Study of Organizational Management

In order to study the principles and practices of business, it is important to understand the concept of an organization and what organization theory is.  This is because principles and practices often derive from a theoretical study of the system that they are being applied to.  These studies look to find aspects of systems that can generate a bearing on the performance of the specific system.  This post will discuss what organization is, what organization theory is, the reasons for studying organization theory, and the characteristics that constitute a good organization theory. 


What is organization?

The term organization can mean many things to a lot of different people.  Organization connotes the idea of a group or groups, because when a person organizes they are usually placing random things into groups or categories that belong together.  According to Webster’s Dictionary (2014), the definition of organization is that it is a business affiliation or political party formed together for a specific purpose, or else it means putting things in a certain order so that they can be found easily or arranging a party or event.  However, the literature also proves that the concept of organization can take on many meanings.  In this discussion, organization can be viewed as a conglomeration of individuals into a single unit with a common theme, goal or purpose that has been arranged so that similar parts of the whole are grouped together and more easily referenced for the planning and/or fulfillment of an output. 

What is organization theory?

Organization theory attempts to give meaning to an organization as it relates to a conglomeration of people.  In this respect, it studies such parts of an organization as the way that the organization obtains its values, the way that it interacts with society, the way that it organizes and derives power, and the reason that the organization becomes established as a unit (Heugens & Sherer, 2010).  Theory seeks to define if the organization is looking to take responsibility for each aspect through the individual worker or as a combined function of the whole body of people.  It also looks to discover how the organization may combine both types of responsibility to see how it can become a combined effort of the individual mixed with the organization (2010).  It researches the structural and behavioral aspects of the organization and any methods disseminated by that organization to achieve its underlying goals (2010).  It also seeks to discover the way that the organization uses these aspects to kinetically function towards its goals (Morgan, 2006).  In doing so, it looks to discover how the organization deals with the external environment, how it manages change, and how flexible it is for inviting change (Morgan, 2006).  It does not study normative values of doing business (Heugens & Sherer, 2010), but rather the evolution of business structure over time in order to optimize opportunity (Morgan, 2006).  Organizational theory is a fluid, every changing philosophical view of the organization. 

Why study organization theory?

Over time some common themes in the way that the organization has been managed have changed to match external stimuli that required those evolutions (Morgan, 2006).  However, some organizations were able to operate perfectly in the original atmosphere and did not suffer from competitive forces.  These organizations remained structured as they had been and continued to prosper, while others prospered from new functional arrangements (Morgan, 2006).  Through the study of organization theory, business researchers are able to find the aspects that different functional arrangements maintain and why they do or do not work in specific productive atmospheres (Heugens & Sherer, 2010; Morgan, 2006). Pryor et’al (2011) show how the 5p’s model can be integrated through organization theory to develop strategic decision-making when dealing with questions of leadership and management in business.  Jones & Munro (2005) add that organization theory examines the benefit of an organization to society, and what agency is receiving the benefit from specific organizations.  In this regards, the study of organization theory helps examine different ways of making decisions and different ways an organization can process goods and services through management of individuals and their work functions in order to maximize the end value of the work exerted.  This study can help to optimize performance within a corporation for the maximization of profits from more efficiently produced outputs.  

What constitutes a good theory?

There are many different things involved with the study of organization theory.  It is hard to decipher one good theory from another.  However, one could determine a set of criteria for determining whether an organization theory is good or not (Van de Ven, 1989).  The criteria should be such that the theory includes the study of the interrelationship between the individual worker and that worker’s relationship to the whole body of employees.  Another criteria should include a consideration of the interplay between regular employees and organizational leadership.  The theory should define the relationship of the internal environment of the organization to the external environment.  The theory should describe the basic social tenants inside of the organization.  It should also explain how the organization is able to deal with change.  

Generally, the theory should show how the different aspects defined within it will serve to benefit the organization.  In order to do this, the theory should define the type of organization that can be named to the theory and why the theory works with this type of organization, separate from other organization types.  The theory should be able to be isolated from other theories through a specification of the way that the theory’s properties have been found to increase opportunities within a specific type of organizational system. 

Conclusion

There are many different aspects of organization theory. There are also many different facets of organization that are studied through organization theory in order to create a theory that will last.  There are historical considerations as well as current considerations.  Integrating the right concepts into a theory could produce a good theory that will be widely practiced.  When such theory goes into practice, organizational systems will benefit by optimizing contributions to the individual as well as the whole of society. 

References

Heugens P, Scherer A. When Organization Theory Met Business Ethics: Toward Further Symbioses. Business Ethics Quarterly [serial online]. October 2010;20(4):643-672. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 13, 2014. 

Jones, C., & Munro, R. (2005). Organization Theory, 1985–2005. Sociological Review Monograph, 53(2), 1-15. doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.2005.00537.x 

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN: 9781412939799. 

Merriem-Webster. (2014). Organization. Merriam-Webster Incorporated; m-w.com. Retrieved from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organization

Van de Ven, A. H. (1989). Nothing Is Quite So Practical as a Good Theory. Academy Of Management Review, 14(4), 486-489. doi:10.5465/AMR.1989.4308370 

Managing Change Through Engagement

Change management is a main component of business management in a global atmosphere where specialties are still being discovered, new cultures are constantly being integrated, and new entrants create an atmosphere that demands change. Furthermore, as research continues to increase and projects are becoming more refined, a higher level of safety measures are being demanded for use in business by consumers. In order to keep a step ahead of the competition, businesses are required to honor these consumer demands. In the process, change has become a big part of doing business. 

Introduction 

So how does the company easily step into change without causing a major problem for all of those involved with the change?  There are several methods that a company can use to handle change, and many different measures that can be taken to avoid the risk of change. However, a company needs to regard just a few necessities of change in order for all other change management plans to succeed, indiscriminate of such plans.   

Employee Engagement 

The most important of these necessities in the engagement of employees in the change process. Some companies may begin this process even before the change by holding meetings with the employees to gather their input regarding the best methods to use in order to make the change happen in their individual departments. In a sales dominated firm, companies may set sales goal related to the change; such that employees benefit most when they embrace the change rather than to reject it. In an assembly firm or manufacturing plant, the company may benefit the employees most by holding a workshop in which the employees get to interact with the change before it’s been implemented. These employees provide feedback regarding how the change will work for them. Employees who are engaged in the change process are more enthusiastic about the change, generating an atmosphere where it is easy for them to comply with the change.  

Engagement of the Public 

Another step is to get the public engaged with changes. Send out company newsletters, updates websites, and hold public forums when change is being proposed. Businesses are able to demonstrate the basics of a change, the reasons for implementing change, and positive and negative financial consequences of a change without disclosing proprietary secrets associated with the change. By answering all questions completely but keeping important information soft or hidden amongst real answers that are true, secrets will not be revealed and customers will be satisfied that the change is beneficial to all. Allow feedback on public website blogs and display unrevealing pictures whenever possible. This will help ease any tension related to the change.  

Inclusion of Shareholders and Stakeholders 

Finally, it is important to engage all stakeholders and shareholders, starting from the first concept that a change is needed. No matter what the change is, find ways to give shareholders voting abilities regarding change. Lay out the effects of each option to stakeholders and encourage their feedback. Let them explain how they feel about the effects, and if they see anything else that has not been mentioned. Don’t’ let them feel as if they are in the dark about the change, make them feel special about it; provide them with a separate newsletter, even their own web portal. Do whatever you need to let them know they are important to the entire change process. Give them positions on teams that will let them plan portions of the change related to their specialty, or acquaintance to the change. This will provide them with a sense of leadership over the change and allow them to know that their cooperation is integral to the continuous operation of the business in a proper manner. 

In Closing 

Change is not always easy in a business where employees work at different levels, and shareholders aren’t always internal business partners. However, a few basic principles can make any integration plan a success. Make sure to keep all factions of the change involves, including: employees, shareholders, stakeholders and especially The Public.  

Car Stock – Lessons to Learn

I wanted to do some research to fine tune my thoughts about this trading of services vs products question. I used the automobile industry as my source of research. What I was looking for was the way that each of the different companies handled their business between regions to get a feel for their level of service compared to their level of product. In this essence, I was going to compare those ratings with the stock market ratings. This would have been simple.

However, as I conducted my research, I found a completely different pattern. The original grouping, by service and product type, fell to pieces and completely regrouped after checking the stock ratings. Basically, I looked at the headquarters for each manufacturer so that the ratings would match across the board. Then I took each manufacturer with similar market ratings and grouped them together to see what the pattern was like.  Before I did this comparison, I had grouped each company by the way they handled their service and then the way that they branded their cars. The branding helped a little, but not near as much as I thought. 

Here is what actually happened.  The Pattern went that Rolls-Royce, of course, stood far to the top of the list. Rolls-Royce is not just a car dealer but they also specialize in their engines, which is powerful. They actually sell the engines as a separate product, completely of its own nature, from the other items that they sell. They put these engines in Aerospace products, including also helicopters, and Marine products, including luxury yachts. Both branches also work for the defense system.  Rolls-Royce also works with energy and nuclear products. The engines that they design are also placed into their custom made Rolls-Royce.  Clients normally go to them to purchase the engine. They do sell services for upkeep and maintenance, but even so these services are actually marketed as a completely different package than the products themselves.

The second highest on the list was Volkswagen. Volkswagen sells nothing but automobiles. There is no aerospace or marine or energy involved, which may be the major difference in their market value.  I derive this because Volkswagen also markets the car based upon the engine that they place within it. It is deemed one of the most powerful engines in the world. They utilize luxury designs and aren’t able to innovate as much as some of the other brands for the purpose of matching the eco-trend. They have been able to integrate clean-diesel and hybrid engines into their designs, boasting the increased mileage of their Passat engine while still maintaining a superior level of power in its engine. Volkswagen also sells its service separate from the vehicle. All parts have to be sold and shipped from the main manufacturer in Berlin. Service providers have to carry a special certification to service Volkswagen vehicles.  

Toyota was the closest the Volkswagen. Toyota also sells its motor, but not on the face as much as Volkswagen or Rolls-Royce. This is because Toyota designs its cars specifically to match the region where they are being sold. This is not just in the design, but in adjusting the mechanics of the engine and transmission systems to meet the terrain. Toyota once introduced a car into the United States that didn’t match the terrain and they moved into Canada and built the Corolla, the same model as the one introduced originally into the United States, but with a transmission that would not fail to deliver over the mountains and hills of California. They have done this with each car after, utilizing their method of Kaizen. They are great at innovation and have kept in tune with the trends as much as they can, even introducing the Prius in 2003 and some other newer brands. They even join the rest of the manufacturers in providing electric vehicles into Europe and the UK. 
  
One other thing that’s different between Toyota and the other two at the top is that Toyota sells its service along with the cars. The service is set apart from the product a bit, but it’s meant so that the product is manufactured and sold with the same exclusive brand that Toyota prefers to offer with all of its names worldwide.  Toyota also sells its parts. The parts are shipped with the automobiles so that they can be sold at regular servicers within the regions and transported inside borders. Cars can be serviced at the dealership or regular service stations can order the parts to be shipped within the day to their facilities from the dealers. 

In line after Toyota there is a tie between Honda and GMC. This is interesting because both companies use a similar strategy. The companies are not about selling their engines but more in line with selling their innovations. Both companies boast that they can work with anyone to create a vehicle not only for the region, but also for the time. They also go beyond that to work on R&D to build vehicles that reach into the future, ahead of the current trends.   They both sell their service and parts together, along with their product. The parts can be bought on an easy shop n go method at any dealership or even at most auto parts stores or they can be sold straight from the manufacturer through catalogs, by phone, or via online ordering. Honda is about 2-4 points above GMC on the market but Honda also sells motorcycles, a recently a jet, and even a Robot.  Therefore, Honda reaches a greater level of diversified customers whereas GMC so far has focused on the regular car or truck type customer. Both create new brands to fit a region or a specific flavor. 

The last on the list was Ford.  Ford does offer a level of innovation, but they are not actively looking to find futuristic designs. They are offering electric cars in Europe and the UK, and they do have some hybrid models as well as the new fuel cell designs. The difference is that Ford only changes its current models to innovate what they see customers like from what is introduced already. They also do not change brands. They have Ford and Lincoln. Ford is the regular or economy line while Lincoln is the luxury line. Even across regions and nations, the same two brands are what are offered. They mitigate which models are sold where based upon the preferences of the regions, but nothing is designed specifically for one area over another.  They mainly sell based upon their reputation and their history of being the pioneers in automotive invention. They do sell services but they are not highly advertised. Parts are regularly sold at stores but this is done under a variety of names, whereas GMC normally sells parts with the Chevy logo attached, and Honda sells with the Honda symbol on each box.   

I came to the conclusion that customers are not as much interested in parts vs service. They obviously do like the parts, but not as much for upkeep as for the focus on what the original part will do for the product they are buying. Matter of fact, they like to know that is they purchase the motor separate from the frame it’s in, the motor will give them power.  They do want to see a bit of customize-ability, and it pleases them to see that a vehicle will be designed to match their needs as close as possible. While service is important, this aspect has to be well marketed.  However, stretching for a level of innovation and to stay above the trends does help, a little. 

To me, this suggests that it really is about specialization. While service specialization is a good quality, they want to know that the people they are dealing with already has a product that is way above the rest, and different from what they will be able to find anywhere else.  So I can also conclude from that that the best way to keep customers buying, curtail boycotts, and keep money flowing is to pay attention to resource specializations when making decisions according to the best location for new business units. This also works in marketing of new business units. 

The Value of Historic Homes

One of the activities that I’ve always enjoyed doing as a child was to visit the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and Museum in Sarasota, Fl. It wasn’t just the circus that I was interested in, although it was nice. I remember the guy who held the balloons – although he was tall he was somehow able to reach down and give me one of those float away balloons that were yards taller than him every single time. They made him look like a giant.


My favorite part was actually the mansion. Guests were actually able to walk through the mansion that was once occupied by the Ringling Family. Not only did the tour guide provide a story about the Ringling family, so did the house itself. The story was in the way that the furniture was arranged, the decorations, the fixtures that were built into the home, the items that were left around the home and mysteriously not put away, and what parts of the house were chosen for what activities.


Standing their viewing the home I could turn on the camera in my head and see the lady moving about to complete her tasks of the day. I could see them in the living room entertaining their guests. I could see them together planning for their next cross country adventure traveling in the circus. I could even see the lady trying on the newest circus suit.
One of the cool features of the home has to do with the facades in the doorway. They present themselves like designs that come on the circus cars that travel on the trains. There is one peculiar hallway that belongs to the room, and the way that the designs are aligned along the hallway it appears that the outside world is millions of miles away and that the person staying in teh room will have to walk miles and miles before reaching any other members of civilization. It makes a great writing room.


In the downstairs portion of the house, the furniture is arranged in such a way that all of the guests can sit snuggle together and have a traditional conversation over tea, while the rest of the house carries around them – extending many feet from the small circle where guests can talk. It increases the size perception of the home many-fold. In this same spot, specially layer windows with a hybrid french and Gothic style facade aligns tall windows that look to reach from teh ground floor where the guests area is all teh way to the tips of the stairs. Its bring in a natural light that allows the entire house to save on energy. It also helps to increase the size of the room even more. These artists were amazingly smart!


Here is a link to some more information about the Ringling House in Sarasota, Fl:
https://www.ringling.org/ca-dzan 

Making a Rockwall Pond

 First of all, your probably wondering what would you need a rock-wall pond for?  Then your probably wondering how it can be possible to build one of those by yourself.   On top of that, there are probably some major concerns about your budget.  The process of building one of these rock-wall ponds is very 
simple. There are just a few small steps to go through and then WAL-LAH, you’ll have yourself one of the best ponds in town and you’ll have the satisfaction that you built it yourself.


FIRST STEP
The initiating step for building one of these ponds is to decide what type of pond you want. In order to do that, you have to determine what sort of use you plan to get out of it. By this it is meant, do you just want to look at the pond and have other people look at the pond, or do you have other uses in mind for it? Do you want to use it as a spa, would you like to use it for a larger piece like a pool, or do you want use it for something else like raising fish? There are a lot of people that use those sort of ponds to raise Cod or Tilapia, which can also be used for food. Those types of ponds can also be used to grow aquatic plants and hydroponic versions of land plants. So basically, you could use the pond to plan out an entire fish meal.


CHOOSE A SPOT
Once you are aware of what you would like to do, it is time to plan for the next step. This step is kind of tricky because it deals with choosing a spot for your new rock-wall pond. In order to chose the right spot, first you have to have an idea of the size you need for the purpose your going to use the pond for. This takes a little bit of estimation and some looking around. Obviously if you are using the pond for decoration your only going to need to use a smaller pond. Please remember, by smaller I mean smaller in the context of this type of pond. There are some ponds that are easily available at places like Home Depot or Lowe’s that are very small and for use as a bird bath or a butterfly pond in a flower garden. While these are awesome ponds, the size of the rocks and other scenery that you are going to use are too large for this type of pond to be of use.


There are specialized system available at specialty stores for other uses, such as those for swimming or creating a spa or water filtration and irrigation. For the Cod or Tilapia garden, a small decoration pond may work, or you may need to go to a specialty store, it just depends on how detailed you want the pond to be. It also depends on the type of material you’d like to use for your pond. Some people are OK with just plastic, others are more concerned with the way the pond might effect the soil for other types of gardening.


FORM YOUR ROCKS
Once you have your pond picked out, you will also need to decide the type of rack-wall you want to build. Some people want the wall to be taller and take up less ground space, some people want it tall and a wide amount of space for use so that they can use it like it is a fence, and some want a slightly shorter wall that can be attached to the scenery as a progressive level in the ground. This use of the wall will effect where it is best to place the system, and also how much space will be needed for the system. Once you have an idea of both of these two elements, then you can chose a spot.


Many people like to use already extracted rocks to build their walls. While this sounds ideal, these rocks are not easy to find and they can be very expensive. There is another way to do this. This can also be done through the use of cement and a supply of large garbage bags. This will save money, and keep other people from having to look for a bunch of large rocks that take heavy equipment to extract and move.


To do this, just go ahead and prepare the cement with the solution, which is usually water. In most instances it is two parts water and one part cement, however it is best to read the bag that the cement comes in, just in case the instructions are different for your brand of cement. Once the cements is prepared, go ahead and pour it into the bag as a mold. Make sure that the bags are plastic or another material that will not stick to cement. Once you pour the cement into the bag, you can shape the cement however you want the rock to look – flat, round, odd shaped, use the force of the cement and the edges of the bag to hold it in place. This technique will also allow the cement rocks to form the natural ends and curves that are present in rocks formed by nature.


It is important to start the cement molds FIRST, then the rest of the work so that the rocks have time to dry.


FINAL INSTALLATION 
The steps get a little less complicated from here on out. Basically, you want to begin to dig your hole. Once the hole is dug,make sure you also dig some trenches that can be used to keep the equipment for the continuous flow of the water underground. This rock-wall design requires that you are able to have water run up to the top of the wall and fall down, so water need to flow to the top and not just to the bottom of the pond. This means that you will need a water pump and some pipes to drive the water from teh pond into the pump and back through the top of the wall. Usually the set-up instructions will come with the pump, and you can choose what size tube you want for the amount of water the pump can take.


Once you have the pump set up and the tubes covered, it is time to insert the pond. Sometimes the hole will not be perfectly fit for the pond. No reason to worry about that, go ahead and use the extra dirt to fill in loose spots and fill free to dig more out for spots that are too tight. You will want to secure more dirt around the edges of the pond and compact it once the pond is fully installed. Then, fill it up with water, attach the pump in the right spot, and get ready to create the rock-wall.


ARRANGE YOUR ROCKS 
Hopefully the rocks will be dry by now, if not, you can cover the pond and come back another day. Ince they are dry, you can arrange them however you want around the pond – stack them, place them side by side, set some up and lay some down, its your design. After the rocks are installed, go ahead and add some plants. You can do a little research to find out which ones like to use rock to grow, or you can plant them with soil incorporated into and on top of the rocks.


SET THE PUMP AND TURN IT ON
The final step is to hook up the pump. Make sure all of the tubes are installed, and the pump is securely set to release the water through the top of the rock wall. Set the switch and watch the water flow! Now you have a rock-wall fountain pond. Any other steps are related to the extra options. If you chose extra options and need help, fill out the form on the contacts page and I’ll be happy to provide some advice.


THAT’S IT! ENJOY YOUR POND!

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