City or State
Businesses must consider several factors in their attempt to improve their practices and achieve competitive advantage. The study focuses on how Smith Co Ltd. can advance its operations and provides various suggestions as required in the different questions. The first question describes the roles and responsibilities of the manager at the company, and illustrates the techniques the management use to address challenges during this health crisis. The second question utilizes Lewin Kotter’s model of change to understand why an organization must develop effective driving forces to transform the present status quo. The study elaborates how following Lewin’s model allows the firm to transform its work policy by engaging everyone to adopt the new ways of doing things. The third question addresses the need to embrace strategic planning and scenario planning when contemplating diversifying business practices. The fourth and final question identifies leadership style and motivational techniques that may help the company to perform when it comes to relating to employees during this health crisis. The organizational leaders at Smith need to apply a wide range of leadership concepts and business techniques to steer the firm towards the right direction.
Question 1 – Roles of a Manager
Serving as a manager at Smith Co Ltd. requires one to perform a wide range of functions and roles to lead the firm in the right direction. Knowing the roles one would perform as a manager at Smith requires one to follow the guidelines of Henry Fayol’s administrative management theory, which implies that business leaders should interact with the members of staff. One function of a manager according to Fayol’s framework is planning (Adam & Suleiman 2018). The role permits the manager to forecast the future and develop a structural model of action and establishing the objectives and goals of the act. Proper planning according to Fayol is the most important function of a leader (Adam & Suleiman 2018). The position requires one to serve as an organizer where one develops an organizational framework that provides the chance for non-human resources and human resources the chance to work as a team. The other role of a manager according to Fayol’s model is to command the team by providing orders and directions to the members of staff so that they do what is right and acceptable (Adam & Suleiman 2018). Serving as a manager at Smith requires one to serve as a coordinator taking into account that the firm comprises of different divisions. Proper coordination makes it possible to bring together the actions of all departments and divisions, and to integrate their effort for the attainment of business goals. Leading the facility as a manager requires one to control the various functions, and this may require the leader to compare the actual organizational performance with the targeted aspirations, while checking if there is need for advancement (Adam & Suleiman 2018). Acting as a controller means that the manager will have to oversee important tasks such as the preparation of budgets and handling essential budgeting schedules throughout the business (Adam & Suleiman 2018). Abiding by Fayol’s administrative management theory would allow the manager to perform his functions and obligations in the most suitable manner.
Following Henry Mintzberg’s managerial roles is also likely to guide the manager on how to conduct their functions. The position requires one to improve the interpersonal relations by acting as a figurehead who is in charge of legal, ceremonial, and social factors, and also by playing the functions of a leader who communicates effectively, inspire others, and coach them on how to perform their duties (Altamony, Masa’deh & Gharaibeh 2017). It is also possible to build interpersonal relations at the place of work by serving as a liaison in charge for networking outside of the organization and transmitting appropriate content. Serving as a manager requires on to be informational by acting as a monitor who identifies information within and outside the firm to examine their organization’s activities and recognize matters that need to be tackled or alterations that must take place (Altamony, Masa’deh & Gharaibeh 2017). Being informational requires the leader to act as a disseminator who relay helpful content internally to workers and delegate duties appropriately (Altamony, Masa’deh & Gharaibeh 2017). Moreover, being informational requires the manager to serve as a spokesperson who relay information to the outside sources with the objective of selling the brand.
Adhering to Stewart leadership model may help to understand the roles one would have as a manager at Smith. A manager while following the Stewart leadership model would have to create purpose for the company while focusing on buyers’ needs, applying suitable communication techniques, and employing strategic thinking mechanisms (Stewart, Courtright & Manz 2011). The manager must focus on delivering excellence by making appropriate decisions, delegating duties, promoting personal integrity, and embracing suitable problem solving mechanisms (Stewart, Courtright & Manz 2011). The role of a manager based on the model by Stewart is to develop self and others through various mechanisms such as coaching, team building, valuing others, time management, personal development, and listening (Stewart, Courtright & Manz 2011). Finally, the manager would foster change by being innovative, embracing and applying the concept of change management, and inspiring others by being committed to the organizational duties (Stewart, Courtright & Manz 2011). Adhering to all these frameworks will help the manager to serve in a way that facilitates growth and stability at the sanitizer manufacturing firm.
Challenges during the Pandemic
Serving as a leader during this COVID 19 pandemic presented several challenges, which requires the leader to apply suitable mitigation techniques to address the issues. One of the major challenge was the disruption of global supply chains because of the restrictions on movement from one part of the world to the other. The condition affected sales and had direct impact on revenue generation. A suitable management theory used to address the problem was the contingency theory, which asserts that there is no appropriate mechanism to handle a firm, lead it, or make decisions (Vidal, Campdesuner, Sanchez-Rodriguez & Vivar 2017). Thus, leaders and other members of staff have no option, but to rely upon the external and internal situations (Vidal, Campdesuner, Sanchez-Rodriguez & Vivar 2017). The other challenge during the pandemic was decreased attendance at the workplace with many employees fearing to contract the virus, especially when not much was known about the virus. The situation resulted in increased delays and postponements of duties, which had severe effects on the business. A suitable management theory to handle the problem was theory X and theory Y, where theory X calls for increased external rewards, penalties, and supervision, while theory Y emphasizes on the motivating function of work satisfaction and promotes employees to perform their duties with minimum supervision (Aykut & Staub 2012). The third challenge during the pandemic is customer service because many buyers expect the company to take extra measures while relating with them to minimize the chances of transmitting the virus. Buyers expected the company to introduce safety measures, which had some financial impact on the company. A suitable framework to address the problem is the scientific management theory that requires the administration to analyze and synthesize workflows with the aim of advancing economic efficiency, particularly the productivity of labor (Bell & Martin 2012). The mitigation approach allows the administration to apply scientific mechanisms and work with other members of staff to address the issue (Bell & Martin 2012). The management hopes that the adopted measures will yield the anticipated results and allow the corporation to excel in its operations.
Question 2 – Enacting Change using Kurt Lewin’s Model
The teachings of Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist, provided valuable guidance on how organizational change happens in a way that continues to influence modern practice. The scholar expounded on the concept of equilibrium that he termed as the present condition or status quo of productivity (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). He argued that it is possible to fortify or disrupt equilibrium by alterations in the connection between the driving and restraining factors (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). Thus, the firm attains equilibrium when the amount of driving forces is the same as the sum of the restraining factors. So before change happens, the force field stands at equilibrium between factors promoting change and those inhibiting it. Lewin informed that a supposedly-stationary social equilibrium exists, which ought to be altered during the implementation of change, but redeveloped again at a new category once the change is implemented and adopted (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). Lewin implied that for change to exist, the equilibrium or status quo must be adjusted, either by including elements suitable to the transformation or by minimizing resisting factors (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). He went ahead to propose that when the driving factors or forces are much stronger than the resisting elements, the equilibrium or status quo will adjust, and further informed that beneficial change is attained by either fortifying the driving factors or lessening the obstacles (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). Lewin’s force field analysis may be of significant to any company that aspires to transform its operations or policies.
Lewin’s force field breakdown integrates with his three stage theory of change. It stipulates that for change to happen, the change agent must pay considerable attention to the unfreezing phase which is the initiation stage where the actors seek to transform the present equilibrium (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). The second phase is change where the agents adopt new ways of doing things and develop mechanisms for adapting to the new ways of doing things (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). The final stage is refreezing the transformation at a new height so that the firm embraces a new equilibrium that impedes further alterations (Wojciechowski, Murphy, Pearsall & French 2016). The objective of change agents in this scenario is to facilitate the driving elements to shift beyond equilibrium and surpass the effect of any impeding factors, thus offering necessary support in transiting through the three vital stages of change.
Based on Lewin’s framework of change, the company would develop enough urge or force to transform how workers perceive their relations and duties at the firm to prevent possible transmission of coronavirus. For the change to happen, the driving force to alter the status quo would be to sensitize workers on the need to adjust how the firm operates. For instance, the change agents in this case will sensitize members of staff about the benefits of wearing masks all the time the attend to their duties contrary to before the virus broke out when they could conduct their duties without having to wear the protective gear. Similarly, the awareness process will inform that observing other measures associated with minimizing spread of COVID 19 such as maintaining social distance, sanitizing as frequently as possible, washing hands with running water and soap, and avoiding handshake will be of benefit to them and their loved ones. The awareness process will serve as a driving force to change the equilibrium where some employees may still be tempted to walk around without a mask, or without washing their hands after touching possibly contaminated surfaces, and compel them to adhere to the enacted measures that the firm will instill in the change process. Some of the implemented measures at the change stage, include setting up as many hand-washing points as possible, erecting sanitization points, and labelling strategic places to remind people to be aware of the virus that has the capacity to kill. The change agents will also constantly remind all members of staff to observe the enacted measures part of making the change process successful. The firm in the final category of change (refreezing) will strengthen these new changes by urging everyone to accept them and apply them in other areas such as at home and in other public areas. Otherwise, failing to develop a driving force that encourages people to adopt change may derail the attempt to adjust the status quo.
Question 3 – Strategic Planning Objectives
Businesses that want to be more competitive and influential in the market should consider diversifying their operations. Diversification that can either happen by expanding into a new marketing or developing a new product as it happens with Smith that considers venturing into the production of masks of different types considering that the protective gear is likely to be in high demand in future. Diversification helps the business because Le (2019) thinks that diversifying into service and products line can offer an appropriate path to quick growth, as the firm get the chance to sell more items to the existing consumers and to generate new markets. Furthermore, diversification will allow Smith to lower risk of loss because if one area performs poorly over a particular period, other investments can do well over the same duration, minimizing the possible losses of the firm’s investment portfolio from putting all the capital under one category of investment (Le 2019). Some companies practice diversification by scattering money within and across diverse asset categories, such as cash, bonds, and stocks so that it is easier for the company to weigh the ups and downs in a market and sustain potential growth and development (Le 2019). However, a firm must first know whether the internal factors permit for the formation of a strategic plan on how to sustain and grow the firm after venturing into the new operational area.
The applicable tools for conducting internal analysis for Smith in this case are SWOT, which examines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and McKinsey 7s model. The strengths at the company, include being a multinational firm with more than 20 stations across the globe, which enables it to enjoy a wide range of skills and technology that it borrows from other international companies, and having adequate qualified staff in these branches. The weakness at Smith is lack of diversity, which denies it the chance to identify new buyers and markets. Smith enjoys several opportunities such as increasing demand for sanitizers and masks, growing technology, and the possibilities of exploring more markets. Administrators and planners at the various categories should develop suitable mechanisms for exploiting these opportunities. The evident threat is lack of diversity such that when the production of sanitizers fail to yield the expected outcomes the company may not generate much needed revenue. Using McKinsey 7s model to analyze Smith’s internal situation reveals that the company requires a proper strategy to venture into other areas that would expand its portfolio and revenue generation. The group relies on its present structures and systems to manage its activities on the production of sanitizers, but may have to improve on these areas if they have to venture into the production of masks of various types. The group boasts of its shared values across all the branches, which is major factor bonding members of staff in all the stations together. The administration employs various styles to relate with workers and to carry out business practices. The management understands that business strategy is essential for any firm seeking to advance its operations in a strategic way set out in easy-to-understand and pursue goals, actions, and plans that outline how the company will compete in particular markets, with its products and services (Le 2019). The employer hires a team of qualified and competent workers who understand what it takes to deliver. The group focuses on recruiting workers who have the relevant skills needed to complete different tasks at the various positions. Hiring skillful workers provide the chance to incorporate a team that can perform a job well done and keep the buyers satisfied, saving the company money. The internal analysis of Smith indicates that the firm must improve on some areas if it wants to excel in venturing into mask production. For instance, it must overcome its weaknesses and threats, and focus on ways of improving its strategy and systems so that it can handle more processes.
Importance of Scenario Planning
The top management at Smith should employ the concept of scenario planning because the approach has the capacity to minimize income volatility. Le (2019) refers to scenario planning as the making of assumptions on how the future is likely to turn out, and how the business environment is expected to transform in future. More specifically, scenario planning focuses on identifying a group of uncertainties and realities of what may occur in the future of the organization. Applying scenario planning in the most effective manner will help the management at Smith to address income vitality, which could have adverse effects on the business practices. The main effect of income volatility in business is that it may deny the company the chance to generate revenue at a time that it really needs money. Being conversant with the concept of scenario planning, therefore, will help the administration to predict when it is not likely to generate as much money as it would expect and enact appropriate measures to sustain business practices.
Question 4 – Leadership and Motivational Techniques
The health crisis has caused a scenario where many employers and employees prefer to work from home as a way of reducing congestion at the place work. However, many companies, including Smith must consider suitable leadership and motivational techniques that would improve worker productivity at this point of time. A suitable leadership approach during this time is the democratic technique, which is also called participative leadership. The design is more appropriate compared to other leadership styles because it allows members of the group to play a more participative function in decision-making (Kouzes & Posner 2017). The leadership technique is effective because it allows leaders to work effectively with high competent or skilled employees who know what it requires to perform well (Kouzes & Posner 2017). The democratic leadership approach is more appropriate at this point of time because it allows managers to capitalize on their workers’ individual strengths and talents (Kouzes & Posner 2017). A suitable motivational strategy in this case is timely and adequate payment to motivate employees to pay more attention to their functions even though they have to work from home. The team must also embrace effective communication, negotiation and performance appraisal strategies that would help to maintain the workforce even as employees work from home. A suitable communication model in this case is the assertive method, which gives all parties into the communication a fair chance to express their views (Kouzes & Posner 2017). The team leaders must also adopt suitable ways for addressing emerging differences, while paying considerable attention to negotiation, which allows conflicting sides to reach an amicable solution without having to proceed to litigation (Kouzes & Posner 2017). Finally, the management should use effective performance appraisal strategies to know whether workers still perform as expected of them even as they work from home.
Analyzing the four questions present valuable lessons to employers and employees that can help to advance operations even when things do not appear to work or unfold as projected. Business managers learn that they have a wide range of roles and responsibilities to play as the organizational leader. Managers learn to borrow from leadership concepts developed by Fayol, Mintzberg, and Stewart on how to lead a firm in the most effective way where every stakeholder feels included. The study informs business leaders to adopt modern management theories in addressing the challenges they encounter in the course of managing the establishment. The findings may help business leaders to embrace suitable change management plans such as Lewin’s model that requires change agents to apply the force field analysis and the three phases that Lewin indicates to be vital (unfreeze, change, and refreeze). The study informs businesses to pay considerable attention to effective ways of diversifying their activities to win more buyers and develop wider markets for their goods and services. The research reveals that employing the concepts of strategic planning and scenario planning increase the chances of expanding without much impediment. More fundamentally, leaders learn the benefits of applying the most effective leadership and motivational approaches that help to achieve the targeted goals, as well as employ suitable negotiation, performance appraisal, and communication techniques that boost operations.
Adam, A, & Suleiman, E 2018, ‘A contextual framework of Henry Fayol’s 14 principles of
management for public sector efficiency and effectiveness of policy responsibilities by a
government’, Journal of Advanced Research in Business and Management Studies, vol.
11, no. 1, pp. 46-61.
Altamony, H, Masa’deh, R, & Gharaibeh, A 2017, ‘The role of academic researcher to
Mintzberg’s managerial roles’, International Journal of Business Management and
Economic Research, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 920-925.
Aykut, A, & Staub, S 2012, ‘Theory X and theory Y type leadership behavior and its impact on
Organizational performance: Small business owners in the Sishane lighting and chandelier
district’, SSRN Electronic Journal, vol. 75, pp. 102-111.
Bell, R, & Martin, J 2012, ‘The relevance of scientific management and equity theory in
everyday managerial communication situations’, Journal of Management Policy and
Practice, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 106-115.
Kouzes, J, & Posner, B 2017, The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things
happen in organizations, Jossey-Bass, London.
Le, H 2019, ‘Literature review on diversification strategy, enterprise core competence and
enterprise performance’, American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, vol.
9, no. 1, pp. 91-108.
Stewart, G, Courtright, S, & Manz, C 2011, ‘Self-leadership: A multilevel review’, Journal of
Management, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 185-222.
Vidal, G, Campdesuner, R, Sanchez-Rodriguez, A, & Vivar, R 2017, ‘Contingency theory to
leadership styles of small businesses owner-managers at Santo Domingo, Ecuador’,
International Journal of Engineering Business Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1-11.
Wojciechowski, E, Murphy, P, Pearsall, T, & French, E 2016, ‘A case review: Integrating
Lewin’s theory with lean’s system approach for change’, OJIN: The Online Journal of
Issues in Nursing, vol. 21, no. 2, doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol21No02Man04