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A Report on Best Strategy for Mitigating Internet Usage Challenges

This paper examines the various ways that can help Oz Mine Company in formulating the best decision on a management dilemma regarding how best to control use of the internet services during working hours. According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, the use of internet services during working hours should completely be banned because it workers waste a lot of time accessing internet during working hours. However, the Assistant Chief Executive Officer does not share the same school of thought since internet has turned out to be the superhighway for information sharing and a total ban to its usage might do more harm than good to the company particularly when acknowledging that the organization is operating in a knowledge intensive environment where information sharing is critical for the survival and performance of any company.

It is therefore the assistant CEO’s decision that the intuitive opinion of the Chief Executive Officer be put off as it out of touch with the opinions of the rest of the company fraternity. The CEO therefore deems it necessary to constitute a good decision making process in coming up with a more inclusive and consultative decision that will not only be accepted by all stakeholders but that will also drive the company into success.

This paper hold that poorly formulated decisions especially on matters that relate to information management have greatly led to poor organizational performance. It is therefore important that great care be taken to avoid taking Oz Mine Company into turbulence waters through rushed and out of touch decisions. Apparently, this can only be made possible by formulating a formal decision making process.

In respect to this situation the assistant CEO considered several models perceived as capable of helping the company in coming up with a better decision for managing the use of internet services among its workforce during working hours. This is necessary as it helps in evaluating the problem from different points of view and most importantly it enables the assistant CEO to not only come up with the most appropriate decision making model but it also help to address other ancillary problems associated with internet usage among the company workforce.

The model on deciding on how to decide was considered and examined. Other models were also considered. In this regard, it is affirmed that the company would in future utilize the phases of this model in conjunction with other models. For instance, the characteristics of premise of design schools will also be analyzed and decided that the company will observe these characteristics in its decision formulation. Lastly, the eight stage of decision making process model was critically examined and a decision made that the decision making process will take this route.

It is important to point out that organizations normally operate in unique and different environment from each other. This makes attempts to come up with a single decision making model that can suit a company’s overall strategic management process a hard endeavor (Hanna, 2010). In relation to this it is critical that those responsible for decision making functions need to analyze several options at their disposal and come up with a combination of models that can be combined together to be able to formulate a more proactive and reactive decision for the organization that will drive it to attain the organization’s goals, objectives, mission and vision.

2.0. Introduction

Senior management staffs are charged with the responsibilities of ensuring that their organizations are performing as per the set strategic plans. It is therefore common knowledge that the prosperity of the firm is heavily depended on its top management since they act as the captains of ships in their companies. Decisions that top managers make in their daily operations are critical to the organization as they determine the success or failure of the firm. Conventional wisdom holds that firms fail not because they do have sound strategic plans but because the top management employees end up making out-of-touch decisions that cause divisions among the workforce instead of uniting it. Basically, decisions that are poorly made can turn to be lethal to the performance of the company.

Business strategies that espouse sound decision making measures form a core part of the modern business world. This is because organizational success is heavily dependent on sound decision making processes and inclusive strategic plans. In extension, good organizational policies always lead to better organizational performance. On the other hand, poor policies which in most cases are a result of poor decision making processes have been noted to always lead to organizational failure. It is therefore imperative to employ proper decision making process models when making a major decision that impact on the overall productivity of the employees.

The models discussed below were considered the most appropriate in addressing the policy issue on the usage of internet services among Oz Mine Company employees during working hours.

3.1. Thesis Statement

While barring the access to internet services among employees may be a good measure to combat time wastage it is not a direct a recipe for improved organizational performance. There are other destructive and time wasting activities that employees in an organization get themselves involved in during working hours. It is imperative that these time wasting activities be addressed rather than bluntly banning the use of internet.

3.0. Models to be utilized in Decision Making Process

3.1.1. Deciding how to Decide Model

In coming up with a good decision capable of effectively responding to the proposal by Oz Mine Company CEO to ban internet usage among the employees during working hours the Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision making model of deciding how to decide was considered as the most appropriate (Burn, Marshall & Barnett, 2002). The central premise behind this model is that good leadership is only demonstrated by the ability to make good decisions for the organization. In extension, bad decisions demonstrate poor leadership as they end up antagonizing employees. For instance, decisions made without proper consultation with the workforce are less likely to be accepted in an organization. The decision by the OZ CEO to ban internet usage among the employees during working hours can be termed as autocratic because he never consulted other members of staff. Needless to say it is likely to face wide resistance among the employees. Such resistance will definitely affect the company’s performance in a negative way.

Based on the deciding to decide model adopted by the assistant CEO, it is important that persons charged with the responsibility of making key organizational decisions consider different viewpoints of the situation at hand before deciding on the best way address it. For example, a decision that is intended to be an abiding policy for the organization in the long term needs to take a participative path where opinions and inputs from several stakeholders in the organization are sought and fully incorporated (Amos et al, 2008). However, a decision that is intended to be for a short term period of time in the organization does not necessarily need to take the consultative path of seeking inputs from other stakeholders. Even so, the top management is obligated to craft good decision irrespective of whether they are meant for the short or long terms.

In regards to the Oz Mine Company scenario, it is clear that the CEO’s decision on internet usage is intended to be a long term binding policy and therefore it should take the consultative approach espoused by the deciding how to decide model. As Burn, Marshall and Barnett (2002) cautions any attempt to make the decision into a policy may be retrogressive to the company endeavors as it may be met with strong resentments from the employees who may feel that it is intrusive and autocratic.

In addition, it is imperative for the decision that will be ultimately made conform to conventional organizational standards. To this end, the process that will be used in the decision making should also meet conventional quality standards. These two requirements will enhance the chances of coming up with a workable solution for the scenario facing OZ Mining Company. Apparently, for this to be achieved, various stakeholders deserve to be incorporated in the decision formulation process (Nagel, 1977). For instance, basing on the fact the decision targets the junior members of staff, it is important to seek their active participation so as to enhance the chances of the decision being successfully implemented.

In addition to the deciding how to decide model, premises of the design school will also be applied in order to come up with a more inclusive and widely accepted decision for the scenario (Fredrickson, 1990).

The following diagrammatic presentation describes how the process of making a workable solution to the scenario facing OZ can be handled.

Figure 1: Deciding how to decide –Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model (Fredrickson, 1990).

1. Is the quality of the decision important?

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

2. Is team commitment important to decision?

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

3.Do you have enough information to make decision

4. Is the problem well structured?

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

5. If you made the decision yourself, would the team support it?

6. Does the team share organizational goals?

7. Is conflict amongst the team over the decision likely?

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Note: The decision making model by Vroom calls for the assessment of the above seven stipulated questions before coming up with any decision. In this regard, one need to look for the correct answers to the questions that according to Vroom are critical in helping decision makers in determining the application of their decisions in the organization and how such decisions will be received by different stakeholders in the company (Saaty & Vargas, 2006).

4.1.2. Premises of the Design School

This model provides for the steps that should be utilized in order to formulate a good decision for the organization. According to Christensen et al (1982), a good decision formulation process should posses these characteristics:

Strategy formulation should be controlled and be of a conscious process thought. This model holds that decision should not be a product of intuitive judgment but a product of a deliberative process. No doubt this postulation addresses the decision that was made by the Chief Executive Officer which can be openly seen to be a result of his intuitive feeling since it was not based on any authentic research information.

The top management should be charged with the responsibility of controlling the plans to ensure that they are well implemented for the success of the company but not impose their intuitive feeling on people. It is most relevant in long term decisions like in the case of banning use of internet in the company (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2000). This is a long term decision which calls for a more consultative approach rather than an intuitive approach.

Therefore, in formulating this decision, these prerequisite steps needs to be factored in the decision making process to ensure that a good and a sound decision is crafted for a sound management of the company.

4.1.3. The Process Model

Organizational management is always geared towards realization of the organizations missions and objectives. In doing so, the management gets itself involved in various business processes which include a set of activities that are executed in order to achieve these business objectives (Dogac, Ozsu & Ulusoy, 1999). If a process model is utilized for business process analysis, reengineering and later improvement, it becomes a business process model.

Process model therefore gives a roadmap for actions that provides good and potential path that can be followed for designing and implementing the desired course of action (Anderson and Linda, 2010). However, in developing the process model for the intended course of action on internet usage among Oz Mine Company employees there is the need to carry out a proper environmental analysis of the company. In addition, the eight-stage process model of creating major change will be utilized. These steps will include: establishment of a sense of urgency, creation of guiding coalition, development of a strategy and vision, change vision communication, a broad based action empowering, generation of a short term wins, consolidation of more change in order to consolidate more gains, and the anchoring of new approaches in the organizational culture (Audreys & Judah, 2003).

In addition other models that effectively manage change by espousing sound decision making processes will be used as supplements.

4.1.1.1. Environmental Analysis of Oz Mine Company

Before formulating any critical policy for the organization, it is important that environmental analysis be thoroughly done. In the environmental analysis, both internal and external analysis is equally important since organizations do not operate in a vacuum. As regards the current dilemma facing OZ Mine Company, this process will embrace the conventional SWOT analysis procedures as it will seek to establish the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and the threats facing the company (Slack & Parent, 2006).

The main purpose for external analysis will be majorly to scrutinize for strategic opportunities that the organization seeks to bank on as well as the potential and/or existing threats that may negatively affect the company’s strategic plans (Hoskisson et al, 2008). In addition, the external environmental analysis will also be aimed at establishing ways of crafting competitive structures for the organization.

The external environment of any organization dictates to the course which organizational plans take. As such therefore, it is up to organizations to align themselves to the ever changing trends in this environment so as to remain competitive in the long run (Urip, 2010). External environment includes; socio-cultural values, political conditions, economic trends and the contemporary technological developments. For example, the socio-cultural values are important in shaping the organization’s implementation of its systems.

On the other hand, internal environmental analysis of the organization will be geared towards gathering of information about the conditions in the company which should form a basis for decision making. According to Xavier and Henderson (1998) organizations can only recognize what they are capable of doing through proper internal analysis. In this regard, OZ Mining Company will be able to identify its unique resources, its competences and capabilities which help it to build a competitive advantage over its competitors by carrying out a proper internal analysis. In addition, through internal analysis, the company will be able to identify its weaknesses and therefore devise proper plans to address them so as to prevent their rivals from converting them (weaknesses) into opportunities. The Oz Mine Company will therefore carry out its environmental scrutiny in relation to use of internet services in order to make informed decision on the matter.

Figure.2: Organizational environmental analysis for strategic decision making by Gerardo and Wong (2008)

PART1: THE GLOBAL CONTEXT

1.Global strategic management: an overview

PART 2: EXTERNAL/INTERNAL ANALYSIS

2. Analyzing the external environment

3. Formulating strategy and developing a business model

PART 3: STRATEGIC CHOICE AND POSITIONING

4. Positioning strategic choices in a global context

PART4: LEVERAGING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

5. leveraging advantage through global management

6. Leveraging Advantage through Global Sourcing

7. Leveraging advantage through strategic alliance

8. Leveraging Advantage through innovation

PART 5: IMPLEMENTING THE STRATEGIC PLAN

9. Implementing strategy using structures and processes

10. Implementing strategy using by cultivating a global mindset

11. Implementing strategy using financial performance measures

PART 6: INTEGRATION

12. Integration and emerging issues in global strategic management

Note: The above table provides an overview of events that need to be factored in by OZ Mining Company in addressing the internet usage dilemma. In formulating strategic a decision for addressing the scenario, the baseline should be given to external and internal environmental analysis of the company. This will help to make the strategy workable. If these steps are followed strictly in the decision formulation process there will be higher chances of coming up with a decision that is acceptable and easy to implement.

4.1.1.2. Sense of Urgency Will First Be Established

In respect to Oz Mine Company, the suggested plan of action of banning the internet access among the employees during the normal working hours is a critical issue that needs to be handled carefully by the management. This is a sensitive decision that is likely to have change shocks that might be hazardous to the company. Audreys and Judah (2003) note that stakeholders are less likely to rally around behind a culture change program if the leader’s passion for change is not clearly and repeatedly evidential. This calls for the participation of all the stakeholders to actively take part in the change process - their views need to be sought and considered in order for them to feel part of the change process (Wiig, 2004). At this stage, communication needs to be intensified in order to create adequate sense of urgency among the players.

However, it is important to note at this point that there are several determinants of change in business operation. Advancement of information and communication technologies is a key aspect that forces the organization to align itself in the global market competition. Therefore, banning of internet services which is a global superhighway for information sharing will be seen as retrogressive and will likely affect the company in a more negative manner. In addition and as Hanna (2010) affirms, information communication technology represents a radical innovation and a major discontinuity as it has led to general acceleration of economic processes. It is therefore important that great care be taken to determine the required measures that need to be employed than merely banning internet access. In addition and as Pech and Slade (2003) opine, it is important that in developing a sense of urgency, the decision should move from a fixed to a flexible mindscape. This will help the company to arrive at the best decision that will steer it away from the retrogressive and autocratic decision made by the CEO. In the long run, the company will be in a position to utilize internet services while at the same ensuring minimal time wastage.

4.1.1.3. Creation of Guiding Coalition

After creating a sense of urgency for the adoption of change, the management must create a guiding coalition where by a team of people with the sufficient knowledge and power to lead change to a successful implementation must be constituted (Leonard & McGuire, 2007). This team must reflect representation of all cadres of employees in the organization. The guiding coalition is also intended to play a communication role across the organization and represent the view and interests of their respective constituencies in the organization. The decisions arrived at from this kind of setting is more likely to be binding to all groups of people in the organization and therefore, less or no resistance to the decision is likely to be witnessed.

4.1.1.4. Development of a Strategy and Vision

This entails coming up with a good solid strategy capable of successfully implementing the made decision. During this phase, the coalition is required to uphold and maintain its focus on what is intended to be achieved. To this end, a vision statement needs to be crafted at this phase in order to act as a guiding principle in the implementation exercise of the decision. While drawing from the notion that leaders with a vision hold back until the ideas of exemplary followers have been elicited the process of crafting a vision statement will as well be inclusive (Halachmi & Bouchaert, 2010).

There is no doubt that the decision to ban internet usage among employees during working hours by the Oz Mine Company CEO goes contrary to conventional leadership principles of consultation and collectivity. As such therefore, by formulating a strategy and a vision through consultation will definitely reverse that scenario. It will change the scenario because it will be comprised of inputs from other stakeholders in the company.

4.1.1.5. Change Vision Communication

A formulated vision needs to be communicated throughout the organization in order for it to be accepted by the entire company fraternity. This is because communication remains one of the most important tools for successful management. For instance, Kushal and Ahuja (2010) postulate that, communication is so fundamental that without it no organization can exist. The authors argue that without proper communication strategies organizations cannot effectively execute their functions toward the achievement of the set objectives.

Given that any decision that will be collectively arrived at after this process will bring some changes in the existing company policies hence it is imperative that intensive communication be done to popularize the decision. To this end, the espoused communication strategy will be skillful and competently executed. In addition, it will incorporate persuasiveness so as to bring forth the desired effect – acceptance of the vision among all the stakeholders.

4.1.1.6. Broad Based Action Empowering

This phase is concerned with overcoming obstacles that stand on the way that prevent people from being empowered as per the current culture in the organization. However, it is important to note that this is a major culture change that will be applied in the company and therefore great caution needs to be taken in order to avoid adverse culture shock that can have adverse effects to the organization (Chelladurai & Madella, 2006).

To this end, the management team will undertake to study the mood of the employees because they will be the very entities who will be called upon implement the decision. This will be done in acknowledgement that environmental conditions of every organization are always unique in their own right. It is imperative that after the environmental analysis of Oz Mine Company, the team will understand well the operating conditions of the company. As such therefore, steps that will be taken for broad based action empowering will heavily depend on the outcome of the environmental analysis.

4.1.1.7. Generating a Short Term Wins

For any decision that will be arrived at, a repertoire needs to be instituted who will be able to access the implementation process of the decision. The repertoire should be in charge of identifying success points that will have been achieved as per the proposed plan and those responsible being rewarded for their efforts. Audreys and Judah (2003) suggests that recognizing and rewarding those who make the wins possible is a very important measure as it helps to sustain their attention on how achievements are made and gives them the desire to step up the tempo. This makes sure that people in the organization concentrates on attaining the desired change which is for the benefit of the company in the long run. This is important since short term wins are usually visible and not ambiguous and they are usually related to the culture change efforts. However, this calls for advance planning in the company plans so that proper systems are instituted which will be used in honoring people for having worked towards the desired change in the company.

4.1.1.8. Consolidating More Change In Order To Consolidate More Gains

This phase is concerned with ensuring that the initial six phases have brought significant change to the company’s plans. It is therefore imperative to have constant appraisal to assess the impact of the decision on the entire organization’s performance. When the appraisal indicates positive impacts to the organization, then implementation efforts should be given more support that it requires. However, in the event when the appraisal results indicates negative effects to the company, caution should be taken where by reactive and proactive measure should be taken to rescue the situation. It will therefore be useful to change tact in the implementation of this change, for example, in the event where pacesetting style was applied and failed, affiliative style will be adopted where by it will aid in repairing the broken relationship and establish trust (Cameron & Mike, 2004).

4.1.1.9. Anchoring New Approaches in the Organizational Culture

This is the final phase of the process model where by new approaches are anchored into the organizational culture to ensure continuity for the proposed change in policy. In this stage, there is supposed to be improved performance through a benchmarked increased production and an improved focus on the customer behavior (Reed, 2004). At this stage, it is expected that the new decision will have been accepted by the entire company fraternity and that every individual will be committed and willing to work towards its successful implementation. It is imperative to note that a futile decision will not reach this point. As such therefore any decision that has some element of futility is supposed to be corrected or withdrawn before this stage so as to avoid the creation of negative effects to the company.

4.1.2. Life Cycle Analysis Model

In addition, the decision making process will also employ life cycle analysis as postulated by Minerals Council of Australia (2010). Life cycle analysis model is a method that is applied to analyze the impacts of products, services and processes on the environment of operation of the organization. In regard to the Oz Mine Company scenario, the management will carry out a quantitative survey on the impacts of internet in the company. Acting on the findings of such survey, the decision making collation will then come up with better decision that will address the problem in a more informed way.

According to Krozer (2008), the life cycle model is comprised of four phases which starts with definition and formulation of the goal. In the Oz Mine Company situation, the primary goal will be formulated which should be in line with the company’s strategic plans. The second step is the inventory phase where the required resources will be defined and allocated for the decision. The third phase involves the impact assessment where by effects of the decision will be assessed and determined. If the impacts turns to be negative, corrective measures will be sought but incase of a positive performance, there will be need to enhance the decision implementation (Mangena & Brent, 2006). The last phase will involve interpretation and improvement where by decision performance is interpreted and improved if there is need.

5.0 Recommendations

It is a widely accepted perspective that major process models are general in nature and that they may only provide a partial solution to the problem at hand (Anderson & Linda, 2010). As such therefore, it is important to note that the decision making models presented in this paper are not a panacea to the management dilemma facing the Oz Mine Company. It is therefore important for the team of decision makers in the company to judicially utilize the decision making models presented so as to come up a good decision for addressing the problems at hand.

However, in management, best leadership qualities are demonstrated by the ability to make good decisions for the organization which are required to revolutionize it in a positive way rather than being hazardous in its performance and survival. On the other hand, it is important to note that information communication technologies in the present business operation impacts positively on productivity of enterprises (Hanna, 2010). It therefore relevant that internet usage in the company should not be completely banned since it is the key platform on which modern organizations build their innovativeness. However, proper and good decision should be developed through the discussed process models in order to come up with ways and means of properly managing its usage so that it is not abused by the employees.

All these planning models provide for review of the decision process. This is important for the company since failure to have a review strategy means that the company will be slow in responding to rapid changes in the environment which means that it will lose its competitive edge in the competition arena (Watkins, 2002). Conditions in the operating environment keeps on changing and it is up to the management team to align the company to the environment since it has no power on what happens in the external environment.

In addition, it is relevant to note that strategy formulation is a social process that is rooted in an organization’s culture (Mintzberg & Lampell, 1990). It is therefore important that socio-cultural factors of the company and those of external environment be considered when formulating a decision for the company. However, a retrogressive culture should be analyzed and possible ways of reverting it sought to avoid its negative impacts.

It is also important for the top management team to acknowledge that human beings are excellent imitators since they easily copy behaviors, characteristics and actions from their senior (Pech & Slade, 2004). In relation to this, top management staff will be required to uphold and practice whatever decision that will be formulated in order to provide exemplary behavior to their juniors. After all it is widely accepted that change in organizations start with the top management for it to be successful.

6.0 Conclusion

This paper has presented various decision making models for addressing the management dilemma facing Oz Mine Company. In presenting these models the paper based its arguments on the notion that internet is the superhighway for information sharing and a total ban to its usage might do more harm than good to the company particularly when acknowledging that the organization is operating in a knowledge intensive environment where information sharing is critical for the survival and performance of any company.

It has been provided that for the company to effectively deal with the current dilemma it ought to collectively utilize the model on deciding on how to decide, the characteristics of premise of design schools and the eight stages of decision making process model. The decision to opt for these three models was based on the fact that the company has a wide number of stakeholders and complex processes that may not be fully addressed by a single model. It was reasoned that a combination of several models would enhance the chances of formulating a more proactive decision capable of not only addressing the current dilemma but most importantly, a decision that would ultimately drive the company towards the realization of its strategic plans.

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