What organizational characteristics do you think might explain 100-year longevity?
Bookmark 1.0 from the reading offers some great insight into this question. The bookmark discusses the book Great by Choice. In this book, authors Collins and Hansen describe three characteristics for long-term success in organizations. Fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia. (Daft, 2015). Fanatic discipline refers to the desire for consistent gains rather than taking significant risks. Empirical creativity is the idea that organizations will try small things first to see what works before they move forward. Productive paranoia is the idea of staying ahead of the game. Companies that plan on staying around long term have to be prepared for the unknown. There are many more characteristics that would help as well, but these are a good baseline for longevity.
What is the difference between formalization and specialization? Do you think an organization high on one dimension would also be high on the other?
Formalization is the amount of written documentation of an organization. These can consist of employee paperwork, legal documents, manuals, etc. Specialization is how tasks within an organization are divided into separate jobs. (Daft, 2015). I think that an organization high on formalization could, but would not necessarily have to, be high on the other. For instance, if you had a company that had one task that was broke down to include four team members each doing separate parts of the job, there would be more paperwork due to each member needing instructions on their specific task. Whereas other companies, such as the software company shown in exhibit 1.5 in our reading, shows that the company is high in specialization but not so high on formalization. This could because software companies may have just as many employees as another company, but fewer tasks or even fewer safety concerns which would all yield less documentation.
What does contingency mean? What are the implications of contingency theory for managers?
Contingency is when something depends on something else. An example would be taking a vacation day at work as long as the store is fully staffed. My day off is contingent on whether I have enough employees to cover in my absence. If any part of the contingency is missing, the organizations chance of failure increases. That may be in just one area or department, but it can still cause a rippling effect throughout the organization.
What are the primary differences between an organic and a mechanist organization design? Which type of organization do you think would be easier to manage?
A mechanist design offers a machine-like set of standard rules and procedures. There is also a definite hierarchy of authority. An organic design is less formal. There is more room for adaptation and offers a more “go-with-the-flow” type of attitude. (Daft, 2015). It might be more fun to run an organic organization, but I think that mechanist is easier, especially for larger corporations. I have roughly 20 employees under me, and each brings their own personality to the team. However, allowing room for adaptation may not always be what is the best for the team or organization. Sometimes rules and procedures are best to keep everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Discuss the role of top management in setting organizational direction.
Top management plays the most crucial role in setting organizational direction. They enable success by setting goals and developing strategies that keep the business competitive. (Daft, 2015). “Managers have to know where they want the organization to go before they can take it there.” (Daft, 2015, pg. 47). That statement seems so obvious yet often gets taken for granted. Knowing what product you want to sell isn’t enough. Management has to envision the organization start to finish and offer concrete, profitable steps to take to keep working towards success.
How might a company’s goals for employee development be related to its goals for innovation and change? To goals for productivity? Can you discuss ways these types of goals might conflict in an organization?
All three can be directly related. Perhaps I take some extra time to better train an employee or even train him on additional tasks. That employee will have more knowledge and then be able to increase his productivity. The more useful, needed, and appreciated someone feels, the more they will take ownership of their role. This has the potential to lead to new ideas of how shifts could be run or ways that we could save the organization money. These goals could conflict, however, if the employee development isn’t accepted by an employee. Moral and commitment could lower, causing the opposite effect, lower productivity and a lack of desire to adapt to changes.
Discuss the similarities and differences in the strategies described in Porter’s competitive strategies and Miles and Snow’s typology.
Both types of strategies (Porter’s and Miles and Snow) are searching for ways to achieve company goals. Similar themes are seen in both methods such as learning orientation, efficiency, and creativity. The difference lies in the individual methods within each group’s strategies. Porter focuses on two specific methods, differentiation, and low-cost leadership while Miles and Snow offer four types namely the prospector, defender, analyzer, and reactor. Each strategy seems to be a different combination of the same themes that produce different outcomes. (Daft, 2015).
Do you believe mission statements and official goal statements provide an organization with genuine legitimacy in the external environment? When a company such as CVS (discussed in the chapter) makes a decision to stop selling cigarettes because that action conflicts with its mission statement, what do you see as the impact on public opinion? On future business?
I believe that mission statements are important and valuable to the organizations but only affect the external environment when it helps prove someone’s argument. Before taking college courses, I had no idea what a mission statement was or even meant. As mentioned, I have worked for Speedway for 23 years, and I assure I have looked at our mission statement every day that I worked over those years. It is on my computer’s homepage. I’ve read it a million times. I even understood what it meant to me as an employee. But, I have never been someone that shopped somewhere because I took the time to look up the company’s mission statement. I buy to satisfy a need.
As for CVS, I applaud their integrity to stay true to their mission. I am sure that there were many smokers that were potentially offended by the choice, but you can’t please everyone. I imagine it also cost CVS some of their loyal customers. If we are honest though, CVS’s prices weren’t competitive anyway. When I smoked, I went to where cigarettes were the cheapest not because that’s where I picked up my prescriptions.
Daft, R. L. (04/2015). Organization Theory and Design, 12th Edition. [BryteWave]. Retrieved from https://shelf.brytewave.com/#/books/9780176721824/