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MNGT 1111
Ron Lakes

Project Exam Case Study 1 Q: In Part A of "Applying Your Skills" on page 72 of the text, ten objectives are listed. Select any five of the ten objectives that are listed. Then, identify what is wrong with each of the five objectives that you have selected and rewrite each objective to be more effective. Objective 1: Eliminate the stress in your life – Firstly, certain levels of stress are required/beneficial to the work of an employee as they lead to determination and the completion of a project, but too much stress can lead to burnout and a drop in employee satisfaction. This objective provides no specific terms/behaviours that will help the employee decrease their levels of stress and provides no outcome if they are to be successful. Stress can’t be quantified and therefore makes it difficult to determine if the stress has been lowered, as what may be stressful for some employees may not be for others. It also provides no deadline as to when this stress should be eliminated, is it today, tomorrow, next week or eventually? This objective could be re-written as “learn to manage your work-life balance, through time management and activities to ensure that you are functioning at healthy stress levels by next month.” Objective 2: Improve your relationship with your co-workers – this objective is very broad and is determined by what different people think an “improvement” consists of, as a relationship cannot be quantified and measured. It also doesn’t take into account underlying factors such as people’s characteristics, values and beliefs that may or may not mesh with another employee. Also, if the worker doesn’t understand why this would be important, they may not care, as they could be perfectly happy with their current relationship with their co-workers. Furthermore, if this goal is outlined for just an individual, you cannot take into account the action of the co-workers and their cooperation, meaning it isn’t fair to make one person responsible for its success. This objective could be re-written as “create an office football pool with a co-workers to build employees relationships amongst each other and stimulate casual conversation during the NFL football season.” Objective 3: Improve Quality – this objective provides no explanation as to what is wrong with quality/where the lack of quality currently exists. Also, no level of desired quality is provided to the employee, meaning that an increase in quality could still be below the desired level. Is it due to the materials being used in the process? Is it the machine process currently being used to assemble? Or are the employees checking for quality using a bad system or doing a poor job? The objective needs to be specific as to what needs to improve and by how much should this metric be improved by. The objective must be reasonable to be accepted by employees by setting a realistic goal to aim for, instead of demanding products that are 100% free of errors. A deadline should also be set for an objective like this, as certain changes to a system may not show the full effects until a certain time in the future. This objective could be re-written as “ by utilizing and implementing the 6 Sigma methodology, decrease the amount of product defects by 10% in the next year, with an end goal of less than 20 defects per million opportunities within 5 years.” Objective 4: Increase your sales by 10 percent – this objective provides a specific end result – an increase in sales by 10% - but is not clear as to what sales metric should be increased by 10%. This could confuse an employee as to whether it is the number of sales made, the value of sales made, a specific products sales or how this is to be achieved (offer a lower price?). If the employee were to be involved with the creation of this objective they may feel more inclined to succeed or if they are provided some intrinsic/extrinsic motivation (responsibility/bonus). Furthermore, if this objective is given to 20 employees who currently sell 100 units of product x each on average, as a manager, you are trying to achieve an overall growth of 10%, which may not be possible in the industry (auto sales). On the other hand, if an employee is currently not performing and struggling to make sales, an increase of 10% could be as easy as 5 more units of product. If the objectives set are unrealistic/unattainable, an employee won’t be motivated to succeed. Lastly, there is no time frame given as to when the increase should occur by or what the increase is being measured to. This objective could be re- written as “increase your overall sales of product x by 10% (compared to last years results) by the end of the month”. Objective 5: Manage your time better – with this objective, no exact terms or behaviours are given and an employee may not understand what is expected or how to accomplish this task. Furthermore, an employee may not agree with this statement as they could get all of their work done for the set completion time, even if most is done last minute. They may not see how improving their time management could increase their productivity in the long run, as time management is difficult to quantify. This objective could be re-written as “develop a schedule of work to be completed per day for a project due at the end of the month, describing what specific tasks will be accomplished each day.” This could allow an employee to see what job aspects they usually spend most of their time on, and to learn how tasks can be accomplished quickly and effectively. If a company is able to provide goals that are specific, measurable, accepted, reasonable and time-bound to their employees, it could lead to an increase in motivation, involvement and commitment. It will help the employees align their personal goals/value with that of the organization and will lead to future success and operational effectiveness. Case Study 2 Q: Discuss why MBO intimidates some employees, and some supervisors. MBO is a system in which subordinates jointly determine specific performance objectives with their superiors, progress towards objective is periodically reviewed, and rewards are allocated on the basis of progress. This can be extremely overwhelming on supervisors who are unfamiliar with MBO, as it places a lot more ownership on them. They determine the goals of their subordinates as well as forces them to be good leaders in directing their subordinates/the organization in the right way, which many supervisors will find challenging. Employees and supervisors may find the amount of paperwork needed to support MBO overwhelming, which may lead upper management to exempt themselves of the process to open time for what they may believe to be more important tasks. Furthermore, many employees may find it difficult to apply goals to a specific job they may have as not all work has easily measured outcomes and behaviours. Lastly, an employee/supervisor may be new to MBO and not only struggle to understand how it operates, but if they do not have a clear view of the vision, values and direction of the company, they may struggle to create appropriate objectives. They may also not understand the vertical linkages or general on goings within the company, which can make communication of these objectives within different departments extremely difficult. Case Study 3 Q: Use the situational leadership model to explain Sheila's leadership style(s). Is her leadership style(s) appropriate for her situation? After analyzing Sheila, her scenario and the nature of her work, it is clear her leadership style favours R3 (participating) and incorporates the aspects of telling and selling when training new employees. Sheila is involved with every aspect of the job to ensure absolute perfection, although most employees seem competent enough she is still there every step of the way and is extremely supportive and gives suggestions, reminders, feedback and praise on the service being provided. She also keeps an eye on the seamstress to ensure both high quality work and good customer relations. When training new employees, the process is extremely lengthy (8 months) and involves lots of one-way communication and telling the employee how things work and operate. At a certain point, they will begin to grow as a member of the staff team and ask specific questions to broaden their product knowledge, but still require lots of guidance and supervision on the job. Yes, I believe the leadership style is appropriate for her situation. Although it may appear that she is over stretching her dominance in the store, I think this level of manager integration is extremely important. It shows the customer how dedicated they are to ensuring a perfect dress for them as well if something were to go wrong, it is all on the manager. If one customer were to be displeased with the final result at the Village, word could easily spread from friend to friend of the experience which would result in none of them purchasing their dresses at the Village, and when so much of the business relies on positive reviews and word of mouth, this could be catastrophic. Furthermore, the fact that she calls all suppliers personally and attends all the shows, it helps build a relationship with these suppliers who in turn may be more accommodating and helpful to a long time buyer. Q: Identify the controls that Sheila has established. Which type of control is most prevalent (preventive, concurrent, or corrective)? Explain why this is (or is not) the most appropriate type of control for Sheila's business. There are many types of controls that Sheila has put in place to ensure the smooth operations of the Village. Some examples of the controls include; providing warm, non-threatening, attentive and honest service, extensive paperwork for so no detail is missed, special procedures/systems for unpacking/ordering, hires very carefully and trains the selected employee for months, provides clear expectations and standards for all employees and phones all orders in herself and checks everything. These are just some of the examples that are apparent in the case but clearly they are almost all preventive controls. These controls are put in place to anticipate and prevent undesirable outcomes. As I mentioned earlier, being in an industry that can’t tolerate mistakes, it is important that every customers needs are met exactly to reduce the chance of a negative review. All of these controls are in place to minimize the chance of any mistake occurring or used to catch any mistakes at the start of the process so they are not followed through with. By setting all these controls, Sheila is able to provide excellent service to her customers, as she is 100% positive that no mistakes will occur. The strongest of these controls is the in-depth hiring and training that Sheila conducts, setting performance standards and communicating clear expectations for all her employees and the creation of systems when unpacking and ordering. Not only do these systems ensure smooth operation but it also adds value at each stage of the system before arriving at the end consumer. Case Study 4 Q: Use the situational leadership model to explain what leadership style(s) Sheila is using with Judy. Is her leadership style(s) appropriate? Explain why or why not. Sheila is taking a very similar leadership style with Judy as she was with all her other employees but is incorporating much more of the R4 (delegating) style into her leadership. For example, “Sheila is backing off and letting Judy make many of the decisions” shows that Sheila is slowly but surely relinquishing some of her hold on the company and letting Judy run the new store. She can trust Judy to carry out her required duties with little direction but is still there to provide lots of support and feedback. Although Judy is demonstrated her ability to be an employee, she is still new to the idea of being a manager and may need more advice than a typical employee working at the R4 level. Yes, I believe this leadership style is appropriate because after all, they are “sister” stores and should operate at a very similar level to ensure customer satisfaction. Judy still has a long way to go before she can operate the store entirely on her own and will rely on Sheila’s knowledge and experience to perform at the desired level and begin to make a profit. By allowing Judy to slowly make her own decisions in regards to the operation of the store, she is providing Judy with motivation to make the store the best it can be under Sheila’s guidance until Judy is able to make many of the management decisions herself. Q: Describe three controls that Sheila has established for her new store, and identify whether each control is preventive, concurrent, or corrective. Three controls that Sheila has established for the new store include duplicating the same systems from the original store (codes, accounting systems, procedures), that Sheila does all of the bill paying and accounting, and they buy the dress lines together. The first control (duplication of systems) is a preventive control put in place to make Judy’s job easier as she was trained and has been working with this system for four years. It will also make training new employees easier as Judy has a full understanding of the system. Secondly, the fact that Sheila does all the bill paying/accounting is another example of a preventive control. By Sheila taking this responsibility, she takes the stress of completing this work off of Judy hands to ensure that Judy can spend her time being completely focused on the satisfaction of her customers and not on proper bookkeeping and bill paying. Sheila is also the owner of both stores and clearly wants to ensure that all expenses and assets are in order at the new store and is able to monitor spending and determine where operational inefficiencies may exist. Lastly, the fact that they buy dress lines together can be seen as both a preventive and concurrent control. It is preventive in the fact that by buying the lines together, Sheila is able to determine what Judy can and cannot sell to ensure that the styles purchased are trendy and align with the idea of satisfying a more budget-oriented market. This is done to make certain that no line purchases will lead to an undesirable outcome such as a dissatisfied customer or a large purchase of items that won’t sell, incurring a large expense. Furthermore, it can also be looked at as a concurrent control. If they buy the lines together and both stores offer a slightly different product whether it be budget or style oriented, any customers who are unhappy with their selection at one store can go to the other store to see if there is something more suitable. So although it may appear preventive, this idea of a larger product offering is enacted while the customer is shopping at the first store and can be sent to the “sister” store if they are not impressed with the selection at the first store. Q: Explain how Sheila could redesign Judy's job in order to provide more intrinsic motivation for Judy. Relate your discussion to the core dimensions of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and/or feedback. Sheila could redesign Judy’s job by allowing her to have more input in the decision making process for her store and therefore feel more “invested” in the success or failure of the store. They could set out specific goals to achieve on a monthly/bi-monthly basis, which could incorporate sales levels or customer satisfaction. Sheila must ensure that the goals they set together are clear and that there is no misunderstanding as to what the expectations are. The goals must also provide an enough challenge for Judy to feel engaged; otherwise Judy will lack motivation to achieve these goals. Furthermore, by providing Judy with specific performance feedback/recognition, she will feel more accomplished and satisfied with her work. By allowing Judy to make more executive decisions, this will increase her perceived task significance, as these decisions are solely Judy’s. These decisions could include selecting the gown lines sold at the store herself, so she can directly see how her decisions have influenced a bride in their dress selection. This ability to make her own decisions will also add to her current level of autonomy and compel her to make choices in the stores best interests. Lastly, with setting these monthly goals, Judy will be able to receive feedback from Sheila on her choices and success and utilize Sheila’s knowledge to determine what works best in the industry leading to an enriched job. However, all of these opportunities to increase in task significance, autonomy and feedback that Sheila can offer Judy will only be successful if Judy has a high growth-need strength, which is obvious as “she continues to be excited by the responsibility and opportunity, even a year later”. Q: Will your proposed job changes impact Sheila's leadership style(s)? Explain why or why not. Yes, the changes in Judy’s level of task significance and autonomy will take away tasks that Sheila, until recently, was involved with. Although Sheila’s guidance and experience will still play an important role in the development of Judy’s managerial capabilities, Sheila must take a much more R4 (delegating) leadership role if she wishes Judy to be successful. It is clear the Judy knows how to perform the job very well and that Sheila can trust her to do an amazing job at running the store herself. Sheila no longer needs to be heavily involved in the management process and needs to let Judy run the business herself, but be there to answer questions/concerns that may arise. If Sheila is unable to maintain this leadership style with Judy and continually tries to get involved in the decision making process, Judy could get frustrated and become dissatisfied with the job. Sheila must also remember that as Judy develops as a manager, she may begin to perform or approach tasks differently and that they aren’t necessarily wrong. That being said, Sheila could even learn a few things from watching Judy perform her tasks as she could provide new creative/innovative ideas to older processes that could provide the company with a revitalization of sorts. Case Study 5 Q: Carolyn communicates with a management group (i.e. the resource board meetings), technical groups, and employees who do not speak fluent English. Discuss how Carolyn will be required to adjust her communication style and/or content for these three audiences. It is extremely important for Carolyn to take into account who she is communicating with when determining the best way to share information. If the wrong communication style is chosen, there is a chance that the required information won’t be transferred, that there is a lack of understanding or the importance of the communication is not acknowledged. Firstly, the resource board requires information that is current and precise on the progress of these projects. Carolyn needs to provide a presentation on the work-to-date at each phase of the project, where the board will decide to further support the project or not. In this scenario, Carolyn needs to be very specific about the information and very direct; so that everyone on the board is perfectly aware of the progress being made and that there are no uncertainties. Carolyn will have to incorporate lots of body language and verbal intonations to ensure that she is persuasive, appears knowledgeable and convinces the board that the project should be continued, as the non-verbal components of a presentation are likely to carry the greatest impact. Secondly, due to the size of the technical groups and the frequency of their communication with Carolyn, she must provide lots of detail in her communication so no point is missed. In these meetings they typically rely on conference calls to keep everyone updated, where body language will have no effect but verbal intonations and emotions can change everything. Because there are so many people involved in these meetings, the minutes are posted on a network drive so staff can look at what was discussed in the meetings, as they are typically very time oriented. This communication style is less “beautified” as Carolyn is not trying to be as persuasive as in the resource board meetings, but is merely trying to provide as much information to the technical team so they know what needs to be accomplished for their next meeting. Lastly, communicating with employees who have English as a second language can be very difficult and very time consuming for a supervisor. As Carolyn said, a lot of the time there are people translating during the conference call for some of the other employees. A way to work around this language barrier is to post the on goings of the meeting on a network drive so those who may have struggled to understand what went on during the meeting can review it and then send follow up emails to Carolyn to clear up an questions or concerns. At this point it is also extremely important for Carolyn to ask in depth questions and be very repetitive to ensure that both the employee and herself are on the same page and have a mutual understanding of what is being asked of them. This is where Carolyn’s patience comes into account while gathering this employee’s input and being able to answer all of their questions by slowly repeating the topics being discussed. Case Study 6 Q: Explain why some supervisors and managers consider the hiring process to be extraneous to their "real" job. A lot of the time, supervisors and managers feel that the hiring process is not related to the core functions of the business and should therefore not be addressed by top management. This can be due to the fact that they don’t understand the full hiring process, they don’t see the value of the hiring process and they don’t see how it can impact them directly. All the above factors come into action when a manager is busy and feels that operational or strategic decisions are more important in the long run, while HR or an external company can handle the hiring process.
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