Business Functions in Context Notes

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B203 Business Functions in Context – Revision Notes

Introduction

* Communities of Practice (Wenger, 2007) - are groups of people the come together to share knowledge and experiences and learn from one another whilst providing a social context for that work. Three characteristics are crucial:

1. The Domain - It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership implies a commitment to this and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. 2. Community - In pursuing their interest, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. 3. Practice - Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools and ways of addressing recurring problems - in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction

* Hoftstede’s (1980) dimensions of culture

1. Power distance
2. Individualism/ Collectivism
3. Masculinity/ Femininity
4. Uncertainty avoidance
5. Confucian/ Dynamism

* Varieties of knowing action (Amin and Roberts, 2008)

Knowledge-in-action type| Innovation| Organisational dynamic| Craft/task-based| Customised, incremental| Hierarchically managed. Open to new members| Professional/specialised| Incremental or radical but strongly bound by institutional/professional rules. Radical innovation stimulated by contact with other communities| Large hierarchical managed organisations, or small, peer-managed organisations. Institutional restrictions on the entry of new members| Epistemic/creative| High energy, radical innovation| Group/project managed. Open to those with a reputation in the field. Management through intermediate and boundary objects| Virtual| Incremental and radical| Carefully managed by community moderators or technological sequences. Open, but self-regulating|

* Reflective Cycle (Gibbs 1988)

* Task Management System (Taylor 1911) is a system of scientific management based on Taylor's system of breaking down each job down into its individual motions which were then analysed these to determine which were essential. He believed that with unnecessary motion eliminated, the worker, following a machinelike routine, became far more productive. 

* Gilbreath (1917) and her husband believed the concepts formulated by Taylor fell short when it came to managing the human element on the shop floor. The Gilbreth’s helped formulate techniques to breakdown and analyse work tasks into the smallest possible components of movement.

* Experience Approach (Barnard 1938) states that to be effective the main purpose of an organisation should be divided down into parts. Bernard argued that so long as the organisations members accepted these divisions and there was sufficient communication between them they could achieve their own objectives. If the balance was right the overall objectives of the organisation would be met and the business would survive and grow.

* Psycho – Sociological Approach (Parker Follett 1974) based her philosophy on the idea that it is impossible to separate work from human beings hopes, fears and aspirations. She believed in three types of conflict, domination (least favourable), compromise and integration (most favourable). She suggested trying to avoid order giving ‘power down’, encouraging managers to allow employees to participate in decision making ‘power with’. To be governed by the situation not by superiority. This is known as the Law of Situation.

* Five Sources of Power (Handy 1976)

1. Physical – power of a superior force
2. Resource – power control and possession of valued resources 3. Position – result of an organisational role or position 4. Personal – power of charisma, personality
5. Expert – vested in someone because of their...
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