Professional Certificate in Management

I forgot to announce my completion of the Professional Certificate in Management.

In July this year I was awarded the Certificate, after completing B628, B629 and B690.

I loved the content of this course, especially management theory and marketing, both of which are highly relevant to me.

In terms of the finance content, I was already familiar with most of it, but it served as a useful refresher, and I was surprised to learn a few new things I had never heard of.

All in all, I would recommend this course to anyone looking for a formal management qualification that is recognised around the world.

Approaches to change

The planned approach

The four-phase planned model was developed by Bullock and Batten (1985):

  1. Exploration phase
  2. Planning phase
  3. Action phase
  4. Integration phase

The emergent approach

The emergent approach is less prescriptive than the planned approach, and takes into account the dynamic and complex nature of organisations, focusing more on bottom-up changes.

There are five key areas that help or hinder the change process:

  1. Organisational structure
  2. Organisational culture
  3. Organisational learning
  4. Managerial behaviour
  5. Power and politics

(Source: B628, Managing and managing people).

Categorising and characterising change

Large-scale organisation-wide changes such as changes to the organisation’s hierarchy are usually deliberate, planned, and led by senior management. They are usually one-off, occur infrequently, and can therefore be said to be ‘episodic’.

Small changes at a departmental or subsystem level happen more spontaneously, and can be described as ‘emergent’. They can happen as part of an episodic organisation-wide change, or be initiated by individual managers as part of their day-to-day work. Such changes are often cumulative, and can bring about wider change in the organisation over the long term. When this happens, the changes are described as ‘incremental’.

Changes happen for two main reasons:

  • To improve on a poor situation
  • To improve on successes

Changes can therefore be large or small-scale, planned or emergent, episodic or incremental, and happen in response to problems or successes.

The B628 course book contains a good table on page 342 that lists the types of change and their characteristics as distinguished by Ackerman (1997), and considers:

  • Developmental change – to resolve a problem or improve something – can be planned or emergent.
  • Transitional change – to move from one state to another – typically planned and episodic.
  • Transformational change – to change structure, processes, culture, etc. – typically planned and continuous.

Stacey’s uncertainty matrix is worth looking at, covered on page 343. Stacey (1996) argues that two factors (uncertainty and agreement) influence whether a change will be simple, complicated, complex, or chaotic.

STEEP factors

  • Sociological
  • Technological
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Political

The above is a useful framework for assessing the external environment both as it stands now (a snapshot), and how it might look in the future.

Understanding stakeholders

An important part of understanding an organisation and the factors that influence it, is understanding the stakeholders who have an interest in the organisation.

Stakeholders can be internal to the organisation, or external. Sometimes their interest conflict. According to Freeman (1984), a stakeholder is “any group or individual who can affect, or affected by, the achievement of the organisation’s objectives”.

It is obvious why managers need to take into account and manage stakeholder interests and expectations.

Some key points to remember:

  • All organisations have internal and external stakeholders
  • Different stakeholders have different interests which may conflict
  • Organisational culture, structure, and control systems determine how these conflicts will be resolved.
  • Some stakeholder interests are protected by law.

According to Mitchel et al. (1997), stakeholders have varying degrees of power, legitimacy, and urgency. Page 328 in the B628 course book contains a Venn diagram which illustrates the intersection of these three factors, giving us seven different categories of stakeholder.

  • Those with only power.
  • Those with only legitimacy.
  • Those with only urgency.
  • Those with power and legitimacy.
  • Those with power and urgency.
  • Those with urgency and legitimacy.
  • Those with power, legitimacy and urgency.

The main thing to remember about stakeholders is that they do have different interests. The challenge for managers is balancing these interests when making decisions.