Critical Analysis of Management Theories and Concepts

Organization and managers continue to practice management based on traditional, old principles and functions which does not reflect the current economic situation such as inflation and credit crunch. Although the organizational environment has brought in new models in the organizational environment, managers need to be aware of the limitations and simplifications present in these theories. Today, management operations and education reflect issues of concern to today’s changing business environment in the contextual framework of leadership, globalization, competitive strategies, business ethics, social responsibility and managing the workplace. Since the development of industries, the emergency of different organizational functions such as co-ordinating, controlling, directing, organizing and planning company operations but bought about the division of work (Weick 2001: Linstead, Fulop, et al. 2004).

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Operational research is a method and a tool for analyzing data used for decision-making in organizational management. Operational research has been dominating usage in different organizations and applied across the different departments. This concept has been beneficial to managers since it has helped them solve practical problems. organizations have been using operational research to solve organizational problems and have influenced decision-making. Operation research was used as a communication tool for problem-solving but the strategy behind the application was not sufficient enough to cater for the functions of organizational functions and participation in management decision-making. organizations units such as personnel, marketing and production have adopted operations research in the business activities but public relations and communication units have been slow to adopt the research techniques. Operations research is linked to areas such as the decision-making process, organization, management, structure and function in an organization and information in which decisions rest (Grunig &Dozier 1992, p.254: Bryman & Bell, 2006).

Techniques involved in operation research such as Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), cost-benefit analysis, expected value analysis and Critical Path analysis (CPM) are very essential in a problem-solving organizational setting, however, managers need to be aware of the enormous expenditures involved in these methods. Operations research makes managers over-rely on the research rather than on formal methods in decision-making on how to handle major and controllable strategic variables in the sense that operational research methods used in problem-solving are not quibbling enough to solve complex problems. Managers should employ problem-solving techniques in solving institutional problems rather than investing huge sums in trying to solve sophisticated problems. Managers may be aware of some problems existing within the organization but unable to identify the appropriate operational research technique that could solve the underlying problem. Also, the department may define the problem inadequately, inappropriately and inaccurately making it hard to apply the desired operations research technique (Grunig & Dozier 1992, p.254). According to Alvesson and Deetz (2000), research should be designed to fit post-modernization and critical theory. The critical methodology should produce insights and be transformative.

Public relations practitioners ignore operations research in the daily running of organization activities. Areas that seem simple are accomplished without operational research which should not be the case. For instance, news release and placement are viewed as simple communication task that does not need operations research. They turn into routines over time and ignore the complexities involved in executing the duties. In media placement, the routine ignores the problem areas in two ways:

  • it fails to find the best optimal combination of media outlets to meet the desired outcomes that operations research would have identified;
  • the simple routine fails to set out the desired outcomes to be attained. Communication departments such as the media have been ignoring the adoption of operation research. The media deals with a variety of communication and advertisement strategies, how can we identify the techniques of the appropriate operation to solve the problem? (Grunig &Dozier 1992, p.255).

Operations research has aided managers in decision-making and gaining knowledge in the existing techniques used for solving a wide range of problems in industry, health, urban planning and governance. Operations research includes the application of information models, statistics, simulation techniques and optimization models. Public relations practitioners should be equipped with operations research methods to help in providing decision-making that will produce efficient action in problem-solving. organizations should use research methods whenever and wherever decisions are made. Operations research should be in a position to help top managers conceptual distinction between marketing and public relations since the two departments correlate with one another. The model should re-define ill goals and inefficient behaviors and rather provide a concrete and measurable action that is attainable that has measurable outcomes and provide appropriate meaningful standards to help the organization determine which means is suitable in solving the underlying problem (Grunig & Dozier 1992, p.263).

Managers should be aware that when their public relations department is reduced to publicity, selecting the appropriate goals can be challenging. In such a situation, the organization is forced to use simple measurement techniques rather than choosing the appropriate operations research. For example, Ketchum Public Relations firm uses a public-tracking system to help its professionals in achieving the goal of selecting the best media vehicles in sending messages to users. This method provides only a temporary measure of potential exposure as it should only be used as an intermediate step in achieving program impact. Publicity tracking is only a primary methodology in identifying problems and does not provide a concrete base measure for actual exposure and does not base on actual behavioral effects. This method does not provide a usable model for analyzing the overall objective of maximizing profits. Also, the method only deals with the evaluation of the presentation of publicity where it measures the awareness or attitudes but fails to address the message presented. This methodology cannot measure messages obtained from the public because they are presented collectively. Its actually hard to measure collective attitudes, motivation, cognitive states and actual behaviors on which to set organizational goals (Grunig & Dozier 1992, p.264).

Public Value Tracking Methodology represents product publicity and advertising value. The value is measured in potential exposure rather than profit terms. Public relations employ publicity tracking because the method is simple to use but unable to adequately measure frequency in a given setting. The measures fail to provide anticipations of exposure on activity sales. Essentially, the measures do not emphasize the complex and variable chains that connect copy presented to the cognitive exposure, actual exposure and social and cultural mediated behavior that influence buying behaviors (Grunig & Dozier 1992, p.265).

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In the management educational context, business schools have been facing capitalistic market logic in the sense that industries have turned the educational grounds to be supermarkets (Winter 1999, p. 190). The school curriculum has been turned from a student-teacher curriculum into a producer-consumer commodity. Welsh & Dehler (2004) argues that business schools have been subjected to components of product portfolio in the sense that it has shifted its focus to garnering and controlling resources. University presidents and deans have been streamlining the curriculum to fit their own programs. External competition dominating corporate universities such as the “domestication of management education” dilutes the essence of education since it promotes education for organizational sake (Antanacopoulou 2002, p. 193) which has reduced education to a commodity level. Tiratsoo (2004) points out that programs that initially produced 100,00 MBAs annually are experiencing a downturn in application since most of the applicants are moving away from International member institutions to non-member ones (AACSB 2002; Merritt 2005; Antanacopoulou 2002b, p.50; Bok, 2000; Birnbaum 2002; Currier & Knights 2003, p.35).

Dolence and Norris (1995) point out that the U.S needs to keep the student up to pace with evolving workplace skills and commit to education probably once a week. This calls for the need to repair management education. Management education needs to transform and reinvent its educational settings. Managers should seek to adopt heterodoxical approach in serving the need of both educator-scholars and student-practitioners who use management knowledge. Critical examination of management education brings to light problems at work place that need reinvention.

In decision-making theory, organizations that are centralized, formalized, or stratified do not give employees a chance to be involved in decision-making. Managers should adopt a decentralized, less formal and more complex organizational structure that will enable employees to participate in decision-making. Hull and Sage (1982) have demonstrated that large organizations can have both organic (decentralized) and mechanical (centralized) organizations. Any established organizational structure brings about communication and the employees are required to follow a particular path. These organizations may employ upward or downward communication channels depending on the organizational structure, managers may therefore have problems in identifying suitable communication paths. It is also hard to identify the structure to which an organization determines its communication system or the structure it uses. Structural variables and communication system have different effects on different individuals and on organization job satisfaction making hard to determine the suitable one. According to communication professionals, a change in the communication system would imply a change in organizational structure. Managers should be well informed with the appropriate communication channel to employ a change in communication system without change in organizational structure would cause job dissatisfaction and inefficiency (Brown & Boston 1994, p.200: Daft 1986).

In organizational theory, organizational managers are unable to link the relationship between environment and structure which seems to be complex. organization system theory explains the way systems are organized, means of receiving, processing and storing information. It also explains the way the system operates, reacts and adoption of various inputs within the environment. All these processes were essential to the organization as it was composed of mechanical, physical and biological entities. The image of an organization describes stability, effectiveness, perfect bureaucracy, which must be orderly and hierarchical. Later the system devised methods and organizational aids such as communication aids, production control, salary plans and accountability for organizational efficiency. System development was then adopted by many industries to solve the problem of productivity, class conflict in private and public sectors and unemployment. The system also brought about uniformity, independence and provided remedies that were applicable to organizations (William 2007, p.170).

Before the system development, organizations experienced labor unrest due to instability in the society and economy that brought about the need for system adoption. The system then moved to economical theory to what we see today to be dominating our organizations. Although adopted by many organizations, the system lacks theoretical development of public administration such that the public management system approach is not well defined. Managers should be aware that the adoption of system management in the organization holds the growth of knowledge since the system does not provide alternative methods of empirical research when faced with critical conditions. Research in public administration should describe form and content but the system is not flexible enough to allow such developments (William 2007, p.171).

System theory should adapt to the environment by restructuring itself in a rational and purposeful way. A successful system is one that is driven by certain processes thereby enabling the system to operate on equilibrium stability, predictability and orderliness. The successful system adoption also enables the relationship of variables to be stable over time. As observed, linear systems respond to variables in an even manner, William (2007) discovered disorder and entropy within system theories. He acknowledges that lessening uncertainty, in turn, lessens entropy.

The system approach has been adopted by almost everyone but the wrong metaphors have been used to describe realities. This has been attributed to a lack of the ability to attain. organizations only seek to adopt system theory when they are about to reach equilibrium. With strategic management in the general system approach, the organization plans for the future according to pre-determined strategies which are predictable. William (2007, p. 173) points out that organizations can build on existing points that existed in the past and reflect them to future successes. She continues that new strategies should be brought into focus to realize any success in the business. Renewal, transformation and innovation are the strategies to be looked for well in advance to solve future problems while chaos ideas cannot be predetermined making chaos theory inefficient to such matters.

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Chaos theory has more complex environments and conditions as compared to the system approach. This system requires a fresher approach as the organizations are unable to cope with the complex problems directly. The system is enhanced with creativity and trust but does not provide control over the future. As we have seen the shortcomings of the general system, the management should not eliminate the system but seek alternatives that will make them understand the systems and their applications. Chaos theory provides organizations with information on when to apply control at a reasonable time and extend the control. This theory enables different age groups to develop interest and changes the actions and operations of individuals and organizations. Within chaos theory, the patterns merge over time. For example, after a match, people want to leave the venue simultaneously and the area changes from an equilibrium system to chaos as everyone is moving towards a limited exit. This describes the complexity of chaos to what is describes as modern chaos theory. Modern chaos theory is a shift from order to chaos and back again. Therefore the chaos system theory not does recognize the relationship between cause and effect. Chaos theory does not, therefore, does not provide predictions of extra ordinary problems making the system unreliable (William 2007, p.173).

Chaos theory as applied to present organizations has stimulated new demands, strategies and organization patterns. Among the strategies developed in the innovation of the contractual organization. Managers assumed that work performed on a contractual basis saves the company operational costs. Due to this, working hours have changed as employers perceive work on a contractual basis cheaper as it can only stream in casual workers during extra hours or peaks. When the company chooses to use this system, they should be aware that personnel will not always be available. Personnel is only employed on a contractual basis and if their services are not fully utilized on a full-time basis, then their services will be uneconomical. Management is only rewarded on results, not time, therefore, the management should offer jobs only on a contractual basis that will enable employees to be paid for the results and not time. The problem attributed to this theory is that employers may utilize monopolistic power by paying minimum wages to maximum output (William 2007, p.188; Rollison 2005: Bratton & Callinon et al, 2007).

Marketing as a management practice needs to be redefined, implemented and applied to specific areas where competition is dominant. There have been controversies about what relationship managers have towards marketing. Efficient management calls for having knowledgeable information to consumer’s needs. We notice the knowledgeable clashes existing in insurance firms between marketing as a discourse and a set of managers. With the changing consumer needs, each group has its own pre-defined needs basing on gender, age and class which has brought the business into the marketing segmentation. These segmentations are easily identifiable and calculated. The marketing sphere has been dominated by politics such that individual consumption preferences are expressed in focus groups and consumer surveys. Also, with the advent of technology, marketing has been able to identify consumer preferences which have been the most preferable legitimate political action. Using the political sphere to transmute consumer’s consumption has weakened efforts to form a civic society that represents consumer’s collective aspirations, therefore, compromising individual preferences. Civil society should find a place in the marketing arena as the legitimacy of politics has weakened individual preferences. Political dominance in marketing has made it difficult to envisage alternatives to public discourse and provision for a collective decision-making environment (Morgan & Sturdy 2000 cited in Alvesson & Willmott 2003 p.129).

In the postmodernization approach, critical theory has focused on limited information, an advertisement for instance rather than dwelling on theoretical work (Martin 1990: Alvesson 1996). organizational studies have looked at particular industries on qualitative and interpretative data by use of inspiration from the postmodernist version. organization studies and Management Communication Quarterly magazines have critically examined the empirical work of modern management in issues of corporate crimes, environmental pollution, racial discrimination, sexual harassment and manipulation of customers. Research methods have been designed to investigate the problem that is more hidden or not fully expressed (Sotorin & Gottfried 1999: Martin 2001). High degree research must be adopted in the organization in order to study and identify cultural depth structures to teach managers how common sense categories and vocabularies carry hidden meanings and devise space for action (Clegg, Hardy, et al, 2006, p.274; Kilduff & Mehra1997, p.454; Cumming 2002, p.56).

Accounting has become a dominant force in modern society. These practices equipped with practitioners provide influential advice to the government, organizations and contractors. The devices are used for risk management and performance appraisals. Accounting information has been known to influence cost determination, share prices and effect to what goods and services are produced, where production takes place and distribution of goods. Accounting has also influenced the current pressure of globalization and economic rationalization. Therefore accounting information greatly affects decision-making and represents human assets, intellectual capital, environment and balance sheets. From this perspective, we see that accounting practice is a powerful force in economic reasoning. If accounting represents true and fair value, why then do we have scandals and crises? In order to keep up with modern society, managers need to devise new methods of economic calculation to need with the emerging economic crisis which accounting has failed to diagnose (Alvesson & Willmott 2003, p.144).

In management accounting, the determination of true costs has not adequately represented overhead cots and transfer of pricing. Initially, activity based costing in management accounting included all industries activities in overhead cost allocation to produce true costs either than relying on cost of producing goods and services that consists of marketing, administration, research and customer support. Various textbooks have been trying to define optimal costs and transfer pricing through various methods of economic analysis but the real business world price is determined by organizational and political. Accounting systems have been subjected to theoretical justifications and common sense perception just like any other social practice which does not represent true income and true costs. This proves that accounting techniques need to b redefine and improved to reveal cost and income effectively (Alvesson & Willmott 2003, p.144; Alvesson 2002; Swieringa, & Waterhouse 1982, p.150).

Accounting measurement has not reliable for the fact that its apparent objectivity could not effectively deal with inflation. Also, the alternative systems of accounting have multiplied the possibilities for units of economic measurement thereby undermining its objectivity. This inconsistency in the accounting system as a representation practice brings us to the conclusion that there is no independent economic reality (Alvesson & Willmott 2003, p.136).

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In conclusion, accounting information is not sufficient enough for organizations to base their decisions on. Accounting culture has prevented strategic decisions in firms that call for need improvement in the accounting practices. decision-making for accounting is very essential for the functioning of an organization setting which needs reliable accounting information. Burchell (1980) argues that decision-making should be supported with high certainty of the objectives to which the decision is originating together with high certainty concerning the relationship between decision and action. Contrary, accounting information can serve to rationalize and justify decisions or can be used in organizational politics. Managers should therefore adopt reliable calculating measurements that would provide reliable information to be used in decision-making. Based on this judgment, accounting information has lost its meaning as a functional source for decision-making but rather used as a symbolic source for the organization (Dent 1991, p.710).

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