The differing faces of various organisations


We have seen that organizations differ in many important respects, but they also share common features. By adopting the systems view of organizations, we can identify principles and prescriptions of organizations and management that apply to business organizations in general. The structure, management and functioning of an organization are not only determined by internal considerations and choices but are also influenced strongly by a range of unstable, external and environmental factors. In order to be effective and maintain survival and growth, the organization must respond to the opportunities and challenges, and the risks and limitations, presented by the external environment of which it is a part of.

Work motivation and job satisfaction are important factors that are likely to determine the successful performance of work organizations. The relationships between the organization and its members are influenced by what motivates them to work and the rewards and fulfilment they get from it. The work organization, and the design and content of jobs, can have a significant effect on the satisfaction of staff and their levels of performance. The manager needs to know how best to bring forth the teamwork of staff and direct their efforts to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization.

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Working in groups and teams can also be great attributes towards any work organizations out there. Groups and teams are major features of organizational life. The work organization and its sub-units are made up of groups of people. Most activities of the organization require at least some degree of coordination through the operation of groups and teamwork. An understanding of the nature of groups is vital if the manager is to influence the behaviour of people in the work situation. The manager must be aware of the impact of groups and teams and their effects on organizational performance. However, the roles of managers in many organizations out there are not as essential as it once was decades ago. The diversity of group members in the work place nowadays is a huge asset as those individuals bring different values and experience to the organization. However, there are also some drawbacks in working in groups if not executed correctly and if not properly implemented. As a group increases in size, problems may arise with communications and co-ordination. Large groups are more difficult to handle and require a higher level of supervision. In larger groups, there is also the risk of workers not showing up when meetings are being arranged on a certain time and day. When a group becomes too large it may split into smaller units and friction may develop between the smaller groups.

An essential part of management today is co-ordinating the activities of people and guiding their efforts towards the goals and objectives of the organization. This involves the process of leadership and the choice of an appropriate form of action and behaviour. Leadership is a central feature of organizational performance. The manager needs to understand the nature of leadership influence, factors that determine relationships with other people and the effectiveness of the leadership relationship. There are many different ways of looking at leadership and many interpretations of its meaning. Leadership might be interpreted in simple terms, such as getting others to do things willingly, or interpreted more specifically, for example when using authority in decision making as the leader makes his voice and point heard more clearly. Today leadership is increasingly associated not with command and control but with the concept of inspiration, or getting along with other people and creating a vision with which others can identify. "According to a recent CBI report: Effective leaders, who can inspire their people to realise their personal and collective potential, are often the deciding factor between a company being good at what it does and achieving greatness." The changing nature of work organizations, including flatter structures and recognition of the efficient use of human resources, coupled with advances in social democracy, have combined to place growing importance on leadership. Leadership is related to motivation, interpersonal behaviour and the process of communication. Good leadership involves the effective process of allocation and empowerment.  

Leadership and Management

"The difference between leadership and management is that leadership is setting a new direction and vision for a group that they follow.  For example a leader is the driving force of a given action and movement for that new direction.  Management on the other hand controls or directs peoples/resources in a group according to principles and or values that have already been established." 

  Leadership without Management: 

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  "Using leadership without management is used by setting a direction or vision that others follow, without considering too much how the new direction is going to be achieved.  Other people than have to work hard in the trail that s left behind, picking up the pieces and making it work."

 Management without Leadership: 

  "Management without leadership is used by controlling resources to maintain the status quo or to ensure things happen according to already-established plans.  An example in this case would be when a referee manages any sporting event or game, but does not usually provide leadership in these situations because there is no new change and no new direction.  Instead, the referee is controlling resources to ensure that the laws of the game are followed and status quo is maintained at all costs." 

 Leadership combined with Management: 

  "An example in this situation would be a newly elected president or prime minister.  The president or prime minister both sets a new direction and manages the resources to govern, lead and manage the country in which they represent in order to achieve their goal.  Therefore, they both try to lead and manage the country towards success and towards the right direction."

 Leadership and Management Summary: 

  "In conclusion, leadership is about setting a new direction for a group; management is about directing and controlling according to established principles to achieve certain goals.  However, someone can be a symbolic leader if they emerge as the driving force of a direction the group sets for itself." (Ex: Nelson Mendela)

Organizational Strategy, Ethics and Responsibilities

The overall function and direction of a work organization is determined by the nature of its corporate strategy. Strategy provides goals, objectives and guidelines for the structure and operations of the organization. Organizations play a major and increasingly important role in the lives of all of us. The power and influence of a business organization must also be tempered by decisions relating to its broader social obligations and ethical responsibilities. Corporate strategy and responsibilities are important features in the study of management and organizational behaviour. Objectives and policy are formalized within the framework of a corporate strategy, which serves to describe an organizations sense of purpose, and plans and actions for its implementation.

Some form of corporate strategy or planning is necessary for all organizations, particularly large organizations and including service organizations and those in the public sector as well. In addition to performing some function, all organizations have some incentive for their existence and for their operations. The goals of an organization are the reason for its existence. The activities of the organization are directed to the attainment of its goals. A goal is a future expectation, some desired future state. A goal is something the organization is striving to accomplish. The meaning of a goal is, however, subject to a number of interpretations. It can be used in a very broad sense to refer to the overall purpose of an organization - for example, to produce computers. A goal may also be used to refer to more specific desired accomplishments - for example, top produce and sell a given number of a range of computers within a given period of time. Organizational goals are more specific than that of the function of an organization. The goals of an organization will determine the nature of its inputs and outputs, the series of activities through which the outputs are achieved, and interactions with its external environment. The extent to which an organization is successful in attaining its goals is a basis for the evaluation of organizational performance and effectiveness.

Integration of Goals

Strictly, organizations have no goals; only people do. Organizational goals are established by people, either individually or, more usually, by a number of individuals co-operating. For example, a group of senior managers may collectively agree on a particular desired course of action that may then come to be referred to as an organizational goal. However, this is still the goal of those managers who initially determined it. Success of the organization is measured by the progress of people towards goals set by people. Members of the organization have different and often conflicting goals. As a result, the goals which the organization actually pursues may be distinguished from the officially stated goals that are set out in broad terms as the reason for the purpose of the organization. Informal goals may be inferred from the actual decisions made and actions taken within the organizations. Managers, and other members of the organization, will have their own perception of the goals of the organization - for example, to produce high-quality computers which satisfy requirements of the customers; and their personal goals for example to earn high wages, to achieve promotion, to gain social satisfaction, to achieve status - which they expect to fulfil by participating in the activities of the organization.

Compatibility of Personal goals and organizational goals

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There are some drawbacks that occur in personal and organizational goals if not executed and implemented properly. For instance, if organizational goals and personal goals are pulling in different directions, conflict will arise and performance is likely to suffer. An organization will be more effective when personal goals are compatible with organizational goals. Organizational performance will depend ultimately on the extent to which individuals are provided with the opportunity to satisfy their own goals by contributing to the goals of the organizations. Management has a responsibility to clarify organizations goals and to attempt to integrate personal goals with the overall objectives of the organization. Only when organizational goals are shared by all members of the organizational will complete integration be achieved.

Objectives and Policy

In accordance with its beliefs or viewpoints, the goals of the organization are translated into objectives and policy. The language and use of the two terms varies from organization to organization but the objectives are seen in mostly as the 'what' and policy as the 'how', 'where' and 'when' - the means that follow the objectives. For example, the objectives in an organization set out more distinctively the goals, the aims to be achieved and the desired end-results. Policy on the other hand is developed within the framework of objectives. It provides the basis for decision-making and the course of action to follow in order to achieve certain goals and objectives. The establishment of objectives and policy is therefore an integral part of the process of management, and a necessary function in every organization. In terms of a systems approach, the objectives of an organization are related to the input-conversion-output cycle. In order to achieve its objectives and satisfy its goals the organization takes inputs from the environment, through a series of activities transforms or converts these inputs into outputs and returns them to the environment as inputs to other systems. The organization operates within a dynamic setting and success in achieving its goals, will therefore be influenced by a multiplicity of interactions within the environment. Objectives may be set out either in general terms or in more specific terms. General objectives are determined by top management. Specific objectives are formulated within the scope of general objectives and usually have more defined areas of application and time limits. Objectives may be just restricted or controlled, but the formal, clear definitions of objectives will assist communications and reduce misunderstandings, and provide more meaningful criteria for evaluating organizational performance. However, objectives should not be stated in such a way that they detract from the acknowledgment of possible new opportunities, potential danger areas, the initiative of staff or the need for improvement or change.

Self-Directed Teams

Organizations are facing stiff competition in the ever-changing global market-place and are sure to face increasing battles in the future. To position themselves for success in the coming decade, many organizations are making the transition to an empowered workforce. In an empowering environment, those closest to the job are given the responsibility to make decisions regarding their own work, and many times, their own customers. Implementing self-directed teams is a step towards achieving an empowered culture. Details the five necessary steps for successful team implementation including: the six-step process for designing teams, adopting team selection systems, addressing new training needs, initiating leadership transitions and changing roles, and rewarding team rather than individual performance. Self-directed work teams, also known as self-managing teams, represent a revolutionary approach to the way work is organized and performed. Instead of organizing work based on the traditional Taylor model - reducing a process to individual steps - work becomes restructured around whole processes. There must be interdependence and joint responsibility for outputs if there is to be a self-directed work team. Whereas the traditional system reduces the required skill at every level of work, producing boredom in the bottom-level jobs, the new system integrates the needs of the people with the work to be done and those closest to the jobs help design the job.

In the "RL Wolfe: Implementing Self Directed Teams" for example, it states how well self directed teams are used to create successful organizations and how well it is being implemented throughout the organization. In 2003 as stated in this case, when RL Wolfe purchased Moon Plastics - a small, family-owned custom plastics manufacturer in Corpus Christi - Amasi (director of production and Engineering at RL Wolfe) had seen an opportunity to implement self-directed teams at the new plant. He had been interested in self directed teams for several years, since taking a business school executive education course on workforce motivation and team structures. Amasi had been intrigued by reports of 30% to 40% improvements in productivity and quality for SDT-run units, when compared with traditional manufacturing facilities, and returns on investment more than three times the industry average. Those reports had come from a variety of industries -food and beverage, consumer goods - but Amasi felt he saw evidence that he could use the SDT model to drive high productivity in a plastic pipe manufacturing plant. "High productivity, in his view, was 95% or more of design capacity. Wolfe's two other plastic pipe manufacturing plants were running at 65%-70% of design capacity."

Amasi's first step had been to gain the board of director's approval to approach the worker union and offer a long-sought concession in health care coverage to clear the path for what became known as the Corpus Christi experiment. The new plant would not be unionized; in contrast to Wolfe's other two plants. His second step had been to lure 35-year-old Jay Winslow from Wolfe's top competitor to become plant manager.

Organization Structure and Design

Organization Design is a formal, guided process for integrating the people, information and technology of an organization. It is used to match the form of the organization as closely as possible to the purpose the organization plans to achieve. Through the design process, organizations act to improve the probability that the collective efforts of members will be successful. Typically, design is approached as an internal change under the guidance of an external facilitator. Managers and members work together to define the needs of the organization then create systems to meet those needs more effectively. The facilitator assures that a systematic process is followed and encourages creative thinking 'down the road'. In order for an organization to achieve its goals and objectives, the work of the organization has to be divided among its different members. Some structure is necessary to make possible the effective performance of key activities and to support the efforts of staff. Structure provides the framework of an organization and its pattern of management. It is by means of structure that the purpose and work of the organization are carried out. The manager needs to understand the importance and effects of organization structure and design in order for the organization to be successful in the long run. The quality of the relationship between line and functional managers lies at the heart of achieving both compliance to rules and an ability to work with the principles behind them. If the relationship is good, and trust and respect is high, then both sides understand the importance of each others' role. Line managers know that they will always be pressing to drive harder on performance, but understand the functional roles are there to help create, and strengthen, the boundaries they must not cross.

Individual Differences and Diversity

Individual differences can encourage creativity, enjoyment and happiness at work but can also be the root of conflict and frustration. Our unique bundle of diverse attributes and qualities shapes our values and what we plan to give and what we expect to receive from working. People are not homogeneous and individual differences are the basis of diversity. Effective managers need to steer a course that matches the needs of the individual with the requirements of the organization. Recognition of good performance is an essential part of the process of management. Managing people in organizations requires not only an understanding of the employees but also recognition of the culture of the organization. The requirements that are expected and accepted in one organization may not be the same in another. For example, creativity and individuality may be encouraged in one business but undermined by administration in another. Managers in an organization are required to be competent at selecting the individuals who will be valuable towards the organization. They need to be observant about the individuals who are performing well and have the potential to develop within the organization. They also need to be able to value differences and be sensitive to different needs. Organizations are not the same as they use to be. It use to be that managers in an organization were the complete driving force, and the organizations use to rely solely on those managers to make the company successful. Nowadays it's much more of a group effort and it's not just the managers anymore that do all the work and make all the minor and major decisions to spearhead a company which were the case decades ago. Finally, managers need to know themselves and understand their uniqueness and the impact of their personalities which it has on others that these individuals bring to the organization.

Strategy Implementation and Strategy Execution

Its is only half of the success to develop a good strategy in an organization. Executing the strategies is equally as important, since it can make or break the best strategies out there. You could have the best strategy out there, if it is not implemented or executing properly to perfection than brilliant idea that created the strategy becomes useless. Even a great strategic plan can be destroyed by poor implementation. Implementing strategy is challenging for many organizations out there. To execute strategy is to execute change at all levels of an organization. Many businesses fail to achieve strategic objectives because they do not successfully connect operations with goals. Successful implementation requires an understanding of the "big picture," as well as all the sequential steps that lead to it. Effective communication among all stakeholders is critical in bypassing this fatal gap. When companies retain consultants to help implement strategic initiatives, they often fall into the trap of giving up too much control and overpaying for solutions that don't work. The performance gap between strategy creation and benefit realization is frequently a company's inability to execute the strategies they define. Potential hazards in this situation maybe be grouped into four basic categories which are clarification, communication, alignment and measurement.

Implementing strategy gives you a broad view of implementation and a thorough understanding of each piece of the implementation process so that you can make more informed decisions on efficiency and effectiveness. You will learn how to properly align corporate structure with corporate strategies and how to integrate strategy formulation and implementation by focusing on five core areas. First off, there is the strategic implementation model which are equipped with your organization to adapt to change by developing a model of appropriate structures, objectives, controls, integration, mechanisms, and rewards for implementing your strategy. Strategic change however, understands the stages of implementation, forces for and against change, and ways to overcome resistance to change; and develop structures and tactics to implement change. Thirdly, human resources and strategy implementation integrates HR policies with strategy implementation needs. With strategy and structure you have to understand how the strategy affects structure and how the choice of structure affects efficiency and effectiveness. Finally, with incentives and controls, you have to discuss the ways to motivate and control performance, including methods to achieve effective coordination. As managers and employees, you will gain a framework in which to effectively develop and execute your next strategic plan. With this wider overview of strategies, you will be better prepared to ask the right questions as we build and implement future strategies.