Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2012

Case Study: Bhopal Gas Tragedy - Communication Failures #2

Rachel Ruddy, a fifty year old mid-manager at the City Bank of New Rochelle, has been considering for quite some time having some extensive dental work. Although she made a point of having yearly checkups and cavities filled, she felt her appearance was affected by a badly discolored incisor, misaligned teeth and noticeable fillings. In the growing awareness of the self image and its relationship to job mobility, she decided to invest in having her teeth crowned.

She enlisted the professional services of her regular dentist, Dr Luke, who also happened to be a casual social acquaintance with whom she shared some friends and interests in common. Her first step was to ask Dr Luke about possible improvements. He explained that he would initially take an impression and then discuss a total diagnostic package. The cost of her phase would be $75, a charge to be subtracted later if she chose to have the work done.

After completing the impression, Dr Luke, explained the total procedure to R…

Case Study: Bhopal Gas Tragedy - Communication Failures #1

On 3 December 1984, a runaway reaction had occurred in a storage tank of methylisocyanate (MIC), which was used to manufacture a pesticide. The valves of the tank had burst, and a cloud of poisonous gas had escaped. The winds carried it to nearby shanty towns and the populous city of Bhopal, where thousands of people either died in their sleep or woke and died while fleeing. Those who survived suffered from burning eyes and lungs. Local medical facilities were not equipped for the disaster, and over the next few weeks thousands more died.

Due to production problems, the plant was under a great deal of pressure to cut costs. A number of shortcuts had thus been taken with such items as crew training, staffing patterns and maintenance schedules. The original procedure called for upto two years of training for employees in critical superintendent capacities, but the plant operators had received about a month long training, using classroom materials developed in the US and printed in Eng…

What are the types of reports? Explain the essentials of a good business report.

The types of reports:
laboratory reportshealth and safety reportsresearch reportscase study reportsfield study reportscost-benefit analysis reportsproposalscomparative advantage reportsprogress reportsfeasibility studiestechnical reportsinstruction manualsfinancial reports
The essentials of good business report:
PreparationIntroductionWriting the BodyConclusion

How has technology revolutionized the communication process?

These technological advances revolutionized the processes of communication. Researchers have divided how communication was transformed into three revolutionary stages:

In the 1st Information Communication Revolution, the first written communication began, with pictographs. These writings were made on stone, which were too heavy to transfer. During this era, written communication was not mobile, but nonetheless existed.

In the 2nd Information Communication Revolution, writing began to appear on paper, papyrus, clay, wax, etc. Common alphabets were introduced, allowing the uniformity of language across large distances. Much later the Gutenberg printing-press was invented. Gutenberg created this printing-press after a long period of time in the 15th century.

In the 3rd Information Communication Revolution, information can now be transferred via controlled waves and electronic signals.

What are the characteristics of technical writing? Discuss the process of planning in technical writing.

Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Technical writers explain technology and related ideas to technical and nontechnical audiences. This could mean, for example, telling a programmer how to use a software library or telling a consumer how to operate a television remote control.

The process of planning in technical writing:
Audience: Is the audience composed of people in home kitchens or highly trained chefs in professional kitchens?Source: Is there existing documentation—a rough draft? Who is the subject matter expert (SME)?Deliverable: Is the deliverable simple text for inclusion in a book, or formatted to final form? Is the target a paper, a Web page, or something else?

Discuss the types of sentences and explain the basic units of a sentence.

Sentences can also be classified based on their purpose:
A declarative sentence or declaration, the most common type, commonly makes a statement: I am going home.An interrogative sentence or question is commonly used to request information — When are you going to work? — but sometimes not; see rhetorical question.An exclamatory sentence or exclamation is generally a more emphatic form of statement expressing emotion: What a wonderful day this is!An imperative sentence or command tells someone to do something: Go to work at 7:30 tomorrow morning.
The basic units of a sentence or parts of speech:
Nouns: words that name persons, places, things, or ideasPronouns: words that stand in for a nounVerbs: words that express action or state of beingAdjectives: words that describe nouns or pronounsAdverbs: words that describe verbsPrepositions: words that connect a noun and its modifiers to another component of the sentenceConjunctions: words that join nouns, verbs, or other parts of a sentenceInt…

Explain the preparation of an effective CV. Why is it important to send a cover letter with the CV?

Here are some essential rules to prepare an effective CV:
Make sure you give your contact particulars encompassing your e-mail id, phone number and address.In a CV, a job objective serves the purpose. It is a crisp and concise line at the top of the CV which states your career goal.It is advisable to write a paragraph containing the summary of the entire resume.The work experience section includes the name of the company, designation and its time frame.Educational details with the year of completion must be mentioned accurately. Honors and Awards section includes relevant academic recognitions to add extra zing to the CV.Reference section is not obligatory. If included, it can say "available upon request."
Importance of sending a cover letter with the CV:
Some hiring managers only read the covering letter, so if there isn't one you're out;The CV covering letter allows you to express your interest in a precise and targeted way;Recruitment advertisers often ask for som…

Define negotiation and discuss the stages in the negotiation process.

Negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.

The stages in the negotiation process:
Prepare: Know what you want. Understand them.Open: Put your case. Hear theirs.Argue: Support your case. Expose theirs.Explore: Seek understanding and possibility.Signal: Indicate your readiness to work together.Package: Assemble potential trades.Close: Reach final agreement.Sustain: Make sure what is agreed happens.

State the advantages of a group and explain the purpose and characteristics of group discussions.

The advantages of group:
Greater outputCross fertilisationReduced biasIncreased risk takingHigher commitmentImproved communicationBetter solutions
As a professional in the working world, there will be times when you will be required to participate in group discussions. This section offers helpful articles analyzing the rules for success in group discussions. Your career and status within your field can improve if you learn some guidelines and tactics that refine your group discussion skills.

If you have trouble speaking out of turn, interrupting others or a lack of confidence about properly expressing yourself, the techniques about handling yourself in a group discussion can be invaluable. This is helpful advice for any individual working with other people in any industry. Discussing ideas in a group is one of the best ways to solve the problem. When a person becomes a burden in group discussions due to lack of experience, an excess amount of excitement or a general lack of social ski…

How is a meeting planned? Discuss the factors to be kept in mind while planning a meeting.

A meeting can be planned by:
preparationfacilitationinspirationresults The factors to keep in mind while planning a meeting:
Preparation means making sure your meeting has a clear, stated purpose, and an agenda. Participants are chosen carefully, invited in professional way and given sufficient prior information. Preparation also means attention to details including: room bookings, catering, a/v equipment, reminders.Facilitation means that someone or a team is responsible for guiding the meeting, a plan for the meeting is reflected in the agenda and the facilitator (or chair) keeps things on time and on track.Inspiration is probably the most overlooked aspect of everyday meetings. All the attention to detail and process can push the opportunity for spontaneity and enthusiasm aside. Build in activites that engage participants, use strategies to generate discussion, or visual aids to grab attention.Results means that every meeting should be directed toward one or more outcomes. Participa…

Discuss the principles of an effective presentation.

The 5 principles of effective presentation:
The principle of clear structure. Your communication should have a clear beginning, middle and end.The principle of multimedia. Your audience will remember better and longer if there are multiple stimuli.The principle of two-way communication. Your communication will be more effective if your audience have an opportunity to participate actively.The principle of cultural sensitivity. Remember and pay attention to the sensitivities of your audience.The principle of memory. People tend to remember the information they heard last (and forget what was said at the beginning of the talk).

Why is listening important? Discuss the levels of listening and state the factors that can make listening ineffective.

Listening, which is actually a skill. By being able to listen, we are able to effectively make sense of what another person is saying. It greatly enhances our understanding and our overall abilities in life. It can also be vital in determining such vital perks as career promotion and generally opening doors that might otherwise not open to us.

The four different types or levels are:
Cliches.Facts.Thoughts and beliefs.Feelings and emotions. The factors that can make listening ineffective:
Assuming a topic will be boringAllowing the speaker's voice or mannerisms to overpower the messagePoor concentrationPoor comprehensionPassive listening

How is communication classified? State the advantages and disadvantages of formal communication.

Types of Communication:
Based on Communication ChannelsVerbal CommunicationNonverbal CommunicationBased on Style and PurposeFormal CommunicationInformal Communication
It is systematic and orderly flow of ideas.the source of communication can be easily located.It provides support to authority of supervisor over subordinate.It facilitates control. Disadvantages:
It is slow moving since it flows through the scalar chain of command.It is impersonal i.e. personal warmth and involvement are lacking.sometimes accurate information may be with held due to likelihood of unfavourableeffects or to avoid criticism.

Not all employees seek self-actualization as their ultimate goal. Do you agree? Support your answer.

Two psychologists that developed this theory were Goldstein and Maslow. Goldstein first came up with the theory of self actualization. He introduced the concept that self actualization is the realization that people have for reaching their maximum potential. Maslow discussed the theory in relation to the hierarchy of needs.

It is true that not all employees seek self actualization. I believe that the majority of employees work for monetary purposes. I do believe that if more employees sought self actualization there would be a much greater number of happier employees resulting in better work environments.

Another reason why many employees are not able to achieve self actualization is because they may be limited in what they can do. They may not have the education they need to get the job they would like or education may not be an option.

‘Organization is not simply a group of people at a given place.’ What do you infer from this statement?

This statement implies that an organization cannot simply be made up of a random group of people. If that is so, then we must ask what does make an organization. The first inference I draw from this statement, then, is that an organization must have a purpose. The organization must exist to serve some purpose that is important to its members.

A second thing that can be inferred from this statement is that an organization does not need to be limited to a particular physical place. An organization can be any group of people who are associated with one another for a given purpose. In other words, having a common purpose is much more important than being in a common place.

So this statement implies that organizations must have purposes and that they need not be made up of people who are in the same physical place.

Work habits are more about response to the work environment rather than personality traits. Do you agree? Support your answer.

The personality traits and work habits are fundamental behavioural abilities that are dictated by external influences as well as background. These traits and habits in individuals are caused by differences in the ways each individual directs their thinking processes. The personality trait may also have opposing attributes or counter parts. Although every individual may have both extreme traits, they will choose one over the other or may chose to be in between. Since the traits are self-centred, judgments based on an individual or interviewee’s perception may be extremely biased and not realistic. Thus the considerations based on personality traits may pose some challenges if used in the candidate’s selection.

Unfortunately, hiring processes often lack enough time and resources for effective investigation and evaluation of candidate’s personality traits and work habits. Even if that was possible, the need for knowledge and skills outweigh the personality traits and work habits especi…

There is always a right time and a wrong time for introducing something new.’ Comment.

Timing is an essential element in most endeavours. I would think that bringing out something new in business would be highly dependent on timing, as well. There has to be a need in the marketplace to which the new element introduced can be a response. I think that this takes a level of research of market understanding and the ability to ensure that the timing is right. For example, Apple's introduction of the Ipad last week coincided with an assessment of timing. Certainly, the technology was able to develop the Ipad about two months ago, but it was chosen as last week to be the time to introduce it. Timing was vitally important in this instance, and for the most, part, there is an exact time that figures into the introduction of something new.

Discuss the role of various types of changes that can have considerable impact on the organizational culture.

Types of Organizational Change

The major areas of changes in a company's internal environment include:
Strategic: Adjusting a company's strategy in response to demands of the external environments; may involve changing its fundamental approach to doing business: the markets it will target, the kinds of products it will sell, how they will be sold, its overall strategic orientation, the level of global activity, and its various partnerships and other joint-business arrangements. Structural: Structural changes involve the hierarchy of authority, goals, structural characteristics, administrative procedures, and management systems. Process-oriented: Process-oriented change is often related to an organization's production process or how the organization assembles products or delivers services. People-centered: This type of change alters the attitudes, behaviors, skills, or performance of employees in the company. Changing people-centered processes involves communicating, motivat…

The type of structure of an organization has considerable impact on the motivation and productivity of employees. Analyse this statement, citing suitable examples.

Organizational structure can make or break a business. Senior management and upward reporting must provide a strong base for employees so they are sufficiently motivated. When there are cracks in this structure, or a lack of forward thinking, businesses run the risk of losing their best employees due to lack of motivation in the company. When a business or company has a strong, consistent organizational structure, employees feel secure in their jobs. Second on this list is safety and security. It is safe to postulate that people who have confidence in their management structure will respond positively to their organization.

When your business has a transparent organizational structure, you have a conduit to share corporate goals and plans with your employees. When you share these goals and align them with your employee's personal goals, you can move teams forward in a productive manner. When business goals are met, employees should be notified so they can gauge their own progress…

Discuss the strategies that can be employed to resolve behavioural conflicts.

Conflict management styles 

Determined by degree of concern for own outcome and for other's outcome
cooperative / problem solving win-win  conflict as beneficial  handled in an open manner / gives equal consideration to both people and results  open & honest communication  everybody in conflict is trained in problem solving methods the parties have common goals  conflict arises from simple misunderstanding or lack of communication forcing / competition win-loss reaching goals more important than a concern for other people  you or group needs an immediate action or decision  all parties in conflict expect and appreciate use of power and force  all parties in conflict see power relationship between them compromise  some is better than none  everybody should have an equal chance to express opinions  both parties will gain something  an ideal solution isn't needed  you need a temporary solution for a complex problem  both sides have equal power withdrawal / avoidance  leave me …

‘Strong culture is important for organizational success.’ Justify this statement.

It should be said that organization culture may be different from one organization to another. Meaning to say that, some organizations will have strong cultures while the other may have weak cultures. A strong culture is when the majority of people tends to agree on the existing beliefs and values and beliefs in the organization, meaning to so that there is one dominant culture in spite the other sub cultures that exists. On the other hand a weak culture is when the majority of people disagree on the existing culture but instead forms their own sub cultures.

Moreover, a strong culture is a talent-attractor, talent-retainer, engages people, creates energy and momentum, changes the view of ‘work’, and creates greater synergy.

A particular leadership style may be more effective in one situation and the same style may be totally ineffective in another situation. Why is this so?

While the transformational leadership approach is often highly effective, there's no one "right" way to lead or manage that fits all situations. To choose the most effective approach for our self, consider the following:  The skill levels and experience of your team. The work involved (routine, or new and creative). The organizational environment (stable or radically changing, conservative or adventurous). You own preferred or natural style.  Good leaders often switch instinctively between styles, according to the people they lead and the work that needs to be done. Establish trust – that's key to this process – and remember to balance the needs of the organization against the needs of your team.

‘Ethics is probably the most difficult concept to define. ’ Justify this statement.

One justification for the veracity of the quote is the simple truth that humans have been trying since before the Ancient Greeks to define ethics. As centuries have passed, more and more versions of ethics and the subject's implication for the way we live our lives have resulted. The difficulty in defining ethics comes from the varying views of human nature. If a person believes in absolute morality, that will affect his or her ethics (in business, medicine, relationships, etc.). For example, if I believe that lying is always wrong and never an option, then I will not "cover" for someone at work, and I will not call in sick when I'm not truly sick. If, however, someone believes in relative morality, that will also affect that person's ethical standards. That person might be willing to lie for a co-worker because his relationship with that co-worker is more important that telling the truth to his employer (that decision results from that person's ethics…

Analyse the role of knowledge as a source of power.

Knowledge and power are not synonymous. Knowledge is the source of power. Power is of many types like muscle power, the power of money, political power, the power of thoughts and ideas, etc. In the final analysis, all can be achieved by knowledge.

The persons of knowledge occupy top positions and wield powers. Their knowledge is not merely bookish but they have the sound practical knowledge. They have the special knowledge about men, matters, techniques, etc.

Even in the past, the real rulers were not kings and queens but priests and scholars, who advised them on many matters. Today also, civil servants guide ministers. Right from the early days of civilization, the brain has been powerful than brawn. Primitive men was helpless, a weakling in ruthless and hostile environment. His ever-active brain and power of thinking made him understand and conquer the forces of nature.

Later, he made inventions and discoveries. Today, man has conquered land, sea, air, space, pain, and disease.…

Managements of most organizations are of the view that the type of punishment should focus on the behaviour rather than the person. Comment.

The challenge I see in this statement is the idea of "most." It is difficult to speak in a position of "most" companies because of the vast number and the different philosophies present in each. Speaking from the most general of point of views, I do believe that management should be focused on examining the behaviour, rather than the person. I think that it creates a rather hostile and adversarial work policies are focused on punishing individuals, as opposed to overall behaviours. Organizations run into dangerous ground when they focus on punishing the individual workers, who can seek redress in legal or social settings to argue that they are being unfairly targeted or persecuted. In order for codified policies of conduct to be effective and to withstand legal and social scrutiny, management is much better suited in focusing on the behaviour of individuals as opposed to the individuals, themselves.

Analyse the role of hygiene factors in motivating employees.

To apply Herzberg's theory, you need to adopt a two stage process to motivate people. Firstly, you need eliminate the dissatisfactions they're experiencing and, secondly, you need to help them find satisfaction.

Step One: Eliminate Job Dissatisfaction

Herzberg called the causes of dissatisfaction "hygiene factors". To get rid of them, you need to:
Fix poor and obstructive company policies.Provide effective, supportive and non-intrusive supervision. Create and support a culture of respect and dignity for all team members.Ensure that wages are competitive.Build job status by providing meaningful work for all positions.Provide job security.  All of these actions help you eliminate job dissatisfaction in your organization. And there's no point trying to motivate people until these issues are out of the way! You can't stop there, though. Remember, just because someone is not dissatisfied, it doesn't mean he or she is satisfied either! Now you have to turn your…

The ability to do a task need not result in optimal performance. What else do you think is necessary?

Performance in an organizational set up is influenced by several factors in addition to ability of the person to perform the task well. These include availability of required resources and facilities for performing the task including support from others in the organization who provide some support or input, clarity on the work to be done, and motivation of person performing the task. To achieve optimum performance it is necessary to insure that all these resources and conditions are made available. Thus the organization must brief the people performing a task on the nature and objective of the task, and ensure that they have access to necessary resources. Also it is essential to establish effective team spirit and coordination procedures in the organization. Finally individuals in the organization must be motivated to put in their best effort in performance of the task.

The success of any organization primarily depends upon how good the management of the organization is. Elaborate.

Effective management of any enterprise or activity requires efficient and effective use of all the available resources for the achievement of desired objectives. The resources used include men, machines, material and money. Out of these most important resource is men, which is in turn also affect in a big way how effectively other resources are used jointly. Thus the success of any establishment or enterprise depends heavily on management of its human resources.
The human resources in turn form the organization structure of the enterprise. Therefore, management of the organization constitutes the means through which the human resources are put to work. As a result effective management of organization leads to effective utilization of human resources of the enterprise, which in turn plays a major role in success of the complete enterprise.