Managing Holistically Essay

Submitted By Tereagovio1
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Pages: 17

Managing Holistically

Assignment

Choose a significant issue at your workplace or an important decision that needs to be taken. Give a brief description of the issue or decision and use metaphor in association with the System of System Methodology for dealing with the issue of decision. Actually apply your chosen system methodology to help improve the situation and bring about organisational learning. Critique the methodology you have applied.

Full-time MBA – 2011/12
Part A

Contents

Choose a significant issue at your workplace or an important decision that needs to be taken. Give a brief description of the issue or decision and use metaphor in association with the System of System Methodology for dealing with the issue of decision. Actually apply your chosen system methodology to help improve the situation and bring about organisational learning. Critique the methodology you have applied.

Introduction and Summary description of the organisational problem to be addressed

Passport (UK) Limited (PPUK), a medium sized regional residential property developer, gained an enviable reputation in self-build property management by successfully developing and launching an innovative ‘packaged’ residential build process. The process invited numerous attractive selling points, which included building plot choice, total planning and design flexibility, finance options, specification flexibility and so on, but most importantly a high quality, bespoke product at a saving of 20-25% on open market value. In essence, the company were promoting a service that provided to those who wanted it, all the advantages of building your own home, but without having to engage with the actual building (Lewandowski 2010)

Although the company was doing well, it was constantly missing its year on year projections and growth was stagnating, even though it was offering immense benefits and financial savings. The initial expectation, was that as a nation of cost conscious yet demanding house-buyers, this lucrative method of house purchase would be over-subscribed – this had turned out not to be the case in the short to medium term.
Contextualising the problem situation

The Cambridge dictionary (online) defines ‘a problem’ as “a situation, person or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved,” (2011). Due to the new and innovative process of house purchase developed by the company, emerging issues required attention on a regular basis. Many of these issues were technical rather than organisational, and could be solved using a combination of reductionist techniques comprised of multiple part analysis usually associated with the natural sciences (Jackson, 2003), and in-house expert knowledge. Consequently, the problem situation described herein, appeared not to be rooted in the natural sciences, but in the social sciences implying a deficit or failure somewhere in the system and sub-systems of interacting parts which as a whole, make up the internal and dynamic external environment of PPUK (Nakamura & Kijima 2010), (Jackson 2003). Considering the service provision was in the growth phase of its lifecycle (figure 1), stagnation so early on could have a devastating impact mainly by reducing lender confidence in the models long term viability and the public’s perception of the company and concept.

Figure 1: The PPUK product lifecycle at the point of stagnation
Techniques to encourage creative thinking

Mason & Mitroff (1981) and Ackoff (1994) advance the argument that all too often problem situations in business are expected to be pre-defined; an unrealistic expectation by management, in so much that problems need to be identified before they can be determined. Within todays organisations complexity is inevitable, with both researchers advocating that problems cannot be solved separately or in isolation from each other, regarding them consecutively as ‘wicked problems’ or ‘messes’ (ibid). Subject…