Midterm Exam Essay

The Midterm Exam questions come from Modules 1-4. You should plan to take 2 hours to complete the exam. The exam is essay. Each answer is worth 20 points for a total of 100 points. Type your responses in this document and submit to the Dropbox by Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT. (This Dropbox basket is linked to Turnitin.) To see how your responses will be graded, review the “Midterm and Final Exam Grading Rubric” in Doc Sharing.

1. A re-organization will require that some employees are provided severance packages while other reassigned. What interpersonal managerial roles developed by Mintzberg will a manager confronted with this employ? Explain.

The interpersonal managerial roles that will confront a manager are figurehead, leader and liaison. The manager will be confronted by the figurehead role because he is the person that is in charge, that is representing the organization in these decisions. He will also be confronted by the liaison role because he will be interacting with his peers during and possibly after these decisions are made. Lastly he will be confronted with the leader role because he is the leader of his employees and will be required to gather the information and ultimately make the decisions.

2. A manager has decided to use the Hawthorne Studies to improve productivity in an office. How would she accomplish this? Would the results be short- or long-term? Explain.

Hawthorne studies dealt with group and individual behavior in the workplace. I think that a manager can accomplish more productivity in the workplace by making job satisfaction a priority. If someone is satisfied in their job then they are more likely to be productive. A manager can make the job more satisfying by making work challenging and interesting. Simple stuff such as introducing the latest software for office tasks or having an employee challenge of who can make the most sales in a week etc. can all help. A manager can also provide a reward system for employees that do well at work. Another thing a manager can do is create a supportive work environment for employees where they can ask for help or raise concerns without fear or prejudice. I think that all these factors will raise job satisfaction and as a result reduce the turnover rate, absenteeism and create a more productive workplace. These results would be long term because old employees would stay in the job longer and new employees would appreciate the work environment.

3. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman argued that, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game” (Friedman, 1962, p. 133). Do you agree with Friedman? Explain.

I do not agree with Friedman. Friedman was campaigning for a capitalist society where capitalism was not wrong as long as “it stays within the rules”. For a long while this idea worked and was the American way. However this is the same idea that caused the financial meltdown. The rules Friedman was referring to was an unregulated market were profit was the driving force, profit at any cost. Loans were made and taken with no common sense, ethics or regulations. Responsibility and accountability went out the window and the economy crashed. There has to be some ethics and social responsibility involved for businesses. Businesses based in America should have a social responsibility to create a particular amount of jobs and not only take advantage of China’s cheap labor to increase profit margins. Companies can profit from things like innovation, ideas, excellence not only unethical behavior. These “rules” need to be revised for our country’s future. A capitalist society that lacks rules, regulations, ethics and social responsibility has already been proven to have only short term success. We need to also think about the future.

4. Please evaluate this scenario by detailing what the manager would do for each step in the decision-making process. i) Two employees are blaming each other for a project they collaborated on which failed. ii) The department’s last three hirers all quit within six months.

The decision making process entails the identification of a problem, identification of decision criteria, allocation of weights to criteria, development of alternatives, analysis of alternatives, selection of an alternative, implementation of the alternative evaluation of decision effectiveness.

i) The first step in problem 1 would require the manager to find out why the project failed then maybe he can identify who if anyone was at fault. The second step would be to figure out the criteria that are relevant to their decisions such as whether enough research was done, was the planning done poorly etc. The third step would be to rate or put a weight to each factor found in step two as to their importance in the final decision e.g. not enough research 5, poor planning 4. The fourth step is to list the alternatives that could succeed in resolving the problem, like 1st alternative termination, second alternative training course, third etc. The fifth step would be to analyze each alternative in step four weighing up the pros and cons of each potential alternative like would termination be a benefit or liability to the company. The sixth step is choosing the best alternative after they have each been evaluated. The seventh step in the implementation of each decision, this is where the decision would be conveyed to the two employees. The eighth and final step is an evaluation to see whether if implementation of the decision took care of the problem, e.g. would projects be successful in the future.

ii) The first step would be to indentify why the workers all quit within that particular time frame. The second step would be figure out a decision criteria, e.g. need for more staff, need a new office building etc. The third step would be to allocate weight to each of the criteria’s in step two e.g. five be the highest and one be the lowest, need for more staff rated at 5 would have the better weight than a new office building rated at a three. The fourth step would be to list all the alternatives better work environment, incentives etc. The fifth step would be to analyze every alternative. The sixth step would be to choose the best alternative. Step seven would be the implementation of the alternative and step eight would be an evaluation of if the alternative fixed the problem.

5. Competition with China has eviscerated many American industries, how can women’s clothing companies compete? Car companies? Please use Michael Porter competitive advantage categories: cost leadership strategy, differentiation strategy, and niche in your answer. Explain.

I believe that American car companies can compete by implementing all three competitive strategies. American car companies can utilize a cost leadership strategy, a differentiation strategy and also a focus strategy. I think that American companies can utilize the cost leadership strategy by reducing overhead expenses and translating some of those savings into the final price of the cars. Another portion of those savings can be used towards innovation or inventing something that gives American companies an advantage such as a more powerful engine, better handling etc. One of the things that really shocked me during the financial collapse was how much the CEO and board members of these car companies were making. American car companies can also use a differentiation strategy to become competitive.

American car companies can utilize every sub category under differentiation strategy such as innovation, better customer service at its dealerships, innovative designs, technological capabilities etc. A differentiation strategy coupled with a cost leadership strategy would make American car companies competitive. The last competitive strategy is a focus strategy. This is where these car companies focus on one segment. A segment can be a geographical location, customer type etc. I think a focus strategy can help these companies market their cars to specific demographics, different financial classes, different countries etc. With a differentiation implementation of maybe new innovation or technology and better customer service at their dealerships along with focus strategies then maybe American car companies can change the way that people perceive them and become more competitive in the car industry.

I think that all American companies can utilize the three different competitive strategies. One of these strategies would impact more than another depending on different factors such as the type of company, the size, location etc. Women’s clothing can also benefit. To me it would depend on the size of the women clothing company. If it were something that’s available only within the United States then I would focus less on a focus strategy as women’s clothing is already focused towards women. A cost leadership strategy can always be helpful to become competitive by reducing overheads etc. A differentiation strategy can also be implemented but again I think that this will depend on the size of the clothing company and it’s goals.

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