BLOG REFLECTION

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INTRODUCTION:

At the start of my masters level academic programme, I immediately interested myself in the modules that had significant content of entrepreneurship training. This is because of the possibilities of enriching my knowledge and interest in becoming an entrepreneur in the future.

The most interesting aspect of this module has been the elevation of discussion and interaction through the challenging group activities that we had to be engaged in over most of the duration of the course which has helped me to become an effective member of the team specifically and carried through to other group activities that I was subsequently involved in. the activities helped develop and enhance my personal disposition to team work and the group dynamics that help teams develop and overcome challenges

Apart from the aspect of team building and the development of personal team spirit, the module activities such as the writing and posting of the blogs has been very useful in the development of writing skills, analysis, argumentation and exchange of ideas. Some of the blogs that were posted were very entertaining; others had a great deal of information and ideas. There were many ideas and analysis in the blogs that were either faulted or seconded by the comments made by other people and bloggers. Many topics and study areas were blogged about and number of comments made about the blogs provided a critical learning platform especially for me.

This reflective learning statement will essay on the blogs and how they have impacted on my understanding of issues in the academic and social sphere. Also, the group activities that I was involved in and the very important impact of this course on my entrepreneurial tendencies

THE BLOGS

Writing the blogs and as a result, interacting with other team members and the entire module group. It was a very interesting aspect of the course programme that allowed for the unreserved sharing of ideas and points of view some of which differed intensely especially when ideas were suggested in the writings on the comments made following the blog. There was almost always a contrary idea coming into the picture and these cases even intensified the arguments and counter arguments on any particular issue. The good part is how a small and concise blog topic brings about such profound that it positively informs and enriches our consciousness and new information is gained on a particular subject. I was able to gain additional knowledge about the topics that I wrote blogs on because of these debates

I wrote a blog about teams that sparked such debate. My question then was “are teams really that effective “the answer would normally be a yes as dictated by conventional wisdom. However history and literature has proven to us that teams are only effective when they have a purpose driven and visionary leader who can help them drive and channel to purpose into useful action. This is a point that many agree with, however they were always ever so ready to add their own points to the debate. One of the bloggers Anna wrote that in a team “even if you run your own business there is every tendency that you will have to work with a team of other people – your partners, employees, customers and so on. It would be more sensible to learn how to work with others effectively instead of trying to do everything on your own and in your own way”

 

This was more an expression of writer’s enjoyment of working in the team. However, the fact remains that; it would not have been a case of appreciation and satisfaction if we did not have a credible and dependable leader. It was obvious to me that the group had a few people with the charisma that helped drive our team to success in every sense.

Looking at another blog that I feel is quite memorable and has enhanced my understanding of teams and how teams work, is the blog I wrote on “Creative collaboration’ while preparing the material to write that blog, I came across a number of historical and academic materials. I read about how the ancient Spartans collaborated to become an of the strongest force in human history. Their society valued creative collaboration. The strong army and infantry came from many years of working together for the singular purpose of fighting and winning wars. The Spartan infantry became popular because of their style of team building for the days of war and in every sense fostering creative collaboration.

The other blog which I think is worthy of mention here is the blog on “employee rewards’. In the words of Kang et al (2007), Employee rewards is an important aspect of the psychological contract defining the relationship between employers and their employees. In their own perception of their needs and expectations can motivate them more than just financial rewards. This point alone made the blog very interesting as I entered discussions and debate with other bloggers I realized how much interest that this blog generated. It is indeed a topic in the heart of modern enterprise. Many of the comments acknowledged the importance of this area of modern business and human resource management. The consensus I tend to gather from this blog and the discussions that followed is that there is no alternative to employee satisfaction in terms of their welfare and self-importance in an organization. Financial rewards do not necessarily satisfy the needs of employees in an organization, it is only a step towards that satisfaction and when it is seen as all that Is important, employee satisfaction will be undermined. More than what I would have studied in the classroom, these blog especially allowed me to gain extremely useful knowledge as a result of the various points of view that followed the topic. It was a crucial area of interest especially to us as business students as aspiring entrepreneurs and human resource managers.

OUR PRODUCT

Our product was called “Handy Cleaning” it is a two in one cleaning product, a combination of scrubber and sponge glued to rubber gloves. This product is made to be completely waterproof. To be able to make this product and endure that it was viable in the market. We found that this product or something similar was not yet in the British Market but only in China from where consumers would have to buy in bulk as this was the only option for importation. However, our design was original and unique in its own way and is very affordable.

Our target was young people who are mostly concerned with cleaning tasks. During our research we received positive feedback regarding the market acceptability and opportunity for our product to become very profitable. In terms of advertising, because of our limited financial resources we came up with a novel idea of organizing a party that will be helping us showcase our product.

As that was not enough, we also used d social network – facebook to advertise the products. We had a risk of the one product company as this could truncate our chances of succeeding as an organization. However, our product was indeed a very good idea even at the early stages

 

 

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR MY ENTREPRENEURSHIP PLAN

 

I enrolled myself in this course because of my personal dream of setting up my own design company in the future. I have a background in printed textiles design and this course has helped me to get a step closer to achieving my dream.

My family background has helped me to develop my energy in the entrepreneurial direction and this has helped me to focus on acquiring the skills that are necessary for me to attain my goals in the business world. My family has had a profound influence in my understanding of businesses and business start-ups; however, people such as Lord Alan Sugar have had a lasting influence in my view of what is right and wrong in the entrepreneurial world. I have drawn on many of his personal experiences and the training that I have received from my family to develop my entrepreneurial aspirations to a higher level. The family, according to Rogoff and Heck (2003:559) is the “oxygen that feeds the fire of entrepreneurship”. The family is therefore the first point of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. Sometimes business history, aspirations and goals of the family can have deep influences on the decision of the individual to become a business owner. Lord Sugar for example must have gained value insight from the tailoring experience of his father and became less averse to small beginnings. He was also exposed to such meagre beginnings early in his life when he had to sell beetroot from a stall to make extra money while in secondary school in Hackney. (Sugar, 2010).

Lord Sugar’s life experiences while growing up under such economic difficulties underscores the point made by Dalton and Holloway (1989) that many prospective entrepreneurs were bestowed with significant responsibilities at a young age. Sometimes such people had to be involved in one business venture of the other and this measure of early experience exposes them to the choice of following an entrepreneurial career path.

However, as individuals grow up in a particular environment, their environment becomes increasingly important to attitude formulation. Many people derive their personal attitude from the fabric of their learning and personal experiences and the for me the blogs, the module activities and the development of a product in a group have been immensely useful in developing my desire and determination to create a company, a product and a follow up marketing strategy that will see the product succeed and help expand the organisation. Studies by Curran (1996) reveal that the experiences of individuals draw heavily from secondary sources as a product of the collective attitudes of parents, peers and teachers. An example is how much we learn from peer groups, television and role models.

The entrepreneurship a concept that I have had to constantly remind myself of its meaning and implication for the growth of the economy and how much knowing this fact also helps to motivate me towards being part of the engine that drives the economy. Dickson and Weaver (2008) highlights the importance of entrepreneurship in economic development, through the creation of small firms, a vibrant industrial capacity of a country is also established. Small firms are crucial in any society for job creation, distribution of wealth and economic growth.

An entrepreneur is someone who creates a new enterprise. (Lee and Perterson, 2000). Entrepreneurship is also the process of “creating or seeking an opportunity and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled”. (McDougall and Oviatt, 1997:293). Entrepreneurship in the above senses therefore has a lot to do with innovative activity, capital accumulation and investment, and business growth.

 

CONCLUSION: LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE

At the end of this module I have been able to gain vital knowledge in my chosen field of personal endeavour, the awareness that the module has imparted in me gives me confidence in knowing that I can achieve my goal of establishing a company and then nurturing it to success and greater heights. However the course also gave me the opportunity to identify some of the weaknesses that may impinge on my ability to see my dreams through and to fruition. Murdock and Scutt (2003) explain that by accepting responsibility for our personal awareness and learning, we will be able to enhance our chances and improve our prospects. It is thus understandable how important personal examination and the identification of these weaknesses can be to the personal growth of the individual or manager especially as my awareness of these weaknesses mean that it is possible for me to begin to set out a plan to deal with them in a fruitful manner. While working through this module I have been able to gain value skills in interpersonal relations and approaching people in a friendly but purposeful manner and I also gained a great deal of persuasion skills. Through the lectures and seminars, I was also able to enhance my skills in negotiation. The exercises done during the course also allowed me to gain strong analytical skills and obtain growing ability to contribute effectively and meaningfully at most levels of management. However, while going through the course, I also found that there is need for me to improve my time management skills and to confront the problem of hesitation. Time is a very important factor in the management of any human activity this is very important both at the individual and organizational levels. (Caprioni,  2005)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Caprioni,P.J (2005) Management Skills for Everyday Life, sec. edn, New Jersey, Pearson.

Bowey, A.M. and Thorpe R. (2000) ‘Motivation and reward’, in Thorpe, R. and Homan, G. (eds), Strategic Award Systems, Harlow, Pearson Educated Limited, pp. 81-100.

Curran, J., Blackburn, R.A. (2001), Researching the Small Enterprise, London, Sage Publications.

Dickson, P.H., Weaver, K.M. (2008), “The role of the institutional environment in determining firm orientation towards entrepreneurial behaviour”, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 4 No.4, pp.467-83.

Kang, S, Morris, S and Snell, S. (2007) Relational Archetypes, Organisation Learning, and Value Creation: Extending the Human Resource Architecture, Academy of Management Review, vol. 32, issue 1, pp. 236-256.

Lee, S.M., Peterson, S.J. (2000), “Culture, entrepreneurial orientation, and global competitiveness”, Journal of World Business, Vol. 35 pp.401-16.

McDougall, P., Oviatt, B.M. (1997), “International entrepreneurship literature in the 1990s and directions for future research”, in Sexton, D.L., Smilor, R.W. (Eds),Entrepreneurship 2000, Upstart Publishing, Chicago, IL, pp.291-320.

Murdock, A and Scutt,C.N (2003) Personal Effectiveness, third edn, Oxford, Elsevier.

Rogoff, E.G., Heck, R.K.Z. (2003), “Editorial: evolving research in entrepreneurship and family business: recognizing family as the oxygen that feeds the fire of entrepreneurship”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 18 No.5, pp.559-66.

Sugar, A. (2010) What you see is what you get: my autobiography, London, pan Mcmillan.

 

 

 

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PARTICIPATIVE LEADERSHIP CAN ENHANCE JOB SATISFACTION

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One of the realities of the current global market place is that consumers expect more, have more alternatives from which to make their choices, and are less brand loyal. There is a distinction in leadership literature between Autocratic leadership and participative or democratic leadership. Autocratic leadership involves centralised decision making and imposition of ideas and policies on employees.  Participative leadership is the process whereby followers are allowed to influence the decisions of the leaders and worker input is duly considered in the final decisions made for the entire organisation. Participative leadership functions on the principle of consultation and collaboration thereby making sure that the decision is owned and appreciated by the employees and all the internal stakeholders. As seen in the way in which Richard Branson manages his organisation, Virgin Group as well as Warren buffet at Berkshire Hathaway.

Participative leadership presents a wide range of advantages summed up in better decisions, increased satisfaction with the decisions made, the development of decision making skills by the workers; which translates to higher levels of organisational learning and improved internal intellectual capacity. Decision making is one of the most important functions of leadership and if the employees are able to develop this skill then the organisation will be better for it because it may constitute a potent source of competitive advantage. What is key in Participative Leadership is the inclusion of employees in making decisions allowing them to make valuable suggestions especially in difficult circumstances and this allows them to embrace and express more commitment to organisational goals. 

 

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION

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EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: HYGIENE FACTORS VS MOTIVATORS

 

Fredrick Herzberg propounded the theory in which he distinguishes factors that are just necessary for employees to remain in organisations known as the ‘Hygiene Factors’ from those factors that really serve to motivate employees and makes them happy. Herzberg’s research shows that policy, work conditions, company car, relationship with supervision and subordinates, security, salary and status are hygiene factors while the true motivators are achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement (steer et al, 1996).

Herzberg’s theory once again shows that workers require self-actualisation and achievement to be motivated.

It should then be understood that personal incentives pay does not enhance performance but rather it may reduce and de-emphasize team work. It is true that people do work for money but in many cases financial rewards are not exchangeable with a work environment full of fun and interesting work. Financial incentives do not motivate at all. Infact as seen in many global businesses such as Microsoft and Google the more managers use rewards to motivate people the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the rewards.

It can be said therefore that the most effective team reward is by no means “pay” rather recognition of task completion. The idea of rewards has long been understood to be financial benefits offered to workers. The thinking has, however, been streamlined to mean much more than financial rewards and now encompasses rewards that make working a better experience. These opportunities include a chance for further career and professional development, work and life balance, consultative and employee participation that gives them a sense of importance and self-confidence

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION

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EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: HYGIENE FACTORS VS MOTIVATORS

 

Fredrick Herzberg propounded the theory in which he distinguishes factors that are just necessary for employees to remain in organisations known as the ‘Hygiene Factors’ from those factors that really serve to motivate employees and makes them happy. Herzberg’s research shows that policy, work conditions, company car, relationship with supervision and subordinates, security, salary and status are hygiene factors while the true motivators are achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement (steer et al, 1996).

Herzberg’s theory once again shows that workers require self-actualisation and achievement to be motivated.

It should then be understood that personal incentives pay does not enhance performance but rather it may reduce and de-emphasize team work. It is true that people do work for money but in many cases financial rewards are not exchangeable with a work environment full of fun and interesting work. Financial incentives do not motivate at all. Infact as seen in many global businesses such as Microsoft and Google the more managers use rewards to motivate people the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the rewards.

It can be said therefore that the most effective team reward is by no means “pay” rather recognition of task completion. The idea of rewards has long been understood to be financial benefits offered to workers. The thinking has, however, been streamlined to mean much more than financial rewards and now encompasses rewards that make working a better experience. These opportunities include a chance for further career and professional development, work and life balance, consultative and employee participation that gives them a sense of importance and self-confidence

LEADERSHIP IN ORGANISATIONS

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That leadership is a major factor in organisational performance is not in any doubt. Leadership has been a pivotal issue for mankind since the beginning of organised society. The qualities to be found in a good leader as well as a bad leader have caused intense debate for a very long time and their effectiveness has remained a matter of acute interest especially during the time of crisis and when decisions and risk need to be taken. Modern developments, challenges and increasing pace of change only serve to focus the spotlight on the role of leadership in organisation and how that role impacts on organisational performance. The impact of leadership on how employees are able or willing to perform in an organisation is immense and that influence has to be managed in the best interest of the organisation. ( pardey, 2007). The inherent truth in the above statement is that the success or failure of an organisation is the difference between good and bad leadership.

Good and effective leadership is a major determinant of organisational performance and poor leadership is capable of having negative consequences for the organisation.( Pfeffer, 2002 ). According to Northouse ( 2004) organisations thrive through having committed and competent people doing responsible and rewarding jobs but when employees are dissatisfied at work, they are less committed and will look for other opportunities to quit. If opportunities are unavailable, they may emotionally or mentally “withdraw” from the organisation. Thus, organisational commitment and job satisfaction are important attitudes in assessing the impact of leadership and how it affects the overall contribution of the employee to the organisation.

EMPLOYEE REWARDS

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EMPLOYEE REWARDS CAN LEAD TO JOB SATISFACTION

 Employee reward is an important aspect of the psychological contract defining the relationship between employers and employees. Rewarding employees according to their own perception of their needs and expectations can motivate them better, therefore the reward system usually has the most influence on employees behaviour.

(Kang et al, 2007)

 

The compensation and benefits that employers provide employees therefore can have a major influence on their conception of their employment relationship. In order words, rewards significantly impact the development of employees and fulfilment of the tacit agreement in the psychological contract. When employees are rewarded based on their perception and expectation for their efforts they react to these events based on what their expectations are and if these fall short, it alters the idea of the workers as regards their obligations to the organisation and this may result in low productivity for the organisation.

 

According to expectancy theory (in Armstrong, 2003), employees ask themselves these questions;

 

1.What’s in it for me?

2.How hard will I have to work to get what’s in it for me?

3.What are my real chances of getting the reward if I do what my boss wants?

 

Where the reward is seen to be fair and appropriate, the workers gain a good measure of satisfaction and reacts positively. If on the contrary, the process generates negative feedback.

(Bowey and Thorpe, 2000)

 

From the above, it is clear that people engage in any economic activity with expectations and especially, when they seek employment in an organisation and the way the organisation responds is of upmost importance.

 

 

EMPLOYEE REWARDS

Standard

EMPLOYEE REWARDS CAN LEAD TO JOB SATISFACTION

 Employee reward is an important aspect of the psychological contract defining the relationship between employers and employees. Rewarding employees according to their own perception of their needs and expectations can motivate them better, therefore the reward system usually has the most influence on employees behaviour.

(Kang et al, 2007)

 

The compensation and benefits that employers provide employees therefore can have a major influence on their conception of their employment relationship. In order words, rewards significantly impact the development of employees and fulfilment of the tacit agreement in the psychological contract. When employees are rewarded based on their perception and expectation for their efforts they react to these events based on what their expectations are and if these fall short, it alters the idea of the workers as regards their obligations to the organisation and this may result in low productivity for the organisation.

 

According to expectancy theory (in Armstrong, 2003), employees ask themselves these questions;

 

1.What’s in it for me?

2.How hard will I have to work to get what’s in it for me?

3.What are my real chances of getting the reward if I do what my boss wants?

 

Where the reward is seen to be fair and appropriate, the workers gain a good measure of satisfaction and reacts positively. If on the contrary, the process generates negative feedback.

(Bowey and Thorpe, 2000)

 

From the above, it is clear that people engage in any economic activity with expectations and especially, when they seek employment in an organisation and the way the organisation responds is of upmost importance.