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Demonstrate a basic understanding of the terminology, history and theories of business and management principles.
Although the concept of management is already a few centuries old, the basis for the development of a science of management was laid during the Industrial Revolution. Until the 1960's diverse viewpoints on management were recognized leading to the development of a more integrated approach to management. The process approach emphasized the basic functions of management followed by the systems approach which highlighted the interdependency of the internal and external environments. The importance of situational variables than can have an appreciable influence on planning, organizing, activating and control by management was underlined by the contingency approach. Over a long period of time agreement could not be reached as to the 'best approach' to the basic problematics of management and different theories were propagated. However, the demarcation of the management task as a particular process within the business system as it interacts with its environment, still appears to be the most comprehensive approach to management. America is the birthplace of the free enterprise system, which is responsible for the continual creation of new business models, ideas and innovation. Within this framework several attempts have emerged to develop newer approaches such as management by excellence, strategic management, the Japanese style of management which is based upon the decision-making by consensus, collective responsibility, slow evaluation and promotion, and informal control; and the management of innovation of change present new and informative perspectives on management. Similarly, the ever changing world environment compels businesses to pay more attention to the management of innovation and change. Albeit, management will probably have to continue to exploit what the existing approaches offer. The most comprehensive approach nowadays is a combination of the process, the systems and the contingency approaches. Management as a universal human activity consists of four basic management functions, namely planning, organizing, activating and controlling. Each element forms part of the whole of general management in which one management function cannot exist without the other.
Develop effective written and verbal communication skills.
There are very few skills as important to a manager as the ability to communicate well, which includes all written, spoken and electronic interaction. Communication involves the process that links managers with the execution of the basic and additional management skills in order to achieve business objectives. The aim of good communication within the business - besides informing, reminding or bringing about a certain activity - helps to reach a number of important objectives, namely to contain costs, to increase productivity, to give moral support and to overcome obstacles in communication. A communication plan should therefore encompass objectives, goals, and tools for all types of communication including online communications, media relations, liaison with committee and board members, and speeches. To effectively develop communication skills you need to brainstorm with communication staff, talk to other departments, interview the chief staff executive, audit the business's customer service policy, and host focus groups. The advantage of written communication is that it is tangible, lasting and controllable. The message can thus be kept for an unlimited time and is particularly suited to extended communication. On the other hand, the purpose of non-verbal communication is to convey the feeling or attitude behind the message. A person may, for example, say "no" by clenching his fist, or smile to indicate that he feels sure of himself; it is also intended to promote relationships. The impact of a genuine smile and an open hand is even greater than the manager's friendly words. Some forms of non-verbal communication that are important in the work situation include gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Cultural differences should also be taken into account when communicating with people. Western culture recognizes eye contact as part of good communication during a conversation, but in some cultures this is not the case. The volume of your voice also has different meanings in some cultures. For instance, should an English-speaking person communicate with a Japanese, the following aspects may cause confusion. The word "yes" is translated with "hi" in Japanese. In Japanese, it means "Yes, I understand you" and not "Yes, I agree." When a Japanese manager tell you "I shall give your offer positive consideration, it means no, not yes.
Develop analysis, problem-solving and planning skills that lead to effective decision-making.
Decision-making is an ongoing management function that affects every facet of management and the business. Managers decide what must be manufactured, who must be employed and how the business must be organized. This decision-making by the individual manager is influenced by the individual's personality and the physical and social environments. Decisions are always made against the background of certainty, uncertainty and risk. The handling of such situations differs from manager to manager and from situation to situation. Managers often follow approaches that have worked on previous occasions in the hope that they will be successful again. However, many managers use their intuition and so-called sound judgment while others make use of the more expert advice of specialists. The rational decision-making process is dynamic, ongoing and without a set procedure. Therefore the process does not end with the implementation of the decision, but leaves room for follow-up, feedback and adjustments regarding the elimination of possible problems in future decision-making. The decision-making process is always influenced by the management environment. The international, macro and market environments are subject to constant change. As a result future prediction is very difficult. Decision-makers should nevertheless use the available information and make present decisions that will show results in the future. The more applicable, accurate and reliable the information is about the circumstances regarding the problem or situation, the better the identification and definition of the problem. An effective evaluation of the different alternatives makes the final decision a mere formality. Instead of handling the various alternatives in isolation, ask "Which alternative will give the best results? A technique for the improvement of decision-making includes brainstorming, which requires that ideas are drawn out by pooling the skills and efforts of various individuals.
Demonstrate knowledge of social and professional skills.
Managers at the various levels of management require different skills in order to accomplish their management task. While every manager should have the three basic types of skills, namely conceptual skills, which imply the intellectual ability to perceive the business as a whole and to co-ordinate and integrate all interests and activities; human skills, which involves the ability to work with people and to understand and motivate them; and technical skills that refer to the ability to apply techniques, procedures or resources in a specialized area. Similarly, as figurehead of a department or section a manager fulfils certain ceremonial duties, such as presenting certificates for achievements, receiving visitors or entertaining clients at lunch or dinner. The role of leader also involves the selection, training, motivation, encouragement and disciplining of personnel. A manager also fulfils an internal liaison role when he or she liaises with other managers or when dealing with suppliers and clients. Social skills include all aspects of business etiquette, conversation, listening skills, professional dress, cultural diversity, business introductions, telephone etiquette, office meeting etiquette, business networking, workplace etiquette, business dining, international protocol, workforce diversity and executive coaching. Professional skills include new employee orientations, professional development, public speaking, and presentation skills.
Evaluate the theories and practice of ethics and the importance of a strong work ethic as defined by current American business practices.
Ethical decisions involve more than just rules and laws. Merely abiding by rules, laws or any ethical code is not sufficient. If a person or the environment is adversely affected by decisions that are taken, management cannot hide behind the law or any "official rules." Yet, business problems are often complex; transgressions such as fraud and theft are simple to understand, analyze and judge, but when it comes to matters such as the compensation of employees, pollution of the environment and the misleading of customers, matters become more complicated. Whenever a decision has financial, social and legal consequences, all factors must be taken into account. There is no general rule pertaining to all ethical problems. It is impossible to prove that one person's norms are "better" than those of the next person. It is therefore the responsibility of every manager to act according to the accepted principles determined by the frame of reference. The purpose of ethical social responsibility is to make sure that all stakeholders are treated fairly and justly. The point of departure of ethical decision-making should incorporate the core principles for evaluating decision-making from an ethical and socially responsible standpoint. Questions should include "Are the facts correct? Is it legal" and Is it fair towards and equitable for all the parties concerned?" The main hindrances to proper stewardship in social responsibility are ignorance, impatience and greed. The technological developments of the last decade have outrun our understanding of their consequences and side effects. Competitive pressures to be the first in the market linked to the technical need to produce quickly, will…[continue]
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