Principle Of Management Course My Experiences Essay

Principle Of Management Course: My Experiences Essay, Research Paper

Principle of Management Course: My Experiences

I believe that the Principles of Management course provided me with

invaluable information which will help in furthering both my professional as

well as personal life. I believe that learning is a process by which an

individual undergoes certain changes. Also, during the learning process, many of

the beliefs which a person holds are challenged. I underwent various changes

during this course. This paper will explain those changes. Furthermore, I will

detail the concepts, ideas and situations which had the greatest impact on me.

Before taking this course, my definition of the concept of management

would have been strictly based on power relationships within an organization,

how to use power to achieve your goals and how to manipulate people. Although

this definition might seem totalitarian, my background in Political Science

supported my initial misconceptions of management. I am a political science

major and the questions most often asked in political science courses deal with

power within a structure and how this power is used, abused and expressed by

those in control. Therefore, I came into the Principles of Management course

with the notion that I was going to be learning about power. This notion was

challenged as I learned that there are three different perspectives that are

used to analyze an organization.

There are three different perspectives used to view organizational

behavior and processes: Strategic-Design, Political and Cultural. Initially, I

was looking at the organization and the process of management from the political

perspective. This perspective deals with the use of power and influence

throughout the organization. However, I also had to learn about the strategic-

design perspective, which dealt with the differentiation, efficiency, strategy,

coordination and integration of various tasks within the organization. I also

had to learn about the cultural perspective which focused on the way in which

people assigned meanings to their respective work experiences. I was beginning

to understand that management and the organization are not just an arena for

power relations. Instead, a variety of factors compose management. Management

deals with the tasks, structure, culture and decision-making processes within an

organization. In order to be an effective manager one has to study and analyze

t he organization using all the perspectives.

This was the first phase of my learning: I was beginning to understand

that the perspective from which I had been viewing the organization was

insufficient because I was missing other important aspects of the organization.

Therefore, I needed to use a multi-perspective lens to analyze the organization.

I also learned about the roles that are present within an organization.

These roles are: director, producer, facilitator, mentor, coordinator, innovator

and broker. Each of these roles has a distinct function within the context of

the organization. These roles can complement and supplement each other.

After doing the in-class exercise, I discovered that I fell in Quinn?s

Rational Goal quadrant and was oriented towards director and producer roles. A

director is expected to clarify expectations through processes, such as planning

and goal setting. Director?s define roles and tasks, generate rules and

policies and give instructions. After studying many of my everyday activities,

I noticed that I was inclined to give orders and that I was highly competitive

and goal oriented. I was also oriented towards the producer role. A producer

is supposed to accept responsibly, complete assignments and maintain high

personal productivity.

By identifying the roles towards which I was inclined, it made it easier

to track and remedy my negative tendencies. For instance, the my most negative

tendency emanating from the director/producer role is that fact that I can be

insensitive to an individuals? needs in the face of accomplishing my goals.

After a process of self-examination I identified my problems and negative

tendencies. At times, I possess an almost fanatical desire to achieve my goals.

This fanatical desire is so strong that it can override friendships, destroy

relationships and alienate people. I also began to notice that I had the

tendency to act quite insensitive, inconsiderate and not be approachable. Once I

had identified this problem, I realized that I needed to diversify myself by

adding elements from the other roles, such as mentor and facilitator. I

believed that if I complemented my director/producer roles with elements from

the mentor or facilitator roles, then this would enable me to foster a

collective effort, be sensitive towards the needs of individuals and still be

able to achieve my goals.

This was the second phase of my learning: I had identified a personal

deficiency and needed to work towards complementing my director/producer roles

with roles from the Human Relations quadrant.

One of the key concepts of management and the key themes of the course

was teamwork. We were organized into teams and the team was the unit by which

the Professor measured our performance. By working in a team-environment, I was

able to learn the value of multiple perspectives and the need to use different

roles depending on the situation. In analyzing Synergy, Inc., I learned that we

had fused the three perspectives to create a unique identity and structure. For

instance, in the strategic design perspective, tasks were organized around a

need-basis and assignments were shared. Politically, we had no formal authority

or decision making body. Instead, all the members of Synergy, Inc. were

carefully listened to and their opinions evaluated and discussed. Culturally,

Synergy, Inc. formulated its own distinct culture, which consisted of certain

rituals and routines before team meetings.

When problems began to occur and breakdown the team process, it was

necessary to study the different perspectives in order to determine the origin

and possible solution to the problem. In solving team problems, we needed to

identify the symptoms and treat the causes of these symptoms (not the symptoms

themselves). Also, the problems which arose forced us to evaluate our present

processes and attempt to create new processes. We had to learn to adapt to the

new environment.

One problem which occurred and caused us to ?re-invent? ourselves was

the absenteeism of team member Raquel. Due to various health reasons, Raquel

was unable to attend team meetings. We had just lost a valuable team member,

whom we were counting on for essential work on performance evaluations such as

the book report, interactive cases and the news report. What did we do to

prevent the loss of one team member from destroying our entire team process? We

re-assigned tasks and began to coordinate other ways of finishing the

assignments. For instance, team members Will and Jeb were assigned Raquel?s

interactive cases and team member Josh was assigned Raquel?s presentation for

the news report. By creatively manipulating the Strategic Design perspective,

we were able to resolve a potential problem.

Another important aspect of the team was that each person had different

roles. For instance, I believe that Will was the team director and facilitator.

Generally, Jeb and Elizabeth and myself participated in the role of producer.

Furthermore, I attempted to take on a facilitator role in order to improve my

Human Relations quadrant skills. I attempted to accomplish this by building

team cohesion and morale, also by trying to obtain input from all participants

in team meetings. I found myself uttering the phrases, ?What do you think about

that . .? and ?What are you opinions concerning the subject . . .? more than I

had ever before. I also attempted to diffuse potentially volatile situations by

using humor and other pressure-relieving tactics to show that all issues have a

lighter side.

Perhaps the class activity which I found most rewarding were the

interactive cases. These cases dealt with everyday issues which confront

managers and challenge you to use all of your skills and experiences in bringing

about a successful resolution to the situation. The cases provided me with an

opportunity to put to practice many of the concepts which I had learned in class.

I found the motivation and ethics cases to be the most interesting. The

motivation case was interesting because it proved that everyone is motivated by

a different reason. There can be no “textbook” approach on how to motivate

people. Instead, a manager has to sit down and communicate with the person and

find out what is behind the motivational problem. In this particular case, all

of the people that had low sales figures had a unique reason and motive behind

their problems. The ethics case was interesting because there was no clear

answer on what should be done to remedy the situation. This case was difficult


one had to balance the interests of the company with the ethical issues and

consequences. It is very difficult to come to a resolution when the needs of

the company conflict with what is ethical.

I believe that the discussion of the future was an integral part of the

Principles of Management class. In the beginning we started discussing the past

models of organizational structure. We talked about Max Weber’s Bureaucratic

model. This model was once an efficient and orderly way of structuring the

organization since the organization was in a stable environment. However, today

it is obsolete. The current and future models will stress flexibility, freedom

from rigidity, networkability and flatness. Organizations designed in this

manner will be able to exploit the quickly changing environment.

The future environments will be characterized by chaos, complexity and

contradiction. Increasingly, managers will have to deal with tumultuous work

environments instead of the stable environments of the past. A metaphor used to

compare the past management environment and the future business environment is:

“The old environment was like sailing. The new environment is like a kayak

race.” The calm, secure conditions of sailing best reflect the old business and

management environments. However, the new environment is best represented by

the chaos and instability of a kayak race. “At any time your canoe can capsize

and leave you to drown,” said CEO Michael Cooper of METCECH Incorporated. This

is further emphasized by the increased competition present in the marketplace.

The high levels of competition are making it so that only the companies which

are most in tune with their customer’s needs and are most efficient survive.

In conclusion, after identifying and integrating the first and second

phases of learning, I was able to work towards transforming myself. The

transformation process does not end when I hand this paper in or with the end of

the course. Rather, the transformation process is a constant struggle between

myself and what I have learned. If I choose to apply the lessons which I have

learned, then I will win that struggle. However, if I ignore the lessons then I

lose the struggle.

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