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Managers and Management: Changing Roles

To start with…

…refresh your knowledge of managers’ titles on page 6, and managerial roles on pages 8 to 11 of the textbook.  Then check out what’s happening these days with the tropical cyclone Winston, and the damage it has caused in Fiji.  Fiji is not the richest country in the world, so, who is helping the locals recover?  Who should be helping?  How would they be helping?  Many organisations of many shapes and sizes are involved, so we have an opportunity to give it a close look.

Let’s look at all of those.

So, to summarise…

It’s hard to imagine, if you have only lived in countries where wealth per adult typically exceeds $25,000, what it would be like to lose not only individual property but also community infrastructure.  It is hard to imagine what it is like when an entire village is destroyed.  It is also hard to imagine how to help a community in this situation, when the damage is still progressing.  Obviously, as human beings, we are compelled to help out in these situations.  But as individuals, who live far away, and have little knowledge of the area and its needs, we may not be able to do much.

This is where organisations’ greatness is shown clearly.  Many organisations out there have it as their primary goal to help exactly situations like this.  They have the experience, the expertise, and the mechanisms for assisting in this situation.  You will find plenty of organisations involved in these efforts, as you would expect.  A major goal of charity organisations is to support those in need, and this is obviously the case.  Notice how each organisation’s efforts focus on their area of expertise: general relief, children, vision, etc. 

Some organisations have a different goal, as discovered during the Nepal relief campaign. Some organisations are less focused on helping others and more about getting resources for themselves, even if fraudulently.  If your goal doesn’t align with theirs, you probably wouldn’t want to support their efforts…

As expected, governments are part of these efforts too.  In the case of Fiji, though, most of the help is actually coming from the business community, handing out free cartons of water along main island’s (Viti Levu) north coast.  Commercial entities are among the wealthiest entities on earth, so it is refreshing to see them, in the case of Fiji, being active in assisting others.

Other governments, such as the Australian governments, also get involved in helping nations affected by natural disasters.  In the past, there has been criticism over the Australian government’s contribution to these efforts, not only in financial terms, but also in terms of coordination with the efforts of others.  This is similar to a need within an organisation: very often, different units work toward the same goal, and the organisation needs to coordinate them, to make sure resources and efforts are not wasted, or even counter one another.  In the case of helping Fiji, though, the close relationship between these nations clearly call for Australian help.

So all in all, you can see many organisations involved in the efforts to help Nepal recover from the disaster it has experienced.  You can be a part of these efforts (they will need help for quite a while, by the looks of things), and you can also advance your own knowledge of what organisations are and how managers work within them.

Some issues to notice and pay particular attention to here are…

  • Three characteristics of organisation
  • Managerial titles
  • Managerial functions
  • Managerial skills

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. There are many different types of organisations involved in the Winston cyclone situation.  Identify them, and identify how they would vary across the three characteristics of organisations described in Figure 1.1, on p. 5.
  2. Identify the titles of managers who would be involved directly, and indirectly, in the actions of the organisations you’ve identified in the previous question.
  3. Think of the four management functions (p. 8-9).  How would the managers in each type of the organisations you’ve identified in question 1 address each of these functions when they operate to achieve their goals.
  4. Have a look at the managerial skills listed on page 11.  How would these skills be used by the different managers in the different organisations you’ve identified?