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Wednesday, May 24, 2017


You are perhaps aware that in recent times most of the decisions in any large organisation are usually taken by a group of people (e.g., Board of Directors, Committees, Task-force, etc.) rather than by a single individual manager, however, brilliant, bright or powerful the manager may be. Perhaps from your own experience, you are also aware of some of the obvious advantages and disadvantages of group decision making like the one given below:

Looking at this kind of a balance-sheet on group decision making, you may well ask whether, on the whole, groups are superior to individuals as far as the decision  making effectiveness is concerned. It is not possible to give a categorical answer without reference to the nature of the people, the nature of the group and the context in which the group is making a decision. However, what we know about the impact of the groups in decision making process has been summarised by Harrison (1975) in the following way:



In the models of decisionmaking, you must have observed that any systematic approach to decision making starts with a proper definition of the problem. You will often experience that a problem well defined is a problem half-solved because the proper definition helped you to search at relevant place for promising alternatives. You would also agree that a "fair" approach to decision-making demands that parameters (for judging alternatives which are sometimes referred to as "criteria", "level of aspiration", "decision rules", etc.) should be explicitly developed before the alternatives are generated and not after. This imperative minimises the chances of unnecessary compromise which is the hall-mark of a low-quality decision. However, once you have developed the criteria, keep them aside and forget about them at the time of generation of the alternatives. This dissociation of criteria from the alternative-generation phase will improve your chance of coming up with a reasonably sufficient number of alternatives. You will understand the importance of generating a "reasonable" number of alternatives by the simple realisation that the quality of a decision can be no better than the quality of the alternatives that you identify.

Identification of Alternatives

Generation of a reasonable number of good alternatives is usually no problem. Occasionally, however, developing a variety of good alternatives can be a complex matter requiring creativity, thought, and study. Three means for generating alternatives are particularly well-known. These are brainstorming, synectics, and nominal grouping.

Brainstorming: Developed by Alex F. Osborn, brainstorming is the oldest and best known technique for stimulating creative thinking. It involves the use of a group whose members is presented with a problem and is asked to develop as many potential solutions as possible. Members of the group may all be employees of the same firm or outside experts in a particular field. Brainstorming is based on the premise that when people interact in a free and uninhibited atmosphere they will, generates creative ideas. That is, as one person generates an idea it serves to stimulate the thinking of others. This interchange of ideas is supposedly contagious and creates an atmosphere of free discussion and spontaneous thinking. The objective is to produce as many ideas as possible in keeping with the belief that the larger the number of ideas produced, the greater the probability of identifying an acceptable solution.


Thursday, April 27, 2017


In previous article (Decision making process) you have learnt what the different phases of a decision making process are, what types of decisions you are likely to make in an organisation and under what states of nature these decisions are made. Now, we are going to examine three suggested models of the decision making process which will help you to understand how decisions are made and should be made. These three models are:
(1) The econologic model, or the economic man,
(2) The bounded rationality model or the administrative man; and
(3) The implicit favorite model or the game man.

You will notice that each model differs on the assumptions it makes about the person or persons making the decision.

1) Econologic Model or Economic Man Model
The econologic model represents the earliest attempt to model decision process. Briefly, this model rests on two assumptions: (1) It assumes people are economically rational; and (2) that people attempt to maximise outcomes in an orderly and sequential process. Economic rationality, a, basic concept in many models of decision making, exists when people attempt to maximise objectively measured advantage, such as money or units of goods produced. That is, it is assumed that people will select the decision or course of action that has the greatest advantage or payoff from among the many alternatives. It is also assumed that they go about this search in a planned, orderly, and logical fashion.



Making decisions has been identified as one of the primary responsibilities of any manager. Decisions may involve allocating resources, appointing people, investing capital or introducing new products. If resources like men, money, machines, materials, time and space were abundant, clearly any planning would be unnecessary. But, typically, resources are scarce and so there is a need for planning. Decision making is at the core of all planned activities. We can ill afford to waste scarce resources by making too many wrong decisions or by remaining indecisive for too long a time.

You can define decision making as the process of choosing between alternatives to achieve a goal. But if you closely look into this process of selecting among available alternatives, you will be able to identify three relatively distinct stages. Put into a time framework, you will find:
1. The past, in which problems developed, information accumulated, and the need for a decision was perceived;
2. The present, in which alternatives are found and the choice is made; and
3. The future, in which decisions will be carried out and evaluated.

Herbert Simon, the well-known Nobel laureate decision theorist, described the activities associated with three major stages in the following way:
1. Intelligence Activity: Borrowing from the military meaning of intelligence Simon describes this initial phase as an attempt to recognise and understand the nature of the problem, as well as search for the possible causes;
2. Design Activity: During the second phase, alternative courses of action are developed and analyzed in the light of known constraints; and
3. Choice Activity: The actual choice among available and assessed alternatives is made at this stage.
If you have followed the nature of activities of these three phases, you should be able to see why the quality of any decision is largely influenced by the thoroughness of the intelligence and design phases. Henry Mintzberg and some of his colleagues (1976) have traced the phases of some decisions actually taken in organisations. They have also come up with a three-phase model as shown in Figure I.

Figure I: Mintzberg's empirically based phases of decision making in organizations


Thursday, February 23, 2017


Why is an organization created? What is its purpose? How best can it achieve that purpose? What methods and means will it employ to achieve the purpose? Various terms and concepts of mission, objectives, strategy, policy, programmes and procedures which will help you understand the management of organizations.

The mission is the very reason and justification for the existence of a firm. Mission is always defined in terms of the benefits the firm provides to its customers and not in terms of any physical dimensions of the firm or its products.

A firm exists and functions only in relation to the customer whose need(s) it satisfies.. If there were no customers there would be no firm. Thus the starting point for, defining the mission of any business is its customer. Since the customer exists outside the business, the mission must be defined from the outside. The firm must ask the questions "What is our business?" and "What should it be?" but seek the answer from the customer's viewpoint.


Monday, December 19, 2016


A manager is responsible for combining and coordinating the people, the technology, the job task and other resources to effectively achieve the objectives of an organisation. You may be a manager in charge of constructing a plant or managing a bank or supervising a group of life insurance agents or training a football team. In most of the situations, you have others who are your subordinates reporting to you. The subordinates themselves may be managers having subordinates below to report to them. Therefore, we talk of levels of managers in an organisation.

The First Level Managers: These managers are in direct contact with the employees, who usually produce the goods or service outputs of an organisation. They are referred to as supervisors or foremen in some organisations. You may be associated with the employees who directly produce goods or render service outputs. Hence, your may belong to the first level managers. In some government offices, the superintendent of the office supervising the work of typists, despatch clerks, etc. belongs to this category. In the industry, it is the foreman, who is in direct contact with the rank-and-file workers, producing goods or services.

The Middle Level Managers: These managers are those with a number of responsibilities and linking or connecting activities. They direct the activities of the first level managers. For example, a district educational officer or a block development officer belongs to the middle level with the principals of schools and gram servers reporting to the district educational officer and block development officer respectively.

The Top Level Managers: The top level managers are a small group of policy makers responsible for the overall strategic management of the organisations. It is the responsibility of the top managers to develop the objectives and strategies of the organisation. It is the top management that must sense the demands of the political, social and competitive environments on the organisation. A President or a Chief Executive or a District Magistrate are examples of top managerial level.


These skills refer to the personal ability put to use by the manager in specific position that he or she holds in the organisational hierarchy.


Sunday, December 11, 2016


An effective manager needs skills to plan, control, organise, lead, and finally to take decisions. In each case, a manager must exercise a unique set of skills.

As part of the management process you attempt to define the future state of your organisation. You are not trying to predict the future, but rather to uncover things in the present to ensure that the organisation does have a future. Hence planning skills will include:
·         being able to think ahead;
·         ability to forecast future environmental trends affecting the organisation;
·         ability to state organisational objectives;
·        ability to choose strategies that will help in attaining these objectives with respect to future trends; and
·  ability to arrive at performance standards or yardsticks for monitoring the implementation of these strategies, etc.

With growing complexity in the operations of large organisations, managers are expected to acquire skills to interact with intermediate planning systems such as a computer.

As you have seen, planning specifies the future course of direction of an organisation. The organising process follows the planning process. 'While planning specifies what will be achieved when, organising specifies who will achieve what and how it will be achieved.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Four important management processes are planning, controlling, organizing and leading. Decision making is an integral part of management process as all the other four processes involve Decision making. A particular manager may be more concerned with say, controlling and organising, while another may be more concerned with planning. The degree of involvement with each of these processes may vary from manager to manager, but essentially all managers have to be concerned with these processes. We shall first take up the planning process because only when there is planning can the other processes follow in logical sequence.


Planning is the most basic and pervasive process involved in managing. It means deciding in advance what actions to take and when and how to take them.

Planning is needed, firstly for committing and allocating the organisation's limited resources towards achieving its objectives in the best possible manner and, secondly for anticipating the future opportunities and problems.


Monday, December 5, 2016



Every practising manager knows from experience that whatever actions and decisions he takes, in any particular area of activity, have results which extend well beyond that specific activity. The impact of decisions in some cases affect the whole organization and even external environment. A simple decision to throw out an inefficient, lazy worker can trigger off union activity which can, in extreme situations, even result in strike. The situation may become so hot that the union forces the neighbouring units also to join the strike. Thus when a manager takes a decision he never views its impact in isolation but tries to understand and anticipate its repercussions on the entire organisation and the environment. The manager understands that his organisation is a totality of many, inter-related, inter-dependent parts, put together for achieving the organisational objectives. This in a nutshell is the very essence of the systems concept.

A system is defined as a sum total of individuals but inter-related parts (sub-systems), and are put together according to a specific scheme or plan, to achieve the pre-stated objectives.

A system has the following components:
1.   A number of parts of sub-systems which when put together in a specific manner form a whole system
2.   Boundaries within which it exists
3.   A specific goal or goals. This goal is expressed in terms of an output which is achieved by receiving input and processing it to form the output
4.   Close inter-relationship and inter-dependency amongst the various sub-systems


Sunday, December 4, 2016


A firm is a social institution. Its very existence is dependent upon its harmonious relationships with various segments of the society. This harmonious relationship emanates from the firm's positive responsiveness to the various segments and its closely associated with the tasks a manager is expected to perform. The process of evolving this mutual relationship between firms and various interest groups begins by acknowledging the existence of the responsibilities of a manager. These responsibilities are towards customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers, distributors and retailers, competitors, unions, government and society.

The manager must always remember that the customer comes first. The starting point for the business firm is an understanding of the needs of the customer, and the firm's foremost responsibility is towards the customer.



There is a lot of confusion over the much widely used terms-professional management and professional managers. Some researchers contend there is nothing like professional management. Management is a discipline. There are practitioners of this discipline who practise management as a profession and thus are, professional managers. Just as there are doctors and lawyers by profession similarly there are professional managers. As doctors practise medicine, managers practise management. The only difference between professional managers and other professionals is that, while the latter must possess a formal degree in their discipline, a professional manager need not have a formal degree or education in management. He may have learnt the necessary skills and gained competence from his experience.

The second characteristic of a professional manager is that his primary concern is the organisation or the company with which he works. This is true whether the manager works for a private or public sector or a multinational company; whether he is the executive director or the personnel manager reporting to the executive director. The professional manager always has his company's overall perspective in his mind and all his actions are guided by the company's objectives.

The third and the most important characteristic of a professional manager is that he is responsible for performance. Managing involves collecting and utilising resources (money, men, materials and machines) in the most optimal manner for achievement of some pre-determined objectives or results. It is the professional manager's responsibility to utilise resources to produce the required results. Responsibility and performance are really the key words in defining a manager's role. Performance implies action, and action necessitates taking specific steps and doing certain tasks. Let us first take up the various tasks which a manager is expected to do to produce results.

A manager can be compared to the captain of a ship who has first to set the course to reach the destination and then steer the ship along the course. Similarly, a manager has to, first of all, set objectives which the firm must achieve. Objectives provide the direction in which the firm must move. Having decided upon the objectives, the manager must constantly monitor the progress and activities of the firm to ensure that it is moving in the desired direction. This is the first and foremost task of every manager.


Saturday, December 12, 2015


Technological forecast is a prediction of the future characteristics of useful machines, 'products, processes, procedures or techniques. There are two important points implied in this statement, viz.:

a) A technological forecast deals with certain characteristics such as levels of technical performance (e.g., technical specifications including energy efficiency, emission levels, speed, power, safety, temperature, etc.), rate of technological advances (introduction of paperless office, picture phone, new materials, costs, etc.). The forecaster need not state how these characteristics will be achieved. His forecast may even predict characteristics which are beyond the present means of performing some of these functions. However, it is not within his scope to suggest how these limitations will be overcome. Find the pefect HR software vendor. 
b) Technological forecasting also deals with useful machines, procedures, or techniques. In particular, this is intended to exclude from the domain of technological forecasting those items intended for pleasure or amusement since they depend more on personal fads, foibles or tastes rather than on technological capability. Such items do not seem to be capable of rational prediction and thus the technology forecaster generally does not concern himself/herself with them.

Table-1 : Technology Forecasting Methods and Techniques 


Sunday, December 6, 2015


Information Technology synthesises the convergence of previously distinct and separate technologies. As is clear from Figure-1 below, developments in computer technology, electronic components technology and the communications technology along with appropriate software have converged and are now known by the catchword Information Technology' (IT). Information Technology refers to `a very wide range of elements which are utilised to create, transfer, transform and convey information through means, irrespective of whether these elements are in the form of equipment, services or know-how'. Developments in information technology have already produced vast gains in productivity resulting in counter inflationary trends in prices as well as substantial improvements in technical performance of many products and services. 

Figure-1 : Convergence of Components, Computers and Communications



Technological change has been defined broadly as “the process by which economies change over time in respect of the products and services they produce and the processes used to produce them" and more specifically as alteration in physical processes, materials, machinery or equipment, which has impact on the way work is performed or on the efficiency or effectiveness of the enterprise. Technological change may involve a change in the output, raw materials, work organisation or management techniques but in all cases it would affect the relationship between labour, capital and other factors of production.


'A production function attempts to specify the output of a production process (as a function of the various factors of production e.g., labour, capital, technology, management or organisation and land). It may be possible to explicitly state the nature of this function based on econometric studies but that is not our interest at present. We would like to understand the role of technology in the production process and for that purpose we would like to begin with the isoquant approach. An isoquant specifies a range of alternative combinations of two factors of production, say labour and capital, which can be used to produce a given quantity of the output and is based on the assumption that the other factors of production e.g. the state of knowledge of technology is constant.

Figure 1 : Isoquants and factor substitution 


Thursday, December 3, 2015


For all the countries, the most practical strategy for technology development-is to ‘make some and buy some'. This gives the advantage of selecting an appropriate area of specialisation and the potential to exploit the technology trade in the international market place.

The complex process of technology development is schematically presented in Figure-1.

The technological needs are derived from national socio-economic goals. A country's technology development strategy is then determined by combining these identified technological needs with potential technological developments in the world and a thorough assessment of available and emerging technologies. Then the Country determines a strategy to import technologies, which it cannot practically develop itself and identifies technologies, which can be produced locally. Now, there is a universal realisation that unless a concerted attempt is made to build local technological capabilities for absorbing imported technologies, any attempt to develop indigenous technologies encounters enormous difficulties. Even with regard to imported technology, it is essential for a country to be able to select, digest, adapt and improve it for local consumption. All of these efforts justify greater priority and allocation of resources to R&D. A pre-requisite for effective utilisation of R&D resources is the 'development of technological infrastructure within the country, including institution building, manpower development, provision of support facilities and creation of an innovative climate.

Figure 1  : The process of Technology Development
Source: Technology for Development, UN-ESCAP

The following general principles with regard to the planning for development of indigenous technological capabilities may be kept in view:

i) It is important to be selective in self-development of technology. Emphasis should be given to total integration of all activities in the technology production chain to achieve self-reliance.
ii) In selecting areas for development, a country can be inward looking in some areas and outward-looking in some other areas.
iii) Import substitution can only be a temporary strategy.
iv) In the technology production chain, a number of activities involving basic and applied research can be undertaken, but it is important to be able to discard some of the non-productive projects and concentrate, from time to time, upon those which have high commercial potential.
v) Technology development is best achieved through collective effort. Individuality, which tends to aim at being unique rather than practical, should be minimised.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Technology is a product of an R&D centre outfit or establishment. However, different R&D centres produce different technologies for achieving the same or similar goals. This is because of differing environments and surroundings and other conditions, viz., population, resources, economic, technological, environmental, socio-cultural, and politico-legal systems. The objective functions used in the development of technology could also be different at different places.

Figure 1: Appropriate and inappropriate technologies
Source: Technology for Development UN-ESCAP,

Figure-1 illustrate the concept of appropriate and inappropriate technologies. Any technology is ‘appropriate’ at the time of development, with respect to the surroundings for which it has been developed, and in accordance with the objective function used for development. It may or may not be appropriate at the same place at a different time, because the surroundings and/or objective functions may have changed. Similarly it may or may not be appropriate at a different place at the same time, or at different times, because the surroundings and objective function may be different. Thus, technological appropriateness is not an intrinsic quality of any technology, but it is derived from the surroundings in which it is to be utilised and also from the objective function used for evaluation. It is, in addition, a value judgement of those involved.




The need for technology policy springs from an explicit commitment to a national goal and the acceptance of technology as an important strategic variable in the development process. Technology policy formulation ought to naturally follow the establishment of a development vision or perspective plan. This plan is characterized, among others, by a desired mix of the goods to be produced and services to be provided in the country in the coming one or two decades. The formulation of a technology policy begins with the establishment of a vision for the country and the corresponding scenario of the mix of goods and services to be produced and provided. The policy framework has to be broad and flexible enough, taking into account the dynamics of change.

A technology policy is a comprehensive statement by the highest policy making body (Cabinet/ Parliament) in the Government to guide, promote and regulate the generation, acquisition, development and deployment of technology and science in solving national problems or achieving national objectives set forth in the development vision or perspective plan.


Sunday, September 27, 2015


E-commerce is perhaps the most widely acclaimed buzzword, which gained popularity even aftermath of so-called dot com boom and diffusion. Every business aspect was being viewed with identifying business opportunities with the active support of IT tools especially Internet. Though various business models evolved and still the process of finding the most suitable model for different business propositions is continuing, the impact of e commerce practices can be felt and acknowledged without any reservations. However this impact is varied across different nations due to their characteristic differences in economies. The trends in e commerce practices show that it will gain the requisite volume with the pace of IT revolution as seen across the world. This is a brief description of modern practices and emerging trends related to technology, design and security issues involved in e-commerce.

Wireless Internet

Major technology and business companies such as Microsoft, AOL and are in the lead in developing and marketing wireless communications services and products required for facilitating business through wireless internet. AOL wants to make instant messaging available to all its customers and Amazon is already selling books using palm pilots. WAP (wireless application protocol) will be developed for use for wireless pages, instead of HTML.


Portals are sites that combine a portfolio of basic content, communication, and commerce sites. For the most part, they started out as search engines. There are two different types of portals in use, broad-based portals i.e. sites that serve everyone. They include Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, Excite, Snap, Lycos, AltaVista, Look Smart,, Juno, Earthlink, etc. Vertical portals are the sites that focus on a particular content category, commerce opportunity, or audience segment, with a broad set of services. Examples of such portals include CBS Sports line,, eBay,, Blue Mountain Arts, CNET, etc.

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