5.5 Social pressures which affect our decision making

Broadly, there are three kinds of social pressure which affect how we make decisions:

  • coercive

  • mimetic

  • normative.

We look at these in more detail below.


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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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3.1 Evaluation while developing the vision

A project is often shaped through discussion among those developing the vision and direction of the project. They may agree in general terms about what is to be achieved, but have to make a number of choices before deciding how to proceed. It may be important to allow time for different views to be heard and considered, and for attitudes to change and – hopefully – converge.

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5.2 Using political skills

In particular, a project manager needs to employ good political skills in order to maintain the support of senior management, without allowing them to undermine or take over the project. However, this can raise questions about the ethics of their behaviour. Read the following account that was given by a member of an external consulting team working on a project for a local authority in Scotland. The project's objective was to revamp the structure of the council which had operated in much the
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4.2 Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a project team

Those involved in a project may have skills that fulfil more than one aspect of the project agenda. This is likely to be particularly important in small-scale projects, where management of the content, process and control agendas are just as important to the project's success, but where fewer people are involved.

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2.2 Effective communication

Whilst effective communication is an essential skill for the project manager, most people tend to be over-optimistic about the accuracy and efficacy of the communication process. Achieving understanding can be difficult, especially in the atmosphere of change and uncertainty generated by a major project. Verma (1996) identifies the following barriers to good communication.


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7.4 Risk assessment and impact analysis

Risk assessment involves measuring the probability that a risk will become a reality; impact analysis involves measuring the sensitivity of the project to each identified risk. The key questions are:

  • What is the risk – how will I recognise it if it becomes a reality?

  • What is the probability of it happening – high, medium or low?

  • How serious a threat does it pose to the project – high, medium or lo
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3.2 Mind mapping

The term ‘Mind mapping’ was devised by Tony Buzan for the representation of ideas, notes, information, etc., in radial tree-diagrams – sometimes also called ‘spider diagrams’. These are now very widely used. Try a web search on ‘Buzan’, ‘mind map’ or ‘concept map’. Alternatively, you could try Compendium. This is open source software that allows you to create a variety of mind, concept or knowledge maps. For more information, please refer to our Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should:

  • understand why and how innovation is important;

  • recognise the benefits which innovation can confer on an innovating organisation.


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Introduction

This unit will examine some of the key ideas connected with innovation in organisations. You will be introduced to some important concepts which are used to analyse innovation, in particular the distinction between innovation and invention. In exploring the theme of innovation, general links will be made to the implications for the business functions.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Understanding Business Functions (B202) which is n
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2.2 Identifying skills and personal qualities

There are several ways to approach this:

Reflective

It’s a great opportunity to reflect about yourself and to ask others, your friends, family or colleagues just what they think as well. Be realistic about your strengths and your weaknesses. Ask them to be honest; weaknesses can be just as important as strengths here!

Look at the ‘Know yourself’ section of the OU Careers Advisory Service website, which covers personal strengths and skills.

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2.1 Introduction

'All experiences count and are valuable and no one should push those aside. It really doesn't matter where that experience was gained. It's about what you learnt from it… don't devalue yourself. Recognise the importance of what you've done.'

Ruth Stokes, KPMG on the vol
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1.2.2 Summary

  • The results of successive editions of the Eurobarometer show that in most EU countries only a very small percentage of people, around 5 per cent, declare having an exclusive European identity, while up to 50 per cent do not have any sense of European identity.

  • European political identity is weak and there is a great variation across states.


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1.6.3 Fiscal retrenchment?

If we turn to fiscal issues, at the time of entry to the EU in 2004, six of the ten entry countries had government deficits in excess of the SGP/ Maastricht Treaty 3 per cent of GDP rule: the Czech Republic (−5.9 per cent), Cyprus (−4.6 per cent), Hungary (−4.9 per cent), Malta (−5.9 per cent), Poland (−6.0 per cent) and Slovakia (−4.1 per cent). Thus these countries would be required to cut back on their public expenditures or increase taxes so as to move into a more or less bala
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Figures

Figure 4 Institute of British Geographers; Tube
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References

Lemert, C. (1993) ‘Social Theory: Its Uses and Pleasures’ in Lemert, C. (ed.) Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings, Oxford, Westview Press.
Millet, K. (1970) Sexual Politics, New York, Doubleday.
Schütz, A. (1943) ‘The Problem of Rationality in the Social World’, Economica, Vol. X, May, pp. 130–49.
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4.2 The perspective of the stranger

One way in which it is possible to build links between everyday experience and social scientific research is to adopt the approach recommended by the philosopher and sociologist Alfred Schütz (1899–1959). As a refugee from Austria in the late 1930s, he found himself transported to America and encountered considerable difficulties in reorienting himself to new conditions and a new culture. This personal experience of not having familiar bearings, and of encountering the impact of cultural d
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4.5 Summary

  • The EU as presently constituted is itself a product of globalisation, and here the impact of globalisation has been heightened by the central institutions of the EU directly encouraging regionalism and cross-border cooperation between regions to further its own political and economic integration.

  • Regionalism has also been indirectly boosted by other EU policies, particularly the development of the Single European Market since the late 1980s
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2.3 Diversity within states

There is no simple or necessary correspondence between types of region and types of regionalism. But clearly-demarcated and long-established regions are a more likely basis for strong regionalist or nationalist movements, while top-down regionalisation often results in regions with little popular identity or awareness of the region by its own inhabitants. Pre-existing regional diversity provides an uneven basis for regionalising a whole state. For example, regionalising the UK is relatively e
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2.1 What do we mean by ‘region’ and ‘regionalism’?

‘Region’ here refers to any piece of continuous territory, bigger than a mere locality or neighbourhood, which is part of the territory of a larger state (or states), and whose political authority or government, if it has any specific to itself, is subordinate to that of the state(s). Conventionally, most such ‘sub-state’ regions, and particularly most regions defined in terms of political authority, have fallen wholly within the borders of a single state. However, in situations where
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