Leadership and Management in Action: Basic Functions

An organization can only achieve its specific objectives and wide goals if it operates while taking note of some management concepts. These concepts enable an organization in hospitality industry to run smoothly. The major functions of management include: plan, organize, direct, and control (Davidson, 2009).

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Planning

This makes up the basis of managing an organization. The concept requires an assessment of both present and future goals off an organization. When assessment is complete, a draft of the course of action is made and implemented subsequently. It is important to note that planning is a continuous process of appraising the position of an organization (Gomez-Mejia, 2008). There are extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect the running of a restaurant or a hotel in hospitality industry. A factor such as world recession reduces the purchasing power of customers. For this reason, management must strategically plan on an appropriate course of action in order to evade losses. To successfully achieve strategic planning, analysis of an organization’s SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) should be carried out.

Organize

After a plan of action has been drafted, resources are organized. This requires the management to establish relationship between variables and assign them resources in a respective manner (Barry, 2004). In order to allocate resources well, tasks and expenditure patterns of all departments must be scrutinized. To manage well a hotel, the administration must consider distributing staff according to organization’s functions. Equipments and other recreation facilities like swimming pool must be availed.

Furthermore, human capital and accommodation must be sufficient in the hospitality industry. So as to build the reputation of the organization, customer care service must be emphasized. It is therefore important to employ multilingual individual who will bridge language barrier. At the moment, marketing sectors emphasize on the importance of customer experience. The management should look into the possibility of diverting more funds for marketing.

Directing

This function mainly entails management of staff by way of supervision and control. Such aspect of control helps the organization in achieving its goals while building career objectives of its staff members. For effective control and supervision of staff, communication, motivation and practicing departmental dynamics are some of the factors to be considered by the administration (Barry, 2004). Motivation in a hospitality industry is realized after offering incentives and other prizes to employees. Moreover, leadership in each department needs to be enhanced through delegation of duties to subordinates. Both vertical and horizontal communications are critical in every organization. The benefits which accrue from effective communication are: good working environment, positive interpersonal relationship and efficient approach to solving problems.

Control

Control simply captures maintenance of standards. It goes through a process of evaluation and reporting organization’s performance. In a situation where standards are high, the management will consider revising them to a lower level. An organization faced with a constraint of resources is under obligation to re-examine its standards continuously (Baker, 2005). A budget executed by the accounting department of a hotel helps management to compare both budgeted and actual results which will enable a subsequent adjustment of the budgets.

Personal experience as a food and beverage attendant in Sofitel hotel

At the planning stage of management, top managers draws a direction in which the hotel is suppose to move. Managers may resolve to employ 10 men and 5 women who will execute various duties. In this case, the manager gives a draft proposal that all men at the floor should serve food and beverage while the ladies should give customer care service i.e. inquiring about food combination and furnishing customers about different beverages. This approach in sharing duties is likely to attract more customers and ultimately profitability which planners are more concerned with.

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Organizing resources require an assessment of individual capability. The 10 men employed are distributed to various sections depending on expertise i.e. customer care, serving food or beverages, clearing the table, chef and bill collection. The top manager makes sure that positive result is achieved after employing such combination of men and women. Food and beverage assistant is under pressure from the direct supervisor to inform the customers about the drinks. This is the only way that sales level can be expanded.

If the organization makes profits, management is under obligation to motivate its staff by way of pay increase or giving the incentive packages. This is the role of directing staff. Sofitel hotel also exercises both vertical and horizontal communication to ensure that its staff is comfortable. When management wants to communicate to its staff, it sends a memo. Any member who violates the organization’s policies is punished accordingly.

An aspect of control executed by management in Sofitel hotel is customer satisfaction and quality of food and soft drinks served. Quality control is done by experienced personnel. The supervisor makes sure that the attendant has excellent skills on foods and drinks so that no mistake is made when presenting on the products available.

Performing the functions at different levels of management

Top level managers are more involved in major functions of planning, organizing and controlling. The first line managers participate in directing resources both human and none human. In a study by Lalich (2004), ‘‘planning, controlling and organizing decreases down the hierarchy of management while the role of directing increases down the hierarchy of management’’.

Top level managers comprise of a set or departmental heads. These groups of managers make decisions which have a direct effect on entire organization. Their role is to set goals and subsequently orient the organization to accomplish them. The outlook of the company in terms of performance is basically the result of top management’s action of setting goals and strategies. To perfect the art of management at the top level in a hotel or tourist resort, it is important that a manager builds his or her management skills overtime. Technical knowledge is also required to enable a manager capture the entirety of the organization.

Middle level managers lie below top level managers. A hotel can have middle level managers comprising of General Managers, and Regional managers. These groups of managers are responsible for executing goals set by top management. They indulge in goal setting, inspire staff and support first – line managers to reach objectives. In addition, middle level managers may assist top management set goals by submitting suggestions (Ailon, 2008). Since middle managers are more concerned with daily operations of the business, their contribution can lead to goal realization. An employee from the first level management can be promoted to middle level management within the restaurant.

The first line managers act as organization’s supervisors. A restaurant can employ entertainment manager who will be responsible for pure entertainment in the hotel. His or her duty will therefore involve organizing for live bands and music concerts. This means that first – line managers are responsible for specific part of the organization i.e. a work unit which can be customer experience, accounting or procurement (Ailon, 2008). Employees working as customer care agents interact frequently with customer experience manager. Their influence on the organization is strong since correlation between manager’s performance and employee performance is high. A performing customer care agent can be elevated into the position of manager through merit.

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In summary, managers at different management levels participate in their functions after investing a varied amount time. As detailed earlier, planning involves choosing appropriate organizational goals and strategies. These goals are achieved after organizing employees in a manner that they work in teams. Managers are under obligation to give their employees incentives as a way of motivating them. The last function of management is control which requires the management to compare budgets against actual values. Any variations are adjusted with an objective of reaching organizational goals.

Organizational culture as a source of comparative advantage

The morals, beliefs and formal procedures which are shared within an organization makes up its culture (Hofstede, 2001). Darwin hotels in Australia have a culture which values their customers. Experience that a customer goes through while at the hotel helps in marketing the organization’s products and services. In a bid to achieve customer experience, Darwin hotels provide a relaxed lifestyle. The hotel gives a chance to its customers to experience one of its infamous animals, the crocodile.

This is one of the competitive advantages contributing to profitability. Other factors contributing to competitive advantage are highly skilled workforce, sophisticated facilities, and affordable cost in the hotel. Ability of the customer to enjoy tropical nights and beautiful views of Darwin Harbor is a good description of its competitive advantage. Furthermore, people visiting Mindil Beach Sunset can have a taste of international cuisine and other fantastic things.

All organizations operate with both normative and regulative controls as a means of building on the culture of organization (McSweeney, 2002). Regulative controls capture aspects of finance, administration and quality controls. On the other hand, normative control builds on team norms and the cultural norms of the organization. Darwin hotel aims at encouraging customs that support behavior of the employee and goals of the organization. There is a clear distinction between appropriate and less appropriate behaviors of both employee and the management. In Nigeria, national dress is valued and can be worn in any function. This observation is contrary to the western world including Australia.

Geert Hofstede’s dimensions of cross-cultural differences

Geert tried to establish relationship between national and organizational cultures. His description of culture is idea shared among members in an organization. McSweeney (2002) states that ‘‘after filtering IBM’s dominant corporate culture from his data on IBM’s national subsidiaries, Hofstede was able to statistically distinguish cultural differences between countries” (p.100). Hofstede used five dimensions to study country’s cultural attitude and employee related issues.

Power distance

This elaborates on the level to which power is uniformly distributed in a society and if the society acknowledge the allocation. A high power distance culture favors administration in a chain of command with strong leaders and a high regard for authority (McSweeney, 2002). On the contrary, low power distance culture upholds individual accountability and independence.

Australia has small power distance where people agree to operate under consultative and democratic process. Relationship between individuals in an organization is positive regardless of the positions held. This means that subordinates are at liberty to critique on the decisions made by high level management. China which has high power distance operates under autocracy with subordinates acknowledging hierarchy in positions.

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Uncertainty avoidance

There is a degree to which persons need pre – established boundaries and apparent structures. A culture operating under high uncertainties allows individuals to survive with risks and innovation. A low uncertainty culture places emphasis on standards and security of the jobs.

High Uncertainty/Avoidance Index in Belgium imply that planning and communication of a project should be done in advance. Risk and contingencies plans must also be put in place. All available options should be investigated before reaching a conclusive end.

Individualism versus Collectivism

This compares interest of a person and that of a group. There is free will in an individual culture contrary to a collective culture where needs of a group precedes person interests. A study by (McSweeney, 2002) discloses that ‘‘a society with strong IDV score is characterized by group cohesion, loyalty and respect or members’’ (p.116).

Analysis done by Hofstede states that country in Central America where IDV scores are low would receive positively a marketing campaign oriented to benefit a community (McSweeney, 2002). This is because of the divergence from individualistic motive to community based motive. The traditions in this culture are respected and introduced in a slow pace. Feelings and emotions are suppressed to gain harmony in a workplace.

Masculinity versus femininity

McSweeney (2002) stated in his study that ‘‘MAS measure the orientation of the society i.e. masculine culture derives its status from wages and positions while feminine stresses on human relationships and quality of good life’’ (p.117 ). Countries with high MAS scores shape its men to be strong and not reveal their inner feelings. Low scores in MAS do not separate the roles of both men and women. The genders work together across all professions.

China and Japan has a high MAS compared to Australia. This means that employing a man to work at an office in those countries will succeed as compared to employing a woman. Society places high regard to man as a decision maker. Australia scores less in MAS. The impact is that men and women plays similar role in a society i.e. decision making.

References

Ailon, G. (2008) Mirror, mirror on the wall: Culture’s Consequences in a value test of its own design. The Academy of Management Review. 33(4). 885-904.

Baker, W et al. (2005) Identify and manage risk. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Barry, L. (2004) “The Collaborative Organization: Leadership Lessons from Mayo Clinic.” Organizational Dynamics. 33 (3). 228 –242.

Davidson, P et al. (2009) Management: core concepts and applications. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons.

Gomez-Mejia, L et al. (2008) Management: People, Performance, Change. New York: McGraw Hill.

Hofstede, G. (2001) Culture’s Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

Lalich, J. ( 2004) “Watch Your Culture.” Harvard Business Review. 82(1). 34–39.

McSweeney, B. (2002) “Hofstede’s Model of National Cultural Differences and Their Consequences: A Triumph of Faith – A Failure of Analysis”. Human Relations. 55 (1). 89–118.

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