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5 Making a choice

If you are interviewing a shortlist of potential providers, the clearer you are in your own mind about what you require, the more effective your selection is likely to be. Given the size of the investment you are likely to be considering and its potential impact on the organisation, this selection process may be at least as significant as the selection of a senior manager, and you should invest appropriate effort in making your choice. You will want to think carefully about the process you wi
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1 Characteristics of service provision

Choosing a service provider tends to be far more difficult than choosing a supplier of goods. While there may be tangible components in the service an HR consultant offers, what HR consultants provide is largely intangible. As a starting point the following activity asks you to consider the issues likely to be involved in the initial decision to use a consultant.

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Introduction

There are a number of reasons for using consultants. These include the provision of interim or other temporary services, specialist expertise such as employment law, and general support such as coaching. They also include more substantial involvement with change, either just at the diagnostic stage or throughout the change process. There are different modes of consulting, of which the process mode is preferable whenever problems are at all complex.

This unit looks both at sub-contractin
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Introduction

This unit looks at equity finance – the range of equity instruments and markets available to a company. First, we look at private equity and the role of venture capital companies that provide such finance. We look at the mechanics of an initial public offering (IPO) and at recent cases of companies ‘listing’ on a stock exchange for the first time. We go on to explore certain important strategic issues for a business when considering equity finance:

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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

All materials included in this unit are derived from content originated at the Open University.


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7.5 Becoming an institutional entrepreneur

While acting in ways that are seen to be legitimate is important for both individuals and organisations, social institutions are not immutable. Some people and organisations seem to have a talent for changing the rules of the game.

Some writers have referred to this as being an institutional entrepreneur. At the organisational level examples might include organisations such as Microsoft or Sun Microsystems working actively to establish industry standards which favour them. At the
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6.3 The psychology of risk

Within the psychological paradigm there is a different starting point for understanding risk. In financial economic accounts, risk is generally regarded as a combination of the expected magnitude of loss or gain and the variability of that expected outcome. Human perception of risk works rather differently. There are two other important components of risk that influence our perceptions: the fear factor – how much we dread the potential outcome – and the control factor
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4.5.2 Anchoring adjustment

Many decisions need revisiting and updating as new information comes available. However, most of us make insufficient anchoring adjustment: this is the tendency to fail to update one's targets as the environment changes (Rutledge, 1993). Once a manager has made an initial decision or judgement then this provides a mental anchor which acts as a source of resistance to reaching a significantly different conclusion as new information becomes available. It is what happens when one has made
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the strategic importance of communications in a competitive environment.


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1.1 The concept of 'social capital'

Fukuyama (1995) examines the importance of civil society defined through institutions including businesses, churches, universities, and schools and uses the concept of ‘social capital’ to describe how people work together for common purposes in organisations. Fukuyama argues that shared values lead to trust, which is crucial for society and the economy to function. He quotes from the distinguished economist Kenneth Arrow with approval:

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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Managing Human Resources (B824) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

Strategy is based on the unique relationship between an organisation's distinctive resources and capabilitie
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3.1 Codes of conduct

One of the principles of the European Union Emissions Trading System discussed by Schultz and Williamson (2005) is that an organisation accepts responsibility for the performance of their suppliers. In an age where multinational corporations are able to reduce the production costs of their goods and services by offshoring it to whoever can meet the specification at the lowest cost, what responsibility do they have for the conditions under which production actually occurs?

One of the fir
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2.1 The response of business

For most of human history, our influence on the planet has been small (i.e. sustainable). The waste produced by our presence has traditionally been dealt with by a process of dilution; burying things, or perhaps dumping them in the ocean, was a viable proposition because we were few and the land and the oceans were vast. Mankind was a minor perturbation on the planetary ecosystem. But with change as the ever-present factor, we grew in both numbers and influence.

In the last century, the
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Introduction

There are literally dozens and dozens of different definitions of ‘the entrepreneur’ and the concept of ‘entrepreneurship’. Researchers and writers often seem to pick the definition that best fits the area they are discussing. We have explicitly linked entrepreneurship to the capability for exploiting successfully innovative ideas in a commercially competitive market. Leaving to one side the fact that individuals working in the public and non-profit sectors can be very enterprising, i
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2.1 Introduction

As handovers can take place at many stages – not just the concluding stage – of a project, handover is not, in itself, completion of the project. If the project's objectives were clearly set out, the completion or acceptance criteria should flow logically from them. Such criteria might include the following:

  • the key stages and milestones are all completed;

  • the outputs or outcomes meet the quality specifications;

  • t
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8 Satisfying the client and end user

Most projects have an identifiable client or customer group which will benefit from or use the outcome of the project. The client may be external to the organisation which is implementing the project, for example, the customer for whom a new building is being constructed. Or the clients may be internal, for example, the users of a new IT system. As we have already seen, it is important that the client or end user shares and endorses the project's objectives and is actively involved in its dev
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7.2.1 Labelling behaviour

Signalling that you are about to suggest a solution to a problem or to ask an important question is one way of drawing attention to this and puts pressure on the person or persons at whom your signal is directed to respond.


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6.2 Political skills

A project manager will encounter politics – the struggle to acquire and maintain power – on a daily basis, as he or she competes to secure resources and support for their project. This is inevitable, given the probable diversity of backgrounds and expectations of those with an interest in the project. Political skills will be necessary to make deals and resolve conflicts with stakeholders, over whom project managers may have little formal authority. Managing the following aspects needs to
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4.1 Introduction

Some projects, especially large-scale ones, will rely on a team, not just an individual, for their successful implementation. Unlike permanent work teams, a project team's objective is the achievement of a finite and specific task – the project. Its performance, especially its ability to perform effectively as a group, is therefore critical to a project's outcome. However, it may prove relatively difficult for a project team to work well together at the outset, since its members are often d
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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

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