All entries for March 2011

March 28, 2011

RDD Feedback

Feedback from the RDD module could not have arrived at a better time. I'm embarking on a new journey with the same faces (as I've worked with all my group members and leader at some point on the other) on the KBAM module affording me the opportunity to try a new style of team work and contribution that I feel might be of benefit to myself and my team mates.

I was told to improve on my blogging. Not sure if that's quantity or quality, but I'll endeavour to improve on both in this KBAM module. I can't lie and say bloggin is entirely new to me. The concept of writing ones thoughts or pieces of knowledge is something i've done through a diary over the years. Maybe its the knowedge that the whole world is reading the content that makes the process so unappealing and harder to do. Having reviewed many blogs though, I guess it doesnt have to be perfect. Just blog...

Also, I have seen how different decisions and trains of thought should be taken into consideration when doing a group project. If a final outcome cannot be reached, it may be worth considering both issues or solutions instead of one. To be honest, I entered the mini project thinking only one outcome was a possibility for the project continuation and location due to the size and finicial constraints, but I guess not. I don't know how many people or organisations would be willing to pursue two factory developments at the same time.. : s. Maybe its my risk averse nature that affects my decison making ability?

All in all, I actually really enjoyed this module with its twists and turns. A lot of learning and My team mates and I worked very hard. Infact, maybe a little too hard.

March 25, 2011

Thoughts on Charismatic leadership.

It's PMA time and Leadership and Excellence is the topic of focus.

Reviewing all the different theories of leadershiop has been very interesting and I've looked to relating these theories with everyday leaders I know or have heard about.

I've found charismatic leadership the most interesting so far due to the characteristics proposed by House (1976) in Northouse (2007):

Dominance Strong role model Trust in leader's ideology
Desire to Influence Highly competent Belief similarity between leader and follower
Confident Highly articulate Unquestioning acceptance
Strong values Communicates high expectations Affection towards leaders
Expresses confidence Obedience
Arouses motives Identification with leader
Emotional involvement
Heightened goals
Increased confidence

Notable charismatic leaders include Ghandi, J.F.Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What strikes me is that there seem to be an abundance of this style of leadership in the political arena. What about in organisations setting.

Based on the findings by house listed above, I'm not sure I'd be totally happy working with a leader with ALL the identified characteristics and behaviours. The particular effect on followers in terms of unquestioning acceptance is rather worrying. Why should I follow someone blindly just because they have been identified as a leader? I think in this day and age, its easy for people to get swept over by sparkling words and waffle and it's up to us as individuals to see through the fog in our leaders.

Also, Charismatic leadership behaviours imply a relatively rigid style of leadership. Not being able to adapt to change through their strong values and dominant nature in this modern and dynamic world is not something I'd look forward to.

It's not all bad however, there are positives by way of confidence in team members and good communication skills.

I just don't feel like I can fully trust a charismatic leader. Having an individual with such strong views is just a little too worrying for me. I''m not sure I might be able to express myself as a team member. I hope to experience this form of leadership (in an organisational situation and not a political one) at some point to see if my thoughts and views are the same following the experience


House R.J. (1976) a 1976 Theory of charismatic leadership In J.G. Hunt & L.L.Larson, Leadership: The cutting edge (pp.189-207). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Northouse P.G. (2007) Leadership, theory and practice. 4th Edition. USA: SAGE Publisihing.

March 19, 2011

Who/What has the final say in a decision process?

Having reviewed about 11 tools during the RDM mini project, decisions still had to be made as to what the FINAL decision would be. Its not just about the numbers and what the tools say, I guess its still down to us to decide (yet again) whether or not a decision is right.

It is most evident when comparing two outcomes and the figures are so close. I guess it boils down to the bias we have as individuals when assigning grades or ranks to factors... It' all subjective and will chnage from person to person.

I believe that these tools are a useful guide in the decision making process, but it still boils down to the human to decide the final decision. This is because numerous books will point to the benefits, but also flaws and limitations of these decision making tools.

Humans as we know are also subject to in-built bias, howeverm in combination with these tools, these biases can be reduced.

The value of Decision Analysis – RDM Mini Project

Over the last week, I was assigned to Group D within the RDM module. We had to make use of the decision analysis tools taught over the earlier week in making decisions for the Waveriders case study on:

  1. Whether or not to launch a new product - The 'Sea Catch'
  2. What location to begin production if the answer is to continue with the project.
  3. The advertising mix for the new product.

In all honesty, before the course began, I did not think I would make much use of this module in everyday life or ina future working environment due to my erlier experiences of working life. In my previous company, a lot of decisions were made using the SWOT analysis tools and the Cost Benefit Analysis tools and I felt that was it! Also, I did not feel I would be in a role that required me to make decisions using such complex sounding tools!

I have to give a big thumbs up to Jeff! Although many of us found the theoretical aspects of the module, i.e. the leactures a bit demanding on our attention, I'm not sure how else it could have been covered. After the first few tools, I was immediately struck by the array of tools out there that can be applied in reducing bias in decision making.

Looking at the WaveRiders Mini project assigned to us, my team and I wanted to eliminate as much heuristic bias as possible by applying the tools to the approporiate decisions to be made. We all went away to apply assigned tools to the different scenarios and found some tools were inapproporiate due to the availability of information presented to us (We worked on the assumption that all the information in the wave riders case study was accurate and the only information available to us). It was interesting to look at the questions at an in-depth level in order to justify decisions that have to be made with the availbility of information provided.

The exerscise had a benefit impact on me personally as I now value the use of these tools much more. I have even applied two toos in a  crucial decision making process with regards to my life. I also hope to make more use of these tools in a real work environment so as to justify the decisions being made.

In short, I value decision analysis!

March 2011

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