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Exploring Management

1.The text describes six “must-have” managerial skills (see p. 17). Which do you think is most important, and why?

According to Schermerhorn, the six “must have” managerial skills are teamwork, self-management, leadership, critical thinking, professionalism and communication. Of the six, I think critical thinking is the most important. Critical thinking refers to the ability of a manager to skillfully look at information relating to a situation and giving the best judgement and decision. It allows a manager to come up with problem-solving solutions and make sound decisions. Critical thinking is more important than other managerial skills because it affects whether a business or company and the manager is successful or not. This is especially true for smaller companies. Sound decision making will enable the company to take advantage of opportunities and avert or deal with problems that affect them. Once sound decisions have been made the manager is then able to use the other skills to ensure they are implemented.

2.Which do you think is the most difficult to achieve, and why?

Of the six management skills mentioned above, I think leadership is the most difficult to achieve. It highly depends on the employees’ reactions towards the manager as opposed to only the manager himself. It involves being able to influence employees working under him/her to implement set strategies. The manager should be able to motivate, guide and coordinate employees in order to be more efficient and productive. The manager has to possess leadership qualities to be a good leader and instill confidence in his/her employees. However, the attitude, abilities and perceptions of the people being led also determine whether or not a manager is successful in implementing projects and decisions.

3.Describe the difference between “unethical” behavior and “illegal” behavior. How does an individual determine whether certain behaviors or actions are ethical or not? Give an example of an illegal act that you believe may still be ethical.

Unethical behavior is not acceptable within an organization. Employees are normally guided on this by the company’s code of conduct. It outlines which behaviors are considered proper and which are considered unethical within the organization. Examples of such practices are sexual harassment issues and using company property for personal work. Unethical behaviors are not all illegal. Illegal behavior refers to that which is not allowed and can lead to a person being prosecuted in a court of law. They include insider trading, discrimination and sexual harassment. An individual can determine whether a certain behavior is ethical or not by using the guidelines provided in a company’s code of conduct. In case it is still not clear, employees are expected to consult a responsible officer within the organization such as the Human Resource Manager on the issue. Organizations should ensure that all employees are educated on the code of conduct during induction of new employees and regular trainings conducted for other employees.

An example of behavior that is illegal but ethical is for a company in a third world country allowing a child to work because they are orphans and the sole breadwinner in the family with younger children to look after. This is illegal but may be considered ethical because it is for a greater good and the child and their family would not survive without the job.

4.Your company has two divisions, both of which are requesting an additional investment of $100,000. The company is only able to make one $100,000 investment and the company president asked that you make your recommendation for which division to benefit. Using the 5 steps in the decision-making process, explain how you might decide which investment to make.

The first step is to identify and evaluate the problem. In this situation, the problem is deciding which division should receive the $ 100000 investment. The next step is to generate and evaluate alternative courses of action. In this case, I will do a cost-benefit analysis on both divisions to get information on which one will bring the most benefit to the benefit at the least cost. An alternative course of action would involve carrying analysis on whether the divisions could benefit from less money being invested such as a 50-50 investment on both divisions. The cost benefit will determine whether the investments will produce viable results for the company. The next step is to choose the preferred course of action. This is the one which will bring the most benefit to the company. In this case, it can be one division or the combined benefit of a 50-50 investment on both divisions. The money will then be invested in the most profitable option according to their budget and plan of action. The final stage will involve analyzing whether the chosen plan of action will produce expected results and whether there is need to go back to the drawing board.

5. Your company is planning to launch a new product in 6 months. As product manager, describe how you would use the 5 planning steps to ensure that the product launch is successful.

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The first step in the planning of the launch of a new product is to define the objectives. The major objective of launching the new product is to introduce it, make people aware of its existence and give them a chance to try it out. In determining where the company stands vis-a-vis these objectives, I would look at how well other company products are doing in the market as well as other substitutes to the new product. Strengths that could help in the launch would be the good reputation of the company and the company having a strong brand name. This will help market the new product during the launch. Weaknesses to be considered before the launch include how much a competitor’s substitute has penetrated the existing market. If a competitor has a large market share, the company has to work harder make their product more attractive to the consumer.

The next step is to develop premises regarding future conditions. In this case it involves whether the launch is successful or not. If the launch is successful, the company may go ahead and move to other geographical regions and if it is not successful it may employ sales promotions and other marketing strategies to penetrate the market. Once these steps are completed, I will make the best plan to achieve the objectives of the launch. This involves using sales promotion techniques during the launch – giving free samples and carrying out demonstrations for the new product. The plan will then be implemented and evaluated.

6.Since its inception, the overriding value of Google’s founders has been “do no evil”. Evaluate this value, both as an “observable value” and “core value” in their current environment.

Google is known to have an informal “Do No Evil” mantra in the corporate environment. According to Google, this means that they will put users first and that it is honest in the provision of its services. As a core value, this policy has enabled users to trust Google due to the information and services it provides. Users are more confident in using it when they know their privacy is taken care of. However, there have been cases where Google has not lived up to its own policy leading to lawsuits and complaints. This includes issues such as placing advertising cookies in websites thereby violating the privacy of the users. Google paid a fine of $22.5 million to the Federal Trade Commission for violating their privacy.

7.Power, in its different forms (reward, coercive, and legitimate) is discussed on p. 259. Assuming that there are legitimate reasons to use all three forms as an effective leader, identify three situations (one for each type of power), where that power might be effectively utilized.

According to Schermerhorn, leaders use position power to achieve influence in the workplace. Reward power refers to a situation where a leader offers incentive to influence a person to do a certain job or activity. An example of a situation where this might be effectively used is when dealing with the sales team. The manager can offer promotion for the people who make the highest sales within a given period. Coercive power refers to a situation where the manager makes the employees aware that they will receive punishment if they do not do what he expects of them (Schermerhorn, 2012). Punishment can be in the form of termination of employment or bad job reviews. A situation where this might be effectively used is where an employee who has been consistently not meeting their targets is told to improve their performance or face termination. Legitimate power refers to a situation where a leader uses his formal authority to achieve influence in the workplace (Schermerhorn, 2012). A situation where this is effective is where the manager tells an employee at a lower rank to prepare a certain report for him and the employee does it because the manager is within his authority to do so.

8.You have become the manager of a division of a not-for-profit that has just suffered a major embezzlement by its CFO, who stole 75% of the donations meant to help the charity. The staff is suffering from low morale and the Board of Directors is considering closing the divisions instead of trying to rebuild donations to make the charity viable. As leader, you want to make the division work. Choose at least 2 types of “new” leadership strategies described on p. 272 and discuss how these might help you become the type of leader who can effectively rebuild your division.

In rebuilding my division I would use transformational and interactive leadership strategies to build the morale of the staff members as well as move forward in rebuilding the organization. Transformational leadership involves inspiring staff members to internalize the division’s vision as their own thereby making them more motivated and perform better. (Schermerhorn, 2012). This form of leadership will raise the staff’s morale and motivate them to work towards rebuilding the division. Interactive leadership will involve encouraging participation from the staff members to come up with solutions to deal with the problem. This is done through communication and teamwork in the workplace. This will help rebuild the division by fostering a feeling of inclusiveness in the organization where everyone is involved. It will also provide an environment where creative and innovative ideas are encouraged from the employees thereby enabling the organization to choose the best one for the division.

9.Discuss the importance of a manager’s understanding of the differences in personality traits, for both the manager and employee. Are there any personality traits that you believe are more conducive to being an effective leader? Discuss.

There are differences in individual personality traits within the workplace. It is important for both the manager and the employee to understand these differences in order to reduce conflicts in the work place. Differences in personalities are potential stress factors in an organization. The manager is able to lead the staff members better by understanding their different personalities as they influence how they work. Employees should understand the manager’s personality too. Personalities that are more conducive to being an effective leader include being proactive, emotionally stable and being objective. Being proactive enables a leader to react positively despite challenges that they may face, while emotional stability will allow them to deal with the different personality traits of the employees. The leaders should be objective dealing with the employees.

10. How can our perceptions affect us as managers, and how can they help us? How do “attribution errors” and “self-serving bias” negatively impact our ability to be effective leaders? Give an example of each.

Perception refers to the process through which people perceive and interpret information from the environment (Schermerhorn, 2012). It affects how we perceive ourselves and those we interact with. Perception affects how we react to different situations and people. As managers, perceptions can affect how we communicate with employees and their responce to our leadership. Positive perceptions help by making employees react positively to leadership. Attribution errors and self serving bias affect a manager’s ability to be effective by making it difficult to solve problems within the organization due to incorrect judgement and not taking responsibility for our actions. They also cause conflict within the work place. An example of an attribution error is interpreting the lateness of an employee as a result of poor time management while they had a problem with a car on the way to work. An example of a self serving bias is blaming an employee for not completing a report on time while you gave them the information required at a late hour.

11. You hired a new employee for the Finance Dept. -a woman who just graduated from an MBA program. She will work directly with you. You want to make sure that she not only does a good job and is successful, but enjoys the work as well. How can you use Maslow’s Theory and Hertzberg’s Theory to motivate employee?

Maslow’s theory shows that human needs are important factors to consider in the motivation of an employee. This requires the manager to recognize and understand the employees’ needs. To motivate the new employee, I will provide opportunities for her needs to be fulfilled. This can be done through providing opportunities for job progression and decision making within the organization as well as giving responsibilities. This will enable the employee to have job satisfaction and be more productive. Compensation and benefits given should also be attractive depending on the current market conditions and work done. This will enable her to fulfill basic needs and work towards fulfilling higher needs such as esteem needs. Working conditions will also be conducive. Praising and rewarding work will also be done to further motivate her.

Hertzberg’s theory suggests improving hygiene and satisfier factors to motivate employees. This will provide a conducive working environment for the employee as well as attractive compensation. In addition, opportunities for personal growth within the organization will be available. The employee will also work on what is relevant to their experience and education which allows them to make decisions and come up with solutions.

12. You decide to get into shape so that you can run a marathon (26.2 miles) in 2 months for your birthday. You start today by running 6 miles, uphill. You collapse in 6 blocks with cramps in your legs. You limp home and never put on your running shoes again. How could “goal-setting theory” have made this a better experience? How could you better structure your goals so that you might be able, at some point, to run a marathon?

This involves setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound (SMART). These will motivate me. Using the goal setting theory would have ensured I chose to run manageable and attainable distance and build up to longer distances as the days pass. It would also enable me to choose the best running shoes for the activity and set aside time for stretching exercises before training. The best structure is to start with 3 miles per day in the initial days with resting days each week. By the end of the second week I will be able to run 6 miles each day thereby building up my resistance. This progression will continue until I am able to run the full 26.2 miles each week.

13. You are the coach of a college basketball team. They were in 1st place in their division until 4 weeks ago, when they started to lose. Their performance begins to falter in the last half of each game–you suspect there is a teamwork issue. Discuss what you might do to help the members work together as a team to play better. (Assume that the individual player skills have not changed.)

Team success always depends on members contributing in a wide variety of ways to help the team reach its goals (Schermerhorn, 2012). To help the members work together as a team, I would conduct a team building exercise with the members to help them learn the importance of teamwork and enhance cohesiveness. In addition, I will emphasize on teamwork during practice so that they learn how to play together. I will also teach them how to communicate with each other during the game to ensure better performance.

14. What do you think this assessment says about your preferences for learning? Do you think you can change this if you need to in a certain situation?

My assessment says that I learn better through visual, print, auditory and kinesthetic methods at 20%, 20%, 18% and 17% respectively. This would change in different situations depending on the resources available and the activity or work being done. An example would be learning how to pitch a tent at a campsite where I would learn better through the kinesthetic method. Different situations would require different methods of learning as some require a level of engagement from the learner while others do not. Another activity would be learning pottery where to learn better I would have to be a haptic learner.

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15. What is your score for personal values, social values, and terminal values? Terminal values are described in Ch. 3-what does your score say about your preference for the goals you would like to achieve? What does this mean for you as a manager?

My scores are personal values – 343, social values – 107 and terminal values – 236. This shows my preferences to values such as a sense of accomplishment, inner harmony and a world of peace. It also shows I give more preference to terminal values than social values. As a manager, this means I will be able to look at the greater picture of the company as opposed to just my line of work. Personal values such as a sense of accomplishment would mean I would be able to meet my targets within the work place. In addition, I attach a great importance to social values such as true friendship.

16. What is your score and what do you think it means about the way you prefer to evaluate information and make decisions? Based on your score and the Ch. 5 reading in chapter 4, do you think you are an intuitive “thinker” or “feeler” or a sensation “thinker” or “feeler”. Discuss.

My score is 5 which means I am a sensation thinker. According to the assessment I am able to evaluate information and make decisions based on the facts given and take a realistic approach. Sensation thinkers or feelers are more comfortable with impersonal issues which can be solved based on the facts given. Intuitive thinkers or feelers are more personal and thoughtful and are more likely to come up with creative problem solving techniques than sensation thinkers. Sensation thinkers make systematic managers who prefer to make a plan and strategy before undertaking any activity in the work place.

17. What is your score? If it is low, what areas (based on your answers to particular questions) do you feel that you can make a change to better manage your time? Do you feel that you procrastinate? How does this add to stress?

My score on time management was 8. I don’t feel like I procrastinate because I allocate time for urgent and important work and do most of it during the morning when I have more energy. Procrastination adds to stress because one has to do work that is important within less time than is adequate because it is urgent. The work done will not be done as well as it would have been if more time was used to complete it. One has to work under pressure due to urgency. To avoid this, one should complete important work before it is urgent so that they have time to do it well without pressure.

18. What is your score? What do you think this says about you as a person and manager? Define “ambiguity” and discuss why this is an important topic in a management course. How can you increase your tolerance for ambiguity?

My score is 55. This means I am not very comfortable with ambiguous situations. As a person and a manager, I like clear situations where I know exactly what is expected. Ambiguity refers to a situation that is vague and not clear. One is required to come up with a method of handling the situation. It is important to learn about ambiguity because there are different types of organizations: some are structured others are not. People should be able to deal and accept change as it is inevitable. It is important to increase tolerance for ambiguity because it helps us to work better in an organization. This can be done through having an open mind and brainstorming to come up with different methods of doing things rather than just following rules.

19. There are 3 vignettes–identify what type of decision is appropriate for each. In addition to identifying the decision type, discuss why you chose your answer.

The most appropriate decisions for the vignettes are individual decision for vignette1, consultative decision for vignette 2 and group decision for vignette 3. Individual decision is where the manager looks at the problem and makes the decision on his own. This is appropriate in the first vignette because individual as the leader already has the variables required to make the decision. Consultative decision is where the manager tells the group of the issue at hand and they give suggestions but the final decision is made by him. This is appropriate for the second vignette because the engineers will be made aware of the impending move as well as provides opportunity for those who do not mind moving to come forward. The manager will then be able to come up with names based on their discussion.Group decision refers to a situation where the manager tells the group about the issue and working together to come up with the solution. This is appropriate in the third vignette as there are several members in the group who have knowledge required to complete the task. The leader will then facilitate the group in making the decision.

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20. What is your score on the Co-Worker scale? What does this say about your preferred leadership style? Why do you think it is important to understand your particular style/preferences? If you have a strong preference one way or the other, can you see how it might be important to develop skills that would help you operate differently if a particular situation might warrant it? For example, if you are very relationship-oriented, why would you need skills to be task-oriented?

My score is 60. This means I am a task motivated leader; I am able to give instructions when a task needs to be completed despite the situation. It is important to know your preferences because they affect how you relate with co-workers. This allows one to learn how to handle others within the work environment. It is important to be able to operate differently depending on the situation at hand. Being more task motivated than relationship oriented, I would need to be more open minded about work mates’ behavior to relate with them better.

21. This shows a tendency to type A or B personality. What is your score? Explain what you think that means about you-are you type A or B, and do you agree with that? What do you think this says about my personality type and how I function both personally and professionally?

I scored 99 which is midway between type A and type B personality but leaning towards type B. This means that I take things as they come without unnecessary stressing.. I agree with the assessment based on my reactions to different situations. People with type B feel pressure in situations that warrant them and allow them to function well both professionally and in their personal lives. Type A people stress about most things and are not able to function well. The stress also has health implications.

22. What is your score? How do your scores compare? Review Hertzberg’s two factory theory in Ch. 13 and briefly discuss what the two factors mean. How does this theory relate to what motivates you? How can you use your knowledge of your employees’ scores to increase their motivation?

I scored 28 for the motivator factors and 32 for the hygiene factors. This means that I attach more importance to hygiene factors such as a good salary and good working conditions at the work place. The motivator factors score is almost the same which means they are also quite important to me. According to the Hertzberg theory, to be motivated in the work place I would need a conducive working environment and good benefits. To increase motivation, such an employee requires improving factors such as employee policies to reduce job dissatisfaction. Relations with colleagues also play a big part in reducing dissatisfaction.

23. This shows how comfortable you might be in providing feedback. What is your score? If in the low to mid-range (14 to 51 points) what can you do to become a bit more assertive in your approach to others? If you have a very high score, how could your assertiveness be a problem?

My score is 39 which means I have moderate assertiveness. I am uncomfortable in giving feedback in some situations but I am more comfortable in others. Situations that I am not comfortable giving feedback in are mostly those which have negative implications to the person they relate to. To become more assertive I need to practice giving constructive feedback and gaining confidence to be able to deal with those issues that need to be addressed. In addition I can observe people within the workplace who handle similar issues more assertively to get tips on how to handle sensitive issues.