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.

Building Trust

The section I found most interesting in chapter 11 was on building trust. I found this interesting because trust is a key component in working well with others and if it does not exist, can negatively impact the group’s ability to function.

The first method mentioned is communication. It is important that team members be informed and able to share ideas. If communication is lacking, it is possible to de- value a teammate or slow down efficiency. Respect is absolutely necessary to protect communication so that all members of the group feel comfortable sharing their opinions.

Being supportive is another tactic in gaining trust. The chapter describes being supportive as being approachable, along with providing help, coaching, and encouragement. These actions build a strong foundation for communication and help to improve the dynamic of the team.

By relating these ideas mentioned in the chapter to previous experiences of working in a group, I came to the conclusion that they will in fact build trust amongst team members. In my experiences, communication has been both the success and downfall of the group. When the lines of communication are open, the entire team seems to work more efficiently, whereas when communication is failing, the quality of work deteriorates and motivation falls for those who feel they cannot get their point across.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chapter 17: Generic Organizational-Effectiveness Criteria

In chapter 17 an essential concept which helps with the effectiveness of any situation is that assessing organizational effectiveness is an important topic for an array of people such as managers, job hunters, stockholders, government agencies, and OB specialists. There are four generic approaches it mentions which are goal accomplishment, resource acquisition, internal processes, and strategic constituencies satisfaction. Even though there are four main approaches the most significant one seems to be goal accomplishment. In order for any type of business to run smoothly they have to have a goal which they are aiming for. This will make it easier for them to go about accomplishing anything they want to be seen in their business.

Philip Selznick explains in his article titled American Sociological Review that trade unions, governments, business corporations, political parties, are all formal structures in the sense that they represent rationally ordered instruments for the achievement of stated goals. Philip mentions that through the goals businesses set, it is easier to facilitate the accomplishment of some agreed purpose through the allocation of functions and responsibilities. Goal setting and accomplishment is seen as a system of coordinated activities or forces of many persons. As illustrated by Philip having a mind set on goal accomplishment is vital for any business or structure to be effective.

Source: Selznick, Philip. "FOUNDATIONS OF THE THEORY OF ORGANIZATION." American Sociological Review 13.1 (1948): 25-35. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Apr. 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do you think an individual can effectively manage 24 employees? Explain

 I am sure it is possible for an individual to manage 24 employees.

 Indeed, the employees are men and women who can be implied in the company's values so that they do their best to perform at work. The manager can do feedbacks and reports with the differnt teams, and thus he can see what works or not in his company.

 I think that it is important to divide the whole group in different teams, not to create competitions between the employees but to make them easier to know and to manage.
The best way for a manager to manage his employees is to know them and to be well known and appreciated by them. 

He also can delegate his authority to some subordinates; but he must never lose his acquaintances with his employees. It is the best way to manage them well.

He must show them that he is present, and that he is aware of their requirements. 

Chapter 17: Matrix Organization

The matrix organization is an attempt to combine the advantages of the pure functional structure and the product organizational structure. Project managers usually use the matrix organization, and large projects enjoy the matrix organization. The advantages of the matrix organization are 1) people can be shared, and the project cost are minimal, 2) conflicts are minimized, 3) time, cost, and performance are better balanced, 4) stress is dispersed among members, and 5) authority and responsibility is equal. In the matrix organization, different people from different positions are put into one team for an assignment without having to leave their primary position, for example engineers, accountants, and marketers. The employees have to report to the managers or superiors on a day-to-day basis to update on the assignment. Through the matrix organization, there are multiple control and command structures. The matrix organization allows members to share information and enjoys specialization.

However, some of the controversies with the matrix organization involve loyalty, confusion, and the use of the organization for today's society. Some opponents say that there are loyalty conflicts that have the workers unsure of the positions hierarchy. People may not be sure of who is the authority and who has certain leadership since all workers are specialized in their specific fields. Also, because the workers are specialized, confusion on what to do and how to distribute the information found may be unsure to those in the team. Since those who are not majored in certain aspects, they may not fully understand a concept or may understand the information differently. Lastly, opponents argue that the matrix organization may be outdated.



Out of chapter 15, the most interesting topic, in my opinion, was the section on influence tactics. I think this section was interesting for most people, I mean who doesn't want to get their way and influence people? This section focused on the best approach to get people to carry out your wishes. Research done by David Kipnis in the 1980s, provides us with a list of nine influence tactics:
-Rational persuasion
-Inspirational Appeal
-Personal Appeals
-Legitimating tactics

As one can see, they are ranked in diminishing order of use in the workplace. The first five are considered "soft tactics" because they are friendlier than the last four which are considered "hard tactics".
I have found that in real world situations, if someone really wants something they rarely start out with a “hard tactic”. They always start with kind reasoning and logic, and then if they don’t get their way, they will move down the list to harder tactics.
When you are the persuader and use your favorite tactic to try and get your way there is normally 3 influence outcomes
In the workplace, the only acceptable one is commitment, compliance and resistance will not sit well with your boss.
I found an article on which is titled “How to get your way at work”. This had a more condensed and simpler list of three which was comparable to Kipnis’ nine.
-Be realistic
-have a plan
-ask for feedback
Honesty plays a big key in getting your way, if you’re a slimball and nobody trusts you, rarely will they do what you want.

Chapter 17: Innovation

Innovation the workplace was something that was discussed in Chapter 17. Innovation was defined as something new brought to the table that the public can use. Chapter 17 explained innovation in various different ways. First of all, it cleared up two myths about innovation. According to the text, innovation took preparation—it was not something that came out of thin air, nor was it something that could be regulated. From there, innovation was then described as a growing tree. Innovation, as it was written in the chapter, stemmed from the seed of hard work, dedication, necessity, curiosity, and more.

This chapter also discussed that there were several challenges that one could come across when being innovative. These challenges included: finding an idea, developing a solution, funding, reproduction, reaching for customers, beating competitors, timing, and keeping older customers happy while trying to garner new ones through innovation.

The last aspect of innovation that the chapter discussed was what made innovation effective and grow. There was only one answer to that, which was management. Training the workers, having good leadership, and making sure that creativity was not stifled, were a just some of the things that were needed to perform effective innovation.

Seeing as this part of the chapter talked a bit about Apple and its innovation, I found a video online which showed how Apple’s products have evolved throughout the years and how they kept innovation alive. Since this was made a year ago, products such as the new iPhone and iPad were not shown yet.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Power in the office

I don't have too much time for a post today, seeing as how I'm producing music for a feature film, and I have an appointment to headbutt grizzly bears at 3:30 (only one of those is a blatant lie).

Anyways, I want to talk about office power today. While reading our incredibly fascinating book, I came across the part in chapter 15 about the bases of power. I remembered talking about this in-class. If Mr. Miyagi is involved, you bet your ass I'll remember it.

So there are 5 kinds of power bases: Reward, Coercive, Legitimate, Expert, and Referent. For this post, I'm going to use my imagination to paint a picture of what a manager adhering to each of these power styles would look like.

Reward power, according to the book, is one who "obtains compliance with promised or actual rewards." Let's take Mark, a manager slaving away at a mid-level cardboard box supplier (they exist, trust me). He has noticed that his numbers are down, and he needs to get people in gear to start earning more money. He doesn't want to lose the monthly sales numbers contest to the Lodi branch again. So he tells his employees that, in addition to him throwing a badass picnic (badass picnic? What?), he'll make sure that they will each receive a bonus as a reward if they win two monthly sales contests.

Coercive power is the kind of power wielded by assholes. As stated in the book, "obtaining compliance through threatened or actual punishment." Let's look at Howard, a short fat guy who just got promoted to a management position. Unfortunately for everyone working underneath him, he is a man filled with spite, and takes sadistic pleasure in punishing people. Someone yawned once during one of his meetings. They were never seen again. He gets people to work hard by constantly hovering punishments over their heads. One time, he saw one of his subordinates at a bar with a hot date. In a fit of jealousy, he fired him the following Monday. This guy is cold-blooded.

Legitimate power is a little more formal and clear-cut. It's simply respecting the chain of command. If a guy occupies the position of "manager," then he gets to "manage" you. It's pretty simple. Obviously, someone with legitimate power can turn into a douchy coercive or nice rewarding manager, but legitimate power seems to be almost more passive and in the middle. You have authority because of your title. Case in point, Ron, who works for Boring Industries, a company that makes springs for printer cartridges. He just got promoted to a management position, but he's still totally the same guy that he was before. He just has management authority now. People listen to him and complete tasks that he requests of them. He sees it as the same job he had before, and he only gets to manage because of what his job title says.

Expert power is the most badass kind of power. Mr. Miyagi falls into this category. He knows his shit, and that's why he's practically bursting with awesome. If someone commands respect simply by what they know and what skills they have, then they are simply better than everyone else. Let's consider the case of Paul, a manager who has been in his industry (the fake vomit manufacturing business) for fifteen years. He knows his industry and workers inside and out, and he studies Krav Maga in his spare time (Krav Maga is the martial arts used by Israeli special forces). On top of that, he is a professional base jumper, expert chef, and has a respectable credit score. He commands respect by simply being an expert in the things he does. When he talks, people tend to listen because there is a good chance this man knows what he is talking about. Also, Krav Maga.

Referent power is, to put it lightly, the kind of power wielded by people who are just good with other people. It's all about charisma and raw appeal. Let us consider Gunther, a new manager who didn't go to college, doesn't have any particularly good skills, doesn't really focus on rewarding or punishing people, and doesn't know Krav Maga. But people LOVE him. Why? He gets people. Never underestimate this power. Upper management is populated almost entirely by human beings, and you can be the most qualified and knowledgeable person out there, but if you don't get people, forget about it. Gunther just gets people, and that's why he got promoted and you didn't.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Political Tactics in the Workplace

There are eight common political tactics in organizations. First one tactic is attacking or blaming others by avoiding or minimizing association with failure. This usually happens when scapegoating occurs. Second, people often use information as their political tool by purposely withholding or distorting information. Often they obscure an unfavorable situation by overwhelming superiors with all sorts of information. Thirdly, creating a favorable image by dressing for success and impression management occurs. Also this happens when people take credit for others’ accomplishments. Fourth, people develop a base of support prior to decision making by building others commitments. Fifth, praising others is tactics by making influential people feel good. Sixth, business people tend to form power coalitions with strong allies to gain success and results. Seventh, associating with influential people is often a behavior by networking inside and outside of the organization that they are with. Lastly, people create obligations and social debts.

In the article “Workplace Etiquette: The Political Savvy Individual” it addresses that in order to successful in today’s evolving workplace, you need talent, hard work, good job performance, a share of good breaks as well as political savvy. “Political savvy means ethically using office politics to your advantage.” People must think of this as to practice sensible and ethical office politics. This article addresses that office politics were played by supervisors and managers attempting to climb the ladder of success. Office politics are omnipresent, which means they are everywhere all the time. The last thing that this article stressed was if someone was “to ignore office politics is to ignore those underlying forces that account for the success between equally talented people.”

"Workplace Etiquette: The Political Savvy Individual (identify the Characteristics of Successful Teams in a Workplace with Etiquette)." Famous Entrepreneurs, Small Business, Young, Successful, Women, Toronto Resources. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chapter 14

Reflecting back on the case study we read today in class about how the notice of the company policy being changes from 5 years of service to 12 years of service in order to receive certain benefits was sent out in an e-mail, I realized how much we really do depend on technology, especially in circumstances that make it inappropriate. What has become an increasing and somewhat disgusting trend is the whole "dumping you over a text message" thing. It is really sad that people have come to hide behind cell phones and computers when facing something awkward or uncomfortable. I can't say I have never chickened out and confronted someone via text message when I should have said it to their face, but nevertheless it is a bad habit that we are all falling in to. Nothing is formal anymore. In fact, many people even feel awkward getting a phone call nowadays becuse they are so useed to texting. One reason I really prefer texting is because I have time to respond--it is not immediate like a phone call--and I have time to think before I speak, which has proven to be a problem of mine in the past! It is extremely casual and is often a means of hiding. In the case study, I feel like the e-mail was sent as a barrier between the people and the problem. In general, I think we need to start manning up and telling people important things to their face rather than hiding behind technology.

Chapter 13

Conflict resolution is something that I have recently gained a lot of insight on. For my group's interviews, we were assigned the theme of conflict resolution to base our questions on for our interviewees. What I found to be very interesting was that all 3 of my interviewees, who work in completely different fields, had the common belief that there is no such thing as a conflict-free workplace. At first I thought this was kind of sad and depressing to think about, that at some point in every organization, people will fight with each other. But then I realized that not only is it natural for human beings to conflict, but that it serves as an excellent opportunity to grow and learn from both personally and as an organization. Conflict in organizations reminds me a lot of fighting with my sisters when I was a little girl. We would bicker over something trivial then be forced to reconcile and apologize by our parents. I never understood the point of forced reconciliation because it was so insincere and everybody knew that. So isn't no apology better than a fake one? Well looking back on those years now I have learned the answer. While insincerity is useless, not saying anything and just waiting for the other to apologize first or for it all to blow over is even worse. If we all just sit around waiting or doig nothing, then nothing gets done but the tension is still there and it grows. Negotiation seems like a loss for both parties, because each person is losing something, but it is better that each gain something small than nothing at all. This is applicable to organizational conflict resolution because we might feel like if we don't get our way then the world will end, but in reality, its much better to just swallow our pride and walk away with something rather than nothing.

Chapter 12

Which is better, individual or group decision-maiking?

It really all depends on the issue being decided and on the group that is being included in the decision. For example, in my opinion, it is better to make a decision that affects your health independently becuase in the end, it is you/your body that is being effected, not everyone else's. However, if you are trying to decide how to tell somebody something that is hard to hear, I find it best to ask a group of people (usually peers) on how and when best to approach the matter so as to cause as little harm as possible. Some people share experience or insight that is very valuable that you would not get out of them unless you asked about a specific situation, and these are the time when I think group decisions are best. After all, I am only one person and I have only experienced the events in my own life, so it is not easy for me to look at things for certain other perspectives. The complication with group decision-maiking though is that it can very easily start fights when disagreement arises and it can also confuse people by offering too many alternative options. I personally like to keep things as simple as possible and avoid conflict at all costs, however I generally like to get several people's inputs before making a decision because I can be very indecisive. This is why I think that there is no right answer to the question stated above, because it is all situational.

Chapter 11

The difference between a group and a team is quite simple. A group is a collection of randomly selected people, who may know each others' names, but not much more, and are collected for some purpose. A team is a collection of people who have gotten to know each other very well, work interdependently, and are working to achieve a purpose or goal. Teams are way more interactive, personal, and goal-driven. Groups are all business and do not care to take their relationship to any level beyond the basics that they need for whatever their given purpose is. While not all teams get along, they at least have had an opportunity to learn whether or not they like one another; groups never get to this stage. In my opinion, teams work better than groups do. This is because they have gotten to the level of feeling comfortable with one another, so they can correct each other when they see a mistake or speak up when they wan to share something. Group members might feel more intimidated to speak up because they do not know how the other members will react and they do not want to look stupid in front of everyone.

Chapter 9

"Performance Management is an organizationwide system whereby managers integrate the activities of goal setting, monitoring, and evaluating, proving feedback and coaching, and rewarding employees on a continuous basis." (Kreitner & Kinicki)

While many managers probably consider themselves to be "performance managers", it is often less likely the case in reality. It is hard for all of these tasks to be placed on one person, let alone a person who is in a position of athority, but it is even harder for a person to accomplish all of these things well. What it takes to be a good manager differs from person to person, but in my own personal definition/criteria, I would say that a good manager is a person who genuinely cares and is not willing to sacrifice morals for ratings or money. People like this are hard to come by, and usually when you do come across them, they are not in positions of leadership, management, or any kind of power. By reaching a goal and helping people get there, you earn respect and gain wisdom along the way that could only have been obtained through experience. Trying to dictates and belittle employees makes them unwilling, unmotivated, and unhappy. If people feel like they can trust and depend on the person who they report to, they are much more likely to perform well at work, which in turn will make the company better. So, it is exptremely important to build that rapport with your employees so that you are not a "good manager" according to a definition in a book, but rather an actual good manager.

Chapter 8

Motivation of employees is extremely important in order for an organization to function well. If there is no incentive for employees to try or to care about the progress of the company, then the company will fail. It seems kind of trivial and like the work that employees produce should be the number one priority, but in reality, a company is only as strong as the people who make it up. There are several ways that a manager can motivate their employees, one of the best is by offering prizes to the employee who performs the best during a set period of time. Competition tends to bring out the best and worst in people, so it would also be a good way to see how people react under a set of certain circumstances. Another way to motivate employees is by having company retreats or office parties. These put people in a good mood, which makes them more willing to perform better, and also gives them a sense of belonging in their work environment--creating a family atmosphere.

Chapter 6

Commitment to an organization is a very important quality when looking for prospective employees. It is not one of those things that really sticks out to me or that I would think of when being interviewed (or hiring someone). However, it is a hassle for a company to be constantly looking for new employees, training them, and just getting used to the change of things, only to find out that they are leaving soon. I know I would be very frustrated if I were an employer. Part of the challenge of staying with a company for so long is the fear that the company will essentially become your life. Most people are not used to the idea that they will be stuck somewhere or committed to something forever, and they wan the opportunity to expand and explore before they find themselves in a rut. I can understand this need to figure out what else is out there, but at the same time, interviewees should make it clear to their employer if they are having doubts about staying with that company for a long period of time. One thing to be noted is that those employees who do stay with an organization for several years and have proven their commitment are generally the ones who are promoted to more powerful and higher paying positions. So, there is an incentive to work hard and be loyal.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming up with ideas

In Chapter 17, innovation and creativity are discussed. It is explained how new products and ideas are used to create other innovative products and ideas. In order fot this to occur, there has to be good organizational structure (good managers, workers, teams, etc.) that are open to taking on challenges and brainstorming together for answers and creative ideas. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Just like it is difficult to simply sit down and start writing a 10 page paper, ideas do not just pop into a person's head overnight. I've been told that if you think of a problem and then sleep on it, by morning you'll have an answer. This doesn't often work. In order to come to a solution, communication is necessary.

As the article, "No Ideas, You're Not Alone" says, "Thomas Edison didn't work alone. The invention of the light bulb was the work of an entire lab team; it was one of his assistants who came up with the idea of screwing the bulbs into sockets instead of just mounting them straight up. Same goes for J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote his Lord of the Rings novels at the same time C. S. Lewis was creating The Chronicles of Narnia. Both authors generated ideas for their stories in a weekly literary group of Oxford scholars called the Inklings. Charles Darwin's work on evolution wasn't dreamed up in a vacuum, either: While doing his research, he was corresponding with dozens of scientists across Europe." In other words, our traditional idea of genius is not well grounded. Oftentimes, companies still think that people can single-handedly invent something and solve a problem. Well, they can't. They may come up with a good idea now and then, but the end product of this idea is the result of other's input and continuous trial and error. This is why some companies are starting to let their employees have more freedom in organizing their teams. Sometimes, they know best how to do their jobs and without a manager imposing a structure upon them, they are able to use their knowledge to improve their system. When there is good base organization within a firm, the whole company profits and innovation is able to occur.


Ewers, Justin, and E. J. "No Ideas? You're Not Alone." U.S. News & World Report 142.22 (2007): 50-52. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chapter 17

The matrix structure of traditional organization designs are used to promote stronger cooperation to meet goals. It combines a vertical structure with a horizontal structure overlay, which incorporates functional and divisional processes to form a grid. Matrix structures have had bad reviews of being too complicated and confusing because it requires a lot of work to collaborate and use the structure effectively. People don’t know how to compliment and reinforce the matrix; therefore many companies fail to use the structure to its full affect. An example of this would be a division of project elements, where a worker on the matrix has to report to the project manager and the company manager who reports to the CEO. This helps to facilitate communication of company activities to various management personnel so that they have a clearer idea company expenses and revenues. It also allows for more collaboration of different ideas between the different management departments in order to have the best solution for project goals.

On the website, Matrix Organization and project management by, matrix structures are best for project oriented companies, such as construction companies. Information sharing is a required part of the system because it allows for flow of communication. A project manager is responsible for the completion of the project; however, sometimes other people are needed to assist with the job. The functional part of the company is responsible for functional and technical elements required to operate. The functional manager’s job is to ensure that the department is unified and that all information is being exchanged between departments and projects. Matrix structures are used to create cooperation between departments through shared responsibilities. It also helps to reduce costs and conflicts, create a better balance between time and performance, and distribution of authority and stress. This website helped me to gain a more in-depth insight into the advantages and purposes of the matrix structure. In my opinion, this is a very effective structure when a company is working to achieve better team work amongst its employees and to obtain more effective project results.

Works Cited
Matrix Organization and project management. 12 April 2010 (

Levels of Communication

The various levels and corresponding types of communication, including horizontal, vertical, external, and casual, are very important to understand in any organization. When communicating with superiors, subordinates, co workers, or external relations of an organization, it is important to emphasize the role by exemplifying the appropriate qualities. This includes utmost courtesy and respect of superiors, friendliness toward external relations, and cooperation with co workers. Each person has a specific role, and therefore each person will decode the information they receive differently, and determine how it will affect them. For example, it is important for a supervisor to communicate effectively with his/her subordinates when there are problems with the company and it's industry. Employees are generally concerned with this matter, and will feel more safe if they are informed by a superior. The quality exemplified here is responsibility by the supervisor when he effectively communicates with the employees about the status of the company.

Good communication abilities are essential to properly communicating a vision and action plan in any organization. When a person is in a leadership position with followers, it is the responsibility of the leader to effectively communicate the vision of the organization, so as to create purpose and consent among all those involved. The effective communication of the vision will also lead to motivation and employees feeling as though they are part of something bigger, if they agree and want to help achieve the organization's vision.

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

Komives, Susan R. Et al. Exploring Leadership. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. San Francisco: 2007.

Pros and Cons of Email

In Chapter 15, Kreitner discusses communication in a digital era. The most practical piece of information (in my opinion) is the discussion of the pros and cons of using e-mail as a communication channel. According to Kreitner, the pros include: reduced costs of distributing information, increased teamwork, reduced paper costs, and increased flexibility; the cons include: wasted time and effort, information overload, increased costs to organize and store, an neglect of other media. So how do we utilize this form of technology in a way that benefits us in the best way possible?

The article, "Liability of Certification Service Providers Towards Relying Parties and the Need for a Clear System to Enhance the Level of Trust in Electronic Communication" offers a solution. In this article, Balboni talks about how trust is a huge issue in communicating electronically. To make emailing safer and more efficient for us, he conducts an analysis of using the Electronic Signatures Directive. After balancing the pros and cons of the system recommended by the European legislator. This system is based on the concept of a different type of liability for different types of information provided in the certificates by certification service providers. His findings allow him to, in the end, propose another program quite similar to this.

Although it's not guaranteed that this will build trust up 100%, it certainly is a step in the right direction. With the ease of accessibility of the internet nowadays, it's hard to distinguish what's right and wrong. Taking measures to prevent incorrect information, or fraud to thrive in the digital world can help do this. Email, should therefore, be used in moderation in unveiling certain information. The cons to emailing can still pose a threat.

Source: Balboni, Paolo. "Liability of Certification Service Providers Towards Relying Parties and the Need for a Clear System to Enhance the Level of Trust in Electronic Communication." Information & Communications Technology Law 13.3 (2004): 211-242. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.

Nine Generic Influence Tactics

Chapter 15 discusses how to influence, empower, and deal with politics in the business world. Chapter 15 says that there are 9 generic influence tactics that can be used just about anywhere in business. With that said, David Kipins, a psychologist, states that through multiple studies he has discovered only 8 to truly be considered "successful influence tactics" (Kipins). Chapter 15 utilizes previous studies and projects conducted by David Kipins. The study from the 1980's involved employees responding to ways that successfully persuaded there bosses, coworkers, or subordinates to do what they wished of them. The study took place over a 13 year period, and eventually "yielded nine influence tactics" (Kreitner 438).
Kipins more recent study minimizes the older study, to state there are eight current tactics. Kipins states that his most recent study found "8 dimensions of influence: Assertiveness, Ingratiation, Rationality, Sanctions, Exchange, Upward Appeals, Blocking, and Coalitions" (Kipins 442).
There are only slight differences with those from his first study that is showcased in the text.
1. Rational Persuasion: trying to convince someone with reason, logic or facts
2. Inspirational Appeals: trying to build enthusiasm by appealing to others' emotions, ideals or values
3. Consultation: getting others to participate in planning, making decisions, and changes
4. Ingratiation: getting someone in a good mood prior to making a request
5. Personal Appeals: referring to friendship and loyalty when making a request
6. Exchange: making express or implied promises and trading favors
7. Coalition Tactics: getting others to support your effort to persuade someone
8. Pressure: demanding compliance or using intimidation threats
9. Legitimating Tactics: basing request on one's authority or right, organizational rules or policies, or express or implied support from superiors
These approaches are ranked in success in ascending order based on the study. These are memorable tactics to use when in the work field, and importance and value can not be underestimated.

Intraorganizational influence tactics: Explorations in getting one's way.
Kipnis, David; Schmidt, Stuart M.; Wilkinson, Ian
Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 65(4), Aug 1980, 440-452

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