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Business Theories

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Although business theories usually claim that the manager’s excellent performance depends on planning, organization, motivation and control, the real-life functions may be a lot different from the reality. In his article “The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact”, Henry Mintzberg provides some reasonable arguments about the need to revise and supplement the traditional approach to the manager’s job (1975). Becoming a CEO of the company, I am not going to restrict myself by applying the systems and rules to the people. Instead, my view of managing a software company like this implies democracy and my personal skills that are applied as tools for every particular situation. For the first thing, I am not going to be merely reflective and plan systematically as software development is a race that I need to keep up with – the circumstances are changing so rapidly that I won’t be able to march in step if I stick to my single plan. One of my managerial responsibilities would be acting instead of reflecting the performance of my subordinates. I can hardly limit my duties to any list, and even the time schedule for daily routines will never be defined. Being in charge of the project, I live my life next to it, so if the project requires urgent reaction on the weekend, then I need no to lose time but to place myself at the center of the action. The main purpose of every single manager is not staying theoretical setting strategic goals but in dealing with practical situations and conditions. Long planning in a silent room is quite impossible if the manager is skillful as a talented manager understands how important it is to be interrupted and to “swim” in the constantly flowing information not to be left behind because of the “blind spots”. Real managers never write what they expect to be done on paper – instead, those imaginary plans exist in their minds (Heusser 2011). Effective managers do not sit back as they have prepared everything to function. They are not conductors that step into place only if some unexpected and unforeseen difficulties occur. I know that unlike theoretical managers I am going to participate in negotiations and daily routine activities as my company is not a big corporation, so it is possible that I will have to shoulder some part of the responsibilities that are not included into the traditional list of manager’s duties (Cummings 2008). The other point to mention would be the importance of contact information and the data received using telecommunications. Managers do not actually study all the documents and aggregated factor lists to stay informed.

The middle managers such as vice-presidents of my company will review them just as my four “hands”. My task is to serve as a multifunctional team leader who acts and derives action from the others using the informational system that is connecting all the elements inside it. Surely, my performance and functions, as well as the performance and the functions of the vice-presidents, will depend on the hierarchical structure of the company. Software companies generally apply team leadership, so my guess would be that all the vice-presidents and I will fulfill interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles with the same volume of authority. I want my vice-presidents to take me not only as a formal leader but as a motivator, facilitator and creator who has his doors open for questions and suggestions any time. I take myself as a CEO who doesn’t order or reign but who facilitates the process serving as a uniting point for all the branches of the organizational system. I think of my organization as a team where everybody is equal and able to contribute his or her ideas for global development.

Strategic planning is an instrument applied by top management and defining the paths, patterns and ways of decision-making that will guide the entire organization for long-term period. The attention is focused on global goals affecting all organizational elements and all business projects taken together. Strategic planning is about looking deeply into the opportunities and challenges outside the organization, perceiving and adjusting the weaknesses and strengths inside the organization, and involving top-class planning, statistic and senior management employees to plan and adjust this information (Mittenthal 2002). Strategic planning cannot be ignored in any organization as it helps to clearly define the purpose of the company, its mission and goals to achieve; communicate those goals to all the organizational elements making sure they are realistic; guarantee increased resource management efficiency by defining the foremost priorities; embrace all the viewpoints related to the destination point of the organization. Strategic planning is a very complicated task, so multiple models and approaches may be used to conduct strategy-building. Surely, the ways of developing strategies depend on many company characteristics such as corporate culture, leadership style, organization environment particulars, size and former experience, employee qualification, planner expertise, and many others. It is crucial to keep in mind that strategic planning is definitely not about predicting the future or staying static with no decision-changing It should be processed as a flexible platform for the best reaction of the organization to the changing circumstances (Allison & Kaye 2005).

The success of any organization lies in commitment and feedback from all organizational element regardless of who started the process of change in the first place. The major questions to be asked before starting the strategy building plan for St. Albert’s Hospital would be the following: why did our revenue fall down in the last years? How can it be avoided? What should be set in focus? After answering these questions I should define whether strategic planning can resolve them or not (Allison & Kaye 2005). I will conduct a classification for organizational tasks before starting to fulfill them. The first group will be called strategic issues that deal with the questions and tasks to be completed in the next two-three years. These issues can be called fundamental and describe the actions dedicated to the benefits of the entire community. The second group of organizational tasks is called operational issues and stands for the problems that require resolution in shorter terms (less than one year). Both groups should be addressed by the decisions of the company’s management. Building up strategic plan for the hospital I will need to address the following types of issues: Finance, Mission, Administrative Capacity and Governance. I will have to incorporate religious trends into any decisions that I recommend to make considering the religious environment inside the organization. The strategic perspective will be slightly different from the corporate business as revenue won’t be set as the foremost priority but it will be replaced with customer satisfaction rates, re-hospitalization rates, medical service level and other health care efficiency indicators (Mittenthal 2003). The mission statement and the strategic plan in general have to include social responsibility element as health care industry is one of the most customer-oriented branches in business. There are multiple potential risk groups that require support programs, many problems from the socioeconomic spectrum demanding a community outreach, and many issues to discuss with the publicity concerning health issues, heart diseases, cholesterol levels, cancer peculiarities and stress management. This will be the social responsibility emphasis of my plan. Such activities will attract both the publicity and the sponsors who may make sufficient contributions into the hospital budget.

Some of the sustainability measures I would like to accomplish at St. Albert’s hospital would include reengineering the discharge process, creating a multifunctional team of coworkers who have the authority to conduct a wider range of tasks, changing the attitude and the commitment level of the personnel of the organization, introducing better insurance coverage for the employees, creating a bonus system for the most devoted staff and employees, reeducating the employees and the specialists of the highest qualification to deal with the most challenging cases, introducing new system of recording and documentation, educating my subordinates to apply and control these advanced systems of hospital audit and involving an informational system for the inside elements of the hospital to guarantee constant informational flows, emphasize the importance of corporate values and improving personal commitment to the benefits of the organization. Expanding the responsibilities and rights of my subordinates to the lowest organizational levels I will place the patient at the center of the value system of the hospital making health care service at St. Albert’s hospital faster and more qualitative. Meanwhile, in order to ensure that the personnel are able to cope with the new tasks, I will have to create a reeducation platform for them and provide them with the constant flow of information. Stressing out the values of the corporate culture I will be able to influence the devotion and commitment rates at the lowest organizational levels. At the same time, it is crucial to get the employees interested in conducting their duties at the highest level by means of tuning up their personal benefits and the benefits of the hospital with a special bonus system. Enhanced record systems will help the employees to avoid errors typical for health care industry institutions. These mistakes usually take place in discharge and documentation aspects, so the improvement should start out from these spheres. The employees won’t feel as unprotected in the changing circumstances and altered working processes if they are provided with better insurance plans. The experts and specialists of high qualification should be reeducated periodically according to the technological and pharmacy enhancements. This range of actions seems complicated but the inside components of the list create a system where every next step is supported by the previous and contributes to the success of the third. I will work out a reengineering program for the hospital violating the traditional operational patterns. It doesn’t mean that the technology will change drastically. I believe that the majority of the issues inside health care institutions are related to poor management, lack of communication and undefined duties for many operations to be done by the medical staff. It is a stressful work with many changing circumstances and crisis situations, so the flexibility and integrity of the team members is essential for the company’s success. At the same time, the patient and his satisfaction with the service should be set as the main goals of the hospital organization. Reengineering the process with the help of the measures stated above will unite these two hospital necessities into one efficient program.

The first issue to be taken into account is that the change in the company’s size and necessities has changed. Organizational structure may make a great difference in the way the company performs. Five basic organizational components are taken into consideration defining the most effective structure: the technological structure, the supporting personnel, the operational essence, the middle line and the strategy (Mintzberg 1993). Judging these indicators, we can define our existing strategy and the potential changes to take according to the altered indicators. Mintzberg’s organizational configurations include entrepreneurship, machine bureaucracy, professional organization, division organization, innovative organization (adhocracy), and idealistic organization. The XYZ Medical Instrument Company sounds to be a professional bureaucracy that is characterized by putting emphasis on professional skills rather than the output, increased independency of the production units, and the lack of communication and integration among them. The essence of operations is put as the central value for such organizations (Unger et al 2000). Medical companies that have professional bureaucracy patterns tend to have working units and separate professionals that resist the influence of centralized authority in order to preserve their independence. Sometimes, the company may as well suffer weak technological structure. For instance, no technical supervision is provided, and the results of performance are not standardized.

Generally, division adhocracy is perceived is one of the best for health industries (Unger et al 2000). 

         The following principles are intended to guide the reorganization changes of XYZ Medical Instrument Company:

  • The structure must be corresponding to the mission of the company.
  • The structure must promote integrity between the divisional parts of the organization.
  • The structure must reflect the essence of the operations that the company deals with.
  • There must be enough supporting staff to ensure the functionality of the structure.
  • The reorganization should bring benefits to all stakeholders including doctors, medical specialists, patients, employees, hospital administration, etc.
  • The structure must have easier control access and monitoring system available for the management to modify according to the changing circumstances.
  • The structure should forward the economy of scale that is especially important for XYZ Medical Instrument Company due to the expanding growth in the past years.
  • The structure should promote increased links and connections among all parts participating in the production process (projects and personnel, top-management and employees, customers and employees, etc.) Separate departments need to be grouped and tied together using the benefits of potential common interests.
  • The structure should promote corporate culture and tune up individual, group and company interests to each other.

         B. Any organization should make up with a control system that guarantees reasonable control over resource distribution and the goals’ achievement. One of the effective control systems I would like to introduce is widely used by world management and deals with the following list of principles:

  • The attention of top-management should be concentrated on the critical points. In my case, the critical point is the shortfall of the product quality proven by two pending lawsuits. On the other hand, it is essential to stimulate young subordinates to shoulder the responsibilities for introducing new products and moving from bureaucratic control to democracy and increased authority for each organizational level.
  • Control systems need to be integrated with the other working processes. This harmony will not influence the quality of products or slow the production down. That is why bureaucratic control style should be changed into something more flexible and people-oriented.
  • The employees should perceive the control system as a positive phenomenon but not something that prevents them from normal work or appears as threat. Probably, young specialists who deal with product development are simply scared of or not sure in taking the responsibility for the new products because of the bureaucratic management style that is traditional for XYZ Medical Instrument Company.
  • Free flows of information should be available for every single employee without restrictions. This will allow the company to stay as flexible as possible and react to the defects or other problems instantly. All the deadlines, project completion estimated time, project budget and costs, as well as foremost necessities need to be addressed by this criterion (CliffNotes 2012).
  • Realistic approach and economic feasibility of the tasks set are very important for the company’s success. Here, the most burning questions are: “How much does it cost?” and “What will be the final investment return?”
  • The control system should not be too complicated to be understood by any employee. The information provided by it should be transparent and trustworthy.

There are three major leadership styles recognized by the scientists in the field of management. The first one is the authoritative that seems to be a characteristic for LaRussa period. It implies that the decisions and the responsibility is shouldered by the CEO only, he is not keen on delegating his duties or getting advice from his subordinates.   The second one is called democratic or participative that stands for a style of leadership when the boss serves as a facilitator, advisor and coordinator. He often gets consultations from his subordinate team, invites them on meetings and creates a platform for group decision-making. The third one is liberal, delegative or free will. This style of management implies that the boss does not want to press on his subordinates at all, lets them do whatever they want, uses no control checks, becomes too friendly with the employee and does not participate in the working processes actively. The employees become the ones to take decisions instead of the boss (Lewin 1939). It sounds like liberal approach was taken by LaRussa’s successor, his son, and wasn’t very successful.

In my view, democratic management style would be the happy medium between the approaches XYZ Medical instrument Company has already faced. This style will suit the interests of the working units who enjoy their independency and ability to influence the operations at a larger extent. No pressure would be put upon the employees, so that their freedom of action won’t be limited in any way. Meanwhile, the democratic leader will still be an essential component of the management process and decision-making. Although LaRussa combined his authoritative leadership with charismatic influence, participative or democratic style of leadership suits the circumstances of today much better because of the technology development race and the hunger for bright ideas every company has. One person is simply not able to conduct all the functions all by himself and adjust the entire company to the changing conditions. That is why teamwork will stimulate every employer to develop his or her potential for the benefit of XYZ Medical instrument Company.

Another leadership style branch is related to X and Y Theory. X-managers tend to be more strict and authoritative assuming that their pressure will be more effective for the success of the operation. Y-theory stands for praising and inspiring the employees instead of pressing, scaring or punishing them. The latter looks to be more applicable in this particular case because the working units have already felt the benefits of independence and don’t want to feel pressed on (Hofstede 1977).

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