Security Management the Role Essay

Pages: 15 (4672 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

Obviously, this kind of organizational loss affects corporations most directly, but even governmental and non-governmental organizations ultimately feel the effects of this kind of loss, whether though reduced tax revenues or increased purchasing and supply costs. In addition, while these kinds of losses are more frequently viewed as the purview of regular management, rather than the security manager, the fact remains that the security manager is in fact responsible for certain elements of organizational security and risk management related to this kind of financial or market loss.

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Having outlined the various kinds of organizational loss that might fall under the purview of a security manager, it will now be possible to discuss best practices and responses for dealing with organizational loss, with the further goal of demonstrating that the theoretical underpinnings of security management are fairly uniform across the board, even if particular practices vary according to context and necessity. This theoretical continuity stems from the fact that despite obvious differences between organizations, in the end they are all made up of a group of people (hopefully) working in tandem and functioning as something larger than the sum of its parts. To see how important this understanding of organizations is, one may note that organization and organism both contain the same root, and in fact organizations may be thought of as essentially super-organisms, with structures and functions analogous to actual organisms. In this context, one can imagine the security manager as a kind of liaison between the immune system and the rest of the body, working to prevent illness while responding to any potential injuries or attacks, whatever they may be.

TOPIC: Essay on Security Management the Role of Assignment

As such, it will be possible to go through the potential responses to each of the varieties of organizational loss described above and not only determine the best responses, but also demonstrate how those different responses ultimately stem from a relatively small set of theoretical concepts, such as surveillance, communication, symbiosis, and directed autonomy. Once again, it will be instructional to begin with the relatively simple phenomenon of shoplifting and employee theft of merchandise or cash, because although the responses to this particular form of loss are relatively straightforward and possibly even obvious, examining them in detail will help to reveal the theoretical concepts underlying all security management, regardless of whether the organization is a retail store, a school, a transnational corporation, or even a government itself.

In the case of shoplifting (perpetrated by non-employees), practically every preparation and response revolves around surveillance and situational awareness, and understanding how these concepts relate to shoplifting can actually help one better understand how a security manager might deal with other, less obvious forms of organizational loss. In terms of securing physical spaces, surveillance and situational awareness methods can be divided into passive and active methods. Passive methods include the use of security tags on merchandise coupled with sensors at entrances and exits, or even the presence of security cameras regardless of whether or not they are actively viewed (or even real). Active methods include the aforementioned security cameras, as well as the observations of employees, and in general a combination of active and passive methods is necessary in order to effectively survey a physical space while maintaining at least the impression of surveillance in those spaces which cannot be viewed or controlled directly.

Regardless of method, the key for a security manager is being aware of the limits of his or her surveillance and situational awareness capability, and this is true in any situation, and not just retail. However, identifying the limits of these capabilities is somewhat easier in a retail environment, because there are fairly direct, obvious means of measuring and quantifying these capabilities. For example, while security cameras themselves can function as a kind of deterrent, if they are to be used for actual surveillance, their placement is extremely important, because any blind spots will be exploited. Ensuring maximum coverage is of course a relatively simple procedure, but pointing out its necessity here will be informative later when discussing digital security, because although the spaces needing securing are vastly different, the same fundamental concept applies.

This is also true of employee awareness, because the same difficulties facing the security manager attempting to prevent shoplifting face the security manager attempting to secure a vast internal communications network. In research literature this is referred to as "information security awareness," and refers "to a state where users in an organization are aware of -- and ideally committed to -- their security mission" (Siponen 2000, p. 31). Perhaps the most frustrating part of maintaining healthy information security awareness is the fact that for most employees or individuals not directly related to the security apparatus, maintaining situational awareness simply is not part of their job description, and as a result their only investment in security is the minimum that is required of them under whatever security guidelines exist (Siponen 2000, p. 32). This brings one to the next critical concepts for security management after surveillance and awareness, namely, communication and symbiosis.

Symbiosis is a term most commonly used in biology and ecology to refer to a mutually beneficial relationship (although it can also be used in a broader sense to refer to any relationship between organisms), and it is applicable to the functioning of an organizational security when one considers how the different departments or branches of an organization work together. For example, although a retail employee may not see surveillance and security as an integral part of his or her contribution to the organization, the fact remains that the employee's own success within the organization is dependent on the security apparatus and vice-versa. Neither can survive without the other, even if their day-to-day interactions are minimal.

The difficulty comes in communicating this common dependency to individuals, because too often security guidelines and education programs do not take the individual's self-interest into account, and thus fail to communicate the individual benefit derived from maintaining organizational security (Siponen 2000, p. 31). Furthermore, research has shown that management tends to overestimate not only the security of the organization as a whole, but also the degree to which employees actually "adhere to established organization security policies" (Taylor & Brice 2012, p. 5). This is particularly true in the case of retail organizations, which frequently see high turnover at the lowest levels of the organization, which also happens to be where the organization interacts most closely with the public. Thus, it is up to the security manager to develop effective means of incorporating employees into the security operation by clearly communicating individual's own investment in the success of that operation.

Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between the security operation and seemingly unrelated departments leads one to the final theoretical concept mentioned above, directed autonomy. Perhaps the biggest benefit and drawback of human beings is their ability to think critically and act autonomously. On the one hand, having autonomous elements of an organization means a reduction in unnecessary oversight and managerial interference, but on the other hand, too much autonomy means that "managers fail to perceive of routine employee actions that may unintentionally expose the organization to security risks" (Taylor & Brice 2012, p. 6). Thus, the concept of directed autonomy is an attempt to retain the benefits of individual autonomy while ensuring that this freedom does not result in unregulated behavior that puts the organization at risk.

In the case of retail security, this means educating employees about warning signs and their own situational awareness while giving them the freedom to make judgment calls regarding potential security risks. Obviously, entry-level retail employees should not be expected to evaluate potential security risks with the same skill as a security manager or officer, but by clearly communicating potential security risks as well as the benefits employees would see from remaining vigilant regarding those risks, security managers could retain the benefits of autonomous employees while directing their autonomous assessments towards productive ends. In turn, this would have the effect of reducing turnover somewhat, because individuals tend to feel more fulfilled when they have the impression of choosing their own responsibilities and interests.

Though the above discussion focused mainly on shoplifting, these same concepts apply almost without alteration to the matter of employee retail theft, because all of the same issues are in play. In fact, the only major difference is that employees actually have a greater vested interest in maintaining security, because a single dishonest employee has the potential to mar the reputations of everyone else, to the point that some managers simply find it easier to punish the entire staff than root out the guilty party. In this case the security manager has an extra responsibility to the staff as a whole, because he or she must be able to determine the guilty party, lest the entire organization suffer more than it already has.

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