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CHAPTER 21 Managing Operations, Quality, and Productivity END OF CHAPTER questions Questions for Review 1. What is the relationship of operations management to overall organizational strategy? Where do productivity and quality fit into that relationship? Operations management should be fully integrated with the strategy of the organization. It is not possible to separate operations from the overall business goals and directions. If a firm desires to become a cost leader in the industry, operations management will be needed to develop and maintain a technological system and method of production that will provide cost leadership. Productivity and quality likewise need to be integrated into the strategic plan. Efficiency and effectiveness in the production process lead to the strategic advantage most businesses need to be successful. 2. Describe three basic decisions that must be addressed in the design of operations systems. For each decision, what information do managers need to make that decision? Determining product-service mix involves choosing which products and services the firm will offer. To make product-service mix decisions, the firm must consider its ability to supply the products and services, the market’s demand for them, and data about expenses and revenues. Capacity decisions determine the quantity of products and services offered, and rely on information about capability, demand, and profitability. Facilities decisions select the location and layout of the firm’s physical facilities. Location is determined by investigating the firm’s needs as well as cost information, while layout decisions are made based on the production processes that will be occurring in the facility. 3. What are some approaches to facilities layout? How do they differ from one another? How are they similar? One common layout is the product layout, which is best for processes that produce large quantities of a single product. It resembles the classic “assembly line” formation with sequential performance of work at fixed stations while work-in-process flows past each station. The process layout is best when a facility produces multiple products that rely on the performance of the same processes but in different sequences. For example, a doctor’s clinic may have a check-in desk, a screening area, examination rooms, a laboratory, a pharmacy, an X-ray room, a check-out desk, and so on. Some patients will use all of these areas; others just a few, and the order of the processes will also differ to some extent. The fixed-position layout has a stationary product and each process is brought to the product’s location. This layout is used, for example, in the manufacture of large ships or airplanes where welders, electricians, painters, and others work in sequence on a single, large product. The cellular layout is best for groups of related products that follow similar paths through the various processes. An auto factory may use a cellular layout, for example, to build all of the brake subassemblies for each model of car in one area and another area may be used for producing dashboards. The brakes and dashboards are then delivered to other areas where each model of vehicle is assembled. 4. What is Total Quality Management? What are the major characteristics of TQM? Total Quality Management is an organization-wide commitment to making quality a top priority for the firm. Typically, TQM implementations include employee involvement at all levels, new technology, and improvements in materials and methods. TQM tools are benchmarking against excellent firms, outsourcing where appropriate, increased speed in every process, implementation of ISO 9000 or other objective quality standards, and the use of statistical quality control techniques. Questions for Analysis 5. Is operations management linked most closely to corporate-level, business-level, or functional strategies? Why or in what way? Operations management is related to all of these, but it is most closely linked to functional strategies, particularly those associated with the production function. The primary function of the production process is transformation. To some extent the production function in a manufacturing organization is identical to operations management, yet there are ties to corporate image in terms of quality and to business-level strategies for cost, product, and durability. 6. “Automation is bad for the economy because machines will eventually replace almost all human workers, creating high unemployment and poverty.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer. It is clear that some workers, particularly those with low-tech skills, are being replaced by automated equipment. However, increasing use of automation creates demand for workers who can manufacture, install, use, and repair the automation equipment. Those jobs tend to require more skills and to have higher pay. In the short run, however, some displacement of workers will occur. 7. Some quality gurus claim that high-quality products or services are those that are error free. Others claim that high quality exists when customers’ needs are satisfied. Still others claim that high-quality products or services must be innovative. Do you subscribe to one of these views? If not, how would you define quality? Explain how the choice of a quality definition affects managers’ behavior. Each of these perspectives on quality—error-free products, customer satisfaction, and innovation—captures an essential aspect of what constitutes high-quality products or services. However, I believe that quality encompasses a combination of these factors, as well as others, depending on the specific context and industry. In my view, quality can be defined as meeting or exceeding customer expectations consistently while also striving for continuous improvement and innovation. This definition encompasses the following elements: 1. Error-Free Products or Services: Ensuring that products or services are free from defects or errors is fundamental to quality. Error-free products not only meet the functional requirements but also contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty by minimizing the need for returns, repairs, or replacements. 2. Customer Satisfaction: Ultimately, quality is about meeting the needs and expectations of customers. It involves understanding customer preferences, delivering value-added solutions, and providing excellent customer service throughout the entire product or service lifecycle. Customer satisfaction is a key indicator of quality and is essential for building long-term relationships and loyalty. 3. Innovation: Quality also involves being innovative and responsive to changing customer needs, market trends, and technological advancements. Innovation allows organizations to differentiate themselves from competitors, create unique value propositions, and stay ahead in a dynamic and competitive marketplace. 4. Continuous Improvement: Quality is not a static concept but rather a journey of continuous improvement. It requires organizations to regularly evaluate their processes, products, and services, identify areas for enhancement, and implement changes to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and customer value. The choice of a quality definition can significantly influence managers' behavior and decision-making within an organization. For example: • If managers subscribe to the view that quality means error-free products, they may focus on implementing stringent quality control measures, investing in process optimization and defect prevention strategies, and prioritizing zero-defect targets. • If managers prioritize customer satisfaction as the primary measure of quality, they may emphasize market research, customer feedback mechanisms, and service excellence initiatives to understand and meet customer needs effectively. • If managers emphasize innovation as a core component of quality, they may encourage a culture of creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking within the organization, invest in research and development efforts, and promote cross-functional collaboration to drive innovation. Ultimately, the choice of a quality definition shapes organizational priorities, resource allocation decisions, and strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing product or service quality, driving competitive advantage, and achieving long-term success. Questions for Application 8. How can a service organization use techniques from operations management? Give specific examples from your college or university (a provider of educational services). A service organization, such as a college or university, can effectively use techniques from operations management to improve efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. Here are some specific examples from a college or university setting: 1. Demand Forecasting and Capacity Planning: By analyzing historical enrollment data and trends, a university can forecast student demand for courses and allocate resources accordingly. For example, if there is a growing demand for certain majors or classes, the university can adjust course offerings and staffing levels to meet student needs. Conversely, if enrollment is expected to decline in a particular area, resources can be reallocated to more in-demand programs. 2. Scheduling Optimization: Operations management techniques can be applied to optimize class schedules and room assignments to minimize conflicts and maximize resource utilization. For instance, using scheduling software to create efficient timetables that accommodate students' preferences, minimize gaps between classes, and utilize classroom space effectively. 3. Process Improvement: Lean and Six Sigma methodologies can be used to streamline administrative processes, such as admissions, registration, and financial aid. By identifying and eliminating inefficiencies, reducing paperwork, and automating routine tasks, the university can improve service delivery, reduce waiting times, and enhance the overall student experience. 4. Quality Management: Implementing Total Quality Management (TQM) principles can help ensure that educational services meet or exceed student expectations. This includes continuous monitoring of teaching quality, course content, and student outcomes, as well as gathering feedback from students through surveys and focus groups to identify areas for improvement. 5. Supply Chain Management: Universities rely on a network of suppliers and vendors to provide goods and services, such as textbooks, laboratory equipment, and cafeteria food. Applying supply chain management principles can help optimize procurement processes, reduce costs, and ensure timely delivery of materials to support teaching and research activities. 6. Facilities Management: Efficient management of campus facilities is essential for creating a conducive learning environment. Operations management techniques can be used to optimize maintenance schedules, allocate resources for building upgrades and repairs, and ensure that facilities meet health and safety standards. Overall, by applying operations management techniques, a college or university can enhance its operational efficiency, improve service quality, and better meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff. These techniques enable the organization to make data-driven decisions, optimize resource allocation, and continuously improve its processes to adapt to changing demands and expectations in the education sector. 9. Think of a firm that, in your opinion, provides a high-quality service or product. What attributes of the product or service give you the perception of high quality? Do you think that everyone would agree with your judgment? Why or why not? One firm that I believe provides a high-quality service is Apple Inc., particularly in their line of iPhones. Several attributes contribute to my perception of high quality: 1. Build Quality: iPhones are known for their premium build quality, using high-quality materials such as glass and aluminum. The devices feel sturdy and well-built, which contributes to their perceived value and durability. 2. Design Aesthetic: Apple products are renowned for their sleek and minimalist design aesthetic. The attention to detail in design, including smooth edges, clean lines, and minimalist interfaces, enhances the overall user experience and creates a sense of luxury. 3. User Experience: iPhones offer a seamless and intuitive user experience, thanks to Apple's robust operating system (iOS) and ecosystem of apps and services. The interface is user-friendly, with smooth performance, fast response times, and minimal bloatware. 4. Innovation: Apple is known for pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation with each new iPhone release. Features such as Face ID, advanced camera systems, and augmented reality capabilities demonstrate the company's commitment to innovation and delivering cutting-edge technology to consumers. 5. Customer Service: Apple provides excellent customer service through its retail stores, online support, and AppleCare services. Customers have access to knowledgeable staff, convenient repair options, and timely software updates, which contribute to a positive overall experience. While I perceive Apple iPhones as high-quality products, not everyone may agree with this judgment. Different individuals have varying preferences, priorities, and experiences that influence their perception of quality. Some people may prioritize affordability over premium build quality, while others may prefer the customization options offered by Android devices. Additionally, perceptions of quality can be subjective and influenced by factors such as brand loyalty, marketing, and personal biases. Someone who has had a negative experience with an Apple product or prefers a different brand may not share the same perception of quality. Overall, while Apple iPhones may be widely regarded as high-quality products by many consumers, it's unlikely that everyone would agree with this judgment due to the subjective nature of quality perceptions and individual preferences. 10. What advice would you give to the manager of a small local service business, such as a pizza parlor or dry cleaner, about improvements in quality and productivity? Would your advice differ if the small business were a manufacturing company—for example, a T-shirt-printing firm? Describe any differences you would expect to see. This question addresses the differences in implementation of quality improvements in service companies as compared to manufacturing companies. Students should recognize that, while the specific suggestions will differ, the principles of quality improvement, such as elimination of defects and meeting customer needs, remain the same. END OF CHAPTER EXERCISES Building Effective Communication Skills I. Purpose This exercise gives students practice in composing business letters related to issues of quality and customer satisfaction. II. Format This exercise may be done in class or outside of class by individual students or small groups and will take about 30 minutes to complete. III. Follow-Up A. Write an answer to the above letter which assumes that you now have the parts available. The students should prepare a letter that apologizes for the mistake and offers a solution that is acceptable to the customer. This may either be an exact fulfillment of the original demand, or it may be an innovative but equally acceptable alternative solution. B. How would your answer differ if ABC Autos were not a valued customer? Students may be tempted to give a less valued customer less attention and support. To some extent, this is a reality of real businesses, for example when First Class air travelers wait in a shorter line than do Economy travelers. However, you can point out to students the hazards of this approach because many small customers may in fact have more power than do a few large customers, and alienating one may lead to alienating the rest. C. How would your answer differ if you found out that the parts were in the original shipment but had been stolen by one of your delivery personnel? The letter should probably not differ much or at all from the response the students prepared to Question 1. You can discuss with the class the reasons why it would not be prudent to admit that the shipment was stolen—lawsuits from the accused, shock and loss of trust from customers, and so on. D. How would your answer differ if you found out that the owner of ABC Autos made a mistake and the order had been filled? This is a difficult task because students have to decide whether it’s worth the risk of losing a customer to point out that the mistake was on their part. And if the students choose the riskier approach, they must then handle the delicate job of tactfully pointing out a mistake. Many students will decide not to change their letter at all. E. Now review your answers to the previous questions. What are the important components of an effective response to a customer’s quality complaint (setting the tone, expressing an apology, suggesting a solution, and so on)? How did you use these components in your various responses? The purpose of this question is to help students realize that, despite the circumstances of a customer’s complaint, the responsibility for apologizing and satisfying the unhappy customer remains the same. Building Effective Diagnostic Skills I. Purpose Students will use this exercise to learn about the relationship between quality, price, and expectations for both services and products. II. Format The diagnostic skills exercise is best completed by students working individually. It should take about 15–20 minutes. III. Follow-Up A. Assess the extent to which the quality that you associated with each was a function of price and your expectations. students will agree that high-priced products and services generate an expectation of high quality. Also, expectations may be raised by factors other than price, such as positive word-of-mouth or alluring advertising. When expectations are high, perceived quality must also be high to generate satisfaction. When expectations are low, perceived quality may also be low without creating dissatisfaction. B. Could the quality of each product or service be improved without greatly affecting its price?
If so, how? Students will develop a variety of ideas in answer to this question. For example, Wal-Mart cashiers are trained to read a customer’s name from their check or credit card and to say, “Thank you, Mrs. Smith” at the end of a transaction. This doesn’t add appreciably to the cost, but many customers appreciate the personalized service. C. Can high-quality service offset adequate or even poor product quality? Can outstanding product quality offset only adequate or even poor customer service? Most students should see that of the two, product quality is the more important for most consumers and most purchases. This may be due to the time element. The service part of the purchase is transitory; poor service will end soon and can be forgotten. On the other hand, the product part of the purchase is more durable, and unsatisfactory products will still be causing dissatisfaction years later. For example, a customer may persist in attempts to buy a high-quality camera, even though the retail clerk is unhelpful or rude, because he or she anticipates many years of satisfied use of the camera, long after the rude clerk is forgotten. management at work amazon rekindles its flair for technology is an Internet retailing phenomenon. It has revolutionized the industry ever since its inception in 1995. As the case describes, Amazon uses a variety of operations techniques to allow their customers to order on the Internet and deliver the products to their doorstep. It has made good use of its software expertise to automate a number of processes, so much so, that it offers software consulting to other organizations. The case also describes Amazon’s newest product, Kindle, that enables users to read books electronically. Management Update: Professor Michael Rappa of North Carolina State University runs a website called “Digital Enterprise ( . This site offers a very useful overview of various Internet business models (including that of Amazon) and provides a state-of-the-art commentary on the digital industry. 1. Case Question 1: Describe Amazon’s product-service mix. Which areas of Amazon’s operations are characteristic of a manufacturing organization? Which areas are characteristic of a service organization? How do both areas relate to the marketing of Kindle and Kindle-related products? Amazon sells a diversified range of products such as books, toys, music, electronics and software, and household goods. They have to serve their customers who shop online at Amazon. Amazon has to manage its inventory as manufacturing firms do. While it “drop-ships” some items directly from manufacturers, it carries certain items in its warehouses. In addition, Amazon, like other manufacturing companies has to pack products to be delivered to customers. Because Amazon interacts with its customers on the web, like any service firm, it has to make the interaction customer-friendly. Kindle is a hardware product that uses software to enable users to read books, etc. online. It has to make manufacturing-related decisions that relate to the physical product that is Kindle as also make service-type decisions with respect to the various services it provides to Kindle users. 2. Case Question 2: Describe the role of technology in both Amazon’s manufacturing and service operations. Technology plays a critical role in all of the activities conducted by Amazon. It use Internet technology exclusively since it does not have a brick-and-mortar presence. Automation plays a key role at Amazon’s facilities. Workers use menu-driven computer programs to access and monitor customer orders. Automated chutes and bins move goods within their distribution facilities. Software plays a key role in several aspects of Amazon’s operations, from supply chain to customer interface. 3. Case Question 3: Discuss the nature of Amazon’s supply chain in terms of control, purchasing management, and inventory management. At what points in the supply chain does Amazon outsource or contract activities to outside parties? How does Amazon’s supply chain affect its revenues and costs? Amazon’s seven distribution centers stock thousands of popular items, but many of the goods that end-consumers buy through Amazon are in fact “drop shipped” directly from manufacturers. Thus, Amazon can offer a wide range of products without incurring high inventory costs. Software allows Amazon to determine which items to carry in their distribution centers and which should be drop-shipped. 4. Case Question 4: Log on to and select an item that comes from Amazon itself rather than from a drop shipper. What kind of purchasing decisions were necessary to make this product available at Amazon’s price? What kind of inventory control decisions? When Amazon decides to stock a particular item in its own warehouse it has to negotiate with suppliers to supply it at a price that fits with the company’s overall pricing practice. For example, if Amazon’s policy is to offer New York Times’ bestselling books at 30 percent off the cover price, it has to negotiate its acquisition price to reflect this. It also has to forecast accurately in order to have it in inventory. 5. Case Question 5: What facets of Amazon’s operations allow it to to create and control quality, both as a manufacturing organization and as a service organization? What facets of its operations allow Amazon to control productivity (again, both as a manufacturing organization and as a service organization)? Give two or three examples of ways in which Amazon’s operations contribute to high productivity. The key to the success of Amazon is offering an easy interface for customers and by delivering the right products at the right price at the right time. Amazon’s “one-click” web interface allows customers to buy products with a single mouse click. It allows customers to post online reviews for other to see. In addition, the customer’s web page can be customized to maximize the possibility of selling additional products. CHAPTER 22 Managing Information and Information Technology END OF CHAPTER QUESTIONS Questions for Review 1. What are the differences between data and information? Give three examples of data, and then show how those data can be turned into information. Information is raw data that has been processed, analyzed, interpreted, or presented in a way that adds meaning to the bare facts. Here are some possible examples: The current temperature outside
is data, and someone who says, “It’s colder today than yesterday by five degrees,” is presenting information. Data: The university student body is 55 percent female and forty-five percent male. Information: There are more women then men at this historically all-female institution. 2. Who uses information systems in organizations? What types of functions do the systems perform for each type of user? Virtually anyone in an organization, from the lowest-level hourly wage earners to the CEO, may use information systems. For example, restaurant servers use cash-register based IT systems and grocery stock clerks use barcode scanners. At each level, the IT functions differ. At the lowest level, they automate manual processes, gather raw information, and provide support for task completion.
As one moves up the organization hierarchy, the functions become more sophisticated, complex, integrative, and long-term in their focus. 3. Describe each of the levels of major information technology systems. Give an example of each, other than the examples in the text. Transaction-processing systems gather basic business information An example would be a retailer’s “smart” cash register. Knowledge-worker and office applications provide support for data processing and communication such as a business’s email system. Systems for data operations are necessary to run a firm’s computer equipment and could include a business-wide data server. Management information systems support the work of managers such as an enterprise resource planning software that reports on logistics functions of the firm. Decision support systems pull together information about items related to upcoming decisions such as the software that oil-producing firms use to analyze the impact of a proposed new exploration site. Executive support systems are focused on the needs
of top management for very aggregated data and include a system that can answer the “what-of” questions of top managers. Artificial intelligence systems use human-like expert processes to analyze information such as the weather forecasting system used by the federal government. 4. What are some of the positive impacts that information technology can have on organizations?
What are some of the negative impacts? Information technology can increase an organization’s efficiency, improve coordination, improve quality, flatten organizations, reduce costs, and enable the organization to perform tasks that would be virtually impossible without technological support. On the other hand, information technology is expensive, requires specialized skills, and is vulnerable to security and other risks. In addition, managers may over-rely on IT; they may use it in cases where it is not suitable; and they may fail
to verify the data, assumptions, and conclusions of the IT system. Questions for Analysis 5. Very often managers making decisions in real organizations have to work with information that does not perfectly meet all four criteria for useful information. In that case, should the manager use the imperfect information? What can the manager do to increase the usefulness of imperfect information? Clearly, managers should use whatever information they have, even if that information is inaccurate, not timely, incomplete, or unreliable to some degree. However, they should keep in mind the limitations of the data and not put complete faith in information that is not perfect. It may also
be possible for the manager to improve information qualify, for example, by verifying information accuracy or acquiring more information in order to improve completeness. 6. At higher organizational levels, the information technology tools used become more sophisticated. Yet, in many organizations, higher-level managers are the least sophisticated and experienced with hands-on use of information technology. How can unsophisticated users effectively employ
a sophisticated IT tool? What are some of the potential problems they should be aware of? Training in IT usage is certainly one good suggestion, but many top managers may not want to spend time in that way. Another possibility is to hire IT experts to carry out the wishes of the executive. For example, many top managers hire an administrator to answer their routine emails. Another possibility is to seek out IT solutions that do not require user expertise, and this is increasingly a good option as technology improves. For example, voice recognition and expert software can allow managers to ask natural language questions of their database software and receive correct responses. If an unsophisticated user attempts to use a sophisticated tool, they will need to be vigilant about their use and interpretation of any results. 7. It has been said that the information revolution is like the Industrial Revolution in terms of the magnitude of its impact on organizations and society. What leads to such a view? Why might that view be an overstatement? The Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed the way business works and totally revamped industrial society. The so-called information revolution is following a similar path in that it is changing the way businesses operate. On the other hand, information technology is essentially just
a tool that allows businesses to do what they have done in the past, albeit in a much faster and more efficient way. Questions for Application 8. Interview a business manager about the use of information in his or her organization. How is the information managed? Is a computer system used? How well is the information system integrated with other aspects of organizational control? Interviewer: Hi, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Can you tell me about your role and responsibilities as a business manager? Manager: Of course. I oversee the operations of our company's sales department, which includes managing a team of sales representatives, setting sales targets, and developing strategies to achieve our revenue goals. Interviewer: Great, can you tell me about how information is managed within your organization? Manager: Sure. Information management is crucial for our business operations. We use a combination of digital systems and manual processes to manage information efficiently. Our main tool is a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which stores customer data, tracks sales activities, and generates reports on sales performance. Additionally, we use spreadsheets and documents to track inventory, analyze market trends, and communicate with team members. Interviewer: How well is the information system integrated with other aspects of organizational control? Manager: Our information system is fairly well integrated with other aspects of organizational control. The CRM system, for example, is integrated with our sales forecasting and budgeting processes. This allows us to make informed decisions about resource allocation and sales strategies based on real-time data and insights. We also use data analytics tools to analyze sales data and identify opportunities for improvement. However, there are areas where integration could be improved. For instance, there is room for better integration between our CRM system and our inventory management system. Currently, the two systems operate somewhat independently, which can lead to discrepancies in inventory levels and sales forecasts. We're working on implementing a more integrated solution to address this issue and improve overall efficiency. Overall, our information system plays a crucial role in helping us make data-driven decisions, optimize business processes, and achieve our organizational goals. However, there is always room for improvement, and we're continuously looking for ways to enhance the integration and effectiveness of our information management practices. 9. Visit a local organization, such as a university administration office, a restaurant, or a supermarket. Stand in its facility and look around you. How many different information systems can you spot?
Do not look just for “computers”; also look for less obvious examples, such as the digital thermostat on the wall or the electronic cash register. What type of information system is each? Sure, let's imagine I'm standing in a supermarket. Here are the different information systems I can spot: 1. Point-of-Sale (POS) System: The electronic cash registers and checkout terminals used by cashiers are examples of POS systems. These systems capture transaction data, process payments, and generate receipts. They also track inventory levels and sales data in real-time, enabling efficient management of stock and sales operations. 2. Inventory Management System: Behind the scenes, there may be inventory management software or systems used to track stock levels, manage replenishment orders, and optimize inventory turnover. These systems help ensure that shelves are stocked with the right products at the right time to meet customer demand. 3. Customer Loyalty Program: Many supermarkets have customer loyalty programs that capture customer data and purchase history. These systems track customer preferences, offer personalized promotions, and facilitate targeted marketing campaigns to enhance customer engagement and loyalty. 4. Digital Price Tags: Some supermarkets use digital price tags or electronic shelf labels (ESLs) to display product prices and information. These systems are connected to a central database and can be updated remotely, allowing for dynamic pricing and promotions without manual intervention. 5. Temperature Monitoring System: Refrigeration units and freezers in the supermarket may be equipped with temperature monitoring systems to ensure food safety and compliance with health regulations. These systems track temperature levels in real-time and provide alerts in case of deviations from the optimal range. 6. Security Surveillance System: The supermarket may have a security surveillance system comprising cameras and monitoring software to enhance safety and prevent theft or vandalism. These systems capture and record video footage of the store premises for security monitoring and investigation purposes. 7. Communication System: Within the supermarket, there may be communication systems such as intercoms or paging systems used to relay announcements, alerts, and instructions to employees and customers. Each of these information systems plays a critical role in the operations of the supermarket, facilitating various functions such as sales transactions, inventory management, customer engagement, food safety, security, and communication. They demonstrate how information technology is integrated into everyday operations to improve efficiency, enhance customer experience, and support business objectives. 10. A knowledge worker can be defined as “someone who creates, transforms, or repackages information.” Choose a knowledge worker occupation that interests you. Use the Internet
to investigate the job qualifications for that occupation. What skills, knowledge, and experience are needed? How do the qualifications for knowledge workers differ from the qualifications of white collar workers? One good source for students to find occupation information is the Bureau of Labor Statistics home page at Most computer-related occupations fall under the “Professional and Related” heading at that site. For most knowledge of worker professions, job qualifications would include skills and experiences that could be obtained either on the job or from formal education. Ideally, workers would have a mixture of academic and practical training. The qualifications for knowledge workers are similar to those for other white collar occupations, except that there may be a higher need for practical, as opposed to academic, qualifications. Also, knowledge workers’ skills are likely to be very highly specialized, such as a knowledge of a particular programming language, while white collar workers’ skills are specialized but often not to that extent. END OF CHAPTER EXERCISES Building Effective Technical Skills I. Purpose This technical skills exercise requires students to think through issues related to automating a manual process. II. Format Students must observe a business and then access the Internet, so this exercise must be done outside of class. It could be completed by either individual students or a small group and will take about
45 minutes to complete. III. Follow-Up A. Observe a business that currently relies on a manual process to perform some information function say, a hospital that maintains patient records on paper or a receptionist who answers and routes calls. B. Use the Internet to find an example of a company that uses information technology to perform a comparable process. (Hint: Look for organizations of the same type, such as another hospital. Or explore the web sites of companies that provide IT; many of them post sections about successful projects, usually as “Case Studies” or “Success Stories.”) C. Explain how the business that you first observed – the one still operating manually -- could switch to an IT-based operation. The observation can be very brief—just a few minutes should be enough. The students should have no trouble finding a manual process or finding an online example of a company that automates that process. From there, the students will come up with a simple plan for how the firm they observed could use automation. D. Explain the benefits that the business would realize if it automated the process currently being performed manually. Then explain the costs, limitations, or potential problems that it might encounter in making the switch. Automation would typically reduce errors, save time, increase efficiency, and perhaps allow the firm to reduce personnel and other expenses. Students should recognize, however, that automation is expensive; difficult and time-consuming to install, use and maintain; and can be vulnerable to security, privacy, and other concerns. E. Make a recommendation: Should the business automate? Why or why not? Of course, students’ opinions will vary. In their answers, they should consider the expenses and limitations of automation along with the benefits. Building Effective Time Management Skills I. Purpose This exercise enables students to evaluate the time efficiency of their use of information technology. II. Format This exercise requires each student to note or think back on their usage of information technology. This must be done outside of class and can take as little as 30 minutes to complete, or it may take longer for motivated students. III. Follow-Up A. List every form of technology that you used or do use over the course of the week. Note how frequently you used or do use it and for how long. B. Which form did you use most often? Least often? Which did you use for the longest total amount of time? For the shortest amount of time? Which did you use to perform “critically important” functions for you? Less important functions? Explain your answers. Students will report different usage and different levels of importance, of course. For example, some students will think that using a PDA to check sport scores throughout the day during
a championship is a waste of time; for others, that information may be extremely important. C. For each device, list alternative, less technologically sophisticated ways of performing the same function – say, picking up a newspaper instead of checking out the news on the Internet, or simply calling someone on the phone rather than sending an email. For virtually every task and every device, there exists a low-tech, manual, or less sophisticated device that can accomplish the task, although often with a loss of functionality. For example, written letters can be used in place of email for communicating with distant friends but at a much slower pace. D. Decide whether each form of technology was in fact a time-saver. Did it actually perform its function more efficiently than the “lower-tech” alternative? Did any form of IT at your disposal actually contribute to wasted time? Most high-tech devices are time-savers. For example, an email is not only quicker to send than a traditional written letter, but also quicker to compose. However, some devices are used in ways that waste time such as when students spend hours “playing” with a cool new technology. E. In general, what recommendations can you now offer when it comes to genuinely time-efficient use of information technology? Students should recognize that no device, in and of itself, is a time waster. Every device can be a time saver if used appropriately. Time wastage occurs when devices are used inappropriately or excessively. management at work the wiki world of jimmy wales Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is unique in that its content is created entirely by thousands
of unpaid volunteers. Founder Jimmy Wales envisioned a world where “every person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.” Contributions are constantly added to the database of the encyclopedia. Wikipedia is run by the Wikipedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Discussion Starter: What do students think about the reliability of the information in Wikipedia?
As the case points out, academics are skeptical about the information in this site. Are there professors who will allow Wikipedia to be used as a source for term papers? 1. Case Question 1: Do you use Wikipedia? Why or why not? Do you think Wikipedia will ultimately eliminate the need for traditional reference sources? Why or why not? I don't personally use Wikipedia for academic or professional research purposes due to its open-editing model, which may introduce inaccuracies or bias in some articles. However, I do occasionally consult Wikipedia for general information or to gain a quick overview of a topic. As for whether Wikipedia will ultimately eliminate the need for traditional reference sources, I believe it's unlikely. While Wikipedia has become a valuable and accessible source of information for many people, it's not without limitations. Traditional reference sources such as scholarly journals, textbooks, and authoritative databases undergo rigorous peer review and editorial processes to ensure accuracy and reliability. They also provide in-depth analysis, critical evaluation of sources, and comprehensive coverage of topics that may not be available on Wikipedia. Additionally, some academic and professional settings require sources that meet specific criteria for credibility and scholarly rigor, which may not always be met by Wikipedia entries. However, Wikipedia serves as a valuable complementary resource, offering a wealth of information on a wide range of topics, often in a user-friendly format. It can be particularly useful for gaining a basic understanding of a topic or exploring links to primary and secondary sources cited within articles. In summary, while Wikipedia has transformed access to information and democratized knowledge sharing, it's unlikely to completely replace traditional reference sources in academic and professional settings. Instead, it complements existing resources and provides a starting point for further exploration and research. 2. Case Question 2: Think of three topics that interest you. Locate the articles on these topics on Wikipedia and comment on their usefulness and accuracy. Which article is the most reliable? Which is the least reliable? I can provide a general perspective on the reliability and usefulness of Wikipedia articles. When evaluating the reliability and usefulness of Wikipedia articles, it's essential to consider several factors: 1. Credibility of Sources: Wikipedia articles often provide citations to external sources, which can vary in credibility and reliability. Articles that cite reputable sources such as peer-reviewed journals, books by experts in the field, or reputable news outlets are generally more reliable than those that rely on dubious or unverifiable sources. 2. Editorial Oversight: Wikipedia relies on a community of volunteer editors to maintain and update articles. While this can lead to a breadth of knowledge and expertise, it can also result in inconsistencies, biases, or inaccuracies if articles are not adequately monitored or reviewed. 3. Content Updates: Wikipedia articles are constantly evolving as new information becomes available or existing information is updated. While this can ensure that articles remain relevant and up-to-date, it also means that information may not always be thoroughly vetted or fact-checked before publication. Given these considerations, the reliability and usefulness of Wikipedia articles can vary depending on the topic and the quality of the editorial oversight. Articles on well-established topics with extensive coverage and citation of reputable sources are likely to be more reliable and useful compared to those on niche or controversial subjects with limited sourcing or editorial oversight. It's challenging to determine the most and least reliable Wikipedia articles without specific examples to evaluate. However, users can enhance the reliability of Wikipedia articles by critically evaluating the credibility of sources, cross-referencing information with other reputable sources, and being mindful of potential biases or inaccuracies. 3. Case Question 3: Because they support collaboration so conveniently, wikis are becoming increasingly common in business. Think of two potential applications of wiki sites in a business context and describe the way each would work. An advertising agency team that is working on a client project can use a wiki to collaborate, particularly if the team members are geographically dispersed. Similarly, a product launch team in a manufacturing organization can use a wiki to collaborate. Certainly! Here are two potential applications of wiki sites in a business context: 1. Knowledge Management Platform: • A wiki can serve as a centralized knowledge management platform where employees can collaborate, share information, and document organizational knowledge. • Employees can create and edit wiki pages to document best practices, standard operating procedures, project updates, and troubleshooting guides. • The wiki can be organized into categories or sections for different departments, projects, or topics, making it easy for employees to find relevant information. • Features such as version control and revision history allow users to track changes, revert to previous versions, and ensure accuracy and accountability. 2. Project Collaboration and Documentation: • Wikis can facilitate collaboration and documentation for projects by providing a central repository for project-related information, documents, and communications. • Each project team can have its own wiki space where members can collaborate on project plans, timelines, tasks, and deliverables. • Wiki pages can include project documentation such as meeting notes, brainstorming sessions, action items, and progress updates. • Collaborative editing and commenting features enable real-time collaboration and feedback, fostering transparency and accountability among team members. • Integration with other project management tools such as task trackers, calendars, and file-sharing platforms can further enhance project collaboration and productivity. In both of these applications, the key advantage of using a wiki lies in its ability to support collaborative authoring and knowledge sharing in a flexible and accessible manner. By leveraging wiki sites, businesses can improve communication, streamline collaboration, and capture valuable institutional knowledge, ultimately enhancing productivity and organizational effectiveness. 4. Case Question 4: Why is integrity of content so important to services like those offered by Wikipedia? What sort of factors can render information unreliable? Can you think of an example in which unreliable information could affect someone using it for business purposes? Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. People use encyclopedias when they want definitive information on a particular topic – information that they believe is authoritative and trustworthy. If Wikipedia is to be regarded as a trustworthy encyclopedia, then it has to ensure that its contents are reliable. Volunteers contribute information at Wikipedia and anybody is allowed to edit the posted information. The original writers can be biased in reporting on a person or event that could cause wrong information to be posted. A small business that is thinking of exporting to a foreign country may find information about that country on Wikipedia. If the Wikipedia page contains wrong information about the country’s culture or habits, this wrong information could affect the small business. Solution Manual for Management Ricky W. Griffin, Robert Kreitner, Charlene Cassidy 9781111969714, 9781111221362

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