Friday, 31 October 2014

MS - 26 Organisational Dynamics


Course Code                                                                      :                                               MS - 26
Course Title                                                                       :                                               Organisational Dynamics
Assignment Code                                                            :                                               MS-26/TMA/SEM - II/2014
Coverage                                                                             :                                               All Blocks
Note: Attempt all the questions and submit this assignment on or before 31st October, 2014 to the coordinator of your study centre.

Q. 1. Explain the stages of group development. Discuss with the group members of different groups and prepare a document on the importance of communication for group development.

Answer:Groups tend to develop in stages. As you work with a support group, or with almost any group of people who are working together toward a common cause, you'll be able to see the progression. As a facilitator, knowing what to look for and how to manage the challenges can have a big impact on how your group progresses.  As with many things, the progress of a group isn’t always neat and tidy. Sometimes groups will regress to an earlier stage if there’s a major change, if a group member leaves or another is added, or for various other reasons. Having said that, here’s an overview of how groups typically develop and progress.
Stage 1: Forming- In the Forming stage, personal relations are characterized by dependence. Group members rely on safe, patterned behavior and look to the group leader for guidance and direction. Group members have a desire for acceptance by the group and a need to know that the group is safe. They set about gathering impressions and data about the similarities and differences among them and forming preferences for future subgrouping. Rules of behavior seem to be to keep things simple and to avoid controversy. Serious topics and feelings are avoided. The major task functions also concern orientation. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another. Discussion centers around defining the scope of the task, how to approach it, and similar concerns. To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict.
Stage 2:Storming- The next stage, which Tuckman calls Storming, is characterized by competition and conflict in the personalrelations dimension an organization in the task-functions dimension. As the group members attempt to organize for the task, conflict inevitably results in their personal relations. Individuals have to bend and mold their feelings, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs to suit the group organization. Because of "fear of exposure" or "fear of failure," there will be an increased desire for structural clarification and commitment. Although conflicts may or may not surface as group issues, they do exist. Questions will arise about who is going to be responsible for what, what the rules are, what the reward system is, and what criteria for evaluation are. These reflect conflicts over leadership, structure, power, and authority. There may be wide swings in members’ behavior based on emerging issues of competition and hostilities. Because of the discomfort generated during this stage, some members may remain completely silent while others attempt to dominate. In order to progress to the next stage, group members must move from a "testing and proving" mentality to a problem-solving mentality. The most important trait in helping groups to move on to the next stage seems to be the ability to listen.
Stage 3: Norming- In Tuckman’s Norming stage, interpersonal relations are characterized by cohesion. Group members are engaged in active acknowledgment of all members’ contributions, community building and maintenance, and solving of group issues. Members are willing to change their preconceived ideas or opinions on the basis of facts presented by other members, and they actively ask questions of one another. Leadership is shared, and cliques dissolve. When members begin to know-and identify with-one another, the level of trust in their personal relations contributes to the development of group cohesion. It is during this stage of development (assuming the group gets this far) that people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief as a result of resolving interpersonal conflicts.
The major task function of stage three is the data flow between group members: They share feelings and ideas, solicit and give feedback to one another, and explore actions related to the task. Creativity is high. If this stage of data flow and cohesion is attained by the group members, their interactions are characterized by openness and sharing of information on both a personal and task level. They feel good about being part of an effective group. The major drawback of the norming stage is that members may begin to fear the inevitable future breakup of the group; they may resist change of any sort.
Stage 4:Performing-The Performing stage is not reached by all groups. If group members are able to evolve to stage four, their capacity, range, and depth of personal relations expand to true interdependence. In this stage, people can work independently, in subgroups, or as a total unit with equal facility. Their roles and authorities dynamically adjust to the changing needs of the group and individuals. Stage four is marked by interdependence in personal relations and problem solving in the realm of task functions. By now, the group should be most productive. Individual members have become self-assuring, and the need for group approval is past. Members are both highly task oriented and highly people oriented. There is unity: group identity is complete, group morale is high, and group loyalty is intense. The task function becomes genuine problem solving, leading toward optimal solutions and optimum group development. There is support for experimentation in solving problems and an emphasis on achievement. The overall goal is productivity through problem solving and work.
Stage 5: Adjourning-Tuckman’s final stage, Adjourning, involves the termination of task behaviors and disengagement from relationships. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition for participation and achievement and an opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes. Concluding a group can create some apprehension - in effect, a minor crisis. The termination of the group is a regressive movement from giving up control to giving up inclusion in the group. The most effective interventions in this stage are those that facilitate task termination and the disengagement process.
An established team experiences the same developmental issues as temporary project teams. When membership changes, leaders often don’t recognize the impact on a previously high-performing group until it becomes dysfunctional. The loss of a valued member or the arrival of someone new can have an immediate effect, and a sophisticated team may revert to stage one behavior when it was previously performing at a much higher level.
However, when a group has been performing successfully, it is easier to absorb changes and bounce back quickly. With a solid base of shared work experience, everyone involved already knows the feeling of operating efficiently and effectively. Solid teams also typically exhibit high morale, and while a change may cause a temporarily setback, a leader can quickly guide the group through the earlier periods of development and return it to high performance levels.

Q. 2. What is organizational Stress? Briefly describe the strategies to cope with stress at individual and organizational levels. Cite few instances how you deal with organizational stress that you have faced.

Answer:Stress is defined in terms of its physical and physiological effects on a person, and can be a mental, physical, or emotional strain. Stress occurs due to a demand that exceeds the individual's coping ability, disrupting his or her psychological equilibrium. Hence, in the workplace environment stress arises when the employee perceives a situation to be too strenuous to handle, and is threatening to his or her well-being.
Job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ on the importance of worker characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. The differing viewpoints suggest different ways to prevent stress at work. Differences in individual characteristics such as personality and coping skills can be very important in predicting whether certain job conditions will result in stress. In other words, what is stressful for one person may not be a problem for someone else.
Stress-related disorders encompass a broad array of conditions, including psychological disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder) and other types of emotional strain (e.g., dissatisfaction, fatigue, tension), maladaptive behaviors (e.g., aggression, substance abuse), and cognitive impairment (e.g., concentration and memory problems). Job stress is also associated with various biological reactions that may ultimately lead to compromised health, such as cardiovascular disease or in extreme cases death.
Mangers of organizations have a dual perspective of stress. They need to be aware of their own stress levels, as well as those of their subordinates. Most of the literature focuses on ways of reducing stress. However, a more appropriate approach might be to examine ways of optimizing stress. The challenge is to minimize distress and maintain eustress. They point out that the conditions of organizational life create a series of paradoxes that demonstrate the need for balance and equilibrium.
1.       Uncertainty can lead to distress, but so can certainty or overcontrol.
2.       Pressure can lead to distress, but so can limbo or lack of contact.
3.       Responsibility can lead to distress, but so can lack of responsibility or insignificance.
4.       Performance evaluation can lead to distress, but so can lack of feedback concerning performance.
5.       Role ambiguity can lead to distress, but so can job descriptions that constrain individuality.
The role of management becomes one of maintaining an appropriate level of stress by providing an optimal environment, and "by doing a good job in areas such as performance planning, role analysis, work redesign/job enrichment, continuing feedback, ecological considerations, and interpersonal skills training."
There are essentially three strategies for dealing with stress in organizations
1)      Treat the symptoms,
2)      Change the person, and
3)      Remove the cause of the stress.
When a person is already suffering from the effects of stress, the first priority is to treat the symptoms. This includes both the identification of those suffering from excessive stress, as well as providing health-care and psychological counseling services. The second approach is to help individuals build stress management skills to make them less vulnerable to its effects. Examples would be teaching employees time management and relaxation techniques, or suggesting changes to one's diet or exercise. The third approach is to eliminate or reduce the environmental situation that is creating the stress. This would involve reducing environmental stressors such as noise and pollution, or modifying production schedules and work-loads.
Managers can take active steps to minimize undesirable stress in themselves and their subordinates. There could be five managerial actions that can be used to reduce stress in workers.
1.       Clarifying task assignments, responsibility, authority, and criteria for performance evaluation.
2.       Introducing consideration for people into one's leadership style.
3.       Delegating more effectively and increasing individual autonomy where the situation warrants it.
4.       Clarifying goals and decision criteria.
5.       Setting and enforcing policies for mandatory vacations and reasonable working hours.
Establishing one's priorities (i.e., value clarification) is an important step in the reduction of stress. The demands of many managerial positions cause the neglect of other areas of one's life, such as family, friends, recreation, and religion. This neglect creates stress, which in turn affects job performance and health. Value clarification is linked to time management, since we generally allocate our time according to our priorities. By setting personal priorities, managers and subordinates can reduce this source of stress. It is typically the first step in any stress reduction program.
Many sources of stress in organizations cannot be changed. These might include situations like a prolonged recessionary period, new competitors, or an unanticipated crisis. Organizational members generally have little control over these kinds of stressors, and they can create extended periods of high-stress situations. People who adjust to these stressors generally use a form of perceptual adaptation, where they modify the way in which they perceive the situation.
Other sources of stress in organizations can be changed. One particularly effective way for managers to minimize employee stress is to clarify ambiguities, such as job assignments and responsibilities. Employee stress is directly related to the amount of uncertainty in their tasks, expectations, and roles. Managers can encourage employees to search for more information when they are given unfamiliar tasks, or when they are uncertain of their roles. Another way to reduce employee stress is to incorporate time management techniques, as well as setting realistic time schedules for the completion of projects.
There are many other successful ways of dealing with stress. These include stress reduction workshops, tranquilizers, biofeedback, meditation, self-hypnosis, and a variety of other techniques designed to relax an individual. Programs that teach tolerance for ambiguity often report positive effects. One of the most promising is a health maintenance program that stresses the necessity of proper diet, exercise and sleep.  Social support systems seem to be extremely effective in preventing or relieving the deleterious effects of stress. Friends and family can provide a nurturing environment that builds self-esteem, and makes one less susceptible to stress. One study found that government white-collar workers who received support from their supervisors, peers, and subordinates experienced fewer physical symptoms of stress. Managers can create nurturing and supportive environments to help minimize job-related stress.

Q. 3. Discuss the need for Transformational Leaders and their importance citing examples.

Answer: Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that can inspire positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
The Components of Transformational Leadership
Bass also suggested that there were four different components of transformational leadership.
1.       Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn.
2.       Individualized Consideration – Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of the unique contributions of each follower.
3.       Inspirational Motivation – Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals.
4.       Idealized Influence – The transformational leader serve as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate this individual and internalize his or her ideals.
Transformational leaders are those who stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity. Transformational leaders help followers grow and develop into leaders by responding to individual followers' needs by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of the individual followers, the leader, the group, and the larger organization.
A transformational leader could be categorized as a visionary, a futurist or a mechanism for change that assumes a proactive approach to management and a transformational leader must possess high self-esteem, self-regard and self-awareness to effectively transform organizations and employees. Transformational leadership is based on four primary dynamics to influence the behaviors and attitudes of others:  idealized influence (“charisma”), inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Transformational leaders place an emphasis on team building, and empowering and developing potential in order to reach long-term goals.  Transformational leader creates a collaborative learning environment, improves morale, embraces accountability and conflict resolution, proactive towards change management, ignites communication and supports empowerment.  These leaders also facilitate employees toward motivation and being involved in the vision they produce. 
Advantage of transformational leadership is having highly motivated and satisfied employees.Transformational leaders have a capability of infusing a higher degree of passion into leadership by engaging employees and making them feel appreciated.  Also, Transformational leaders could achieve this passion by motivating and energizing employees to pursue goals, visions and the empowering culture. If transformational leaders are passionate about appreciating their employees this will provide them with opportunities to grow and develop.
The transformational leader can institute a vision that will move the organization toward the future and an authentic caring environment and procure employee support via idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.The use of transformational leadership is gaining momentum because it is directly in contention with the outdated autocratic unilateral style of leadership that has been forced on employees for many years. Transformational leaders could lead their employees to a higher level of needs that was outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This was done by increasing the employee’s level of knowledge in achieving valued conclusions, a vision and the plan to accomplish these traits.  It also involved employees exceeding their own concerns for the sake of the team or organization and raising their awareness to enhance themselves and what they want to achieve.
There is a certain type of transformational leader that many try to be, but few succeed. This type of personal, the Great Founder, also requires a set of skills not taught in the university. In fact, one of the most successful entrepreneurs ever, Bill Gates, decided to drop out of Harvard and start a business called Microsoft. One can almost image how that conversation went. The future entrepreneur saying, “Mom, I want to drop out of school so that I can work on an entrepreneurial venture for 80 hours a week, for now pay, that has a high probability of failure.”But unlike most entrepreneurs, he never failed and Microsoft was never unprofitable. For example, It was said that he took on on a 5% equity investment from a venture capitalist, not because the money was needed, but because they wanted more expertise on the board. Below are three short videos from a recent interview Bill Gates gave at Harvard.

Q. 4.Write an essay on the social responsibilities of the organizations? Cite some best practices of the social responsibilities of the organizations.

Answer: Being Socially Responsible means that people and organisations must behave ethically and with sensitivity toward social, cultural, economic and environmental issues. Striving for social responsibility helps individuals, organisations and governments have a positive impact on development, business and society with a positive contribution to bottom-line results.In an age in which environmental and social issues are top of mind for many consumers, businesses can no longer exist in a bubble. Today's shoppers aren't just looking for the best price and quality — they expect the companies they patronize to do good with their dollars and make a positive impact on the world around them. To this end, many organizations are now making social responsibility a top priority.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to a business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit society. As consumers' awareness about global social issues continues to grow, so does the importance these customers place on CSR when choosing where to shop.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be defined as the "economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given point in time". The concept of corporate social responsibility means that organizations have moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities in addition to their responsibilities to earn a fair return for investors and comply with the law. A traditional view of the corporation suggests that its primary, if not sole, responsibility is to its owners, or stockholders. However, CSR requires organizations to adopt a broader view of its responsibilities that includes not only stockholders, but many other constituencies as well, including employees, suppliers, customers, the local community, local, state, and federal governments, environmental groups, and other special interest groups. Collectively, the various groups affected by the actions of an organization are called "stakeholders." The stakeholder concept is discussed more fully in a later section.
Corporate social responsibility is related to, but not identical with, business ethics. While CSR encompasses the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary responsibilities of organizations, business ethics usually focuses on the moral judgments and behavior of individuals and groups within organizations. Thus, the study of business ethics may be regarded as a component of the larger study of corporate social responsibility.
The economic responsibilities cited in the definition refer to society's expectation that organizations will produce good and services that are needed and desired by customers and sell those goods and services at a reasonable price. Organizations are expected to be efficient, profitable, and to keep shareholder interests in mind. The legal responsibilities relate to the expectation that organizations will comply with the laws set down by society to govern competition in the marketplace. Organizations have thousands of legal responsibilities governing almost every aspect of their operations, including consumer and product laws, environmental laws, and employment laws. The ethical responsibilities concern societal expectations that go beyond the law, such as the expectation that organizations will conduct their affairs in a fair and just way. This means that organizations are expected to do more than just comply with the law, but also make proactive efforts to anticipate and meet the norms of society even if those norms are not formally enacted in law. Finally, the discretionary responsibilities of corporations refer to society's expectation that organizations be good citizens. This may involve such things as philanthropic support of programs benefiting a community or the nation. It may also involve donating employee expertise and time to worthy causes.
The "competitive" argument recognizes the fact that addressing social issues comes at a cost to business. To the extent that businesses internalize the costs of socially responsible actions, they hurt their competitive position relative to other businesses. This argument is particularly relevant in a globally competitive environment if businesses in one country expend assets to address social issues, but those in another country do not. According to Carroll and Buchholtz, since CSR is increasingly becoming a global concern, the differences in societal expectations around the world can be expected to lessen in the coming years.
Finally, some argue that those in business are ill-equipped to address social problems. This "capability" argument suggests that business executives and managers are typically well trained in the ways of finance, marketing, and operations management, but not well versed in dealing with complex societal problems. Thus, they do not have the knowledge or skills needed to deal with social issues. This view suggests that corporate involvement in social issues may actually make the situation worse. Part of the capability argument also suggests that corporations can best serve societal interests by sticking to what they do best, which is providing quality goods and services and selling them at an affordable price to people who desire them.
An organization's responsibilities are not limited to primary stakeholders. Although governmental bodies and regulatory agencies do not usually have ownership stakes in companies in free-market economies, they do play an active role in trying to ensure that organizations accept and meet their responsibilities to primary stakeholder groups. Organizations are accountable to these secondary stakeholders. Organizations must also contend with civic and special interest groups that purport to act on behalf of a wide variety of constituencies. Trade associations and industry groups are also affected by an organization's actions and its reputation. The media reports on and investigates the actions of many companies, particularly large organizations, and most companies accept that they must contend with and effectively "manage" their relationship with the media. Finally, even an organization's competitors can be considered secondary stakeholders, as they are obviously affected by organizational actions. For example, one might argue that organizations have a social responsibility to compete in the marketplace in a manner that is consistent with the law and with the best practices of their industry, so that all competitors will have a fair chance to succeed.

Q. 5.Explain the meaning, importance and scope of strategic alliances in the present day context. Illustrate indicating successful strategic alliances.

Answer:A strategic alliance is a business arrangement in which two or more firms cooperate for their mutual benefit. Firms may combine their efforts for a variety of purposes including, but not limited to, sharing knowledge, expertise, and expenses as well as to gain entry to new markets or to gain a competitive advantage in one. Further, creation of a strategic alliance may turn actual or potential competitors into partners working toward a common goal. Use of strategic alliances has become a major tool for businesses that are internationalizing their operations. Therefore, use of strategic alliances has expanded dramatically over the past decade, and their use will continue to increase as we enter the 21st century.
Strategic alliances have three main characteristics,
1.       First, two or more firms partnering remain independent to the formation of the alliance.
2.       Second, alliances perform the feature of ongoing mutual interdependence, from which one party is vulnerable to the other party. Mutual interdependence between party leads to shared control and management, which contributes to the complexity of alliance management and often creates significant administrative costs.
3.       Third, because the partners of alliances remain independent, there is uncertainty as what one party expects the other party to do.
Two types of knowledge accession partnerships: one pursuit of efficiency and productivity based on complementary knowledge transfer and the other in pursuit of business scope and product adaptability based on supplementary knowledge transfer. They also give differentiations between complementary knowledge accession and supplementary knowledge accession, and between complementary knowledge acquisition and supplementary knowledge acquisition In contrast, knowledge acquisition is underpinned by reverse knowledge flows from the alliance to the partner firms. It also involves two types of knowledge transfer between partner firms through the alliance: complementary knowledge acquisition to strengthen individual partners’ core knowledge base and supplementary knowledge acquisition to widen their knowledge range. The firms work together to make the alliance, which called partnership enhancing knowledge transfer. Complementary knowledge accession can help the alliance to strengthen its specialization and core competence, while supplementary knowledge accession leads to a wider knowledge base and business adaptation. 
In general, a strategic alliance that is not in the form of a joint venture is formed for a limited purpose and is more narrow in its operations than the joint venture. Non-joint venture strategic alliances tend to be less stable and last for shorter terms than joint ventures. For example, United Airlines and British Airlines formed a strategic alliance for the purpose of marketing their North American and European routes in 1988. They did so because they were losing part of their market share to Delta and American Airlines. Within a year, however, the market shifted and they terminated the agreement.
It is important to note that not all linkages between national or international businesses are strategic alliances. Examples of arrangements that do not create strategic alliances include licensing, exporting, franchising, and foreign direct investment agreements. The Internet, advances in telecommunications, and improved transportation systems have helped firms enter foreign markets and have contributed to the globalization of business. Simultaneously, they have facilitated the creation of strategic alliances.  The decision to form a strategic alliance depends on the needs and goals of the companies involved and on the laws of the countries in which the companies are doing business.
The auto industry is an example of an industry that relies heavily on strategic alliances. In the 1990s the auto industry began to rely heavily on joint venture strategic alliances as it expanded its operations in Mexico and Latin America. Auto makers began to demand more complete systems from their suppliers in Mexico, and engineering responsibility was transferred from the auto makers to their suppliers. In conjunction with this trend, auto makers are identifying Tier II and Tier III "partners" for the Tier I supplier. They are encouraging Tier I suppliers to enter joint ventures with other companies. And, in general, the Tier I suppliers have the authority to select their own suppliers and joint ventures partners except in areas such as safety and regulatory matters where control is crucial.
Another major benefit of a strategic alliance is that the firms involved can share risks. For example, in the early 1990s, film manufacturers Kodak and Fuji joined with camera manufacturers Nikon, Canon, and Minolta to create cameras and film for an "Advanced Photo System." The strategic alliance (which was not based on a strategic alliance) was terminated in 1996 after the film and camera were developed. But it benefited the parties, because, by developing a common product for the market, they shared expenses and they minimized the risks that would have been involved if two or more of them had developed new, but noncompatible, formats. They avoided the potential for the kinds of losses suffered by the Sony Corp. when its Betamax format for videocassette recorders was rejected by the public in favor of the VHS format.
Similarly, a strategic alliance can help a firm gain a competitive advantage. For example, a strategic alliance can be used to take advantage of a favorable brand image that has been established by one of the partners. (Establishing a brand image is a lengthy, expensive process.) It can also be used to gain shelf space for products. For example, PepsiCo formed a joint venture with the Thomas J. Lipton Co. to market readyto-drink teas throughout the United States. Lipton contributed brand recognition in teas and manufacturing expertise. PepsiCo, as the world's second-largest soft-drink manufacturer, shared its extensive distribution network.
A strategic alliance can ease entry into a foreign market. First, the local firm can provide knowledge of markets, customer preferences, distribution networks, and suppliers. This is especially true in Eastern Europe. Bestfoods is a food-processing firm that sells products such as Mazola corn oil. Bestfoods has formed strategic alliances with firms in several Eastern European countries that, in turn, market its products. A strategic alliance between British Airways and American Airlines was created in 1993 and designed to give the two airlines increased access to North American and European markets, respectively.

MS – 07 Information Systems for Managers

Course Code :

MS - 07
Course Title :

Information Systems for Managers
Assignment Code :

MS-07/TMA/SEM - II/2014
Coverage :

All Blocks

Note: Attempt all the questions and submit this assignment on or before 31st October, 2014 to the coordinator of your study centre.

1. Is Information Technology as vital to modern, global business as money? Why or why not? Discuss some trends in IT development.

Answer : In the world of globalization, Information system is such where data are collected, classified and put into process interpreting the result thereon in order to provide an integrated series of information for further communicating and analyzing. In a progressively more spirited worldwide atmosphere, Information System plays the role as ‘enabler and facilitator’, which endows with tactical values to the officialdom and considerable step up to the excellence of administration. ‘An Information System is a particular type of work system that uses information technology to detain, put on the air, store, retrieve, manipulate or display information, thereby partisan one or more other work structure’. In totting up to taking sides assessment making, co-ordination and control, information systemsmay also help managers and workers investigate problems, envisage complex subjects and generate new merchandise or services. Information technology has become the backbone of fortune 500 companies and many a great wonders in medicine. The capabilities of information systems required depend on the type of business. I am specifying information systems capabilities for Professional Services.

Information technology has served as a big change agent in different aspect of business and society. It has proven game changer in resolving economic and social issues.

Advancement and application of information technology are ever changing. Some of the trends in the information technology are as follows:

Cloud Computing
One of the most talked about concept in information technology is the cloud computing. Clouding computing is defined as utilization of computing services, i.e. software as well as hardware as a service over a network. Typically, this network is the internet.

Cloud computing offers 3 types of broad services mainly Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Some of the benefit of cloud computing is as follows:

·         Cloud computing reduces IT infrastructure cost of the company.
·         Cloud computing promotes the concept of virtualization, which enables server and storage device to be utilized across organization.
·         Cloud computing makes maintenance of software and hardware easier as installation is not required on each end user’s computer.
·         Some issues concerning cloud computing are privacy, compliance, security, legal, abuse, IT governance, etc.

Mobile Application
Another emerging trend within information technology is mobile applications (software application on Smart phone, tablet, etc.)

Mobile application or mobile app has become a success since its introduction. They are designed to run on Smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices. They are available as a download from various mobile operating systems like Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, etc. Some of the mobile app are available free where as some involve download cost. The revenue collected is shared between app distributor and app developer.

User Interfaces
User interface has undergone a revolution since introduction of touch screen. The touch screen capability has revolutionized way end users interact with application. Touch screen enables the user to directly interact with what is displayed and also removes any intermediate hand-held device like the mouse.

Touch screen capability is utilized in smart phones, tablet, information kiosks and other information appliances.

The field of analytics has grown many folds in recent years. Analytics is a process which helps in discovering the informational patterns with data. The field of analytics is a combination of statistics, computer programming and operations research.

The field of analytics has shown growth in the field of data analytics, predictive analytics and social analytics.

Data analytics is tool used to support decision-making process. It converts raw data into meaningful information.

Predictive analytics is tool used to predict future events based on current and historical information.

Social media analytics is tool used by companies to understand and accommodate customer needs.

The every changing field of information technology has seen great advancement and changes in the last decade. And from the emerging trend, it can be concluded that its influence on business is ever growing, and it will help companies to serve customers better.

2. “MIS has become very important in modern organizations.” Explain this giving suitable examples.
Answer : A management information system (MIS) is an organized combination of people, hardware, communication networks and data sources that collects, transforms and distributes information in an organization. An MIS helps decision making by providing timely, relevant and accurate information to managers. The physical components of an MIS include hardware, software, database, personnel and procedures.

Management Information System in Restaurant

1. Management information is an important input for efficient performance of various managerial functions at different organization levels. The information system facilitates decision making. Management functions include planning, controlling and decision making. Decision making is the core of management and aims at selecting the best alternative to achieve an objective. The decisions may be strategic, tactical or technical. Strategic decisions are characterized by uncertainty. They are future oriented and relate directly to planning activity. Tactical decisions cover both planning and controlling. Technical decisions pertain to implementation of specific tasks through appropriate technology. Sales region analysis, cost analysis, annual budgeting, and relocation analysis are examples of decision-support systems and management information systems.

There are  three areas in the organization. They are strategic, managerial and operational control.

(a) Strategic decisions are characterized by uncertainty. The decisions to be made in the area of strategic planning are future oriented and relate directly to planning activity. Here basically planning for future that is budgets, target markets, policies, objectives etc. is done. This is basically a top level where up-to-the minute information on the food items ordered and breaks out percentages showing sales of each item versus total sales is provided. The top level where strategic planning is done compares the weekly sales totals versus food costs, allowing planning for tighter cost controls. Executive support systems function at the strategic level, support unstructured decision making, and use advanced graphics and communications. Examples of executive support systems include sales trend forecasting, operating plan development, budget forecasting, profit planning, and manpower planning.
(b) The decisions to be made in the area of managerial control are largely dependent upon the information available to the decision makers. It is basically a middle level where planning of menus is done and whenever an order is voided, the reasons for the void are keyed in which later helps in management decisions, especially if the voids are related to food or service. The managerial control that is middle level also gets customer feedback and is responsible for customer satisfaction.

(c) The decisions to be made in the area of operational control pertain to implementation of specific tasks through appropriate technology. This is basically a lower level where the waiter takes the order and enters it online via one of the six terminals located in the restaurant dining room and the order is routed to a printer in the appropriate preparation area. The item’s ordered list and the respective prices are automatically generated. The cooks send ‘out of stock’ message when the kitchen runs out of a food item, which is basically displayed on the dining room terminals when waiter tries to order that item. This basically gives the waiters faster feedback, enabling them to give better service to the customers. Transaction processing systems function at the operational level of the organization. Examples of transaction processing systems include order tracking, order processing, machine control, plant scheduling, compensation, and securities trading.

The information required to make such decision must be such that it highlights the trouble spots and shows the interconnections with the other functions. It must summarize all information relating to the span of control of the manager. The information required to make these decisions can be strategic, tactical or operational information.

Advantages of an online computer system:
·         Eliminates carbon copies
·         Waiters’ handwriting issues
·         Out-of-stock message
·         Faster feedback, helps waiters to service the customers
·         Advantages to management:
·         Sales figures and percentages item-wise
·         Helps in planning the menu
·         Cost accounting details

2. If the management provides sufficient incentive for efficiency and results to their customers, it would make the system a more complete MIS and so the MIS should support this culture by providing such information which will aid the promotion of efficiency in the management services and operational system. It is also necessary to study the keys to successful Executive Information System (EIS) development and operation. Decision support systems would also make the system a complete MIS as it constitutes a class of computer-based information systems including knowledge-based systems that support decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management level of the organization and help to take decisions, which may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance.

Improving personal efficiency, expediting problem solving (speed up the progress of problems solving in an organization), facilitating interpersonal communication, promoting learning and training, increasing organizational control, generating new evidence in support of a decision, creating a competitive advantage over competition, encouraging exploration and discovery on the part of the decision maker, revealing new approaches to thinking about the problem space and helping automate the managerial processes would make the system a complete MIS rather than just doing transaction processing.

3.  The management system should be an open system and MIS should be so designed that it highlights the critical business, operational, technological and environmental changes to the concerned level in the management, so that the action can be taken to correct the situation. To make the system a success, knowledge will have to be formalized so that machines worldwide have a shared and common understanding of the information provided. The systems developed will have to be able to handle enormous amounts of information very fast.

An organization operates in an ever-increasing competitive, global environment. Operating in a global environment requires an organization to focus on the efficient execution of its processes, customer service, and speed to market. To accomplish these goals, the organization must exchange valuable information across different functions, levels, and business units. By making the system more formal, the organization can more efficiently exchange information among its functional areas, business units, suppliers, and customers.

As the transactions are taking place every day, the system stores all the data which can be used later on when the restaurant is in need of some financial help from financial institutes or banks. As the inventory is always entered into the system, any frauds can be easily taken care of and if anything goes missing then it can be detected through the system.

3. Describe how IT facilitates recruiting, training and personnel development and labour planning.

Answer : Given the unlimited uses of Information Technology (IT), it is used in almost every department in an organization. When it comes to human resource, IT helps in the all process from recruiting to retire functions and it has greatly changed the way managers and employees gain access to human resource data.

Few uses of IT on human resource management

Computers applications range from recruiting on the internet to automatically scanning and storing applicants’ resumes. A growing number of firms as well as many universities and federal government are already recruiting using the internet, World Wide Web and commercial on-line services like CompuServe.

Employers are using IT as an aid in recruiting in various other ways, too. For example, NEC Electronics, Inc., has internet based “Cyber Fairs” to recruit for applicants. The date and the time of the fair, along with detailed job descriptions, are advertised in advance by the employers and by the firms organizing the Cyber Fairs.

Many people have been recruited through social networks like facebook. A business simply posts a job position on its facebook page and its fans will apply, if any of them qualifies for the position they will get that job. This process has also made human resource management more social than ever.

Training and personnel development:
In order to develop the knowledge and skill, computer-based training is given to the employees. Computers are also used in different training programs to cope the rapid change in the business environment. Computers are also used to provide practice to help trainees learn materials such as grammar and basic mathematics. It is also used to develop the problem-solving skills.

Technology will allow the team to access required documents on every specific position via a decentralized computer ”Database” and they will read through to understand every aspect. If illustrations are required, the human resource manager can use a visual. illustration to explain some points in details. This saves time and makes the process easier.

Labour planning:
 Information systems keep track of critical employee data such as demographic information, job titles and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) identification codes. Storing this information in an electronic database allows you to analyze it more easily when working on recruitment strategies, progression planning and affirmative action programs. HR reps can quickly run reports to determine items such as how many employees were hired last year, average length of tenure and a breakdown of the employee population by specified EEOC criteria such as gender and race.

4. Distinguish between information and knowledge. Develop an information system for human resource department.
Answer : Information system for human resource department.

In most organizations, information flows at the heart of workplace activities. The effective management of information requires information technology, and that technology is therefore crucial to organizational success .

Companies are different in terms of their information needs, their existing technology and their commitment to technology. They are also different in terms of their ability to afford technology, the value they place on HR information, the size and culture of the organization, and the human resources available to devote to a technology upgrade.

Typically, organizations follow a process to select an IS for HRD , as shown in Figure 3.7  The process can be divided into three steps: (1) adoption phase, (2) implementation phase, and (3) institutionalization phase.

Adoption Phase
1. Needs analysis: It helps the organization decide on what the system should be capable of doing and what the technical specifications will be, and helps the organization develop an information policy
about how the information should be managed with respect to storage and access.

Needs analysis  do at macro level as well as at the micro level.

(A)  Human resource information macro Level
        The Data base required for purpose of making forecasts of manpower at the macro level is indicated in the table mentioned below

a.       Population statistics
b.      Economic Parameters
c.       Existing Technologies
d.      Emerging Technologies
a.       Age at entry age at exit.
b.      Annual enrolment and outrun
c.       Attrition rate
d.      Retirement.
e.      Migration
f.        Mortality

With regard to data needs at the micro level for a well-defined and detailed manpower information system within the organization, the data modules and the particulars of information that each such module should carry are noted below:

Data Module
What it should contain
Personal Data Module

Recruitment Module

Job experiences Module

Personal appraisal Module

Training and Development Module
Identification Particulars
Educational particulars
Technical qualification , if any
Special skills, if any

Date of recruitment
Grading in aptitude
Over all grading
Job preferences and choices

Placement history
Grade promotions
Tasks performed grade wise

Performance appraisal at each job held
Communication rating
Behavioural rating
Commitment to corporate goals

Nature of training  received
Individual ‘s  Evaluation of effectiveness of training
Current training assignments; if any
Future training requirement , if any

2. Company Background: The industry, the size of the company, and the projected growth are important elements to consider.

3. Management Considerations: Typically, management would have some preconceived views regarding the type of software and what they will require the system to do.

4. Technical Considerations Such elements as hardware, operating systems, networking, databases, and telecommunications all need to be considered.
5. HR Considerations: The requirements of the HR function itself need to be assessed. What type of
daily requests and which employee transactions would make the most sense to automate?

6. Pricing: Organizations want to have the best possible system but might not be able to
afford all the “bells and whistles.”

Implementation Phase

1. The company selects a project team. This team typically comprises outside consultants who have the knowledge and expertise on the technical side and also expertise in change management to help the organization with the implementation.

2.The existing data are “converted” into the new system, requiring the transformation of data from the old system to make them compatible with the new system

3. The activities involved in this phase focus on getting the system “up and running”
 within a controlled environment so that the system can be tested to ensure it is functioning as the organization requires.

4. The software is tested and users are expected to provide feedback before the system goes “live.”

5. Major privacy concerns focus on what type of information can be stored on the system. For example, should personal medical histories be stored, who should have access to the computer hardware and software, and who should have access to the databases and be authorized to modify them?

Institutionalization Phase
The final step in implementing an IS is to train the users on the system. The organization’s goal is for the stakeholders to use the system and reap the benefits identified through the needs analysis

5. Write short notes on following:

(i) Programmed decisions

Answer : A routine or repetitive decision that can be handled by established business rules or procedures. These types of decisions are often called for at certain points in a standard process, and are decided based on recognized and easily identifiable factors. Programmed decisions typically do not require much consideration or discussion, and can generally be automated to ensure consistency and save time for decision-makers.

Information technology is providing mangers with a wealth of decision making support including expert systems, neural networks, groupware, and specific problem solving software. Expert systems use software programs to encode the relevant experience of an expert and allow a system to at like that expert in analyzing and solving ill-structured problem. The essence of expert systems is that
 (1) they use specialized knowledge about a particular problem area rather than general knowledge that would apply to all problems

(2) they use qualitative reasoning rather than numerical calculations and

(3) they perform at the level of competence that is higher than that of non-expert humans. They guide users through problems by asking tem a set of sequential questions about the situation and drawing conclusions based on the answers given.

 The conclusions are based on programmed rules that have been modeled on the actual reasoning processes of experts who have confronted similar problems before. Once in place, these systems allow employees and lower level mangers to make quality decisions that previously could have been made only by senior managers.

(ii) Emerging trends in convergence of IT

Answer : 21st century has been defined by application of and advancement in information technology. Information technology has become an integral part of our daily life. Advancement and application of information technology are ever changing. Some of the trends in the information technology are as follows:
1. Cloud Computing
One of the most talked about concept in information technology is the cloud computing. Clouding computing is defined as utilization of computing services, i.e. software as well as hardware as a service over a network. Typically, this network is the internet.
Cloud computing offers 3 types of broad services mainly Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
2. Mobile Application
Another emerging trend within information technology is mobile applications (software application on Smart phone, tablet, etc.)
 Mobile application or mobile app has become a success since its introduction. They are designed to run on Smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices. They are available as a download from various mobile operating systems like Apple, Nokia, etc. Some of the mobile app are available free where as some involve download cost. The revenue collected is shared between app distributor and app developer.
3. User Interfaces
User interface has undergone a revolution since introduction of touch screen. The touch screen capability has revolutionized way end users interact with application. Touch screen enables the user to directly interact with what is displayed and also removes any intermediate hand-held device like the mouse.
Touch screen capability is utilized in smart phones, tablet, information kiosks and other information appliances.
The field of analytics has grown many folds in recent years. Analytics is a process which helps in discovering the informational patterns with data. The field of analytics is a combination of statistics, computer programming and operations research.
Data analytics is tool used to support decision-making process. It converts raw data into meaningful information.
Predictive analytics is tool used to predict future events based on current and historical information.
Social media analytics is tool used by companies to understand and accommodate customer needs.
The every changing field of information technology has seen great advancement and changes in the last decade. And from the emerging trend, it can be concluded that its influence on business is ever growing, and it will help companies to serve customers better.

(iii) Intranet and Internet

Answer : A means of connecting a computer to any other computer anywhere in the world via dedicated routers and servers. When two computers are connected over the Internet, they can send and receive all kinds of information such as text, graphics, voice, video, and computer programs.

No one owns Internet, although several organizations the world over collaborate in its functioning and development. The high-speed, fiber-optic cables (called backbones) through which the bulk of the Internet data travels are owned by telephone companies in their respective countries.

The Internet grew out of the Advanced Research Projects Agency's Wide Area Network (then called ARPANET) established by the US Department Of Defense in 1960s for collaboration in military research among business and government laboratories. Later universities and other US institutions connected to it. This resulted in ARPANET growing beyond everyone's expectations and acquiring the name 'Internet.'

The development of hypertext based technology (called World Wide web, WWW, or just the Web) provided means of displaying text, graphics, and animations, and easy search and navigation tools that triggered Internet's explosive worldwide growth.

Answer : Internal or private network of an organization based on internet technology (such as hypertext and TCP/IP protocols) and accessed over the internet. An intranet is meant for the exclusive use of the organization and its associates (customers, employees, members, suppliers, etc.) and is protected from unauthorized access with security systems such as firewalls. Intranets provide services such as email, data storage, and search and retrieval functions, and are employed in disseminating policy manuals and internal directories for the employees, price and product information for the customers, and requirements and specifications for the suppliers. Some intranets are confined to a building whereas others span continents.