Assignment – Paper Description This is as a short research project and reflection paper. Locate in the popular business media of your choice 3 companies that have been either suffering significant performance setbacks or enjoying performance improvements. We have identified 3 companies: Company – Ali Baba, Tencent and Amazon

Assignment – Paper Description

This is as a short research project and reflection paper.

Locate in the popular business media of your choice 3 companies that have been either suffering significant performance setbacks or enjoying performance improvements. We have identified 3 companies:

Company – Ali Baba, Tencent and Amazon

Research briefly the organizational sources of these performance problems or successes. There may certainly be other sources of their failures/successes, such as macro-economic factors, global/political factors, etc., but focus on organizational root causes. That is, how do leadership, strategic design, political, and cultural issues help us to understand these corporations’ performance problems/successes. No first-hand information is required; you only need to rely upon media coverage or public reporting.

Paper Outline –

1. Strategy (include company’s values as well)

2. People

2.1. Leadership (2.1&2.2 could be addressed under 1 title: Leadership & Decision Making)

2.2. Decision Making (Design Thinking)

2.3. Leading Teams (2.3&2.4 could be addressed under 1 title: Leading Teams & Fair Process)

2.4. Fair Process

3. Organizational

3.1. Strategic Design

3.2. Political

3.3. Cultural

4. Change Management: Recommended Solution

4.1. Leading Change – Change & Implementation

4.2. Operating Model

Detailed Guidelines – Analyze the case and then propose solutions.

Diagnose the “problems” facing an organization, start by identifying the key performance problem. That is, begin by clearly specifying the competitive issue at hand. What performance problem are you trying to understand? Think also about the strategy of this company and what is happening in their marketplace. What is their strategy? How are they trying to distinguish themselves to ensure happy customers/clients? In what ways are they failing to satisfy customers/clients?

This, then, is the target of your diagnosis: you need to explain the root causes of this firm’s performance/strategic problems. As emphasized, good OB starts with a clear picture of the context, strategy and related problems (i.e., products are not innovative enough, lack of customer service, new offerings are far to slow to reach the market, costs are far above industry levels and so pushing up prices, etc…). In other words, begin with some understanding of the environment and strategic context. While there is no perfect mapping between a strategy and “OB” design, OB issues are easier to understand and argue once we have some reference point.

The following are some basic diagnostic questions to ask in searching for the root causes of performance problems. Specifically, it might help to keep in mind the following questions, as outlined on the next few pages (although not exclusively these- please do not assume that this is the full universe of questions you should think about as you diagnose a company’s problems, but it is a good starting point).

To address the requirements, the following outline is proposed with the questions the instructor had provided:

Paper Detailed Outline:

1. Strategy (include company’s values as well)

1.1. Start with a clear picture of the Strategy. We cannot design effective organizations without understanding the strategy. Organizational issues need to fit strategic realities…and having a good strategy may lessen the burden on organization. Strategy and OB must be well integrated, a theme we repeat throughout the module.

a. This does not mean that there is a perfect mapping between every strategy or strategic detail and “OB design issues,” but it will create an important reference point for how to think about issues like selection, roles, development, and so on.

2. People

2.1. Leadership (2.1&2.2 could be addressed under 1 title: Leadership & Decision Making)

a. If relevant given the case, think about how the Leaders of this firm are behaving.

b. How do they compare to our “ideal or perfect” leader list? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?

Selection and Fit. Do I have the right people in place? Do I select people just for the job or also the “work”? That is, am I thinking about how they will do the job, not just the technical knowledge that they hold or the quality of their “CV”.

Leading People Basics (“The Perfect Leader”). There were many good ideas on our list.

EQ (emotional intelligence: empathy and emotion “generation”).

Clear Communication, making sure people understand basic assumptions about the work and strategy.

Honesty and transparency

Clear objectives and then support

Dealing with the “EGO”

Coaching, where it is needed, by giving people good examples and active advice on how to increase their performance.

Etc… but this list is the easy part. Look also to the GELM 360 materials.

c. Do their strengths and weaknesses have relevance for the strategy of the company? That is, is there any reason to believe that the focal leader(s) is/are particularly well suited to execute this strategy, or is there a fundamental mismatch?

80/20 rule. Most of a managers (precious) time may be spent on very few people, and often those that may not fit the situation very well.

d. Is a transition required in how the focal leader(s) approaches his/her role? Is the leader(s) aware of this need and prepared to make a change? What is the medium-term likelihood for a successful transition?

e. Leading people is not just about understanding the basics but also understanding yourself. This is because developing good leadership skills is a highly customized process. It begins with some general ideas about good leadership, but it continues only through understanding the gaps between where we want to be and where we are today.

2.2. Decision Making (Design Thinking)

2.3. Leading Teams (2.3&2.4 could be addressed under 1 title: Leading Teams & Fair Process)

a. Teams make a difference over individual decision making…but that difference can go in both directions, more “positive” but also more “negative.” Teams can destroy value. How a team does its work matters.

b. Each team requires 3 fundamental components:

Goals: Has the team clear objectives? Are they made reasonably concrete with a timeline that is acceptable? Think about the team context. What are some of the implicit goals that may be driving team behavior, including risk- taking, interpersonal exchange, and so on?

What are the explicit goals of the team and its leader?

What are the implicit goals? What do they really want and how badly? These also need to be surfaced or dealt with as often these are the sources of questionable decision making and divided behavior.

Individuals: Does the team have strong members? Are they relevant for the task? Does it have a strong facilitator?

Roles. What roles – implicit and explicit – do each member of the team take? Do these roles support or undermine the task? Is there alignment regarding team roles?

Do you have the right people on the team? Are they “A” players, and if they are not do you have a plan to make them better? Essential skills are, well, essential, but keep the team at a manageable size.

Process – Because we do not always have “perfect” goals and people, we must seek perfection in the team process: There are many things to consider here and an exhaustive list is not possible here. But think about how open is the team to new ideas, and whether it truly encourages people to be creative and offer the best they have to offer. Think also about how decisions are made and whether people in the team know and accept how decisions will be made.

Team processes which do not encourage dialogue, questioning, and creative input may result in poor decisions…leaders are not perfect.

Does the team have enough psychological safety?

Is the leader facilitating openness?

Team rules are not optional: they need to be enforced.

Provide distinct time for brainstorming and distinct time for criticizing and decision making.

Separate these activities.

Is there enough time and other resources for an effective process? “Lean” is not always best.

Pay attention to maintenance activities…does the team take the time to work on themselves as a unit?

You hopefully also picked-up learnings from the Outdoors Teamwork.

Look at for ideas about team diversity and how to select members.

2.4. Fair Process: Does the leader show fairness in the processes that they lead? Do they engage in problem diagnosis? Do they seek diverse inputs? Do they explain well the decision? Do they execute with consistency? Do they learn from setbacks, as well as recognize successes?

Fair Process Leadership Model has 5 components. The essential element of each component is as follows:

a. Engaging: Stay with the problem long enough to try and see what the problem really is, to avoid “solutions” chasing “problems”

b. Exploring: Tap a diversity of ideas and people, and encourage some wild thinking

c. Deciding: The key part of the decision is the explanation

d. Execution: Leaders need to execute with consistency, ensuring that what was committed to is actually done. If you have done parts 1 and 2 well, this becomes less problematic. Provide also a narrative for what you are doing.

e. Learning: Recognize the good work, but don’t forget to look critically and see what can be learned for the next time around

3. Organizational

3.1. Strategic Design

a. Think once again about what is happening to this organization’s environment? What competitive, technical and social forces are at play? Which ones are vital?

b. What stage is the organization in its stage of development? Is it a young company, in a growth phase or a mature organization?

c. Do you have the right employees? Does the selection process bring-in people with the right skills and styles, to fit the job but also the “work”? Is the talent pipeline working well for this company, to ensure the best exposure to highly talented people, to maximize fit with the firm?

d. How do they differentiate internal activities and set-up basic “jobs”?

That is, what is the basic structure or “grouping” of people?

Is this suitable? Why or why not?

e. How do they integrate or coordinate activities?

How much coordination is now required? What vehicles do they now use? Are these suitable?

f. Structure: Overall, is the appropriate organizational structure used? (Functional, Hybrid/Matrix, Divisional).

What are the trade-offs of using these different structures?

What are they missing with the current structure, and why is this important?

What will they gain if they do to a new structure?

g. How do they incentivize employees?

What sort of behaviors do these motivate? Are these behaviors suitable?

h. Is there a general fit/consistency between the strategy and the design?

In addition to the above questions in Strategic Design, Organizational design is a fascinating managerial duty, or at least it can be. It’s one aspect of managerial life that requires creativity as much as “science”. Indeed, while there are few hard “rules” to follow, there are important principles in my view:

i. Reduce Complexity

Understand that specialization is a powerful force for efficiency and focus, something upon which our modern economies are built. Specialization can mean simplification, a more focused job. But it can also mean that similar work across a company are combined into focused units.

j. But remember that as much as you specialize units and jobs, you need to find (creative) ways to link them together and coordinate the work. Every move at a micro level needs to consider the macro implications.

k. Understand that trade-offs are to be expected. There is no such thing as the perfect design, that will give you everything you require. Because organizations tend to have many goals and possible routes for achieving them, there are bound to be trade-offs in design. Understand what these are first and foremost. It is hard to make a good decision unless you know the tradeoffs. Accept them-don’t design for A over B, but then expect them in equal measure. And communicate those tradeoffs, so that people who live in your structures understand the priorities they entail.

Keep in mind that organizations can have many contradictory ideas and directions, some acknowledged but many floating “in the air.” It’s the job of managers help clarify those contradictions, to help people work with paradox.

3.2. Political

a. Is there evident political behavior? How do people influence? Do they rely strictly on “hard” power or is “soft” power also evident?

b. Is it constructive/destructive? Do players push the boundaries of what is acceptable to such a point that open debate and constructive conflict deteriorate into behavior which lacks transparency and becomes “dirty?” Substantiate your arguments with examples.

c. How is conflict resolved in this organization and cooperation induced? Is this appropriate given the context? Is Authority present enough? Too much?

d. Are there differences in power between areas in the organization?

Who are the most powerful? Evidence.

e. Is the current internal power distribution suitable, given the environment and business needs of this firm?

That is, how does this power distribution contribute to the performance problems?

f. If relevant, think about the social networks in the organization. Do these impede or support the work of the firm? Do the relevant players have networks that support their work and add value to the firm? Or are the networks used mostly to add value to themselves?

When writing the paper, pay attention to the following key themes in the study of power and politics in organizations.

g. Sources of Power and Political Style: There are many sources of power available to the discerning manager. We distinguished between Hard Power (Authority/Resources) and Soft Power (many…). It is good to have hard power, but it is eventually important to have soft power. Relying only on hard power is probably not a sustainable strategy. Break down of the power sources:

Human capital (who you are): power afforded to you by virtue of your expertise, skill, charisma, or other personal attributes.

Structural capital (where you sit): power that flows to you because of the role you play in the organization or the formal position you hold.

Social capital (who you know): power that derives from your networks.

Influence requires both pragmatic and moral sensibilities: without tenacity, skillful maneuvering, and the stomach to withstand sharp criticism and conflict, not much would get done in a world of scarce resources and a multitude of interests; but individuals can easily slip beyond what is acceptable conduct in “getting one’s way”, to the great cost of their reputation and, ultimately, their cause. Your reputation may be one of your most precious resources as a manager.

h. Social Capital: We then focused on the less understood of the three key sources: social capital. Here, we found that people tend to emphasize the wrong things when it comes to social networks. For example, we over-emphasize size, strong/thick relations, and knowing powerful others (which is really what people mean when they say it’s all about “who you know”). What we discovered is that structure matters a lot more than we may think. The key points here were that diversity, non- redundancy, and a lack of constraint are useful features of a social network, what we saw in the blue network. However, sometimes we may need “red”, for example when managing a team or working in a small company. Ideally, we can construct hybrid situations: a tightly bound and supportive inner circle, or island, but with lots of diverse bridges.

Don’t wait until you are desperate to extend your network. Add value to the people around you when you are secure and stable.

i. The Power

Had the interdependence either been lower (the departments were like separate companies competing) or higher (everyone benefitted equally from larger profits) the political problem would have less acute. The points of the game, in addition to sharpening your negotiation skills in conditions of systematic mistrust, were threefold:

To show that we should not be too quick to dismiss anyone just because of his cynical view of human nature. No matter our own stance on how cooperative (selfless) should members of an organization be, we can see that organizations often create structures where prisoner’s dilemma type situations exist and worries of defection by the other parties are unavoidable. That is, we are often guilty of creating incentive structures where cooperation is very hard to accomplish although wished for.

To point out that in such situations we have a choice between material success (the profits) and reputational success. We have a choice, in other words, between winning the battle and winning the war.

We need to keep in mind the importance of reputation and the reactions of those on the receiving end of political maneuvering.

This was a situation where it may seem that the problem is too much politics and power, but where in actuality the problem is just the opposite: there is too little power, specifically there is no overarching authority that can enforce agreements and contracts and provide conditions of trust that overcome the barriers to cooperation. The referee in this situation was not effective. In the end, the company that managed to negotiate and maintain internal trust did better and won the war.

j. Pathologies of Power

The study revealed how difficult it is for us to challenge authority and how far we may go in obeying authority even when our conscience may pull in the opposite direction. Why did people obey in the study?

Largely because they believed they were not responsible for the acts they committed-and yet those acts were done at their hands. The pathology for firms is that under authoritarian leaders many people check their brains in at the door and simply go through the motions, doing what is required. The cost is that only a few brains are actually working–a terrible waste of creativity and human potential. People also obeyed because of the slippery slope of post-hoc rationalization (i.e., I zapped at 150, so why not at 160…). A few even found it challenging and thrilling to get the job done, to fulfill their mission in order to be good and faithful subjects and please the scientist. Remember, non-cash rewards, such as praise, can be powerful in driving behavior. Add to this (massive) cash rewards and the mix can be potent. The pathology here is that authority can impassion, incentivize, and/or condone people to make very poor decisions.

So, on the whole, the concept of “power” creates a challenge for managers. On the one hand managers need to make sure they have enough of it: nothing gets done without it. On the other hand, they need to make sure they don’t overdo their authority (or destroy their reputation and harm others) thereby killing human initiative or else turning that initiative into a political struggle. You must find your balance.

3.3. Cultural

a. What are the key artefacts in this organization? That is, think about the way people behave and interact, with one another and/or customers and clients.

b. What do these artefacts reveal about the core assumptions people hold? That is, what “rules deep in the head” do they betray?

c. Do the core assumptions align well with the strategy? Or is there a disconnect?

d. Do different groups in the organization have different assumptions about what this business is all about? Is this appropriate, or does it contribute to the performance problems?

e. Is there cross-cultural conflict and misunderstanding based on mythical stereotypes? What implications might this have for business practice and the practicality of your proposed solution?

4. Change Management: Recommended Solution

What would you propose to correct this firm’s performance problems? Be specific, and make sure that your proposal links well to your analysis.

4.1. Leading Change – Change & Implementation

a. Your plan should also contain an implementation or change management component, where you outline how you would bring these changes into place in this particular context. Again, be as specific as you can. Point out the political and cultural hurdles and how they might be overcome.

b. Key themes from the simulation:

Ideas, no matter how brilliant, change nothing alone. They need to be accepted, and they often need to be accepted by a group.

Background information is a starting point if you don’t know the context…like in cross cultural situations, show commitment by avoiding a show of ignorance.

Learn and follow etiquette: who are key gatekeepers, process owners, etc…

Have a strategy…but be flexible when necessary

Understand that adopters may take time to appear, and then that adopters may

appear in bunches, behind tipping points

Iterate between face-to-face actions and public events and information, making sure that people are prepared enough for public gatherings

Don’t ignore resistors- learn from them, but don’t get delayed either. Move ahead to find if there is enough support for the idea.

Find your champions; we can seldom change things alone, and so we need guiding coalitions and the critical mass that they can generate, keeping in mind that humans look to one another when deciding to step forward (or not).

Tactics AND timing are important. Avoid, for example, a lot of activity during busy periods, when people have no bandwidth to give.

Think about your communication media: which ones will reach people?

Think about your message: is it “sticky”? (short, simple, concrete, emotionally laden)

4.2. Operating Model

Note – It should be 14 pages in total, 12 pages for the 3 companies, 0.5 page introduction, 1.5 page summary comparison between the 3 companies and conclusion. Also, need APA references page.

Attachment:- Assignment File.rar



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