The Business and Management course is a diverse mix of areas which contribute towards effective management of an organisation. The Business and Management area is surrounded by and interconnected with all business disciplines – Organisations and Human Resources Management, Business Policy and Business Planning, Accounting, Finance, Operations and Marketing Management, Knowledge Management and Learning Manager.
The relationship of Business and Management with these areas are presented by the following components which will be examined and analysed throughout the assignment: Managing in a Changing Environment, Organising: Differentiating and Integrating, Decision Making: Rationalist and Alternative Perspectives, Politics and Influencing People, Managing for Results and Making it Happen? Implementation.
The main role of Business Management within the above areas is to explore the contemporary business practice, examine their implications for an organisation and for an individual, and emphasise the relational and performance-related elements of managerial work. Emphasis must also be placed on exchanging and sharing ideas on ‘good’ practice in specific cultures, as well as establishing expectations of self and others and the role power plays in shaping these.
The approach taken to explore concepts of the course has been to place emphasis on the continuous group work which proved to be the most efficient way of learning and gaining knowledge. Group exercises, discussions and academic reading have all been used as methods in order to develop a greater understanding of business and management as a whole. The predominant areas to be analysed are Group Dynamics, Decision Making, Management by Results and Implementation/Project Management, theoretical and practical aspects of which are presented in the assignment.
Group Dynamics The process by which people interact and behave in a group environment is called group dynamics. Group dynamics involves the influence of personality, power, and behaviour on the group process, as well as several other elements that have to be aligned in order to generate a desirable outcome. Group members must be aware of the issues concerning group dynamics in order fulfil set objectives and take as much as possible from each task. The issues concerning group dynamics are various and often complex involving internal, external and personal factors.
The theory in this field is contradictory; and therefore generalising is impossible. One correct answer for all situations will never be found. With the latter in mind we will introduce the theory our group believe is relevant for our situation, assessed with relation to our group’s experiences from the “Sonique Sound System” case. Elements of diversity, communication, expectations, leadership, norms, roles and cohesiveness are all important when group dynamics are to be analysed. The task for our group was to solve daily exercises, produce presentations of our findings and present our results and solution to class.
In the first meeting all group members stated their expectations of the course to the other group members, in order to set an agenda and agree on the targets through out the two weeks. Some members have worked together in earlier projects, which reduced the time that would be spent gauging each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Clear and agreed stated goals are also emphasised in theory as an important aspect of being successful in group work. Clarification of key points and stages are vital in order for members to pursue, then realise, their and the group’s objectives.
After the first week of working together we realized that our collaboration quickly moved from group work towards team based interaction. The definition of a team given by Greenberg (2001)2 and of a group given by George ; Jones (2002)3 clarifies the differences between the two ways of cooperation. (Much has been made of the difference between a group and a team, however in this assignment, teams and groups will be used interchangeably. ) Shared group leadership resulted in all group members immediately committing themselves to our cause.
Our team-working attributes were emphasised by all members being held mutually responsible for their input, which in turn affected our group’s output. A task-oriented team will go through a five-step development4, including forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. The members are formed by internal and external factors. This framework illustrates the dynamics in the team, i. e. how relationships are established, how responsibilities/roles are distributed, how norms of behaviour play an important part and how leadership should be handled in the different stages and different situations.
The stages can also help a team to understand some of the problems that may arise and can thereby be solved before they turn into serious consequences for the overall performance. Figure: Stages of group development Other elements concerning the dynamics in teamwork: Social loafing5: The “Ringelmann effect” which it originally was called, refers to tendency for individuals to lower their effort when working in groups because they think their effort not will make any difference for the final result anyway. Our team never experienced any kind of social loafing, but the probability of the occurrence is important to keep in mind.
Group thinking6: This refers to a situation where group pressure and conformity hinders a team to evaluate all the relevant alternatives in a decision making process and therefore the possibility for making a wrong decision occurs. Not applicable for our situation. Roles: One of the characteristics of a team is an allocation of different roles amongst its members. Roles can be defined as sets of behaviours expected of a person in particular position (Graen, 1976). An effective team has members to fill all the roles and selected people to play these roles based on their skill and preferences.
George and Jones (2002) also argued that roles also could be seen as a mechanism to control the behaviour of team members. Firstly, roles tell members what they should be doing. Secondly, roles not only enable a member to hold its members accountable for their behaviour but also provide a standard from which to evaluate behaviour. The possibility of ‘role overload’, ‘role ambiguity’ or ‘role conflicts’ are aspects both the leader and his/her subordinates must clarify in order to keep a healthy working climate in the long term.
Belbin’s team role theory7 provides us with seven different roles a team should incorporate. The framework gives us a basis when trying to steer the dynamics of the team in order to operate as effectively as possible: 1) Chairman: co-ordinates the group, clarify objectives and problems, encourages involvement 2) Shaper: achievement-oriented, brings competitive-drive to the team, shapes the team by driving and challenging 3) Plant: a source of idea and creative input 4) Monitor-evaluator: objective-focused, analyze ideas, offers measured criticism
5) Resource investigator: explores the environment outside the team, brings new ideas/contacts from outside 6) Completer-finisher: ensures the team efforts meet suitable standards, sees projects through, reduces tension 7) Company worker: practical application of ideas, turns decision into manageable tasks Cohesiveness: The degree to which members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the team. In order to become more effective and achieve the objectives, some of the factors which are determining for the teams cohesiveness can be manipulated and control by the organization.
The figure below shows determinants of cohesiveness: Team size Similarities/diversity of the members Competition with other teams Success Exclusiveness Diversity: It is wise to value and harness diversity in a team. Different types of personality will bring a wide variety of skills that will help in the overall effectiveness. In the Sonique case study, suggestions from the Glasgow site were adventurous and eventually discarded, although they were open-minded and broke the status quo. All suggestions can prove to be valuable, even the more extreme ones.