Introduction to management

Essay should be prepared using Microsoft Word or a compatible rich text format (.rtf) with 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font, double spacing, and with each new paragraph indented. Follow American Psychological Association (APA) style for citations and references of any material other than the textbook.

Be sure the following information is clearly stated at the start of your essay: your name, ID number, the assignment number, and the name of the manager’s organization.

In a well-crafted essay of no more than 1,000 words, describe a managerial position based on information gathered from the person who currently holds that position—a friend, family member, co-worker, or someone you’ve never met before. The only restriction is that if you are currently employed as a manager, you cannot write about your own position. Consider this assignment as an opportunity to interview someone doing the sort of managerial work you would someday like to be doing yourself.

Lessons 1 to 5 provide the content required to complete this assignment. Lesson 1 provides insight into the kind of managerial position you are describing, its roles, and the functions and outcomes it serves. Lesson 4 covers the internal and external environments that pertain to this position. Finally, Lesson 5 will help you to identify the stakeholders whose interests are most likely to influence the decisions of the person holding this position.

A stripped-down version of the marking key used for this assignment should help you to better understand the demands of this assignment and, in the process, help you learn how to put theories to work (see bottom of this page). In addition, a sample answer is provided for you to refer to as an example of what an Assignment 1 essay might look like.

Prior to submitting your assignment, please ensure that your name, your student ID, the name of your manager’s company, the name of the management position, and the name of the incumbent are clearly stated at the start of your assignment. (This information is not included in the 1,000-word maximum.) When your assignment is complete, return to this page and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page to submit it.

Sample Answer

Dr. David Annand’s job as Director of the School of Business at Athabasca University (AU) is a tough one. The position has a wide range of responsibilities that require the incumbent to have a wide range of abilities.

To appreciate why Director is a difficult position to hold, the best place to start may be with the institution of Athabasca University itself.

AU has a wide range of responsibilities which, in large part, reflect the diverse group of stakeholders it serves. It must operate within the law, and while it is not responsible for maximizing profits, as a public institution it is expected to work within the budget allocated to it by the Government of Alberta. Its ethical and discretionary responsibilities pose the greatest challenges for AU. Universities aren’t just expected to do no evil; their mandate usually requires them to make positive contributions to society. In AU’s case, a big part of this involves removing the barriers that have traditionally prevented many individuals from furthering their education.

Among AU’s most important stakeholders are those people—and particularly Albertans—who are unable to get a university education from one of Alberta’s other universities. The Government of Alberta would also be a primary stakeholder, as would the university’s employees. Secondary stakeholders might include the Government of Canada (which has an interest in the education of all Canadians) and the Town of Athabasca (many of whose citizens work for the university). With such a range of masters to serve, it seems guaranteed that objections will be raised by some to virtually anything the university might do.

It is against this backdrop that Dr. Annand carries out his duties. Among these, first and foremost is the responsibility for making things happen in the School of Business. By preparing budgets and anticipating staffing requirements, he must plan for the School’s future. These plans, in turn, enable him to be more effective in controlling the activities of the School of Business. They help him to assess what should be happening on an annual, monthly, and even daily basis. By detecting deviations, he can take corrective action to ensure that activities are indeed under control.

Dr. Annand is also responsible for ensuring that the School of Business is able to meet the competition of other institutions. He must stay abreast of the School’s external environment. While economic trends are important in this regard, the more pressing issues involve political, technological, and sociocultural trends—given AU’s dependence on government, its online delivery method, and its need to keep enrolment stable or, if possible, growing.

The more specific components of the environment such as advocacy groups and regulatory changes are definitely a concern, but it is students, staff, and competitors that are most likely to get Dr. Annand’s attention. The School’s success is highly dependent on keeping its students happy and having high-quality staff members available to serve them. Moreover, it must ensure that competitors are not offering programs and services that lead students to change schools.

To accomplish the foregoing, Dr. Annand must organize the people, projects, and processes through which the School of Business achieves its objectives. Perhaps the most important thing he does is establish the School’s culture by providing leadership to the other members of the School of Business. On some occasions, he offers words of encouragement that motivate staff to work harder; on others, his advice may help staff be more effective. By so doing, he tries to create a culture in which staff help each other out rather than leaving people to fend for themselves. However, some view that same culture as weak, since many staff members work from home.

Dr. Annand’s responsibilities include some that are associated with senior, middle, and front-line managers, as well as team leaders. Nevertheless, his position is probably best described as middle management. Regardless, he plays interpersonal, informational, and decisional roles. For example, he acts as figurehead when the School needs to be represented externally (interpersonal); he acts as spokesperson when the needs of the School need to be made known within the university (informational); and he acts as a disturbance handler when staff members disagree (decisional). To do all of this effectively, he requires technical, human, and conceptual skills, not to mention a strong motivation to manage.

To prepare budgets and monitor expenditures, Dr. Annand requires knowledge of accounting (technical); in dealing with employee conflict, he needs negotiation skills (human); and to find increasingly efficient and effective means to achieve the School’s goals, he needs to know about new and established managerial tools (conceptual). On top of all this, he must want the School of Business to succeed (motivation).

Carrying out all of these responsibilities is a tall order, as is finding someone with the necessary skills to do so. Nevertheless, in Dr. Annand, AU appears to have found someone who is up to the challenges faced by the Director of its School of Business.

 

Marking Key

Use this summary of the Assignment 1 marking key to ensure you have met all the requirements of this assignment in your description of the managerial position you selected to profile.

Lesson 1: Managerial Functions (10 marks)

Have you assessed the degree to which this manager is involved in

  • planning?
  • organizing?
  • leading?
  • controlling?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all four managerial functions?

Lesson 1: Kinds of Managers (8 marks)

Have you

  • stated the kind of management position this is?
  • provided a justification for this classification?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all four kinds of managers?

Lesson 1: Managerial Roles (10 marks)

Have you assessed the degree to which this manager plays

  • an interpersonal role?
  • an informational role?
  • a decisional role?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all three types of managerial roles?

Lesson 1: Managerial Skills (10 marks)

Have you assessed the degree to which this manager requires

  • technical skills?
  • human skills?
  • conceptual skills?
  • motivation to manage?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all four types of managerial skills?

Lesson 4: Environmental Assessment (10 marks)

Have you assessed how this manager is affected by

  • the uncertainty of the external environment?
  • the complexity of the external environment?
  • the resource scarcity of the external environment?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all three environmental characteristics?

Lesson 4: General Environment (10 marks)

Have you assessed the degree to which this manager needs to monitor

  • economic trends?
  • technological trends?
  • sociocultural trends?
  • political/legal trends?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all four types of trends in the general environment?

Lesson 4: Specific Environment (12 marks)

Have you assessed the degree to which this manager needs to

  • monitor customers?
  • monitor competitors?
  • monitor suppliers?
  • monitor regulatory changes?
  • respond to advocacy groups?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all five aspects of the specific environment?

Lesson 4: Internal Environment (8 marks)

Have you

  • characterized the company’s internal culture (e.g., formal, laid-back, high-pressure, etc.)?
  • noted two or more visible elements of the culture that are congruent with the manner in which it was characterized?
  • assessed whether the culture is weak or strong?

Lesson 5: Stakeholder Identification (6 marks)

Have you identified one or more

  • primary stakeholders to which this organization is responsible?
  • secondary stakeholders to which this organization is responsible?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of both kinds of stakeholders?

Lesson 5: Social Responsibility (10 marks)

Have you discussed this organization’s

  • economic responsibility?
  • legal responsibility?
  • ethical responsibility?
  • discretionary responsibility?

Have you demonstrated

  • awareness of all four kinds of responsibilities?

Writing Mechanics and Style

Penalties and additional marks may be assessed, based on writing mechanics, style, and quality. Review your work before you submit your assignment for grading.

Penalties

  • Is the assignment longer than the specified limit of 1,000 words? (minus 1 mark for each word in excess of 1,000)
  • Have you failed to organize the contents of this essay into coherent paragraphs? (minus 1 to 5 marks)
  • Have you failed to use proper sentence structure (i.e., incomplete or run-on sentences) on more than three occasions? (minus 1 to 5 marks)
  • Have you misspelled more than three words? (minus 5 marks)
  • Have you made improper use of colons and semi-colons on more than three occasions? (minus 5 marks)

Based on the quality of this essay, your instructor may award additional marks if he or she believes one of the following recommendations apply.

  • You should consider enrolling in at least one full-semester writing course. (plus 0 marks)
  • You should consider enrolling in at least one day-long writing seminar. (plus 1 mark)
  • Your writing abilities are sufficient to communicate effectively with co-workers in writing. (plus 2 marks)
  • You are capable of effectively communicating in writing with outsiders on your company’s behalf. (plus 4 marks)
  • You should be encouraged to pursue a career in journalism. (plus 6 marks)

 

WE ACCEPT