Teams8 have become an essential part of the way Microsoft runs its business. It has developed its team into problem-solving teams. These self-managed teams are empowered and participate in product related decisions. They are cross-functional are provided on-demand resources to produce the desired results. Basically, it is made up of workers from the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task. It is not surprising to see these teams responsibilities overlapped in achieving the products or service needed.
To achieve optimum results, the teams synchronized its design and programs. Following this, the team practiced self-reflections and self-criticism to manage conflicts and guidance within the benched parameters. This team development is deliberate in order to create competition within and without the team. Microsoft has created a team environment where healthy conflict is allowed and these provide an opportunity for the teams to shift its paradigm upward, again and again. Decision-Making Decisions in Microsoft are being done collectively rather than individually.
The advantages are more complete information and knowledge, diverse views and better acceptance of decision. Microsoft uses offsite retreats for its senior managers in making decision or policies to create a separate environment for uninhibited forum for constructive discussions. But sometime, it is difficult to voice out opinions in a tightly controlled high-level decision-making process due to such issues as groupthink and groupshift9. Microsoft has been avoiding this phenomenon by injecting new blood in its senior executive positions every now and then.
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However, this may not be a good answer. A better solution would be to delegate some executive power downwards for better accountability. As informed in the essay, the teams worked in parallel and synchronized for a better problem solving capabilities to iron out conflicts. Jobs are also departmentalized to provide for a better escalation of issues and decentralization10. However I believe, Microsoft still maintained a degree of centralized decision-making on the direction or the status of any projects. This is facilitated by the dual reporting structure.
Summarily, Microsoft's decision-making mechanism is collaborative and going forward, and in future, we may see more decentralization and more decision-making authority progressing side-ways. Learning Organization. The Learning Organization11 concept is not something new however; Chris Argyris from Harvard and Peter Senge from MIT popularized the concept. Simply put, as per Robbins S and Coulter M (1999), it is an organization that has developed the continuous capacity to adapt and change because all members take an active role in identifying and resolving work-related issues.
Learning organizations correct errors by modifying the organization's objectives, policies and standard routines. It challenges deep-rooted assumptions and norms within an organization. This provides methods to for a quantum improvement in organizations. n Microsoft, the managers are designed to be researchers and designers rather than controllers and overseers. Employees are encouraged to be open to ideas and change, communicate freely and understand thoroughly how Microsoft worked. In this way, Microsoft is a learning organization that reinvents itself.
On the other hand, Microsoft approach also creates groupthink i. e. everybody starts to think alike as each one have the same knowledge and information. To mitigate this factor, Microsoft keeps on recruiting new and talented employees turnover but ensuring it retain the best. We can conclude that Microsoft has embraced Knowledge Management structure, the basis of a learning organization. It has also destroyed bureaucracy and build expertise in ways that enhance its learning capabilities. Part B Brief overview of Classical Management and its concept
The Classical school of thought was the novelty the late 19th century society. According to Peter Drucker (1999), theorists such as Frederick Taylor, Henry Fayol, Max Weber, Frank and Lilian Gilbreth come out with many organization models, however, with an underlying assumption that there should be one right organization, which they assumed was theirs. Taylor's theory is a big step in management as he12 premised his theory on methods, suitability of ability, education and development and also cooperation. Classical management focused on efficiency e.
g. bureaucratic management relies on a rational set of structuring guidelines, very hierarchical, and division of labor. Scientific management focuses on the "one best way" to do a job. Meanwhile, administrative management emphasizes on the flow of information in the operation of the organization. Summarily, this is an era where an organization was seen as very mechanistic and quantitative. The approach during this era is very much transactional where it was efficiency driven and workers were quantified by measures and yardstick approach.
The operations and production were studied carefully and guideline based on time and motion study give rise to rigidity and homogenous methodology. The focus was just profit and nothing else and employees are viewed as tools rather than resources that gave rise to deskilling and alienation of workers. To make matter worse, turnover of employees were also high. The industry was also product driven and due to the nature of the competition in the era; organizations were secretive and discreet about its product.
In my opinion, this also gave rise to social problems and may have assisted in creating militant unions and gangsters movements13. Notwithstanding the above, the classical management theories have laid the foundation for the study of management. Key processes, management functions and skills of managers have been developed on these platforms and some are still relevant today. Some of the modern management concepts relatively regurgitate the same ideas, however, in a different approach. In other words, the classical management theories can still be used today.
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