Strategic Management

With the dawn of the 21st century almost all things irrespective of the field or particular discipline to which they are related to have underwent unprecedented and rampant development. This development which has mainly been possible due to technological innovations and advancements has played an extremely pivotal role in providing a completely new dimension and vision to the ways and practices which were conducted earlier (Schaeffer, 2003). It has primarily and pre-dominantly because of these changes in the technological mainstream due to which corporate practices and their implementation within an organisation has undergone considerable progress with the passage of time.
             Another very profound impact that the current Techtronic age has developed upon people can easily and comprehensibly be manifested in the form of the corporate mechanism, functioning and the ways through which it has restructured and streamlined itself in accordance to contemporary standards in one way or the other completely redefining them in the entire process.
            This can further be verified from the fact that with the passage of time and, especially since the onset of the new millennium organizations, and multinational corporations dealing with billions of dollars and revenues has started to pay special attention and concentration towards some specific segments, through the implementation of which these organizations and corporations have been able to establish benchmarks defining their very own distinctive existence and presence in the corporate mainstream.
            Some of these areas which have emerged and have subsequently become areas of immense and tremendous importance include the different segments in an organisation which are directly or indirectly affected by management, human resources, corporate social responsibility, customer and client services, corporate governance and among all the skills and potentials of leadership which are required for the smooth and consistent running of all appropriate organizational operations.
            During the course of this discussion we would, however be addressing the different aspects and dimensions of managerial affairs that an organisation encounters and the ways through which the parallel operative leadership working in the business deals with. In addition to this the differences between these two qualities is also important to address along with the contributions that have been made by different organizational experts on this field of study and assessing the effectiveness of the contributions that they have made. However, apart from all other components and aspects it is important to first and foremost develop an acquaintance and understanding regarding the different types of definitions that have been proposed for the terminology of management as well as leadership.
Task 1
            The term management in contemporary corporate culture has become quite multi-interpretative. However, after utmost consideration, there are basically two different definitions that can be specified for management (Adler, 1991). It is also important to mention here that these definitions of management have primarily been an outcome of the different functions that the management of an organisation executes within its different capacities.
            One of the definitions that can be proposed by the management is related to the members encompassed in the executive level where decisions related to diverse problems and complications being faced by the company are discussed, negotiated and resolved. This is a high level definition of management. On the other hand, the term management is also used synonymously with the conduction of commercial and other related organizational activities which involve the mobilization of a proper workforce through the help and use of which aims and objectives short listed can easily be achieved and acquired.
            These objectives and outcomes are also accompanied with a pre-defined set of instructions and guidelines according to which the task needs to be fulfilled. It is also important to mention here that the tasks need to be executed under constant supervision and guidance from the manager undertaking the task.
            Once we are done with the ways through the help of which the process of management can be defined it is now important to have a look at the aspect which is most commonly confused or intermingled with the process and phenomenon of management. This is the concept of leadership. While understanding the different dynamics and salient features of management it is simultaneously important to understand and develop familiarity with the concepts that are either similar or different to each other.
            A major difference between these two things is fundamentally they are carried out or conducted. Leadership is pre-dominantly a force that imposes a set of defined goals and objectives for people to follow irrespective of the fact whether they do it willingly or reluctantly (Leavitt, 1989). In comparison to this, the function of management primarily comprises and is based upon a defined set of goals and objectives which are properly planned and streamlined with the co-ordination of other employees to acquire completion. Hence, it can be said that the major difference between them is based upon the factor of participation.
            Along with this, there is another important factor that has to be considered and in this case it is in the form of good managers and good leaders. It is also important to pinpoint here that there is no hard and fast rule on the criteria of which good managers and leaders can be distinguished. However, it is generally said that good managers and good leaders but that may not be true vice versa. Nonetheless, it is important to outline that both of these forces share an extremely interdependent and exhibit an extremely symbiotic nature and relation with each other.
            Apart from the points that have so far been mentioned, it is also important to understand that there are also situations in which management and leadership qualities, both are put at test. This can easily be demonstrated in the case of a Prime Minister who with the use of his leadership qualities effectively handles the different political matters and fluctuations and at the same time by acting as a resourceful manager prioritizes upon the resources available and upon the process of their allocation to bring the most important changes required.
            Over an extensive period of time many different experts and people have accomplished tasks and theories based upon the different aspects of management. One of them has been Taylor who is best known for his time and motion study in the steel industry. This study was based upon the division of a task into multiple components in order to enhance the level of efficiency and productivity related to it. He believed that through enforced standardization of different methods, enforce adoption of different methods and all of this allied with enforced cooperation among employees can substantially enhance the time a single task in the handling of pig-iron is required. This particular concept laid the foundation of scientific management that Taylor was unfortunately not allowed to apply in the steel mill he use to work at.
            In comparison to this it is also important to outline here that another prominent personality in this context is Fayol who has actually provided the key of managing different operations taking place in the organisation within the hands of the administration. He bases his argument upon the thesis statement of strong administrative control and domination within the organisation environment to ensure that all tasks and duties take place in the most smooth and consistent manner possible.
            Along with this there are also a number of sociologists who have gained immense significance for the works that they have done in the field of management. One of them is Max Weber. Weber has based the crux of his argument upon strong bureaucratic control and authority in order to ensure the fulfilment of managerial functions. Some of the principles that have been laid down by Weber in this context include the conduction of management functions which is based on written records, takes place with the help of thorough and specialized training and most importantly upon the basis of rules that are knowable, tested and verified. The bureaucratic concept of management that has been applied by Weber has helped in the development of proper management mechanisms in national and government based and controlled institutions.
            Contributions of different management experts cannot undergo fulfilment without discussing the features of theory presented by Elton Mayo who is a pioneering figure behind the remarkable and breakthrough work that has been done in the field of human relations with the help of Hawthorne studies. Much of the deductions made by Mayo in regards to his work are purely social in nature and advocate upon the fact that financial incentives and physical facilities offered by the organisation do not play any important role in ensuring that the level of productivity from the employee end will increase, however on such factor that can guarantee it is the social interaction and level of cooperation that prevails between the employees of an organisation working within different capacities. (Gore, 2006)
            This interaction actually holds the key for ensuring enhancement in productivity from employee end. Once we have understood the works of different managerial experts and specialists it is also important to have a look at the important theories in regards to management. Out of all others it has been the Theory X and Theory Y which is most important. Both these theories are completely contradictory in nature. According to the doctrine of Theory X the management of an organisation assumes that its employees are inherently lazy and look for excuses through which they avoid taking responsibility hence it is important that they must be closely supervised as to whether they are doing their assigned tasks or not.
            Theory Y on the flip side intends to cultivate and nurture a climate of trust among its employees by advocating the fact that the employees that the company has hired in the organisation are ambitious and self-motivated; hence they must be provided the authority of self-control over the work that they are doing for the organization, hence the philosophies adhered by each of the theory and its salient features are completely opposing in their respective nature as well as in terms of their implementation.
Task 2
            The term leadership like management can also be applied in the context of various contexts and capacities. One of the most simple and convenient definitions in terms of understanding for this term can be in the form of the skill and potential through which the process of leading can easily be accomplished (Gaynor, 2010). This leading process can also be performed and conducted for a number of reasons. These reasons and factors can be of political, social or even economic nature. However as mentioned earlier unlike the process of management which is carefully planned and well coordinated, the process and quality of leadership lacks these qualities as in this case it is more or less the ideology of a single person or a specific group for which others are included as sidekicks merely to add weight to the entire movement that is being launched.  
            With the passage of time there are different types of leadership styles that have been devised each of it dealing with their own specific nature and quality. However during the course of this discussion we would be shedding light upon a prominent few. One of the most significant among all others is Charismatic Leadership. The person possessing the characteristics of charismatic leadership intends to gain support and favour of other people through dealing and communicating with them with kindness and courtesy rather than focusing upon the formation of any power oriented or dominion status or image (Grint, 1997). Such people are also quite concerned about the problems faced by each person that is their subordinate and endeavours to solve his or her problem.
             The second category of leadership is the Transformational form of leadership. According to experts it has been said that people and especially leaders possessing the characteristics of transformational leadership focus primarily upon uplifting the spirits and experiences of their team members and invest their efforts to ensure that people working below them meet the standards of success under any condition. Another special feature of this leadership is the development of a vision. Many of these have a vision in their minds and it is in correspondence with that designed vision through the help of which they frame their objectives. Another form and style of leadership is that of situational type. This form of leadership even though may not be of very sustainable nature but plays a very pivotal role in the everyday decisions that the management of an organisation has to take or finalize. This type of leadership is based upon the situation that they are presented with. Some of the factors that may have a profound impact upon the decision making process as in the leadership cases of this category are influenced by factors of motivation and the respective capability of followers.
            In accordance to the different concepts of leadership that have been defined the different styles of leadership can be applied in various situations when encountered at different levels in an organization. For example if the organisation is undertaking the decision of becoming more innovative in terms of the organizational duties and operations that it conducts the best way to do it is by adhering to the salient features of transformational leadership.
            It is with the help of the features and qualities outlined and mentioned by transformational leadership through the help of which a leader intends to accept and materialize different types of challenges and out of all other kind of challenge the aspect of innovating an organisation is one of the most pivotal. In similar context if the organisation decides to formulate strategies through which it can increase its cost-effectiveness in the specific field that it specializes in then this particular characteristic deals with the aspect of situational based leadership. It is basically the leadership skills in the situational context which allow and facilitate organizational leaders to take timely decisions through which they can take appropriate cost related decisions in hastening the development and progress of their company. In the case when an organisation anticipates pursuing an already exercised and implemented strategy the key aspect of leadership that makes use of it is based on participative leadership.
            This particular type of leadership involves organizational leaders to involve the opinion of people working in different departments of the company to pool in their perspectives and opinions regarding the decision that the management is about to finalize. Hence in the context of participative leadership pursuing an already implemented and tested strategy would be most appropriate rather than risking a new one. In addition to this particular corporate practice can also be accommodated within the category of situational leadership. The situation may not facilitate the formulation of a new strategy in the organisation and hence it is more wise and intelligent to pursue the ones earlier promulgated. (Northouse, 2007)
Task 3
            There are many factors and hence many answers to this question which can simultaneously be answered. One of the most important factors in my opinion which decides the development of the leadership traits in any given problem is the situation. It is extremely important for the leader to assess and properly analyze the situation that is present at his disposal before taking any decision about the next move that he intends to take. This particular quality has become an extremely vital tool and component in contemporary corporate culture because of the looming economic unpredictability that is prevalent today. Leaders of many organizations are tying to stick to the basics rather than risking capital and expenditure in the name of experimentation about which they are not sure as to whether it would prove successful or end providing bitter results.
            In addition to this another very pivotal component that develops the leadership style is the potential and the capability an organisation can exhibit to drift itself from something ordinary to something extraordinary or unconventional. This kind of capability is mostly applied in cases when the organisation is in a state of experimenting new things.
             However some contemporary examples have also shown that these kinds of strategies are also being applied to reduce costs and expenses. One of such ways for reducing expenses was applied on a practical scale by Amazon who instead of develop massive scale marketing or public relation campaign began to pump money for the development of its website through which it was able to increase its prospective as well as permanent clients and hence its revenues subsequently.       
Task 4
             Once the position and employment of an individual is confirmed he has a number of advantages at his disposal. The most important being the opportunity of understanding the dynamics and operations of an organisation in a better way and hence with this important understanding the individual is very much prepared to address the problems and complications that it encounters at different levels.
             One of the most important things that an individual after his confirmation can accomplish is the development of relation with the different employees of the company working in different departments and segments of the organisation. By developing such kind of emotionally oriented and courteous relation with employees the individual will be in a better position to understand the problems that they encounter in their work and in the fulfilment of their jobs.
            Secondly this will also help the organisation to realize the motivational loopholes that it contains regarding the incentives and allowances that it has to provide to its employees. Hence with the help and usage of all the multitude type of emotional strategies the individual will be able to clearly differentiate the areas where the organisation is committing injustice with its employees along with the areas where employees need to exhibit greater level of commitment.
            Once this is done then a series of negotiations can take place with the different internal and external stakeholders of the organisation which also includes the employees. With the help of these negotiations proper conclusions regarding the realisation of grievances residing at each end can easily be understood an concurrently employees can also be provided with an emotional feeling that the organisation does not intend to take decision that are in the disadvantage of its integral stakeholders. (Mullins, 2007)
Task 5
             Organisations are human beings have much in common with them as each of them has a particular phase through which each of them have to pass through and experience it at the same time. One of the ways in which organisations stand differentiated in comparison to humans is that unlike in the case of human beings organisations cannot be predicted about the duration of the phase that they will last into with.
            However, despite of all this phases and the salient features that comprises these stages remain the same. It is important to mention that during the initial embryonic stage of birth of an organisation he is supported with strong physical and tangible support which will most importantly be in the form of proper and adequate input of capital and finance for the construction of a proper and strong foundation for the organisation. Once proper support coupled with other mandatory ingredients is provided the organisation begins to show signs of growth.
            It is during this stage that it requires proper moral and ethical support in the form of a highly loyal and dedicated workforce and a much loyal leadership that is there to re aggravate the spirits of workforce even if they begin to decline. In the midst of all these transitory stages the organisation also graduates from the stage of growth towards the attainment of maturity. It is in this stage that the organisation develops the tendency of taking challenging decisions and also weathering the respective consequences of decisions if their outcomes are adverse. It is in the stage of maturity that the management of the organisation designs its own management models and intends to view every challenge from their very own perspective. (Storey, 2004)
            As far as the decline phase is concerned it may be imminent as far as the case of humans is concerned but that may be an exception in the case of organisations. It is not necessarily decline that organisations go through but instead they experience alleviation in their leverage and position primarily because of competition that takes place. It is in these circumstances when the leadership and management models of the organisations come into play and play a proactive role in the maintenance or reinstatement of the reputation of the organisation.
Task 6
            The job at management disposal is quite tedious. Assessing individuals on the basis of their leadership skills and qualities is quite a complicating task. One of the ways through which this procedure can be conducted is by going through the performances of the different team leads or heads of their respective departments in various segments of the organisation.
            The management of the organisation can go through the major works and services that these people have accomplished effectively for the company. In addition to this the management can also interview and input the feedback from the subordinates that work under the supervision of the team lead or department head to evaluate the potentials of leadership that the individual can manifest in different situations. It will on the basis and information obtained from these different people which will help the management in reaching to their decision about the selection of the most appropriate personnel for the job and its responsibilities. (Storey, 2004)
            Another way through which this task can be performed is through the temporarily restructuring and reorganizing of tasks and responsibilities. Team leads or department heads can be assigned different set of jobs and targets that they will have to achieve with the help of their workforce. One who is able to produce best results in the most effective way can be provided with the new post. However it is important to mention in this case that the task being assigned must be in correspondence to the new opportunities that the organisation intends to explore.  
Task 7
            In the case of national wide expansion the requirements of leadership are not quite complicated however one of the key challenges that the organisation would have to carefully look is that the personnel being selected for this particular job has the ability of handling labour and workforce belonging to different ethnic and racial backgrounds effectively. In this case the linguistic dexterity of the selected employee can prove to be advantageous for him.
            When an organisation decides to go global or engage in global operations there are a number of factors that they have to consider on serious grounds. One of them is that the employee being selected for handling of global operations in a different country is properly acquainted and familiar to the political, economic and socio-cultural factors that are prevalent in the country. In addition to this it is also important for this particular leader to have thorough idea about the monetary and financial policies of the country and the changes that can take place in them with the passage of time. (Drucker, 2007)
            Along with this effective diplomatic and communication skills in this particular capacity are also a pre-requisite. When incorporating new technology within an organisation it is important that the leadership skills related to this particular quality can only be tested with the effectiveness of the technology being introduced. It is important in this case to understand that the implementation of any new form of technology will be on the basis of the number of employees in an organisation that can handle it as effectually as possible.      
Task 8
            An organisation can formulate a number of strategies through the promulgation and implementation of which it can foster the culture of growth and incorporate leadership skills within its organisation. For instance one of the opportunities that organisations in contemporary time availed to nurture this trend was during the time when global markets produced a gloomy picture after they were invaded by the calamity of economic depression.
            Many of the organisations initiated programs through which they allowed and encouraged young people to present their opinions and perspectives about the changes that need to be made in the economic structure and strategic moves of the organisation which can help the company in overcoming the repercussions of the crisis or at least can manage them in the most effective way possible.
            Most of these programs accentuated upon the changes that were integral to the different stages of management process such as planning, consulting and implementation of novel strategies that the organisation could easily apply. In addition to this another important method through which the assessment of leadership skills can be made is through the collaboration of media vehicles.
             Organisations can collaborate with media channels in initiating ventures and programs through which they can promote young people in introducing new and cost effective ideas in such times so that they can reinstate their eroded credibility and surge their plummeted market shares.       

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