Business Summaries This Chapter Essay

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SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

The central part of sharing a common set of goals is having a joint understanding of what the goals of the organization are and the best ways to achieve these goals. This does not mean that there has to be absolute agreement on every detail of every aspect of the organization, because a well-run organization will allow for open discussions when they are designed to improve the way an organization works.

One of the key ways in which organizations can be organized is along the lines of how specialized they are: Does each employee do only one job or does each one wear a number of different hats? The same question must be asked of each department, and even of the company as a whole. In addition to organizing a company by the type of labor, it can also be organized by product, by the geographic location, or by type of customer. Organizations can also be defined by how centralized their management structure is.

The authors also list a number of organizational structures, including the line structure, in which each person simply reports to the manager directly above her/him; the line-and-staff structure, in which there are vertical lines of authority with nodes along the way; and the matrix structure, which has both vertical and horizontal lines of authority.

Chapter Eight

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This chapter examines one of the other major spheres of understanding how business works: The idea of production. Production is in some ways a very straightforward concept, referring to anything that is made by a person. However in an information age, the concept of "production" can refer to things that previous generations would not have recognized as products -- as Facebook's IPO demonstrated. However, this chapter looks at what operations divisions and operations managers do, which is to turn resources into products, or "are responsible for producing tangible products or services that customers want."

TOPIC: Essay on Business Summaries This Chapter Addresses Assignment

The skills needed to do this are 1) being able to lead, motivate, and inspire workers; 2) understand both current and potential future technologies and how they can work along or in combination with each other to make a production process more efficient or better in other ways; 3) understand and be able to about quality control processes; 4) and "Understand the relationship between the customer, the marketing of a product, and the production of a product."

Many forms of production are resource-intensive, meaning that they can take a significant toll on the environment. Because of this many companies are shifting or planning to shift to "greener" production. Such a shift may result because of the social responsibility of the company or because such a shift saves them regulatory fines, brings in money in terms of grants. Offering more environmentally conscientious services or products is also a way to attract new customers to a company.

Chapter Nine

Any company that has at least one employee has to deal with human resources concerns, although many of those small companies are much less aware of their responsibilities than are larger companies. But human resources management (which used to be called "human relations" and before that "personnel" -- a shift of terms that reflects the ever-increasing responsibilities that this department has taken on) covers far more than just hiring and firing. While human resources managers are involved in the hiring and firing process, they also oversee the company's compliance with a number of important laws.

In addition to the hiring and firing of individuals, human resources managers are also involved in working with other managers to assess the company's mid-range and long-term employment needs. So, for example, if a company is planning to automate a number of its processes, the human resources department might design a policy offering buy-outs for long-term employees to show them their loyalty, or institute a training program to help some employees make the shift to the new kinds of jobs that the company will have.

Alternatively, if a company is planning to expand in an innovative direction, the human resources department might design an internship program to bring in high school and college students so that they could be integrated into the company's future vision.

Human resources departments also oversee recruiting and training efforts and the implementation of laws such as the National Labor Relations Act and Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, Civil Rights Acts, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Chapter Ten

In Chapter Ten the authors examine the idea of motivation. Motivation is what makes people do something: It is the "the individual internal process that energizes, directs, and sustains behavior." Motivation exists in all aspects of our lives, but not in equal measure. It is often hard for people to get motivated at work because employees do not feel sufficiently enfranchised in the organization as a whole to be motivated to do anything but the most minimal effort.

The chapter summarizes a number of theories and models of motivation, many of which are no longer central to business models. These include Herzberg's Motivation -- Hygiene Theory, which posits that satisfaction and dissatisfaction lie along different vectors; and Theory X and Theory Y, the former of which is the model that people are naturally lazy and try to avoid work as much as possible, and the latter of which posits that people are not naturally inclined to be shirkers but that they will respond with reduced motivation in a toxic work environment.

Among the contemporary theories on motivation is the idea that employees who are empowered are more likely to be positively motivated, that when good behavior is noted and reinforced motivation will increase, and that clearly articulated goals and policies will also help motivate employees because in such an environment they will believe that they are more likely to be treated fairly.

The chapter ends with a discussion of teams and the ways in which they can be highly productive if the inevitable conflict can be contained.

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven describes the development of unions in the United States. Unions can be seen as a counterbalance to the power that companies and managers have: The fact that unions provide "collective rights" refers to the fact that the power of unions is not what each individual has but the power that they have when they join together in support of each other. Unions arose historically during the period of time when companies were untrammeled in their power and governments let companies treat workers with inhumane abandon.

The fact that there are fewer unionized workers today speaks far less to the usefulness of unions and far more to the ways in which they have already been successful in changing the ways in which all workers are treated. The largest area of union growth today is in the service industries. This is not surprising since historically unions have gotten larger and stronger wherever workers are badly treated, an aspect of service work that is all too common today.

Some companies have attempted management-union cooperation, but such agreements tend to benefit management more than labor.

The final sections of the chapter describe how labor unions organize companies and whole industries. Nearly all American workers have the right to unionize, and a number of federal and state laws protect union organizers and members.

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve takes on the next step of the business process: The customers. No matter how good the service or product that a company offers, it will fail if it cannot attract enough customers. Marketing is the overall process of selling the company's good. The authors define "relationship marketing" as "marketing decisions and activities focused on achieving long-term, satisfying relationships with customers."

Especially for small businesses, success depends on return business. Unlike the street vendor who sells someone a fake Rolex and then disappears, a successful business cultivates a relationship based on respect and trust. This kind of relationship deepens over years, with trust building loyalty in an endless cycle. Marketing done badly will feel like exploitation to the customer and is unlikely to induce respect; marketing when it is well done is attentive to the customer's needs, and uses feedback from the customer to make changes in the products or services.

The marketing of a product has several phases. The first phase is the introductory phase: when "customer awareness and acceptance of the product are low." During the growth phase, if the company has a successful product sales increase. While this is good for the company, this phase is generally also one in which competition becomes more of an issues as other companies "have probably begun to market competing products." Competition drives down prices (almost always). Both company and industry profits tend to decline at this point of the process. As the needs of the market shift, "the originating firm offers modified versions of its product and expands its distribution." This introduces a new product into the pipeline.

Chapter Thirteen

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