Giving Feedback: Positive or Negative

Listen to this postGiving feedback or confronting employees is one of the most difficult social task we face in our lives. Giving positive feedback is sometimes called motivation or encouragement, and many of us are sometimes doing it wrongly by generalizing the feedback by saying “you have done a good job”. A good feedback should be specific like saying “Your report has listed the major critical points that we did not notice before, thank you for reporting them to us.” We do similar or even worse mistakes when we give negative feedbacks. Sometimes our negative feedback has more destructive effect than the constructive change we hoped for. Reading the following pages will help you understand the types of feedbacks you may use at work or at home. Some valuable examples are given at the end for your reference.

Giving feedback or confronting employees is one of the most difficult social task we face in our lives.Giving positive feedback is sometimes called motivation or encouragement, and many of us are sometimes doing it wrongly by generalizing the feed back by saying “you have done a good job”. Agood feedback should be specific like saying “Your report has listed the major critical points that we did not notice before, thank you for reporting them to us.”We do similar or even worse mistakes when we give negative feedbacks. Sometimes our negative feedback has more destructive effect than the constructive change we hoped for. Reading the following pages will help you understand the types of feedbacks you may use at work or at home. Some valuable examples are given at the end for your reference. Read more …

Click here to download the full material as PDF file.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Explicit or Implicit Knowledge

Listen to this postDyer and Hatch (2004) stated that knowledge is two types, explicit and implicit. The explicit knowledge can be recorded and shared easily without losing its value during the transfer (Dyer & Hatch, 2004). An example of the explicit knowledge would be the market’s facts and figures that make most of the general information shared by any trade. The implicit knowledge is the pragmatic and complex knowledge that results from experience or experimental learning (Dyer & Hatch, 2004). Implicit knowledge is the hidden and most people do not know that they have it in them. An example of the implicit knowledge would be the required know-how to change and organization culture. The culture change would be done mostly by unfelt skills and knowledge. Implicit knowledge is difficult to imitate and considered as a competitive advantage for the organization over its rivals. Implicit knowledge is thought to be the base for innovative products and processes. One of Dells implicit knowledge examples is the technology that mixes mass customization; just-in-time and customer focus in one strategy and executes it flawlessly (Magretta, 1998).

References:

Dyer, J., & Hatch, N. (2004). Using supplier networks to learn faster. MIT Sloan Management Review, 45(3), 57-63.

Magretta, J. (1998). The power of virtual integration: An interview with dell computer’s Michael Dell. Harvard Business Review, 76(2), 72-84.

Wasta

Listen to this postWasta is a small city in south Dakota with a population of 75 people. But “Wasta” is whom you know in Kuwait or how strong is your social network. The equivalent of wasta in English would be “Cronyism”. In Cuba it is known to be “Sociolismo” but in Russia it is called “Blat” and in China called “Guanxi” and finally in Germany has a longer word that I can not even pronounce “Vetternwirtschaft”.  So what is “Wasta”? Wasta is your social network and how you can maximize the use of your relationships. Wast is calling somebody you know to do you a favor that you have to repay back sooner or later. It is a way to overcome bureaucracy and unnecessary delays in the routine work. But like everything useful in life, you can misuse wasta to get what you are not entitled for. You have to “Pull some strings” sometimes to get what you deserve, but some people pull “stronger” strings to get what you deserve before you. Some of my friends says that they use wasta just to make sure that they are getting what they should get. But the question is: how did they know that whatever they got by wasta was meant for them?

The Personnel Policy

Listen to this postMost of the medium and large organizations has a written personnel policy. The size and effectiveness of such policy depend on the organization size and culture. The bigger the organization the more detailed is its policy. The policy start small and simple but grow up and get more complicated with time. New procedures or rules are written frequently to cover the organizational needs. Expansions and new ventures require new rules and regulations; however, most of the new procedures are written to regulate or organize new situations that led to or going to lead to a problem. This fact explain why most of the personnel polices are complexed and confusing. The personnel policy was written in a reactive (or firefighting) mode. Some of the rules in policy are not applicable now or could cause more damage that it can regular and prevent. Some internet sites offer a ready-made “cookie cutter” policy that the starting companies can use with some customization. I doubt that a policy written for specific culture in a specific industry would be useful for anther culture and industry, but unfortunately, sometimes this happens! The best way to write a personnel policy is to have a specialist in Organizational Behavior to study the organizations culture and nature of work then write the full policy. The policy would be updated as needed but the specialist or consultant should be called whenever the organization anticipate change at work. The policy would need periodic revisions to rewrite or drop some of the old rules and regulations.

My Wedding Ring

Listen to this postI got married ten years ago when I was 37 years old. Some of you would immediately ask why I was so late since the average age for marriage in Kuwait is 25. My answer would be in a future post. I am now happily married to a wonderful wife with three children. I have been through work stress, labor strikes, fire fighting, swim with sharks and raised children. Life is tough but with little patience all problems would pass way and will turn to be a distant memory. I like photograph and love to take pictures of roses and natural sites, but do not like to be photographed. I do not want to look at the pictures after 10-20 years and then say something like “Ooooh …I was so young” or “Looook how funny I was with that hair cut!”. I believe what had happened in the past should stay in the past, and we should live our lives they way we are now. It is like diving for many years then you find yourself in a place that you are happy with. The pictures form our live journey would not make much sense now. The picture on the right side shows my wedding ring which I always wear. I just took it off one day for cleaning and found the dents and beating it took through the years. The engraved artistic decoration had been wiped out through the years. The ring is a good indicator to what had happened in the past 10 years.

Preparing a Code of Ethics

Listen to this postTseng, Duan, Tung, and Kung (2010) analyzed 85,000 cited references of 3,059 articles from three business ethics related journals. The researchers found three concentration of interest in the cited references. The concentration was around the following:

  • Ethical and unethical decision-making
  • corporate governance and firm performance
  • Ethical principles and code of conduct

Comparable study was conducted by Forster, Loughran, and McDonald (2009) on a sample of firms listed on the Standard & Poor’s 500 showed similar sentences in their code of ethics. The repeated phrases are covering law obedience, acting with integrity, commitment to integrity,  commitments to treating others with fairness, exercising citizenship rights and remaining committed to the organization’s values. Messikomer and Cirka (2010) stated  honesty, respect, integrity, quality, neutrality and responsibility as the code of ethics principles for the organization (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010).

The list of important rules and principles above are a good guideline to write most of the organizational code of conduct. The process can start with identifying the organizational values and learn for the past experiences when the organizations had ethical problems or when employees violated the organizational values. The employees should be involved in writing the code of conduct, however representatives from each departments or sections would be enough when the organization has many employees that could not be assembled in one locations to discuss such intangible issue. The key stakeholders comments would be valuable for writing the code of ethics because the stakeholders are directly affected by the organizational ethics. The code of ethics history shows that the code writing was reactive to the international ethical violations (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010). Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 was set to control the supply side corruption by imposing anti-bribery provisions and accounting provision. The act had limited success in the anti-bribery practices according to Darrough (2010), but the ethical users relatively subsided after issuing the act (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010).

Read also in this blog: Ethical Management and  Starting New Business Ethically

Share/Bookmark

References:

Darrough, M. (2010). The FCPA and the OECD convention: Some lessons from the U.S. experience. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 255-276. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0219-5

Forster, M., Loughran, T., & McDonald, B. (2009). Commonality in codes of ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 90, 129-139. doi: 10.1007/s10551-010-0380-x

Messikomer, C., & Cirka, C. (2010). Constructing a code of ethics: An experiential case of a national professional organization. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(1), 55-71. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0347-y

Tseng, H.-C., Duan, C.-H., Tung, H.-L., & Kung, H.-J. (2010). Modern business ethics research: Concepts, theories, and relationships. Journal of Business Ethics, 91(4), 587-597. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0133-x

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The foreign corrupt practices act (FCPA) is as an anti-bribery regulation. The act is prohibiting direct and indirect valuables (monetary or physical) offering to foreign officials to influence their decisions in favor of the giver. The act has consist of two parts to control the international corruption, the first would be an anti-bribery provision and the second is books and records internal controls that enforce a good accounting provisions (Darrough, 2010). International corruption prevention is difficult and a single act like FCPA would only result in limited success if not fully embraced by the international organizations and the countries these organizations work in. the bookkeeping, disclosure and maintenance of internal controls systems are effective measures to prevent unlawful acts by the multinational organizations according to Darrough (2010), but the so-called “facilitating payments” are allowed by the act and these payments can be considered as another form of bribery. U. S. Companies would be would be disadvantaged by this act if they chose to implement it without any deviations. Bribes and “facilitating payments” were common before the act and were practiced by the U. S. companies and other international companies. The U. S. Companies should act ethically (before acting legally) and withhold these payments, but foreign officials would most probably be influenced by the bribes they received from non U. S. companies (or U. S. companies that chose to pay facilitating payments).

Darrough, M. (2010). The FCPA and the OECD convention: Some lessons from the U.S. experience. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 255-276. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0219-5

Share/Bookmark

Quite time to think

Listen to this postI was fortunate to visit Versailles Palace in France many years ago. After the guided tour we were given free time to walk through the place gardens. The gardens were beautiful and a simple walk through them would reduce your blood pressed by at least 10 mmHg. At the start of my walk I noticed an elderly couple setting on a long chair watching the beautiful view in front of them. They were about one meter a part (3 feet) from each other. I continued my walk around and came back to the same spot after 20 minutes and set down on a single chair and notice that the couple still at their same silence and still looking at the beautiful view ahead. I thought that what they were doing was boring and they might have reached the age were nothing matters anymore. So I sat and started enjoying the view and get lost in my thoughts. Before I knew it, I spent more than an hour of complete silence, similar to what the elderly couple were doing, and it was wonderful!

A distant family member in his 70’s used to set in his wheelchair for hours watching the sea. When we pass-by and greet him he sometimes replay to us and sometimes he just ignore us as if we do not exist. He seems lost in his thoughts and living his past by just watching the sea. Few years after that gentleman pass away I went to the Maldives islands. I use to set in the balcony of my bungalow after the tiresome deep water dives. Each time I set I get lost in my thoughts and spend hours relaxing and enjoying the ocean’s calm waters.
Lately, I do not have the luxury of traveling to these nice places but I still set alone in quite places for at least 30 minutes 3 times every week. I lay down or set without watching TV, listening to music or reading a book. I just relax and let my thoughts flow slowly and reflect on the things I have done or the problems I face. After about 30 minutes I would have good thoughts and practical solutions to whatever challenges I have. Just by simply setting alone and thinking. No TV, no music, no reading or writing, just plain simple thinking. My best ideas and most important decisions were the results of those quite sessions. The sad thing that many people live their lives without setting once in a quite session like that, and they miss the opportunity to clear up their minds and generate wonderful ideas. Go ahead, please try it for half an hour and you will start generating wonderful thoughts and ideas after you pass the 30 minutes mark, trust me!

Share/Bookmark

Are You Changing Your Work-Space?

Listen to this postMany companies had redesigned their office space from the traditional set up which have rooms designated for one or two office workers to cubicles or open space design. Some cultures would accept the new set up but others would like to  maintain their privacy in the office. According to Jones (2007), the main purpose of the organizational structure is “to control the way people coordinate their actions to meet organizational goals and to control the means used to motivate people to achieve these goals” (p. 7). The workspace is defined as an organizational resource and is designed to advance the organizational goals (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999). The marketplace especially the international market is influenced and segmented by religion (Wenger, 2004).

Organizations would attract workers who conform with the dominant religion in the organization and in the environment, employees with different religions may face glass ceiling and bear stereotype effect during promotions and salary increase. Wenger (2004) relates religious marketplace theory to the failure of communism to replace religion in China. Religion may have a positive effect from the point view of some (having the same religion) or seen as a hurdle by others. Many companies in the Middle East region are changing their work place set up to cubical or open-space set up similar the Western office layout. The new theories may support the open-space layout and “barrier removal” to enable workers to interact openly but not all agree. New researchers have found that such optimism does not continue when workers find that they lose privacy and independence with it (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007). Another research found employees’ satisfaction decreased after they moved from the traditional office layout to the open-space layout (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007).

Share/Bookmark

References:

Chan, J. K., Beckman, S. L., & Lawrence, P. G. (2007). Workplace design: A new managerial imperative. California Management Review, 49(2), 6-22.

Jones, G. (2007). Organizational theory, design, and change (5 ed.). New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Vaske, J. J., & Donnelly, M. P. (1999). A value-attitude-behavior model predicting wildland preservations voting intentions. Society & Natural Resources, 12(6), 523.

Wenger, J. E. (2004). Official vs. underground protestant churches in China: Challenges for reconciliation and social influence. Review of Religious Research, 46(2), 169-182.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cultural Differences in Business

Listen to this postCultural differences are considered as one of the main reasons for work stress and management conflicts during business relationship development in the U.S and China (Li, 2009). Chinese avoid confrontation especially when the conflict is with someone who holds authorities. The Chinese believe that direct approach with the boss will ruin their relationship with him (Johnston & Hongmei, 2009). Cultural diversity has two dimensions, the first consists of age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual affection orientation which molds the workers self-image and fundamental worldview. The second dimension manipulates the workers self-esteem and definition because it consists of “educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, religious belief” (Edewor & Aluko, 2007, p. 190). The cultural diversity would strengthen the differences between two countries. Globalization help advancing business growth and taping economical resources but cultural differences would limit theses business opportunities. Pinggong (2009) stress the importance of not isolating one culture from the other but to try to relate the cultural experiences and integrate them to have a harmonious organizational culture.

The Islamic culture stress the importance of bonding and team work. Similar to the Chinese culture, the Islamic culture would demand respect and obedience to the superiors and leaders. Most of the Arabic cultures (mostly Muslims) are build on the fundamental of electing an Amire (leader) and then follow the leader whom the community had selected.
Reference:
Edewor, P. A., & Aluko, Y. A. (2007). Diversity management, challenges and opportunities in multicultural organizations. [Article]. International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities & Nations, 6(6), 189-195.

Johnston, L. M., & Hongmei, G. (2009). Resolving conflict in the chinese and U.S. realms for global business entities. (English). [Article]. China Media Report Overseas, 5(4), 22-36.

Li, C. (2009). Managing business relationship development: A cross-cultural perspective. Portuguese Journal of Management Studies, 14(2), 123-147.

Pinggong, Z. (2009). Rethinking the impact of globalization and cultural identity in China. [Article]. China Media Research, 5(2), 25-34


Share/Bookmark

Enhanced by Zemanta
%d bloggers like this: