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The Aesop’s Fables is a collection of different tales with various teachings for moral and social behaviors. In strategic management, the fables can be used in applying different approaches to strategic management. One of such fables is “The Wolf and the Shepherd”. It revolves around a shepherd who developed much trust in a wolf then one day left it to take care of his flock of sheep. When he came back he found that the wolf had killed most of the sheep. This fable can be easy linked with delegation of duties in strategic management which is based on the manager’s trust on his subordinates. From the story, we learn different aspects of effective delegation and its associated benefits.
The Wolf and the Shepherd: Application to Delegation of Duties
Delegation is the process of assigning the short-term operational and minor duties to subordinate staff (Bredin, 2000). It has proved to be one of the most challenging roles in management. Despite this complexity, it has confirmed to be an essential tool and method used to ease work in an organization. It involves sharing of responsibilities and not passing on of duties, and thus the manager should closely monitor the progress of the delegated duties, unlike the shepherd who left the flock to the wolf, only to come back later when everything has gone wrong. The manager should never lose control on performance targets and authority over the subordinates.
Effective delegation permits managers to achieve more of the set goals, thereby increasing overall productivity within the organization. Through appropriate selection, assignment and co-ordination of tasks, manager can mobilize more resources, thus higher productivity. This is evident by the fact that more staffs become more experienced and less time is spending in correcting output defects and defaults.
A good example of industrial application of Aesop’s Fables of the wolf and the shepherd is the case of Peavey Electronics Corporation. Its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Hartley Peavey, had to delegate some of his duties to his immediate juniors. This enabled him undertake other duties that saw the success of the company to higher levels and opening of another branch in Europe. Delegation thus gives managers sufficient time for other important managerial activities. To create more time, more routine work is handed down to subordinate workers through delegation. It consequently gives the managers an opportunity to handle only those duties that no one else in the organization would handle. Using delegation, the manager can focus his attention on tackling fewer tasks well rather than doing too many tasks disappointingly.
Through delegation, employees are able to develop in their career paths. They often face new challenges and problems which they have to solve. In this way, they get acquainted with invaluable knowledge and problem-solving skills. Delegation thus acts as an approach to employee training and development. The subordinates get opportunities to improve their skills, grow job-wise and gain ability to resume superior responsibilities. They get to realize that they are learning and gaining new problem-solving skills.
Proper delegation encourages junior employees understand better and influence work-related activities carried out by the departments they work in. It allows the employees to incorporate their values in the workplace and to work in activities of their interests. From a managerial perspective, delegation makes an employee fit to take up high-level positions in the organizations (Hayward, Rindova, and Pollock, 2004). In this regard, it serves both as a training device and an assessment tool for the employees.
When managers delegate duties according to skills and abilities of a particular work group, the overall performance of the department is significantly increased. Work will also be completed more effectively and efficiently. Delegation thus helps in making the best use of the available human capital in conjunction with other factors of production to realize the best results from the limited economic resources.
With respect to decision making, delegation facilitates the whole process thus resulting in more rapid, faster and effective decision making. Quick decision making allows the organization to be more responsive and hence more competitive. Delegation also increases the flexibility of organizational activities. Passing on duties to subordinates enables training of many employees on the best methods to tackle a particular problem. This hence helps the organizations’ activities be in going-concern even if the managers are absent.
Through delegation staff become enthusiastic, may feel motivated, trusted and more confident. It thus boosts the employee morale, and in so doing they derive job satisfaction. As highlighted by Joyce, P. and Wood, A., lack of motivation can be detrimental to the fortunes of the businesses (Westley & Mintzberg, 2007). In addition, it helps reduces stress levels across the workplace. Managers will be under less pressure to perform the pending work on the tables if some of the workload is delegated.
In conclusion, delegation is a critical component of management. It symbolizes the manager’s faith in his subordinates and thus a very powerful motivational tool. Effective delegation should be done on talented and motivated employees who can accomplish the duties assigned properly. There should be effective selection of potential employee to delegate work to.
However, there are certain duties and responsibilities that cannot be delegated, for instance conflict resolutions, performance evaluation among others. There should be established policies and procedures to guide the entire process of delegation. It is worth noting that work should be delegated only within an employees’ capability, and authority be granted to them for undertaking such responsibilities.
There must be an effective communication channel between the employees and their immediate seniors. These will ease the monitoring process of the delegated duties as well receiving updates and feedback from the subordinates. Good communication will also enhance reliable assessment and gauging of those assigned tasks. Last but not least, delegation should be done wisely, and only to people who are trustworthy, and not who are deceitful as the wolf.