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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

BTEC EDEXCDEL HND DIPLOMA IN BUSINESS (MANAGEMENT & HUMAN RESOURCES) OFFERED BY INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY

UNIT 16: MANAGING COMMUNICATIONS, KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION

NAME: ADIL MUHAMMED NAZEER

BATCH NUMBER: BM-25

ICBT KANDY CAMPUS

SUBMITTED TO: MRS. NILUKA SAMARAKOON

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 11TH-JANUARY-2013

Batch: BM-25

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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

Assignment brief
Included in this assignment is the firstly, the general idea of how organizations of different type make use of effective decision making and how stakeholder analysis helps to make these decisions. Examples from the industry were evaluated related to the decision making and stakeholder analysis process. Secondly, the communication process, its flaws and methods to improve the existing communication process of an organization of choice was shown. This was illustrated using tables and figures to elaborate on the existing system. Furthermore, communication flaws within a unit of the organization; the employees, were identified using various methods and recommendations for improving the communication skills of the identified people were addressed. In the presentation, an organization of choice was analyzed into its existing information technology system used to manage information and knowledge. Furthermore, its effectiveness was analyzed and proper systems of information were brought up as recommendations for improvement. Illustrated with it were tables.

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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

TASK 01ESSAY
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An organization can make use of various decisions in order to successfully achieve its goals or objectives. In order to efficiently make a decision at pre-implementation stage, an organization will have to consider the types of information it will have to gather. Gathering information from different sources will aid in the comprehensive decision making process. Larger organizations tend to take more complex decisions, whilst smaller organizations take simpler decisions. These decisions that have to be taken in relation to the organization are called organizational decisions, which are taken by higher officials of an organization. Example:- CEO, Managing Director, Chief Accountant. This decision will have to be taken by the higher level officials of the company and will reflect the policy on which the company acts and what the employees adhere to. At the same time, these organizational officials will also have to undergo certain personal decisions, and an example could be telecommuting which is considered a decision he had to take personally, since the influence of others in the organization will not help him make a proper decision, as these are mostly based on that certain officials mentality. Delegation of such decisions will also be ineffective since as other individuals wouldnt possess the same mentality as the managing director himself. The colloquial decisions that are usually taken in organizations are that of a basic nature and/or routine. For example, organization being an importer of automobiles may take decisions regarding to the types of vehicles to be imported, the price range to be selected when purchasing, selecting the appropriate importers, the appropriate pricing for domestic customers, an efficient foreign dealer, following standard import procedures and allocating funds to purchase the desired vehicles for import are all of complex nature, where mistakes will be tolerated only at huge costs to the organizations, whereas routine decisions are delegated to employees on the lower hierarchical level since they are decisions take are taken on a frequent basis. Basic decisions are timely, deserve a lot of thought and tend to be more centralized, hence being taken by the managing director himself. Delegating the task of taking such decisions of major complexity to other employees will only result in conflict of ideas and lead to an inefficient decision making process, since each employee will have different views which contradict the views of others. On the contrary, routine decisions such as deciding which vehicle to repair, the way vehicles are parked, the petty cash, book-keeping and employee grievance handling are carried out in a decentralized format, where workers under the higher hierarchical employees are allowed to take. However, a certain degree of intervention from the top hierarchy level will be needed when it comes to conflicts between lower hierarchical employees in making these decisions. Based on the above mentioned decisions, they can be further dissected into being either structured, unstructured or semi structured.

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Structured decisions are basically decisions with similar characteristics to that of routine decisions. These can be exemplarily Inventory Control Systems (stock reordering) since they have to be taken on a frequent basis, and they also possess the feature of being programmed, which means they can be done on computerized systems. Unstructured decisions are decisions with similar characteristics to that of basic decisions. These are complex and do not necessarily have a fixed solution. An example would be to select a partner for an organization. Selecting a partner is a timely decision and a wrong move on this part will prove costly for the business on a large scale in the long run. These decisions are not taken on a repetitive basis, but rather at specific points, and involves lots of judgment and brain storming, hence giving it a similar characteristic to that of an un-programmed decision.

On a further note, most decisions are classified by organizations in terms of the hierarchical level of the people who take them. These decisions are taken at 3 different levels of management, namely the strategic level, tactical level and the operational level. Strategic level decisions are carried out at the top of the hierarchical level, or rather, with the higher officials of an organization, and thereby, can be considered similar to basic decisions, as they require high levels of strategic planning and implementation to deal with complex issues. These decisions are of high value to the organization, so it is highly risky if stepped on the wrong foot, and can prove very costly to the organization. These decisions are related to the core attributes of the company and its policies, resource controlling & allocation and objectives and hence such decisions are authorized to be taken by high level workers in either the organization, or a department within the organization. Tactical level decisions are quite routinely and is basically a managerial control used to ensure the efficient and effective uses of resources in order to attain the organizations objectives, that were set upon by the strategic level decision makers. These decisions relate to the use of resources within an organization in such a way that its objectives are reachable, hence considering how economically are these resources used. An example could be to provide an incentive plan to employees to encourage increased production within the organization. The resources according to the example are the employees and their productivity levels. The decision maker would be the Human Resources manager. Hence, by issuing incentives, employees tend to increase their productivity and thereby the production, which in the end proves an economically efficient tactical decision made.

And at the bottom of the triangle is the operational level. These decisions focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of tasks carried out on a daily basis, thereby helping to ensure that these tasks have a smooth
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Individual Assignment: Adil

flow and help the organization to achieve its objectives set. The decision makers can be front-line managers of lower level managers, for example. An exemplar decision could be the daily allocation of resources (finance) for raw material purchases for the daily targets of production.

On the contrary, an effective decision is based on the information used to make those decisions. Various types of information can be used to make decisions of different natures. And this information can be retrieved either internally or externally. Furthermore internal information is information that can be obtained within the organization, example: Human resources manager obtaining employee attendance sheet or having access to payroll systems of the organization, and external information is the information obtained from sources out or away from the organization, example: Production manager seeking information on the distribution channel existing currently in a certain country. The information used, either internally or externally will have to be obtained from various places. These places are known as sources. Furthermore these sources can be classified based on where they are taken from; either internally or externally. Internal information sources for an organization can be documents, paperwork or anything related to make decisions that can be found from within the organization or its departments, whereas external sources of information for an organization can be furthermore classified into two criteria for more specificity, namely formal and informal. Informal external sources can be in the form of rumors word of mouth, grapevines, meeting with external parties such as customers or suppliers or even attending governmental business conferences. Formal external sources can be in the form of documents or statements related or made by officials of the company. In summarization, it is important to note that the use of information to make decisions will vary depending on the type or structure of the organization. An organization, presumably a large one, would have a taller hierarchical structure with many levels of management, where mostly strategic level of management uses more of external information since their organization is larger and has more relation to external parties, such as suppliers and consumers. Whereas, in an organization with a flatter hierarchy structure, it is vice versa. The workers at the lower levels, presumably the tactical or operational level tend to use more information that is internal to the organization, since their decisions are mostly of repetitive nature relating to the internal activities of a business such as organizations daily expenses management, employee grievances and stock controlling.

The decision making process, whether it be complex or simple, requires a degree of stakeholder involvement in order to make it effective. Stakeholders can be an individual or a group that is affected or has an interest in the way the business is run, or the activities of it. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good relationship with stakeholders in order to obtain effective and efficient input from them to contribute to the decision
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making process. Stakeholders can be either primary or secondary. Primary stakeholders have a direct influence on the organizations activities, example: shareholders, employees, directors, suppliers and customers, whereas secondary stakeholders have an indirect influence on the organizations activities and are less likely to be affected by it, example: politicians, media, competitors, governmental authorities. Therefore, an organization is most likely to improve its contact with stakeholders who are highly influential to it, so that its decision making is more relative to the organizations goals and objectives, thereby making the decision process more effective. Stakeholder relationship improvement seeks to create partnerships and encourage constructive dialogue between all parties so that all sides can learn from and listen to each other to produce a better decision output and make an efficient final choice. To do this, a stakeholder analysis can be carried out. It attempts to analyze, assess and identify stakeholders, who are likely to be impacted by organizational decisions, example: A supplier, probably a long-time supplier, whose supplies are essential for the production process of the organization and its final output quality to the consumers, or the board of directors, whose contribution in the form of managing resources within the organization results in the efficient production of goods and services. To carry out proper ways to engage with stakeholders, an organization can hold meetings within the company where the most relevant stakeholders are invited to participate in making decisions and voice out their opinion as to what they think satisfies them the most. After all, stakeholder satisfaction is key to improving input to decision making. Questionnaires and surveys could also be used to obtain input from quite external stakeholders such as customer feedbacks and community opinions. This could aid in analyzing feedbacks and allocating resources for betterment and hence satisfying them. If all mentioned is not possible for an organization, they could make use of emails, video-conferencing and telephone calls. It could make use of media, internet or newspapers to obtain general information from external stakeholders such as political climate, government and community. Yet it is essential to understand that the type of decisions taken will depend on the hierarchical structure of the organization. An industrial example could be GEELY EMGRAND, who are manufacturers and importers of Chinese automobile. By importing to Sri Lanka, they are entering a new market, which means they are enabling an extension to their stakeholder lineup. Examples are the Sri Lankan government, community, customer base, foreign competition within Sri Lanka, investors, shareholders, etc. Presumably, before entering the market, GEELY would have made use of mostly external information for decision making about Sri Lanka such as the economic climate, political stability and consumer taste. The sources of this information are a mix of secondary as well as primary nature and might have been the internet, newspapers, media, and management consultancy offices in Sri Lanka, consumer questionnaires and surveys and government officials. After the analysis of these information, GEELY would have tried to improve relationship with its potential shareholders as mentioned above.

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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

TASK 02PORTFOLIO

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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

BTEC EDEXCDEL HND DIPLOMA IN BUSINESS (MANAGEMENT & HUMAN RESOURCES) OFFERED BY INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY

UNIT 16: MANAGING COMMUNICATIONS, KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION

NAME: ADIL MUHAMMED NAZEER

BATCH NUMBER: BM-25

ICBT KANDY CAMPUS

SUBMITTED TO: MRS. NILUKA SAMARAKOON

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 11TH-JANUARY-2013

Batch: BM-25

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Acknowledgement
It is with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation I place on record the unstinted guidance of lecturer, Mrs Niluka Samarakoon, all my batch mates for the valuable ideas we exchanged with each other on the assignment and my parents who have been behind my every effort. Sincerely, Adil.

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Table of Contents
12 ....................................... ................................ ................................ ................................ Executive Summary 13 ............ ................................ ................................ [3.1] Existing processes of communication in an organization 14 ............................ ................................ ................................ [3.2] Designing ways to improve appropriateness 16 ........... ................................ ................................ ................................ [3.3] Implementation of improvements 22 .................... ................................ SWOT Analysis to aid in preparing the personal development plans effectively

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Executive Summary
The report provides a description of the existing communication process adopted by an organization to communicate to its employees amongst a line of branches. The weakness in the communication process of the organization is identified and methods of eliminating these weaknesses are assessed as a justification for recommendation and improvement of the communication process within. Further, linguistic skills of the employees in the organization are evaluated and proper focus and recommendations for improvement are given to those in need of improving their communicational skills. Various methods of analysis of the current system and its weaknesses have been used throughout the portfolio. Gantt charts were used to design ways to improve and implement the communication system within the organization, along with questionnaires to evaluate weaknesses in peoples communication skills and the use of Action plans to effectively improve the communication skills of those identified to a desired level suitable for the organizations objectives. Analysis and assessment of the communication processes within the organization resulted in findings that aided the recommendation and improvement process. Initial findings proved that the flow of communication from lower level to higher level was not very effective and efficient. Further findings showed that there was an improper set up of the communication system within the organization which lead to certain barriers in communication. And lastly, it was found that 80% of the workers in the organization had communication skills in par with industrial standards and requirements while certain workers in the organization lacked proper communicational skills. After analysing and assessing the findings, recommendations for improvement in the communication systems of both, the organization and the workforce were brought forward, and proper methods were set up to effectively implement these systems on the areas of weakness. Yet, it is essential to the organization that these areas of weakness have to be given continuous focus in order to effectively eliminate in the long run, the weaknesses identified. Drawbacks and limitations were faced and acted as an obstacle to research, analyse, assess and find more information on the organizations communication process. Lack of time to carry out findings was a major concern, which resulted in not being able to provide further methods of analysing and evaluating such as interviews and observations into the communication process of the organization and its employees.

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Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

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Importance of Managing Communication for a successful business

[3.1]
Communication process is the way information, knowledge or data is passed or exchanged between people in a way that each other is able to decode them in an understandable way. The communication process used in Royal Auto Mart, which has 3 branches around Kandy, uses a rather basic communication system by nature, which is semi-computerized. The communication channel within the organization is more of an offline (personal & non personal) form. The owner (and CEO) of the organization currently uses posters, letters, notice boards, telephone calls and Short Messaging Services to communicate with employees in the lower level. If information had to be passed down, a messenger is sent to each branch to set up posters or letters on notice boards in each branch. On the contrary, telephone calls and Short Messaging Services are passed down by the owner himself, making it rather direct. Throughout the research, it was found that the organization had intact a mostly top-down sort of communication, and it was noticed that bottom up communication was rather inefficient, thereby we can say that the organization has a formal method of communicating. The sender, who is the owner encodes the information in the form of anything mentioned above and choses the right communication channel to pass the information. Responsibility lies with him as to choosing the right communication channel, since the way the receiver understands the information will depend on how rich the communication is. In order to effectively transmit understandable information to the receiver, the sender will have to possess certain characteristics such as the right attitude and linguistic skills so that the receiver is able to decode, understand and interpret the information further down the hierarchy.

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Then the receiver receives the information through the communication channel that the information was sent, and he decodes it, which can be in the form of understanding or reading it. And if understood properly, a response is given back to the other party. This response/feedback is sometimes essential to ensure that the information was understood, making it effective. However, as mentioned earlier, bottom-up communication system within this organization was researched and proved to be ineffective and inefficient. The reason behind this is that Noise existed and was seen to disrupt the communication process. This is further elaborated in the diagram below.

Figure 1
As seen above, the Noise that centres around the process acts as a barrier for effective and smooth flow of information in the organization. So the organization will have to design ways to remove the Noises mentioned above by implementing certain methods. The noise created within the communication process is the weakness identified and ways to tackle this issue will be brought forward for implementation.

[3.2]
With the objective of the organization being to grow into more branches in and around the city in order to capture higher market share, the current communication system proves to be ineffective if needed to ensure greater control and management of these branches. Geographic proximity between the branches is a main reason for the organization to seek an extensive/complex communication system. By further research, it was found that the organization wants to adopt a fully computerized system, whilst simultaneously eliminating the use of manual systems to ensure greater efficiency, accuracy and ease in the future communication processes.
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The idea is to adopt a more real time computerized approach to the communication process. The move from semi-computerized to fully computerized. This requires taking off the old system in place for the new one. The new computerized system starts off with the implementation and set up of advanced computer systems at all branches. It includes setting up of email addresses to all the employees within the organization, video conferencing facilities at all branches which is altogether connected to a central/core server system called an intranet. This enables instant and more efficient communication between workers from top to bottom and bottom to top. After the implementation, employees at all levels will be able to pass information directly to their receiver without having the need to face communication barriers/noises.

The following factors will determine the effectiveness and feasibility of the implementation; Time: Less time since travelling will not be needed, and ultra-fast transfer of information Complexity: The computerized system will offer an efficient user-friendly interface which will make it easier for employees to use and cope with. Distance: There is no need to travel a distance to pass information, since it can be transferred within the network of computerized systems within a short span of time. Cost: Is probably the only disadvantage since advanced computer systems along with their set up is very costly, but, can prove effective in the long run.

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[3.3]
For an effective implementation process, the following Gantt chart was created in order to ease the process.

Table 1
In the above gantt chart created, as seen, the implementation process spans over a period of one month, over which the tasks are divided into a set of days, so that it effectively can achieve efficiency in the process. As can be seen, some tasks overlap others. This is to ensure that no lag remains within the process, since these will cause discontinuation of the process and may exceed the proposed goal of fully implementing the system within a span of one month. The results of how feasible the implementation was will be done at the final stage, where the management will analyse and assess through the feedbacks the employees give. To further improve the communication flow within the organization the owner spared some time into looking into the communication skills of all his employees. Inorder to evaluate them, a questionnaire was created and distributed amongst 15 employees. Thereafter, the questionnaires were short listed and categorized into workers with good communication skills and workers who needed more attention and focus into the improvement of their communication skills.

Table 2
Royal Auto Mart Employee Linguistic Skills Evaluation Name of person under evaluation: Manoj Samarathunga Weak Oral skills:
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Moderate

Good

Managing Communications, Knowledge & Information

Individual Assignment: Adil

Pronunciation Vocabulary base Grammar use Fluency Delivery/interpretation

Written skills: Spelling Clarity Letter writing Report writing

Reading Speaking/ Presentation skills Listening/ Understandability Body Language

Table 2

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Royal Auto Mart Employee Linguistic Skills Evaluation Name of person under evaluation: Ahmed Abdal Weak Oral skills: Pronunciation Vocabulary base Grammar use Fluency Delivery/interpretation Moderate Good

Written skills: Spelling Clarity Letter writing Report writing

Reading Speaking/ Presentation skills Listening/ Understandability Body Language


Table 2.1

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Royal Auto Mart Employee Linguistic Skills Evaluation Name of person under evaluation: Janaka Tissera Weak Oral skills: Pronunciation Vocabulary base Grammar use Fluency Delivery/interpretation Moderate Good

Written skills: Spelling Clarity Letter writing Report writing

Reading Speaking/ Presentation skills Listening/ Understandability Body Language

Table 2.2
Above are the 3 questionnaires that were short-listed from the 15 questionnaires. It was evaluated that three employees from the operational level (one vehicles condition reporter and two vehicle sales representatives) of the organizations hierarchy needed attention and focus into improving their communication skills. These questionnaires were made and passed down to the branch managers, who conducted these evaluation sessions at their respective branches. However, other forms of evaluation such as interviews and observations werent carried out due to lack of time and ineffectiveness in doing so since it would disrupt the business activities. The only self-criticism here is that these questionnaires results wouldnt be very reliable since there could have been personal barriers such as attitude, lack of motivation, mood or unwillingness to communicate either by the superior or the subordinates. Carrying out other methods such as interviews and observations would have added to the feasibility of identifying the weaknesses since theyre more personal and real-time. Furthermore, in order to improve the communicational skills of the identified employees, the owner/management decided to create personal plans for each employee to improve their skills. Each

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employee had an action plan set up for them that they had to adhere to in order to effectively bring up their skills. The action plan covers the need to improve skills in all forms of communication types.

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Action plan Objectives To be able to read, write, handle and provide Methods Off the Duration job 6 months Reviewing methods Close observations and instant clarifications,

training Ask for practice reports to be

understandable reports

done by a superior

made after each sale, evaluative purposes Improve presentational, interpretational speaking skills and Assign basic 6 months, Retrieving audience for

presentations carry out

to simultaneously with first feedback as to the clarity and objective of presentations

present in front of an audience On the job Assess and recommend any improvements to the tasks delegated by the or superior

training Assign

delegate tasks of a superior, so that speaking understanding skills improve and Holding examinations to test linguistic skills and use findings for further improvement of skills

To

be

able

to

Training familiarize

to 8

months, Obtaining feedback of about their

communicate by sending and receiving

with simultaneously with first workers

computer systems two objectives in order to carry out instant

satisfaction with the way top-down, bottom-up

information to and fro the higher hierarchical level

communication is done.

communication processes within the organization Motivate workers to speak out their needs to the Familiarize workers with other workers so that they create mutual which

understanding

enables them to pass


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Individual Assignment: Adil

management level Getting information and

information in the future

effectively

Giving trials for workers to demonstrate their

interpreting it to other works in an effective and

skills obtained in the period of learning, and thereafter recommend

understandable way

and improvements

Table 3

SWOT Analysis to aid in preparing the personal development plans effectively


Strengths: Access to wide range of knowledge resources to hone linguistic skills. Proper social networking skills identified amongst these workers. Out-of-the-box thinking displayed. Access to public lectures, in order to adopt the linguistic skills of such professional people. Ability to grasp things quick and punctually; essential to complete and achieve the objectives within the given time. Weaknesses: Lack of incentive to do further out-of-job activities related to improving linguistic skills. Unwillingness to take responsibility. Language barrier (Ability to adapt to better communication skills in another language would be weak) Opportunities - Training camps can be organized within the organization - Task delegation from superior to involve greater experience and aid in improvement of skills - Future potential promotions opened due to the increase in this particular set of skills. - Cost-free learning opportunities Threats - Lack of time to allocate for these activities by workers - Competing to gain knowledge resources between workers in order to gain competitive advantage

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List of references used:

Ingram, D. (). How to Improve Communication Skills in the Workplace. Available: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/improve-communication-skills-workplace-10565.html. Last accessed 7th Jan 2013

Allen, R. (2011). Stakeholder Analysis. Available: http://www.customer-insight.co.uk/article/874. Last .accessed 6th Jan 2013

Bryson, J., Cunningham, G. and Lokkesmoe, K. (2002) 'What to Do When Stakeholders Matter: Public Administration Review, 62:5

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TASK 03PRESENTATION

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List of references used for presentation:


Power, D. (). Types of Decision Support Systems (DSS). Available: http://www.gdrc.org/decision/dss.types.html. Last accessed 29th Dec 2012

The Differences Between Data, Information and Knowledge. Available: .)( ..http://www.infogineering.net/data-information-knowledge.htm. Last accessed 1st Jan 2013

Dhawan, S. (). BASICS OF INFORMATION DISSEMINATION. Available: .http://www.unesco.org/education/aladin/paldin/pdf/course02/unit_05.pdf. Last accessed 1st Jan 2013

Ross, W Weill, P. (). Four Questions Every CEO Should Ask About IT For starters: Are we thinking big enough?. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704336504576258561056702944.html. Last accessed 5th .Jan 2013

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