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What is the role of control in management?
Describe four methods managers can use to acquire information about actual work performance.
How are planning and control linked? Is the control function linked to the organizing and leading functions of management? Explain.
In Chapter 7 we discussed the white water rapids view of change. Do you think it’s possible to establish and maintain effective standards and controls in this type of atmosphere? Discuss.
Why is what is measured in the control process probably more critical to the control process than how it is measured?
Why do you believe feedback control is the most popular type of control? Justify your response.
Every individual employee in an organization plays a role in controlling work activities.” Do you agree with this statement, or do you think control is something that only managers are responsible for? Explain.
How could you use the concept of control in your personal life? Be specific. (Think in terms of feedforward, concurrent, and feedback controls as well as specific controls for the different aspects of your life—school, work, family relationships, friends, hobbies, etc.)
Just after midnight on March 22, 2006, the Queen of the North ferry, part of the BC Ferries system, hit rocks off Gil Island, south of Prince Rupert. It was immediately clear that the ferry was in trouble, and within 15 minutes, “all” the passengers and crew were off the ship and in the ferry’s lifeboats. Initial media reports celebrated the fact that all 99 passengers and crew had managed to get off the ferry safely and with no major injuries.
On day two, passengers were reported missing. How could the ferry crew not know there had still been people onboard? While international maritime regulations require that ferries record identifying information about all passengers (name, gender, and whether they are adults, children, or infants), the Canadian government doesn’t require BC’s ferry fleet to meet international standards. Passenger names aren’t collected and ferry staff don’t even take a head count after loading. The number of passengers is only roughly determined by the number of tickets sold. There is no system in place to count passengers as they move from the ship to lifeboats, should such a situation arise.
The internal investigation BC Ferries conducted after the incident concluded that “human factors were the primary cause” of what happened. The report stated that the fourth officer “failed to make a necessary course alteration or verify such alteration was made in accordance with pre-established fleet routing directives and good seamanship.” During the investigation, crew members responsible for navigating the ship that night claimed that they were unfamiliar with newly installed steering equipment. In addition, they had turned off a monitor displaying their course, because they could not turn on the night settings. The report also concluded that the crew maintained a “casual watch-standing behavior,” had “lost situational awareness,” and “failed to appreciate the vessel’s impending peril.” Transcripts of radio calls that evening noted that music was heard playing on the bridge.
1. Describe the type(s) of control that could be used to improve the BC Ferries service to prevent an accident such as this occurring again. Be specific.
2. Assume that you are the president of BC Ferries. You have read the report of the investigation and noted some of the problems found. What would you do? Explain your reasoning.
3. Would some types of controls be more important than others in this situation? Discuss.
What is operations management and how is it used in both manufacturing and service organizations?
What strategic role does operations management play?
How might operations management apply to other managerial functions besides control?
What types of organizational benefits does value chain management provide?
Explain why managing productivity is important in operations management.
Who has the power in the value chain? Explain your response.
Choose two tasks that you do every week (for example, shop for groceries, host a poker party, clean your house/apartment, do laundry). For each one, identify how you could
(a) Be more productive in doing that task and
(b) Have higher-quality output from that task.
Starbucks understands the important role each participant in its value chain plays. Starbucks offers a selection of coffees from around the world. There are many potential challenges in “transforming” the raw material into the quality product and experience that customers expect at Starbucks. Weather, shipping and logistics, technology, political instability, could potentially impact what Starbucks is in business to do. Although those are significant operations management challenges, the most challenging issue facing Starbucks today is balancing its vision of the uniquely Starbucks’ coffee experience with the realities of selling a $4 latte.
Starbucks’ products have become an unaffordable luxury for many. As revenues and profits have fallen during the economic downturn, CEO Howard Schultz realized that “the company needed to change almost everything about how it operates.” The recession and growing competition forced Starbucks to become more streamlined.
At one of the first stores to implement the “lean” techniques, the store manager looked for ways for her employees to be more efficient with simple things like keeping items in the same place, moving drink toppings closer to where drinks are handed to customers, and altering the order of assembly. After two months under the new methods, her store experienced a 10 percent increase in transactions.
1. Would you describe Starbucks’ production/operations technology in its retail stores as unit, mass, or process? Explain your choice. (Hint: You’ll probably need to review this material found in Chapter 5’s “From the Past to the Present” box.) How does its production/operations technology approach affect the way products are produced?
2. What uncertainties does Starbucks face in its value chain? Can Starbucks manage those uncertainties? If so, how? If not, why not?
3. Go the company’s Web site, www.starbucks.com, and find the information on the company’s environmental activities from bean to cup. Select one of the steps in the chain (or your professor may assign one). Describe what environmental actions it’s taking. How might these affect the way Starbucks “produces” its products?
4. Research the concept of lean manufacturing. What does it mean? What benefits does lean offer? How might a business like Starbucks further utilize the concepts of being lean?
What is an organization and why are managers important to an organization’s success?
Are all effective organizations also efficient? Discuss. If you had to choose between being effective or being efficient, which one would you say is more important? Why?
Using any of the popular business periodicals (such as BusinessWeek, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company), find examples of managers doing each of the four management functions. Write up a description and explain how these are examples of that function.
Is your course instructor a manager? Discuss in terms of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Also discuss using Mintzberg’s managerial roles approach.
Is there one best “style” of management? Why or why not?
Is business management a profession? Why or why not? Do some external research in answering this question.
Why are managers important to organizations?
Using current business periodicals, find five examples of managers you would describe as master managers. Write a paper describing these individuals as managers and why you think they deserve this title.
As a global pharmaceutical company, Pfizer is continually looking for ways to help employees be more efficient and effective. The average Pfizer employee was spending 20 percent to 40 percent of his or her time on support work (creating documents, typing notes, doing research, manipulating data, scheduling meetings) and only 60 percent to 80 percent on knowledge work (strategy, innovation, networking, collaborating, critical thinking). As a solution, PfizerWorks allows employees to shift tedious and time-consuming tasks with the click of a single button on their computer desktop. They describe what they need on an online form, which is then sent to one of two Indian service-outsourcing firms.
1. Describe and evaluate what Pfizer is doing with its PfizerWorks.
2. We’ve defined managers as those individuals in an organization who direct and oversee the activities of other people in the organization. What challenges might there be for managers when those “people” are halfway around the world? How might the four management functions be useful in dealing with those challenges? What skills would managers need to be able to function effectively in this type of arrangement?
3. Do you think that PfizerWorks would work for someone who’s a first-line manager? Why or why not?
4. Do you think this arrangement would work for other types of organizations? Why or why not? What types of organizations might it work for?
How is the new economy affecting what managers do? Find examples in current business periodicals of activities and practices that organizations are using. Discuss them in light of the changed management environment.
Describe the shifts in the workforce. What implications have these shifts created for today’s managers?
What are the managerial implications of Hofstede’s research on cultural environments? The GLOBE study?
How can managers help employees deal with work/life balance issues?
What does social responsibility mean to you personally? Do you think businesses should be socially responsible? Explain.
Describe the characteristics and behaviors of someone you consider to be an ethical person. How could the types of decisions and actions this person engages in be encouraged in a workplace?
This question was posed in an article in USA Today: “Is capitalism going to be the salvation of the world or the cause of its demise?” Discuss.
Discuss the implications of hiring contingent workers from the perspectives of the organization and the contingent worker.
1. What’s your reaction to these events? Do you think your reaction is influenced by the culture, values, and traditions of the country in which you find yourself? Explain.
2. Look at what Hofstede’s and the GLOBE findings say about France. How would you explain these workers’ actions given these findings?
3. We’ve said throughout this chapter that it’s important for managers to be aware of external environmental forces. Discuss this in light of these events.
4. What might the French managers have done differently in this situation, especially prior to the point where workers felt they had to make their point by taking them hostage? Explain.
How is an organization like an iceberg? Use the iceberg metaphor to describe the field of organizational behavior.
Does the importance of knowledge of OB differ based on a manager’s level in the organization? If so, how? If not, why not? Be specific.
Clarify how individuals reconcile inconsistencies between attitudes and behaviors.
Describe what is meant by the term emotional intelligence. Provide an example of how it’s used in contemporary organizations.
Instead of worrying about job satisfaction, companies should be trying to create environments where performance is enabled. What do you think this statement means? Explain. What’s your reaction to this statement? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
How might a manager use personality traits to improve employee selection in his department? Emotional intelligence? Discuss.
Describe the implications of social learning theory for managing people at work.
A Gallup Organization survey shows that most workers rate having a caring boss even higher than they value money or fringe benefits. How should managers interpret this information? What are the implications?
A 29-year old man and a 68 year old are paired together to learn from each other. How much could they possibly have in common? At Randstad USA’s Manhattan office, such employee pairings are common. Randstad Holding NV, a Dutch company, has used this pairing idea since its founding over 40 years ago. The founder’s motto was “Nobody should be alone.” The original intent was to boost productivity by having sales agents share one job and trade off job responsibilities. Today, these partners in the home office have an arrangement where one is in the office one week while the other one is out making sales calls, then the next week, they switch. Randstad executives figured that if they shared a job with someone whose own success depended on theirs, they were certain to get all the nurturing they required.” The company looks for people who will work well with others by conducting extensive interviews and requiring job applicants to shadow a sales agent for half a day. “Everything about our organization is based on the team and group.” One of the most interesting elements of Randstad’s program is that neither person is “the boss.”
1. What topics of individual behavior do you see in this case? Explain.
2. What types of issues might a Gen Y employee and an older, more-experienced employee face? How could two people in such a close-knit work arrangement deal with those issues? That is, how could both make the adjustment easier?
Think of a group to which you belong (or have belonged). Trace its development through the stages of group development as shown in Exhibit 9-2. How closely did its development parallel the group development model? How might the group development model be used to improve this group’s effectiveness?
Contrast (a) self-managed and cross-functional teams and (b) virtual and face-to-face teams.
How do you explain the popularity of work teams in countries such as the United States and Canada, whose national cultures place a high value on individualism?
All work teams are work groups, but not all work groups are work teams. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Discuss.
Contrast the pros and cons of diverse teams.
How do you combine two packaged food companies, both with very well known household brand names, and make it work? That’s the challenge managers at General Mills faced when it acquired Pillsbury. So they decided to identify, share, and integrate the best practices from both companies. And employee teams played a major role in how the company proceeded. “Brand Champions” was the program designed for all employees from different functional areas who worked on particular brands. These cross-functional teams attended the in-house training together as a unified group. Specific benefits of including these teams soon became evident. “A person from human resources, for instance, would ask a provocative question precisely because she wasn’t a marketer. It helped employees understand and appreciate different perspectives. Another benefit of including people from different functions was improved communication throughout the company. Employees began to understand how the other functional areas worked and how each area’s contribution was important to the overall success of the company.
1. What benefits did the cross-functional teams bring to General Mills?
2. What challenges would there be in creating an effective cross-functional team? How could managers deal with these challenges?
3. Explain how roles, norms, status, group size, and cohesiveness might affect these teams
4. Explain how each of the characteristics of effective teams (see Exhibit 9-6) would be important for an effective cross-functional team.
Most of us have to work for a living, and a job is a central part of our lives. So why do managers have to worry so much about employee motivation issues?
Contrast lower-order and higher-order needs in Maslow’s needs hierarchy.
What role would money play in
(a) The hierarchy of needs theory,
(b) Two-factor theory,
(c) Equity theory,
(d) Expectancy theory, and
(e) Motivating employees with a high nAch? How do needs affect motivation?
What are some of the possible consequences of employees perceiving an inequity between their inputs and outcomes and those of others?
What are some advantages of using pay-for-performance to motivate employee performance? Are there drawbacks? Explain.
Many job design experts who have studied the changing nature of work say that people do their best work when they’re motivated by a sense of purpose rather than by the pursuit of money. Do you agree? Explain your position. What are the implications for managers?
Could managers use any of the motivation theories or approaches to encourage and support workforce diversity efforts? Explain.
Can an individual be too motivated? Discuss.
Google has been in the top 10 list of “Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for three years running and was number one on the list for two of those three years. But make no mistake. Google’s executives decided to offer all these fabulous perks for several reasons: to attract the best knowledge workers it can in an intensely competitive, cutthroat market; to help employees work long hours and not have to deal with time-consuming personal chores; to show employees they’re valued; and to have employees remain Googlers (the name used for employees) for many years. But a number of Googlers have jumped ship and given up these fantastic benefits to go out on their own.
1. Google is doing a lot for its employees, but obviously not enough to retain several of its talented employees. Using what you’ve learned from studying the various motivation theories, what does this situation tell you about employee motivation?
2. What do you think is Google’s biggest challenge in keeping employees motivated?
3. If you were managing a team of Google employees, how would you keep them motivated?
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the trait theory.
What would a manager need to know to use Fiedler’s contingency model? Be specific.
Do you think that most managers in real life use a contingency approach to increase their leadership effectiveness? Discuss.
All managers should be leaders, but not all leaders should be managers. Do you agree or disagree this statement? Support your position.
Do you think trust evolves out of an individual’s personal characteristics or out of specific situations? Explain.
Do followers make a difference in whether a leader is effective? Discuss.
How can organizations develop effective leaders?
When might leaders be irrelevant?
How important are excellent leaders to organizations? A company has to cultivate leaders who have the skills and abilities to help it survive and thrive. 3M has its own farm system, except its farm system is designed to develop company leaders. 3M’s leadership development program is so effective that in 2009 Chief Executive magazine and Hay Consulting Group named the company the best at developing future leaders. Former CEO Jim McNerney, agreed on six “leadership attributes” that they believed were essential for the company to become skilled at executing strategy and being accountable. Those six attributes included: the ability to “chart the course; energize and inspire others; demonstrate ethics, integrity, and compliance; deliver results; raise the bar; and innovate resourcefully.
Buckley said that he believes there is a difference between leaders and managers. “A leader is as much about inspiration as anything else. A manager is more about process.” He believes that the key to developing leaders is to focus on those things that can be developed— like strategic thinking.
Finally, when asked about his own leadership style. Buckley responded that, “The absolutely best way for me to be successful is to have people working for me who are better. Having that kind of emotional self-confidence is vital to leaders. You build respect in those people because you admire what they do. Having built respect, you build trust.
1. What do you think about Buckley’s statement that leaders and managers differ? Do you agree? Why or why not?
2. What leadership models/theories/issues do you see in this case? List and describe.
3. Take each of the six leadership attributes that the company feels is important. Explain what you think each one involves. Then discuss how those attributes might be developed and measured.
4. What did this case teach you about leadership?
Which type of communication do you think is most effective in a work setting? Why?
Why isn’t effective communication synonymous with agreement?
Which do you think is more important for a manager: speaking accurately or listening actively? Why?
Ineffective communication is the fault of the sender.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Discuss.
Is information technology helping managers be more efficient and effective? Explain your answer.
Why are effective interpersonal skills so important to a manager’s success?
How might a manager use the grapevine to his or her advantage? Support your response.
During 2008, each corporate user of e-mail sent or received over 150 messages per day. By 2011, that number is estimated to be well over 225. U.S. Cellular’s Chief Operating Officer Jay Ellison imposed a “no e-mail Friday” rule, a move that a growing number of companies are taking. Although most bans typically allow e-mailing clients and customers or responding to urgent matters, the intent is to slow down the routine internal e-mails that take up time and clog the organization’s computer network.
1. What advantages and disadvantages are there to e-mail as a form of communication? In addition to your own personal experience with e-mail, do some research before answering this question?
2. Why do you think the employees rebelled?
3. What’s your opinion about Ellison’s actions? Was he right or wrong? Be sure to look at this from the perspective of both the organization and the employees.
4. What other approaches might Ellison have taken to address this issue of out-of-control e-mail?
Describe what is meant by the term organizational design.
Can an organization’s structure be changed quickly? Why or why not? Should it be changed quickly? Why or why not?
An organization can have no structure. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain.
With the availability of information technology that allows employees to work anywhere, anytime, is organizing still an important managerial function? Why or why not?
Researchers are now saying that efforts to simplify work tasks actually have negative results for both companies and their employees. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Danish company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) is known globally for its high-end audio and video. CEO Kalle Hvidt Nielsen says, “Our mission is to make complex technology very simple to use.” B&O uses contract designers, not organizational design employees, to create the company’s products. And these designers have been empowered to veto any product they don’t like. Lewis and his team of six designers, who all are external freelancers, don’t ever meet.
The design process isn’t really a process. Giving such power to individuals who aren’t employees would frighten most managers. However, it works well for B&O. This “business-by-genius model depends on the instincts of a handful of quirky and creative individuals and the ability of executives to manage them.”
1. Describe and evaluate what B&O is doing.
2. What structural implications—good and bad—does this approach have? (Think in terms of the six organizational design elements.)
3. Do you think this arrangement would work for other types of organizations? Why or why not?
4. The B&O design approach depends on “the ability of executives to manage” the designers. What abilities would managers need in managing in this type of organizational design?
5. What role do you think organizational structure plays in an organization’s strategic capabilities, especially in innovation efforts?
How does HRM affect all managers?
Should an employer have the right to choose employees without governmental interference? Support your position.
Some critics claim that corporate HR departments have outlived their usefulness and are not there to help employees but to shield the organization from legal problems. What do you think? What benefits are there to having a formal HRM process? What drawbacks?
Do you think it’s ethical for a prospective employer to delve into an applicant’s life by means of interviews, tests, and background investigations? What if those investigations involved looking at your Facebook page or personal blogs? Explain your position. To check your understanding of outcomes, go to mymanagementlab.com and try the chapter questions.
Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the various recruiting sources.
Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the various selection devices.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of realistic job previews? (Consider this question from both the perspective of the organization and the perspective of a potential employee.)
What, in your view, constitutes sexual harassment? Describe how companies can minimize sexual harassment in the workplace.
Scotts Miracle-Gro is facing the dilemma of persuading employees to take better care of themselves without diminishing employee morale or getting hit with employee lawsuits. It’s on the leading edge of companies looking to monitor and change employee behavior.
Scotts’ CEO Jim Hagedorn (in photo) acknowledges that his company’s wellness program is controversial. In 2000, he, like many other CEOs, watched as his company’s health care costs skyrocketed. No help was in sight from either the government or from the health insurance industry, and the company’s employees were “bingeing on health care.” By February 2003, workers’ health care insurance premiums had doubled and employee morale had plummeted. 20 percent of the company’s net profits were going to health care. The company’s health-risk assessment showed that half of the 6,000 employees were overweight or morbidly obese and a quarter of them smoked.. He found a law firm that helped determine that in 21 states (including the company’s home base in Ohio) it wasn’t illegal to hire and fire people based on their smoking habits.
Today, Scotts’ employees are encouraged to take exhaustive health-risk assessments. Those who don’t, pay $40 a month more in premiums. All employees are assigned a health coach, who works closely with those who are moderate to high risk. Those who don’t comply pay an additional $67 a month on top of the $40. Many employees find the policy “intrusive.”
1. What do you think about Hagedorn’s approach to controlling employee health care costs? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
2. Research company wellness programs. What types of things are companies doing to encourage employee wellness? Are there any things that you found that you might recommend that Hagedorn implement? Describe.
3. What benefits/drawbacks are there to this type of wellness program for
(a) Employees and
(b) The company?
Why is managing change an integral part of every manager’s job?
Describe Lewin’s three-step change process. How is it different from the change process needed in the whitewater rapids metaphor of change?
How are opportunities, constraints, and demands related to stress? Give an example of each.
Organizations typically have limits to how much change they can absorb. As a manager, what signs would you look for that might suggest your organization has exceeded its capacity to change?
Why is organization development planned change? Explain how planned change is important for organizations in today’s dynamic environment.
How do creativity and innovation differ? Give an example of each.
How does an innovative culture make an organization more effective? Do you think an innovative culture could ever make an organization less effective? Why or why not?
When you find yourself experiencing dysfunctional stress, write down what’s causing the stress, what stress symptoms you’re exhibiting, and how you’re dealing with the stress. Keep this information in a journal and evaluate how well your stress reducers are working and how you could handle stress better. Your goal is to get to a point where you recognize that you’re stressed and can take positive actions to deal with the stress.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has a vision of creating the ‘FedEx’ of junk removal. By the end of 2008, however, the company had over 340 franchises in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and system-wide revenues of over $125 million. Scudamore’s company has been described as a “curious hybrid” that blends the old and new economies. Although its product—hauling trash—has been done for hundreds of years, it relies heavily on sophisticated information technology and has the kind of organizational culture that most people associate with high-tech start-ups.
In addition, the company’s culture is a unique blend of fun and seriousness. There’s a quote posted in the head office that says “It’s all about people.”
1. Do you think 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Faces more of a calm waters or white-water rapids environment? Explain.
2. What external and internal forces might create the need for the company to change? Be specific in describing these.
3. What could other organizations learn about managing change, stress, and innovation from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
4. Using Exhibit 7-5, how could Brian Scudamore stimulate and nurture innovation at headquarters and with company franchisees?