(a) Describe Frederick Taylor?s principles of scientific management.
Answer: Frederick Taylor’s principles of scientific management should be considered as means of ushering revolutionary changes in the context of business management and organizational growth and development. The fundamental principle that outlines the entire structure of the scientific management theory of Taylor is that; management’s principal object should be to ensure the maximum prosperity for the employer and this principle should be accompanied by the principle of ensuring maximum prosperity for the employees (Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1911), n.d.). It is to be noted that the term “maximum prosperity” is in a broader sense to denote that not only large dividends for company or owner, but the proper development of each and every organ of a business (to its highest state of excellence) should be achieved by businesses to ensure that the prosperities gained through such development should be permanent. It should be noted that maximum prosperity for employees, as has been suggested by Taylor in his scientific management theory, should not only mean higher wages for employees but it should also mean the overall development of each employee to ensure that they can give their best to the process of the organizational growth and development. Hence, it can be seen that the primary principle of the scientific management theory denotes that the aim and objective of a proper management process would be to ensure prosperity for both the employer and the employee. It is noteworthy that scientific management has for its foundation “the firm conviction that the true interests of the two are one and the same; that prosperity for the employer cannot exist through a long term of years unless it is accompanied by prosperity for the employee, and vice versa” (Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1911), n.d.).
(b) Explain how modern managers apply the scientific management principles at the workplace.
Answer: It has been observed that in today’s workplace a good number of managers strive for implementing the scientific management theory in a proper manner in order to ensure the overall growth and development of the organization. Today, managers are inclined towards applying the scientific management principles at the workplace in a unique manner that would align with the goals and objectives of the organization. Today’s managers, employing the principles of Taylor’s scientific management to the process of organizational and employee development, strive for replacing the “rule of thumb” or the traditional working methods with those methods that are based on a scientific study of the job tasks that are relevant to modern workplace (“F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory in Modern Day Workplace”, 2010). Managers, today, break each job into individual tasks and eventually determine the steps that actually do not contribute to the end product (“F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory in Modern Day Workplace”, 2010). Moreover, to make sure that the principles of the scientific management theory is well applied to the growth and development of the employees that today’s managers are keen to convince the top management to arrange for proper training and development programs that would help the employees in developing new skills and honing their existing skills (“F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory in Modern Day Workplace”, 2010). Moreover, it should be noted that in most organizations “managers or senior employees are responsible for selecting the right people for each job and overseeing their training. This will ensure that training is conducted correctly” (“F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory in Modern Day Workplace”, 2010).
(a) Describe the assumptions upon which the rational decision-making model is based.
Answer: There are certain specific assumptions upon which the rational decision-making model is based. In this respect it should be noted that the concerned assumptions are the pillars on which the entire edifice of rational decision-making model is based. The first assumption is about problem clarity and the rational decision-making model assumes that the problem presented before is clear and unambiguous (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). The rational decision-making model also assumes that the options provided are already known and that decision-maker is able to identify all relevant criteria and all the viable alternatives that are readily present (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). The rational decision-making model also assumes that the preferences are clear and that it assumes that “the criteria and alternatives cab be ranked and weighted” (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). The rational decision-making model also assumes that preferences are constant (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). The model assumes that all the specific decision criteria are by virtue constant and that the weights assigned to each of them are quite stable over time (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). The rational decision-making model also assumes that there would be no time or cost constraints in the path of decision making. In this respect it should be noted that the rational decision-making model assumes that “Full information is available because there are no time or cost constraints” (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.). Finally, the concerned decision-making model assumes that payoffs would be maximum, i.e. the choices that the alternatives would yield would be of the highest perceived value (“Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model”, n.d.).
(b) Explain the limitations of the rational decision-making model.
Answer: Though the rational decision-making model is widely used in the context of organizational decision-making, it has been observed that the said decision-making model suffers from some specific demerits that should be considered as the model’s limitations. Primarily, in the course of implementing the rational decision-making process the decision makers “do not complete knowledge of all the facts surrounding the problems. They cannot foresee future events with complete accuracy. Therefore, it is not always possible to choose the optimum solution” (Kuldeep, 2012). It has also been observed that in the course of applying the rational decision-making model the decision makers tend to stop the course of decision making as soon as the minimum acceptable level of rationality is reached and this hampers the initiative of the decision makers to examine the complex variables in a thorough manner (Kuldeep, 2012). Moreover, in the rational decision-making process “It is not always possible to identify all possible alternatives due to time and cost constraints” (Kuldeep, 2012). Furthermore, it must also be noted that as the decision-making situation is bound to involve multiple goals most of which cannot be maximized simultaneously, it is never quite possible to maximize goals when “a substantive quantitative measure of progress is not available” (Kuldeep, 2012). Finally, it must be said that the human factor plays a vital role in imposing limitation on the rational decision-making process. This can be argued by citing the fact that “Personal value systems, perceptions, economic and social factors, etc., are the main human limits on rationality. Every decision maker is a human being and his decisions are influenced by his personal beliefs, attitudes and biases” (Kuldeep, 2012).
The excerpt below refers to the recent case of contaminated infant milk powder found in some stores in Johor.
"Merchant association: Low-quality milk powder passed off as branded infant formula
Posted on 12 December 2017
The Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association of Malaysia president Hong Chee Meng believes the culprits behind the counterfeit version of Enfalac A+ Step 1 infant formula milk powder sold in Johor have mixed powdered milk for baking with the genuine product to reap profits.
He urged federation members not to compromise good business ethics when sourcing their infant formulas, China Press reported today. Meanwhile, Mead Johnson Malaysia said it is conducting a sweep of retail stores in Johor to trace and confiscate counterfeit versions of its infant formula Enfalac A+ Step 1 (1.8kg boxes)"
(a) With reference to the excerpt above, discuss why sometimes such unethical practices take place. (10 marks)
Answer: Promoting and sustaining ethics in operations and interactions should be considered pivotal matter of concern for each and every business. But this does not always happen instantaneously. In many cases, just like in the concerned case, businesses tend to resort to unethical practices for the sake of profit maximization in the wrong way. In the concerned case it has been suspected that the counterfeited version of Enfalac A+ Step 1 infant formula milk power (sold in Johor) have mixed powdered milk for baking with the genuine product to reap profits. Such unethical practices often are observed to have been occurring in the course of business operations in many parts of the globe and such malpractices are triggered mainly by the urge to make more profits without considering the negative impacts of the shortcut processes on the human society and particularly on the human health. There are certain specific reasons why businesses often tend to become unethical in practice. There are some internal and external organizational and environmental factors which often force businesses to resort to unethical means. In this respect it can be said that whenever business decision are complex and there is hardly any time for reflection, vital information seems missing and this leads to unethical practices (Argandona, 2015). It has also been seen that whenever the external completion is intense, businesses tend to resort to unethical practices considering the urge of succeeding amidst tough competitions. It has also been observed that businesses are enslaved by results and businesses are what they achieve. Quite pathetically there are perverse incentives that lead businesses to commit conducts that should not be committed on the basis of ethics (Argandona, 2015). Moreover, businesses often fall in the success trap and this falling forces business to succumb to inertia considering the false maxim that sometimes unethical means are the ways in which businesses are done (Argandona, 2015).
(b) What can managers do to ensure that basic ethical principles are followed when making business decisions?
Answer: Managers must try to refrain from the below mentioned scenarios to prevent them to happen in the course of conducting business:
It must be noted that mistakes are often committed in the course of conducting business and it is the human tendency to either deny the mistake or cover it up that eventually give rise to unethical conducts. It should also be noted that businesses commit unethical practices when moral sensitivity is reduced. In this respect one must take into account the fact that “Ethical problems are not apparent, as they are often masked under technical considerations, which are dominant force” (Argandona, 2015). Moreover, “There is a lot of cognitive dissonance: resistance to accepting evidence contrary to what we think” (Argandona, 2015). Also, the tendency to rationalize behavior, that is often seen on the part of the managements of business organizations, which tend to lead the organization into the practicing unethically in the course of conducting business. It has also been observed that businesses tend to indulge in unethical practices when within the organization prevails a bureaucratic culture in which there is hardly any scope for airing the voice against any unethical practice. Also, it should be taken into account that as business decision are often made by individual experts; the biases in their way of thinking can lead to the committing of unethical conducts in the course of doing business.
Read the case below and answer the questions that follow.
Project Oxygen in Google
When Google decided to “build a better boss”, it studied data from performance reviews, feedback surveys and also supporting documents submitted by individuals who had been nominated for top-manager awards. The project, named as Project Oxygen examined 100 variables and identified eight characteristics or habits of Google?s most effective managers. The eight characteristics are listed as follows:
-Be a good coach (provide specific feedback and have regular meetings with employees)
-Empower your team and don?t micro-manage (give chance to employees to solve problems themselves, but be available to offer advise)
-Be interested in your team members? success and well-being (make new team members feel welcome and get to know your employees)
-Be productive and results- oriented (focus on helping the team achieve its goals by prioritizing work and getting rid of obstacles)
-Be a good communicator and listen to your team (learn to listen and to share information; encourage open dialogue and pay attention to the team?s concerns)
-Help your employees with career development (take notice of employees? efforts so they can see how their hard work is furthering their careers; appreciate employees? efforts)
-Have a clear vision and strategy for the team (lead the team but keep everyone involved in developing and achieving the team?s vision)
-Have technical skills so that you can advise the team (understand the challenges facing the team and be able to help team members solve problems)
Now, managers at Google know what being a great manager involves. Google started training managers as well as providing individual coaching and performance review sessions.
(Source: adapted from Robbins. S and M. Coulter, „Management?, 12th edition, (2014), Pearson Education Ltd, pg 49)
(a) Describe the findings of Project Oxygen using:
(i) The management functions approach (8 marks)
(ii) Mintzberg?s roles approach (6 marks)
(iii) The skills approach (6 marks)
Answer: The findings of Project Oxygen can be interpreted by using the management functions approach. From the perspective of management functions approach it can be said that the “functions of management uniquely describe manager’s jobs. The most commonly cited functions of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, although some identify additional functions. The functions of management define the process of management as distinct from accounting, finance, marketing, and other business functions” (Reference for Business, 2018). It must be taken into account that the aforesaid functions are ways for providing usefully means of classifying information about management as a whole, and most fundamental management literatures have been organized around a functional framework for managing (Reference for Business, 2018). If considered from the management functions approach it can be seen that the Project Oxygen did reveal that managers who are successful are successful by the dint of being able to perform their management functions well and such functions include planning, organizing, coaching, etc.
The roles played by successful managers as pointed out by the findings of Project Oxygen are indicator to the fact that such roles are quite in alignment with the roles determined by Mintzberg in his roles approach theory. Managers have to play interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles and while playing such roles eventually the managers tend to become more inclined towards ensuring the wellbeing of the employees and employees’ success (along with ensuring the success of the business and the organization as a whole).
Moreover, judging from the perspective of the skills approach it can be seen that admitting the points revealed through the understanding of the skills approach, the findings of Project Oxygen states that good managers have some essential skills that essentially contribute to their success journey. Good managers who are effective at managing in every condition are ingrained with some specific skills like interpersonal skills, people skill, organizational skill, decision-making skill, time management skill, etc. and all such skills eventually help the manager to grow and prosper in the role of a manager. Furthermore, the presence of such skills ultimately helps such managers to accomplish both their organizational goals and their job objectives.
4 (b) Choose one (1) of the eight characteristics listed in the case study and describe how you could apply it in an organisation that you are familiar with.
Answer: There are several important characteristics of good management. A good and efficient manager should possess some specific managerial skills that are essential to succeed in the given job role. Among the different managerial characteristics listed in the case study, I would like to develop the characteristic of being a manager who has the potential to empower his team and to provide chances to employees to solve problems themselves, but be available to offer advise. I do believe that the capacity of empowering the employees is one of the greatest potentials that a manager should have. Whenever employees feel empowered they feel motivated and the degree of their organizational engagement is enhanced. Such enhancement in the level of organizational engagement eventually paves the way for the organization to experience success in a thorough manner. Empowered employees are more likely to become motivated employees who are interested in contributing to the growth and development of the organization by giving their best in terms of performance. Moreover, managers should have the ability and potential to empower the employees in order to make sure that the employees are feeling to be the part of the organizational decision making process because such feeling matters most in terms of ensuring organizational growth, development and success. Hence, considering the advantages that managers can eventually reap by empowering the employees, I think it is very much essential to develop the skills of people management. The development of such skills and the inclination towards empowering employees, both can contribute to the emergence of a good management style that can be effective in terms of great management of organization and employees.
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Assumptions of the Rational Decision-Making Model (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://home.ubalt.edu/ntsbmilb/ob/ob3/tsld011.htm
F.W. Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory in Modern Day Workplace (2010). Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://lupa4eve.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/f-w-taylors-scientific-management-theory-in-modern-day-workplace/
Kuldeep. (2012). What are the Limits on Rational Decision Making? Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://www.preservearticles.com/201106168022/what-are-the-limits-on-rational-decision-making.html
Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1911) (n.d.). Chapter One: Fundamentals of Scientific Management. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/taylor/principles/ch01.htm
Argandona, A. (2015). Why is it hard to be ethical in business? Business Ethics Blog Network. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from http://blog.iese.edu/ethics/2015/07/09/why-is-it-hard-to-be-ethical-in-business/
Reference for Business (2018). Management Functions. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Log-Mar/Management-Functions.html