ISP. Principles of Management 3

Academic Paper, 2010

41 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents


Strategy: How does a Manager Approach a Problem From a Strategic Position? Design Lens, Experience Lens, and Idea Lens

Motivation Concepts: The Realization of the Human Side of Work

Designing Organizational Structure

The Cultural Web: How Does a Manager Affect or Shape Company Culture?

Creating a High Performance Project Team

Leadership: What is the Role of a Leader Manager in a Self-Managing Team?




The ISP is made up of six major areas which are the topics too. These areas are in the content above. The topics have been approached with the necessary brevity as much as possible. I have also taken time to break down points to make it simple and understandable. Where I see the need I tried to exhaust to the full limits of topics as much as possible and the necessary terms have been preserved since they will find professional applications, so they have not been changed as such. Definitions and statements are appropriately referred and much literature has been supported by the necessary pages and website references as well. I tried to take care to expatiate on the subject matter (topics) sense, with the sense that pertains in the text books and websites I used. Where the topics were in question forms, I tried to satisfy it so that the focus of the literature appeared to always address or acknowledge the question, in order not to just satisfy the essay but the question answering mode too. I am particularly appreciative of the lecturer's professional acumen and molding mentorship through which this work has been accomplished.

Strategy: How does a Manager Approach a Problem From a Strategic Position? Design Lens, Experience Lens, and Idea Lens

To deal into the subject matter, 'strategy', the following definitions are used at first hand to pave the way and to open into concrete references so as to give flexible links to following headings of the research topic above. „Although managers have always needed to devise the means to compete (often referred to as competitive strategies), the dramatic increase of competition with many markets in recent years has enhanced the importance of strategy and the strategic management process“[1]. This shows that strong objectives must be put in place by a manager to enhance the strategic management process. „Fundamentally, the objective of strategic management is to determine, create, and maintain competitive advantage, so competitive advantage is the ability of a firm to win consistently over the long term in a competitive situation. In the case of for profit organizations, this means consistently gaining greater profits than competitors. Competitive advantage is created through the achievement of five qualities; Superiority, inimitability, durability, no substitutability, and appropriability“[2]. Further, superiority also known as comparative advantage or distinctive competency, that is, where others’ might be also good, you are better distinctively and also compared to those of others, yours is better and of a far advantage. Inimitability: While there is superiority, the key to that should be complicated and difficult to copy through setting barriers, and obstacles can be of tangible (i.e. size) or intangible nature (i.e. a company's culture). Durability: There are advantages but some are more durable i.e. a patented advantage. Scientific patents are of 17 to 20 years lots. Also, brands are even longer in durability needing lots of years to deteriorate. Nosubstitutability: This is where there is a low possibility of substitution for a competitive advantaged fit. If in any case customers also find satisfaction in consuming a comparative item, then, the comparative advantage for that item will not sustain its competitive advantage, e.g. Coca cola and pepsi. Appropriability: This implies whether the profits that can be made in the business can actually be captured. There are above average profits known as supernormal profits and the ability to achieve these profit targets (the supernormal profits), is due to excellent customer caliber and values as well as high intangible values of the business which are competitive advantages over other businesses or companies. All these show that the strategic management process is sequential with full analyses and choices. In the light of this, Dr. Barney and Hesterly defined strategy as „a firm's theory about how to get a competitive advantage“. They also, defined the strategic management process as „a sequential set of analysis and choices that can increase the likelihood that a firm will choose a good strategy, that is, a strategy that generates competitive advantages“[3]. Thus, the stage of strategy a firm adapts and adopts is reflective mostly from the tactical mission statement the firm constructs. Therefore, the strategies of a firm follow the clear definition of mission. Mission has to do with the long term purpose of the firm and it is the firm's aspiration in the long run as well as its avoidances in the short run (mean time). Missions are often in the form of mission statements. They focus the expected economic value status of product and services of a firm and its decision strategies and actions ahead. According to Barney et al, „competitive advantages is when a firm is able to create more economic value than rival firms, where economic value is the difference between the perceived benefits gained by a customer that purchases a firm's products or services and the full economic value its rivals are able to create“[4].

Stephen et al posited that, „strategic management is that set of managerial decisions and actions that determines the long run performance of an organization“[5]. Strategic management therefore entails all the basic management functions. Before any decisions and actions of the management of a firm are made, it is healthy when the SWOT analysis of the business is considered alongside timing and implementation into the future. Gary Dessler defined strategic planning and management that, „strategic planning is the process of identifying the business of the firm today and the business of the firm for the future, and then identifying the course of action it should pursue, given its opportunities, threats, and strengths, and weaknesses. It specifies with who the firm will compete, and how it will compete with them. Strategic management on the other hand, includes the implementation phase. It is the process of identifying and executing the organization's mission, by matching the organization's capabilities with the demands of its environment“[6]. From the above definitions it shows that strategic management entails problem solving but with tactfulness and strategies by a manager and or his/her team. It is devising an effective formula or plan and using it to work out an innovation of a service or product which makes it unique and better than that of a rival business, and will be more cherished by customers with time. This shows that the innovation could pull high demand immediately or could be gradually patronized from day one the product becomes available and then to extreme demand levels in the future. In solving problems to help innovate Dr. Barney posited in his definition stated above that, it entails all the basic management functions, thus, planning, organizing, leading or directing, and controlling. Where ‘problem’, it is the discrepancy between a desirable and an actual situation[7]. It is problems that prompt most decisions and decisions then entail the basic functions of management. For management to approach a problem from a strategic position he or she cannot do away with considering the above statements. It is therefore in place and necessary for a manager to approach a problem from a strategic position.

Approaching a Problem from a Strategic Position: The nature of a problem solving process in this context, by a manager from a strategic position is made up of a model which is based on three premises 1) learning from experience, 2) problem solving by manipulating and controlling of the external world through one's mental processes (mind over matter) and 3) problem solving is naturally a social process.

Learning from Experience: This concept identifies from phases which are concrete experience (using exposure and cues), reflective observation (considering possible imaginative alternative clues with critical thinking), abstract conceptualization (deriving hypothetical posits and propositions or drawing creative mental models to test, compare or weigh the problem), and active experimentation (practically manipulating some trials or errors to see if they will give expected signs, identities, close agreements, or results). Blending the above with common sense, the manager must use concrete experience with experiments to bear on the specific difficulties en-counted in immediate situations as well as apply holistic actions to overcome the problem strategically.

Mind over Matter: A manager can approach problems from a strategic position by using the concept of mind over matter. This is the ability to solve complicated problems and this is seen by Irwin et al[8], as uniquely human, resulting from the structure of the human mind, first, in its deflective ability to perceive experiences in the world and to comprehend these experiences through words and symbols.

Second, human self-consciousness provides a perspective on and control over this process. According to Kaplan, „the manager gives form to a problem in the way a potter sees and then shapes the possibilities in a lump of clay. The difference is that managers practice their craft using an intangible medium; Information“[9]. Irwin et al, the same references as before posited that, „problem solving is the process of using our minds to control the world around us. It is literally the way we achieve the power of the mind over matter“

A Social Process: Further, managers can also use social process concept to approach problems from a strategic position. This implies that problem solving is not just a mental activity but it is basically a social process. „Solutions to problems are inevitably, combinations, new applications, or modifications of old solutions. From other people we get new dreams, new ideas, information, and help in getting things done. Language communication and conflict are central in problem solving“(Irwin et al, 2001).

A manager can use four tasks to approach a problem from a strategic position: 1) the use of one's own and others thinking, 2) the use of arrangements that promote problem solving and cooperation of interdependent groups among organizational units, 3) management of relationships and peaceful co-existence in order to ensure appropriate involvement of others, 4) the use of conflict resolutions in organizational climate leads to removal of group barriers to information sharing and collaborative problem solving.

Also, the use of situation analysis, problem analysis, solution analysis, and implementation analysis is really helpful where; situation analysis triggers a question such as what is the most important problem? That is to examine the immediate situational context to determine the right problem to work on. In the case of problem analysis a question such as what are the causes of the problem? This well defines the problem in terms of the essential variables or factors that influence it. Also, with solution analysis, the question of what the best solution is arises and seeks to generate possible solutions and to test their feasibility for solving the problem against a defined criterion. Finally, a question arising due to implementation analysis is how do we implement the solution? This requires identification of the essentials needed for implementation, then involving those who will be directly affected by the light and as all are finally dealt with, the problem then becomes totally solved[10].. Further strategies can be applied by a manager from a strategic position by applying knowledge from design lens, experience lens, and idea lens in order to form an efficient, healthy and successful strategy since these lenses are complementary and inspire insight into managerial strategies..

Design lens: This is the case where strategy development is viewed as the deliberate positioning of the organization through a logical, analytical, structured and directive process, and this is influenced by executive management with careful and objective analysis and planning so as to help optimize economic performance. This decision is an outcome based on positioning and repositioning of the organization with fast-changing environment, therefore decisions with regards to the strategy are segregated from their implementation.

Experience lens: T his is the case where strategy is viewed as an outcome of individual experience and organizational culture, and this influences future strategic decisions with adaptation and amendment of past strategies to establish a new efficient and healthy strategy.In the light of this, a strategy could be considered as a result of a continuous and incremental change in a strategy which already exists rather than a fundamental change. With the utilization of this lens, management is able to comprehend issues that influence decisions in a cultural sense and therefore help manage change.

Idea lens: This is the case where strategy planning is not always from the top of the hierarchy but from ideas within and around the fast changing environment of the organization. This strategic perspective expatiates the reason some organizations tend to be more proactive as compared with others and strategically inspires the encouragement of innovation and new ideas in a company[11].

Motivation Concepts: The Realization of the Human Side of Work

Stephen et al[12] explained that, „motivation is the process that account for an individual's willingness to exert high levels of effort to reach organizational goals, conditioned by the effort's ability to satisfy some individual needs“. The goal is stressed as organizational goals because the focus here is on work-related behavior, where the human side of work could be realized. Out of the definition above three elements stand out being, 1) effort- this is a measure of intensity or drive (a motivated person tries hard), 2) organizational goals - this is an effort by the motivated worker to reach the organizational set targets and finally, 3) needs- this is an inner state that makes certain outcomes appear attractive (Stephens, 2005). In this case, the individual's needs must be compatible with the organization's goals. Anything far removed from this fact makes the individual to exert high levels of effort but they will run counter to the interest of the organization.

Let us first look at some classical theories since most modern theories emerged from classical theories, three classical or early theories were stated in the work of Stephen et al as a) Maslow's hierarchy of needs, b) McGregor's theories x and y, and c) Herzberg's motivation- hygiene theory all of which, we look first at the theory of the psychologist Abraham Maslow which he stated that, there are five hierarchies of needs in every person, stating: i) Physiological needs (food, drink, shelter, sexual satisfaction, and other physical requirements), ii) Safety needs (security and protection from physical and emotional harm, as well as assurance that physical needs will continue to be met,), iii) Social needs (affection, belonging, acceptance, and friendship), iv) Esteem needs (internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy, and achievement and external esteem factors such as status, recognition and attention), and v) Self-actualization needs (growth, achieving one's potential, and self fulfillment- the drive to become what one is capable of becoming). Maslow dilated that the five needs hierarchy should be satisfied in sequence where each level is fully satisfied before a move to the next. He said further that, a need no longer motivates, once it is substantially satisfied (i.e. as each need is so satisfied, the next becomes dominant). No needs are possibly fully satisfied but at least a substantial satisfaction is important. As the needs are satisfied this way a person moves up the need ladder. Maslow further argued that, a person stands in the need hierarchy and once this comes to light to motivate the person, he or she must then focus on the hierarchy level above that level.

More so, he separated all five needs into lower and higher levels, where, s afety and physiological needs imply lower-order needs (needs that are predominantly satisfied externally), and social, esteem, and self-actualization needs were placed as higher-order needs (needs that are satisfied internally). In descending order from the top of the hierarchy, we have self actualization-esteem- social- safety- physiological.

McGregor's Theory and Theory-Y: McGregor postulated theories x and y. In his work, he posited that for theory x, the worker is unmotivated except by financial incentives therefore, he was of the view that the average worker is lazy, dislikes work, wants to dodge responsibility and prefers to be directed and coerced into achieving organizational goals[13]. For theory y which represents a positive view of people, accepts that, workers are able to exercise self-direction, accept and actually seek out responsibility as well as consider work as natural. McGregor believed that theory y reflected true nature of workers. He felt theory y should be a management yardstick.

Bringing the theories x and y to bear on motivation Maslow's work came to light where theory x assumed that lower order needs such as safety and physiological needs dominated individual needs. See Maslow's hierarchy of needs above, whereas, theory y assumed that higher order needs (i.e. self actualization, esteem and social) dominated[14].

Herzberg's Motivation Hygiene Theory: Herzberg's theory was opined, that is, „ intrinsic factors are related to job satisfaction and motivation, whereas extrinsic factors are associated with job dissatisfaction“. Having interviewed a lot of workers about job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, Herzberg concluded that, people's responses about job satisfaction brought to light factors called motivators, such as, achievement recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. On the other hand, responses on job dissatisfaction gave the emergence of hygiene factors such as, supervision, company policy, and relationship with supervisor, working conditions, salary, and relationship with pears, personal life, and relationship with subordinates, status, and security. Then, motivators were classified as being extremely satisfying and these are intrinsic, whereas the hygiene factors were classified as being extremely dissatisfying and these are extrinsic factors.

Herzberg said whenever people were dissatisfied with their jobs they tend to attribute extrinsic factors to it and the reverse happens where they tend to attribute intrinsic factors. He believed that the opposite of satisfaction was not dissatisfaction. That if the dissatisfying characteristics were renamed it wouldn't necessarily make that job satisfying or motivating. Herzberg further extended his findings to what he termed a dual continuum where „satisfaction“does not have opposite as „dissatisfaction“but as „no satisfaction“ whereas, the opposite of „dissatisfaction“ is „no dissatisfaction“. According to Herzberg, „the factors that led to job satisfaction were separate and distinct from those that led to job dissatisfaction. Therefore, managers who sought to eliminate factors that created job dissatisfaction could bring about work place harmony but not necessarily motivation“[15]. The motivation concepts consist of a classical and contemporary theory. We have illustrated on some of the classical theories earlier and now let us see the contemporary theories of motivation which explain modern discussions of worker motivation.

Contemporary Theories of Motivation: This consists of three- needs theory, goal-setting theory, reinforcement theory, designing motivating jobs, equity theory, and expectancy theory. Three- Needs Theory[16]: The three-needs theory is also termed in the work of Hitt Black Porter as acquired needs theory. This theory says three acquired (but not innate) needs are achievement, power and affiliation motivational needs. Need for Achievement: Focuses on the agitation to excel, achieve a qualification or motivation or a discovery, and to strive to succeed. Need for Power: Is about the need to have a right to act with a vested authority in someone, and, Need for Affiliation: It is the need to gain regards and links that are cordial, diplomatic and friendly. In the work of Stephen et al, it was explained that achievers don't make good managers because they probably focus more on their personal achievements than focusing more attention on organization goals, however, employees can be trained to stimulate their own achievements by the organization.

Goal-Setting Theory: This is the proposition that specific goals increase performance, and that, difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance than do easy goals[17]. Goal setting theory takes into consideration people in general whereas need for achievement theory considers people already of high achievements. It is best to involve employees in the goal setting process, and to design a feedback reception mechanism, since receiving feedback on performances give a course to performing better. Also, three other factors that complement to enhance the goal-setting theory are 1) goal commitment (takes effect as soon as goal is set), 2) adequate self efficacy (an individual's believe that he or she is capable of performing a task and the higher the efficiency, the more he/she believes and the harder he/she tries on a task. The opposite happens when he/she has low efficiency and therefore tend to give up altogether on a task), and 3) national culture (where high goal setting leads to high performance in one business setting it might not do the same in another setting, it might lead to low performance therefore, due to the prevailing organizational culture).


[1] Management, International Edition, By Hitt Black Porter, p193

[2] Management, International Edition, By Hitt Black Porter, p194

[3] Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage (Concepts and Cases) By Jay B. Barney and Williams S. Hesterly, p5

[4] Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage (Concepts and Cases) By Jay B. Barney and Williams S. Hesterly, p12

[5] Management, International Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p180

[6] Principles and Practices for Tomorrow's Leaders),By Gary Dessler, p112

[7] Management (Principles and Practices for Tomorrow's Leaders), By Gary Dessler, p53

[8] Organizational Behaviour, (An Experiencial Approach) By Joyce S,. David A, Irwin M. All of Osland Kolb Rubin, 7th Edition, p217

[9] Organizational Behaviour, (An Experiencial Approach) By Joyce S,. David A, Irwin M. All of Osland Kolb Rubin, 7th Edition, p217

[10] Organizational Behaviour, (An Experiencial Approach) By Joyce S, David A, Irwin M. All of Osland Kolb Rubin, 7th Edition, p218

[11] and

[12] Management, International Edition, 8th Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p392

[13] Management, international Edition, By Stephen Robbins and Mary Coulter, p394, and Management (Principles and Practices for Tomorrow's Leaders), By Gary Dessler, p13

[14] Management, international Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p395

[15] Management, international Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p396

[16] Management, International Edition, By Hitt Black Porter, p419, and Management, international Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p396

[17] Management, international Edition, By Stephen P. Robbins and Mary Coulter, p398

Excerpt out of 41 pages


ISP. Principles of Management 3
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
principles, management
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Wisdom Yao Dornyo (Author), 2010, ISP. Principles of Management 3, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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