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The External Management Environment: The Seekers

To start with…

…refresh your knowledge of the various factors in the external environment that managers should be aware of as part of their job. Figures 2.1 (p. 30) and 2.2 (p. 32) in your textbook describe these in detail, so you should definitely have a closer look at them before sinking your teeth into this case.  Once you’ve done that, check out a recent action for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.


So, to summarise…

There are many unfavourable views about asylum seekers, making people avoid the issue, rejecting the asylum seekers’ standpoint, or viewing asylum seekers in a very negative light.  Some views focus on the legal aspect of asylum seekers: their seemingly illegal attempt to enter the country.  Other views are more concerned with the fairness of accepting asylum seekers, in terms of them not applying through proper channels, or not waiting for ‘their turn’ to be resettled overseas.  Some views are concerned with how legitimate asylum seekers’ pleas are: concerns that people pretend to be asylum seekers just for the economic benefits, and some are concerned about the security risks to Australia.  There are many other concerns, and research has proven them wrong many times.

Still, asylum seekers are a controversial topic in Australia.  Australian governments detain asylum seekers off Australian shores, in foreign countries, where they stay for years before their status is investigated and a decision on their status is made.  Life in those detention centres, as you can imagine, can be very hard for those stuck in them.  Recently, the Australian government decided to move 267 asylum seekers from Australian ground back to Nauru, where they were originally detained.  These asylum seekers were transferred to Australia from Nauru when they developed medical conditions which could not have been treated on the island.  In response to the government’s decision, one of the asylum seekers, represented by the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), appealed to the high court.  In addition, a wave of protests as part of the campaign #LetThemStay was organised across the country, calling for the government to not send the asylum seekers back to Nauru, which the high court rejected.  Several other organisations are regularly involved in supporting asylum seekers and in education the public about their situation, like the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre , and the Refugee Council of Australia (ROCA).  There are also counselling services specifically aimed at refugees who make it to live in Australia, and social enterprises, which are organisations aiming to support refugees through employment.

In addition, less legitimate organisations are involved in this issue, like people smugglers operating off Australian shores, selling spots on boats which aim to entre Australia illegally.  As you can imagine, it is a very risky journey, and there are no guarantees that it will end the way one wishes. 

Now, besides being grateful for your non-refugee situation, have a look at this complex problem and the various organisations that it involves, and this like a management scholar.

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

  • The effects of the environment on organisation
  • The external environment of the organisation
  • Customer responsiveness
  • Managerial responses

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Figure 2.1 on page 30 describes the organisation through a system view.  How would you describe the elements which are relevant to the campaign #LetThemStay?
  2. Figure 2.2 on page 32 of your textbook lists the elements of the organisation’s specific environment, and describes them in detail on pages 39-43.  If you are part of the team that organises the campaign #LetThemStay, which of these elements would you be particularly attuned to these days? Why? How would they affect your aspect of the campaign?
  3. What businesses and organisations are affected by the situation of asylum seekers in Australia?  Who would be their customers?
  4. How would you, as a manager of a business that is strongly affected by the asylum seekers’ situation, prepare for an upcoming announcement of a change in government policy towards asylum seekers?