ASSIGNMENT: MANAGING AGILE ORGANISATIONS AND PEOPLE
COURSE: ABE LEVEL (5) FIVE BUSINESS MANAGENEMNT
STUDENT NAME: SITHOKO SIBANDA
STUDENT NUMBER: 556652
CENTRE: EPHESUS CONSULTANCY AND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT TRAINING
DUE DATE: 13TH JUNE 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Summary on the ‘National Road Fund Agency’ (NRFA).……………………………………….4
Task 1 (a)…………………………………………………………………………………………4
Task 1 (b)…………………………………………………………………………………………6
Task 1 (c)…………………………………………………………………………………………8
Task 1 (d)…………………………………………………………………………………………10
Basic Principles of Effective Communication……………………………………………………10
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford’s model…………………………………………………………14
Taking note that an organization is any organized group of people with a particular purpose, such as a business or government department, the Zambian National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) in order to answer or respond well to organizational questions in this essay will be used as an example of an organization (Chiabo, 2018).
Echoing from the above, we can take note that the name of the organisation is National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) found in Zambia. Talking about the formation of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), the NRB played the role of a funding Agency established under Statutory Instrument No. 42 of 1994 and funded programmes from Government Departments. Previously, these were Roads Department under the then Ministry of Works and Supply and the Department of Infrastructure and Support Services under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing which played the role of executing agencies.
It was then after which the Government of the Republic of Zambia in May 2000 formulated a “Transport Policy which disbanded the NRB and established three Road Sector Agencies through Acts of Parliament, namely Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), Road Development Agency (RDA), National Road Fund Agency (NRFA)” (Chiabo, 2018: 9). The size of this organisation (NRFA), is not presented in figures but it includes all workers delivering services on behave of the agency in various parts of the country. The main markets where it operates from or the (geographical locations) includes mostly, the roads and it has specifically ‘tall gates’ planted before entering into another town. Examples of products and services include money collections only at ‘tall gates’ and the agency has no key competitors because it is the only organization given authority by the government through the act of parliament (NRFA was created under the National Road Fund Act No. 13 of 2002) to collect funds from motorist passing through the Zambian roads. The main customer segments are the motorist pass through the Zambian roads either Zambian citizens or foreigners (Chiabo, 2018).
Summary on the ‘National Road Fund Agency’ (NRFA)
It is essential to know that Road Tolling in Zambia is now to winning the hearts of other African countries that have expressed the desire to start road tolling. During the 16th African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) Annual General Conference, the NRFA was used as a case study among Road Funds in Africa for breaking new grounds in securing funding for road development through its K2.1 billion loan agreement with NAPSA.
Task 1 (a)
Explore the potential challenges associated with J.I.T (just in time) practices and explain the likely implications of such challenges upon your chosen organisation.
What they call the just in time (JIT) inventory system is an administrative strategy that aligns raw material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules. Companies get to engage this inventory strategy to increase efficiency and bring about reduction of the waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs. This method requires that producers are able to accurately forecast demand. The just in time inventory supply system is a shift away from other “just-in-case (JIC)” strategies, in which producers hold large inventories to have enough product to absorb maximum market demand (Black, 1997).
Black, (1997: 14) outlines that a car manufacturer that operates with very low inventory levels, relying on its supply chain to deliver the parts it needs to build cars is one example of a just in time (JIT) system. The parts needed to manufacture the cars do not arrive before or after they are needed; instead, they arrive just as they are needed (Ibid).
There is a reason why the Just in time inventory controls have several advantages over traditional models. Production runs remain short, which means manufacturers can move from one type of product to another very easily. Furthermore, it is stated that this method reduces costs by eliminating warehouse storage needs. Companies also spend less money on raw materials because they buy just enough resources to make just the ordered products and no more (Rodrick, 2013).
Taking note of the disadvantages of the just-in-time inventories which involve disruptions in the supply chain, it must be stated that if a supplier of raw materials has a breakdown and cannot deliver the goods on time, one supplier can shut down the entire production process. Also, we must take note that the unexpected order for goods that surpasses expectations may delay delivery of finished products to clients (Ibid).
Furthermore, it also significant to look at ‘A case study done on Toyota’ which uses just-in-time inventory controls as part of its business model. It is stated that Toyota sends off orders for parts only when it receives new orders from customers. The company begin this method in the 1970s, and it took more than 15 years to perfect. Moreover, numerous fundamentals of just-in-time manufacturing need to occur for Toyota to succeed. The company must have steady production, high-quality workmanship, no machine breakdowns at the plant, reliable suppliers and quick ways to assemble machines that put together vehicles. Nevertheless, looking at our NRFA just in time can help with the provision of human resource transport to all tall gates just in time (Sowean, 2008).
Toyota’s just-in-time concept almost came to a crashing halt in February 1997. A fire at a brake parts plant owned by Aisin decimated its capacity to produce a P-valve for Toyota vehicles. The company was the sole supplier of the part, and the fact that the plant was shut down for weeks could have devastated Toyota’s supply line. The auto manufacturer ran out of P-valve parts after just one day. Production lines shut down for just two days until a supplier of Aisin was able to start manufacturing the necessary valves. Other suppliers for Toyota also had to shut down because the auto manufacturer didn’t need other parts to complete any cars on the assembly line. The fire cost Toyota nearly $15 billion in revenue and 70,000 cars due to its two-day shutdown, but it could have been much worse (Black, 1997).
Echoing from the above, in explaining the likely implications of such challenges upon National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) which is the chosen organization, it is vital to note that the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) are mainly concerned with road money collections and would only be affected with the shortages of receipts to use to give out to their customers passing through the road and just-in-time concept can only come in with the proper planning provided for the availability of the receipts to be present all the time (just-in-time) brought in at every station (Ibid).
Task 1 (b)
With reference to Hofstede (1981), discuss how national cultures might influence how the workforce is managed within your chosen organisation.
Hofstede 1980 outlines that as people work together to accomplish goals, groups develop into organizations that are prone to be affected with cultural differences which also affect work delivery. As goals become more specific and longer-term, and work more specialized, organizations become both more formal and institutionalized. Organizations tend to take on a life of their own and widely held beliefs, values, and practices develop, differentiating one organization from another and often affecting the organization’s success or failure. Early 1980s, it’s when we see management scholars who began to describe these belief systems studies (Sowean, 2008).
Wade, (1994: 13) outlined in a statement that “Imagine this scenario: Sayid’s boss has asked him to manage a large, global team. In this new role, he’ll be working closely with people in several different countries. He’s excited about the opportunities that his connectedness will present, but he’s also nervous about making cross-cultural faux pas”. He knows that cultural differences can act as a barrier to communication, and that they could affect his ability to build connections and motivate people. So, how can he begin to understand these differences and work effectively with people from different cultures. Thus, in view of this also with our organisation (NRFA) can have similar challenges as they operate in cases where they bring in other expertise from Europe to help in the construction of the tall gates some cultural challenges may be there in communication between the Zambian core-workers with the foreign expertise to help with the projects (Rodrick, 2013).
Equally there are many practices within our (NRFA) organization that tend to keep a culture alive and measure the cultural fit between the organization and its employees. Many of the human resource practices such as selection, performance appraisal, training, and career development reinforce the organization’s culture (Ibid).
These organizational beliefs also tend to influence the work norms, communication practices, and philosophical stances of employees. Organizations use a process called socialization to adapt new employees to the organization’s culture. If employees do not adapt well, they feel increasing pressure from supervisors and from coworkers who are better acculturated. They might stay and fight, stay and become isolated, or leave the organization, voluntarily or involuntarily, and look for a different organization whose culture they fit better (Paul, 1999).
In contrast, employees who understand and share the organization’s values have a better basis for making choices that match the firm’s goals. Many organizations compete through innovation. When most employees understand and support the organization’s expectations, less time is spent explaining, instructing, and building consensus before trying something innovative. Moreover, the error level will be lower in most cases. Employees who are well acculturated also find their work more meaningful: They are part of, and contributing to, something larger than themselves. Thus, a good cultural fit between employees and the organization contributes to employee retention, organizational productivity, and profit. In view of the above, it is vital to take note that although our company (NRFA) employees mostly the Zambians in the management of funds and other functions, the company also gets to enter react with foreigners who come in as expertise in the constructions of the ‘tall gates’ and as they work together with the Zambians we would experience some cultural barriers in work delivery. For example, language could be a cultural barrier in work delivery (Sowean, 2008).
In conclusion, it must be known that, Hofstede does not suggest that the value categories derived in his research are the only cultural values of consequence. Further, he is not even necessarily the originator of the conceptualizations behind the specific values he investigates; his work has incorporated the ideas of others. Beyond these shortcomings, however, his research on work-related values in a cross-cultural context does seem applicable to consumptive behavior in a cross-cultural context. Clearly, studies are needed to directly assess this assumption that data gathered on value dimensions in the work world are relevant to values in a consumption context. In view of the above, it must be realized that these cultural values formulated by ‘Hofstede’ Equally there are many practices within our (NRFA) organization that tend to keep a culture alive and measure the cultural fit between the organization and its employees.Task 1 (c)
Assess the potential implications of implementing the principles of the scientific school of management to managing your chosen organisation. Your assessment should include reference to alternative schools of management thinking.
Under Taylor’s management system, factories are managed through scientific methods rather than by use of the empirical “rule of thumb” so widely prevalent in the days of the late nineteenth century when F. W. Taylor devised his system and published “Scientific Management” in 1911 (Black, 1997).
The main elements of the Scientific Management are 1 : “Time studies Functional or specialized supervision Standardization of tools and implements Standardization of work methods Separate Planning function Management by exception principle The use of “slide-rules and similar time-saving devices” Instruction cards for workmen Task allocation and large bonus for successful performance The use of the ‘differential rate’ Mnemonic systems for classifying products and implements A routing system A modern costing system etc. etc. ” Taylor called these elements “merely the elements or details of the mechanisms of management” He saw them as extensions of the four principles of management. 2 (Rodrick, 2013).
1. The development of a true science
2. The scientific selection of the workman
3. The scientific education and development of the workman
4. Intimate and friendly cooperation between the management and the men (Ibid).
Echoing, from the above information it is clear that if we implement all these principles of management in our organization (NRFA) it can make service delivery so effective and increase efficiency. This can be implemented with conscious about what Taylor warned 3 of the risks managers make in attempting to make change in what would presently be called, the culture, of the organization (Sowean, 2008). He stated the importance of management commitment and the need for gradual implementation and education. He described “the really great problem” involved in the change “consists of the complete revolution in the mental attitude and the habits of all those engaged in the management, as well of the workmen.” 4 Taylor taught that there was one and only one method of work that maximized efficiency and that efficiency was needed. “And this one best method and best implementation can only be discovered or developed through scientific study and analysis… This involves the gradual substitution of science for ‘rule of thumb’ throughout the mechanical arts” (Paul, 1999). 5 “Scientific management requires first, a careful investigation of each of the many modifications of the same implement, developed under rule of thumb; and second, after time and motion study has been made of the speed attainable with each of these implements, that the good points of several of them shall be unified in a single standard implementation, which will enable the workman to work faster and with greater easy than he could before. This one implement, then is the adopted as standard in place of the many different kinds before in use and it remains standard for all workmen to use until superseded by an implement which has been shown, through motion and time study, to be still better.” 6 An important barrier to use of scientific management was the limited education of the lower level of supervision and of the work force. A large part of the factory population was composed of recent immigrants who lacked literacy in English. In Taylor’s view, supervisors and workers with such low levels of education were not qualified to plan how work should be done (Paul, 1999). Taylor’s solution was to separate planning from execution. “In almost all the mechanic arts the science which underlies each act of each workman is so great and amounts to so much that the workman who is best suited to actually doing the work is incapable of fully understanding this science (Ibid).” 7 To apply his solution, Taylor created planning departments, staffed them with engineers, and gave them the responsibility to:
1. Develop scientific methods for doing work.
2. Establish goals for productivity.
3. Establish systems of rewards for meeting the goals.
4. Train the personnel in how to use the methods and thereby meet the goals (Paul, 1999).Conclusively, and echoing from the above paragraphs it must be stated that what has been explained is and could be the implications of implementing the principles of management in our organization (NRFA) in Zambia and if it can be done well it can make service delivery so effective and increase efficiency (Ibid).
Task 1 (d)
Using relevant theory (e.g. Shannon Weaver 1963), assess the principles of effective communication. Provide examples of each principle as it may apply to your chosen organisation.
The Shannon–Weaver model of communication has been called the “mother of all models.” Social Scientists use the term to refer to an integrated model of the concepts of information source, message, transmitter, signal, channel, noise, receiver, information destination, probability of error, encoding, decoding, information rate, channel capacity, etc. Equally, in an organisation like our case (NRFA) effective communication is vital and below are some of the ways through which communication will be required:
Basic Principles of Effective Communication
Many definitions describe communication as a transfer of information, thoughts or ideas to create shared understanding between a sender and a receiver. The information may be written or spoken, professional or social, personal or impersonal to name a few possibilities. Basically, the communication process involves a sender, receiver, message, channel and feedback. However, this simplistic description significantly under-represents what can actually be a very complex process. Echoing from the above information, it can be clearly seen that good communication procedures and processes are necessary in an organization in order to avoid work not done well as a result of miscommunications (Rodrick, 2013).
Essential issues to be aware of in any communication situation are:
Content refers to the actual words or symbols of the message that are known as language – the spoken and written words combined into phrases that make grammatical sense. Importantly, we all use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different meanings to confuse the issue even more (Ibid).
Process refers to the way the message is delivered – the nonverbal elements in speech such as the tone of voice, the look in the sender’s eyes, body language, hand gestures and state of emotions (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence, etc.) that can be detected. The non-verbals that we use often cause messages to be misunderstood as we tend to believe what we see more than what we hear. Indeed, we often trust the accuracy of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors. A well-known UCLA study found that only around 7% of the meaning of spoken communication came from words alone, 55% came from facial expression and 38% came from the way the words were said (Rodrick, 2013).
Context refers to the situation or environment in which your message is delivered. Important contextual factors that can subtly influence the effectiveness of a message include the physical environment (eg. a patient’s bedside, ward office, quiet room etc.), cultural factors (eg. international cultures, organisational cultures and so on) and developmental factors (eg. first, second or third year student, experience in similar clinical settings, stage of the practicum etc.) (Black, 1997).
The goal of communication between a sender and a receiver is understanding of the message being sent. Anything that interferes with this can be referred to as ‘noise’. Communication noise can influence our interpretation of messages and significantly affect our perception of interactions with others. Read more about some examples of noise (Ibid).
Content Excessive use of complex vocabulary, jargon and/or abbreviations; incorrect pronunciation of words; too much/too little information; unclear messages; speaking too quickly; conflicting information
Process Lack of eye contact; non-supportive or disinterested facial expressions; lack of/excessive eye contact; inappropriate gestures and/or body posture
Context Busy, noisy environments; stereotypical assumptions; prejudices; expectations that are implicit rather than explicit; emotional or attitudinal issues which impact on communication
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However, there are a number of strategies that can help to help minimise communication noise and maximise communication efficiency. Read more about these strategies.
Sender create a climate of trust and confidence
express ideas clearly and concisely
be explicit about expectations
strive for a balance between too much/too little information
be aware of the non-verbal elements of your message – remember that people tend to believe what they see more than they hear
give the receiver time to process your message
Receiver pay attention to what is being communicated
clarify anything you are unsure about
confirm your understanding of the message
be aware of your non-verbal behaviours – remember that people tend to believe what they see more than they hear
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Developing competence in communication, particularly in the professional context, requires ongoing practice and reflection on practice. In view of the above, it can be clearly seen that good communication procedures and processes are necessary in an organization in order to avoid work not done well as a result of miscommunications (Black, 1997).
With reference to theory on personal learning styles (e.g. Honey and Mumford 1997), evaluate your own learning style, the implications of your style, and how this may influence your ability to contribute to an agile organisation.
Learning styles refer to a range of competing and contested theories that aim to account for differences in individuals’ learning. These theories propose that all people can be classified according to their ‘style’ of learning, although the various theories present differing views on how the styles should be defined and categorized. A common concept is that individuals differ in how they learn (Black, 1997).
According to Wikipedia: ” Learning styles are different ways that a person can learn. It’s commonly believed that most people favor some particular method of interacting with, taking in, and processing stimuli or information. Psychologists have proposed several complementary taxonomies of learning styles. But other psychologists and neuroscientists have questioned the scientific basis for some learning style theories. A major report published in 2004 cast doubt on most of the main tests used to identify an individual’s learning style” (Black, 1997).
In view of the above, we can therefore say that these different ways of learning can affect our service delivery in (NRFA) because as we attempt to hold workshops as an organization on service delivery education programs our workers within the organization may not get the concepts the same way may because there learning styles are different (Ibid).
Here are a few definitions found developed by other scholars:
The manner in which a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment. Components of learning style are the cognitive, affective and physiological elements, all of which may be strongly influenced by a person’s cultural background.
A preferential mode, through which a subject likes to master learning, solve problems, thinks or simply react in a pedagogical situation.
A consistent pattern of behavior and performance by which an individual approaches educational experiences; learning style is derived from cultural socialization and individual personality as well as from the broader influence of human development.
Learning styles can be defined as a set of cognitive, emotional, characteristic and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment (Keefe, 1979)
The idea of individualized learning styles became popular in the 1970s, and has greatly influenced education despite the criticism that the idea has received from some researchers. Proponents recommend that teachers assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student’s learning style. Although there is ample evidence that individuals express preferences for how they prefer to receive information, few studies have found any validity in using learning styles in education. Critics say there is no consistent evidence that identifying an individual student’s learning style, and teaching for specific learning styles, produces better student outcomes. There is evidence of empirical and pedagogical problems related to forcing learning tasks to “correspond to differences in a one-to-one fashion”. Well-designed studies contradict the widespread “meshing hypothesis” that a student will learn best if taught in a method deemed appropriate for the student’s learning style (Black, 1997). In view of the above, we can therefore say that these different ways of learning can affect our service delivery in (NRFA) because as we attempt to hold workshops as an organization on service delivery education programs our workers within the organization may not get the concepts the same way may because there learning styles are different (Ibid).
There are substantial criticisms of learning-styles approaches from scientists who have reviewed extensive bodies of research. A 2015 peer reviewed article concluded: “Learning styles theories have not panned out, and it is our responsibility to ensure that students know that.”
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford’s model
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted Kolb’s experiential learning model. First, they renamed the stages in the learning cycle to accord with managerial experiences: having an experience, reviewing the experience, concluding from the experience, and planning the next steps (Paul, 1999). Second, they aligned these stages to four learning styles named:
These four learning styles are assumed to be acquired preferences that are adaptable, either at will or through changed circumstances, rather than being fixed personality characteristics. Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ) is a self-development tool and differs from Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory by inviting managers to complete a checklist of work-related behaviours without directly asking managers how they learn. Having completed the self-assessment, managers are encouraged to focus on strengthening underutilised styles in order to become better equipped to learn from a wide range of everyday experiences (Ibid).
A MORI survey commissioned by The Campaign for Learning in 1999 found the Honey and Mumford LSQ to be the most widely used system for assessing preferred learning styles in the local government sector in the UK (Paul, 1999).
Conclusively, we can therefore say that proper learning styles are needed if we are to make our workers at (NRFA) get proper instructions in order not to affect service delivery in the organization.
Picture: Delegation of the Kenyan Roads Board (KRB) during a tour of the Kafulafuta Toll Plaza under construction.
Black, P. N. (1997). Organization Development and Management. Paul: West Publishing Co.
Chiabo, E. (2018). Management of Big Organizations. London: Pearson Longman.
Paul, E. F., and Howard D., (eds.) (1999). Human Resource Management and Good Work Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Rodrick, E. W. (2013). System Management Strategies 2nd Edition. London: Sweet and Maxwell.
Sowean, M. S. (2008). Management of Business and Strategies for Organizational Development. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Wade, J. W. (1994.) System Management Strategies. Westbury, N.Y.: Foundation Press.