How to analyse critically?

Critical writing depends on critical reading. Most of the papers you write will involve reflection on written texts – the thinking and research that has already been done on your subject. In order to write your own analysis of this subject, you will need to do careful critical reading of sources and to use them critically to make your own argument. The judgments and interpretations you make of the texts you read are the first steps towards formulating your own approach.

Critical Reading: What is It?

To read critically is to make judgements about how a text is argued. This is a highly reflective skill requiring you to “stand back” and gain some distance from the text you are reading. (You might have to read a text through once to get a basic grasp of content before you launch into an intensive critical reading.) THE KEY IS THIS:

•             don’t read looking only or primarily for information

•             do read looking for  nways of thinkig about the subject matter

When you are reading, highlighting, or taking notes, avoid extracting and compiling lists of evidence, lists of facts and examples. Avoid approaching a text by asking “What information can I get out of it?” Rather ask “How does this text work? How is it argued? How is the evidence (the facts, examples, etc.) used and interpreted? How does the text reach its conclusions?

How Do I Read Looking for Ways of Thinking? Continue reading

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Conflict Management Techniques

A conflict is a common phenomenon in the workplace. It is also seen as an important aspect of the workplace. A conflict is a situation when the interests, needs, goals or values of involved parties interfere with one another. Different stakeholders may have different priorities. Conflicts may involve team members, departments, projects, organization and client, boss and subordinate, organization needs vs. personal needs. Often, a conflict is a result of perception. Is conflict a bad thing? Not necessarily. Often, a conflict presents opportunities for improvement. Therefore, it is important to understand (and apply) various conflict resolution techniques.

Forcing

Also known as competing. An individual firmly pursues his or her own concerns despite the resistance of the other person. This may involve pushing one viewpoint at the expense of another or maintaining firm resistance to another person’s actions.

Examples of when forcing may be appropriate

  • In certain situations when all other, less forceful methods, don’t work or are ineffective
  • When you need to stand up for your own rights, resist aggression and pressure
  • When a quick resolution is required and using force is justified (e.g. in a life-threatening situation, to stop an aggression)
  • As a last resort to resolve a long-lasting conflict

Possible advantages of forcing:

  • May provide a quick resolution to a conflict
  • Increases self-esteem and draws respect when firm resistance or actions were a response to an aggression or hostility

Win-Win (Collaborating)

Also known as problem confronting or problem solving. Collaboration involves an attempt to work with the other person to find a win-win solution to the problem in hand – the one that most satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win approach sees conflict resolution as an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial result. It includes identifying the underlying concerns of the opponents and finding an alternative which meets each party’s concerns.

Examples of when collaborating may be appropriate: Continue reading

Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is a term that refers broadly to the rules, processes, or laws by which businesses are operated, regulated, and controlled. . They provide the guidelines as to how the company can be directed or controlled such that it can fulfil its goals and objectives in a manner that adds to the value of the company The term can refer to internal factors defined by the officers, stockholders or constitution of a corporation, as well as to external forces such as consumer groups, clients, and government regulations.

Well-defined and enforced corporate governance provides a structure that, at least in theory, works for the benefit of everyone concerned by ensuring that the enterprise adheres to accepted ethical standards and best practices as well as to formal laws. To that end, organizations have been formed at the regional, national, and global levels.

In recent years, corporate governance has received increased attention because of high-profile scandals involving abuse of corporate power and, in some cases, alleged criminal activity by corporate officers. An integral part of an effective corporate governance regime includes provisions for civil or criminal prosecution of individuals who conduct unethical or illegal acts in the name of the enterprise.

Emotional Intelligence


Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. It the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.

The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence

Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions.

1.     Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.

2.     Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.

3.     Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he’s been fighting with his wife.

4.     Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

Knowledge Management: an emerging management concept

Knowledge Management is a process that helps organizations identify, select, organize, disseminate and transfer important information and expertise that are a part of the organizational memory that typically resides within an organization in an unstructured manner. It is also treated as the knowledge warehouse. This enables effective and efficient problem solving, dynamic learning, strategic planning and decision making. Knowledge management focuses on identifying knowledge, explicating it in a way so that it can be shared in a formal manner, and thus reusing it.

Knowledge management enables the communication of knowledge from one person to another so that it can be used by the other person. It covers a wide range of areas that can be practiced within an organization. The fields in which knowledge concepts are deployed in organization through knowledge initiatives are:

·          sharing knowledge and best practices

·          instilling responsibility for sharing knowledge

·          capturing and reusing best practices

·          embedding knowledge in products , services and processes

·          producing knowledge as a product

·          driving knowledge generation for innovation

·          mapping networks of experts

·          building and mining customer knowledge bases

 

Goals and Objectives of Knowledge Management

The aim of knowledge management is to continuously improve an organization’s performance through the improvement and sharing of organizational knowledge throughout the organization (i.e., the aim is to ensure the organization has the right knowledge at the right time and place). Knowledge management is the set of proactive activities to support an organization in creating, assimilating, disseminating, and applying its knowledge. Knowledge management is a continuous process to understand the organization’s knowledge needs, the location of the knowledge, and how to improve the knowledge.

Broadly, we can put classify the goal of knowledge management into four different aspects.

·        create knowledge repository

·        improve knowledge assets

·        enhance the knowledge environment

·        manage knowledge as an asset

Knowledge Management Activities

Knowledge management consists of four basic functions: externalization, internalization, intermediation and cognition (Frappaolo, 1998):

Externalization:Externalization is capturing knowledge in an external repository and organizing it by some framework in an effort to discover similar knowledge. Technologies that support externalization are imaging systems, databases, workflow technologies, document management systems using clustering techniques, etc.

Internalization: Internalization is the process of identifying knowledge, usually explicit, relevant to a particular user’s needs. It involves mapping a particular problem, situation, or a point of interest against the body of knowledge already captured through externalization.

Intermediation: Intermediation  is similar to the brokering process for matching a knowledge seeker with the best source of knowledge (usually tacit) by tracking the experience and interest of individuals and groups of individuals. Some technologies that facilitate these processes are groupware, intranets, workflow and document management systems.

Cognition: Cognition  applies the knowledge exchanged preceding three processes. This is probably the knowledge management component that is most difficult to automate because it relies on human cognition to recognize where and how knowledge can be used.

In order to manage knowledge effectively in organizations, besides other factors, special attention should be given to contextual dimensions of organization such as strategy, technology and culture, that is:

·        Most important is building a strong culture to adopt and support it.

·        Defining effective strategies for using all knowledge resources efficiently.

·        Using information technologies (digital documents, intranets, expert systems etc) for developing knowledge management systems.

IS OB a common sense?

Organizational Behavior Is Not Simply Common Sense

In some ways, organizational behavior is taken as a common sense. The motivation, control, teamwork seems to be a common sense in some ways. But it is more than just the common sense when it comes to the structuring of a whole organization with so many different people, and learning styles, and also the common goals and mission of the organization.
It almost becomes a management science. And it has to be treated as such. Also, the OB will have to be a little more human than plain pure hard science, which is why it cannot be treated as all fact.

Many organizations survive on the edge and the directors as well as staff think on feet to accomplish what in all good conscience they have to for upholding their companies’ agenda.
There are many books which discuss all this, in detail and there are always ideas that can help improve the work that organizations pride themselves in rendering.

Organizational behavior is a very inter disciplinary field from economics to management and even to ethics of running a corporation. The curriculum OB course include case studies from various corporations. And that provides a good sense of organizational behavior to the students at college and graduate levels.

In that sense, OB can be taught in a field work manner as well, where multiple fields come together.

So it can simply be said that OB is more than a common sense.

Organistic Vs Mechanistic Leader


The nature, size and environment of the organization is not always the same to that of others. They may be unique in terms of these paramaters which may be analysed by PESTAL of SWOT analysis. Organistic and mechanistic organizations are the two models that helps in adopting the change and make the work process more efficient.

Companies facing a dynamic and uncertain environment may have to develop or maintain an organic organizational structure, whereas companies operating in a stable environment may benefit from developing or maintaining a mechanistic organizational structure.

The reason for this is that organic structures can process and distribute information and knowledge faster within the organization, which thus results in an increased ability to respond or react to changes in the environment.

However, mechanistic structures may act as an effective and efficient organizational structure for companies operating in a more stable and certain environment. Companies operating in a stable environment may not need to make decisions quickly. Likewise, many of the day-to-day decisions and operating procedures may be formalized and centralized, because there is no inherent need for constant change or innovation.

 

Some characteristics for each type of organizational structure are listed below: Continue reading