Integrative business practices a capstone unit offered by Monash University have provided a good atmosphere that promoted an interactive discussion among students and myself even in this pandemic through online learning. In this reflective essay, I will put some light on specifically the two topics which have personally contributed a lot in my learning and these are effective communication, problem solving and decision making. As, our respected guest lecturer Dr. Loh who is the tutor of this unit with years of working experience has explained these topics exceptionally well. As it has taught me that how communication play an important role in individuals lives and how it is vital for people to have both listening and communicating skills with of course the ability to go to the root of the problem and then come up with solution to solve it.
Problem Solving & Decision Making
A problem in simple terms can be defined as any unexpected and unwanted occurrence of an event that needs to be handled and resolved before it becomes too complicated. According to Ducker (1945) a problem comes when an individual has specific aim but they are unaware about how to achieve it.
Moreover, as stated by McCaulley, 1987 & Lawrence, 1982 the way individual solve the problems depends heavily on the personality of the individual as some of them try to solve problem by themselves by going into the root of a problem usually by following the 7 step approach to find solution while others favor extraversion and prefer talking to others to arrive to solution to the problem at hand.
Communication is the vehicle that allows individual to express their feelings, opinion, facts and interpreting ideas either verbally or non-verbally. Shannon and Weaver stated that for communication to be effective it has to be two-way without any barrier in between the communication. The three elements of effective communication start with encoder who is the maker of the message and then the medium through which the information is communicated and lastly the decoder who is called the receiver of the message.
However, according to researcher’s non-verbal communication plays more important role in communication as around approximately 55% of our message comes from our body and 38% the tone of voice and only 7% from the words (Mehrabian, 2007). Nonetheless, effective verbal and non-verbal communication has a lot of pros as it enhances the morale and productivity of employees (Bedwell et al, 2014; Clampit, 2013; Ellwardt et al, 2012).
The theories discussed above would be used to reflect on the learning experience so far in this unit and one thing is for sure that this unit has prepared me in facing the realities of business world. As, in this semester most of the classes are conducted online and every week instead of regular class tutors give us the opportunity to ask the question during the session and I think so it has helped me a lot in understanding some of the topics better which are challenging and quite laborious.
Similarly, the session held by Dr.Loh on problem solving was an eye-opener for me as I find the ways through which an individual can tackle problem by following some of the typical problem solving steps to find an actual problem because most of the times we are unable to find the root of the problem thus making it difficult to find effective solution. Like for instance, in our team we have encountered numerous problems up till now especially at some point of time we have all been the victim of loss of spirit and morale due to COVID,19 but everybody handled it in a different way. Additionally, as mentioned above that Dr.Loh has a lot of working experience and that can be clearly seen with the technique he shared about how Japanese firms resolve the problems if they experience any with “Genchi Genbutsu” which means go and see the problem by physically being present.
Another, topic that caught my attention and enlightened my brain with ideas is decision making in which guest lecturer shared techniques on how to take decision correctly through following the seven-step process. I have learned in my life that it is almost inevitable for any individual to evade problem and when the problem exist an individual has to make decisions in order to get rid of it and that is why it is necessary to know the tools to facilitate the decision making process. For instance, in this unit there were several occasions in which our decision making skills have been tested which includes our first presentation in which we had to segment the market for our product and for start-up company like us this decision is very crucial and had to be right in order to avoid failure and everybody gave different suggestions of target market. Hence, it is proved that individuals do make decision according to the personality they possess.
Guest speaker also put some light on communication as he said speaking and listening skills is one of the keys to career success and often the reason for not getting job is due to the lack of communication skills. I have very lousy listening skills and I have been trying for quite some time to enhance that but finally I think I see some light after attending the online discussion and lecture conducted by Dr. Loh. Although, two-way communication up till now has been quite a problem in this semester because of the lack of physical interaction as mostly we conducted meetings through Zoom but nonetheless, we embraced this new normal.
All in all, I have learned a lot from Dr. Loh’s session and I am certain that at some point in life these topics would help me in coping up with the problems that I will face in the corporate world. The most interesting thing about this unit is it is exam-free which has helped me in building my analytical skills as every week we have to think like an entrepreneur to come up with the best plan possible to be successful in the industry. Moreover, I am grateful to have hardworking groupmates who have worked tirelessly throughout the semester in these uncertain times to execute the tasks on time. In short, I am glad that I took this unit as it has shaped me and prepared me quite well for the professional life.