Mass customization has become a popular wave of our current economy. With customers becoming more and more demanding with the specifics they would like for the products they buy. By definition, mass customization “refers to using mass-production technology to quickly and cost-effectively assemble goods that are uniquely designed to fit the demands of individual customers” (Daft, 2013, p. 271). Our textbook goes further to highlight the demands of BMW consumers in Europe, stating that “60 percent of the BMW car sells in Europe are built to order” (Daft, 2013, p. 271). This mass customization aids in customer satisfaction, however, it greatly increases the difficulty of manufacturing. Mass customization can be applied to service firms almost more readily than in a manufacturing organization. The reason for this is that a service firm exists to serve the specific needs of the customer. A good example of a type of service firm that would benefit from mass customization is in the financial services and wealth management industry. As a financial advisor, it is of great benefit to yourself to serve as many clients as you can because you are almost always paid based off the amount of assets that you manage. However, the specific desires of each client might can based off their age, amount of wealth, and tolerance for a fluctuating market. Because of these very unique and specific characteristics for each client, it is behoove of the financial service industry to adopt mass customization strategies for its customers. These customizations can be explained by selecting a variety of different types of mutual fund investments and entering in markets that either preserve or grow the clients wealth based off their individual preference.
Chapter 7: A top executive claimed that superior management is a craft technology because the work contains intangibles (such as handling personnel, interpreting the environment, and coping with unusual situations that have to be learned through experience). If this is true, is it appropriate to teach management in a business school? Does teaching management from a textbook assume that the manager’s job is analyzable and, therefore, that formal training rather than experience is most important?
It is true that leadership is an art more than it is a science. Craft technologies “are characterized by a fairly stable stream of activities, but that on version process is not analyzable or well understood” (Daft, 2013, p. 280). There is much truth in the idea that leadership is an art, however, management is often a science. As an officer in the Army, the actual doctrine of military leadership demonstrates the “art of command and the science of control” (ADRP, 6-0, Mission Command, Ch. 4). This is the thought process that commanding Soldiers, or leading employees for that matter is an art form, while controlling processes and resources is a science, much the same as managing at a firm. However, in response to the question, it is still valuable and useful to teach management though it might be wise to consider the vehicle in which it is taught. Sheer head knowledge from a textbook does not build quality managers and certainly not good leadership. Practical exercises and decision-making models are great for building interpersonal skills and collaborating with team members to reach solutions. To some degree, a manager’s job is analyzable because management is an overview of routines, processes, and procedures that are to be followed in order to reach a general conclusion. This is why organizations follow best practices and standard operating procedures, however, it is when these processes and procedure go awry that leadership comes into play. Teaching management through a textbook has its utility, but it is not a single source for developing quality management. Much like the definition of craft technology implies; “wisdom, intuition, and experience” are still fundamental in decision-making for managers (Daft, 2013, p. 280).
Chapter 8: Do you believe that technology will eventually enable high-level managers to do their job with little face-to-face communication?
Despite our increases in technology these will never take the place of face-to-face communication. Moreso, increased technology will enable high-level manager’s greater ability to interface with their teams. Something to be consider with this is a span of control and how, often, high-level managers do not communicate directly with many subordinate employees but utilize a select group of higher level managers to communicate and enact their policies. However, advances in technology allow high-level managers the ability to pass their messages along to a team that is deep and wide quicker than ever before. The increase of technology will not decrease the amount of face-to-face communication that high level managers exhibit because leadership presence is a must if you are going to gain a team’s commitment. The human factor of leadership will always apply to leading a team successfully and a major part of that is showing your face to your team.
Chapter 9: Look through several recent issues of a business magazine (Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, etc.) and find examples of 2 companies that are using approaches to busting bureaucracy. Explain the techniques that these companies are applying.
One new approach to busting through the bureaucracy and getting to the heart of business, making money, is through the gaming industry. This past month, Forbes published an article on the emerging market of app store games that cost customers only a few dollars, but yield the iconic celebrities and business minds behind the ideas hundreds of millions of dollars. One concrete example that Forbes highlights is the “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” app that “has been downloaded 45 million times and generated $160 million in revenue” (Robehmed, Forbes, 2016, p. 69). In just one year Kim Kardashian has “pocketed, $45 million over the period with 40% of her yearly paycheck coming from the game” (Robehmed, Forbes, 2016, p. 69). Clearly, gaming and app store development is an emerging market that is in its growth stages of development. As our textbook points out, it is at these stages of development that innovation and profits are maximized, while bureaucracy and regulation is limited. Because of this explosive growth market and lack of bureaucratic requirements to enter, “celebrity-driven mobile games have become a $200-million-a-year business” (Robehmed, Forbes, 2016, p. 69). It seems that everyone, celebrities and athletes alike are pursuing the development of an app in their likeness, where app developers will “pay royalties of 22%” of the profits (Robehmed, Forbes, 2016, p. 73).
Chapter 9: Do you believe that a no growth philosophy of management should be taught in business schools?
No growth is a philosophy that should not be taught in school. Unless an organization is a governmental organization that can accomplish its mission and objectives without additional personnel then no growth might be appropriate. But for organizations in a capitalistic economy, no growth should be the furthest thing from their minds. A better approach to focus business managers is to understand the life cycles of their organization and when it is appropriate to transition from a maturity and growth cycle to new cycle of inception that can grow to maturity without any decline along the way. If a company cannot enjoy a continual steady growth and reaches a plateau of maintenance that teach business managers the techniques that are useful to maintain an organization while it looks for its next phase of growth is useful. However, no growth philosophies are counter-productive to a capitalistic society and should not be taught as an effective means of business management.
How can/should a biblical worldview be applied?
That is a very broad question but to be concise, “trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Scofield, 2004). The entire Bible is replete with examples of how to approach life’s situations, whether in business or in relationships. As the author of Ecclesiastes’ writes “there is nothing new under the sun”, and such is the case with business (Scofield, 2004). We might have new advances in technology and business, such as the mobile app emerging market mentioned above, however, what has not changed is the condition of man’s heart. The Bible states that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and this highlights to us, that the only full trust we should have is in God’s word and the reverence of His hand in our lives. On the eve of a decisive Presidential election and major social rifts throughout the United States, we must realize that our business, politics, religion, and personal lives are no longer separate matters. Technology has allowed all of these facets to merge together and this has caused a confused, hostile, and weary American people. As Christians we must set a Godly example by resting in the fact that God is in control and that nothing happens in this fallen world without going through the hands of our Heavenly Father.
Daft, R (2013). Organizational Theory & Design, 12th ed. Printed in Canada: Cengage Learning.
Robehmed, N. (2016). Game Changes. Forbes Magazine. Volume 198.
Scofield, C. (2004). The Scofield study Bible: King James Version ([Red letter ed.], 2003 ed.).
New York: Oxford University Press.