Management Practices at Web media
Management Practices at Web media
Planning, leading, organizing, staffing and controlling are widely accepted functions of management; effective implementation of these management practices helps managers in better decision making and problem solving. In fact, principles of management have, at times, been, synonymized with P-O-L-C framework that includes planning, organizing, leading and controlling.
This paper exemplifies the application of these management practices at Web media, a website design and development organization. It will provide a holistic understanding to readers about the implementation of management practices at workplace.
As Web media is a startup, managers have planned to create brand awareness and increase customer penetration. As such, they emphasize on long term plans to target the potential customers by introducing new services and rolling out discount offers time to time. To fulfill the mission objective of adding five lacs new customers every year, managers put consistent efforts in understanding the dynamic and competitive market conditions. Following the organizational belief of caveat venditor(buyers beware), employees are committed to satisfying customers.
A close analysis to planning of Web media reflects that the managers are more focused about strategic planning than operational and tactical planning. However, strategic planning better suits to a startup because creating short term plans and fulfilling them may not be feasible in the initial phase. Also, customer penetration and brand awareness, main objectives as set by the organization, take time to fulfill and require long term planning. Also, Web media is new in its foray and the hierarchy is not clearly defined, decision making at mid-managerial level( the fundamental of tactical planning) seems a bit difficult. In this sense, long term planning is a better decision on the part of managers.
However, in the next couple of years down the line, it is imperative to initiate intermediate planning also because it provides a strong foundation to meeting strategic goals and objectives.
Organizing involves developing an organizational structure by bringing together financial, physical and human resources. Organizing at the level of organization involves departmentalization, i.e. clustering jobs into different departments for smooth coordination. Organization at job level involves designing the jobs so as to optimize the skills of human resources.
At Web media, there is a lesser degree of departmentalization compared to established firms, probably because of small workforce size. The authority is centralized to the top management; rules and hierarchy are not rigid. Theoretically, it resembles the simple structure that is usually found in early entrepreneurial stages. Job designing in the organization is based on the principles of teamwork, not on excessive specialization. As an example, rather than assigning individual tasks, leaders prefer to assign the task to a team so as to bring out effectiveness in job.
Thus, organization practice at Web media consists of merits as well as demerits. As website designing and development involves several sub-tasks, creating different departments will smoothen the coordination. Rather than a simple structure, the company can better adopt functional structure involving different departments based on different functionality. However, teamwork should be retained and strengthened further to motivate the workforce and enhance job satisfaction. Eventually, it will lead to customer satisfaction thereby fulfilling the long term objective of Web media.
Traditional leadership style is less visible at Web media; team and leaders collectively take decisions and leaders prefer to consider the views of employees on any issue, rather than imposing their own. As an example, in a website development module, the client required something that, one of the employees felt, was technically not feasible. Team leader, instead of imposing the dictates, called a meeting and discussed alternative options with members. Several options were put forward by employees, and the manager adopted the most suitable option as a solution. The instance resembles inclusive, democratic and participative leading style. Leaders believe in the skills of team members and support their right decisions. Participation is encouraged, but leaders retain the decision-making power.
This leadership style suits to a small company with fewer employees as leaders can effectively judge the knowledge and strength of their employees. This inclusive style imparts creative decision making and the best possible outcomes. However, with the company's, growth down the line, it may need to adopt authoritarian style as well, especially when there is time shortage to take decisions.
HRM at Web media selects the staff based on the knowledge, skills and experience of applicants. The organization publishes the vacancies, screens the best suited applications, organizes written tests and conducts interviews.
The staffing model of the organization is based on the right balance of specialists and generalists. This approach suits to the organizational structure guided by teamwork and motivation. In web design, core tasks like development and designing require specialists while promotions of website and associated activities do not require any professional skills as such.
Other aspects of staffing practice are integration and training. Organization, in an attempt to increase the resource base, goes on mass hiring and on-campus placements. Managers train the fresh recruits according to the skills required by a particular job.
Last but not least, Web media adopts multiculturalism and neutrality as part of its staffing strategies. Though the workforce is less, diversity is visible, and people from different cultures and religion comprise the workforce of the company. In the writing department, the biggest in Web media, employees belong to different Asian countries, as well.
A close analysis of staffing practices reflects that the clear vision and workflow is missing. Though staffing strategies are marked by multiculturalism and teamwork; there should be a proper mechanism to optimize the skills of the workforce. Conducting 'job interviews' is one of the best hiring practice for organizations; the survey reported. This interview technique requires candidates to exhibit examples of their skills. In Web media also, candidates may be asked to develop a dummy website in a given time-frame. This behavior-based interviewing is one of the best ways to predict future performance. A couple of years down the line, Web media will require more genteel staffing practices to make the best possible use of human resource.
Leaders at Web media retain their control on employees by measuring the performance using a single standard, customer satisfaction. For example, when a website design is delivered to the client or promotions campaigns are done for a particular website; clients are asked to rate the work of the team. The client satisfaction, thus, serves as a performance indicator on the part of team or individual, as the case may be.
Web media, however, lacks clear performance standards for individuals. These standards are very necessary as customer rating does not impart any idea about the efforts of individual members in the team. Absence of clear performance standards may be because of lack of emphasis on tactical planning. As stated, the organization emphasizes on long term planning and plans instead of tactical and operational. Thus, adding five lacs customers per year is the standard for top management but this should be broken down further to set concrete controls at mid and lower levels also.
As an example, managers may set standards for web writers to write 6 blogs per day, for SEO professionals to bookmark 100 sites per day and the like. Creating these standards will lead to better evaluation of employees' performances and a good controlling system thereafter.
Conclusion and Future Study
The primary challenge before managers and leaders is to solve the day-to-day challenges of business. Right combination of management practices can help managers take effective decisions. As discussed using scenarios from Web media, these practices are interlinked; planning strategy may decide the effectiveness of performance control; the organizational structure may affect staffing and leadership, and the like. Thus, effective implementation of one may lead to the effective implementation of other.
However, the P-O-L-C framework is not devoid of criticisms. Researchers have said that managers need to take decisions considering various internal and external factors; they may have little scope to consult theoretical models. Still, the general conclusion, so far, went in favor of these practices.
Future research may clarify the efficacy of the framework better as organizations in 21st century has different challenges, and it needs to be seen whether this framework will continue to serve as an effective tool in decision making.
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