Discussion 1

Learning Activity #1 – Theme 1

In the 20th century, West focused on goals, cost, quality, and efficient production to keep the business profitable.  For businesses to remain sustainable today they must maintain a competitive edge either by price or innovation in the marketplace.   In theme 1, we take a closer look at the way managers maintain sustainability through innovation in the 21st century organization.

Artemus Gordon has noticed an increase in the cost of water supply in the last three years. Since many of the products produced in the health care line are water based this discovery is significant enough to bring to West’s attention.  Artemus decided to research the reasons for the increase to determine if a recommendation for a budget adjustment is in order or even a need for a change of supplier. What he found was a great deal more significant.  A serious shortage of potable water supply globally. A problem of this magnitude could potentially knock Biotech out of the marketplace altogether. 

Research the affect that a global water shortage would have on business today and write a memo to West outlining the problem, its potential effects on Biotech and some of the recommendations West should consider taking to the Strategic Planning Team.  Be sure to present to West the urgency in making this a proactive measure for the company and ways the company could make this an opportunity rather than a problem.

Learning Activity #2 – Theme 2

A challenge for the manager in the 21st century is to merge the traditional functions of a manager with the new demands of workplace life. The change of value regarding human resources to the organization coupled with technology is shifting the design of organizations toward “boundaryless” or a flat organizational structure.  In this theme we examine Fayol’s Five Functions of management as well as the 14 lesser functions of management upon which most management roles are based today, and how they are bumping up against the constructs of new 21st century management theory and technology to create tension in the workplace.

In a recent conversation at lunch West and Gordon were once again facing off over the idea of changing the Production Department to include a new people- centric theory of management.  Gordon would like to see staff be given time to do paperwork at home or to be given a computer center space where they can log in their weekly statistics, requests, and general paperwork during set work hours.  This would allow less overtime and make workers happier and potentially prevent a government citation for overtime.  West replied, “Fayol would tell you that employees need strong task and time-centered management.  Workers can do tasks on their own time if they do not get the work done on ours.  Fayol would have no patience for human resource theory.  It doesn’t belong in a production line.  It may be okay for Google but not here.”

  • Is West correct?
  • Do today’s management theories not work for the manufacturing business?  Explain how Gordon should reply to West. Be sure to explain Fayol’s Five Functions of Management and how these functions have been expanded over the years to include staffing.  
  • Also discuss how technology has changed the workplace to allow for worker preferences and flexibility.
  • Why would Google be okay with new theory and technology and not Biotech (difference between the service and manufacturing purpose of business)?

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