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2.4 Systems thinking

‘The whole is more than the sum of its parts’ is a good place to start thinking about systems. A car is more than its individual components. We can think of a football team as being more than a collection of individual players or a family being more than a group of people who share the same name.

Each of these examples – the car, the football team and the family – can be seen as systems. Individual parts of a system are connected together in some way for a purpose.

Example
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2.3 Essential properties and central cases

What should we expect a finished answer to the ‘What is…?’ question to look like? It might be suggested that we should answer this question by identifying a set of features that are shared by all uncontroversial cases of emotion – for example, cases of anger or fear – and that are not shared by psychological occurrences of other kinds – for example, hunger or cowardice. Once we have identified these features, we will be able to refer to them to decide any controversial cases. An a
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2.2 Input-output diagrams

An input-output diagram shows the inputs to a system or to an operation and the outputs from it.


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2.1.2 How a force-field diagram can help

  1. The diagram is a useful expositional or presentational device. When you are presenting an analysis or proposal, the diagram will enable you to describe (and distinguish between) the reasons for a change. It will enable you to do the same for the reasons why a change may be resisted.

  2. The diagram will be an explicit prompt for exploring the restraining forces. The more a manager finds out about these, and the earlier, the better placed the manag
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1.2 Time series line graphs

In time series line graphs, data are plotted or organised along a time dimension. Time series graphs are used for displaying data that show cyclical fluctuations or changes, such as growth, over time. Suppose that you wanted to present the data shown in Table 2 as a gra
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1.1.4 The slope

The slope (or gradient) of the line describes its steepness. The steepness is measured by considering two points on the graph, A and B. The vertical distance between the two points is 20; the horizontal distance between them is 10. The steepness of the line is the ratio of these two distances:

    
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1.1.3 The intercept

When a line cuts an axis, the line is said ‘to intercept the axis at’ [the particular point]. In this example, the line cuts the vertical (y) axis at £10, so ‘the line intercepts the y axis at £10’. It can also be said that ‘the intercept with the y axis is £10’.


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References

Ajzen, I. (1985) in Chaiken, S. and Stangor C. (1987) ‘Attitudes and attitude change’, Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 38, January, pp.575–630.
American Marketing Association (2004) Marketing News, 15 September, p.3.
Andreasen, A. (1995) Marketing Social Change – Changing Behaviour to Promote Health, Social Development and the Environment, San Fr
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4.1 Introduction

Greenley and Foxall (1998) emphasise that the marketing literature typically focuses on only two stakeholder groups (consumers and competitors), arguing that this should be extended to include other key stakeholders. Freeman (1984) highlights the interdependence of organisations and their stakeholders, i.e. ‘any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organisation's objectives’ (p. 46). This definition emphasises the wide range of individuals, groups an
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6.1 Introduction

Scheduling is about deciding the time that each task will take to do and the sequence in which the tasks will be carried out. There are a number of approaches to estimating the time and effort (and, therefore, cost) required to complete a project. Some estimates may be based on past experience but, because each project is essentially unique, this alone may not be sufficient. A clearer picture can be obtained by measuring each task in terms of the content of the work, the effort required to ca
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4 Identifying deliverables

The project brief will identify the goals of the project and may express some of these as key objectives. At an early stage of planning you will need to identify all of the project objectives and the deliverables that are implied or required from each objective.

Each objective will identify a clear outcome. The outcome is the deliverable. In some cases, the outcome will be some sort of change achieved and in other cases it will be the production of something new. In either case, the pro
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4 models and methodologies offered

One of the more visible parts of the service many consultants offer is the model or models on which they base their work. When consulting, activity always needs to be related to the local situation. The consultant will normally start by trying to understand the client perspective, but then seek to expand that perspective, using theory and experience from elsewhere.

So you will probably need information on the theoretical models used by any consultants you are considering. In addition to
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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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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Business & Management. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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2.3 Capital markets

In so far as better corporate governance has the objective of enhancing shareholder control, it should follow that companies with better corporate governance will attract investors and will reduce their cost of capital. A global investor opinion survey carried out by McKinsey & Company (2002) gives some evidence that good governance is linked to investment decisions. The survey found that:

  • investors state that they still put corporate governance on a p
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2.2 Recent governance failures

As we have discussed before, the creation of corporate regulation is often linked to perceived failures of corporations and their management to behave in the way society expect them to. Corporate governance is not an exception to this trend, and, as with accounting, different countries may well experience difficulties at different times. For example, the development of British codes of best practice, which began with the Cadbury Committee, can be related to governance scandals such as Polly P
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1.2 Conclusion

The annual financial reports commonly contain a statement on corporate governance, so it is useful to have an awareness of what this involves. This has important implications for interpreting the financial statements: a company with a weak system of corporate governance will provide greater opportunities for the manipulation of financial statements, with adverse consequences for users.

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References

Arrow, K. (1974) The Limits of Organisation, New York, Norton & Co.
Fukuyama, F. (1995) Trust: the Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, London, Hamish Hamilton.
Hosmer, L.T. (1994) ‘Strategic planning as if ethics mattered’, Strategic Management Journal, 15, 17–34.
Hutton, W. (1995) The State We
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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Business & Management. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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