The Several Problems In A Company Commerce Essay

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IT Friends Inc have several problems but these can be narrowed down to two important ones - one, theft of client resources, which is a cause of serious concern and two, the high number of customer complaints.

There are two possible decision alternatives in front of IT Friends Inc:

It can prevent thefts by deploying appropriate security measures or

It can improve the quality of its services through employee training programs and other measures

The outcome of these decisions are dependent on how effective the trainings and measures undertaken to improve the quality of the services and security measures are. If the company focuses on improving the quality of services, the number of complaints will reduce but there is a risk of theft, which may be left unattended. If the company chooses to focus on security measures, for which again resources will need to be trained, there will not be any thefts but due to poor quality the customers may no longer be there.

When no probabilities are available for states of nature, decisions are given under uncertainty. We can use the decision making strategies such as Laplace, minimax, maximin and minimax regret.

In this example the states of nature, centred on manpower resources, are:

Poorly trained

Moderately trained and

Highly trained

The Payoff table is shown below:

 

Poorly trained resources

Moderately trained resources

Decision alternatives

Improve control measures

10

5

Improve quality of work

15

10

The Payoff is counted as the number of instances of complaints about quality and security violations during the month.

Laplace criterion: choose the decision alternative with the highest mean payoff

According to the Laplace criterion, the various states of nature are assumed to be equally likely, and the decision-maker is required to choose the decision alternative with the highest mean payoff.

If IT Friends Inc. chooses to focus on improving control measures, the mean payoff is 5.33 whereas if it focuses on improving quality, the mean payoff is 9.33. Therefore if we were to go by the Laplace criterion IT Friends Inc should focus on improving the quality of its services.

Maximin criterion: choose the decision alternative with the highest minimum payoff

The maximin criterion requires the decision-maker to choose the decision alternative with the highest minimum payoff. In other words, the decision-maker is pessimistic and wishes to avoid the lowest possible return.

In this case, the minimum possible payoff under the "Improve control measures" alternative is 1 whereas under the "Improve quality of work" alternative is 3. Therefore, under the Maximin criterion we would be required to go with the highest minimum payoff and opt for the "Improve quality of work" alternative.

Maximax criterion: choose the decision alternative with the highest maximum payoff

The maximax criterion requires the decision-maker to choose the decision alternative with the highest maximum payoff. In other words, the decision-maker is optimistic and aims for the highest possible return.

The maximum payoff possible under the "Improve control measures" alternative is 10 whereas under the "Improve quality of work" alternative is 15. Therefore in this case the maximax criterion requires IT Friends Inc to choose the "Improve quality of work" decision alternative.

Minimax regret criterion: choose the decision alternative with the lowest maximum regret

We have converted the payoff table into a regret table by replacing the payoff with a "regret" which is the difference between the payoff in that cell and the maximum payoff for that particular state of nature. The minimax regret criterion then requires the decision-maker to choose the decision alternative with the lowest maximum regret.

The regret table is seen here:

 

Poorly trained resources

Moderately trained resources

Decision alternatives

Improve control measures

5

5

Improve quality of work

0

0

The Payoff is counted as the number of instances of complaints about quality and security violations during the month.

From this regret table, we can see that under the "Improve control measures" alternative, the maximum regret is 2 whereas under the "Improve quality of work" alternative, it is 0.

Therefore in this case the minimax regret criterion requires IT Friends Inc to choose the "Improve quality of work" decision alternative.

In conclusion, it would be ideal for IT Friends Inc to focus on improving the quality of its services with training programs for employees and engaging them in Action Learning. It can include modules for "Ethics" and "Importance of confidentiality" and possibly get employees to sign on data confidentiality agreements. Both these measures would help to make employees aware of consequences and reduce the number of instances of thefts.

TASK 1 B

How you would measure and embed learning within the organization? Justify response using theoretical models?

I feel it is most appropriate to follow the theoretical models derived from 'humanistic psychologies' like 'person-centered counselling' (Rogers, 1961) and 'experiential learning' (Kolb, 1984).

It is apparent from the case study that the organization cares for its employees. One of the services my firm can provide to IT Friends Inc is to engage in person centered counseling. The essence of person-cantered counselling is the belief that, given the time and space to do so, the employee will find his or her own solutions (Rowan, 1988) to resolve issues. The role of the counsellor is to facilitate the employee's personal growth through being 'genuinely there' for the employee and by holding the employee in 'unconditional positive regard', and through empathic understanding established through active listening (Rogers, 1961). This will bring a lot of suppressed issues out into the open.

'Experiential learning' provides the framework with which I can facilitate the employees to take responsibility for their own learning, to set their own goals and devise their own strategies for change. Kolb (1984) observes that all learning involves four phases which follow each other in a 'learning cycle' of Interpreting, Reviewing, Concluding and Experimenting. Experience must be reflected upon, conclusions drawn, tried out and practiced, for learning to take place - there must be a link between theory and action.

This model provides a structure to support the employee to reflect on their experiences and experiment with these in new situations. Self-directed learning is further supported through preparation, feedback, record-keeping, review and evaluation at appropriate stages in the counselling process.

I would use the GROW model (Whitmore, 2003) to structure sessions around the employees' 'Goal', 'Reality', 'Options' and commitment to action, or 'Will'. I would work with the employee to set 'End Goals' in line with the company's values and 'Performance Goals' that are 'SMART' (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). At the middle of the year, I would conduct a `Half-Yearly Review' and at the end of the year conduct a 'Final Review' with the employee to reflect on the progress against agreed measures. I would also recommend that the review mechanism and subsequent grading be tied to monetary incentives so that there is an added emphasis on performing towards the goals.

TASK 1 C

Range of interventions that you would use

Interventions range from those designed to improve the effectiveness of individuals through to those designed to deal with teams and groups, intergroup relations, and the total organization. There are interventions that focus on task issues (what people do), and those that focus on process issues (how people go about doing it). Finally, interventions may be roughly classified according to which change mechanism they tend to emphasize: for example, feedback, awareness of changing cultural norms, interaction and communication, conflict and education through either new knowledge or skill practice

Below is an Intervention Model of Team Learning:

Interventions are thus structured activities used individually or in combination by the employees to improve their social or task performance. They may be introduced as part of an improvement program. They may be also used by the organization to check on the state of its health, or to effect necessary changes in the organizational behaviour.

I would recommend a whole range of "Structured activities" which could be such diverse procedures as experiential exercises, questionnaires, attitude surveys, interviews, relevant group discussions, and even lunchtime meetings with leaders to share their vision which will all ultimately work towards bringing the employees together onto a common platform of understanding and improve the overall health of the organization.

TASK 2 A

Strategy for increasing your team's learning capacity and ability

Learning is the process of making meaning and sense from data and information. Some of the most useful kind of learning takes place while people are involved in action.

I would rely on the Action Learning model to bring about an increased capacity and ability to learn as they work. Action Learning is a process for bringing together a group of people with varied levels of skills and experience to analyze an actual work problem and develop an action plan. The ad-hoc group would continue to meet as actions are implemented, learning from the implementation and making mid-course corrections. This strategy of learning is called Action Learning. Professor Reg Revans first introduced and coined the term "Action Learning" in the coal mines of Wales and England in the 1940s.

The following activities are a necessary component of Action Learning.

Experiential learning.

Creative complex problem solving.

Acquiring of relevant knowledge.

Co-learning group support.

Per the formula, Learning (L) occurs with a combination of Programmed Knowledge (P) and Insightful questioning (I).

Action Learning

Steps in Action Learning Process

Clarify the objective Presentation of the problem or the task to the group.

Group formation. Convene a cross-section of people with a complementary mix of skills and expertise to participate in the group.

Analyze the issue(s) and identify actions for resolving them.

The problem owner presents the problem briefly to the group.

Reframe the problem. The group should establish the crux of the problem, which might differ from the original presenting problem.

Determine goals. The achievement of the goal would solve the restated problem.

Develop action strategies. Much of the time and energy of the group will be spent on identifying, and pilot testing, of possible action strategies.

Take action implement the strategies developed and agreed to by the group.

Repeat the cycle of action and learning until the problem is resolved or new directions are determined.

Capturing learning. After a period of time, reconvene the group to discuss progress, lessons learned, and next steps. Document the learning process for future reference. Record lessons learned after each phase of learning.

TASK 2 B

USE A MODEL OF YOUR CHOICE TO DEVELOP A PERSONAL PROFILE OF YOUR STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESS AS A PERSON. IDENTIFY AREAS OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND CREATED A DEVELOPMENT PATH AND HAVE SUCESSFULLY MOVED A WEAKNESS IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION

TASK 3 A

WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PREPARE FOR THIS NEW AGE IN WHICH THE KEY TO SUCESS WILL BE THE CONTINIOUS EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN MINDS AND IMAGINATION (THE LEARNING AGE GREEN PAPER 1998)

In today's world no one is perfect; however, by putting some effort one can move a weakness in a positive direction. One can use a SWOT analysis model to develop a profile of one's Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats, which will help in targeting the areas of development and further build on areas of strengths. It will also make an individual make a realistic assessment of potential threats as well as opportunities.

SELF SWOT ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS

I am a quick learner

I grasp concepts very quickly.

I like gaining in-depth knowledge of relevant, practical subjects.

I have a lot of patience and do not get angry easily.

I am god-fearing, sincere and practical in my approach

I am considerate and think of the opposite person

I have a pleasant temperament and have good inter-personal skills as a result of which my friends, colleagues and very often even people I have recently met like my company

I am able to guide people and provide them with a correct perspective due to which my friends look to me for advice on a lot of matters.

This works to my advantage even when I am making a sale because I am able to relate to people and sell them a product which they need

I think ahead and plan in the long-term

I have good organizing ability

I am good at planning a thing from scratch and taking it through to its completion

I generally conform with rules and regulations be it at college or at work

I am reliable and hard - working

I am an efficient worker

I have a lot of determination and do not give up easily.

I am also flexible and can quickly adapt to any situation

I do not have any ego issues and consider any work to be equally important

I have a strong desire to be financially secure and stable as quickly as possible.

WEAKNESSES

Occasionally, I get stage-fright

I don't like saying no to people and end up doing a lot more than I am required to do.

I tend to think of all people as trust-worthy but this trust has been misplaced at times.

I prioritize work over personal life

I am not expressive in showing my affection towards loved ones.

OPPORTUNITIES

I am currently enrolled for a MBA program which should provide me with a stepping stone to a good job and resultant security.

My current workplace offers me an opportunity to complete my studies and then resume at a higher designation

There is scope for promotion, in my current workplace, to a Team Leader and further Line Manager.

THREATS

Changing visa policies and college rules are a source of worry about the future.

Health is compromised with the strenuous work that I do. This makes it difficult for me to perform at my best at work and also impacts my studies.

My areas of development are the ones I have identified as my weaknesses. The development path that I have prepared to address each of these areas is:

Stage fright: I will take care to be well-prepared on the topic that I will be speaking about.

I will make it a habit to read newspapers/news sites on the internet so that I am up to date about general awareness. I will participate in more discussions and debates. I will think from a perspective that all of us are equal and that what I have to say is also important. I will participate in workshops or programs for public speaking.

Saying no: Every time someone comes to me with a request I will make a quick assessment of how I am placed and then say yes or no accordingly in a polite manner.

Easily trusting: I will reflect on the individual's motives and think twice before placing my trust or giving money to anybody.

Work-life balance: I will respect the feelings of those who love me and make an effort to spend more quality time with them. I will also acknowledge my feelings and show my love towards them.

I will make a conscious effort to take at least a two-day break every month in which I will either go camping or on a retreat or any activity which will re-charge my batteries.

TASK 3

"WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PRPEARE FOR THIS NEW AGE IN WHICH THE KEY TO SUCESS WILL BE CONTINOUS EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN MINDS AND IMAGINATION" (THE LEARNING AGE GREEN PAPER 1998)

QUESTION A

DISCUSS THIS STATEMENT AND PROVIDE YOUR VIEW OF HOW ORGANIZATIONS CAN PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE FUTURE

Organizations today are investing a lot in human capital as they are the main assets of the company. Investing in human capital is the foundation of any business or a country as whole, that's the reason even UK Government is investing a lot in training people through NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) to give them the right education which can help them for their jobs.

WHAT ORGANIZATIONS CAN DO TO PREPARE THEM FOR THE FUTURE

Employees need to be properly trained so that they can perform their job properly, which can yield maximum profits for the company.

Management should involve employee's participation in various decisions which will help employees to think that they are really an integral part of the company.

Every employee should be given chance to grow and equal opportunities should be given to everyone.

For any organization learning will help them to be more successful by adding vale and being more successful.

Learning provides tools to manage latest technological changes and generate new ideas, R & D on which the future of the organizations relies and will help a business to compete with others in the industry.

Every organization should make the employees feel that they are a important part of the company and not just an employee.

Some companies today are even offering free courses or are giving certain amount of money if they want to do a certain course which will help them to develop them. For example I work for Tesco where after completing 2 years of service I can apply for a career break in which I can study whatever I want and join work when I have finished my studies for which they even provide loans.

Learning and development helps an organization to do a build a better relationship with all its stakeholders and improved quality assurance.

EXAMPLE

Auto Flow Services Ltd - which provides warehousing and stock management for the automotive industry - is an Investor in People and a 1997 National Training Award winner. By investing in its workforce it has increased turnover by 37 per cent, doubled its profits and reduced customer complaints to 0.06 per cent. It now employs over 80 staff.

Brian Seal, Quality and Training Manager, says "We now have a multi-skilled workforce willing and keen to develop further."

(http://www.lifelonglearning.co.uk/greenpaper/ch3000.htm)

CONCLUSION

Thus giving proper education and development of human minds will help an organization to become successful and increase it profits in the long term.

TASK 3 QUESTION B

EVALUATE THE CONTRIBUTION THAT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT MAKES TO THE RETENTION OF KEY EMPLOYEES.

Introduction

Employee retention is a major issue companies facing in today's time. Sometimes an employee leaves a company just because he is not happy with the manager rather than the company. In today's recession times it is very important for an organization retain its key employees which are the main asset of the company.

Some basic things which can be done to retain key employees could be

Give recognition which is genuine and not artificial.

A good working atmosphere.

To understand employees problem and find way to solve them.

Do force any one to do anything which they are not capable of.

Allow them to do things by which they can improve their business skills.

WAYS IN WHICH AN ORGANIZATION CAN USE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT AS A TOOL FOR RETENTION OF ITS KEY EMPLYOEES

Arrange regular training for the employees so that they can develop and improve their skills.

Allow employees to do in what they are expertise rather than forcing them to do something which they are not familiar with.

Give employees regular feedback about their work so any issues arising can be sorted quickly and at the right time.

Make learning more fun so that employees take part actively rather than forcing learning on them.

Leadership qualities of any employee needs to recognised and proper position should be given.

Allow employees to try new stuff even when sometimes it is not related to work which may encourage them to be with the company rather than thinking of leaving the company.

Try to mix work and pleasure together which most of the times can be very productive.

Keep a watch on early attrition signs of an employee which can be sorted before they leave the company.

Encourage employees to keep learning new things regularly to develop better business skills.

An organization also needs to understand the balance which an employee needs to maintain between work life and personal life.

EXAMPLES

One of my friend who works for a software company is going for a project training to China, apart from giving a basic understanding of Chinese language the company is also encouraging her to learn Chinese culture and the way of living which will help her when she goes there. Also in her company they have classes for learning different languages like French, German etc and anyone interested can join them, though this is not a part of the job but still the company wants its employees to develop them so they don't leave the company.

Nokia the largest manufacture of Mobiles in the world make sure the employees work to their full potential for this they have learning and development strategy where they believe 70% of the development should take place at work, 20% through networks and relationship and the rest 10% through formal development activities for this they have the coaching activities where trained line managers coach the employees and where employees are also encouraged to develop new ideas, software, design for mobile phones which can be develop further. This has helped Nokia to retain its key employees and be the No. 1 Mobile manufacturing company in the world.

(http://www.cipd.co.uk/helpingpeoplelearn/_nkcc?NRNODE=published&NRNODEGUI.htm)

CONCLUSION

Thus in today's competitive world for any organization to be successful they need to do continuous learning and development for it employees which will help them to retain its key employees.

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