Business Horizons

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0007-6813
This article discusses three methods managers can use to make decisions: intuition, management analysis, and Type 1 and Type 2 error analysis. Olson identifies studies that have shown that top managers work at an unrelenting pace and jump from one activity to another. He claims that managers do not have time to plan in a reflective, systematic manner. In fact, in his view, decision makers usually react intuitively to situations that can no longer be ignored. The author presents evidence that top managers prefer verbal media such as telephone calls and meeting for decision making because of their timeliness. He points out that the strategic data bank of the organization is largely in the mind of the manager. As a consequence, he states, an effective analysis requires that the manager communicate to the analyst the relevant data stored in his head. This process often makes it easier for the manager to solve the problem himself rather than delegate it to others. Olson identifies five organizational conditions that enable a top manager to effectively delegate problem solving tasks to management analysts: (1) the analyst must have the confidence of the same people who influence the manager; (2) the analyst must be able to adapt the techniques to the specific needs of the manager; (3) there must be sufficient time for the analyst to structure the problem and evaluate the alternatives; (4) the analyst must share in information gathered by the manager from verbal contacts; and (5) the manager must be part of an organization large enough to make it profitable for him to seek assistance from an analyst. When the above organizational conditions are not met, the author suggests Type 1 and Type 2 error analysis. He promotes this form of analysis as a method for using logic and intuition to consider various forms of information. This management tool is named for Type 1 error (accepting a proposal that should have been rejected) and Type 2 error (rejecting a proposal that should have been accepted). The author advocates the use of this methodology because, in his view, it focuses the attention of the manager on the facts when a decision needs to be made. In this process, the manager must identify and evaluate the likelihood and consequences of each alternative strategy. Olson sees Type 1 and Type 2 error analysis as providing explicit logic to strengthen the intuitive decision making process.
Many serious medical errors result from violations of recognized standards of practice. Over time, even egregious violations of standards of practice may become "normalized" in healthcare delivery systems. This article describes what leads to this normalization and explains why flagrant practice deviations can persist for years, despite the importance of the standards at issue. This article also provides recommendations to aid healthcare organizations in identifying and managing unsafe practice deviations before they become normalized and pose genuine risks to patient safety, quality care, and employee morale.
Fuller and Atherton discuss the relationship between management science specialists and managers. Management science specialists have developed expertise in the complex quantitative techniques available to aid in decision-making. Managers on the other hand, are expected to have a good understanding of the total organizational picture. The conflict arises when managers become overwhelmed by the technical expertise of the staff specialists. A limited understanding of quantitative tools encourages managers to evaluate situations on technical factors (i.e., model sophistication, computer time, quality of output) instead of on the broader perspective of the needs of the organization as a whole. Also, some specialists have developed expertise in a small set of techniques, increasing their tendency to generalize a familiar tool to apply to all situations. The authors suggest that managers become more familiar with management science techniques so as to be able to recognize the appropriate tools for each situation and to be able to analyze the results of their use. Similarly, staff specialists can be asked to participate in strategic planning sessions or can be assigned temporary line jobs in order to develop a better understanding of the total organizational picture. In addition, outside experts can perform audit-like functions to determine if appropriate technological/quantitative alternatives were investigated in the process of reaching a particular decision or planning approach.
The purpose of this article is to argue that the game of management involves dealing fundamentally with the element of change and that the key to winning the game is to keep it as simple as possible. The author divides change into four basic categories: 1) Planned Past Change, where everything went as expected; 2) Unplanned Past Change, where something happened that was not anticipated; 3) Planned Future Change, meaning indications show that some action should be taken; and 4) Unplanned Future Change, where the possibility of the unplanned exists. He feels that managing tools exist to deal specifically with the last three types of change, and they are useful only to the extent that they simplify the tasks of management. The author says, "So much of what we call management research consists in making it difficult for managers to manage. Keep it simple, keep the change in perspective."
The uncertainty of today's economic, social and political climate requires that managers cope with a variety of forces beyond their operating control. To meet the challenges of these new demands, many organizational changes are required. This article identifies five human factors involved in change: (1) "Influence" makes work more meaningful and contributes to the feelings of satisfaction; (2) "Familiarity" reduces the feelings of resistence to change; (3) "Testing" allows individuals to evaluate the feasibility and seriousness of the proposed change; (4) "Stress" is caused by the apprehension of change; and (5) "Chance" describes elements that can send the change process in some unanticipated direction. The author believes that managers who understand the process of change will be able to implement change more effectively.
The merits of strategic planning as a marketing tool are discussed in this article which takes the view that although marketers claim to be future-oriented, they focus too little attention on long-term planning and forecasting. Strategic planning, as defined by these authors, usually encompasses periods of between five and twenty-five years and places less emphasis on the past as an absolute predictor of the future. It takes a more probabilistic view of the future than conventional marketing strategy and looks at the corporation as but one component interacting with the total environment. Inputs are examined in terms of environmental, social, political, technological and economic importance. Because of its futuristic orientation, an important tenant of strategic planning is the preparation of several alternative scenarios ranging from most to least likely. By planning for a wide-range of future market conditions, a corporation is more able to be flexible by anticipating the course of future events, and is less likely to become a captive reactor--as the authors believe is now the case. An example of strategic planning at General Elecric is cited.
Solving home-work conflicts will never be easy. But close attention to improving all the communication channels can at least alleviate the major problems.
Our last two presidents are just two of many occupants of the White House whose delegation styles did not fit the office. Not only can future presidents learn from their predecessors' mistakes; so can business executives.
Has it been business as usual since 9/11? Or have workers reached out to one another in new ways? How have business and personnel policies changed, if at all, in response to these world events? The results of a survey of almost 6,000 online participants show that not only have firms been underprepared for widespread crisis events of this magnitude, but their HRM policies have been far too limited to handle the issues attendant to such a crisis.
The impact of September 11, 2001, has jarred America's motorcoach industry. How have owner/operators responded to the changes? What legislative processes, coordinated agency initiatives, and self-regulated industry efforts have been made in response to the call for post-9/11 security preparedness and operating challenges? And what role do industry associations have in cooperating with private and government sectors to address the shared concerns of owner/operators in pursuit of the industry's future viability?
Top-cited authors
Andreas Kaplan
  • ESCP Business School
Michael Haenlein
  • ESCP Business School
Archie B Carroll
  • University of Georgia
Daniel T. Jones
  • Independent Researcher
Jan Kietzmann
  • University of Victoria