The Study of Business and Globalisation@Limkokwing

October 13, 2008

Day 7 – Managing Change, Stress and Innovation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 12:00 pm

Day 7 – Managing Change, Stress and Innovation

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

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Day 6 – Staffing and Human Resource Management

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 11:53 am

Day 6 – Staffing and Human Resource Management

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

Day 5 – Basic Organisation Designs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 11:40 am

Organizational design is the process by which managers alter the structure of their organization to meet the implementation demands of its chosen strategy.

Division of labor, or work specialization, describes the degree to which organizational tasks are subdivided into separate jobs. An entire job is not done by one person. Instead, it is divided into discrete steps, each one completed by a different person.

Early proponents believed that work specialization could lead to indefinitely increasing productivity. Since specialization was not widely practiced at the turn of the twentieth century, their belief was reasonable.

By the late 1940s, work specialization enabled manufacturing firms to make the most effective use of their employees’ skills. So, managers believed that division of labor offered an unending source of increased productivity.

By the 1960s, however, the human diseconomies resulting from work specialization began to offset the economic advantages. Managers today realize that while division of labor is appropriate for some jobs, productivity in other jobs can be increased through enlarging, not narrowing, job activities.

How many employees can a manager efficiently and effectively direct?
Some advocate small spans of control because they help managers maintain close control; but, there are several drawbacks: they require more managers and are more costly, they retard vertical communication, and they foster tight controls and limited employee autonomy.

In contrast, wide spans of control reduce costs, cut overhead, expedite decision making, increase flexibility, empower employees, and promote customer contact.

All things being equal, the broader the span of control, the more efficient the organization.
Organizational variables that influence how a company will determine an appropriate span of control: similarity and complexity of employee tasks, the proximity of employees, the presence of standardized procedures, the capabilities of the information management system, the strength of the firm’s value system, and the preferred style of management.

As a link in the chain of command, a manager with line authority has the right to direct the work of employees and to make certain decisions without consulting anyone. Of course, in the chain of command, every manager is also subject to the direction of his or her superior.

Authority refers to the rights inherent in a managerial position, such as giving orders and expecting that the orders will be obeyed. Authority, therefore, is related to one’s position within an organization and ignores the personal characteristics of the individual manager. When managers delegate authority, they must allocate commensurate responsibility to perform.

How does the contemporary view of authority and responsibility differ from the historical view? Early management scholars assumed that the authority and rights inherent in one’s formal position were the sole source of influence; so, managers were all powerful.

Authority refers to the rights inherent in a managerial position, such as giving orders and expecting that the orders will be obeyed. Authority, therefore, is related to one’s position within an organization and ignores the personal characteristics of the individual manager. When managers delegate authority, they must allocate commensurate responsibility to perform.

How does the contemporary view of authority and responsibility differ from the historical view? Early management scholars assumed that the authority and rights inherent in one’s formal position were the sole source of influence; so, managers were all powerful.

Early management writers distinguished between two forms of authority: line and staff.

Line authority entitles a manager to direct the work of an employee. It is the employer-employee relationship that extends from the top of the organization to the lowest echelon, according to the chain-of-command (see the following chart).

If the term line is used to differentiate between levels of management, line managers contribute directly to the achievement of organizational objectives. Managers with staff authority support, assist, and advise those who hold line authority. The chart above illustrates line and staff authority.

Early organizations were simpler; staff was less important, and management was only minimally dependent on technical specialists. Modern theorists now realize that nonmanagers can have power and that power is not perfectly correlated with one’s job.

Authority is a right based on one’s position in an organization. It goes with the job. Power, on the other hand, refers to an individual’s capacity to influence decisions. Authority, therefore, is a part of the larger concept of power. Authority and power are compared in this slide and the one that follows.

As the slide above illustrates, authority is a two-dimensional concept: that is, the higher one is in an organization, the more authority he or she has.

Day 4 – The Foundations of decision-Making

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

October 6, 2008

Day 4 – Foundations of Decision-Making

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 12:11 pm

Problem-solving and Heuristics

Can you decompose a management problem and “recombine its elements in some new manner”?

Strategies are used to make the problem easier to understand and solve.

In economics, sociology, and political science, a decision or situation is often called rational if it is in some sense optimal, and individuals or organizations are often called rational if they tend to act somehow optimally in pursuit of their goals. Thus one speaks, for example, of a rational allocation of resources, or of a rational corporate strategy. In this concept of “rationality”, the individual’s goals or motives are taken for granted and not made subject to criticism, ethical or otherwise. Thus rationality simply refers to the success of goal attainment, whatever those goals may be. Sometimes, in this context, rationality is equated with behavior that is self-interested to the point of being selfish. Sometimes rationality implies having complete knowledge about all the details of a given situation.

Debates arise in these three fields about whether or not people or organizations are “really” rational, as well as whether it make sense to model them as such in formal models. Some have argued that a kind of bounded rationality makes more sense for such models.

Problem solving forms part of thinking. Considered the most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of more routine or fundamental skills (Goldstein and Levin, 1987). It occurs if an organism or an artificial intelligence system does not know how to proceed from a given state to a desired goal state. It is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping.

Perhaps the most fundamental heuristic is “trial and error”, which can be used in everything from matching bolts to bicycles to finding the values of variables in algebra problems.

Goldstein F. C., & Levin H. S. (1987). Disorders of reasoning and problem-solving ability. In M. Meier, A. Benton, & L. Diller (Eds.), Neuropsychological rehabilitation. London: Taylor & Francis Group.

Characteristics of difficult problems

As elucidated by Dietrich Dörner and later expanded upon by Joachim Funke, difficult problems have some typical characteristics that can be summarized as follows:

  • Intransparency (lack of clarity of the situation)
  • commencement opacity
  • continuation opacity
  • Polytely (multiple goals)
  • inexpressiveness
  • opposition
  • transience
  • Complexity (large numbers of items, interrelations, and decisions)
  • enumerability
  • connectivity (hierarchy relation, communication relation, allocation relation)
  • heterogeneity
  • Dynamics (time considerations)
  • temporal constraints
  • temporal sensitivity
  • phase effects
  • dynamic unpredictability

The resolution of difficult problems requires a direct attack on each of these characteristics that are encountered.

Here are a few other commonly used heuristics, from Polya’s classic How to Solve It.

* Look to the unknown.
* If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, try drawing a picture.
* If you can’t find a solution, try assuming that you have a solution and seeing what you can derive from that (“working backward”).
* If the problem is abstract, try examining a concrete example.
* Try solving a more general problem first (the “inventor’s paradox”: the more ambitious plan may have more chances of success).

Other heuristics.

Heuristic Informal Description Formal analogue
Analogy Can you find a problem analogous to your problem and solve that? Map
Generalization Can you find a problem more general than your problem? Generalization
Induction Can you solve your problem by deriving a generalization from some examples? Induction
Variation of the Problem Can you vary or change your problem to create a new problem (or set of problems) whose solution(s) will help you solve your original problem? Search
Auxiliary Problem Can you find a subproblem or side problem whose solution will help you solve your problem? Subgoal
Here is a problem related to yours and solved before Can you find a problem related to yours that has already been solved and use that to solve your problem? Pattern recognition
Pattern matching
Reduction
Specialization Can you find a problem more specialized? Specialization
Decomposing and Recombining Can you decompose the problem and “recombine its elements in some new manner”? Divide and conquer
Working backward Can you start with the goal and work backwards to something you already know? Backward chaining
Draw a Figure Can you draw a picture of the problem? Diagrammatic Reasoning [3]
Auxiliary Elements Can you add some new element to your problem to get closer to a solution? Extension

Day 4 – The Foundations of decision-Making

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

October 5, 2008

Day 3 – The Foundations of Planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 8:28 am

Hi please find below the slides for each day’s lectures. Please download the files and print off the notes pages. This is very important as this will provide the information and knowledge you will need to pass your exams.

Slides and notes will be added for each week.

Day 3 – The Foundations of Planning

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

Wicked problems paper HERE

Another one HERE

And one more HERE

Planning on mindtools HERE

Day 2 – The Management Environment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 8:26 am

Hi please find below the slides for each day’s lectures. Please download the files and print off the notes pages. This is very important as this will provide the information and knowledge you will need to pass your exams.

Slides and notes will be added for each week.

DAY 2 – THE MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

October 1, 2008

Hello Limkokwing Business and Globalisation Students.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Derek W. Nicoll Ph.D. @ 11:06 am

Hi please find below the slides for each day’s lectures. Please download the files and print off the notes pages. This is very important as this will provide the information and knowledge you will need to pass your exams.

Slides and notes will be added for each week. Copies of the modules are available on the ‘about’ page.

DAY 1 – MANAGERS AND MANAGEMENT

You can go directly to slideshare HERE to download the PowerPoint slides and print the notes pages.

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