BA210 understanding management discussion questions

Units 3, 4, 5 and 6. I just don’t have time to finish this class. Father of four and commute 3 hours a day.ISBN-13: 978-0-357-03382-1
BA 210
Review questions Unit 3
Please write your response to the following review questions in 2-3 sentences.
Chapter 5
1. What strategic plans could the college or university at which you are taking this
management course adopt to compete for students in the marketplace? Would these plans
depend on the school’s goals?
2. The MBO technique has been criticized for putting too much emphasis on achieving goals
(ends) and not enough on the methods that people use to achieve them (means). Do you
think this is a flaw in the technique or in the way managers apply it? How would you place
a balanced emphasis on ends and means?
3. A new business venture must develop a comprehensive business plan to borrow money to
get started. Companies such as FedEx and Nike say they did not follow the original plan
closely. Does that mean that developing the plan was a waste of time for these eventually
successful companies?
4. Assume that Southern University decides to do two things: (1) raise its admission
standards and (2) initiate a business fair to which local townspeople will be invited. What
types of plans might it use to carry out these two activities?
5. LivingSocial started with one “daily deal,” a $25 voucher for $50 worth of food at a
Washington D.C., area restaurant. Since then, the company has grown at breakneck
speed, has 46 million members in 25 countries, and has acquired a dozen companies that
offer related deals and services. Why and how might a company such as LivingSocial want
to use scenario building? Discuss.
6. Some people say an organization could never be “prepared” for a disaster such as the
shooting at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, the Japan nuclear
disaster, or the huge BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Discuss the potential value of crisis
planning in situations like these, even if the situations are difficult to plan for.
7. Goals that are overly ambitious can discourage employees and decrease motivation, yet
the idea of stretch goals is proposed as a way to get people fired up and motivated. As a
manager, how might you decide where to draw the line between a “good” stretch goal and
a “bad” one that is unrealistic?
8. Netflix has successfully adapted to a number of challenges in its industry. What do you
see as some engineering opportunities and threats for the company?
9. Fortune magazine and the Hay Group found that a clear, stable strategy is one of the
defining characteristics of companies on the list of “The World’s Most Admired
Companies.” Why might this be the case?
10. Using Porter’s competitive strategies, how would you describe the strategies of Walmart,
Bergdorf Goodman, and T.J. Maxx?
Chapter 6
1. Aaron Alexis, the former Navy reservist who went on a shooting rampage in September
2013 and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C., had a history
of mental instability, but he was carrying a valid security clearance. How would you
suggest managers make decisions for issuing or revoking security clearances to prevent
this kind of catastrophe?
2. Managers at Gap Inc., a once-popular retail chain, are reported to have made a series of
decisions that hurt the company: They expanded so rapidly that the chain lost touch with
customers; they tried to copy the successful approach of rivals rather than charting their
own course; they cut quality to reduce costs; they shifted from one fashion approach to
another as each one failed to appeal to customers, and so on. What techniques would you
recommend Gap managers use to improve the quality of their decisions?
3. Explain the difference between risk and ambiguity. How might decision making differ for a
risky versus an ambiguous situation?
4. Analyze three decisions you made over the past six months. Which of these were
programmed and which were non-programmed? Which model—the classical,
administrative, or political—best describes the approach you took to making each
5. What opportunities and potential problems are posed by the formation of more than one
coalition within an organization, each one advocating a different direction or alternative?
What steps can you take as a manager to make sure that dueling coalitions result in
constructive discussion rather than dissension?
6. Can you think of a bad decision from your own school or work experience, or from the
recent business or political news, that was made in an effort to correct or justify a past
decision? As a new manager, how might you resist the urge to choose a decision
alternative based on the idea that it might correct or validate a previous decision?
7. Experts advise that most catastrophes in organizations result from a series of small
problems or mistakes. As a new, entry-level manager, how might you apply this
understanding to help your organization avoid making major mistakes?
8. List some possible advantages and disadvantages to using computer technology for
managerial decision making.
9. Can intuition and evidence-based decision making coexist as valid approaches within an
organization? How might managers combine their intuition with a rational, data-driven,
evidence-based approach?
10. What do you think is your dominant decision style? Is your style compatible with group
techniques such as brainstorming and engaging in rigorous debate? Discuss.

BA 210
Review questions Unit 4
Chapter 7
1. If you wanted to add a group of big data scientists to a large organization such as PepsiCo,
would you centralize the scientists in a central pool at headquarters or decentralize them to
separate divisions? Discuss your reasons.
2. How does relational coordination differ from teams and task forces? Do you think relational
coordination seems more valuable for a service technology or a manufacturing technology?
Explain your answer.
3. An organizational consultant was heard to say, “Some aspect of functional structure appears
in every organization.” Do you agree? Explain.
4. Some people argue that the matrix structure should be adopted only as a last resort because
the dual chains of command can create more problems than they solve. Discuss. Do you
agree or disagree? Why?
5. What is the virtual network approach to structure? Is the use of authority and responsibility
different compared with other forms of departmentalization? Explain.
6. A report published by Hay Group found that some managers have personalities suited to
horizontal relationships, such as project management, that achieve results with little formal
authority. Other managers are more suited to operating roles with much formal authority in a
vertical structure. What type of structure—functional, matrix, team, or virtual network—do you
believe your personality would best fit? Which structure would be the most challenging for
you? Give your reasons.
7. Describe the primary differences between manufacturing and service technology. How do
these differences influence the type of structure that will be most effective?
8. Experts say that organizations are becoming increasingly decentralized, with authority,
decision-making responsibility, and accountability being pushed farther down into the
organization. How will this trend affect what will be asked of you as a new manager?
9. This chapter suggested that structure should be designed to fit strategy. Some theorists argue
that strategy should be designed to fit the organization’s structure. With which theory do you
agree? Explain.
10. Would you expect the structure of a company such as Facebook, which operates almost
entirely online, to differ from the structure of a bricks-and-mortar company such as AT&T,
which uses the Internet only for some things, such as customer service and business-tobusiness
transactions? Why or why not?
Chapter 8
1. Microsoft and Intel are giants of the computer industry. Why do you think that these large
companies have had such a hard time competing against disruptive innovations such as
mobile computing?
2. A manager of an international chemical company said that few new products in her company
were successful. What would you advise the manager to do to help increase the company’s
success rate?
3. As a manager, how would you deal with resistance to change when you suspect employees’
fears of job loss are well founded?
4. If you were a manager responsible for floor cleaning products at a consumer products
company, how might you apply crowdsourcing to identify a new product that would meet
customer needs?
5. To tap into the experience of battle-tested soldiers, the U.S. Army recently began encouraging
personnel from all ranks to go online and collaboratively rewrite some of the Army’s field
manuals in a Wikipedia-like fashion. When the rank and file showed little interest, one retired
colonel suggested top leaders should make soldiers participate. Does coercion seem like a
good way to implement this type of change? Discuss.
6. Analyze the driving and restraining forces of a change that you would like to make in your life. Do you believe understanding force-field analysis can help you more effectively implement a significant change in your own behavior?
7. Why do you think research has shown that idea champions are so essential to the initiation of
change? Could they be equally important for implementation?
8. You are a manager, and you believe the expense reimbursement system for salespeople is
far too slow, taking weeks instead of days. How would you go about convincing other
managers that this problem needs to be addressed?
9. Do the underlying values of OD differ from assumptions associated with other types of
change? Discuss.
10. What do you see as the major advantages and disadvantages of a company moving to open
Chapter 9
1. Does it seem like a good idea to let a big data computer program make hiring decisions, as
some companies like Xerox are doing, as described in this chapter? What types of positions
do you think this might be suitable for? What might be some drawbacks to this approach?
2. Assume that it is the year 2027. In your company, central planning has given way to frontline
decision making and bureaucracy has given way to teamwork. Shop floor workers use
handheld devices and robots. A labor shortage currently affects many job openings, and the
few applicants you do attract lack skills to work in teams, make their own production
decisions, or use sophisticated technology. As vice president of HRM since 2015, what should
you have done to prepare for this situation?
3. Is it wise for managers to evaluate a promising candidate’s tweets or postings on social
networking sites as grounds for rejection before even interviewing him or her? What might be
ethical and legal issues for managers to consider? Discuss.
4. One HR manager recently got a thank-you note on her iPhone that said “Thx 4 the Iview!” The manager had liked the candidate’s interview, but after getting the note, she put him in the
reject pile. Why do you think she rejected the candidate? Was that fair? Should “textspeak” be
considered acceptable workplace communication? Discuss.
5. How do you think feedback based on a 360-degree feedback system would be received by
employees in Germany or China (see Exhibit 9.10) compared to employees in America? How
about feedback from a forced ranking system? Which system—360 or forced ranking—would
be more suitable for each country? Discuss.
6. How would you go about deciding whether to use a job-based, skills-based, or pay-for performance compensation plan for employees in a textile manufacturing plant? For waitstaff
in a restaurant? For salespeople in an insurance company?
7. Evaluate your own experiences with people from other cultural backgrounds. How well do you think those experiences prepared you to understand the unique needs and dilemmas of a
diverse workforce?
8. Until Sheryl Sandberg was promoted to chief operating officer of Facebook in 2012, its board
was composed of only men. Yet a majority of Facebook’s 845 million users are women. Given
this demographic, explain how Facebook might benefit from increasing the presence of
women on its corporate board.
9. If talkative men are viewed as powerful and competent, why do you think talkative women are
seen as less capable and pushy? Do you think this perception would be different in an
organization with a large percentage of female managers at top levels?
10. Describe how diversity of thought boosts creativity and innovation in the workplace. Why do
managers consider diversity of thought a competitive advantage?
BA 210
Review questions Unit 5
Please write your response to the following review questions in 2-3 sentences.
Chapter 10
1. Why is self-awareness important for being a good manager? Can you think of some specific
negative consequences that might result from a manager with low self-awareness?
2. As a manager, how might you deal with an employee who is always displaying negative
emotions that affect the rest of the team? How might you use an understanding of attributions
and emotional contagion to help you decide what to do?
3. What are some specific tips that you would give a new manager for building trust with
subordinates? With other managers?
4. The chapter suggests that optimism is an important characteristic for a manager, yet some
employees complain that optimistic managers cause them significant stress because they
expect their subordinates to meet unreasonable goals or expectations. How might an
employee deal with a perpetually optimistic manager?
5. Studies have suggested that extroverts contribute less to teams and are poor listeners, yet
other studies suggest that they are more likely to earn six-figure incomes, even in today’s
collaborative, team-oriented workplaces. Discuss why you think this might be the case.
6. Surveys by the Conference Board show that job satisfaction has declined from 61 percent of
people surveyed in 1987 to 50 percent in 2013, and one workplace analyst has said a high
level of dissatisfaction is “the new normal.” What are some factors that might explain this
decline in satisfaction levels? Do you think it is possible for managers to reverse the trend?
7. Which of the four components of emotional intelligence do you consider most important to an
effective manager in today’s world? Why?
8. How might understanding whether an employee has an internal or an external locus of control
help a manager better communicate with, motivate, and lead the employee?
9. How do you think a system for self-management such as the five-step system described in
this chapter could benefit you as a student? What parts of the system seem particularly useful
to you? Explain.
10. Why do you think workplace stress is skyrocketing? Do you think it is a trend that will
continue? Explain the reasons for your answer. Do you think it is the responsibility of
managers and organizations to help employees manage stress? Why or why not?
Chapter 11
1. Suggest some personal traits that you believe would be useful to a business leader today. Are
these traits more valuable in some situations than in others? How do you think traits differ
from strengths?
2. In a study asking what people wanted from leaders versus followers, people ranked maturity
number 8 for followers, but number 15 for leaders. What might account for people wanting a
higher maturity level from followers?
3. If a male manager changes his behaviors to incorporate elements of interactive leadership
more common to female managers, can he still be an “authentic” leader? Discuss.
4. Studies of women leaders suggest that many of them view power differently than men do and
prefer a collaborative, relationship-oriented use of power. If this is the case, what does it
suggest about women leaders’ abilities to accomplish goals? What does it suggest about
women’s ability to rise to higher organizational levels? Discuss.
5. What skills and abilities does a manager need to lead effectively in a virtual environment? Do
you believe a leader with a consideration style or an initiating-structure style would be more
successful as a virtual leader? Explain your answer.
6. What is transformational leadership? Give examples of organizational situations that would
call for transformational, transactional, or charismatic leadership.
7. How does Level 5 leadership differ from the concept of servant leadership? Do you believe
anyone has the potential to become a Level 5 leader? Discuss.
8. Why do you think so little attention is given to followership compared to leadership in
organizations? Discuss how the role of an effective follower is similar to the role of a leader.
9. Do you think leadership is more important or less important in today’s flatter, team-based
organizations? Are some leadership styles better suited to such organizations as opposed to
traditional hierarchical organizations? Explain.
10. Consider the leadership position of a senior partner in a law firm. What task, subordinate, and
organizational factors might serve as substitutes for leadership in this situation?
Chapter 12
1. Why do you think making progress ranks as the most important factor contributing to
motivation, according to recent studies? How can managers provide a sense of progress for
employees working on long-range projects that might not show results for months or even
2. Psychologists have identified three pathways to happiness: pleasure, engagement, and
meaning. Do you think that it is the manager’s responsibility to help people find these
elements in their work? Discuss.
3. Assume that you are a front-line manager at a call center. Try to come up with a specific
motivational idea that fits in each of the four quadrants in Exhibit 12.2: Growth/Positive
Extrinsic; Growth/Positive Intrinsic; Pain/Negative Extrinsic; Pain/Negative Intrinsic.
4. In response to security threats in today’s world, the U.S. government federalized airport
security workers. Many argued that simply making screeners federal workers would not solve
the root problem: bored, low-paid, and poorly trained security workers have little motivation to
be vigilant. How might these employees be motivated to provide the security that travel
threats now demand?
5. Using Hackman and Oldham’s core job dimensions, compare and contrast the jobs of these
two state employees: (1) Jared, who spends much of his time researching and debating
energy policy to make recommendations that will eventually be presented to the state
legislature and (2) Anise, who spends her days planting and caring for the flower gardens and
grounds surrounding the state capitol building.
6. If an experienced executive assistant discovered that she made the same amount of money
as a newly hired janitor, how do you think she would react? What inputs and outcomes might
she evaluate to make this comparison?
7. A survey of teachers found that two of the most important rewards were the belief that their
work was important and a feeling of accomplishment. According to Maslow’s theory, what
needs do these rewards meet?
8. Use Herzberg’s two-factor theory to explain why motivation seems to be high and turnover low at Zingerman’s, based on the information provided in a “Recipe for Success” box in the
9. Why do you think empowerment increases motivation? Do you see any ways in which a
manager’s empowerment efforts might contribute to demotivation among employees?
10. A recent Gallup survey shows that highly educated workers are significantly less likely to be
engaged than are those with a high school diploma or less. What might be some reasons for
this lower level of engagement among more well-educated employees?
Chapter 13
1. What are the characteristics of an open communication climate? Describe the organizational
benefits of managers cultivating an open communication climate.
2. Describe the elements of the communication model in Exhibit 13.2. Give an example of each
part of the model as it exists in the classroom during communication between teacher and
3. Lana Lowery, a regional manager for a 100-person inside-sales team, notices that its best
performer is struggling. Her sales are down 20 percent from a year ago, and she frequently
arrives late for work, looking upset. Lowery needs to find out why her performance is
suffering. What advice would you give Lowery for communicating with this employee? Which
communication channel should she use? What would be the relative importance of candor,
listening, and asking questions? Explain.
4. One small business owner said that he had to teach his young employees what a “dial tone”
was. Do you have phone aversion? Do you think it is possible to build a solid business
relationship with customers using only text messaging, e-mail, and social media?
5. Some senior managers believe they should rely on written information and computer reports
because these yield more accurate data than do face-to-face communications. Do you agree?
Why or why not?
6. During times of significant organizational change, such as downsizing and layoffs, the
grapevine becomes more active as anxious employees share organizational news and
rumors. As a manager, what communication strategies would you employ during a time of
uncertainty in the workplace? What are the advantages and disadvantages of gossip during a
time of uncertainty?
7. Assume you manage a small online business that sells herbal supplements. Without your
knowledge, a disgruntled employee has posted damaging information about your company to
the company’s public blog, including false information about dangerous ingredients in your
best-selling supplement. What specific steps would you take to minimize the impact of this
8. If you were asked to design a training program to help managers become better
communicators, what would you include in the program?
9. Suppose that you manage an employee who is spending too much time using social media at
work. The result is that he has missed three important deadlines in one week. You are
planning a face-to-face conversation to address this performance problem, and your goal is to
communicate with candor. Using “I statements” as described in this chapter, how would you
begin this conversation?
10. Describe specific ways that you might incorporate Twitter into an organization’s crisis
communication plan for customers. How about for employees?
Chapter 14
1. One company had 40 percent of its workers and 20 percent of its manager’s resign during the
first year after it reorganized from a vertical hierarchy into teams. What might account for this
dramatic turnover? How might managers ensure a smooth transition to teams?
2. Have you experienced any of the five contributions of teams shown in Exhibit 14.2 with a team that you have participated in? Describe your experience and why you think that the team was able to make that specific contribution.
3. Suppose that you are the leader of a team that has just been created to develop a new
registration process at your college or university. How can you use an understanding of the
stages of team development to improve your team’s effectiveness?
4. Research on team interactions described in the chapter indicates that when people eat lunch
at 12-person tables, they are more productive and collaborative than when they eat at 4-
person tables, even if they aren’t eating with their own team members. What do you think
would explain this finding?
5. Imagine yourself as a potential member of a team responsible for designing a new package
for a breakfast cereal. Do you think interpersonal skills would be equally important if the team
is organized face to face versus a virtual team? Why or why not? Might different types of interpersonal skills be required for the two types of teams? Be specific.
6. If you were the leader of a special-purpose team developing a new computer game and
conflicts arose related to power and status differences among team members, what would you
do? Which of the styles to handle conflict described in the chapter do you think might be most
effective? Explain your answer.
7. Experts say that for teams to function well, members have to get to know one another in some
depth. What specifically would you do to facilitate this in a co-located team? What about in a
global, virtual team?
8. Some people argue that the presence of an outside threat correlates with a high degree of
team cohesion. Would you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
9. Discuss how the dilemmas of teamwork vs. individual work might be intensified in a virtual
team. What dilemmas do you encounter when you have to do class assignments as part of a
team? Discuss.
10. If you were the leader of a newly formed team, what might you do to make sure that the
team developed norms of high performance?
Please write your response to the following review questions in 2-3 sentences.
Chapter 15
1. You have been hired to manage a 20-person staff for Nightlight Travels, a travel agency in
Las Vegas. For five years, sales have been hammered by the global recession, and staff
morale has plummeted as star employees have left for positions in more secure industries.
Key customer relationships have been damaged by the sloppy and unprofessional work
habits of the remaining staff members. Your first responsibility as new manager is to
create next year’s budget for all planned expenditures. But first you must decide if you will
adopt a hierarchical approach or a decentralized approach to control. Which one would
you choose, and why?
2. You’re a manager who employs a participative control approach. You’ve concluded that
corrective action is necessary to improve customer satisfaction, but first you need to
convince your employees that the problem exists. What kind of evidence do you think
employees will find more compelling: quantitative measurements or anecdotes from your
interactions with customers? Explain your answer.
3. Describe the advantages of using a balanced scorecard to measure and control
organizational performance. Suppose you created a balanced scorecard for Walmart.
What specific customer service measures would you include?
4. In zero-based budgeting, every account starts at $0, and every dollar added to the budget
is reflected by an actual, documented need. Identify the possible advantages of zerobased
5. Most companies have policies that regulate employees’ personal use of work computers
during work hours. Some even monitor employee e-mails and track the Web sites that
have been visited. Do you consider this type of surveillance an invasion of privacy? What
are the advantages of restricting employee use of the Internet and e-mail at work?
6. Think of a class you’ve taken in the past. What standards of performance did your
professor establish? How was your actual performance measured? How was your
performance compared to the standards? Do you think the standards and methods of
measurement were fair? Were they appropriate to your assigned work? Why or why not?
7. Some critics argue that Six Sigma is a collection of superficial changes that often result in
doing a superb job of building the wrong product or offering the wrong service. Do you
agree or disagree? Explain.
8. What types of analysis can managers perform to help them diagnose a company’s
financial condition? How can a review of financial statements help managers diagnose
other kinds of performance problems as well?
9. Why is benchmarking an important component of TQM programs? Do you believe a
company could have a successful TQM program without using benchmarking?
10. What is ISO certification? Why would a global company like GE want ISO certification?

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