This paper uses some activities of Wal-Mart as the selected company and understands how these activities come within the functions of management and indicate how they relate to each other and the organization. This will also identify and describe the elements of Wal-Mart organization within its structure and how they interrelate. Using the activities or management of Wal-Mart as supporting example, this paper summarize the meaning of management and the activities of managers do under a management environment.
This will also define the nature and purpose of planning and evaluate the factors that influence organization behavior and culture. In addition, this will assess the different organizational structures compare the major alternative styles for leading, motivating and controlling and examine organizational communication and leaders. Further, this paper will analyze the control function of management and factors of success.
Analysis and Discussion
Summarize the meaning of management, what managers do, and the management environment
Management may mean forming or creating a special group of people whose job is to direct the effort and activities of other people toward common objectives of the organization. Simply stated, management is getting done through other people. It can also be described as the process by which a cooperative group direct actions towards common goals. This process involves techniques by which distinguishable group of people, called managers, coordinates activities of other people where managers of seldom actually perform basic activities themselves (Massie, 1987).
As applied to Wal-Mart, management may mean how the Board of Directors and Officers as defined in its by-laws accomplish the organizational objectives which are in accordance with its defined mission and vision (Wal-Mart, 2009). The officers may then delegate the management to middle managers who will make and execute decisions as may be delegated within the company’s defined plans or activities. The management environment may be external one or the industry opportunities and threats which are factors to be considered in making plans. It may also include the internal environment which refers to company’s strengths and weaknesses.
Define the nature and purpose of planning
Planning is the process by which a manager looks to the future and discovers alternative courses of action. The first stage of planning is the conscious and explicit statement of ultimate objectives. Hence, its nature is basically mental but must eventually be spelled for the documentation and for communication to the managers who will help in the implementation. There is a there conscious choice of patters of influence as determined for decision makers so that the many decision will be coordinate for some period of time and will be directed toward the chosen broad goals (Plunkett and Attner, 1985).
A plan is predetermined course of action thus before a plan is finalized there are possible courses to chose from. Planning will therefore result to objectives and how to attain the same. It may be also tailored fit to a specific project.
Planning may not only involve predetermining course of action to be taken, relative to the known event, but may include mentally searching for possibilities of future problems that might appear (Plunkett and Attner, 1985). Thus, there are techniques of handling uncertainty which are extremely valuable. If the probability of the occurrence of several events is great enough, alternative plans may be developed. Since conditions change and there the economics of alternative uses of the managers’ time are business realities, the latter will therefore govern the extent to which alternative plans are desirable. Plans become premises for decision to be made in the future and they will provide therefore frames of reference for decisions of individuals in an organization (Massie, 1987).
Evaluate factors that influence organizational behavior and culture
The factors that influence organization behavior and culture include the ability to the leader to bring his or people to values, behavior and culture to what the organization must maintain consistent with its vision and mission and readiness and willing of the people to adopt said values, behavior and culture to become part of the organization that must be respected and obeyed.
Leaders can attempt to manage and create distinct cultures through a number of ways that could bring the organization to where it wants to go or achieved (Pearce and Robinson, 2004). First leaders can emphasize what values are dominant in the organizations by building strategies that are relevant it is acquisition of competitive advantages. Since quality, differentiation, cost advantages and speed are four key competitive advantages, the leaders of organization can nurture key themes or dominant values within their organization that reinforce competitive advantage which the company want to maintain or build via wordings in advertisement (Pearce and Robinson, 2004).
In the case of Wal-Mart, management can make the company’s position known to its employees with it cost advantage compared with competitors (Pearce and Robinson, 2004). Second leader can encourage the dissemination of stories and legend about Wal-Mart core values. In the case again of Wal-Mart it may be easy to make story that the bigger the organizational sales, the easier would be to attain economies of scale and hence the company could sustain its cost advantage that would assure better profit for the company and better assurance of long-term relationship with employees.
Since employees’ beliefs and aspirations will have to become part of the organization, the attainment of desired organizational behavior and culture if these employees are listened to by the leaders of the organization. Despite cultural differences among nationalities, the organization can have a distinct organizational culture that will consider all the differences among culture and which will lead the organization to where it wants but before employees to become part they must have commitment motivation to adopt such organizational or corporate behavior or culture.
Assess various forms of organizational structure
Each form of organization culture has its own features which may fit well under certain given conditions. The idea is that there should be the matching of structure to the strategy. Since the bases of strategy come from internal and external factors for the purpose of attainment of objectives them structure must match with the strategy that is designed according to the environment (Pearce and Robinson, 2004).
When company has a single or narrow product focus, functional structure may be appropriate. The firm under such situation will need well-defined skills and areas of specialization to build competitive advantage in providing product or service and dividing tasks into functional specialties enable the personnel for the company to concentrate only on one aspect of the necessary work (Pearce and Robinson, 2004). The same would allow the use of technical skills and develops a high level of efficiency. The identity of the parts of the structure may then be determined by the product, customer or technology considerations (Pearce and Robinson, 2004).
If the company will expand into more product or services in more geographic areas, the same would necessitate variant approach to produce, provide and sell products, hence it may be best to use geographic organizational structure.
Another possibility is when the company diversifies its product or service lines or if the company tries unrelated market channels or where its customer groups become heterogeneous (Pearce and Robinson, 2004). Thus, it would be best to constitute each organization part as a separate business which will require a divisional organizational structure.
There is however another possibility where in the course of product diversification which becomes numerous and the company may want to maximize the use of some skills and resources where they are most needed. In such a situation, the company could have a matrix organizational structure to suit the needed strategy because of changing condition from industry opportunities (Pearce and Robinson, 2004).
Compare major alternatives in leadership styles for leading, motivation, and controlling
The major leadership styles which include authoritarian, participative and delegative are compared in the following paragraphs.
Since leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people each style will basically consider the characteristic of the people that will be governed and the purpose of the organization. Autocratic may be appropriate when the leader has all the information to solve the problem, time is too short to accomplish the goal and the employees are motivated (Townsend and Gebhardt, 2000).
However this could be abused in the conditions as there are some people may use yelling or demeaning language and even threats because of the belief that they can use their bower to bend the will of their subordinates. Thus this should be only be used on rare occasions (Townsend and Gebhardt, 2000).
If time to attain goal is long and the organization values commitment and motivation which is needed to sustain the long period of time, which is the usual case, management should adopt a participative style or democratic. This would be allowing people to contribute in decision making which will commitment and motivation overtime. It the leader calling the follower to work together as such this style will normally involve a leader with one or a number of follower in the decision making process. The leader despite the delegation still makes the final decision (Townsend and Gebhardt, 2000).
This is used when the leader has only a part of the information and the rest depend on employees or subordinates or followers. As such this is very appropriate when the leader can depend on his or her employees to do some decision making since the latter have some of lacking information.
If democratic would sound very lax and liberal the leader can use delegative style, which is in between autocratic and democratic. In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still made responsible the decisions to be made. Delegative is therefore use when employees show capacity to analyze situations and can decide appropriate on what needs to be done and how to do it (Townsend and Gebhardt, 2000). This however should not be used to blame the subordinates when they go wrong but rather as sign of full trust and confidence on employees that could be psychologically rewarding for given some power (Townsend and Gebhardt, 2000).
Examine organizational communication and leadership
Good organizational communication should be considered and evidence of good leadership since communication is needed to keep the parts of the organizational systems to work (Massie, 1987). Without communication, there is no way that plans could reach the people who will become part in the decision making process. It is through communication that people in the organization will understand the plans and programs and the manner of implementation to certain degree. Parts of things to be communicated are policies and rules that must be obeyed in order to lead the organization to where it should go.
Clarity of communication is one of those that Wal-Mart managers expect (Lisanti, 1999). This means that management is valuing communication as part of its leadership requirement and as way to leading people to what should be done. Managers as well as employees therefore are expected as well to be good communicators in return. Middle managers must be able to motivate their employees and that employees must be able to communicate to customer in many ways that could promote and advance the attainment of the organizational objectives.
Good communication therefore requires good communication skills in establishing relationships, advising and counseling and even in areas of educating and developing people. Such in effect could eventually gain commitment that would build trust among people. It is said that is difficult to build relationship without communication, hence it is but basic to have the same in an organization consisting of people who must understand and help each other to attain goals.
Among the best practices of balancing organizational performance measures entail communication. These are cascading accountability, involving employees, keeping employees informed and rewarding employees (US Office of Personnel Management, 2000).
Analyze the control function of management and factors of success
The control function of management refers to the capacity of management of make its objective realized through the different strategies that the company formulates and implements. The factors of its success would include the determinants of its success which include the people who formulate these plans or strategies, the environment from the strategies are based in relation to the objectives.
The environments could include both the external and external environments. External environment would refer to industry opportunities and threats. The internal environments would refer to company strengths and weaknesses. If there are properly assessed and correctly used by management, then the there is greater chance the strategies will likely attain the objectives. Another factor also is whether the objectives set are within the “SMART” criteria. Objectives must not only be specific, measurable and attainable. They must also be realistic and time-bound (Powers, 2009). If these objectives would not comply under the said criteria first place, it would be more difficult to attain what is desired.
This paper has discussed management and other related theories using activities and events pertaining to Wal-Mart as an organization and found relationship of each as being gravitated to the mission and vision of the organization which are translated into objectives. Planning therefore becomes an indispensable part of management as it is from said stage that objectives are set from which strategies must attain the keep the organization alive. The applicability of management theories, of course could be further confirmed on many other organizations.
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Plunkett and Attner (1985). Introduction to Management, PWS-Kent Publishing Company, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Powers (2009). Personal Goal Setting – Learn to Set Smart Goals. Web.
Townsend, P. and Gebhardt, J. (2000). Quality is everybody’s business, CRC Press.
US Office of Personnel Management (2000), Balancing Measure: Best Practices in Performance management. Web.
Wal-Mart (2009). Company Mission. Web.