BUS 203
Business & Human Resources
As Taught by Prof. Tim Richardson School of Marketing and e-Business, Faculty of Business
Section 2
Chpt 7


. In the official course outline for BUS 203, Chpt 7 is not included. Chpt 7 discusses SWOT analysis, which in the opinion of Prof. Richardson, is important to understand in the context of our GOPST discussion, therefore we will cover the material in Chpt 7 that deals with SWOT.

If the measurable Objectives of an organization can be achieved, then the Goal is accomplished.
The best way to achieve the Objectives, is with good Plans.
Good Plans are made possible by having well thought out Strategies which

  • take best advantage of your strengths
  • avoid (or correct) weaknesses
  • exploit opportunities 
    • sometimes you exploit opportunities that exist
    • other times you do things to create opportunities
  • neutralize threats
Chpt 7


Breaking down SWOT

Evaluating an Organization's Strengths

1. Organizational strengths--skills and capabilities that enable a firm to conceive of and implement its strategies. 

2. Distinctive competencies--strengths possessed by only a small number of competing firms. Firms that exploit their distinctive competencies often obtain a competitive  advantage and attain above-normal economic  performance.

3. Alliances and relationships with 

  • other companies that may be related by cross ownership
  • other independent companies that may be suppliers or customers
  • industry associations
  • regional and national government agencies

  • Evaluating an Organization's Weaknesses

    1. Organizational weaknesses--skills and capabilities that do not enable a firm to choose and implement strategies  that support its mission. 

    2. A firm has a competitive disadvantage when it is not  implementing valuable strategies that are being  implemented by competing firms.

    3. Environmental challenges that are restrictive

  • economic environment - ie. high wages
  • political / legal / regulatory environment - regulations on operations such as safety or waste handling considerations

  • Evaluating an Organization's Opportunities and Threats

    1. Organizational opportunities--areas that may generate  higher performance.
  • new product launches
  • a competitively new technology
  • Supply Chain Management information that cuts production costs, to lower prices
  • 2. Organizational threats--areas that make it difficult for a firm to perform at a high level.
  • union activity
  • Some of the information in the SWOT breakdown comes from Prof. Ronald C. Gardner, Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland, USA
    Chpt 8
    . Just like many business terms you will have studied before, there is the fancy way with big vocabulary, and the simple way, of explaining particular terms.

    In the text, page 216, "Decision Making" is defined as 
    "the act of choosing one alternative from among a set of alternatives"

    a simple way of expressing this would be simply    "picking the best from many"

    When you talk about a "decision making process", you are going further to consider that fact that

    • there are several alternatives to pick from
    • some of these alternatives might be very similar, and it could be difficult to make a choice
    • once you make the choice, you have to take action to put the decisions into place
    • if you don't take action, then it is not a decision, just an "opinion"
    Chpt 8

    Making in

    Chpt 8

    Making in

    Chpt 8

    Making in

    Chpt 8

    Making in

    Chpt 8

    Making in

    this information on group decision making can be found on several sites on the web, as well as in the text, 
    Some of the  written below, come from Prof. Ronald C. Gardner's site

    Group Decision Making in Organizations

    • A. Forms of Group Decision Making
    • B. Advantages of Group Decision Making
    • C. Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
    • D. Managing Group Decision-Making Processes

    A. Forms of Group Decision Making

    1 . Interacting groups --most common form of group decision  making. It occurs whenever an existing or newly formed  group is asked to make a decision.

    2. Delphi groups --used for developing a consensus of expert opinion. The Delphi procedure solicits input from a panel of experts who contribute individually. Their opinions are combined and averaged. These results are fed back to the experts and the process continues until a solution is reached.

    This method can be used to make group decisions when members cannot attend a meeting. It is a method for gathering systematically written judgements from members using a set of sequentially modified questionnaires interspersed with summaries of results from previous rounds of information gathering from members. The technique was developed by the Rand Corporation as a way of forecasting future events of national and international importance . The technique takes considerable time and effort to complete. In using it, members of the group may not know the other group members and it requires a central co-ordinating mechanism to manage the alteration, transmission, and summarisation of questionnaire data. 
    The Delphi technique follows these steps:
      • Each group member independently and anonymously records comments, suggestions, and solutions to the problem facing the group.
      • All the data generated in step 1 are sent to a centrally located individual who is responsible for data compilation and reproduction
      • Each member receives a copy of all written comments from other members.
      • Members generate feedback on other members' comments, and all second-round feedback is written down and sent to the centrally-located individual.
    The Japanese version of the Delphi Technique is "ringi sho"
    "The system for formulating decisions at the lower or middle levels of Japanese companies involves the preparation and circulation of a ringi-sho, or roughly a "project proposal." Under this system, after informal discussion of a proposal, which may involve various levels of management and other employees, an individual or group within a section takes the initiative by writing it up in ringi-sho form. The proposal is then circulated among interested parties, usually accompanied by a verbal explanation by one or more members of middle management. After careful discussion among all the interested parties, various modifications are proposed. When all parties reach a consensus, the appropriate persons affix their seals to the ringi-sho and it is sent to those responsible for making the final decision."

    3. Nominal group
    also called Nominal Group Technique (NGT) --an informed group of participants who write down as many alternatives as they can think of. These ideas are listed on a board in round robin fashion. After the ideas are listed, they are discussed. Then the members vote on the alternatives, and the highest-ranking alternative is selected.

    This method structures the work group's creative process to minimise verbal interaction among members. The group, usually no larger than nine, follows a highly structured procedure which is briefly described below:

    The question under study is posted in front of the group who members silently generate ideas in writing without looking at the work of others or discussing the question

    The leader goes around the table and asks each participant to read one idea from his or her notes. This idea is recorded in some way (computer, flipchart, video tape, etc.). In a round-robin fashion, all participants present their ideas for recording until all are shown.

    Each idea recorded is discussed in the order it appeared. The leader reads each item and asks the participants if there are any questions or points needing clarification.

    Each member records the ideas on 30 × 50 cards and rank orders them secretly from `1 to n´. The mean average rankings are used as a basis for the group's decision. The NGT process can end here or the decision may be refined through discussion and revoting.

    The voting patterns can be analysed and reasons examined to see if more accurate decisions can be made.

     A final vote is taken in the same way as in step 4. This vote closes the decision loop so members experience closure to the NGT process.

    B. Advantages of Group Decision Making - While there are many  advantages and disadvantages to group decision making, one main  advantage is that more ideas are generated, which should lead to a  better solution
    In Japanese companies in the 1970's and 1980's, the process of "nemawashi" resulted in many of the middle managers being able to contribute to the decision making process - which enabled the process to take place - however the drawback was the great amount of time for this process to take place.
    C. Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

    1. Perhaps the biggest drawback of group decision making is that additional time and resources are required to arrive at a group decision.

    In the 1980's and 1990's many North American companies were hampered when they tried to adopt group decision making processes. It is hard to schedule meeting times for groups - there is also a lot of paper work involved and memos back and forth - all of which take time. Also, the more people involved in contributing to the decision, the more likely you will have dissenting opinions, which will take time to resolve.

    For time sensitive industries, such as commodity trading, or high tech industry, it is a weakness of a company to take too long in decision making since it will allow opportunity for the competition to take an advantage.

    2. Group-think, when the group's desire for consensus and cohesiveness overwhelms its desire to reach the best possible decision, can occur when a group is asked to make a decision.
    One of the curses of political correctness in the late 1990's and early millennium, is the exaggerated concern decision making groups have with their concern for all the possible negative outcomes - which causes them to be so tortured in contemplating these scenarios that they never get around to making a decision at all.
    D. Managing Group Decision-Making Processes - Managers must be aware of the pros and cons of group decision making. Also, the group should analyze all alternatives critically and allow divergent viewpoints to be presented. It is also a good idea to ask one member to play the  role of devil's advocate.
    An advocate is a word used to describe the process of speaking on behalf of someone. The phrase "Devil's advocate" is used when you have a person speaking on behalf of the opposite position - not because they want to, but because they want to force the other side to deal with challenging issues. In some business situations, we use another term "Red Team".
    "Red Team" is an expression that comes from the military and refers to the role of an imaginary opposing force, which allows the "good guy" to practice their battlefield tactics and strategy. Many medium and large size businesses and consulting companies have used "red teams" in boardroom discussions in order to challenge a group decision-making process.
    Chpt 8

    Making in
    Group Decision Making

    understanding the dynamics of Group Decision Making is not just for medium and large sized companies, it is also used in advertising when market research companies use focus groups to try to determine interested in various new products and ideas.

    In this context, the advantages and disadvantages of groups are discussed in a slightly different way.
    Click on the screen capture below to see an example.
    June 12th Wednesday class
    June 13th Thursday class
    mostly multiple choice
    covers chapters 1,6,7,8,& 10
    Chpt 10

    Basics of
    • Planning
    • Organizing
    • Directing
    • Controlling
    Text, page 270
    "organizing is deciding how best to group organizational elements [activities and resources]"

    job design

    • "the determination of an individual's work-related responsibilities"

    • or
    • figuring out what people do

    job specialization

    • "the degree to which the overall task of the organization is broken down and divided into smaller component parts"

    • or
    • the way tasks are divided into components
    • benefits (advantages) of specialization
    • limits (disadvantages) of specialization
    Here is an online powerpoint presentation about the topics we are discussing in this chapter

    of particular interest
    slide 15
    slide 17

    These slides were put on the web by Instructor: Dr. Ardeshir Lohrasbi
    University of Illinois at Springfield

    The slides come from publishing company Prentice Hall

    Alternatives to specialization

    A good example of enlargement/expansion

    giving the engineers more time to design is not only good for the engineers, but also good for the company since it results in more new designs, which helps keep the company competitive.
    Chpt 10

    Basics of
    Departmentalization (grouping jobs together)
    common bases for departmentalization
    • function
    • product
    • customer
    • geographic (location)
    Reporting Relationships
    (related to departmentalization)
  • chain of command

  • narrow span of control

  • wide span of control

  • tall vs. flat organizations




    a web page showing the"chain of command" for the military 
    structure of the United States

    click to read original, scroll down 2/3rds

    Chpt 10

    Distributing Authority
    • authority
    • delegation
    • parts of the delegation process
    • problems in delegation
    • decentralization
    • centralization
    Coordinating Activities
    • pooled interdependence
    • sequential interdependence
    • reciprocal interdependence
    Chpt 10

    Line Positions

    Staff Positions 

    Administrative Intensity
    - lot of bureacracy compared to the people who are actually doing the work
    example - hospitals, military