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Management 505 Assignments:

 

Assignment 1 

September 10, 2008

 Read and Summarize Chapter 1of Information Technologies in Business and Society

 

 Introduction

 

1. Understanding the importance of information technology in business use

2. Case study and how it can be used

3. Identifying roles in analyzing case studies

 

    In the 21st century, information technology will greatly influence progress both economically and scientifully. Due to the current lack of an IT workforce large enough to meet private and public sector demands, the United States risk losing it's current advantages in the scientific, economic, and human resource realm.  By the year 2010, there are predictions that there will be a shortage of IT talent.

 

    Despite advances of information technology in today's world, hardware and software systems continue to fail. Information system personnel who are currently entering the workforce are thought to be insufficient in meeting the challenges faced by many American businesses and industries. For example, the Y2K bug, which was caused by it's computer programmers writing a code that only recognized two characters for the year field, could have been avoided if a discussion had of taken place between users and computer programmers. Computers ability to only recognize the first two characters of the computer code caused a problem when the years changed from the 1900's to 2000. It was thought the year 2000 would have been recognized as the year 1900, which would have created major problems.

 

Case Studies

 

    In information technology, a case is usually a technological or business issue that has been recorded by management or engineers. Case study, which is not meant to show the correct or incorrect way to handle managerial situations, does offer much needed insight when conducting research, completing program evaluations, and teaching. Written case study emerged in 1908 at Harvard Business School and was actually implemented in 1911 in a Business Policy class. A problem was presented by instructors to their students, who later completed a report to analysis the problem and give their recommendation for a solution.

 

    Case studies are generally used to show the positive and negative implementation of information systems for a particular firm. Two companies may purchase the same software but use it differently, have very different outcomes, or even have different packages installed in the final stages. In other words, the implementation of an information system is unique in every situation.

 

Responsibilities in Analyzing Case Studies

    When analyzing cases, the instructor will use many different tools such as videos, transparencies, and projection equipment to provide information on the industry used in the case. Due to assignments being completed in teams, each group will then read and analysis the   case. Steps such as identifying the problem, identifying factors that may affect the decision, and choosing the the best solution, will then lead to a written report and presentation of the solution. After presentations by each group, they will be informed what decision was actually made by the different companies as well as what steps were taken to implement the solution.

 

Case Studies Used in textbook

 

1. Chick-fil-a Case Study

-Director of Restaurant Information Systems was given the responsibility to update Chick-fil-a's point of sales (POS) system

-Operations Council came up with two suggestions. 1. An intelligent POS based on Windows NT/95 or 2. A thin POS based on Windows CE

 

2. Superstar Case Study

-Vice President of Superstar Personal Car recommends funds from CEO for further research that will produce a better lotion that is currently in high demand

-CEO of SS needs to determine how to allocate funding within his budget to fifteen proposed projects, including the lotion enhancements, while ensuring goal of achieving 25% gross profit

 

3. Powertel Case Study

-Wireless company needs to choose alternatives to reduce traffic congestion due to new rate plan

-Two options: 1. Add antennas and other equipment to an existing site on the Sheraton Hotel or 2. Add antennas and other equipment to the Summit (an existing site)

 

4. Noiseless Motors Case Study

-N08 engine sold successfully for 25 years but needs to pass emission regulations to stay in business

-N08 replaced but did not pass emission test

-Information system's used for design did not communicate effectively with the system's used for design


 

Assignment 2 

September 15, 2008

 Read and Summarize Chapter 2 Meeting Today's Challenges with Teams

 

            Introduction

The focus of modern day students should now be geared towards building their communication skills, teamwork, and interdisciplinary studies. They should also focus on understanding math and science in solving problems. These are the things that employers expect from graduates who are now entering the workforce. Most companies are now implementing teamwork to meet the demands of the market. 

 

Real World Connection 1: Superstar Specialties Inc.

-Sanjeev Kumar, CEO, is allocated $4.91 million to spend on company for the next budget year

-Funds needed for the 5 units that make up this company exceed this amount

-Consulting firm, Chemquest Group Inc, was called to assist ( All 5 units would participate)

 

1. Definitions of a Team

 

1. Work Group:    No significant incremental performance need that requires it to become a team   

                            Group tackles different responsibilities  that may or may not be connected

2. Psuedo Team:   May be incremental performance, but it is not focused on performance as a whole

                            No interest in shaping a common purpose

3. Potential Team: Great importance placed on incremental performance need, and that is really trying to improve its performance impact

4. Real Team: Smaller group of people with complimentary skills who are equally committed to a common goal or purpose for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

5. High Performance Team: Meets all conditions of real team and committed to each person's personal growth and success. Out performs expectations!

 

2. The Benefits of Teams in a Workplace

 

In today's workforce it is impossible to increase company performance with the use of teams. Teams out perform individuals when: there are complex task, creativity is needed, unclear paths are faced, better use of resources is required, faster learning is a must, a high level of commitment is needed, cooperation of other's is needed, and the task is cross-functional.

 

3 Importance of Teams

 

1. Organizational Structures: Traditional structures have been replaced by team based structures

2. Global Interactions:  Technical breakthroughs in communication and travel have reduced the physical distance to be an insignificant variable

3. Virtual Interaction: Email, Internet, and Intranets have created teams with little or no face-to-face interaction.

4. Changing workforce: Those born in the 70's have different lifestyles and work styles from people born earlier

5. Increased Empowerment: Employees want to be involved in the way managers make decisions

 

4. Characteristics of High Performing Teams:

1. Clarity in team goals: - Everyone understanding purpose and goals

2. A Work Plan: This plan helps the team determine what advice, training, materials, or assistance they may need

3. Clearly Defined Roles: All members understand their duties and know who is responsible for what issues and tasks

4. Clear Communication: Good discussions depend on how well information is passed between team members. Both speaking and listening are important

5. Beneficial Team Behaviors: Encourage members to use the skills and practices that make discussions and meetings more effective.

6. Well defined decision procedures: Teams should be aware of different ways to make decisions

7. Balanced Participation: Everyone should participate

8. Established Ground Rules: Teams establish norms for what will or will not be tolerated

9. Awareness of Group Process: How the team works together

10. Use of scientific approach: Opinions be supported by data

 

5. The Group Life Cycle

All teams go through a development process in order to reaching the “high performance” stage. Listed below are the steps that all steps who did reach this stage must achieve.

-Stage 1: Infancy (Forming) – This stage may be smooth and pleasant or frustrating. Usually this stage involves introductions, comparing compatibility, and establishing patterns for interaction.

-Stage 2: Adolescence (Storming) – This stage usually follows a base level of expectations being set. Here is where there is a bid for power and influence.

 -Stage 3: Adulthood (Norming & Performing) – Here is where people pull together as a team verses operating as a mere set of individuals. Meaning functional relationships develop in this stage.

-Stage 4: Re-cycling: If a team proceeds through the first three stages, they may be given the opportunity to start the entire process again or re-cycle the stages

-Stage 5: Transforming - After the purpose has been achieved, the team is faced with transforming. Transforming usually takes two paths: 1. Redefinition – establishment of a new purpose or 2: Disengagement – team must decide on its future or proceed. Often time team members will eventually have to disengage, but later find ways to continue contact

 

6. How Does the Individual Impact the Team?

 

Teams are defined as a group of individuals who bring a variety of perspectives, experience, knowledge, skills, and ideas to the group. Differences of each person key to the success of the group, but can also lead to workplace differences such as stress, conflict, low productivity, ineffective leadership, and resistance to change.

 

7. The Team Toolbox – Resources Used in Creating High Performance Teams

            Personal Profile System

            Group decision-making

            Consensus

            Conducting effective meetings

            Ground Rules

            Providing Feedback

            Evaluating Team Performance

            Strategies to Reduce Conflict

            Team building activities

 

7.1 Personal Profile System – Tool used to simplify and understand human behavior, which is divided into four distinct functions: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness (DiSC).

 

*DiSC model is based on two perceptions: the environment as favorable or unfavorable and the person himself or herself as more or less powerful than the environment.

 

8. Making Group Decisions

-The plop: your suggestion is ignored

-Railroading: A loud suggestion is acted on without discussion

-Self Authorized: You act alone. The group goes along

-Handclasp: Quick decision between two people move the group

- Voting: A tally of opinions

-Trading: I agree with you in this if you agree with me on that

-Data Based Decisions: Move forward based on input

-Consensus: finding a solution that tall members support

 

9. Conduction Effective Meetings:

Effective meetings should consist of both an agenda and key meeting roles

 

10. Group Problems - No matter how we try to manage conflict, disagreements can become highly emotional

 

10.1 Sources of Conflict

-Process – How the team operates

-Roles – Who does what on the team?

-Direction – The way the team is proceeding in relation to common purpose and goals

-External Pressures – Time, deadlines, and resources

 

11. Guidelines to Ground Rules – The establishment of norms on what kind of behavior is acceptable are the foundations for a good team.

 

12. Feedback (Two Types):

1. Feedback comes when the team meetings take place

2. Feedback comes when the project is over and the leader gives information on the team’s performance

 

13. Evaluating Team Performance- Evaluating a team’s performance is essential. The main approach is to evaluate the team’s health at each stage

 

14. Diversity In Teams - Although diversity can bring stress to the workplace, it is also essential to good business. Diversity brings in the differences that each person encounters when experiencing the world, which in turn creates creativity.

 

15. Leadership in Teams -  Being a leader requires making people feel good about doing what is required of them in the most effective and human way possible.

16. Strategies To Reduce Conflict – Conflict is something that normally occurs in a team. Often times to resolve conflict you must first understand the characteristics of the people.