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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility
What is the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Business ethics can be defined as the principles and standards that establish acceptable conduct in business organizations. The acceptability of behaviour in business is determined by customers, competitors, government regulators, interest groups, and the public, as well as each individual’s personal moral principles and values. Can Ethics be Taught? I feel that ethics cannot be taught: it is an inbuilt entity and in countries like India where religion is all pervasive in business or any other discipline, this quality is imbibed in every individual right from his birth. The power of money and authority plays a major role in changing a man’s perspective and bureaucratic hurdles and red tapism mar the pace of business development. Businessmen should never compromise ethical principles with short-sighted objectives of amassing material wealth but should develop a spirit of altruism. Management education should focus also on training the individuals to be ethic-savvy apart from being mere decision making authorities satisfied with their designation and power of authority. Employees have the same kind of ethical responsibility towards their organisation and should not misuse time and property and should not place their interests before the enterprise objectives.  What is Corporate Social Responsibility? Many consumers and social advocates reckon that businesses should not only make a profit but also consider the social implications of their activities. We define social responsibility as a business’s obligation to maximize its positive impact and minimize its negative impact on society. Although many people use the terms social responsibility and ethics interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. Business ethics relates to an individual’s or a work group’s decisions that society evaluates as right or wrong, whereas social responsibility is a broader concept that concerns the impact of the entire business’s activities on society. There are good business reasons for a strong commitment to ethical values: 1. Ethical companies have been shown to be more profitable. 2. Making ethical choices results in lower stress for corporate managers and other employees. 3. Our reputation, good or bad, endures. 4. Ethical behaviour enhances leadership. 5. The alternative to voluntary ethical behaviour is demanding and costly regulation. Points to Ponder relating to behavioral ethics. 1. What conflicts of interest have you personally experienced in personal or professional roles? 2. If you perceive a potential conflict for yourself, what are some ways you might ensure that this conflict doesn’t lead to unethical behavior for you and others? 3. When have others’ conflicts of interest impacted how you or those you know were treated? 4. What types of policies can or do organizations implement to try to reduce conflicts of interest or their costs? 5. Why do you believe conflicts of interest are so pervasive in society? Why don’t we take more steps to avoid them? 6. Why is it so hard for individuals to recognize their own conflicts of interest, and how is this impacted by behavioral biases? Unethical behavior,conflicts,personal interests,responsibility What is Conflict of Interest? Conflict of interest arises when there is a clash between responsibility and reward. Say, if a doctor decides to be more business-like, if a judge decides to favor one party, if a ruling party favors a decision not good for the masses, what will happen? A conflict of interest exists when a person must choose whether to advance his or her own personal interests or those of others. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., may have the toughest policy against conflict of interest in the retail industry. Sam Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, disallowed  company buyers from accepting so much as a cup of coffee from suppliers. The Wal-Mart policy is black...
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Line and Staff Relationship

Line and Staff Relationship
A Purview on Line and Staff Relationship HOW TO MAKE LINE AND STAFF WORK EFFECTIVELY: Line people “TELL” but staff people “SELL”: The functions of line and staff often overlap and it is the responsibility of line authorities to make decisions and act upon them while staff must assist and counsel them. If the role playing is perfect all the other elements fall into place. Making Line listen to Staff: The line men must be made to understand that the company employs staff experts to assist and advice and it is not fair to undermine them. Keep the Staff informed: It is a must to keep the staff members abreast of the vital matters in order to make correct decisions. Requiring Completed Staff work: 1. Presentation of a clear recommendation based upon full consideration of a problem 2. Clearance with persons affected 3. Suggestion about avoiding difficulties involved 4. Preparation of paper work-letters, directions, job descriptions and specifications are the functions that should be carried out by the staff members on time in order to facilitate the line managers to accept or reject a proposal. Making Staff work as a Way of Life: The duty of staff is not to take credit but downgrade their own contributions. This results in EGO SATISFACTION and also a drive to improve the performance levels. Careless Application of the Staff Device: The staff should not take authority in their own hands though they may be anxious to know about the implementation of their suggestions. How to Influence Without Authority ADVANTAGES OF STAFF:  a) The staff specialists save much time by gathering, analyzing and interpreting the data while line managers are busy at work.  b) Complex problems of line men require advice of staff men.  c) Staff advice is necessary for technical, political, legal and social decisions. LIMITATIONS OF STAFF: a) Thinking in Vacuum: Sometimes highly impractical solutions are suggested by the staff men due to lack of experience in implementation. b) Lack of Staff Responsibility: They can easily blame the line manager for the failure of a project since they are not accountable for the end results c) Danger of Undermining the Line Authority: When the top management attaches too much importance to the staff fraternity, there is a danger of staff managers looking down on the line managers d) Problem of Unity of Command: Sometimes the lower level employees will be getting instructions from both the line and staff authorities. Have you ever experienced such conflicts with your managers or colleagues? If so, feel free to discuss about the situation and how you tackled it in the comment section...
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Employee Morale

Employee Morale
Employee Morale – Role and Effect What is Morale?  Morale is a word that conveys different meaning to different people. It might imply the following meanings: 1. Mental Attitude or Mind set from a psychologist’s perspective 2. A feeling of togetherness from an individual’s point of view 3. Group consent in terms of a business environment etc. Morale can be defined as ” an attitude of mind which conditions how well or how badly duties are performed”- W.H.Walley It can also be defined as ” the collective attitudes of workers towards one another, the employer, the management, or their work”-J.C.Denyen Morale is ” the capacity of group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose”-Dr.Deighton Morale is thus the undercurrent in an organisation that determines the performance levels of the employees as it dictates employees’ enthusiasm, voluntary conformance with regulations and orders and willingness to co-operate with fellow workers to accomplish the enterprise objectives. Poor morale is evident from in-subordination, discouragement and dislike of job, company and associates. Nature of Morale: What it is? : Emotional by nature , a state of well- being and an attitude of mind. What it does? : Directly related to quality of work, enthusiasm, motivation, productivity, discipline, co-operation and initiative. Where it resides? : In the minds, attitudes and emotions of employees as individuals and as groups. Whom  it affects? : Employees and executives during their interaction and ultimately the customers and the community. What it affects?: Willingness to work and placing the enterprise objective behind self interest. To summarise, the ill effects of Bad Morale would be Reduced productivity Increased absenteeism Antagonism towards management Too much of complaints and grievances Increased employee turn-over Friction between employees Alcoholism Accidents Increased lethargy In contrary High Morale leads to Willing co-operation towards enterprise objectives Loyalty to the management Good behaviour in conformance with the rules and regulations Strong and coherent groups leading to organisational stamina Prioritising jobs and placing self interest behind organisational objectives Increased sense of participation Pride in organisation Picture Courtesy: extramadness.com Ways to improve Employee Morale From the workers’ point of view: Fair compensation and bonus Satisfactory working conditions conforming to safety and security Treated with dignity Efficient and amiable leadership Scope for expressing their views for improvement Acceptable working hours Ensuring economic security From the management’s view point Co-operation from the employees Stability of tenure Increased productivity Low cost per unit Loyalty of the workers Is it possible to measure Employee Morale? Level of productivity: When the morale is low due to different reasons, higher is the chance of absenteeism, accidents and grievances since the employees try to overlook their responsibilities towards the organisation. Therefore it is the responsibility of the management to settle and score issues relating to employees or unions then and there to avoid those issues blowing out of proportion. Morale Surveys: These are generally conducted by individual organisations to find out if the employees are satisfied with their job and task and how they feel about it. This is considered to be a fairly important measure to gauge the kind of relationship the employees have with the management. Surveys also indicate whether the channel of communication is open between the superiors and sub-ordinates and serves as an emotional release for the workers to express their real feelings. Types of Morale Surveys: Objective Surveys: Objective type of questions are given to the employees for answering but the flaw is that, the management representative writes the answers and this does not give a chance for the workers to express their feelings. Descriptive Surveys: Here the employees write their answers to queries asked which  are more descriptive in nature and reflects the actual feelings of each individual. Projective Surveys:...
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Performance Optimization

Performance Optimization
Performance Optimization Through Effective Management An organization is a network of people striving to achieve their targets. So it is a wise thing to synchronize their activities in-order to enhance the harmony and build a strong team as well that protects the network from crumbling by means of mutual trust and behavior. It is imperative for the management to define the structure and hierarchy as well as the techniques that help the organization to efficiently function. Here are some means to make your organization to function efficiently and you’re your team stand apart from the crowd. Training of Subordinates: The better the training of subordinates, the fewer the number of necessary supervisors. Well trained subordinates require not only less of their manager’s time but also less contact with their managers. ‘On the job’ training programmes have found to be more effective in industries which are labor intensive. Coaching and mentoring improve the understanding and efficiency of the workforce and help them to maximize their effort and in turn productivity.   Clarity of Delegation of Authority: The most serious symptom of poor organization affecting the span of management is inadequate or unclear authority delegation. If a manager clearly delegates authority to perform a well defined task, a well trained subordinate can get it done with the minimum of manager’s time and attention. But if the subordinate’s task is not clearly defined, either the task will not be performed or it will be a colossal waste of time for the manager to supervise and guide the subordinates’ effort. Clarity of Plans: The character of a subordinates‘ job is defined by the plans to be put into effect. If these plans are well defined, if they are workable, if the authority to undertake them has been delegated, and if the subordinate understands what is expected, little of a supervisor’s time will be required. Such is often the case with a production supervisor, who bears the responsibility of achieving targets within the stipulated time period. If the plans cannot be drawn accurately, subordinates must do much of their own planning where they may lack direction. On the other hand if the superior has setup clear policies to guide decisions and has made sure they are consistent with the operations and goals of the department, work becomes simple and easy for the subordinates to follow.   Communication Techniques: If every plan, instruction, order or direction has to be communicated by personal contact and every organization change or staffing problem has to be handled orally, it slows down the managerial activity. The ability to communicate plans and instructions clearly and concisely also tends to increase a manager’s span. At the same time the subordinate’s job is greatly facilitated by superiors who can express themselves well. A manager’s casual easy style may please subordinates, but it reduces the effective span of management and lowers morale as well.   Amount of Personal Contact Needed: Many situations cannot be completely handled with written reports, memorandums, policy statements, planning documents and other communication techniques that do not involve personal contact which an executive find it valuable. There are other situations in which the best way of communicating a problem, instructing a subordinate, or “getting a feel” of how people really think is to spend time in personal contact . The high percentage of time spent in meetings and committees might be reduced some what by better training, better policy making and planning, clearer delegation, more thorough staff work, better control system and objectives standard. Studies have revealed that, effective spans were narrower at lower and middle levels of organization but were increased at upper levels and size had little...
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Management Planning

Management Planning
The Management Planning Process We have heard of “Master Plans” being structured and engineered to give astounding results that is purely systematic in approach and masterly in execution. Planning facilitates to make use of the opportunities that are available in the environment to make it to the top. Opportunity Analysis is nothing but, an awareness of the factors in the external environment; understanding of the strength and weaknesses of the organization. This is the first step of planning where we have to scrutinize the market, competition, customers’ preferences, tastes, our strengths and weaknesses. Establishing Objectives is another criterion that ensures “Where we want to be, and what we want to accomplish and when”. What are Objectives? Objectives are set for the organization and each subordinate is also entrusted with them. Objectives lay emphasis on goal setting which normally emanates from the top, but it may also originate from the bottom. Management by objectives is a great concept that involves all the employees working for the organization to be a part of goal setting and decision making.  Planning Premises: Premises are “Assumptions” about the ‘environment.’ It involves identification of critical factors of the environment that affect the planning. Examples of critical factors are government policies, tax rates, business cycle development, economic indicators, economic forecasts etc. No body can precisely predict the environment factors precisely and make an accurate forecast. However one can fairly predict the critical factors required for the plan. Identifying Alternatives is very significant in a corporate business environment as every plan has got a set of alternative course of action. A reasonable number of alternatives can be developed for a plan. Evaluating Alternatives and Selecting the Best: A reasonable number of alternatives can be evaluated on the basis of the principle of limiting factor. The limiting factors may be costs, time, manpower and other resources. By applying techniques of operations research, every alternative can be evaluated. For e. g. alternative ‘A’ may benefit the organization in the short term but may be more expensive and alternative ‘B’ may benefit in the long run but may be less expensive. If one wants to earn immediate profits by spending more money he can choose alternative ‘A’. If the limiting factor is cost, he is forced to choose alternate plan ‘B’. Planning is not complete with selecting the best alternative; a set of derivative plans are developed to support the basic plan. For example an educational institution might like to own a fleet of buses, for which derivative plans for selection has to be made- training of drivers and maintenance staff are supportive plans for the main plan-procurement of buses. Developing budgets completes the planning course of action and budget is referred in financial terms and they are required to control the plans. Planning is the Prime Function: Planning is the prime function of all as it precedes all functions. 1. The objectives must be clear, verifiable and attainable. 2. Planning premises are vital to the success of planning as they supply information related to future like probable competitive behavior, general economic conditions, capital and material availability, government control etc. 3. All the critical factors are clearly and thoroughly analyzed and taken into consideration. One should be able to identify clearly the critical factors that limit the attainment of the goal. It could be costs, time, manpower or any other resources. 4. In a practical business situation, one should be clearer in identifying these factors, only then the selection of the best alternative is possible. 5. Any decision taken in a plan is valid for a particular period i.e., the plan may be short term or long-term, the commitment principle...
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