Essay: Theory Practice and Application

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Management Theory According to Experience

The capacity for managerial success is not exclusive. Every

individual has the opportunity to integrate the qualities necessary to move

an organization in a satisfactory direction. This can be achieved by an

assimilation of the four functions of management: organization, planning,

leadership and controlling. To a large part, these are four distinctive

elements of what it is to be the central engine for an effectively

maintained vehicle. This is something that I have come to understand

through my own personal experiences as I have evolved to accept managerial

and leadership challenges. As I have come to understanding management

theories with greater acuity, I have also come to appreciate that

applicability of Kolb's Model of Learning, which denotes that all

individuals possess and display different preferences in terms of the

receipt of and action upon information. As I have sought to understanding

which of the learning style categories I might fall into, I have also

gained great insight into that which is demanded of the competent leader.

Certainly, I have learned that the organization of any functional

entity must first be built on a firm base of organizational dexterity. It

falls upon a manager to determine that this is a policy which is executed

appropriately. This can be achieved through personal efficiency at

balancing schedule demands, responsibility, inter-dynamic structural

relationships and a sensible distribution of tasks. In smaller

organizations, this may be accomplished by one central manager or

management team which then devises instructions for its staff thereto. In

larger organizations, such responsibilities may be filled from a top-down

approach, with central authority delegating organizational demands to lower

tiers of management. In either instance, Kolb denotes that an organization

will tend to exude the qualities of its leadership. Therefore, where

leadership is prone toward what he describes as concrete experience, for

instance, management will tend to "have the most hands-on approach, with a

strong preference for doing rather than thinking. They like to ask 'what

if?' and 'why not?' to support their action-first approach." (Kolb, 1)

When this is combined with the processing dimension of what Kolb refers to

as an active experimenter, the organization is likely to experience a

management style that is aggressively proactive, with risk-taking

behaviors and innovation being likely. This is especially a prominent

management style in very small organizations, where management is expected

to provide a certain degree of active guidance to day to day operations.

At the root, I have learned from my experience that organizational

development is the process by which an organization comes to identify with

a specific procedural orientation, approach to personnel management,

collective identity and internal culture. This is a process which occurs

both naturally over time and under the guided leadership of an

organization's key decision-makers. Through these figures, the whole of

the organization can come to reflect its developmental goals. In

particular, human resources have been essential to a strategy of

organization which is effective and which can even improve the flow of the

organization. In a field such as healthcare which is considered here, for

instance, personnel and personnel management must be regarded as valuable

human resources in which are contained a vast wealth of knowledge regarding

the most optimal ways in which to divide responsibilities amongst

organizational members, the most sensible distribution of tasks along a

time-line and what the ideal way might be to complete any number of

functions necessary to the operational effectiveness of the organization.

Therefore, in the process of organizational development, it is

crucial to bring into consideration the input and perspective of

organizational members at every level. This will induce greater knowledge

economy and stimulate motivation through a sense of individual involvement

amongst employees. Additionally, this will allow organizational leadership

a greater latitude for the execution of managerial responsibilities by

unburdening it of some less integral but nonetheless organizational duties.

The application of such principles to my uniquely situated and unusually

small organization will require some careful analysis

My organization is particularly small, with my role as sole

managerial authority of the household for which I was a live-in aid and

primary caregiver to an elderly man defining my responsibilities to said

household's organizational functionality in total. I was responsible for

maintaining that careful balance of demands through a simple method of

lucid organization. This also defined my approach to planning. It was

often necessary for me to schedule months in advance to ensure that the

elderly gentleman to whom I was responsible received his appropriate

medical attention, prescription fillings, exercise routines and

entertainment. I learned that an organization can only function properly

if its central management offers a defined vision for the organization's

immediate and long-term future.

Naturally, even as I sought to define a well-planned schedule on

which to facilitate the health of the man with whom I worked and the

functionality of the household, I found that the position subjected me to

constant strategic changes. My plans were never rendered useless but

instead, they became a fluid framework for the definition of my leadership

responsibilities. When the organization was beset by unexpected changes,

sometimes incurred by external factors such as a doctor's unavailability or

the rare instance of a banking error, it fell upon me to take control of

the plans and adapt them to the new needs as might the active experimenter

described by Kolb.

Sometimes this means drafting a plan with the flexibility to be fused with

necessary modifications. Learning how to plan accordingly also endowed me

with the opportunity to take control of circumstances which may have

otherwise fallen outside the pale of my control.

It was also common that internal circumstances demanded a quality of

leadership in me that was absolutely essential to my ability to fulfill my

important duties as a managerial authority. I refined my own definition of

leadership as I evolved into the role, recognizing nuances such as

flexibility, sensitivity to the needs of an organization's members and a

well-outlined presence of authority. This also causes us to consider

Kolb's conception of the abstract conceptualizer as one whose preference

dimension inclines a way of critical thinking that is inherently meant to

content with the situations which are daily in flux in such an organization

as mine. This is to suggest that while there is value in achieving a

confluence of these nuances, by way of the specific needs of the

organization and my own personal managerial style, I learned how to

actualize leadership as the dominant focus in fulfilling my manifold

duties. In addition to planning and adapting to changes, I made an effort

to imbue the organization with a daily spontaneity that would keep us ahead

of the challenges that can be developed by allowing it to fall into a rut.

It is healthy for the elderly to enjoy a normal, functional life and it

became one of my primary goals to see that this was a part of the

organization's overarching accomplishments. In order to do so, it was

required of me to develop a rational sense of ingenuity with regard to the

manners in which this could be achieved. I took a position of leadership

in determining how we spent our days and how our various mutual goals could

be met.

Overall, I learned that the integration of these above mentioned

skills was equally as important as their individual applications, helping

to underscore the value in Kolb's theory, which inherently merges the

principles of action and theory into leadership development skills. Given

the organization's perpetually changing needs, as well as the unique daily

challenges of assisting a man in his 80's through the basic functions of

living, I learned that an equanimity of approach is every bit as crucial as

the refinement of skills. A good manager will learn to weigh these skills

against one another to determine how and when to execute them. Balance is

a key element to managerial success, which I learned as I implemented each

function to its prescribed degree. Effective management is embodied by the

process of honing this balance and applying it to the everyday demands of

organizational success.

I would find in my experience that a successful organization is one

which is molded to meet its goals through internal efficiency. Though

there are possibly infinite circumstances which can effect the day-to-day

and long-term outlook for any organization, it is in the hands of competent

administrative direction that such an organization can poise itself to

drive toward its goals regardless of the outlook. Such administration can

be achieved by a sensible and pragmatically derived balance between the

four functions of management. This is an accomplishment which can be met

by implementing a strategy specifically applicable to the needs of the

organization, with measures of planning, organizing, leading and

controlling meted out to reflect that application.

Of these functions, perhaps leadership is the term most difficult to

discern from the overall roles of a management. But in fact, leadership is

a concept unto itself and a quality which can… [END OF PREVIEW]

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