Management Problems in the Electronics Industry Term Paper

Pages: 20 (6751 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

¶ … goal is not a strategy. Strategy involves coherent and consistent decisions, coordinated resource allocations, and theories of action (outcome and response) that may help indirectly achieve a goal unattainable by direct frontal attack…" (Teece, 2010, p. 298).

Successful Management Theories for the Electronics Industry

The cultural / ethnic diversity in today's workplace -- in the electronics field coupled with the current economic downtown creates both problems and opportunities for management. The problems of course have to do with the sagging consumer spending and layoffs of employees; but the opportunities for electronics companies are there too, in terms of the need for a better management theory to be put in place. This paper outlines a number of those theories including some that are identified as appropriate for electronics firms.

Introduction / Statement of Problem / Thesis

When the economy is in a slump and times are tough, it is all the more important for businesses -- in particular, the electronics industry -- to embrace management theories that can bring the best possible results. This paper presents a variety of management approaches that represent the diversity of employees in today's workplace. Views and strategies reflected in this document also review the flexibility management must have to adjust to a changing workforce cultures that innovative management must come to understand and deal with.

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Presently the problem for the electronics industry is the same problem that a myriad of companies and industries are suffering through: a stagnant economy that has created millions of layoffs; production crises because of flat sales; management changes that were brought on by the recessionary economic times.

Term Paper on Management Problems in the Electronics Industry Assignment

However, sometimes the best moments available for a company to reconfigure or otherwise re-evaluate its management theories and strategies is during a slowed-down period in its production dynamics. In terms of timing and strategy, a company that has struggled due to the vertical approach to authority can use the slower period to embrace change management. Of the several theories that have particular appeal to electronics companies -- presented in this paper -- change management has the broadest appeal and seems to be the easiest to incorporate into the company culture. That of course assumes that the company is sufficiently forward leaning to be willing to change its theory of management. Change management, as a theory, takes the position that though shareholders are very important to a company's economics -- and its fiscal underpinnings -- the thrust of management should not be to simply please shareholders but instead to please the community of workers that come in each day, punch the time clock, and produce the goods and services that make the company tick.

The philosophy to be found within the change management theory is that to improve morale and production, employees should be made to feel as though they are empowered. With change management in place, the rest of the production success should pretty well take care of itself. As to shareholders, they will indeed be rewarded financially and enjoy profit due to the energy and productiveness of the employees who have been upgraded to a more horizontally positioned protocol.

How Are Managers Supposed to Function in any Management Strategy?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the government white paper on "Computer and Information Systems Managers" (http://data.bls.gov), organizations that require a highly qualified team of Information Technology (it) professionals -- which electronics companies certainly do -- will grow faster than the average for most occupations. It is no secret that electronics is a field that is expanding, even exploding, with a constant stream of new devices that consumers need and want. Within an electronics company there is the position of chief technology officer (CTO); the CTO is responsible for evaluating the latest and most innovative technologies -- and the CTO must be able to embrace a management theory in order to best train and supervise workers in the use of those new technologies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains that in a technology company the chief information officer (CIO) is the person that the CTO is responsible to; prior to purchasing new technologies and training staff in the use of those technologies, the CTO must convince the CIO that it is worthy and will return on the investment (BLS, p. 1). A very important professional within the context of an electronics company is the it director or the director of "Management information systems" (MIS). This person has to assure that there are ample services in the plant to have the "availability, continuity, and security of data and information technology services" (BLS, p. 2). The growth of managers in computer and information systems is expected to grow 17% over the next decade, the BLS points out (p. 3), and this is the fastest growth cycle for any occupation in the U.S.

For a person applying for an it position within an electronics firm, he or she can expect to earn an average of $112,210 annually, BLS reports on page 4. According to the BLS, assuming that a company is well run with strong management theories in place, the worker with specialized technical knowledge and good communication skills (as well as business skills) will find ample job opportunities.

Bad Management Theories Destroy Good Management Practices

Sumantra Ghoshal asserts that business schools have been teaching the wrong management theories. In fact, Ghoshal believes that business schools have been "propagating ideologically inspired amoral theories" and as a result those business schools have "actively freed their students from any sense of moral responsibility" (Ghoshal, 2005, p. 76). What Ghoshal means by that -- in a nutshell -- is that because business schools are not teaching values as they should there is today "...the general deligitimization of companies as institutions and of management as a profession" (p. 76).

For Ghoshal's part, the author believes that academic research into business and management has had "significant" and "negative" influences on the very practice of management (p. 76). For example, the author (p. 77) points out that while theories in the physical sciences can be proven, theories in the social sciences tend towards being "self-fulfilling." In other words anyone can create a management theory that can work in a particular environment, but does it have morality and human values attached to it? The theory of subatomic particles does not change the behaviors of those particles, Ghoshal explains (p. 77). In the same sense, a theory of management doesn't change the way people behave in an electronics business or any other business. However, if managers actually embrace the theory it can gain "sufficient currency" to change the behaviors of all the actors in the company (p. 77), according to Ghoshal.

The author attacks the "agency theory" of management, a theory that supports the idea that the shareholders are the "principals" and managers are only "agents" carrying out the will of the shareholders. When the agency theory is in place, Ghoshal explains, typically several things happen: a) expand the influence of independent directors on the corporate boards so they can "effectively police management"; b) split the roles of the board chairman and the chief executive officer (that works to lessen the authority of the CEO); c) create markets for corporate control, which encourages hostile takeovers through which corporate raiders can fire wasteful managers; and d) pay management in stock options "…to ensure that they relentlessly pursue the interests of the shareholders" (p. 80).

In order to confirm the author's disapproval for use of the agency theory of management, Ghoshal reviewed 54 studies relating to the performance effects of board compositions similar to those mentioned in the paragraph above. There was no "significant effect" on corporate performance in any of the 54 studies, Ghoshal writes. In critiquing another 31 studies that were focused on separating leadership roles -- such as alluded to above, splitting the roles of board chairman and CEO -- Ghoshal (p. 80) found that such a management theory does not affect the corporate performance "in any way."

A Variety of Leadership Strategies From Effective Leaders

Michael Abrashoff

Michael Abrashoff was the commander of the Navy ship, USS Benfold, which, before he arrived as its commander, was an unproductive ship with all the latest technology but none of the leadership required to make it as efficient as it should have been. In his book (it's Your Ship) Abrashoff reflects a management style that any company could adopt for its own. He called it "listening aggressively" and to make sure he was communicating fully, he interviewed five sailors a day until he had personally chatted with and listened to 310 crew members (p. 45). Something very positive happened as a result of those interviews, the captain explained. "I became their biggest cheerleader. How can you treat people poorly when you know and respect them?" he stated (p. 46). Beyond listening, Abrashoff showed he was a good communicator by actually following up on his crew's suggestion to replace ferrous-metal bolts with stainless steel bolts, so crewmembers wouldn't have to sand down… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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