Management Style At Marriott Hotel Commerce Essay

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Contingency management is the most prevalent of all management concepts for the simple reason that it provides the necessary flexibility to develop strategies which pertain to each individual organisation. Adopting a flexible management style allows an organisation to be more adaptable to changes in both the micro (internal) and macro (external) environments.

Leicester Marriott has adopted a form of contingency management which revolves around the human relations approach, whereby past studies have shown that certain variables are instrumental to employee satisfaction. Marriott gives tremendous importance to its associates, as they ultimately are the reason why the brand has been successful for so many years. Associate opinions are highly valued by members of management, so they are often required to attend brainstorming sessions where key issues are discussed. Such involvement should make way for improved productivity and efficiency, as having an input in the decisions taken in ones department is fundamental to happiness at work, which may also have a positive effect on other aspects of associate life. Members of management know that to maximise profitability, employees must be awarded a level of responsibility within the organisation, and most importantly, be respected and treated as integral members of the organisation.

The five-star Grand Hotel Excelsior (GHE) in Malta is not owned or run by any hotel chain, but is privately owned by a British family. It started operations approximately four years ago, and has since risen to become one of the best hotels on the island, troubling the likes of Hilton, Westin and Le Meridien which dominate the luxury accommodation Market in Malta. The Excelsior is affiliated with the Iprefer group, which offers subscribed members numerous benefits such as special discounts and offers for Iprefer hotels throughout the world.

At the Excelsior, divisions between upper management and their subordinates are generally noticeable, a trait which is reminiscent of bureaucratic management. However, utmost respect and gratitude is shown to employees when tasks are carried out successfully, and the general manager often stresses the fact that the hotel's success is owed to its employees.

Unlike Marriott's tried and tested approach to management, the Excelsior's directors and managers had to devise a management style which fit the organisation's requirements. In doing so, training has been given top priority and is carried out by in-house specialists, as well as by some of Malta's leading consultation companies. Through personal experience, soft management is very much present within the rooms division as managers are aware that adopting hard management will not be beneficial. The employment of hard management may make employees fear their superiors, to the extent that absenteeism may increase, and employees may seek job opportunities elsewhere. However, this does not mean that managers should not, when necessary, show authority.

Task 2 - Using an organisation where you have worked evaluate the role and function of at least one manager. Compare and contrast the leadership style of your chosen organisation with one of the leaders in the case study.

At the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Front office employees are the first to interact with guests, and must therefore project the hotel's image of luxury and professionalism by being well groomed, well mannered, professional, and hospitable. The lobby's classic décor and warm lighting ensure that guests feel welcome and relaxed, particularly after hours of travel. Upon arrival, guests are greeted and assisted by the porter, and are then directed towards the front desk where they are offered a complimentary welcome drink, after which the check-in process begins.

The front office manager manages all front of house operations to ensure that guests are offered an 'Iprefer experience'. The roles and functions pertaining to this position are vast and crucial to the establishment's success. The primary role of the front office manager is to develop and retain professional relationships with guests and non-guests, with the aim of having them return time and time again. However, he is aware that the only way to provide a seamless guest experience is to ensure that his team is, first and foremost, treated respectfully.

Front of house operations pertaining to the front office manager include but are not limited to; reviewing the hotel's room availability status and special guest requests, resolving guest complaints, reviewing comment cards, participating in the daily head of department (HOD) meetings, assisting his team members at the front desk when it gets busy, and when necessary, greet VIP guests and ensure that their check-ins go as smoothly as possible. He highly values his team's input and often sets up informal meetings to discuss any issues which they have faced or are facing, and asks for suggestions to mitigate such issues to ensure that the front office operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Performance management and employee motivation are closely linked to leadership. The front office manager adapts positive leadership to his management style, which is crucial to ensure that employees adopt a positive attitude towards work and are not passive towards their duties. Performance management and motivation also ensure that profit forecasts are reached, services are consistent, and the overall environment is positive. Ultimately, guests expect value for money, and must therefore be offered an experience which meets, or more appropriately, exceeds their expectations.

Performance management at Leicester Marriott

Associate performance is fundamental to any organisation's success. Potential associates at Leicester Marriott must undergo a three day induction before commencing work, to discuss key areas ranging from an explanation of the company's organigram to disability discrimination awareness. The techniques adopted range from lectures to audio-visual presentations in the form of corporate films.

Once management is satisfied with their performance, they are cross trained by their department managers. The case study stresses that the pace of development within the company is solely up to the individual, so they must learn how to manage themselves accordingly. This happens to be a key characteristic of the human relations approach. Once a month a meeting is set up between associates and their managers to discuss and deal with any issues before they lead to any declines in customer satisfaction and other inconsistencies.

By reducing staff turnover, the quality of the services rendered, the profitability obtained, and the ability of staff to progress within the organisation to higher positions will be a lot more likely. In-house as well as online programmes are offered to employees who wish to improve their skills and performance, whilst managers are trained at other Marriott establishments. This would allow managers to observe how different establishments undergo their daily business, and how although each Marriott hotel aims to provide a quality experience, each establishment has unique features which make them attractive, such as unique décor, unique entertainment, or unique members of staff, for instance.

Performance management at the Grand Hotel Excelsior

Online and session based courses are offered free of charge to members of staff on a monthly basis, whereby skills such as cultural appreciation and awareness, and numerous others can be enhanced. Training is constantly offered to members of staff in-house, by hotel employees as well as professional consultation companies. Management believes that it is crucial for employees to receive the best training possible so as to be able to provide a seamless experience to guests and non-guests.

Induction training is typically one day long for those opting to work at front office, and this takes place in a meeting room on the premises. Being such a fast paced industry, most training occurs on the job. During the first few weeks of employment, employees at front office must log down their progress in a progress file, and take any necessary notes. Any issues which are encountered should be dealt with immediately to avoid unnecessary errors in the future. After the fundamental factors of cross training have been covered, employees must undergo a test whereby the skills obtained are examined.

Motivation at Leicester Marriott

Marriott believes that there are other means of motivation for staff other than receiving a salary at the end of the month. Employees should feel as though they are valued for their contributions to the organisation's success. Staff is incentivised through numerous schemes such as discounts and exclusive offers when staying at Marriott properties. They may alternatively opt to receive vouchers for high end shops instead of making use of their Marriott stay. Although other motivators often overshadow working conditions, conditions at work may indeed lead to de-motivation. To avoid this, management provides quality canteen services, easy access to uniform, extensive taxi benefits, as well as other basic factors.

Other motivators come in the form of team building exercises, where employees can get to know each other better and develop stronger professional relationships, as well as departmental outings, barbeques, dress parties, Oscar parties, employee of the month and special person awards ceremonies, as well as appreciation week.

Motivation at the Grand Hotel Excelsior

Motivation is a fundamental part of leadership, as all those who form part of a team must be rewarded in some way or another for their efforts. Maslow's hierarchy of needs plays an integral part in one's performance at work. It states that for a person to live a fulfilling life there must be the necessary foundations in place. The satisfaction of the basic physiological requirements such as food and shelter are required to be able to work our way towards 'self-fulfillment'.

It is understandable that organisations are unable to cater for all the factors listed in Maslow's hierarchy because of financial and/or other limitations. At the Grand Hotel excelsior, employees are offered good quality canteen facilities for breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner. The hotel also provides free accommodation for foreign students working at the hotel as well as for employees who work around the clock to prepare for large events. This is done to avoid employees having any unnecessary road accidents whilst driving home from work. A sense of safety is provided by constant 24 hour CCTV surveillance, as well as security officers, whilst a sense of belonging is evident in the group work that is required to successfully deal with everyday situations.

Management at the Excelsior rewards staff for their contributions to the success of the organisation mainly through special rates for themselves and close friends and family, a free weekend break at the end of each year for each employee and a partner, a good bottle of foreign wine for the member of staff with the highest up selling score, bonuses for every up sell which takes place, such us upgrading guests to a Sea View or Sea Front room from an inland view room, as well as certificates which are awarded to the best performing members of staff during the IXL (I Excel) Awards ceremony. Besides these, there are numerous other departmental activities and events which are organised throughout the year. Employees may also benefit from easy uniform access from 6 am till 6:30pm, taxi discounts, and other basic factors which staff need to be happy in their workplace.

Task 3 - Evaluate the leadership skills required to ensure effective management of the staff of the two organisations.

The main aim of a manager is to maximise the output of an organisation and simultaneously maximise profitability. To do so however, it is more often than not required to have positive leadership skills when working in the services industry. Employees often seek the guidance or assistance of their superiors, and their ability to perform well may be hindered by the inability of their superiors to lead by setting the right example. Effective leadership is therefore fundamental for the management of the staff of the two organisations.

Performance management

For both organisations to remain competitive and successful, they must ensure that employees are given the best possible training. Although it is difficult to provide perfect services in an industry full of variables, perfection must be aimed for nonetheless. A measure of performance must be established to be able to analyse areas which have been improved as well as those which await improvement.

To be able to improve performance;

Current performance must be analysed and compared to a set target.

Plans must be devised to be able to improve current performance and bring it in line with targets.

The devised plan must be implemented,

The implemented plan must be assessed, and

The methods of measurement must be re-assessed and re-formulated if it is required to do so.

Motivation

Maslow's hierarchy of needs happens to be one of the most straightforward theories in psychological and motivational studies, which states that every human being has the basic requirements of food, drink and shelter, and it is only when these are satisfied that we are able to work towards 'self-fulfillment'. Employees are motivated through the provision of certain elements from this hierarchy.

Employees should be incentivised to adopt a more positive attitude towards their duties, as well as to improve their performance. They need to know that they are of value to the organisation, as working in the hospitality industry requires a lot of time, energy and patience. It also happens to be one of the lowest paying industries, yet the input that is required for operations to run smoothly is phenomenal. Employees would expect to be motivated in other ways other than just receiving a salary at the end of the month, as this is a very short-lived motivator. They need to feel valued and respected by their superiors and by others, something that the new front office manager at the Grand Hotel Excelsior is highly capable of. He offers that reassurance that he is there for everyone, and that everyone should approach him when they have any difficulties. Most importantly, he knows that to develop as a team and overcome obstacles, he has to build a strong, reliable and trustworthy team.

Ethical leadership

Ethics is a branch of psychology which allows us to distinguish between, and understand the concepts of right and wrong. Leading by setting the right example is crucial for employees to feel secure at work. Unethical leadership can cause harm to employees on a psychological level, and this may spread to other aspects of their lives. Ethics is a complex subject and employees unfortunately face numerous difficult situations at the work place, where they may disagree with the actions of their superiors, but are often afraid to confront them because it may ultimately cost them their job.

Action-centred leadership

Taking immediate action on issues which must be addressed is important to ensure that professional relationships with employees are strengthened and not lost. Managing others requires a lot of patience and experience, and it is through positive leadership that much of it is possible.

John Adair's action-centred leadership model deals with three crucial responsibilities that managers should possess. Depending on the difficulty of the task, the manager's input may not be required until after the task is carried out. On the other hand, the manager may have to manage a team, group, or individuals if the task at hand requires detailed planning and foresight. Below are the three processes of John's Adair's concept:

achieving the task

managing the team or group

managing individuals

Successful leadership also relies on effective communication, counseling, stress management and unwritten psychological contracts.

Communication and counselling

Communication is important for the smooth running of any organisation. It allows for the clarification of messages up and down as well as across an organigram. Communication may take virtually any form, ranging from verbal to virtual discussions. Improved communication will allow for fewer hiccups in the services being rendered, meaning that guests will undoubtedly have a better experience.

Managers often have to counsel team members with issues or difficulties that they are facing. These may range from discussing past performance to discussing difficulties that they are having in relation to their work or personal lives.

Stress management

Stress is very often work related, and this may result in relationship problems at home and at work, as well as health problems, if it is not appropriately administrated. The effects of stress differ from person to person, and some people may be more capable of dealing with stressful situations than others. Excessive stress may reap havoc on a team, and may limit its ability to perform in line with targets. This is the reason why motivating employees is crucial to ensure that they develop a positive outlook on their duties at work, which would significantly decrease the perception that work and stress are correlated.

Psychological contract

The psychological contract is an unwritten contract that is the basis of a professional relationship that exists between employees and their employers. An employer would expect to be respected by his team, and an employee may in turn expect good working conditions and respect from the employer. Even though the psychological contract is unwritten, it is the least that is expected by employees and employers at work, and this forms the foundation upon which professional relationships are built and strengthened.

Task 4 - Examine a team in which you have worked and write an account of the nature and behaviour of the group

A team is a group of people that works together to reach a common target or objective. This objective can only be achieved with the combined efforts of each team member as the human input required is often too much for one person to handle, particularly when deadlines are involved.

Working at the front desk requires constant team work. The effectiveness of a team depends on how well each team member understands their roles, and how well they know each other's characters and working methods. It is a fact that no one works in the exact same way as we all have different personalities; thinking patterns and methods of achieving the same objectives, and it is through such differences that we are able to provide a refreshing experience, one which is unique and special, yet professional.

Although the team work required at front office is often not for specific projects, such as for instance coming up with a new up-selling strategy, we unconsciously consider every shift to be a project. The team's common objective is to ensure that all guests are satisfied with what they have purchased and that what we are providing them with meets, or exceeds their expectations.

The people I work with at the front desk are undoubtedly important to me, and the way I work. They certainly ease the stress of having to deal with every guest on your own, but more importantly, you know that there is someone who is in the same position as you are, dealing with similar issues and problems. When I see that my colleagues are having difficulty dealing with a specific issue, I do not hesitate to assist them, and vice versa. The typical shift is eight hours long, so it is in everyone's best interests to get to know each other well by communicating openly and sharing ideas and thoughts, with the aim of developing trustworthy and positive professional relationships.

Bruce Tuckman (1965) developed four critical stages for team development. These stages describe how teams are developed, and how issues are dealt with to reach a common objective. The first stage is 'forming', which deals with the actual getting together of group members. Once my skills developed through training at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, the responsibilities given to me increased, and I was therefore more capable of working as part of a team. The second stage is 'storming', whereby the team analyses its objectives, and clearly defines the responsibilities of each team member. When problems arise at work, we discuss all of the possible ways in which we can solve them. We then select the most effective and efficient solutions which are in line with hotel policy. The third stage is 'norming', whereby team members work conjunctively to reach their targets, mainly through the creation of guidelines and rules. As team members work together, they will develop stronger relationships and will therefore develop trust.

Through work I was not only able to develop professional relationships with my colleagues, but I was also able to develop strong friendships. It is through such friendships that we are able to work successfully with one another. The final step is 'performing', whereby team members understand each other and their work, and their utmost concern is getting the job done. Working in a hotel is immensely fast-paced and there is little time to be wasted. The main objective of a front of house agent is ultimately to get the job done efficiently and professionally, in order to assist our next guests.

Task 5 - Discuss how the traits and characteristics of the individuals within this team influence their behaviour at work

Individuals who form part of the front office team have cheerful personalities, and their cheerfulness is visible in the way they work to ensure that guests are greeted and treated welcomingly. Guests enjoy meeting members of staff who are approachable, and they often stop by the front desk for a quick chat. As a team, we know each other's basic traits and characteristics well. The true personalities of team members break free during break time, or after work, as working in a five star hotel requires one to behave in a certain manner.

As a team, we know each other's basic traits and characteristics well. The true personalities of team members break free during break time, or after work, as working in a five star hotel requires one to behave in a certain manner. Personal characteristics typically include visual aspects such as gender, race and age, social and cultural characteristics such as religion and sexual orientation, and psychological characteristics such as motivation and attitudes. It is through such personal characteristics that we develop particular beliefs or preferences, such as religious or political preferences, for instance. Delicate subjects may be openly discussed between team members because of the friendships that have develop over time. However, such delicate subjects are never discussed with guests as they may project a negative image of the individual, as well as the organisation.

The most prominent traits of individuals are said to be the 'big five' personality traits, which include conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extroversion. My team mates undoubtedly possess a mixture of these five traits, and numerous others. It is impossible for people to have the exact same character as others, as one's character is ultimately a product of their life experiences.

Perception is an important subject when dealing with traits and characteristics. Individuals may make certain traits visible, such as agreeableness and conscientiousness, but are able to hide other traits which they feel should not be visible, such as neuroticism. It is normal to feel anxious when stressful situations arise, and the level of anxiety which is experienced by an individual depends on what their threshold for anxiety tolerance is. In such a case, a guest may perceive the member of staff to be calm and composed, when he/she is in fact feeling anxious.

Task 6 - Compare and contrast the structure of Leicester Marriott with an organisation where you have worked/have researched.

To be able to deal with all the processes required to operate a hospitality establishment such as a large capacity hotel, company directors and managers must employ specialised teams to ensure that all work is done efficiently and effectively, with the highest precision, and where possible, the lowest cost. As the Leicester Marriott Hotel and the Grand Hotel Excelsior are both relatively large establishments they require formal structures with specific roles and responsibilities. Every manager is responsible for a particular department and team. This in theory should allow for greater efficiency as the work is divided amongst those who are most experienced in their respective fields.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior's functional structure is similar to that of Marriott, as they both have a General Manager, department managers, supervisors, and Employees. As the Grand Hotel Excelsior has 427 rooms, and the Leicester Marriott has approximately half as many, the GHE should in theory have more positions and therefore more employees. The span of control that each manager possesses varies depending on department. For instance, the front office manager at the GHE is responsible for the front office team as well as the housekeeping department, which happen to be the largest departments within the hotel. On the other hand, the accounts department is one of the smallest, employing a few specialised individuals. The organigram below gives a detailed breakdown of the different roles at the Grand Hotel Excelsior.

An official Marriott PDF document found at www.docstoc.com states that the organisation believes strongly in the benefits associated with departmentalisation and unity of command, whereby only one person reports to one manager. In this case it must be the supervisors who report to their department managers. Below is an example of what the Marriott organigram may look like in its simplest form. As is clearly evident, the main structures of both organisations are fairly similar. One of the major differences however is that the Excelsior has many more facilities and amenities than the Marriott hotel, and would require larger departments to ensure that all operations run smoothly, particularly during peak season.

General Manager

Department Manager

Department Manager

Department Manager

Associates

Associates

Associates

Supervisor

Supervisor

Supervisor

Microsoft Word (2003)

Task 7 - Describe the culture of the organisation at the Leicester Marriott Hotel and explain how it impacts on the success of the business

The Leicester Marriott promotes a strong brand identity, one which guests have grown to love and trust. A loyal guest would expect the level of service at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to be of as high a standard as the Leicester Marriott hotel as both establishments have the same high expectations from their staff, and both hotels share the same core values and objectives.

Members of staff at Leicester Marriott are all considered to be 'associates', a term which the organisation believes adds further purpose to their roles. Marriot currently places 82nd on CNN's top 100 list of best companies to work at for the year 2010, a claim which has remained true for many years. However, the recruitment process does not appear to be simple. Only those people who fit the organisation's mindset are eligible to join as management believes that it is not easy to teach people how to develop the right attitude which is required to progress within the organisation. This appears to be a characteristic of a relatively closed organisation, and may as a result give it a more prestigious image in the job markets.

The organisation's culture is successful because it allows associates to develop trust, collaborate, and be creative. The culture is reinforced through numerous activities such as Staff barbeques, department outings, parties and other activities which allow them to get to know each other better, develop relationships, and ultimately, provide better quality services to guests. They are also given the opportunity to share ideas during the weekly departmental discussions, where the week's most challenging moments are discussed, and feedback is exchanged.

The organisation's core values are the main driving forces behind its culture, as stated in the corporate information section of the Marriott website. Its culture influences the way it treats associates, loyal clients, and the community, which it strongly supports. Motivation is certainly a major part of the hotel's culture as management knows that the only way to make guests happy is to ensure that associates are equally happy.

Task 8 - Discuss the communication channels of the firm in the case study and explain the importance of effective communications within organisations.

Communication skills are crucial within any organisation. The inability to communicate effectively will result in a negative guest experience and will eventually lead to some form of negative publicity. The organisation's team building exercises may make way for improved communication between members of staff as well as departments. Guests tend to vent their anger on websites such as Trip Advisor when their holidays or business trips do not go as planned as a result of inefficient communication. The deliverance of any product, be it a good or a service, requires proper communication skills, particularly if the organisations in question wish to retain customers.

Leicester Marriott knows that communication is crucial, and it therefore gives extreme importance to all communication channels. Verbal communication is the main source of communication during departmental meetings which are held once a month, whilst once a quarter members from all departments are gathered to discuss hotel performance and receive organisation updates and recognition awards. Daily shift meetings are also organised amongst HODs to discuss important events, and interdepartmental meetings are held every week to discuss the week's challenges. Such communication allows employees to effectively tackle internal issues and, when possible, conjure up immediate solutions.

One of the main corridors in the back of the hotel is purely dedicated to communication between associates, where one can find staff notice boards containing written information about internal and external job vacancies, social activities, special hotel offers, health and safety procedures, employee of the month information, and numerous others. Such information must be visible and easily accessible to all associates, as well as regularly updated to keep the interest alive. Associate newsletters are published and distributed to all staff on a weekly basis to ensure that they are updated with the latest hotel issues. During break time, events and other activities, associates are free to chat and catch up on work and non-work related gossip, which is important to one's happiness.

Hospitality organisations utilize almost every communication channel. Written methods of communication may take the form of reports which are written up by management for hotel directors, letters which are sent by personnel from the accounting department to banks, emails which are sent by employees at the reservations office to potential guests, and notices which are put up on the staff notice board in the main staff corridor. Spoken methods such as face to face encounters are constantly experienced by front of house staff when speaking to guests, formal meetings are carried out between members of management and shareholders, informal meetings may be carried out between department members and their superiors, and telephone conversations may be required when sorting out payment issues with past guests.

Body language is another crucial method of communication, and this can often deliver messages which oppose one's words, so it is important for people who work in the hospitality industry to develop a body language which projects confidence and professionalism. As is clearly evident, it is through effective and efficient communication that any organisation is able to attract new clients and develop, retain and strengthen professional relationships

Task 9 - Describe contexts that can lead to a change - many changes occur in the travel industry due the nature of the industry including mergers and restructuring to respond to changes in demand

Change in the travel industry is inevitable, and such change is brought about by factors which, like the industry itself, are dynamic in nature. The PESTLE and SWOT frameworks are suitable examples of this. PESTLE stands for the political, economic, social, technological, legal and eco-environmental factors which influence organisations from all fields. The SWOT analysis deals with strengths and weaknesses, which happen to be internal traits, as well as opportunities and threats, which are created by players within the external environment.

Each PESTLE heading is immensely useful to identify possible factors which may lead to change within an organisation;

Political

Security concerns may create tension in airports due to increased screening processes, as is currently the case in the United States for instance. This may make people choose an alternative destination to visit as the thought of spending excessive time in screening may be an annoyance and ultimately, a deterrent.

Economic

Economic recession may result in the employment of cost-cutting measures, whereby employees may lose their jobs if little else can be done to cut down on other costs. Unemployment rates will therefore rise, causing extra financial strain on government expenditure in the form of paid benefits. The dynamic nature of the travel and tourism industry coupled with a negative economic climate may have catastrophic results, and organisations attempt to overcome this by restructuring and re-evaluating market demand, as well as through mergers and acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions allow for an increase in market share by combining two or more loyal client bases. As a matter of fact, mergers and acquisitions in the US for the year 2010 increased by 300%, and are expected to increase further this year.

Social

A boom in the aging population may result in greater financial strain for governments in terms of social benefits; however, this may also give companies the opportunity to tap new markets. Tour operators may decide to widen their product base by adding more elderly-oriented package holidays, where everything is pre-paid, and all factors are taken care of by the organisation to ensure that clients have nothing to worry about. However, a decrease in birth rates will be detrimental to society and may have negative effects on the jobs market.

Technological

Technology is constantly improving, so change is inevitable in this respect. New technology will allow businesses to become more efficient and may help to cut down on long term costs. Therefore, companies which depend on technology to become more efficient are constantly undergoing change.

Legal

New transportation laws may impose limits to the services offered by certain airlines, for instance.

Eco-environmental

If oil prices continue to rise, and oil reserves continue to diminish, new forms of energy must be developed to sustain the daily requirements of the world. The Crowne Plaza hotel in Copenhagen uses its eco-credentials as part of its successful marketing campaign.

The SWOT analysis also allows managers and their teams to analyse their market position with the aim of successfully dealing with external and internal changes. Strengths must be used to the organisation's advantage and must be strengthened further through constant analysis of the competition, market situations, trends, and product lifecycles. Weaknesses must be analysed and turned into strengths through proper planning and decision making. New opportunities may be the result of changes in the factors within the PESTLE framework, or changes in consumer preferences. Threats brought about by new competition may damage existing firms if they have a better and more desirable product offering more benefits. If for instance the travel market is experiencing a change in consumer preferences, this may be considered a threat to those organisations which are unable to cater for such changes.

Task 10 - Analyse the planning and decision making processes that could be involved in managing change

The decision making processes required to manage change ultimately depend on how drastic the change is. Minimal change may require minimal planning and decision making, whilst major change would require in-depth planning and rigorous decision making procedures. The main types of change that can be experienced by an organisation are reactive and planned change, as well as strategic drift. Reactive change is typically forced upon an organisation by uncontrollable external forces found in PESTLE framework. Alternatively, planned change is decided upon by members of management and directors as they believe it would benefit the organisation, whilst strategic drift is change that occurs subtly and is not noticed until it is too late. In such a case, the organisation's culture is typically the culprit, as strategic change is detrimental to an organisation's well-being if there is not an accompanying cultural change.

Lewin (1951) devised the 'unfreeze-change-refreeze' model for change management, which is closely associated with the force field analysis. The first stage is called 'unfreeze', whereby people must change their current views and consider other possible situations which are in line with future targets. Step two is called 'change', whereby the actual change process begins, and step three is the 'refreeze' stage, whereby people get used to the new situation which has been adopted. This principle forms the basis of change management and has been revised and adapted to numerous different situations.

When the forces driving the change are identified, managers must plan and decide how the organisation is going to adapt to changes imposed by both the internal and external environments. Change is a complex and cyclical process, very much like the planning process which is also cyclical in nature. By the time the new goal is achieved, more advanced goals enter the organisation's pipeline, and this is particularly true to organisations which function in ever changing environments such as the hospitality industry. Below are five crucial steps which are required for strategic planning to occur in preparation of times of change:

The first step of the planning process is for the organisation's new goals to be determined together with the different methods for reaching these goals. Managers must forecast where they want the organisation to be in the coming five years, what challenges the industry may face and how such challenges may influence the organisation, as well as to what extent such change may influence the organisation's client base, for instance.

Once all of the above are determined and verified, the plan must then be implemented.

The differences between past and present performance should be measured and analysed to see whether the new plan is giving the desired results.

Where necessary, the procedures should be adjusted until the goals are satisfactorily reached.

New goals are set as a result of change, and the process restarts.

The decision making process required to manage change is also complex. Lewin (1947) developed the 'Force Field Analysis', a tool which assists in the management of change in the organisation by depicting all the forces which work both for and against the change. The below steps are essentially based on Lewin's analysis as such forces must be considered before making any decision. The depth of each step depends on the extent to which change is occurring:

It is primarily required to gather all necessary data and information to be able to recognise the existence of issues, and assess their urgency. Targets for change must be determined to be able to adapt to the future situation, and it is through both primary and secondary research that a baseline for further development can be created.

The facts must be analysed and the available options to deal with the change must be identified. The benefits pertaining to each option must be weighed against their costs so as to be able to determine which the most feasible options are. The benefits and costs of change are two forces which act for and against the change, which may be considered as two forces relating to force field analysis.

The decision must be made after the alternative options are compared and the most suitable option is selected.

The plan must be implemented after it is finalised, and the details should be communicated to all people who will be affected.

Future actions must be monitored and controlled to ensure that the new situation is operating successfully.

In-depth strategic planning and decision making processes are fundamental for change to occur successfully. Before the plans are implemented, all people who may be affected by such change should be accurately informed, whether it is the community, employees, loyal customers, or everyone, as this may help create or sustain an organisation's image of loyalty towards its customers and other stakeholders. However, it ultimately depends on the manager and his/her approach. Some managers may simply make a decision and tell people about it afterwards and persuade them to accept it, whilst others may for instance ask people for their opinions after a decision is made, but not take such opinions into consideration. In other words, consultation of this kind is useless as the decisions would have already been made.

Task 11- As a manager what are the implications of leadership in times of change? What are the factors involved and what strategies can you put into place to address these?

In times of change, a manager must be able to guide a team of associates towards a new common goal, a goal which caters for changes in the internal and external environments, and builds upon previous shortcomings. Such change is often complex and may be perceived as positive or negative depending on the extent to which others may be affected.

Insufficient training in areas such as project and change management and leadership can have a negative impact on any change initiative. Appropriate and frequent training are fundamental for an up-to-date understanding of the required management methods pertaining to different types of change. Examples may include project management training to ensure that change is implemented in time and on budget, change management skills such as communication and consultation, as well as leadership skills.

Conflict handling skills are also crucial for those who are leading a team through change. Conflict tends to be inevitable in such situations and can lead to stress, however it is often through such conflict that some of the best ideas are formulated. Managers leading an organisational change will most certainly face limitations or resistance to change from individuals and groups within the organisation. However, the presence of resistance does not mean that the change is negative. On the contrary, it may be that employees simply fear breaking away from the norm and losing the security associated with their current situation.

Leadership is fundamental to the provision of vision and rationale for change, and the lack of it is considered to be an inhibitor. Inducing change without communicating with those who will be affected is also an inhibitor to the effectiveness of change, and this will ultimately lead to greater employee resistance and possible performance issues. The inability or the reluctance of managers to communicate effectively with those who are to be affected may be detrimental to the organisation and may project a negative image.

Employing the four leadership practices, mainly performance management, motivation, action-centred leadership and ethical leadership may diminish some of this resistance, and would therefore make the transition a lot smoother. Leadership is ultimately all about providing proper guidance, communicating, and being able to understand the concerns of others, whilst providing the necessary reassurance to deal with the transition.

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References

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http://psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_big_five_personality_traits for a summary of five key personality traits [Accessed 10 January 2011]

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