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Leading and Managing People

Leading and Managing People

 

Executive Summary

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The aim of the assignment was to collate a portfolio of media articles relating to three current topics in human resource management and from these produce a comprehensive account of my findings critically examining the current state of thinking and summarizing the key findings at the end of each topic. The three topics I chose included i) the application of the concept of Organizational behavior; ii) work-life initiatives; and iii) multi-culturalism.

 

The three topics are inextricably linked and each plays a crucial role in maximizing the human resource contributions that employees make to their organizations.

 

* Due to distance and technological difficulties the media articles are not attached however the Bibliography contains complete references for each article.

 

The application of the concept of organizational culture
This generation is in the epoch of organizational reform and innovation. The time is marked with rapid changes in the demography of workforce, changing corporate culture, and changing institutions. In the light of the rapid shift in today’s organizations, the skills required of managers, beginners in the profession and even aspiring students in the discipline, rest on the foundation of knowledge on the whole gamut of organizational development. Corporate America is not without its complications. When the company “succeeds,” there is with it (the success) a corresponding notion of responsibilities and liabilities. Organizations thrive today because of the policies and guidelines they have managed to fixed firmly in their set-up and translated into their day to day affairs. Big businesses have the competitive edge over others – i.e., over small entrepreneurs, because they have arrived at their positions in the market place by securing certain parameters in the many facets that comprise their organizations. This is especially true on government laws and regulations (McKenna, 2000).

Bruffee, author of Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence,   and the Authority of Knowledge, explains in précis the need for a more efficient, economical and equitable management of the people in the industry or organization has never been as pronounced as it is today. This need has never been brought about by factors which inevitably affect not only the established structures and ways of doing things within the personnel area but also by the more meaningful and substantial task of managing the organization’s most important asset – the human capital. Among these factors are: stiffer competition in business; rapid changes in technological, competitive and economic environments; the explosion of technical and managerial knowledge; spiraling wage and benefits cost and so many others. These factors have no doubt been responsible for the emergence of the personnel function as a vital area in the implementation of corporate strategy.

Demick and Miller places in context first what an organization is like and settles how it can affect behavior in general and when that is established, proceeded to explain leadership and management in this context. In organizational behavior which is basic to the management of human resource, it points to the inquiry and application of learning about how people, individuals, and groups perform, operate, and work in organizations. It accomplishes this by means of adopting a system approach. Explicitly, it infers people-organization affairs in terms of the entire person, group totality, complete organization, and total social structure. Its intention is to put up enhance relations by attaining human goals, organizational purposes, and social goals. In such a milieu, the goals to effect change are influenced by several significant factors which are crucial to the overall results. Hence, there are expected leadership behaviors that maintain momentum during the change process.

Organizational behavior is actually a complex and dynamic mechanism. It includes the application and integration of theoretical perspectives from the social and behavioral sciences to shed light on how and why individuals behave in a variety of ways in organizations. Included in the study are the ways the individuals carry out their tasks, the structure, design and operation of human persons in simple and complex organizational set-ups.

This is accomplished utilizing the systems approach or systems model. The latter is meant as interpreting people and organizational relationships in reference to the whole individual, “whole group, whole organization, and whole social system” (Knoster et al., 2000). The objective is developing improved and enhanced relationships by attaining individual aims, organizational goals and social aspirations (Mangelsdorff, 2007).

Specifically, any student who pursues the study of the concepts involved in the matter will examine how individuals work in groups; acquire insights into human strengths and interpersonal relationships. Intertwined in the study is to delve into theories or principles of motivation of personnel, effective leadership with the goal of formulating a sound thinking and values of management and leadership. Moreover, organizational behavior investigates scientific data and utilizes a variety of research traditions to further understand how individuals work and function efficiently in diverse forms of structures (Shortell et al., 2000)

Summary of key findings

The concepts that are pursued in organizational behavior include the following: the evolution and organizational and management theories; the rich historical background of management, organizational theories and the development of management thought, are adequately covered in this particular aspect (Robbins,1997).

Organizational behavior, when scrutinized closely, thus far covers a lot of topics. It embraces the understanding of structure, design of the organization itself. It also includes the study of the work design, policies and practices of the human resource, job design, and decision making as an organization. Furthermore, it also examines the organizational culture, its dynamics where change is aimed to be implemented (Revans, 1982)

The elements of organizational behavior lean upon management’s plan and philosophy, vision and objectives. Basing on this foundation springs the organizational culture where the formal and informal types of organization and the social environment are best understood (Knoster et al., 2000).

 

Work-Life Initiatives
 

Nature and scope of Work-life Initiatives

Work-life initiatives are strategies implemented by firms to reduce turnover and increase productivity and overall firm performance. Studies were made to examine the influence and effects of work-life initiatives on employees and the organization in general. Workplace diversity which incorporates the concepts of work-life initiatives does indicate that it is inevitable that when a company introduces work-life initiatives, there is a resulting increase in diversity. Substantial evidence point to the effectiveness of workplace diversity hence, many institutions encourage and promote this in their particular milieu (http://www.cmdronline.com/workshops.htm).

It is inevitable that juggling work and family life will be one of a person’s demanding experiences. The rationale for having a job is not only to have a livelihood, achieve personal satisfaction in the expression of his abilities and trainings, and receive his remuneration and perks on the side. Preparation for family stability to be able to provide and thus create an atmosphere of care, for bachelors/maidens, is also the foremost and logical reason for having a job. However, the thin thread that separates between the two polarities becomes blurred, and there lies the tension that pulls a person in different directions. The Center for Mediation and Dispute Resolution opens its website with the following quote: “Our life is one giant balancing act (http://www.cmdronline.com/workshops.htm).”  Perhaps, no person will ever disagree with that statement.  The goal then is to know how to do the balancing act, to gain competencies in achieving a rewarding, flourishing kind of life that holds work in one hand, while maintaining a well-nurtured and healthy family on the other hand.

Every home has its set of beliefs or tradition that they hold in high esteem. This is referred to as family values. Anything that the family believes is important comprises a family values system. Among the values an individual possesses, the most important I believe is that a person must regard most his/her values about family as the most significant. Many people don’t usually pause and contemplate what their values are. They may not know whether these values they already have are still practical or useful in a modern day world. Moreover, they do not think how their values fit in with their kind of milieu that they evolve in. There are families that take time out though to impart to their children what had been passed on to them when they too were yet very young. The values may not be as strong as when were yet children because the person may have adapted to his world and adjusted his values that others may be accommodated. Through the years, a family value system may be a combination of what had been passed on to an individual and the values system of one’s friends or colleagues at work (_______”Values: What are they?” 2007).

The importance of stressing Family Values

Why are family values important? The primary reason is that what we hold as important affects how we use time, money and energy or how we interact with people. If a family believes the importance of education then parents try to save for the schooling of their children which includes books among others. Family values influence how we spend our resources and make decisions. Parents then need to communicate what their own family values are, why these are important and the specifics of what are most essential that the children must also adopt or follow. Children also need to respect others who have dissimilar value system as compared to their own. Most likely values will evolve but when parents lead the children and model these beliefs, their children will be able to learn and pass these on to the next generation (_______”Values: What are they?” 2007).

Summary of key findings

We consider one person more efficient than another if he accomplishes more in the same time, or with the same energy expenditure. Other factors that have an important bearing on efficiency are: (1) the adequacy of training for the job; (2) the characteristics of the machine and other devices; (3) the motivation and related conditions of work; and (4) the degree to which performance is free from fatigue. It is common in business to have employees whose performances are not satisfactory and who are sometimes an actual problem to management.

 

Multiculturalism and Multicultural Leadership
Definition of Multiculturalism and Multicultural Leadership

Defining or characterizing leadership is a difficult task. There are many quotable definitions of leadership and one finds something common in them. For the purpose of this paper, however, leadership will be defined as “the process of influencing or motivating others to work for a common goal or finding ways by which others may satisfy their needs.”

The significance of leadership is seen in the efforts put in by workers in their work. It is the leader’s responsibility to stimulate workers, encourage them, and communicate to them the objectives and instruction of the management. The leader must have the ability to secure and sustain the willing, enthusiastic and united effort of his followers and direct them towards the accomplishment of the desired objective. Leadership is accomplished by changing the goals of the individual within the group or providing the means by which other persons may obtain their goal.

The term multiculturalism may mean differently to different kinds of people. Theorists like Bill Martin (“Theories”, 2007)and Will Kymlicka among the prominent ones have successfully stirred many followers to apply, if not all of their theoretical positions, the highlights of their arguments (Kymlicka, 2003). Countries like Britain and Canada celebrate diversity and they do these with fervor. America is oftentimes called a “melting pot” especially today when the influx of immigrants and aliens have continued to come in unabated. Foremost in the minds of intellectuals however, is that whether the kind of multiculturalism that anyone in governance proclaim a kind of approach as understood and presupposed by a majority. Different theories in reality, propose a diverse kind of understanding and explanation of multiculturalism. This term is to be appreciated in the context within a conceptual and a historical viewpoint. To apply this, connecting with a historical background, it is known that multiculturalism has developed in importance and distinction starting the 80s especially among the academic institutions or established halls of learning. These were reflected precisely from the ideas cultivated from courses such as social studies, literature and history as these are naturally, roots of so-called “Eurocentric biases.” This implies that absent here were obvious materials that were indigenous and to a greater extent ethnically diversified (Jay, 2002).

Canadian theorist Kymlicka argues concerning what he calls a “multicultural citizenship.” This is more understood especially that where Kymlicka is concerned, Canada is a picture of such typology. This country is known for its bilingualism and the adherence to the diverse ethnicity from within its borders. Although this is so, the country is quite strict where immigration is still concerned to a large degree. They provide limitations to what can be accepted and who are likely to be admitted. At the outset though, no discrimination of race and culture might be felt (Jay, 2002). But critics say that the when a government puts restrictions whatsoever even on where a person may come from, this is a betrayal of the intentions for multiculturalism. No matter the number of “members” within a group of minorities or indigenous peoples, they must be represented and their cultural identity equally be preserved: this is an implication of Kymlicka’s theory.

Summary of key findings

In an organization, multiculturalism is inevitable; people come with a culture individually of their own. Hence, the drive to accept this reality is half the issue but a more positive stance with any person/s in leadership. As such, any organization with these aspects present will automatically be complex and difficulties surely will arise. But when leaders accept that this is a fact and that everywhere in the world, any institution that exists rise on these complications and must thrive because of it and learn through it (Jay, 2002). An organization therefore is characterized by a give and take of ideas; someone at times or oftentimes is monopolizing the lead roles especially if a number of them happen to be of the same persuasion. Depending on who’s dominant, and what the organization successfully follows as the “voice,” there the rest of the group eventually follows. We therefore see here, a plus and minus, pros and cons of multiculturalism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography
Bruffee, Kenneth A. Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence,           and the Authority of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1993.

 

Demick, J. and Miller, P., Development in the Workplace, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, New Jersey, 1993.

 

Druckman, Daniel, Jerome E. Singer, and Harold Van Cott (Editors) (1997). Enhancing Organizational Performance. National Academy Press: Washington, D.C. (optional)

 

Halonen, JS and JW Santrock, 1996. Psychology: Contexts of Behavior, Dubuque, IA: Brown and Benchmark, p.810.

 

Jay, Gregory. 2002. “What is Multiculturalism” University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

 

Knoster, T., Villa, R., & Thousand, J. (2000). A  framework for thinking about systems change. In R. Villa & J. Thousand (Eds.), Restructuring for caring and effective education: Piecing the puzzle together (pp. 93-128). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

 

Kymlicka, Will. 2003. Models of Multicultural Citizenship. Comparing Asia and the West, (n.p., n.p).

 

Mangelsdorff, David A.2001. “Organizational Behavior and Theory. Accessed March 6, 2008 <http://users.idworld.net/dmangels/orgbeh.htm>

Shortell, Stephen M. and Arnold D. Kaluzny. 2000. Health Care Management: Organization Design and Behavior, Fourth Edition, Delmar Publishers Inc.

 

Marx, Melvin H. 1976. Introduction to Psychology: Problems, Procedures, and Principles. Columbia: Collier MacMillan.

Morris, Charles G., Maisto, Albert A., 1999. Understanding Psychology.4th ed., Prentice Hall: New Jersey, pp.315-316.

 

Revans, R. W. 1982. The Origin and Growth of Action Learning. Hunt, England: Chatwell-Bratt, Bickley

 

Robbins, Stephen P. 1997. Organizational Behavior: Concepts, Controversies, Applications, Eighth Edition, Prentice Hall.

 

__________ “Values: what are they?”2007. Family Works : University of Illinois extension. Accessed March 28, 2008. http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/familyworks/values-01.html

 

_________Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution, Viewed in http://www.cmdronline.com/workshops.htm

 

______”Theories” Multiculturalism. Viewed March 30, 2008. file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/alan/My%20Documents/multiculturalism%20order/Multiculturalism%20-%20Theories.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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