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    Principle of Management Course: My Experiences Essay

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    Principle of Management Course: My ExperiencesI believe that the Principles of Management course provided me withinvaluable information which will help in furthering both my professional aswell as personal life. I believe that learning is a process by which anindividual undergoes certain changes. Also, during the learning process, many ofthe beliefs which a person holds are challenged.

    I underwent various changesduring this course. This paper will explain those changes. Furthermore, I willdetail the concepts, ideas and situations which had the greatest impact on me. Before taking this course, my definition of the concept of managementwould have been strictly based on power relationships within an organization,how to use power to achieve your goals and how to manipulate people. Althoughthis definition might seem totalitarian, my background in Political Sciencesupported my initial misconceptions of management.

    I am a political sciencemajor and the questions most often asked in political science courses deal withpower within a structure and how this power is used, abused and expressed bythose in control. Therefore, I came into the Principles of Management coursewith the notion that I was going to be learning about power. This notion waschallenged as I learned that there are three different perspectives that areused to analyze an organization. There are three different perspectives used to view organizationalbehavior and processes: Strategic-Design, Political and Cultural. Initially, Iwas looking at the organization and the process of management from the politicalperspective. This perspective deals with the use of power and influencethroughout 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 alsohad to learn about the cultural perspective which focused on the way in whichpeople assigned meanings to their respective work experiences. I was beginningto understand that management and the organization are not just an arena forpower relations. Instead, a variety of factors compose management. Managementdeals with the tasks, structure, culture and decision-making processes within anorganization. In order to be an effective manager one has to study and analyzet he organization using all the perspectives.

    This was the first phase of my learning: I was beginning to understandthat the perspective from which I had been viewing the organization wasinsufficient 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, innovatorand broker. Each of these roles has a distinct function within the context ofthe organization. These roles can complement and supplement each other.

    After doing the in-class exercise, I discovered that I fell in QuinnsRational Goal quadrant and was oriented towards director and producer roles. Adirector is expected to clarify expectations through processes, such as planningand goal setting. Directors define roles and tasks, generate rules andpolicies and give instructions. After studying many of my everyday activities,I noticed that I was inclined to give orders and that I was highly competitiveand goal oriented. I was also oriented towards the producer role.

    A produceris supposed to accept responsibly, complete assignments and maintain highpersonal productivity. By identifying the roles towards which I was inclined, it made it easierto track and remedy my negative tendencies. For instance, the my most negativetendency emanating from the director/producer role is that fact that I can beinsensitive to an individuals needs in the face of accomplishing my goals. After a process of self-examination I identified my problems and negativetendencies. At times, I possess an almost fanatical desire to achieve my goals. This fanatical desire is so strong that it can override friendships, destroyrelationships and alienate people.

    I also began to notice that I had thetendency to act quite insensitive, inconsiderate and not be approachable. Once Ihad identified this problem, I realized that I needed to diversify myself byadding elements from the other roles, such as mentor and facilitator. Ibelieved that if I complemented my director/producer roles with elements fromthe mentor or facilitator roles, then this would enable me to foster acollective effort, be sensitive towards the needs of individuals and still beable to achieve my goals. This was the second phase of my learning: I had identified a personaldeficiency and needed to work towards complementing my director/producer roleswith roles from the Human Relations quadrant. One of the key concepts of management and the key themes of the coursewas teamwork. We were organized into teams and the team was the unit by whichthe Professor measured our performance.

    By working in a team-environment, I wasable to learn the value of multiple perspectives and the need to use differentroles depending on the situation. In analyzing Synergy, Inc. , I learned that wehad fused the three perspectives to create a unique identity and structure. Forinstance, in the strategic design perspective, tasks were organized around aneed-basis and assignments were shared. Politically, we had no formal authorityor decision making body.

    Instead, all the members of Synergy, Inc. werecarefully listened to and their opinions evaluated and discussed. Culturally,Synergy, Inc. formulated its own distinct culture, which consisted of certainrituals and routines before team meetings. When problems began to occur and breakdown the team process, it wasnecessary to study the different perspectives in order to determine the originand possible solution to the problem.

    In solving team problems, we needed toidentify the symptoms and treat the causes of these symptoms (not the symptomsthemselves). Also, the problems which arose forced us to evaluate our presentprocesses and attempt to create new processes. We had to learn to adapt to thenew environment. One problem which occurred and caused us to re-invent ourselves wasthe absenteeism of team member Raquel. Due to various health reasons, Raquelwas 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 asthe book report, interactive cases and the news report. What did we do toprevent the loss of one team member from destroying our entire team process? Were-assigned tasks and began to coordinate other ways of finishing theassignments. For instance, team members Will and Jeb were assigned Raquelsinteractive cases and team member Josh was assigned Raquels presentation forthe 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 differentroles.

    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 myHuman Relations quadrant skills. I attempted to accomplish this by buildingteam cohesion and morale, also by trying to obtain input from all participantsin team meetings.

    I found myself uttering the phrases, What do you think aboutthat . . and What are you opinions concerning the subject . . .

    more than Ihad ever before. I also attempted to diffuse potentially volatile situations byusing humor and other pressure-relieving tactics to show that all issues have alighter side. Perhaps the class activity which I found most rewarding were theinteractive cases. These cases dealt with everyday issues which confrontmanagers and challenge you to use all of your skills and experiences in bringingabout a successful resolution to the situation. The cases provided me with anopportunity 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.

    Themotivation case was interesting because it proved that everyone is motivated bya different reason. There can be no “textbook” approach on how to motivatepeople. Instead, a manager has to sit down and communicate with the person andfind out what is behind the motivational problem. In this particular case, allof the people that had low sales figures had a unique reason and motive behindtheir problems. The ethics case was interesting because there was no clearanswer on what should be done to remedy the situation. This case was difficultbecauseone had to balance the interests of the company with the ethical issues andconsequences.

    It is very difficult to come to a resolution when the needs ofthe company conflict with what is ethical. I believe that the discussion of the future was an integral part of thePrinciples of Management class. In the beginning we started discussing the pastmodels of organizational structure. We talked about Max Weber’s Bureaucraticmodel.

    This model was once an efficient and orderly way of structuring theorganization since the organization was in a stable environment. However, todayit is obsolete. The current and future models will stress flexibility, freedomfrom rigidity, networkability and flatness. Organizations designed in thismanner will be able to exploit the quickly changing environment. The future environments will be characterized by chaos, complexity andcontradiction. Increasingly, managers will have to deal with tumultuous workenvironments instead of the stable environments of the past.

    A metaphor used tocompare the past management environment and the future business environment is:”The old environment was like sailing. The new environment is like a kayakrace. ” The calm, secure conditions of sailing best reflect the old business andmanagement environments. However, the new environment is best represented bythe chaos and instability of a kayak race. “At any time your canoe can capsizeand leave you to drown,” said CEO Michael Cooper of METCECH Incorporated.

    Thisis further emphasized by the increased competition present in the marketplace. The high levels of competition are making it so that only the companies whichare most in tune with their customer’s needs and are most efficient survive. In conclusion, after identifying and integrating the first and secondphases of learning, I was able to work towards transforming myself. Thetransformation process does not end when I hand this paper in or with the end ofthe course. Rather, the transformation process is a constant struggle betweenmyself and what I have learned. If I choose to apply the lessons which I havelearned, then I will win that struggle.

    However, if I ignore the lessons then Ilose the struggle.

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