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Archive for the ‘OB’ Category

Organizations cannot always be the same. They need to change as the world evolves. The Communication Toolbox(2008) indicates that “[p]eople don’t resist organizational change! – people resist being changed!” .There is no doubt that organizations do not suggest a change without a reason. They want to change things to improve their systems. The website also lists why organizations are experiencing resistance. The reasons are as follows:

1. Habits and security is violated

2. Existing Networks are destroyed which creates uncertainty and insecurity.

3. Distraction from professional focus (i.e. customers)

4. Uncertainty and insecurity when faced with change

5. Worried that skills are not valued

6. Changes happen too frequent

7. Similar projects failed

8. Insufficient chance for individuals to influence things

I am a person who does not want to change things. When I worked as an accounting clerk, a general manager changed the accounting program from Simply Accounting to Quickbooks. The first thing I said to him was, “Why? The current accounting program does not have a problem” He wanted to switch the program because the accountant wanted us to have a program that was compatible with his other accounting programs. It took me a while to adjust to the new program. I then realized the program eliminated some of the work that I had to do previously. I loved the change.

My case is a successful one. However, organizations that bring in new suggestion do not always have success. Christine Baker (2011) illustrates eight reasons why organizational change efforts often fail. The eight reasons are listed below:

1. Lack of clarity about the purpose and outcome of change effort

2. The change effort has insufficient support

3. Key players in the change program are underperforming

4. The change program implementation plan is weak

5. Failure to acknowledge the importance of emotional commitment to the change effort

6. Poor communication strategy

7. Lack of staying power

8. Ignoring the mistakes in the change program – or blaming others for them

It is clear that without the ability to convince employees, new implementation cannot be successful. Everyone in the organization should understand the needs of the implementation and learn how to execute the new change. Robert Weinback (1984) illustrates that “a supervisor must constantly stress the inevitability of change.” He also emphasizes the importance of an honest, comfortable approach to employees. I think that honesty is the best tool for enlightening the employees’ point of view. Weinback (1984) also suggests that”[s]upervisor[s] must maintain optimistic stances toward change.” It would help the employees to overcome their fears of changes and give a power to move forward.

After a manager introduces a change and executes it, what does he or she need to do? They should get feedback from others. I believe the one who suggested a change would have a bias and it is difficult for him or her to evaluate the change objectively. If there is a mistake or flaw in the implication, a supervisor/ manager should clearly admit it and look for the solution. I believe that it is not easy for the manager to accept the mistake. However, it is necessary for the overall benefit of the organization. The change will be trimmed and reorganized to be more suitable for the organization.

References

Baker, Christine. (2011, April 9). Why Do Organizational Change Efforts Often Fail? 8 Common Reasons. Bright Hub. Retrieved July 9, 2011, from http://www.brighthub.com/office/human-resources/articles/113360.aspx

Weinbach, R. W. (1984). Implementing Change: Insights and Strategies for the Supervisor. Social Work, 29(3), 282-286. Retrieved July 9, 2011, from EBSCOhost.

The Communication Toolboox. (2008). Communicating organizational change. Commitment AB. Retrieved July 9, 2011, from http://www.communicationtoolbox.com/organizational_change.html

Image Source

http://www.vt-tech.info/?p=3537

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When considering the efficient use and allocation of resources, companies are careful when deciding about corporate structure. Most companies I have worked with have a traditional organizational structure. The website, Group A-Plus (2005), indicates that “[t]raditional designs include simple structure, functional structure, and division structure”. The site author defines each traditional structure and provides examples of the structures. The summary is as follows:

Simple Structure:

“A design with low departmentalization, wide spans of control, centralized authority, and little formalization” (Group A-Plus, 2005)

Most small businesses consist of this structure having an owner and a few employees.

Functional Structure:

“A design that group similar or related occupational specialties together” (Group A-Plus, 2005)

Ex) Revlon: The company has departments in operations, finance, human resources, and product research and development that are responsible for different tasks.

Divisional Structure:

A group of “separate, semi-autonomous units or divisions” (Group A-Plus, 2005)

Ex) Wal-Mart: The company has different divisions such as Wal-Mart Reality, Wal-Mart International, Wal-Mart Specialty Store, Sam’s Club and Supercenters.

Each division has own goals and responsibilities to accomplish.

I have worked in a small company with a simple structure. Because there are only few people working, each employee learns multiple job functions and performs various tasks. I was responsible not only for the bookkeeping, but also consulting customers. Even though some jobs are distinguished, it is not clear. So I sometimes feel like everyone is doing everyone’s job. Then is it the same as an organization without boundaries?

Danna Griffin (n.d.) illustrates boundaryless organizations “transcend the rigid lines of bureaucracy and divisional boundaries within a corporation and ignore the borders where the corporation itself is separated from its markets, customers and ‘shareholders'”. Without boundaries, employees, managers, customers, and suppliers can achieve greater integration and coordination.

Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan (n.d.) divide Boundary less organizations into two forms; modular organization and strategic alliances. In the article (Beauer & Berrin, n.d.), they define the modular organization is “where all the nonessential functions are outsourced”. The example of the company form is Toyota. Suppliers work as the small divisions of the company. This structure helps to make an efficient and effective operation. Another form is a strategic alliance. The structure is described as “similar to a joint venture, two or more companies find an area of collaboration and combine their efforts to create a partnership that is beneficial for both parties” (Beauer & Berrin, n.d.). An example of its structure is a partnership with Starbucks and PepsiCo Inc. These two companies cooperate with each other for marketing and distribution.

I worked in a simple organizational structure, so I am curious about boundary less organization. Jodi Barnes Nelson (1997) illustrates that employees have “flexible hours and more control over where they work, how they work, and which projects they would most prefer” in a boundary less structure. I believe that in order to work in the structure, employees should have self-motivation and self-discipline. There is a lot of freedom, but there are still duties and responsibilities. Having no boundaries does not mean that jobs are neglected. Which kind of operational structure do you want to work in? Do you want to work in a company with boundaries or one with no boundaries? I am a self-motivated person, so I want to experience the boundary less structure and compare it with the traditional organizational structure.

 

References

Bauer, T.,& Erdogan, B. (n.d.) Organizational Structure. Organizational Behavior V1.1. Flatworld Knowledge. Retrieved June 25, 2011, from http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/pub/organizational-behavior-v1.1/141449#web-141449

Griffin, D. (n.d.) The Structure of a Boundaryless Organization. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 25, 2011, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/structure-boundaryless-organization-2764.html

Group A-Plus (2005), Types of Organization Designs. May Lilly. Retrieved June 25, 2011, from http://www.emaytrix.com/mgmt307/section3.php

Nelson, J. (1997). The Boundaryless Organization: Implications for Job Analysis, Recruitment, and Selection. Human Resource Planning, 20(4), 39-49. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Image source:

http://www.usvigers.com/About_GERS/OrganizationalStructure.aspx

 

There is no doubt that decision making is not an easy process, especially if the decision is to be a rational one. We often make group decisions rather than individual decisions in the areas of work, family, and school. When we are part of a family or a student in school, individuals become team members. Why do we prefer to be in group situations when making organizational decisions? Exforsys Inc. (2011) defines the importance of individual decision making and indicates what the advantages and disadvantages are for these decisions.

Individual decision making: a traditional decision making process without a group that is most likely used by managers.

Advantages:

1. Immediate action and fast solutions

2. Sole responsibility, no one to blame

3. Full accountability

4. No arguments

5. Efficient in time and effort

Disadvantages:

1. One perception

2. No one available for discussion

3. Time consuming for an indecisive character

4. Lower level of motivation

5. Limited creative solutions

When one person makes a decision, it can be easy and convenient. We do not have to ask to convince anyone about making a choice. The only thing one has to do is ask themselves about what is the best choice. However, for myself, I can be very indecisive. I often have to ask for another opinion. It could be rational or irrational, effective or ineffective or even a group decision. Let’s look at the group decision making process. The website, Reference for Business, (n.d.) lists the methods and procedures for group decision making and also illustrates the advantages and disadvantages.

Group decision making: a decision making process involving with more than one individual or group to analyze and solve same problem or situation.

Advantages:

1. Benefits of the diverse strengths and knowledge of each member

2. A greater number of alternative solutions and opinions

3. High quality decisions

4. High decision acceptance and commitment

Disadvantages:

1. Longer processes and slower decision making

2. Conflict between members or opinions

3. Occurrence of group thinking

4. Domination of a powerful member

5. Group polarization

Like individual decision making, the group making process involves the positive and the negative. Groups are able to generate more ideas and evaluate them effectively and efficiently during the team discussion. Many organizations accept the risk of the disadvantages and form the group or team to lead projects or to solve problems. The group creates high quality and quantity of alternatives from which to choose. It also provides various perspectives that help to understand and analyze situations.

What needs to be understood to build an effective team or to motivate this team? Robert A. Sevier (2005) has suggestions for both areas. He believes that talent, vision and goals are important when analyzing group creation or motivation. He also asserts that these qualities are not enough. Sevier emphasizes that the team members should think about how they work together. Sevier also stresses that “as you progress in team building, there will be less ‘me’ and more ‘we'”. Now that I understand this, I think about how many times I say “I” and “you” in group meetings instead using “we”. I use the word “I” to support and carry my opinion to others rather than sharing it.

In a team situation, a star is not important. Let’s look at the Canuck game on June 10, 2011. It was the 5th Stanley Cup game against the Bruins. Some may think that the star of the game was Maxim Lapierre who scored the only goal or maybe Roberto Luongo who did not allow any Bruin goals. I think that everyone on the team was a star. Hockey is a team or group sport. With each member’s effort, I strongly believe that we had a great win that leads us to one more game for the Stanley Cup. We should remember that there is no place for ‘me’ in a group. It is only ‘we’ that exists. We should thank all members of the Canucks, both on and off of the ice. Go Canucks go!

References

Barnett, Tim (n.d.) Group Decision Making. Reference for Business. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Gr-Int/Group-Decision-Making.html

Exforsys Inc. (2011, February 27). Individual Decision Making. Exforsys Inc. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/decision-making/individual-decision-making.html

Sevier, R. A. (2005). Making the Right Choices. University Business, 8(11), 31-32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Image source:

http://mikesslowroad.blogspot.com/2010/08/decision-making-is-bad.html

A topic about group dynamics has a close relationship with individual diversity that I posted previously. At least once in his or her life, a person would have been involved in a group activity. Its experience could be pleasant or unpleasant. Then, what kind of the criteria would determine the individual’s experience? Was there conflict in the group, and where did it originate? The conflict rises from the difference in opinions and positions. In the article, Tim Holman (2002) suggests that companies and/or organizations should always try to understand and resolve the group’s differences. Also, the article illustrates how minimize the conflict of the group as followings:

1) Providing the focus

2) Building trust

3) Maintaining and promoting a positive attitude

4) Allowing mistakes

5) Educating the team

6)  Communicating each others

7) Provide the recognition and rewards

The company should create an adequate environment where each group member can share and resolve his or her differences. Since a group has common goals or missions to achieve, it is not difficult to give the people motivation. However, it is necessary to offer incentives so that the group members are encouraged. It is almost impossible to have a perfect match for a group, just like marriage. Each individual should adjust and compromise depending on situations and circumstances.

Currently, many companies are encouraged to have a dynamic group in their organizations.  Why? The document (Group Dynamics, n.d.) indicates that “[g]roup dynamics involves the influence of personality, power, and behaviour on the group process”. It creates interactions among group members and helps to think other options that differ from one’s initial idea. Sidle (2007) looks at the effectiveness of the group dynamics in his article. He believes when there is disagreement, group members share more information and opinions. One of the Korean proverbs say that children grow together after a fight against each other. The children experience the differences, but then realize what is happening and resolves the problem. The differences are a great start for the group dynamics.

Then, how should managers design and manage effective work teams? The manager should provide specific roles to a group to reduce the conflict and ambiguity of projects. Clear roles for each of the members help a group to cooperate and to operate efficiently. Then, because of the different roles, it is natural for the individuals to behave and perform differently.  What if there is role ambiguity in the group? It will result in emotional stress, dissatisfaction, lower productivity, and disagreements. Thus, management should provide clear job descriptions and feedback to reduce the confusion.  I believe that different roles are essential. However, the roles should be not only specific but also precise like a road map. With the clear role, the group members would not be lost. The diversity of the roles creates the group dynamics naturally.

I would like to finish this post with the open question:  is it necessary for every company to have group dynamics to increase the diversity of the opinions and to come up with innovating ideas?  Is group dynamics necessary?

References

Group Dynamics (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2011, from http://www.intrd.gov.nl.ca/intrd/regionaldev/gd.pdf

Holman, T. (2002). TEAM DYNAMICS FOR THE COMPANY OFFICER. Fire Engineering, 155(7), 71. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Sidle, S. D. (2007). Do Teams Who Agree to Disagree Make Better Decisions?. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(2), 74-75. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Image source:

www.CartoonStock.com.



  • Jory Grunlund: Hey Jin. Similar to what I told Chris, people are usually resistant to change at first. Like you mentioned, when your accountant changed the accountin
  • irenechou1: I guess everyone are scared of being changes because there are so many factors that you could not predict after the changes are applied in an organiza
  • chrisjerickchua: Hey Jin, I completely agree with you that as the world changes, organizations need to change as well. Organizations cannot stay stagnant or else th

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