The purpose of this exercise is to build bridges between what your read in this chapter and what’s going on in the world today. Thanks to the internet you have loads of current information at your fingertips to keep you up to date. Go to the home page of Business Week (www.businessweek.com ) and click on ‘BW Home’. Alternatively, depending on your interests, you may want to start with the heading ‘Small Business’, ‘Global Business’, ‘Careers’ or ‘Technology’. Find an article dealing with one or more of the key topics in this chapter, such as managing people, productivity, the manager’s key tasks, the assumptions of Taylor’s theories, …
1 What prompted you to select that particular article?
2 What is the OB-related linkage between Chapter 1 and your article?
3 What useful or interesting material did you acquire from your selected article?
4 Based on your reading, are you now more or less interested in becoming a manager?
Lots of interactive questionnaires can be found on the internet to help you learn more about yourself. These self-tests are for instructional and entertainment purposes only. They are not intended to replace rigorously validated and properly administered psychometric tests and should not be used to establish qualifications or make personnel decisions. Still, they can provide useful insights and stimulate discussion. The purpose of this exercise is to learn more about cognitive intelligence (IQ). Go to Self Discovery Workshop’s home page on the Internet ( www.iqtest.com ) and select the intelligence test.
1 Do you believe this sort of so-called paper-and-pencil psychological testing has any merit? Explain your rationale.
2 Could self-serving bias, discussed in Chapter 4, influence the way people evaluate intelligence tests? Briefly, self-serving bias involves taking personal responsibility for your successes and blaming your failures on other factors. For example, ‘I scored high, so I think it’s a good test’ or ‘I scored low, so it’s an unfair or invalid test’. Explain.
Lots of interactive questionnaires can be found on the internet to help you learn more about yourself. Note that these self-tests are for instructional and entertainment purposes only. They are not intended to replace rigorously validated and properly administered psychometric tests and should not be used to establish qualifications or make personnel decisions. Still, they can provide useful insights and stimulate discussion. The purpose of this exercise is to learn more about emotional intelligence (EQ). Go to the Internet home page for Body-Mind QueenDom ( www.queendom.com ), and click on the box “Tests & Profiles”. Under Top tests select Emotional IQ. Complete the questionnaire and click on the “Score” button for automatic scoring. Read the interpretation of your results.
1 Do you believe this sort of so-called paper-and-pencil psychological testing has any merit? Explain your rationale.
2 Do you agree with psychologist Daniel Goleman that EQ can be more important and more powerful than IQ? Explain.
As covered in this chapter, communication styles vary from non-assertive to aggressive. We recommended that you strive to use an assertive style while avoiding the tendencies of being non-assertive or aggressive. In trying to be assertive, however, keep in mind that too much of a good thing is bad. That is, the use of an assertive style can become an aggressive one if taken too far.
The purpose of this exercise is to provide you with feedback on the extent to which you use an assertive communication style. Go to the Internet home page for Body-Mind QueenDom (www.queendom.com), and click on the box “Tests & Profiles”. Next, select “Tests, Tests, Tests…” and click on the “Relationships” category. Under the heading “Classic Tests”, choose “Assertiveness Test-Abridged”. Complete the quick 10-item questionnaire, which only takes 5 minutes, and click on the “Score” button for automatic scoring. Read the interpretation of your results.
1 Possible scores on the self-assessment questionnaire range from 0 to 100. How did you score? Are you surprised by the results? Do you agree with the interpretation of your score?
2 Reviewing the questionnaire item by item, can you find aspects of communication in which you are either non-assertive or possibly too assertive? Do you think that your communication style can be improved by making adjustments within these areas of communication?
3 Based on the results of this questionnaire, develop an action plan for improving your communication style.
This chapter discussed a variety of approaches for motivating employees. We noted that there is no ‘one best theory’ of motivation and that employers can use different theories to solve various types of performance problems. The purpose of this exercise is for you to identify motivational techniques or programmes that are being used by different companies. Go to http://rady.ucsd.edu/beyster/ The Beyster Institute is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to advance the use of entrepreneurship and employee ownership to build stronger, higher performing enterprises. Pick two companies that you would like to analyse and answer the following questions.
1 In what ways are these companies using the theories and models discussed in this chapter?
2 To what extent is employee motivation related to these organisations’ cultures?
3 What motivational methods are these companies using that were not discussed in this chapter?
This chapter discussed how employee motivation is influenced by goal setting and the relationship between performance and rewards. We also reviewed the variety of issues that organisations should consider when implementing motivational programmes. The purpose of this exercise is for you to examine the motivational techniques used by General Electric Company (GE). GE is one of the most successful companies in the world, located all over the globe. The company is well known for establishing clear corporate goals and then creating the infrastructure (for example, rewards) to achieve them. Begin by visiting GE’s home page at www.ge.com. Start your search by locating GE’s corporate values and corporate goals. Then expand your search by looking for information that discusses the different incentives GE uses to motivate its employees.
1 How will the values influence goal setting and motivation?
2 Based on the values and goals, what type of behaviour is the organisation trying to motivate?
3 What rewards does GE use to reinforce desired behaviour and performance?
4 To what extent are GE’s practices consistent with the material covered in this chapter?
The purpose of this exercise is to assess your knowledge on groups. Please return to the case study at the beginning of this chapter and read it again. Look up additonal information on NASA’s website (www.hq.nasa.gov) and answer the following questions. Be aware that there are many theories about what caused the disaster. The seminal book by Diane Vaughan (Vaughan, Diane. The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA) is one of the best - and goes beyond groupthink.
1 Which maintenance roles in Table 9−2 should have been performed better? By whom?
2 Using Figure 9−12 as a guide, which symptoms of groupthink are evident in the Challenger disaster?
3 Using Figure 9−12 as a guide, which decision-making defects can you identify in the Challenger disaster?
4 Do you think groupthink was a major contributor to the Challenger disaster? Explain.
Social Skills are essential when working in teams. If you want to accomplish things with and through others, you simply cannot be effective if you are unable to interact skilfully in social settings. As with any skill development programme, you need to know where you are before constructing a learning agenda for where you want to be. Go to the Internet home page for Body-Mind QueenDom (www.queendom.com) and select the subheading “Tests” under the main menu heading “interactive”. At the “Tests” page, read the brief welcome statement about QueenDom’s psychological tests, and then scroll down to the “Communication Skills Test” (under Top tests), read the brief instructions, complete all items, and click on the “score” button for automatic scoring. It is possible, if you choose, to print a personal copy of your completed questionnaire and results.
1 Possible scores of the self-assessment questionnaire range from 0 to 100. How did you score? Are you pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised by your score?
2 What is your strongest social/communication skill?
3 Reviewing the questionnaire item by item, can you find obvious weak spots in your social/communication skills? For instance, are you a poor listener? Do you interrupt too often? Do you need to be more aware of others, both verbally and non-verbally? Do you have a hard time tuning into others’ feelings or expressing your own feelings? How do you handle disagreement?
4 Based on the results of this questionnaire, what is your learning agenda for improving your social and communication skills. (Note: You will find lots of good ideas and practical tips throughout this text).
As mentioned earlier in this chapter affirmative action emphasises on achieving equality of opportunity. This affirmative action has been the matrix for a lot of court justice cases. Usually a case has been brought to court by a person who has been turned down for a job on grounds that legislation in force is securing equal opportunities for a specific naturally or historically disadvantaged group. The European Court of Justice has ruled both against and in favour of the complainant in these cases.
1 Find two cases on the net in which positive action in recruitment has been brought to the European Court of Justice ( http://curia.europa.eu/en/transitpage.htm )
2 One case should be ruled in favour of the complainant
3 The other case should be ruled against favour of the complainant
4 Summarise the content of both cases.
5 Which European directive or law has often been used to question the feasibility of affirmative action?
6 What's your opinion about affirmative action? Under which conditions is it or is it not acceptable?
We highlighted in this chapter how people cope with stress by using a variety of control, escape and symptom management strategies. Your ability to effectively cope with perceived stress is very important because ineffective coping can make a stressful situation even worse. The purpose of this exercise is to provide you with feedback on how well you cope with perceived stress. Go to the Internet home page for Body-Mind QueenDom (www.queendom.com) and click on the career category. Scroll down to Tests, tests, tests, … and select the ‘Coping Skills’ test, read the instructions, complete all items and click on the score button for automatic scoring. (Note: Our use of this questionnaire is for instructional purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of any products that may or may not suit your needs. There is no obligation to buy anything.) You will receive an overall coping skills score as well as scores for seven coping sub¬dimension scores: reactivity to stress, ability to assess situations, self-reliance, resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility, proactive attitudes and ability to relax. You can print a personal copy of the interpretation of your results for use when answering the following questions.
1 Possible scores for overall coping skills range from 0 (extremely poor coping skills) to 100 (extremely good coping skills). How did you score? Are you surprised by the results?
2 How did you score on the coping skills sub-dimensions of reactivity to stress, ability to assess situations, self-reliance, resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility, proactive attitudes and ability to relax? Do you agree with the interpretation of your scores?
3 Based on the interpretation of your results, what can you do to improve your coping skills? How might you also reduce your level of perceived stress?
This chapter discusses elements of structure, such as departmentalisation, hierarchy, organisation charts, etc. These elements can be recognised in many of today’s organisations. Organisations tend to describe and make their structure public so that the public knows who is doing what tasks in the organization and who one should contact in the organization for information. Take for example Oxford University. Start with visiting their website: www.ox.ac.uk and continue your search for information on Oxford University’s structure by searching for ‘information about Oxford University’ and then ‘The structure of the university’. Analyse this information and look for illustrations of the concepts described in this chapter.
1 What are the line and staff departments in the organisation chart?
2 Is this a mechanic or organic organisation structure?
3 Which kind of departmentalisation is used at Oxford University (also look at the link on ‘academic divisions’)?
4 The university has characteristics of Mintzberg’s professional organisation types but also of the machine type. Explain this (look to the ‘colleges and halls’; other administrative departments and to the academic departments).
Fortune’s ranking of the Global Most Admired Companies can be viewed as a measurement of an organisation’s effectiveness, as described in the Actvity on page 576. Now surf to your country on the homepage of Great Place to Work® Institute (www.greatplacetowork.com) and choose one of your country’s Best Workplace and rank each of the effectiveness attributes (Activity, p. 576) for that company.
1 Is the Best Workplace also an effective organisation?
2 Would you like to work in that company? Why or why not?
Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can take a trip to a far-flung corner of the world without ever leaving your chair. The purpose of this exercise is to enhance your cross- cultural awareness by using the Internet to learn about a foreign country of your choice. Divide the class into small groups (5 to 8 students) and choose one country per group.
1 Look for information on that country on the Internet.
2 Take five topics from intercultural differences (time, uncertainty avoidance, high- context) and explain to what degree they do or do not count for that country.
3 Shortly describe whether your group members would like to work in that country and why or why not.
There are countless brainstorming sessions conducted by individuals and groups within organizations on a daily basis. We do not expect this trend to stop. To help you successfully set up and participate in a brainstorming session, this chapter provided a set of guidelines for conducting a brainstorming session. We did not, however, discuss different techniques that can be used to enhance individual and group creativity while brainstorming. The purpose of this exercise is for you to learn two techniques that can be used to enhance creative idea generation and to complete two creativity puzzles. There are countless brainstorming sessions conducted by individuals and groups within organizations on a daily basis. We do not expect this trend to stop. To help you successfully set up and participate in a brainstorming session, this chapter provided a set of guidelines for conducting a brainstorming session. We did not, however, discuss different techniques that can be used to enhance individual and group creativity while brainstorming. The purpose of this exercise is for you to learn two techniques that can be used to enhance creative idea generation and to complete two creativity puzzles. Begin the exercise by going to the following Internet site:www.brainstorming.co.uk . Click on the option for ‘training on creative techniques’. After a brief discussion about creativity, you will be given the option to learn more about a variety of different techniques that can be used to enhance creativity. Choose any two techniques and then answer questions 1 and 2 below.
Now return to the home page, and select the option for creativity puzzles. Follow the instructions and attempt to complete two puzzles. Don’t peek at the answers until you have tried to finish the activity. Based on your experience with these creativity puzzles, answer questions 3, 4, and 5.
1 How might you use these techniques in a study group project?
2 Should different techniques be used in different situations? Explain.
3 To what extent were the puzzles hard to complete?
4 Why do these puzzles help people to think ‘outside the box’, i.e. creatively?
5 How might these puzzles be used during a brainstorming session?
Influence and political tactics are an inescapable part of modern organisation life, as discussed in his chapter. The purpose of this exercise is to broaden your understanding of organisational influence and politics and help you to deal with them effectively. The Internet site www.influenceatwork.com provides a brief inside look at social influence so we will not be unfairly or unwittingly manipulated. At the home page, click on the “What’s Your Influence Quotient?” icon. The short 10-item quiz (and answers) will get you thinking about the power and pervasiveness of social influence. Back at the home page, you might want to select the heading “About Us” from the main menu, for relevant background.
1 Having taken the influence quiz, are you more aware of day-to-day influence processes and tactics? Explain.
2 Generally, do you see social influence as a constructive or sinister force in society? Explain.
3 Is it possible that employees are becoming more difficult to influence because they have become hardened or numbed as a result of excessive exposure to influence attempts?
The topic of leadership has been important since the dawn of time. History is filled with examples of great leaders such as Mohandas (‘Mahatma’) Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill. These leaders are most likely to have possessed some of the leadership traits discussed in this chapter, and they probably used a situational approach to lead their followers. The purpose of this exercise is for you to evaluate the leadership styles of an historical figure.
Go to the Internet home page for Leadership Values (www.leader-values.com), and select the subheading 4 E’s on the left of the screen. This section provides an overview of leadership and suggests four essential traits and behaviours that are exhibited by leaders: to envision, enable, empower and energize. After reading this material, go back to the home page, and select the subheading Featured Leaders from the list on top of the page. Next, choose one of the leaders from the list – also consult the short biographies - and read the description about his or her leadership style. You may want to print all the material you read thus far from this web page to help you answer the following questions.
1 Describe the 4 E’s of leadership.
2 To what extent do the 4 E’s overlap with the theories and models of leadership discussed in this chapter?
3 Using any of the theories or models discussed in this chapter, how would you describe the leadership style of the historical figure you investigated?
4 Was this leader successful in using the 4 E’s of leadership? Describe how he or she used the 4 E’s.
In this chapter we reviewed several models of organisational change. Because these models are based on different sets of assumptions, each one offers managers a unique set of recommendations for how organizational change should be implemented. We also discussed a variety of recommendations for how managers might better implement organisational change. The purpose of this exercise is for you to expand your knowledge about how organizations should implement organisational change by considering recommendations provided by The Software Engineering Institute (SEI). The SEI is a federally funded research and development centre sponsored by the US Department of Defense. This organisation focuses on assisting organisations to improve the process of software engineering. In so doing, the SEI has learned much about how to implement organisational change. Go to the Internet home page for the SEI (www.sei.cmu.edu), and select the search option. This will enable you to search the SEI’s database on selected topics. Search on the keyword organizational change. Use the sources identified through this search to answer the following questions.
1 What are the key elements of organisational change?
2 What specific recommendations does the SEI offer for managing organisational change?
3 What roles do change agents, sponsors, champions and participants play in the process of implementing organisational change?
As we discussed throughout this chapter organisations can use different motivation principles and processes to engage in CSR. Let's now consider Royal Dutch Shell, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies. This company has suffered adverse publicity since their plan in 1995 to dump the Brent Spar oil platform at sea. This adverse publicity resulted in up to a 50 per cent decline in sales in some of their markets. Criticisms of Shell by environmentalist and human rights activists were said to be the key contributors to a fundamental transformation in the company efforts to meet its social and ethical responsibilities. To check the company's attempts to meet CSR, begin by visiting the web site of Shell (www.shell.com) and try to answer the following questions.
1 Choose one of the many case studies on the website and analyse the case by using Carroll's three dimensional model.
2 Does the company hold several motivations to engage in CSR?
3 How does the company integrate sustainable development?
4 Have a look at the company's business principles and assess whether the company is concerned with the three P's (people, planet and profit). Does the company find harmony between these 3 P's.