Principle of Management Course: My Experiences

I believe that the Principles of Management course provided me with
invaluable information which will help in furthering both my professional as
well as personal life. I believe that learning is a process by which an
individual undergoes certain changes. Also, during the learning process, many of
the beliefs which a person holds are challenged. I underwent various changes
during this course. This paper will explain those changes. Furthermore, I will
detail the concepts, ideas and situations which had the greatest impact on me.
Before taking this course, my definition of the concept of management
would have been strictly based on power relationships within an organization,
how to use power to achieve your goals and how to manipulate people. Although
this definition might seem totalitarian, my background in Political Science
supported my initial misconceptions of management. I am a political science
major and the questions most often asked in political science courses deal with
power within a structure and how this power is used, abused and expressed by
those in control. Therefore, I came into the Principles of Management course
with the notion that I was going to be learning about power. This notion was
challenged as I learned that there are three different perspectives that are
used to analyze an organization.
There are three different perspectives used to view organizational
behavior and processes: Strategic-Design, Political and Cultural. Initially, I
was looking at the organization and the process of management from the political
perspective. This perspective deals with the use of power and influence
throughout the organization. However, I also had to learn about the strategic-
design perspective, which dealt with the differentiation, efficiency, strategy,
coordination and integration of various tasks within the organization. I also
had to learn about the cultural perspective which focused on the way in which
people assigned meanings to their respective work experiences. I was beginning
to understand that management and the organization are not just an arena for
power relations. Instead, a variety of factors compose management. Management
deals with the tasks, structure, culture and decision-making processes within an
organization. In order to be an effective manager one has to study and analyze
t he organization using all the perspectives.
This was the first phase of my learning: I was beginning to understand
that the perspective from which I had been viewing the organization was
insufficient because I was missing other important aspects of the organization.
Therefore, I needed to use a multi-perspective lens to analyze the organization.
I also learned about the roles that are present within an organization.
These roles are: director, producer, facilitator, mentor, coordinator, innovator
and broker. Each of these roles has a distinct function within the context of
the organization. These roles can complement and supplement each other.
After doing the in-class exercise, I discovered that I fell in Quinnís
Rational Goal quadrant and was oriented towards director and producer roles. A
director is expected to clarify expectations through processes, such as planning
and goal setting. Directorís define roles and tasks, generate rules and
policies and give instructions. After studying many of my everyday activities,
I noticed that I was inclined to give orders and that I was highly competitive
and goal oriented. I was also oriented towards the producer role. A producer
is supposed to accept responsibly, complete assignments and maintain high
personal productivity.
By identifying the roles towards which I was inclined, it made it easier
to track and remedy my negative tendencies. For instance, the my most negative
tendency emanating from the director/producer role is that fact that I can be
insensitive to an individualsí needs in the face of accomplishing my goals.
After a process of self-examination I identified my problems and negative
tendencies. At times, I possess an almost fanatical desire to achieve my goals.
This fanatical desire is so strong that it can override friendships, destroy
relationships and alienate people. I also began to notice that I had the
tendency to act quite insensitive, inconsiderate and not be approachable. Once I
had identified this problem, I realized that I needed to diversify myself by
adding elements from the other roles, such as mentor and facilitator. I
believed that if I complemented my director/producer roles with elements from
the mentor or facilitator roles, then this would enable me to foster a
collective effort, be sensitive towards the needs of individuals and still be
able to achieve my goals.
This was the second phase of my learning: I had identified a personal
deficiency and needed to work towards complementing my director/producer roles
with roles from