Notes_I worked for the Procurement Manager at Company X last year, and noticed that he seemed to get a lot more work done than his peers. He possessed both hard and soft skills and was able to utilize both sets in an efficient and effective manner. As a Procurement Manager he needed excellent skills in negotiating contracts with suppliers from all over the world and was constantly talking found over the phone in an attempt to outbid competitors, whilst ensuring a margin for the company. The only time he was not on the phone was when he was using his laptop to adjust the planning and implementation sheets, and to check his email.
2. Identify a specific manager, preferably one who is or was your boss, and explain what makes him or her successful or unsuccessful. Give examples. Notes_One of the managers I have seen at work has proven to be very successful in his tasks and is garnering a significant amount of attention from upper management. His reasons for success can be narrowed down to two: he is able to effectively and efficiently communicate with his peers, his subordinates, and his bosses; and he advertises his competence well to senior management.
One particular instance that comes to mind is when he was seen chatting with the Director of Finance while his staff were engaged in drafting the payables sheet for the end of the fiscal year. 3. Select a manager, preferably one who is or was your boss, and state the specific management skills he or she uses on the job. Notes_According to Katz there are three types of management skills that one can possess: technical, human, and conceptual. When I worked with the Procurement manager at Company X, I witnessed how the manager used both his human and technical skills to secure resources as inputs for the company.
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In one instance, where the company needed a raw material for manufacture of product urgently, I also saw his conceptual skills, however, that aspect of his job is not as common as might be thought and he thus spends a great deal more time in negotiating with suppliers, performing technical tasks on his workstation, and securing complex contracts. 4. Identify a specific manager, preferably one who is or was your boss, and give examples of how that person performs each of the four management functions.
Notes_In my capacity as an intern at Company X, I had the opportunity to witness several top management personnel at work. The Director of Marketing was one such individual who I saw perform all four management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. He would plan his day out while having his morning coffee at work, and then he would motivate and organize the troops in a way that would make them feel empowered, yet at the same time he was always there in the background as a benevolent dictator who would correct your mistakes and give you lessons, after giving you hell for it though.
5. Identify a specific manager, preferably one who is or was your boss, and give examples of how that person performs in each of the three management role categories. Be sure to identify at least one of the three or four roles in each category. Notes_One of the management roles that was particularly evident to me was that of the Interpersonal category. The manager who followed this style was a leader who was responsible for the motivation and direction of the employees. He does that by being a disseminator who transmits information to the various employees under him, as a part of his Informational style.
But when it comes to a crisis the manager slips into the decisional style of leadership as an entrepreneur who searches the organization for opportunities that will help bring about change. 6. Identify the three levels of management in a specific organization by level and title. Be sure to give the organization’s name. Notes_Company X has three levels of management within the firm, known as Managers, Directors, and the Board, or the first-line, middle, and top management respectively.
The various employees within the organization fall under this hierarchy, although the structure is scheduled for a change in the near future. The company is looking to flatten the organizational structure. 7. Identify which type of boss you have now or have had previously. If that person is or was a functional manager, be sure to specify the functional tasks of the department. Notes_The manager who was my boss at Company X was a functional manager whose job it was to procure raw material and capital assets for the Company as and when needed.
The manager was essentially responsible for foreign purchases and as such had to deal with a lot of people globally, who spoke a lot of languages. It was a part of his job that he is fluent in those languages to understand the inflexions and pronunciations that might mean the difference between a deal sealed and a deal lost. 8. Does a company you work for (or one you worked for) have a competitive advantage? If yes, what is it? If not, how is this company the same as competitors? Notes_Nowadays competitive advantage is increasingly shifting from the production function to the human resource function.
Processes, products, and technology can all be copied to a certain extent; the only real competitive advantage a company enjoys is its employees. The people who make the organization are inimitable by competitors and the core reason why most of the successful multinational corporations are able to enjoy such a significant lead in the market. Companies like GE and P&G are known worldwide for their products and their success, and that can largely be attributed to the amount of development they levy on their employees; similarly, the firm in which I work enjoys the competitive advantage of its highly skilled people.
9. Is it more important for managers to be efficient or effective? Can you improve both at the same time? Notes_Being efficient means doing things right, while effective is doing the right things. So an efficient manager could theoretically be performing the same tasks in as fast a way as possible, yet if (s)he is not effective, then those tasks might not be leading to a benefit for the firm. On the flip side, an effective manager could be too slow in performing his/her tasks within the given timeframe.
Therefore, a mix of the two is very important, and subsequently, one must learn to improve on both if necessary, by first identifying what type of manager one is. Only then can action be taken to address the gap. 10. Is management ability universal? In other words, can a good manager in one environment (e. g. , computers) also be effective in another (e. g. , banking)? Notes_Time and again we have seen instances of individuals who have been hired from one company to lead another organization; a case in point, John Sculley was recruited from PepsiCo to be President of Apple.
From specializing in “selling sugared water” to running a tech company, some might consider that Sculley was not the best person for the job, but then again, the experience of a manager in a particular field is not what is important; rather, if a person is a good manager in one organization, chances are (s)he will also be a good manager in another organization. 11. Some people say the hard skills (technical, finance, quantitative analysis) are more important for managers than soft skills (interpersonal), and some say the opposite is true.
What is your view? Notes_By the time a person gets to management level, (s)he has learnt that hard skills are not as important as the soft skills in the quest to become a better manager. The hard skills are what would have led to the person getting the opportunity in the first place, but if a manager is unable to deal effectively with his peers, bosses, and subordinates, then that person is not effective. The higher up the corporate ladder one goes, the more important become the soft skills of the person.
12. When a good employee is promoted to management, which management level is the promotion usually to, and how do the management skills and functions change with the job promotion? Notes_For a non-management employee to be promoted, the first step up is usually as a management trainee. In that position the person is provided with the opportunity to experience training in various functions within the organization for a short stint to assess which area suits him/her best.
The company also gets the chance to evaluate the person to see if (s)he is management material. In this situation the person usually finds that his hard skills are not given as high a priority as before, and that soft skills will come into play to a greater extent now. Therefore, more planning, leading, organizing and controlling is involved than number crunching, and scut work. 13. What is the relationship among management and mission, resources, the systems process, and structure? Which of these internal factors are ends, and which are means?
Notes_The structure is the manner in which firms cluster their resources to achieve their mission through the transformation of inputs into outputs; also known as the systems process. Managers are partly responsible for the structure of the firm, which also includes the culture within the company. These internal factors are very important as per the Resource Base View analysis of the organization, and accordingly, the structure, and the process are the means to achieve the ends of the mission and new outputs which will become resources for the company.
14. What are the factors within the internal environment? What is the external environment? Give examples. Notes_Those factors which are within the control of the organization are internal factors. These factors include management style, mission, resources, systems process, and structure. On the other hand external factors are those that affect the firm’s performance yet are outside their domain of control, such as, customers, competition, suppliers, labor force, government, shareholders, society, technology, and the economy.
For example, hypothetically, Microsoft cannot guarantee that its customers will continue to buy the X-Box 360, because the competition of Sony and their technological advancements cannot be controlled, and their suppliers go out of business because they did not receive government help following the recent recession. All of this is further compounded by the union problems that Microsoft is facing, as the society changes its perceptions of working for a company accused of being a monopoly, which also causes shareholders to back out of investing in new technology for the product.
15. How do you feel about having a manager’s responsibility in today’s world characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity, and sudden changes or threats from the environment? Describe some skills and qualities that are important to managers under these conditions. Notes_In times like these it is important for a manager to understand and realize the value of patience and of due diligence. After every trough comes a peak, managers just need to be patient about not only their mistakes but also that of their peers and subordinates, even their bosses.
At the same time, if managers learn to follow procedure and operate after making sure that their risks are properly hedged, then there is less likelihood of them having to face significant unfavorable changes; change is inevitable but the negative impact of such change will be minimized. 16. Assume you are a project manager at a biotechnology company, working with managers from research, production, and marketing on a major product modification. You notice that every memo you receive from the marketing manager has been copied to senior management. At every company function she spends time talking to the big shots.
You are also aware that sometimes when you and the other project members are slaving away over the project, she is playing golf with senior managers. What is your evaluation of her behavior? As project manager, what do you do? Notes_People like this marketing manager are often accused of being ‘suck ups’ who are incompetent at their work and only get promoted because of the way they create a relationship with their bosses. What people forget is that these people do not necessarily have to be incompetent, and that their establishment of a relationship is a necessary parcel of office life.
Bosses are often too busy to actually come down to the area of work everyday and notice who is putting in how much effort. It is the job of the employees to advertise their own achievements and dedication to the project. However, this must not come at the expense of the project or such ‘false’ advertisement will only last so long. 17. Jeff Immelt of GE said that the most valuable thing he learned in business school was that “there are 24 hours in a day, and you can use all of them. ” Do you agree or disagree? What are some of the advantages to this approach to being a manager?
What are some of the drawbacks? Notes_Time is a valuable commodity because of its scarcity for humans, thus, for organizations, time means money. Any good manager knows that in order to succeed, the company must succeed, and that can only be done when the manager is dedicated to his/her job. Such realization will lead to professional and social success, however, there is a cost attached. People who believe in this philosophy would most probably suffer in the success of their personal lives if they cannot effectively demarcate the time between work and family.
18. Why do some organizations seem to have a new CEO every year or two, whereas others have top leaders who stay with the company for many years (e. g. , Jack Welch’s 20 years as CEO at General Electric)? What factors about the manager or about the company might account for this difference? Notes_Companies like GE and P&G are famous for their policy of hiring from within. With this philosophy comes an organizational culture of training and development.
These companies know that someone from within their ranks will eventually lead the company, and therefore employees with a promising career growth are highlighted early on so that each position within the organization will have a successor who is trained and ready by the time that position is vacated. Other companies who do not spend as much time in succession planning and development frequently find a gap between the position that is recently vacated and the skill level of their current employees, and so have to look outside the company for people who can fill this gap.
Employees therefore know that their position in this company will not lead to personal growth and so there is a frequent transfer of employees within such companies. 19. You are a bright, hard-working entry-level manager who fully intends to rise up through the ranks. Your performance evaluation gives you high marks for your technical skills but low marks when it comes to people skills. Do you think people skills can be learned, or do you need to rethink your career path? If people skills can be learned, how would you go about it? Notes_I have noticed that even in personal life, people skills comes with time and experience.
Therefore, I feel that there is no need to rethink my career path, however, I would need to address this gap in my evaluation. One could use various available techniques to identify clearly the specific areas in which a person lacks the requisite people skills, such as through a 360 degree feedback. Once the problem area has been identified, the person can then look towards correction and feedback. 20. If managerial work is characterized by variety, fragmentation, and brevity, how do managers perform basic management functions such as planning, which would seem to require reflection and analysis?
Notes_While a necessary part of any managers work life, planning is something that is not given as much importance as it deserves, partly due to the fact that managers are more busy fire-fighting than actually completing what they thought they would do at the beginning of the day. To address this issue, the Director of Marketing at the company I interned had created a standardized procedure that he would use while planning company targets. This procedure could often be offloaded to one of his subordinates, and he would check the plan later on when he had time for discrepancies and errors, if any.
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