of a diverse work environment and it said that having a diverse environment helps attract and retain the most talented employees also makes a good business sense. In an article I found it’s said "Diversity efforts can silence open and honest communication," McLaurin says. "That's bad for both the company and the individual." Misperceptions about different cultures have become stumbling blocks for communication. McLaurin explains that at times non-minority managers want to give constructive criticism but they're afraid someone will accuse them of being racist.
"Handling conflict in a diverse work environment; find the right place and time to air your differences". Black Enterprise. 07 May, 2010.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five Bases of Power

Chapter 15 discusses the five bases of power social power, as presented by the work of John French and Bertram Raven. The five bases of power are reward, coercive, legitimate, expert, and referent. A person can obtain compliance from another person by exerting these types of social influence, and sometimes people don't even know they are doing it. Knowledge of these types of social influences that lead to power can help one to behave morally or immorally, and can help one to further their progress in an organization. The exertions of these types of power can also be beneficial or hurtful to an organization's objectives, depending on how they are used by an individual to gain power. For example, reward power can be detrimental to the effectiveness of teamwork because a reward system might increase competition among individuals and make others feel left out. The organization of the reward system is crucial in this regard. Another example is coercive power, which can cause an individual to feel manipulated, or simply used as a stepping stone for another's benefit. Each type of social influence leaves a lasting imprint on the relationships between individuals in every organization.

Social power is about influence. "When we're involved with other people (children, bosses, IRS agents) our ability to satisfy our desires (freedom) has a lot to do with how successfully we influence those people or resist their efforts to influence us in ways we don't want." Social power has an effect on how people feel in work settings and job satisfaction. Social power is not only power that comes from formal authority, but also sources which we do not always acknowledge, and has a large effect on how people move through organizations and relate to others. Even those who are not in formal positions can exert social influence and gain a lot of power over relationships and decisions made within an organization.

Atlee, John S. "Democracy: A social power analysis." The Co-Intelligence Institute. 1952. Date Accessed: 06 May 2010.

Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fueling the fires of change

It's almost appropriate that this, my last blog post of the school year, is being written while listening to "Innocent at Once" by Fat Jon, off his album Repaint Tomorrow. If you aren't listening to him, then click this link and get ready to fire up your music download service, because this guy will change your life.

But enough of this. It's been a great semester... academically, that is. I'm not one for meeting people and making lots of friends. With the summer comes new routines and responsibilities. I'm going to be working more, spending more time hiking (one of my favorite outdoor activities) and spending some time in Santa Cruz with friends. Yes, it's going to be a glorious summer, but before I can start thinking about summer, I want to talk a little about change, because it's all around us. Make sure you're listening to that Fat Jon track as you read this post. It'll help.

I know I'm a lot older than most of my classmates. I'm 24. Yeah, I'm an old-timer. I was born in the 80's, and I'm gearing up to graduate after next semester. We're all going to graduate, and we're all going to start careers. Some of us are going to get married and start families. Some will go on to be titans of industry. Hell, we may have a couple future congressmen in our midst. The point is that change comes at you fast. But the same can also be said for business. It's changing, and it's because of us, and we don't even realize it.

20 years ago, nobody had computers in their home. 15 years ago, the Internet was just sowing the seeds for growth. 10 years ago, cell phones were much less common. A lot has changed in our lifetimes. We are buying and consuming products at a rate unseen in history, and the products we are craving are so new and so unprecedented, that the entire business paradigm has shifted. In ten years, cell phones went from black and white screens, no SMS messaging, and a high price tag to tiny touch-screen devices that cost a couple hundred dollars. The average cell phone is exponentially faster than the ENIAC computer used in the 40's, at the time the most advanced computer on earth.

Why is this important? Because we are the first generation to ever grow up and reach maturity in an environment like this. 50 years ago, everything we take for granted today was science fiction. The Internet has changed the game. Forever.

And that fact, that we grew up in this world- the world of today- makes us valuable. We have a perspective, a worldview, that is so far beyond our counterparts born a mere 20 years before us, that business has no choice but to change to meet us at the gate. There is a lot of change going on in business. It's not happening because people want it to, but because people are beginning to realize that it's necessary. People are demanding more financial disclosure, codes of ethics are becoming more important to the consumer, and employees (especially those in our generation) are beginning to feel that they wield more power in the workplace than ever before. People are beginning to demand more of businesses, and the current economic downturn has brought ethics and organizational behavior to the forefront of consumers' minds. This is truly an exciting time. For us. The businesses are pissed.

Chapter 18 of our book has a section that touches up on this exact point: resistance to change. Companies don't want to change, just like people usually don't like to change. I used to have a problem with drinking and smoking too much weed. I didn't like the idea of changing those behaviors because I enjoyed them, and nobody wants to stop doing something they enjoy. But I ultimately decided that those behaviors won't serve me when I start a career and so I stopped smoking pot and I drink a couple nights a week these days (as opposed to getting hammered every single day). The point is, there is always a modicum of resistance to any kind of change, because it takes us out of our normal rhythm, and superimposes a different kind of routine on top of one we were already familiar and comfortable with.

The book has a whole section of chapter 18 about resistance to change, and all the points made by the book are legitimate and understandable, but there are three that I think are the most important things that contribute to a person's (or organization's) resistance to change. These three things are an individual's predisposition toward change, surprise and fear of the unknown, and disruption of cultural traditions or group relationships.

First off, people don't like change. It's traumatic, requires extra effort, and takes people out of the familiar comfort zone to which they have become accustomed. It comes down to where you, as a person, learned how to handle change. During your formative years, if change was often forced upon you without explanation, chances are that you don't trust change, and that you'd rather feel secure with the familiar. This describes me quite accurately. Many of the changes that I endured as a child were forced on me (not without good reason, mind you). As a result, I have a hard time adjusting to new environments, people, or routines. It's very difficult for me to open up in situations I find unfamiliar. This is a difficult problem for me, but I'm trying to work on it.

This pretty much goes hand in hand with surprise and fear of the unknown. I hate things I don't understand or know intimately. I pride myself on my logical mind and inquisitive nature, but nobody can know everything. Nevertheless, when I can see a change coming on the horizon, and I don't know how it will affect me, I tend to get kind of riled up. Businesses are resisting change for the same reason: they don't know what lies on the other side. Humanity as a whole is scared of things we are incapable of quantifying and measuring. We fear death, for instance, because we have no idea what it feels like. Unlike most changes though, death is inevitable. Nobody wants to die, but everybody gets to. Other changes, on the other hand, are sort of discretionary. Change comes to an organization largely by necessity or a strong feeling that the change will benefit the organization as a whole. those working IN the organization, however, may be scared because they don't understand it.

Lastly, disruption of cultural traditions or group relationships is another thing that people largely want to avoid. If you went to work for a company largely because you heard that the culture was really great, and then you got used to that culture, and then they changed it, you'd be upset. Obviously, this falls into the realm of change killing what's familiar. If you're working with a great team in your office, and then all of a sudden, management reassigns half of you and brings in new people, that could be traumatic and frustrating. At all levels of an organization, people make friends and get accustomed to the overall culture of their position, and when those things change, they will fight tooth and nail to defend it (sometimes).

Change is in the air as we speak. We are transitioning from the semester proper into finals week, which is already difficult enough for many people. We are also moving from the school year to the summer. This is a time of mixed feelings for some. They go home and see all their home-town friends, but they're leaving behind the great ones they met at school. Schoolwork is replaced by internships and working a crappy retail job for enough cash for summer and the coming year.

Change is inevitable. It will happen many times throughout our lives, and a lot of it may actually go unnoticed. If your employer goes from using 30 pound creme stock paper to 80 pound eggshell stock paper, you would probably only notice how much nicer the card stock feels, and it wouldn't affect your life very much; but, if your employer started replacing all the phones in the office with payphones, you'd notice. Oh yeah, you'd notice.

And that's it for the blogging for the semester. Ladies and gentlemen, good night and good luck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What is an organization?

The word organization is one we use in our vocabulary all of the time, but how many of us truly know how to define what an organization is. Unless you've taking a course in Organizational Behavior, describes the characteristics of an organization may not be so simple. Chapter 17 focuses on defining what an organization is and also describes different perspectives of an organization. According to the definition in chapter one, an organization is "a system of consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more persons" (Kreitner 502). In a PR Week article titled "CEO Q&A" ING's CEO Arkadi Kuhlman is interviewed about the set up of his company's organization chart along with a few questions of how its composition has recently changed. For example he stated that "the company consolidated corporate, analyst, and product PR under one worldwide umbrella...previously, these functions were handled by separate individuals working independently of one another and reporting to global or regional heads" (Morris 13). The purpose for this, and as outlined in the chapter is to keep an internal motivation and single message of the company. Chapter 17 also defines the four basic dimensions of organizational structure. The first, is hierarchy of authority (who reports to who), the second, is division of labor, third is spans of control, and fourth is line and staff positions. The text also includes an example of how a company's organization chart would be composed.

Morris, Erica. "Organization Chart." PRWeek (U.S.); Apr2010, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p13-13, 1/2p. Business Source Complete

Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

Steps for Leading Organizational Change

John Kotter believes that organizational change normally fails because management has some errors. He then proposed eight steps for leading change in the workplace. This model helps managers to see how to sequence or lead the change process, not help managers to diagnose what needs to be changed. The first four steps, establish a sense of urgency, create the guiding coalition, develop a vision and strategy, and communicate the change vision, all represent the “unfreezing” stage. The next three stages, empower broad-based action, generate short-term wins, and consolidate gains and produce more change, fall in the “changing” stage. Lastly, the last step, anchor new approaches in the culture, represents the “refreezing” stage. These steps help managers shape their behaviors to successful lead organizational change.

In an article called “Five Steps to Effectively Managing Organizational Change”, there are additional ways an organization must follow to find successful change. First they recommend creating “acute awareness of how things are now and how this state of affairs falls short of accomplishing stated goals and objectives. “ Secondly, managers must cherish understanding that something must be done to change the current situation they are in. Thirdly, urgency for change is crucial in order to be accomplished. The fourth step is to “there needs to be a well-thought-out program to ensure the actual adoption of the changes in the way things are done” and rewarding those who perform accordingly. The last step is continuing to solicit feedback on the new ways established and urge further improvements through the employees job tasks.

"Five Steps to Effectively Managing Organizational Change." EzineArticles Submission - Submit Your Best Quality Original Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. .

Lewin;s Change Model

Lewin's Change Model was the landmark work of social psychologist in which most theories of organizational change originated. The model Kurt Lewin created has three stages of planned change including how to initiate, manage and stabalize the change process. These stages are also referred to as unfreezing, changing and refreezing.
Unfreezing is that stage that focuses on the motivation to change attitudes and behaviors to it management standards. Management can begin doing this by disconfirming the usefulness or appropriateness or employees' behaviors and attitudes.
Changing is an organizational change of any proportion that is undertaking to improve the process, procedure, product, service, or outcome of interest to management. In this process you must provide employees with new information, behavioral models, processes and procedures, equipment, technology, or ways of getting a job done.
Refreezing is the stage where employees are being helped to integrate changed behavior or attitudes into their work life. It is important to give the employees a chance to use their changed ways and once they do offering positive reinforcement is a large contributing factor to Lewin's three stage Change Model's success.
The main focus is on improvement, growth and problem solving.

Chapter 18: Model of Change

In chapter eighteen the idea which resonated with me the most said, "Prespective og organizational change is based on the notion that any change, no matter how large or small, has a cascading effect throughout an organization. Therefore, a model is introduced which offers managers framework or model to use for diagnosing what to change and for determining how to evaluate the success of a change effort.

An organizational change is a difficult experience. As posted by a student in her blog, change can be a difficult thing to adapt to; especially when individuals are so used to the same routine. It takes time for someone to get used to a change in the way something is run or organized. It’s difficult and not always pleasing to adjust. It is hard to catch up with the new way of work. This can all prove very disconcerting and sometimes downright depressing. If an individual becomes anxious about the new changes and misses the old customs, it can be emotionally challenging as well.

An article which is titled "The Check, Connect, and Expect Program: A Targeted, Tier 2 Intervention in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Model" by Cheney, Douglas, speaks about the effects of a type of feedback loop for those going through an organizational change. This feedback is necessary when faced with changes and it helps in order to adapt to them. This correaltes with the model change because it helps to diagnose what to change and how to evaluate changes in order for success to take place.

Source: Cheney Douglas. "The Check, Connect, and Expect Program: A Targeted, Tier 2 Intervention in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Model"

Executive Compensation

While reading chapter 18, I came across a section which discussed executive compensation and how it is causing outrage amongst some shareholders. Executive compensation has gotten carried away and some companies are looking to their shareholders to approve the executive-pay practices before putting them into effect.

Because shareholders essentially own a small stake of the company, it is important to recognize their opinions. The price of their stock is dependent on upper managements ability to perform and if they are unimpressed, upper management would receive a less significant bonus.

It is my opinion that executive compensation is way out of control. In this recent recession we witnessed executives receive bonuses for "hard work" even though they ran the company into the ground. By giving shareholders a voice in compensation practices, I believe it will encourage management to earn their bonus rather than wait for them.

Chapter 11

According to Samar Sood, a trainer specializing in team building courses "in reality, the success of team work doesn’t happen by itself. More often than not, it is a result of focused team building efforts and activities. It is a result of strong synergy of individual contributions led and held together by a dynamic leader." A person who is good at working within a team is the one who has the trust of all the members which is accomplish by spending time together, sharing ideas, and just simply by having lunch together.

Chapter 10

Groups and teams are necessary in our day-to-day life. In college, students are often teamed with class mates for class projects and parents serves on community service groups in their community. In a company, managers go to planning meetings with CEO’s to plan the next project of the company. It is obvious that we live as groups and is the primary manner that companies function – by bringing a group of people together to find a solution to a particular problem. For example, CPAs work in groups when they go and audit a company. They collect and process the information separately and after they will meet and discuss the main points and in that way they will reduce the potential mistakes. Managers have an excellent understanding of groups and group processes and so they, as one solid group, will avoid mistakes and they will find the best solution for their particular issues.

Chapter 9

In any business, companies and employers are always trying to improve job performance by giving the employees new goals, feedback, and rewards. In my personal experience working for a retail company, the manager was always giving us new goals, such as trying to increase the average sale per person or by trying to sell the new items in the store. If we succeed in those goals the company will give us a $15 dollar bonus or the opportunity to pick any backpack from the store. We also had monthly meeting with the managers where they told us how was our performance during the month as well as what were our strengths and weaknesses. It is important to keep track of the performance of the employees because it helps the company find those areas that need improvement so the business can continue providing a good service to their clients.

Chapter 8

It is important for everyone to be motivated all the time in order to perform well. Motivation is the desire to achieve a goal, combined with the energy to work towards that goal. For example students who are motivated have a desire to study and complete the requirements of their course. It is the same in the real world where employees who are motivated do an excellent job while those who are lazy do not perform to their best. Companies are always working in different ways to keep their employees motivate by giving them good benefits, such as a good health plan, retirement benefits, and paying for education. By providing benefits, companies want to be sure that their employees are motivated to work for a company that gives then job security and also it keeps them working hard to grow the company.

Chapter 6

A value is a belief or a mission that is meaningful for the individual or company. Everyone has personal values that they follow, they could belief in hard work and punctuality, or be concerned for the wellbeing of others, or trust in self-reliance. According to Southwest Airlines, "Southwest Airlines’ number one priority is to ensure the personal safety of each Southwest customer and employee. Beyond this, we follow "The Golden Rule," which means we treat each other the way we want to be treated, which is why doing the right thing by our employees and customers is so inherent to who we are. We believe in living the Southwest way, which is to have a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart, and a fun-LUVing attitude. Within each of these categories are specific behaviors to help us be a safe, profitable, and fun place to work." This is a clear example of values of a company for their employees and customers. Therefore it is important to have personal values and company values because they will make everyone remember who they are and where they want to go.

Chapter 5

Self-efficacy is important in order to succeed in the business world today because self-efficacy is "a person’s belief about his or her chances to successfully accomplishing a specific project." This concept is extremely important because we live in a world that is fast moving and requires everyone to work harder always push themselves to their limits in order to succeed. As students, we experience self-efficacy because we are constantly challenging ourselves with difficult tasks and keeping ourselves motivated. Students will push themselves and give their greatest effort in order to meet their commitments and if they fail in a task, they will assume all the responsibility, rather than blaming external factors.

Chapter 14

Communication is the key in any relationship, and most importantly at work. Communication by definition is "the exchange of information between a sender and a receiver, and the inference of meaning between the individuals involved." Now that we are advanced in technology and we have the internet, it is easier to communicate. CEO’s can send a letter to share holders, managers, and employees just with a click on the send bottom. There are other mediums used to communicate such as face-to-face, telephone calls, voice mail, video conferencing, writing memos or letters, meetings, and bulletin boards. Choosing the appropriated medium depends on the nature of the message, the audience, the topic to be informed, and finally the personal preferences. Whatever is the medium used it is important to communicate clearly, so the receiver understands the message and avoids any possible misunderstanding. In the class activity completed on Wednesday, we saw how poor communication affects the performance of the employees in a company. I think that it is really important to keep the employees informed of any changes in the company regulations as well as the performance of the company because all these factors affect the employees. By having open communication between managers and employees, the company can work together to solve problems and ultimately be more successful.

Chapter 13

This chapter is about managing conflict and negotiation. Conflicts are always present in daily life, work, school, on the streets. However, there is always a way to find a solution that would make the two parties in conflict come to a compromise. According to Rachel Zupek, writer for CNN online, "Human resource managers report spending 24 to 60 percent of their time, dealing with employee disputes." One of the reasons that work places are experiencing conflict is poor communication to employees that leads to poor leadership decisions. In any cases, early intervention in any conflict is the key to managing the conflict before it becomes an even bigger problem. Managers should give the employees the permission to debate by promoting an open discussion followed by a resolution and in this way; the end result will be more productive. It is always important to keep in mind that direct communication with the other person is the best way to solve the conflict instead of avoiding the conflict and creating an issue in the work place. Also for managers it is important to investigate and document the conflict, as well to take appropriate action.

Chapter 12

In this chapter the author discusses "Individual and Group Decision Making." We all make decisions on a daily basis. From what we are going to eat to what clothes to wear, our decisions impact our lives in many ways. In the business world everything is about making good decisions by identifying a problem and then finding the right solution that leads to a desired result. The book introduced the rational model approach which is used by most managers. "The rational model approach proposes that managers use a four step sequence when making decisions: 1) identifying the problem, 2) generating alternative solutions, 3) selecting a solution, 4) implementing and evaluating the solution." This approach is used by most companies in order to find good solutions to a problem. In the retail industry they use this approach when the stores are not reaching the sales goals of the month. In this case, the managers will meet with the employees to figure out why they are not selling more, then they will find a solution, and finally they will carry out the solution plan and see if it works.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Easing Change

An important section highlighted in Chapter 18 talks about characteristics that are related to resistance towards change. These personal traits include: the employee's commitment towards change, their resilience towards change, their level of self-concept, their tolerance of risk, and their levels of self-efficacy. These characteristics may stem from the "obstacles within the work environment" (Kreitner 537).

In the article, "The Relationship Between Charismatic Leadership, Work Engagement, and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors," Babcock, et. al. study the relationship between charismatic leadership and employee perceptions. Their results suggested that there is a significant and positive relation between charismatic leadership and work engagement.

Charismatic, positive leaders can help pave the way for change by easing their employees into the idea. Great leaders can build trust within the workplace, thus possibly removing the antichange attitudes that may once have existed.

Source: Babcock-Roberson, Meredith Elaine, and Oriel J. Strickland. "The Relationship Between Charismatic Leadership, Work Engagement, and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors." Journal of Psychology 144.3 (2010): 313-326. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 26 Apr. 2010.

Common Organizational Themes

What I found particularly interesting in Chapter 17 is the discussion of common themes among all organizations. Despite the diverse forms and variations that may exist within and among organizations, four common characteristics include: coordination of effort, a common goal, division of labor, and a hierarchy of authority. In order to function effectively, there must be some form of these characteristics implemented in the organization.

In the article, "Initial Attraction to Organizations: The influence of trait inferences," Slaughter et. al. study how organization personality perceptions are associated with an organization's characteristics. Research shows that the organization personality perceptions: Boy Scout, Innovativeness, Dominance, Thrift, and Style may determine an individual's attraction to firms that display the traits they are looking for. Furthermore, organizations can highlight these traits for future recruitment in the workplace.

Establishing an organizational mission statement or purpose separates the organization from others. Though all share a general structure, it is up to the organization to build upon that foundation to create something great.

Source: Slaughter, Jerel E., and Gary J. Greguras. "Initial Attraction to Organizations: The influence of trait inferences." International Journal of Selection & Assessment 17.1 (2009): 1-18. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 26 Apr. 2010.

Delegating Trust

An interesting topic in Chapter 15 is the empowerment that comes with delegation. In this section, Kreitner describes a study conducted by the State University of New York in which researchers found that a greater delegation of tasks given from managers was associated with trust as the key component: “Managers prefer to delegate important tasks and decisions to the people they trust ... it takes time and favorable experience to build [it]” (Kreitner 441). Since much time is invested into building and developing trust, it is therefore, fitting that important jobs are assigned to those that are trusted the most.

The article, “Power and Trust in Global Virtual Teams,” by Panteli and Tucker explore the power balances and shifts within groups that internally ranged from high-trusting to low-trusting. Results showed that high-trusting teams shared the following: the members had similar goals in mind, the leaders prioritized the team’s success as their primary role, and the power did not disappear among members, but rather shifted throughout as the job progressed (Panteli and Tucker 2).

Trust, is therefore, necessary for organizational leaders, managers, and team members to be able to create, hone, and maintain in order to be successful and efficient within the workplace. Although it may be easily destroyed, trust is a vital component in how an organization can prosper.

Source: Panteli, Niki, and Robert Tucker. "Power and Trust in Global Virtual Teams." Communications of the ACM 52.12 (2009): 113-115. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 25 Apr. 2010.

What are the strengths of Du Pont's approach to managing change?p534

-       The chairman of DUPONT was very reactive toward the bad economic situation: he asked the managers to participate to a new way of management, due to the current crisis. Thus, the managers are aware of the company’s situation and of its will to face it.

-       The company was not afraid of cost cutting, because it realized that it was for its own good.

-       The immediate reactivity in reducing the costs is another strength for this company: it enables the company to act in the good way as fast as possible. The strength lies in the fact that the managers are aware of the situation and do not want to be blind; they know what will help their company to survive the crisis.

-       The deadline of two or three months shows that the leaders want fast actions.

-       The involvement of Holliday in the change management is so good that is becomes ‘contagious’: all the employees usually behave as their manager, and such a manager is a good way of developing change.

Chapter 18

This chapter discussed how to manage changes and stress in the workplace. The one part of the book that I found really interesting was about the alternative strategies for overcoming resistance to change. This was interesting to me because I believe that change is constant and it is common for people to refuse to accept any changes. This part of the chapter talked about dealing with that refusal to change—especially if the change would be something that would affect the workers negatively. According to the book, there were four things that a manager should do to be able to ease the workers into taking in the new changes.

(1) Providing as much information as possible
(2) Inform the employees about the reasons/ rationale for the change.
(3) Conduct meetings to address the employees’ questions
(4) Providing employees to discuss how the proposed change might affect them.

In a way this reminded me of the case study we were doing in class last week. These are the four tasks that Roberta should do to be able to appease her workers—after finding out, of course, more information about the changes.
This particular subject was more discussed more in an article I found. According to the article, these where what the manager should do when change is about to occur in the workplace.

“* First, take internal measures including, i) attaining a good understanding of the change situation, 2) ensuring optimal involvement and 3) openness to feedback, and 4) remaining honest to the entire workforce.

* second, focus on mutual issues by using i) fair and honest communication in order to 2) motivate all parties involved, 3) nurture a climate of trust, 4) ensure agreement on the change and the path toward realizing it, and 5) instate a solid plan toward implementation.

* Finally, focus on operational strategies that facilitate the change process, such as i) providing training to optimize implementation of the change; 2) maintaining a climate of creativity to respond effectively to unfore seen challenges; 3) ensure optimal performance, including possible attraction of external consultants; 4) determine the formulation and review of several options (scenario planning) to possibly follow; 5) keep an eye on the budget; 6) remain friendly but alert on those who exit the organization; 7) establish leverage points to motivate workers toward better performance; and 8) maintain flexibility when sudden alterations in plans need to be made.” (Marques)

Source: Marques, J.. "Making the Best of the Inevitable: Change. " Journal of Global Business Issues 2.2 (2008): 33-42. ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web. 25 Apr. 2010.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Internal communication as motivation for all employees

In recent years, the role of internal communication has become more complex. She can not just be the tool for transmitting information from the hierarchy all employees. His real challenge is that of membership of employees at the company and its values. The goal: to encourage them to invest and thus motivate them.

In the current highly fluid, characterized by numerous mergers, restructuring and innovation, the relationship of employees the company has changed. Since the 90s, the speech did more to consumers only limited to communication on products but has sought to convey an overall picture of the company. The reorientation of internal communication flows from this development.

Internal communication is a vehicle for mobilization, but the manager has been vital for the individual motivation of its staff, mainly because of its relationship with them daily

To successfully develop the involvement of employees through communication, we must first reflect on what creates motivation. An employee will be motivated if he knows why and to what he's working. We must therefore give meaning to what is requested by entering its contribution in a company project.

An answer to the work/family conflict: maternity leave all around the world

Europe is the continent probably most aware of the difficulties of mothers return to work once their baby is born. The prize goes to Bulgaria with 45 weeks. Slovakia provides a total of 28 weeks for the birth of first child. The United Kingdom and Ireland are 26 weeks in theory but the Thatcher era and its liberal practices have left a legacy: nearly half of women renounce part (51% in Ireland, 53% in Great Britain) . Parental leave in Sweden: the dad is spoiled. 16 weeks in France, ten years after the birth as Spain, Austria or Luxembourg, France grants 16 weeks of maternity leave: six before the birth of the child, ten years after. The rule applies to the first and second child but leave extends to the small third. In Canada, which gives 18 weeks, women are free to define the period "before and after. They may even take 16 weeks before and two weeks later, or vice versa, according to the law on labor standards, if they are employed. But many do not take advantage of all, lack of money. Nothing in the U.S. On the other side of the border, the United States, they do not make any effort. They are on a par with Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. There are also a number of countries where the law is strictly respectful of young mothers, especially in developing countries, but where the application is more tentative. Especially when just a few tickets to bribe an official of the local labor inspectorate.

Advantages of Individualistic Cultures

Western countries are marked by an individualistic culture, including United States, Australia and in Europe, England and France, among others. These countries have adopted several centuries of liberal ideas promoting individual initiative, and the success. These liberal ideas was supported by the Church, dominant in the West, which emphasizes the responsibility individual. The East, including China, Japan and India, is marked the collectivist culture, too, is rooted in history. For one found collective dominance of the teachings of Confucius and the major religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.

The individualistic culture allows people to raise outstanding resources so vast that they have no precedent in history. We found in their ranks, personalities who gave their name to illustrious institutions, John Davison Rockefeller, Matthew Vassar, Leland Stanford... Many brands have their origin directly to their founders: Henry Ford, J. Paul Getty, Richard W. Sears, Roebuck Alvah, Clarence

Birdseye, W. K. Kellogg, Philip Danforth Armour, W. R. Grace. Henry Ford is particularly interesting because it provides innovation, both technologically and socially. After Reading Emerson's essay entitled "Compensation", he doubled the salaries of workers, which allowed them to buy the Model T which he had by

also cut the price.

One result of American individualism is that the system of philanthropie United States is among the most innovative, the richest in ideas and the most exciting in the world. It gives meaning to the formulas: "Helping people help themselves" and "No a gift, but a boost ».

Hierarchy Culture in France

France is a country where the sense of hierarchy is very important. every decision is taken at a specific hierarchical level must be validated by the higher levels and applied without question by the lower levels. it is very important to understand that in such a hierarchical organization, the final decision rests with the person who is the highest ranking. The French hierarchy manifests itself in the process of decision making but also in the life of the company. so it is very difficult to contact a manager who is more than two levels of hierarchy above without going through intermediate levels. thus at an important meeting, the floor is assigned in the hierarchical sense. so when you send an email to the recipients must be in hierarchical order, starting with the highest person.
Such an organization enables individuals to know where he stands, what he has to do, to whom he is accountable but it is not without flaws. information are much more time to run and urgent decisions are taken at the last moment. more if the decision of the CEO or someone highly placed is not good, it will be applied.

Managing Stress

Stress is usually considered a negative factor in people's lives. My mom always taught me that stress was a sin since sin was anything that was not healthy in a person's life. Therefore, I tend to get ahead on my work and never wait till the last minute to complete assignments or make plans. However, some forms of stress are unavoidable, such as the stress that comes from change. Some people are able to deal with stress better than others. It oftentimes takes practice. The more change that one experiences in one's life, the more one is able to figure out techniques to adapt quickly. Such experience also teaches people that whatever happens, life goes on and they will be able to deal with it.

The book discusses how stress can also be a positive factor, which I had never considered before.. Stress is the body's way of dealing with pressure and pushes people to pin point the worst cause of their stress and start seeking solutions for it. It helps them improve because change only comes when something forces it to occur.

"Organisational change can be a stressor, sometimes to an overwhelming extent, but it can also offer creative opportunities for dealing with the stress that accompanies it (McDermott 2002).

Workplace stress and personal stress are not mutually exclusive phenomena. Each has direct and indirect effects on the other, and, while ways to address stress in each environment differ, they can also overlap" (Hurley).

By recognizing this, people can start to deal with their stress through meditation, organizing their problems and choosing to address them. Just breathing deeply for a few moments has been found to have a calming effect on a person since more oxygen is taken into the body. This helps to clear a person's mind and make them mentally ready to take on whatever is next.

Hurley, Mary. "Managing stress in the workplace. (Cover story)." Nursing Management - UK 14.3 (2007): 16-18. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 24 Apr. 2010.

Open Systems

It's going to be short today, but nobody reads my posts, so I doubt anyone will even notice. The year is coming to a rapid conclusion, and we're just about ready to wrap up our fun-filled semester in this class. I'm kind of sad to see it go, to be perfectly honest. John is a good teacher who knows what he's talking about, and we've learned a lot about teamwork and organizational culture. The whole blogging system for doing homework (a system also utilized in his internet marketing class) was a really cool idea that made homework feel more communal with other classmates. In all, I had a good semester in this class. But enough of my nostalgic banter.

In doing the reading for this week, I came across something really important that feels like a great note to begin the fade to black. In chapter seventeen of the luminous tome, Organizational Behavior, by none other than the dynamic duo, Kreitner and Kinicki, there was something in chapter seventeen that really caught my eye. Of course, this was the Open System Perspective of Organizations.

An open system refers to an entity that constantly interacts with its environment in order to survive. It's not difficult to generalize with a topic like this. As human beings, for instance, we must interact with our environment in many ways, such as procuring food and going for long hikes on Mt. Tamalpais. But how does an organization adhere to the concept of an open system? In what ways does an organization such as a business lend itself to contextual environmental interaction? The answer is not quite as straightforward as you'd think, and this can be a very nuanced topic.

The book makes a good point when describing open systems. Every system in existence is partially closed and partially open, so the discussion about an open system is essentially taking a look at the nuanced parts of a system and coming to a conclusion about its openness. The book suggests looking at how great the role of the overall environment is in the functions of a system in order to make a determination.

But what does an open system look like?

If we go back to the 1950's and keep going backwards, business was not organized the way it is today. Businesses were mostly seen as a well-oiled machine that functioned off of a strict sense of discipline and had a tendency to be run like a military brigade. Fortunately for us in this day and age, most businesses are not run that way anymore. A different framework was needed to progress the organizational paradigm.

Essentially, there is a barrier between the organization and the outside environment as a whole. Inside this barrier are subsystems pertaining to each aspect of organizational functionality: goals and values, the technical aspects, psychosocial aspects, structural considerations, and the managerial processes of the company. In an open system, the barrier that protects these internal components of the organization needs to be a permeable membrane, capable of allowing inputs (money, materials, human capital, and information) into the organization freely. Equally important is the ability of the membrane to allow outputs (products, services, organizational growth, social benefits) to escape in order to fulfill their purpose, with the feedback from the outputs turning around and influencing the supply of necessary imports, starting the cycle over again.

In essence, an open organization is one that operates in the most logical fashion, with overlapping internal components, and a perforated outer shell that allows the free flow of necessary environmental components through the company. In this way, the company can move faster and make more money, due to the very nature of its design. The human body operates in a similar fashion. We have a semi-permeable membrane (our skin), which lets key environmental nutrients into our bodies (vitamins from the sun, moisture from the air). We also eat food, a necessary input, in order to function internally, and then export our outputs, which expend energy. So a company that takes a little lesson from biological processes can function at a much higher level than one that simply views its design as some kind of soulless cubicle farm with a rigid sense of 1950's-era discipline.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chapter 18

Lewin’s Change Model helps to explain how to initiate, manager, and stabilize the change process. The underlying assumptions about change in this model are that it involves learning, it needs motivation in order to have change, it requires individuals to change, there’ll be resistance, and effective change requires reinforcing what they’ve learned. The first stage in this model is unfreezing, where motivation is created to change by encouraging people to replace old habits with new desired ones. A method would be to make employees unhappy with the old habits of operating. When business is bad because of the old habits, it encourages employees to change those habits to improve. Benchmarking also is helpful because it compares the company with others to see where they stand in performance. This encourages people to adopt successful companies’ systems and habits or create new and better methods. The second stage is changing, where the actual change occurs by providing employees with new information and instructions, such as, sending managers to leadership training programs or installing new information technology. Change should be targeted towards a desired end-result with actions that are designed to reach that goal. The last stage is refreezing. In this stage, support and reinforcement are utilized to implement the new change into their normal ways of operation. Employees are given a chance to learn and demonstrate this change, which is then followed by reinforcement or coaching.

In a book exert from the online website, ChangingMinds.Org, it gave an overview of Lewin’s Change Model, however, it touched on some important points not mentioned in our book. One point Straker brings up is that people have a natural tendency to find context that they feel a sense of safety and control and that talking to people about the future doesn’t help to ‘unfreeze’ them. To ‘unfreeze,’ a push strategy should be implemented to initiate the change, and a pull strategy to motivate people to continue making the change. Some people are ‘change ready’ while others take longer to accept the need for change. In the transition or changing stage, time is essential because change is often a journey rather than a single step. A good leader should help to coach their followers so that everyone can follow through with the change. Initiating change can also be hard because it’s the 1st step. To move past this, a slow initiation of change or preparation will help to ease the uncertainty. Another problem is that often people purposely stay in the transitioning stage rather than reaching the desired change. People become comfortable with the temporary situation where they’re not held accountable for their actions, and replace real action with just talking about change. Instead of completely unfreezing, Straker writes that it’s ideal to be in an inbetween stage where freezing isn’t fully reached so that the next unfreezing will be easier. However, the problem with that is that people experience ‘change shock,’ where they perform ineffectively because they anticipate a new change. This website is helpful in realizing other points about the Lewin’s Change Model.

Works Cited
Straker, David. Lewin's Freeze Phase. 23 April 2010 (


Stress means something different to every individual. However, managers need a working definition so the book defined stress as "an adaptive response, mediated by individual characteristics and/or psychological processes, that is a consequence of any external action, situation, or event that places special physical and/or psychological demands upon a person." This seems very complicated and confusing but it basically means the following: "environmental demands that that produce an adaptive response that is influenced by individual differences."

Recently, more people have become more stressed because of the recession. The father of the concept of stress, Hans Selye, stated that both positive and negative events can trigger an identical stress response that can be beneficial or harmful. He defined positive stress as eustress. He emphasizes that efforts need to be directed at managing stress, not at somehow escaping it altogether.

The article "Define Stress" re emphasizes this point of managing stress. It states that "Managing stress and symptoms of stress is important because stress and health are related to each other." That is why it is important to know what stress is and what your personal stressors are and how you can you manage them, which may be by seeking professional help.

"Define Stress." Manage Stress. 23 April 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chapter 18

In chapter 18, I felt that I had a real world connection with the “Real World” section. This chapter was all about managing change, the world is changing rapidly and is we don’t keep up with it technologically and socially, we will be left in the dust. This section talks about how Amgen inc. took an unusual approach of asking shareholders what they thought of their compensation plan. It was the first of its kind, a 10 question, online survey which shareholders could participate in. This set trends for other firms in the industry to do the same.
I directly related to this in how John asked his students what they thought of the syllabus, and what changes they would make. In doing this, the students felt like they were valued and respected. No matter how small your roll is, it feels good to be a part of something and to contribute. It also makes the students accountable for their actions when they mess up. Just like it’s easy for you to complain about a president which you didn’t vote for, it’s easy for students to hate a syllabus which was thrown at them. However, if the students write the syllabus, there is not much they can complain about.
I did some additional research on shareholder involvement and found that it is now the norm to involve the shareholders to a certain extend. The biggest factor however, is how large the share. Someone who owns .002% of Nike doesn’t have as much say in the direction of the company as Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. However, there are meeting, conferences and polls that any shareholder can participate in in many companies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dynamics of Decision Making

In chapter 12, on page 345, a section titled, “Dynamics of Decision Making” caught my attention. The reason this caught my attention is because decision making is an enormous factor on our lives. Each decision can hold intended and unintended consequences or rewards. Not every decision will change a person’s life, however it is important to remember that one choice has the ability to do so. It is for this reason that I wanted to better understand the dynamics related to the decision making process.

The book describes decision making as, “part science and part art.” The science of decision making is the more important factor because it addresses the expected result whereas art is related to intuition and a person’s ethical perspective of the situation. However, it is important to include both aspects to the decision making process. By including both science and art to the equation, one can increase the likeliness of meeting their goal without compromising their integrity.

It seems that in today’s business world, many people focus on the science of decision making and forget about the art. Repeatedly we are reminded of situations in which ethics were ignored because they interfered with accomplishing the goal. Such high pressure to succeed in today’s world makes it more convenient to ignore morals, so it takes a stronger individual to avoid this temptation.

Behavioral Components

What caught my attention in chapter 6 was pg 161 where they discuss the affective component, cognitive component, and the behavioral component. These components form a person’s attitude which the book defines as, “a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given object.”

The affective component is feelings or emotions that a person will have in regards to a situation or object. This component can be expressed as positive, negative, or neutral if the situation does not influence any emotion. This is an important concept because nearly every situation evokes emotion to some degree.

The cognitive component refers to pre-existing beliefs a person holds regarding a situation. This component influences everybody and is a result of past experiences which have influenced an opinion on the subject. In society, we commonly witness the cognitive component as we see people conform into political and religious groups. This is an obstacle when working in teams because it is hard for people to look past their own beliefs, therefore making it more difficult to come to a consensus.

The behavioral component represents the actions that one will take in a given situation. In many ways, this component has the greatest influence on team moral because it is the most noticeable. Unlike the affective and cognitive components which are related to emotion, this component is visible and harder to disguise.

By breaking ones attitude down into these components, it becomes easier to analyze our impact on others. By acknowledging our positive features and working to change are negative ones, we can become more supportive and efficient when working in teams.

Need for Achievement

A section titled, “The Need for Achievement” in chapter 8 caught my attention. Making perfect sense, but still interesting, was the fact that entrepreneurs have a higher need for achievement than other workers. The three common characteristics mentioned include, “they prefer working on tasks of moderate difficulty, they prefer situations in which performance is due to their efforts rather than other factors, and they desire more feedback on their successes and failures.” A person who challenges themselves, wants rewards based on efforts, and wants honest feedback is much more likely to be successful than someone who does not strive to achieve. I believe that anyone could relate to these characteristics as long as the objective is of interest to them and something they are passionate about.

The reason this section caught my attention is because I have been doing a lot of research of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. What I have found is people have a more successful career working on something they are passionate about than when they are rewarded by extrinsic factors such as a large pay check. While trying to figure out my career path, I have made this concept the basis of how I choose.


While reading chapter 9, one particular statement caught my attention. “Never compromise on hiring.” The author of this statement went on to explain that compromising will lead to regret. When hiring an employee, you are essentially letting them represent your company and giving them the power to influence your business either positively or negatively. Depending on the level of responsibility, their inabilities and mistakes will not only be frustrating, but also potentially devastating to the business. By not compromising to fill the position, the employer is more likely to find a motivated and talented individual who will represent their company in the desired manner.

Mentioned in the chapter is that employees are motivated more by appreciating and feeling apart of the process than by monetary rewards. This concept is important for managers to consider when hiring and supports the fact that they should not compromise. When hiring, it is important to make sure that the person’s core values and interests line up with the job that they are applying for.

Threats to Group Effectiveness

A section titled, “Threats to Group Effectiveness,” on page 295 is very informative and relevant. It caught my attention because group effectiveness is vital to success and I wanted to understand what factors could threaten it. This information is relevant to nearly every situation which has a group at its core.

The three threats to group effectiveness mentioned in this section are the Asch effect, groupthink, and social loafing. Out of these, I found the Asch effect to be most interesting. The Asch effect deals with perspective and is named after a psychologist who studied group dynamics. He conducted an experiment which people would have to match the length of one line with one of three others on a separate card. Because there was only one correct choice, the results should have been unanimous, but they weren’t. This is because Dr. Asch arranged to have one of the participants offer up incorrect information, and under pressure, other people followed.

I have witnessed this effect occur several times when working in a group, yet didn’t understand the context until now. What may appear to be consensus might actually be the Asch effect in disguise.