Wednesday, December 28, 2016

UNIVERSITY CONSULTING MANAGEMENT RESEARCH QUESTIONS



University Consulting is an experimental learning program offered to students from University University that gives the opportunity to complete 100 hours of virtual internship. However, the program is only 10 weeks in length and the students do not enter the program at the same time. While some students might be on week 1, other might be on week 5. Furthermore, within a few weeks into the program interns can become managers or directors. The organization has different departments and there can be between 80 – 100 interns at a given time. There is a lot of information given on the first day of internship and interns are expected to start participating on that same week. Naturally, interns are very confused for the first few weeks, and since managers have not been there for much longer, sometimes they have a hard time too. Nevertheless, managers, directors, and members of the organization are very helpful and open to answer any questions.
This problem should be dealt with some urgency since interns lose about 2-3 weeks of internship just trying to understand what is expected of them, when they should be taking advantage of the knowledge and opportunity to gain experience for when they graduate. If the problem is not addressed interns risk not being ready with the skills, they need in order to succeed in their field of expertise. The best solution to this problem would be to divide the internship program into 3 school terms. While the student would be taking his/her regular classes, for the 1st term out of the last 4 terms before they graduate, they would receive information about the internship program and attend meetings with directors and managers who could explain to them how the program works. On the 2nd of the 4 terms any student hoping to become a manger or director could have the choice to take an intern position at the program so that he/she could learn from experience. On the 3rd of the 4 terms students could them become manager, by then they would be completely familiar with the organization and would in turn be able to offer much more to other interns who were just staring. Finally, on the 4th term out of the 4, any interns wishing to continue working with the organization for extra time should be allowed to do so. If University Consulting fails to resolve this problem there can be a direct impact on quality, organizational efficiency, and organizational effectiveness. In the article Effectiveness in Professional Organizations: The Impact of Surgeons and Surgical Staff Organizations on the Quality of Care in Hospitals (2016), the doctors discuss the relative importance of different structural units in a professional organization. Professional organizations represent especially complex systems because many units may contribute toward the performance output. However, if those units are not ready, they will not be effective.
If the solution previously posited were to be implemented, interns would be able to create new products or services because they would have time to develop it during the course of 1 year, because if the program ran for only 10 weeks it would be unpractical to create such big structure.  However, this opportunity should not be rushed into. It is imperative to formulate a plan of action in order to create and offer quality products and services to customers. The first step towards the goal would be to do a market research and as for students to offer their opinions. Students should analyze their surroundings, (where they work, go to the gym, take their kids to school, go grocery shopping). Each student should come up with a number of ideas about services they feel are needed or lacking and products they feel would help in their daily lives.  Since the University has many students all over the country, there is a huge opportunity to really collaborate and capitalize on ideas.  The University is in a unique position to really take advantage of this opportunity. However, as it described in the article A Methodology for Redesigning and Organizational Structure Based on Business Process Models Using SNA Techniques (2011), many companies failed to improve business processes because they were not suitable for organizational structure. In order to achieve a successful business process improvement, organizational system and the operating system would need to be reformed. It is imperative that processes and organizational structure interact so that goals and expectations are achieved.
As stated before, students the University come from all over United States and each one of them bring their own experiences and uniqueness. However, within an organization there has to be a conjoint effort to work as one. Every organization should always have appropriate principles, concepts, and frameworks for making ethical decisions, but in the case of University Consulting even more so because of the diversity of staff’s background.  Problems related to principles, concepts and ethics are urgent because through those concepts employees will know what to expect and what is expected of them. An organization cannot hope to become successful if those kind of problems are not resolved. In order to anticipate the problem, the organization should create frameworks to present to interns upon start of the program. All interns should sign the document acknowledging they understand what is expected of them. However, developing principle, concepts, and framework for ethics is not an easy task. Organizations have to be very careful not to make mistakes that will cost the organization their employees and reputation. Patricia O’Connor and Susan Godar (1999) argue that because many people in society believe that something is morally right, it therefore is morally right, is to commit the fallacy of common consensus. However, the error is that the fact that belief is widely accepted does not itself demonstrate that the belief is correct. If it did we would have to conclude that at one time the earth was flat and at the center of the universe. The organization should always consider the social impact the framework of ethics will have the organization and the society as a whole.
Managers and directors have the hard task and responsibility of leading by example. However, In the case of University Consulting managers and directors have the position for only a few weeks until they are replaced by someone else. The problem organizational structure is that leadership are not completely prepared to undertake the responsibilities of the position, and therefore, cannot lead by example. As with any problems dealing with management, it is important that a solution if found as quickly as possible since any organization, no matter the size, depends heavily on being structured sound. If the problem is not solved the organization will have to deal with internal disarray and chaos, that will in turn affect productivity and quality of services and products. The link between leadership, organizational structure, and performance has been a hard to measure because most of the indicators are aimed at business sector, such as profit, market position, and reputation. Xuanhui Liu and Wouter Van Dooren posit that might be the reason why other researchers have different indicators to measure organizational performance. Therefore, even though it is hard to unequivocally confirm that managers and leadership have an effect in organizational structure we can agree that it is better to be safe than sorry and make sure that management and leadership can maintain an functional organizational structure.
Even though interns do not work at University Consulting for a long period of time, it has been successful in servicing nonprofit organizations University Consulting has been in business for about 4 years now and it has had some good experiences. The organization should be ready to evolve once more and start charging for its services. However, since there is no urgency to bring revenue into the organization, interns would have time to devise an efficient strategy. The main purpose of University Consulting is still to educate more than to be profitable, therefore, the president should evaluate the risks and benefits and make an educated decision if the change should be made. The importance of gathering all the information before committing is enormous because there are many aspects to consider before starting the process, like legal implications and labor considerations. If the president decides to make the change, the first step should be to conduct a SWOT analysis. According to the article, “A Situational Analysis of a Strategic Marketing Plan” (2016), SWOT analysis aids in decision-making across the organizational board and creates an understanding of the organization; it also creates goals, strategies, and implementation practices.
The internship program was created with the intention to help students acquire career knowledge, management skills and ability. It is very important that they do because when recently graduated professionals look for their first job, they lack in experience, therefore, they need other skills. Although the internship program is short, it is still a glimpse of what will be expected of them. Interns should take the most advantage possible from the program because every week that they miss they will lose in knowledge and knowhow. The program can also help interns with anxiety from not knowing what to expect, knowing how to act around management and leadership, and learning to communicate better. Unfortunately, if students do not take the advantage of the opportunity to learn and gain experience, there is no way of turning back. In the article organizational culture (2016), experts widely consider that organizational culture is the most important determinant of behavior in organizations. It is also understood as one of the factors that can be managed in order to improve performance and efficiency.

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