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Introduction to Management

How to critically analyze the role and importance of management?

Answer


Introduction       

An organization is a collection of people working together to achieve a common purpose. A manager’s role is to manage these people in a manner that their skills and energies can be channelized for the achievement of organizational goals in a desired manner. However such a management requires proper selection of employees’ and then motivating and directing them along with a regular and continuous monitoring and guidance to ensure maintaining the high levels of efficiency in their performance. Such a management of employees calls for working on several different areas of organizational structuring, changing nature of organizations, managing conflicts among group members, keeping them motivated, developing team cohesiveness and many more. Keeping this background in mind a detailed self-assessment has been conducted to identify my strengths and weakness as a manager in an organizational context. 

In the present report a detailed critical analysis has been presented about four key topics associated with management in an organization. These topics are motivation, organizational structure, managing change and innovation and understanding groups and teams. A series of self-assessment activities have been performed to understand my personal skills in terms of these areas of management and the results obtained have been analysed with the help of available theories and models explaining various phenomenon associated with effective management of an organization. The analysis provides a scope of identifying the best methods of managing various aspects of an organization and the ways of achieving high rate of performance and efficiency among employees to achieve organizational goals and objectives in a desired manner. 

Critical Analysis of some key topics

Motivating Employees

Considering the concept of motivation as explored under self-assessment activity it can be said that there are different motives of individuals that directs them towards a behaviour and the degree of effort dedicated for their job. Here it is necessary to quote the Maslow’s need hierarchy theory where human motivation has been viewed as a hierarchy of five needs ranging from most basic physiological needs to the highest needs of self-actualization (Miner, 2009). At the lowest level of this hierarchy lies the physical needs related to physiological maintenance of the body. These needs present in all people must be satisfied for the sustenance of human beings. At the next level there are safety and security needs that emerge only when the basic needs of first level are satisfied. Once these safety needs are satisfied the individual moves on to a higher level where arise the social needs associated with the social nature of people and their need of companionship (Borkowski, 2009). Once these all needs are satisfied the individual moves towards the needs of higher order that comprise of esteem needs and self-realization needs. 

The impact of these needs have clearly been seen in the self-assessment activity where people having a compelling drive to succeed strive for personal achievement rather than the rewards of success. These needs influence the behaviour of the individuals at all times, but they tend to dominate only after the needs of lower level have been relatively well satisfied (Miner, 2009). 

Similarly the theory of motivation as provided by McClelland focused on the need of achievement where the need achievers like to set their own goals (Arnolds, 2002). Goals that they set are moderately difficult, but are not impossible to achieve. The need for affiliation is the desire to work and to be with other people and this need is similar to Maslow’s social need. Further the need for power refers to the desire to have impact, to be influential and to have control over others. The research by McClelland suggested that these three needs have implications for job selection, placement, motivation and training (Arnolds, 2002). For instance, individuals can increase their achievement motivation when they are taught how to set goals that stretch their skills. This have been reported in self-assessment activity where people prefer working at a challenging problem and accepting the personal responsibility for success or failure rather than leaving the outcome to chance or the actions of others. 

The results of the assessment revealed that my dominant needs are associated with achievement and affiliation while the desire of being self-directed and influencing others and direct others have not emerged or surfaced as yet. 

Organizational Structure and Design

The self-assessment activity conducted to know the preferred form of organisational structure by employees reveals the favour of individuals for flatter structures. It is to be noted that the structure of the organization is concerned with the arrangement of the work groups within the organization and focused on supporting the survival and success of the organization (Tran and Tian, 2013). Organizations may design their structures based on classical theory principles where structures are designed formally so that people are assigned a well-defined task to complete. However, these structures may result in an autocratic style of leadership where strict chain of command and span of control is followed to manage employees and their performance (Miner, 2009). Such an environment may not always prove to be motivating for individuals. This has been clearly seen in the self-assessment activity where people have preferred a flat organisational structure. 

Organizations may also be structured on the basis of neo-classical or humanistic theory where the focus is on motivating employees by providing them a satisfactory work environment, opportunities to socialize with other employees and democratic leaders so as to improve the level of job satisfaction (Tran and Tian, 2013). The Neoclassical Theory links with a democratic style of leadership because the employees are encouraged and allowed to participate in the functions of the organization and the decision-making process (Schermerhorn, 2010). Here processes are decentralised and member involvement is encouraged resulting in a flat organizational structure. 

Organizational theory plays a key role in the productivity and success of the organization. The theory helps in determining the type of organizational structure and the way organization will operate (Graen, 2009). It is important for managers and leaders to understand the theories, how they relate to their organizations and how they can influence the members of their organization. As argued by Borkowski, 2009)with the advent of the information era, the traditional organization had been difficult to adapt to the enterprise development, and there has been a gradual change in organizational structures from the pyramid to the flat and the tremendous changes have been reported in models and methods of management. 

The flat organizations offer opportunities of career development of employees, results in formulation of staff recruitment and configuration standards reasonably based on needs of the business and perfect the training mechanism for improving the operational capacity of the organization (Graen, 2009). Therefore, flat organisations provide a better scope of performance management and organizational development and growth. 

Personally, I also favour a flat organization structure because of the need of a more open and flexible environment where I ca utilize my strengths and skills in a creative manner and explore the opportunities of further development of my skills. 

Managing Change and Innovation 

Associated with the topic of managing change and innovation, the results of self-assessment activity revealed that there are several internal as well as external forces that demand changes in the organizational environment. It is not possible for an organization to operate in calm waters as present day business environment is ever changing in nature with a host of creative developments and innovations being introduced on a continuous basis. 

There are four basic models of organizational change defining it in terms of mechanism that brings it about. The first model is the life cycle model of change where the process of change is depicted in an entity as progressing through a necessary sequence of stages or phases (Dawson, 2012). Then there is teleological model viewing the change as a cycle of goal formulation, implementation, evaluation and modification of actions or goals. Further there is dialectical model of change focused on conflicts developed between entities espousing an opposing thesis and giving rise to a cycle of innovative ideas (Dawson, 2012). Finally, there is evolutionary model of development comprising of a repetitive sequence of variation, selection and retention events among entities in a designated population.

It is the dialectical model of change that can describe the results of the self-assessment activity where the tolerance level for change has been measured to identify the way change is perceived by an individual and the likeliness of its resistance (Rajnandini et al., 2004). The results of the activity revealed that my tolerance for change is low and therefore I may resist an upcoming change in the organization giving rise to may conflicts and arguments. It is the conflict of ideas that results in synthesis of ideas that management of innovation and change in the organisation. As discussed by Beeson and Davis, (2000) the organizational members often resist change because they fear they will be unable to adapt to the new organization, or they will not have the knowledge or skills to adapt. Employees assess the situation differently from the change agents. They see more costs to the change than benefits, not only for themselves but for the organization as a whole. Furthermore, they do not discern any visible incentives or rewards for the organizational members to change (Dawson, 2012).

It is required that change agents make strategies to reduce conflicts and resistance while introducing change. This can be done by educating members about the need of change. Further employees should be given an opportunity of participating in change and ways of implementing the change program so as to reduce the resistance and make the change easy to adapt. 

Understanding of group and team 

Regarding my attitude towards working in groups the self-assessment activity clarified that I am likely to get adjusted in a group easily and work along with team members in an effective manner. However I lack the skill of reducing conflicts in the group and safeguard the cohesiveness among group members. It is to be noted that group cohesion affects the group in several ways. People who are part of cohesive groups are more satisfied with their jobs than are members of non-cohesive groups. It also reduced stress because members are more supportive of one another (Levi, 2008). The interpersonal effects of groups’ cohesion are generally positive, but the effects on the performance of the group are mixed. 

Cohesiveness affects a group’s social interactions, which can affect performance and decision making (Lunnburg, 2010). Low levels of group cohesiveness limit the ability of a team to work together. Because they know one another better cohesive teams are better to communicate and coordinate their actions. However, it is also to be noted that high levels of cohesiveness can impair a team’s decision making ability. Sometimes group members will agree to a decision not because they truly agree with it, but because they do not want to upset the relationships within the group (Levi, 2008). Therefore, it is required to develop and maintain an appropriate degree or level of cohesiveness among group members. 

As discussed by Levi (2008) the knowledge and skill acquisition can be enhanced by actively stimulating processes of learning, metacognition and self-regulation that are central to learning. Therefore in order to ensure high performing groups contributing to the overall performance of the organization, there is a need that managers focus on enhancing group cohesion through stimulating a learning orientation via goal frames and prompting metacognition and augmenting feedback. 

Team learning orientation focusing on attention of team members on learning goals and processes should enhance learning of the deeper and more complex strategic forms of team knowledge. The focus is also required on team metacognition which is an intervention to sensitize the team to the regulatory processes underlying learning, setting goals, monitoring the performance and managing affect to revise the strategies appropriately (Lunenburg, 2010). 


Conclusion

From the above critical analysis of the self-assessment activities undertaken on various topics it is clear that there are several areas that demand detailed knowledge and competitive skills to manage an organization. Organizations are bound to change and so the employees working in these organizations. It is the responsibility of managers to help people working individually and in teams to perform in the dynamic business environment. The traditional organizational structures focused on autocratic style of management with hierarchical structures while modern day organizations have changed to more flat and flexible structures. The rules of motivating employees have also changed that require a focus on individual employee based on the nature of their needs and expectations. Further the importance of teams and groups have also increased with the increasing diversity among employees where there is a need of managing the correct balance of group cohesiveness to direct decision making in an organization. Organizations face a major risk of addressing the low commitment or low tolerance for change among their employees. Therefore, management comprise of several different areas that required different strategies and ways of management to be focused by the managers based on the available theories and models explaining the significance of each of these managerial functions and associated challenges. The managerial work has a changing nature where the need is to follow an upside down approach to link the top management with team leaders and operating workers to meet the needs and expectations of customers and clients. 

References

Arnolds, C.A. 2002. The Influence of McClelland’s Need Satisfaction theory on Employee Job Performance. Journal of African Business. (4) 3. Pp. 55-81

Borkowski, N. 2009. Organizational Behaviour. Jones and Bartlett Learning

Beeson, I., and C. Davis. 2000. Emergence and accomplishment in organizational change.

Journal of Organizational Change Management, 13(2), 178-189.

Dawson, P. 2012. Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation. SAGE
Graen, J. A. 2009. Global Organising Designs. IAP

Levi, D. 2008. Group Dynamics for teams. SAGE 

Lunenburg, F.C. 2010. Group Decision making: The Potential for Groupthink. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration. (13) 1. Pp. 1-8

Rajnandini Pillai, Ethlyn A. W. 2004. Transformational leadership, selfefficacy, group cohesiveness, commitment, and performance. Journal of Organizational Change Management. (17) 2. pp.144 – 159

Schermerhorn, J.R. 2010. Introduction to Management. Wiley

Tran, Q. and Tian, Y. 2013. Organizational Structure: Influencing Factors and Impact on a Frim. American Journal of Industrial Business management. (3) 1. Pp. 229-236

Miner, J.B. 2009. Organizational behaviour. M.E. Sharpe


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