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Items filtered by date: December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:44

Best-Practice Companies

Best-Practice Companies


Introduction

Project management is a pertinent component of most companies in the current environment for global business. The framework used in the management of projects has significant implications on the company’s overall performance. Most large-scale companies have independent departments that focus on project management. However, there are other firms that do not have adequate platforms for project management. This hampers the efficiency of such companies in the implementation of projects. In view of such aspects, it is essential to assess some of the most outstanding best-practice companies from the perspective of project management. Wal-Mart and Dell are two outstanding companies in the field of project management. These are companies with establishments across the globe and have been highly effective with regard to the implementation of numerous projects. Both Dell and Wal-Mart are model companies with regard to project management. This analysis assesses the various similarities and differences between these companies. Consequently, their best-practices in project management will be put into perspective.


Best-practice Companies in Project Management

Dell is an outstanding firm in the computer technology sector. The firm’s main specialty is the manufacture of hardware components for computers. This is a highly dynamic sector that requires effective mechanisms for project management. There are various perspectives that exemplify Dell’s exemplary initiatives in the field of project management (Nicholas, 80).


Firstly, the company uses the agile PMLC model in the management of projects with high levels of uncertainties. In the technology sector, projects are characterized by high levels of uncertainty. For instance, it is massively complex to determine how the market would respond to a new hardware component for laptops. In view of such uncertainties, Dell uses the agile PMLC model to streamline projects involving the introduction of new products. Through this mechanism, Dell has been successful in project management. In addition to the management of uncertainties, Dell has been highly effective in the mitigation of the various risks which characterize projects. The management of risks has immensely boosted the standards of overall performance in the organization.


Wal-Mart also has an exceptional framework for project management. The company specializes in retail services across numerous jurisdictions. As a global brand, the company has incorporated various aspects of project management in order to attain efficiency (Kerzner, 26). For instance, the company’s projects for expansion are characterized by brilliant techniques of project management. This has greatly enhanced the company’s marketing strategy. Additionally, Wal-Mart’s mechanisms for inventory management are exquisite. This is because of the company’s integration of project management into its functional modalities.


Similarities among the best-practice companies

The project management practices for Wal-Mart and Dell Inc. are characterized by various similarities. Among the most notable similarities in these firms is the combination of different models for project management. This is largely because of the suitability of different models to different phases of project management. This approach has greatly benefitted the companies in the attainment of project management efficiency (Clemens, 107).


Another similarity involves the integration of technology into the project management systems. The use of technology has greatly boosted the efficiency of the companies’ respective mechanisms for project management. For instance, brilliant technology systems have been incorporated into the inventory management platforms for Wal-Mart. Similar trends are also evident in the project management systems for Dell Inc. Another significant similarity pertains to the companies’ use of agile PMLC model. The agile model is integrated into the project management framework for both companies as a platform for mitigating risks (Baker, 19).


Additionally, both companies use the model in the handling the different uncertainties which characterize organizational projects. These dynamics highlight the pertinent perspectives through which the project management practices of Dell and Wal-Mart are similar. Project managers are prominently used in the actualization of projects in both entities. In essence, the project managers formulate intricate plans for different projects. This has been strongly influential in boosting the efficiency of projects in Dell and Wal-Mart.


Differences in the project management best-practice companies

While both Wal-Mart and Dell are multinational entities, some differences are notable in their respective frameworks for best-practice in project management. The project management mechanisms at Wal-Mart are subdivided into distinct units. These subdivisions focus on different phases of the project. In contrast, Dell, Inc. employs a holistic approach to project management. This strategy helps the company to conduct all phases concomitantly. The second difference concerning both companies pertains to the actualization or implementation of projects. The implementation initiatives for Wal-Mart are mainly associated with elaborate planning based on the organizational targets. However, such a platform is not used by Dell Inc. This is largely because of the dynamism of projects in the technology sector.


The traditional approach is highly dominant in the management frameworks for Wal-Mart. In essence, the company uses this strategy in the management of projects whose requirements are more or less precise (Clemens, 68). However, the traditional project management approach is sparingly used at Dell. Communication is an outstanding aspect which is strongly emphasized in the project management framework for Wal-Mart. The company perceives communication as a sensitive component that determines the efficiency of organizational projects. However, Dell, Inc does not strongly accentuate on projects.


Critique of Best Practices

Risk analysis is a prominent component of project management for both Wal-Mart and Dell. The companies have exceptional mechanisms for the mitigation of risks. For instance, Dell uses the platforms for agile the PMLC model in order to avert uncertainties. The extensive integration of risk analysis components has formed the basis of consistency in the efficient management of projects in both organizations. While Dell is a highly successful organization, it has not developed adequate mechanisms for communication in project management. Communication is massively influential especially in terms of transition of different phases (Nicholas, 121). Consequently, the addition of communication mechanisms in Dell’s systems can streamline the company’s project.


Quality metrics have not been integrated adequately in the project management platforms for Wal-Mart. In essence, quality metrics cater for the review of the standards of success attained in an organization. Timeliness serves as another pertinent element of project management. The project scope should always be time0-bound. This is a strategic framework that massively enhances the efficiency of all phases of the project.


While both Dell and Wal-Mart are characterized by brilliant project management practices, timeliness should be incorporated into their respective blueprints for projects (Baker, 95). Such frameworks will be helpful in the alleviation of costs. In any company, cost mitigation is a critical dynamic of efficiency in project managements.


Implementation of best-practices for project management

The overall framework for project efficiency in an organization is massively influenced by the implementation mechanism. There are various strategies for consideration as pertains to implementation frameworks. Firstly, scope management is an essential aspect in the implementation phase. The mechanism of scope management facilitate for the timely completion of all phases in any project. The combination of different models of project management is also immensely beneficial. Such a combination helps in the maximization of all phases (Wysocki, 18). Another significant aspect in the implementation of best-practices pertains to the involvement of different stakeholders. Stakeholder management is crucial in the identification of potential pitfalls and also in the generation of essential information that relates directly to the entire project (Kerzner, 176). Many companies such as Wal-Mart have executed their projects using elaborate frameworks for stakeholder involvement.


Quality management also serves as a sensitive aspect of the project management framework for projects in any organization. In essence, quality metrics should be employed in the assessment of progress. Consequently, such an approach would be massively crucial in the development of adequate corrective measures (Lock, 27). Teamwork is also a prominent element of implementing organizational projects. Teamwork enhances cooperation is all stages of the project. Such dynamics also cater for conflict alleviation among different role players in the entire framework for project management.


Conclusion

Both Dell and Wal-Mart are model companies with regard to project management. The success of both firms is founded on excellent blueprints for project management. In view of such uncertainties, Dell uses the agile PMLC model to streamline projects involving the introduction of new products. Through this mechanism, Dell has streamlined its framework for project management. In addition to the management of uncertainties, Wal-Mart also has an exceptional framework for project management. The company specializes in retail services across numerous jurisdictions. As a global brand, the company has incorporated various aspects of project management in order to attain efficiency. For instance,


References

Baker, D. A. (2010). Multi company project management: Maximizing business results,      Lauderdale, FL: J. Ross Publishing

Clemens, J. P. (2009). Successful project management, Mason, OH: Cengage Learning

Kerzner, H. R. (2010). Project management: Best practices, achieving global excellence,   Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Lock, D. (2007). The essentials of project management, Hampshire: Gower Publishing       Limited

Nicholas, J. M. (2008). Project management for business, Burlington, MA: Butterworth-   Heinemann

Wysocki, R. K. (2012). Effective project management: Traditional, agile, extreme   managing complexity in the face of uncertainty, Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley &         Sons


Published in Business Studies
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:40

Ethical Behavior: Folole Muliaga’s Case

Ethical Behavior: Folole Muliaga’s Case


Abstract

The ethical behavior that a company exhibits affects its reputations and its relations with consumers. Appropriate ethical behavior means that an organization goes beyond its standard protocol of procedures and looks at the personal interest of its consumers. This paper looks at mercury energy, a state owned company in New Zealand accused of contributing to the death of one of its customers due to power disconnection. Mercury energy actions have been condemned countrywide as the company was perceived to focus on adhering to rules than listening to the concerns of consumers.


Introduction

Large state controlled corporations are often faced with the dilemma of adequately serving their customers and adhering to the laws and policies provided by the government. In an effort to accomplish these two tasks, a company can find itself embroiled in cases of unethical conduct. This paper reviews the case of Mrs. Muliaga and mercury energy in which the electricity supplier is accused of disconnecting power resulting to the death of Mrs. Muliaga. Mrs. Muliaga was reliant on home oxygen machine for her breathing, and with disconnection the machine was useless. Mercury energy was accused of ignoring the plight of Mrs. Muliaga as their consumer. With the determination to abide by policies regarding disconnection, they contributed to her death. As much as the emphasis is on profit making, corporations must undertake ethical and social responsibility when executing their task.


Summary

Folole Muliaga was Samoan national living in New Zealand and working as a school teacher. Mrs. Had acquired obesity related lung and heart complications. After doctors determined that her condition was untreatable, they discharged her from hospital with a home oxygen machine that she was supposed to use all the time. Mrs. Muliaga’s medical condition had depleted her family’s finances, and as a result, the Muliaga had debts. One of her outstanding bills was the electricity bill. On 29th May 2007, Mercury energy ordered the disconnection of power from Mrs. Muliaga home. Her children efforts to reason with the contractor of the need for continued power supply in the house proved futile. Mercury energy, which alleged that the Muliaga’s had overdue electricity bill of approximately US$ 168 disconnected her power leaving her home oxygen machine inoperable (Bridgman, 2010). Mrs. Muliaga dies three hours after her electricity disconnection due to lack of oxygen. When contacted, mercury energy responded by stating that they had done nothing legally and morally wrong (Meredith, B, n/d).


Consequence /Outcome

The power disconnection by mercury energy resulted to the premature death of Mrs. Muliaga. Though health specialists assigned to Mrs. Muliaga had only given her 1-3 years of life, she had defied the odds and lived for over five years. When the news of Mercury energy participation reached the public, the media become awash with accusations of how the state owned mercury energy victimizes its customers. Mercury energy was accused on implementing capitalist principles in its operations. Capitalism in business means that a company is driven to make profits. Mercury energy disconnected the Muliaga’s power supply without determining the underlying issues that could have caused the delay in payment. Mercury energy was accused of ethical misbehavior by failing to overlook their disconnection policy based on the patient’s need for an operational oxygen machine.


The executives and management of mercury energy also came off as contemptuous, having vehemently denied responsibility for the premature death of their customer. Mercury energy as a brand name suffered severely with the news of its involvement with the death of Mrs. Muliaga.  As a state owned company funded by tax payers, the public expected mercury Energy to look at Muliaga’s predicament with special considerations (Eweje, & Wu, 2010. The Muliaga’s constitute the tax payers that have for years supported the business operations at mercury energy. The disconnection of power from their home because someone was just doing his job was unacceptable. The death of Mrs. Muliaga led to a significant loss of trust in mercury energy and its business operations (Shears, 2007).


Analysis

Mercury energy’s action was not illegal, but it was morally wrong. The contractor was informed on the need for continued power supply in the Muliaga’s house. The contractor even acknowledged to have seen the oxygen machine in the house. However, he went ahead to disconnect Muliaga’s power supply making the oxygen machine useless for the patient. Mercury energy ignored the fact that disconnecting power from the Muliaga’s residence would have life threatening consequences (Thomas, & Dienhart, 2004. Mercury Energy ignored ethics and chose to adhere to their business policy regarding the disconnection of power. Mercury energy gives customers 6-7 weeks before it disconnects its power.


Mercury energy chose to abide by their disconnection policy and disconnected the Muliaga’s power supply. The fact that Mr. Muliaga had visited their offices to make arrangement for fortnight payment did not seem to have mattered to the electricity provider. Prior to the disconnection, Mr. Muliaga had visited the company to discuss his problems and determine whether he can pay the electricity bill in bits. The company, however, refused to listen and discuss payment matter with Mr. Muliaga. The company chose to adhere to the privacy act as the account was registered under Mrs. Muliaga’s name. Nevertheless, Mr. Muliaga went ahead to make two fortnightly payments before the power supply was cut (Eweje, & Wu, 2010).


 Considering the Muliaga were not intentional defaulters, but a family suffering from financial strain due to their mother medical condition, mercury energy should have made the effort to reason with Mr. Muliaga and write out a payment plan suitable for the family. The contractor should have consulted with the company on the need to proceed with disconnection after being informed on the presence of a home oxygen machine. The contractor, on behalf of Mercury Energy, should have been more considerate of Mrs. Muliaga’s medical condition. The energy company should also have sort official medical reports on Mrs. Muliaga condition before disconnecting electricity. Considering the Muliaga’s were making a request that was sensitive and revolved around life and death. The company’s decision not to disconnect power should be made out of compassion and common sense rather than adherence to company policies (Bjerregaard, & Lauring, 2013). Mercury energy should have undertaken stronger measures to make contact with the consumer seek clarification on persistent arrears and established a reliable way for gradual payments to be made.


 I agree with the police on their decision to investigate the matter and determine whether the decision to disconnect the power supply resulted to the death of Mrs. Muliaga. Investigations were vital to determine the information that Mercury energy had regarding Mr. Muliaga’s medical predicament.  Unfortunately, on June 12, the police ruled that they did not find any justifiable cause to charge mercury energy and the contractor involved in electricity disconnection. I disagree with these findings as the electricity company played a significant part in Mrs. Muliaga’s death.


The presence of an operational oxygen machine would have saved Mrs. Muliaga’s life, but due to the disconnection, she died.  The coroner also made the ruling that Mrs. Muliaga died of natural causes related to the severity of her obese condition (Bridgman, 2010). The coroner also ruled that stress related to her inability to access oxygen from her oxygen machine contributed significantly to her death. I agree with the coroner, Mrs. Muliaga had a life threatening condition which would be reason enough to ensure that her power supply is uninterrupted.


Reforms

Mercury energy admitted that they unaware that their disconnection efforts would result to such serious consequences. Following her tragic demise, mercury energy acknowledged the introduction of an additional policy that will focus on issues of power supply and medical/hardship situation. The additional; policy will give electricity consumers an opportunity to notify the electricity supply if there is a family member that is dependent on electricity powered medical equipment. Such notification will be accompanied by certified documents from credible health facilities (Amato, & Florence, 2009). The electricity company will then use such information to discuss different payment terms with the consumer.


Conclusion

The practice of business ethics is vital for very organization. Unfortunately, no all companies are keen to adhere to the principles of business ethics. Capitalist-centered companies such as Mercury Energy have proven that the drive towards profit making can be detrimental for an organization. State owned electricity company mercury energy found itself entangled in a case in which it was accused of engaging in acts that resulted to the death of one of its customers. Mercury energy decision to disconnect the Muliaga’s power supply resulted to the death of Mrs. Muliaga. Mercury energy should have made it their social responsibility to determine the reason for the delayed payments. They should also have taken the time consult with Mr. Muliaga when he showed up for discussions on alternative methods of payment. Organizations must take time to consult with consumers and avoid acting based on stringent policies. The behavior of organizations should be based on ethics and social responsibility and not purely adhering to the law.


Reference

Amato, A. & Florence, S. (2009). Corporate social responsibility and sustainable business. Centre for creative leadership

Bjerregaard, T. & Lauring, J. (2013). Managing contradictions of corporate social responsibility. Business ethics: a European Review. Vol. 22(2)131-142

Bridgman, T. (2010). Beyond the Manager's Moral Dilemma: Rethinking the 'Ideal-Type' Business Ethics Case. Journal of Business Ethics, 94311-322. Doi: 10.1007/s10551-011-0759-3

Eweje, G., & Wu, M. (2010). Corporate response to an ethical incident: the case of an energy company in New Zealand. Business Ethics: A European Review, 19(4), 379-392. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8608.2010.01596.x

Meredith, B. (n/d). The cost of contempt. Adrenalin publishing limited

Shears, R. (2007). Mother on an oxygen lifeline dies after firm cuts the power. Daily Mail. p. 31. Retrieved from EBSCOHost.

Thomas, T. & Dienhart, J. (2004). Strategic leadership of ethical behavior in business.  Academy of management executive. Vol. 18(2); 56


Published in Business Studies
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:33

Managing Church Conflict

Managing Church Conflict


Preface

We live in a world where conflict exists. The paper is basically at evaluating ways on managing church conflict within the society. Conflict is something that has been there for long which has ended in integrating to the church setting. The study is based on a Christian setting with major people being in the employment sector. The style used for conducting data was qualitative and quantitative methods in order to get sound decisions. The bible that has been used in this paper is the new version of KingJames. The paper focuses on how to manage church conflict that occurs in various forms.


 Managing Church Conflict

Introduction

Evidence shows that all conflict is not good simply because it creates destructions, reduces productivity, and creates tension among parties involved. Church conflict is one of the common types of conflicts that face people in the society. Any type of conflict should be eliminated using the appropriate approach in order to create a healthy, working environment for the society. In the book of Mark 10: 9, no man is allowed to separate what God has created and put together. It is clear that, the Almighty Father works with solidarity and does not like those who try to separate what He has brought together. Based on the information provided in the book of Mark, it’s with great concern on why the house of God (church) has become a place of confrontation and divides among His people.


There are many names that have been used, are being used, and will be used to describe the church. This doesn’t matter as long as the core concept of activities aimed for that purpose continues. What is amazing is that even the church, which is believed, to a sacred place is faced with problems and challenges of conflict. The aspect of conflict has proved that it always exists where humans exits. Since conflict is always everywhere, what we ought to do is develop some strategies on how to handle church conflict. This paper will evaluate the concept of conflict in church and how humans should develop strategies in managing church conflict.


Discussion

Conflict management is the concept of managing aspects of conflicts that revolve around the environmental setting of humans. Church conflict has been a continuous problem for quite some times. Research shows that the issue of church conflict has currently developed with no signs on whether the problem is going to abate in any time soon. In fact, instead of church conflict issues declining, there are instances that indicate that most people are engaging in conflict activities unlike in the old days, (Whetten & Kim, 2008). So many people in the ministry have changed their ways for what they are practicing does not go together with the expectations of what the church teaches. Halverstgadt analyzed the concept of managing church conflicts through the use of congregational reasons and personal views that have increasingly affected how people in the society acts and how it develops some conflicts, (Nurmi & Darling, 2007).


Managing church conflict is not an easy task simply because one has to determine how conflicts in church occur. Most people wonder where church conflict comes from simply because it is believed that the church is a holy place that supports activities that promote peace in the society. As in many places of everyday activities, addressing the issue of church conflict requires ministries and leaders of the church to develop systems and strategies of conflict management. This helps them in the process of managing church conflict because they are able to use the concept of step by step conflict management strategy. By the use of this concept, ministries are able to work within the fields of developing a model that ensures that everything is well established in the society setting. Christians should not react with their situations rather they should use their minds in evaluating what is best for the society and for those fellow Christians who lives around them, (Haugk, 2011).


Conflict Audit Strategy

In the book of Matthew 5: 9, Jesus talks about the concept of peacemaking. He says that those who are peacemakers are the children of God. Based on this concept, the obligation or the work of Christian is to prevent circumstances that cause or ignite conflict within the society. When managing church conflict at any situation, we should remember the cause of the issue. It is clear the cause of church conflict does not develop on a professional level rather it comes from a personal level perspective. Ministries should practice and teach parties in the church environment the concepts of forgiveness and love that comes from God. With the help of biblical understanding and prayers, leaders in the church are able to develop ways of managing church conflict. The forms of mistakes that results to church conflict can be handled with the use of evaluated in conversation and ensure that things that may tend to bring issues within the church are completely handled, (Hugh, 2006).


With some thoughts that the church is a place that has love and unity plus Christians are taught to love one another, it is difficult to think that church conflict can be realized. It is better to understand the personal nature of church conflict so as to come up with sound sentiments that give directions on managing aspects that cause conflict. Ministries should use the knowledge found in the bible so as to develop sound information in dealing with church conflict situations. Leaders in the church should take advantage of the scripture content in managing conflict by giving good examples and using rich conflict management information that is found in the scripture, (Berk & Berk, 2009).


Conflict Management at the Individual Level

Proverbs 16: 32 enlighten ministries on how managing church conflict should be the approach. The context of this scripture text claims that some who has slow anger stands at a better chance than might, plus the person who rules his spirit is better compared to the person who takes the city to rule. Ministries, leaders, and Christians should always prevent the use of personal emotional aspects when dealing with matters that are church related. There should exist some emotional control positions so as to act and maintain the glory of God at all times. We should have emotional stability so as to determine what affects us or challenges that we encounter that develops conflict within the church setting. Emotional stability helps in understanding how people who seem to have a conflict behave and by this we tend to come up with strategies of dealing with the problem. With the help of emotional control positions, one is able to solve problems in a manner that practices the concept of equal rotations of responsibilities something that allows clear communication and respect to areas that may cause church conflict within humans, (McCorkle & Reese, 2010).


Conflict management at Group Level

Apart from personal and interpersonal church conflicts, group conflicts in the church also exist. Group conflicts deals with an individual’s professional differences. Within the church setting, people who join church members are from different professionals thus they come with a reputation of their professional as compared to those they find there. The ability to work or associate with those from other professional may be difficult something that cause church conflict among those in the same group. Managing church conflict in such a situation may be difficult simply because these people are from different professional. A good example for this situation is with choir members. Each church member of the choir comes from a different profession thus it may be challenging to work together. Since these people may sometime want to shed their problems in such an environment, it would be advisable for the ministries to have a personal interview with each of the member believed or thought to have issues that contribute to church conflict, (Adler, 2002).


Managing church conflict requires a critical systematization of all aspects that are known to pose a threat in the social setting. As Christians, we all believe in forgiveness. This should be the base plot of managing church conflicts that have affected the growth of the church in most areas of worship. We should always seek opinions of the Christians before reaching into a conclusion simply because the foundation of the church is always based on what the church teaches them and what they are called to do. When the church experiences conflict at the management level, the approach is to develop skilled leadership system that helps handle problems of the church.


Reference:

Books

Benfari, R. (2011). Changing your management style: how to evaluate and improve your own performance. New York: Lexington Books.

Berk, J., & Berk, S. (2009). Managing effectively: a handbook for first-time managers. New York: Sterling Pub. Co

Fisher, K., Rayner, S. R., & Belgard, W. (2005). Tips for teams: a ready reference for solving common team problems. New York: McGraw-Hill

Fowler, J. W. (2004). Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian: Adult Development and Christian Faith.San Francisco: Harper and Row

Haugk, K. C. (2011). Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal with Destructive Conflict.Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing I louse

Hugh, F. H. (2006). Managing Church Conflict: Westminster John Knox Press

McCorkle, S., & Reese, M. J. (2010). Personal conflict management: Theory and practice. Boston: Allyn & Bacon

Nurmi, R. & J. Darling. (2007), International Management Leadership, New York, International Business Press

Weick, KE & Sutcliffe, (2007), Managing the unexpected: resilient performance in an age of uncertainty: San Francisco, Jossey-Bass

Whetten, D. A. & Kim S. C. (2008), Developing management skill: New Jersey, Pearson

E-Forms

Marlin, E. T. (1990). The Pastor’s Role in Managing Church Conflict. Retrieved from, http://www.directionjournal.org/issues/gen/art_1167_.html, on May 9, 2013

Other

Adler, N.J. (2002), International dimensions of organizational behavior: Cincinnati, OH: South – Western


 

Published in Management
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:29

Environmental Scan Paper

Environmental Scan Paper


Introduction

Environmental scanning is believed to be one of the best opportunities that help a firm to take a step back and evaluate its external and internal factors of the corporation. The entire thing revolves around the evaluation process which includes the SWOT analysis which is carried at an environmental level. The essay will focus on EBay and Target companies which have taken their environmental scanning in a different level. Stakeholders of these two firms have played a great role in the formation of the companies.


Environmental Scan

The process of environmental scanning helps compile vital information from external and internal environment for the purpose of key parties within an organization. Companies that want to grow always conduct what is called environmental scanning process so as to evaluate the direction the company is moving.


Companies and corporations use the process of environmental scanning in the identification of threats that can affect the firms operations. The process of environmental scanning on the other hand is a threat to the company because it can affect the strategic decisions of managers and the long range plans of the company while trying to keep the company from the equilibrium with its external and internal environmental factors. Most companies have gone out of their business operations simply because they are not able to managed and keep up with the environmental factors. Mock-house Corporation failed to update its products, and this has led the company to file for a bankruptcy status in the recent times. Mock-house Corporation is among the renowned companies that have engaged themselves in management but with the same activities for more than 15 years ago and did not manage. This is a good example of why corporations may end up of business by not keeping up and following the environmental standards, (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).


The process of environmental scanning should not always be taken in a negative concept. The process has some positive sides that help the company to grow. It allows the company gets an opportunity to learn new things within its field hence come up with innovation and creativity ideas in the strategic decision process of the corporation. It is through environmental scanning companies manage to evaluate and learn about their competitors hence become better and bigger firms.


Creative Value and Sustain Competitive Advantage

Target Corporation and all of its parties including its stakeholders have positively engaged in the process of environmental scanning. This corporation creates value and sustains competitive advantage thus it has managed to grow and expand in its industry. The company uses its statement of goal and progress statement in standing to its operational strategies. According to the company, they believe that strong firms basically thrive in strong communities. This is the reason why Target Corporation since 1946 has made social responsibility community engagement that helps the company grow and develop. There are some of the goals that the company has always tried to work upon. It has managed to reduce the impact on the environment, help US kids put more efforts towards their graduation, and help employees of Target as well as their families, live balanced and healthy lives. It has new goals and missions which are put forth for the purpose of company’s development, (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).


EBay had a different style simply because its environmental scanning was conducted from within. According to the employees, a healthy working environment helps the company has better working aspects. It also has a strong statement similar to that of Target Corporation, which indicates how the firms operate in fewer ways that have an impact to the environment.


Measures Used

Evidence shows that Target Corporation utilizes its stakeholders where it begins with employees then it extends to the local community and other related parties. The aim of the company is to create a trusted environment where everyone tends to believe its operations. EBay uses the same approach and has focused on involving people who sells and buys from the company’s website. Evidence shows that the two corporations use their workable communication relationship with stakeholders who are part of the firm’s strategic management plan. These two corporations have a feeling that stakeholders offer quality and effective feedback.


Effectiveness of Measurement

It is true that the measurement guideline, which the two corporations have been using, is effective. Target Corporation has managed to offer back and work with the community something that created the trust and build the trustworthy of their operations. This has been discovered that it brings the firms in the right direction of operations. EBay also operates in the same direction with Target Corporation, and that may play a part in their activities. These two companies have the best employee’s reputations, and have assisted them to stay in such a competitive manner. Customers understand and believe in their organization and claim for trust and responsibility. It is the work of the company or firm to strive forward and ensure that it is operating within the corresponding environment, (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).


Reference:

Wheelen, T. L., & Hunger, J. D. (2010). Concepts in Strategic Management and Business Policy:             Achieving Sustainability. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


Published in Management
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:24

Brief Therapy Plan

Brief Therapy Plan
Introduction
Brief therapies are intervention tools, in drug abuse cases, that seek to bring immediate solutions to the situation (Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Brief therapies provided an intermediate tool between primary intervention programs and long term intervention. This tool tends to focus in solving the present situation. This paper presents a brief therapy plan for Dylan using the family therapy model.  The family therapy model analyzes the drug abuse problem from a wide perspective (Mccollum & Trepper. 2001). It seeks to explore social factors that might have contributed to the development of problem.
Problem Overview
Dylan is a sixteen year old boy with drug abuse problems (Mccollum & Trepper, 2001). Dylan drug abuse problem began at the age of 11 years, when he began smoking marijuana. The magnitude of the problem grew as he began using stronger drugs such as crack. The drug abuse problem has driven Dylan into several problems with the law including facing charges for breaking and entering, dealing and possession of drugs. He has being to several residential and outpatient treatment program. Dylan is currently on probation and risks being detain if found committing another offense. Thus, Dylan problem requires an immediate solution to prevent him from ending up in jail. 
Dylan has grown up in a troubled family. His mother and father are always engaged in verbal fights. The fights are often about Dylan. Dylan father is in the early forties. He is the only bread winner for the family. His occupation is only capable of helping the family to survive. He feels overwhelmed by the responsibility of providing for the family. Dylan’s father appears to be an authoritative individual who like to control others. He had a rough childhood, having to support his family while he was only 16 years old. The father holds the opinion that Dylan is lazy and irresponsible. 
Dylan mother is in the early thirties. He is a house wife. He is also had a rough childhood forcing her to get married, to Dylan’s father, at an early age. The mother has a soft spot for her son and always comes out strongly to defend Dylan from his father’s criticism. Dylan is often forced to sneak out of the house by the constant wrangles between his father and mother. 
Family Therapy
This brief plan will utilize the family therapy model to provide immediate solutions to Dylan problem. This therapeutic approach seeks to explore the interaction within the patient’s family (Mccollum & Trepper, 2001). It seeks to attain a broader perspective to the patient’s problem. This approach is most suitable to Dylan case because it appears as if family interaction has played a significant role in the development of Dylan’s problem. The family context plays a significant role in the development on an individual. Family interaction can either support or hinder normal development of an individual. Similarly, Dylan drug problem has not affected Dylan only but the family as whole. Thus, it is essential for an intervention to involve the entire family in the treatment process. In addition, families respond to drug abuse problem among their members in various ways (Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). These responses can either perpetuate or inhibit the prevalence of this behavior. The response of Dylan’ family to his drug abuse problem appears to have perpetuated this behavior. Family therapy seeks to change the family’s response to Dylan’s problem. 
Counseling Goals
1.The first goal of this therapy plan is to eliminate Dylan drug abuse problem.
2.To eliminate family interactions that have perpetuated Dylan drug problem. 
3.To improve the quality of interactions between Dylan and his patents
Planned Frequency and Duration
The brief therapy program will take the duration of three months. A total of 10 counselor-client session will be held. Most counseling session will be held jointly, but the therapist will make room for private sessions, when one of the family members deems it necessary.
Counseling Activities
It appears as if the structure of Dylan family is malfunctioning. Dylan father has rigid ideas of what a child is supposed to accomplish. Dylan mother always takes sides when the father starts criticizing Dylan. This therapy session seeks to rearrange the structure of Dylan family so as to enable flawless functioning of this basic support unit. 
Initial Session
The initial session will focus on building trust with Dylan family. This will entail drafting of a written contract (Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). The contract explains what Dylan family needs to do in order to change their situation. The contract also explains the goal of the program and steps that are necessary to the realization of these goals. This contract will enable Dylan family to understand what the therapy program is about thus increasing the chances of them returning for subsequent sessions. The therapist will also ask parents to give their views first, beginning with the father. This will show respect to the virtues of Dylan family, which appears to assign traditional roles to family members. The therapist will also convey acceptance to each person views and behaviors in order to build trust. He will ask each member of the family to give account of the problem and listen to them without contradicting or passing judgment.  The therapist will also help Dylan family members to assess the psychological, social and physical impact of drug abuse to the family. This will help the family to understand that the drug abuse problem is not affecting Dylan alone but the entire family. This will increase the family members’ commitment towards solving the problem.
Subsequent session
Subsequent session will seek to change parenting practices and family structure of Dylan family. Leadership is one of the areas that need significant changes (Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). Dylan father is extremely authoritative and always criticizes Dylan’s behavior. The therapist will assist Dylan parent to understand the impact of these negative criticisms. The therapist will encourage the parent to recognize positive aspects of Dylan behavior and commend them rather than focusing on the negative. Positive reinforcement is an effective way of developing desired behaviors (Kendra, 2011).  
Another item that the therapist will focus on changing is communication (Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). The communication structure of Dylan family appeared to have failed. The parents are always shouting at each other. This session will focus on making the parents understand the impact of this breakdown in communication. The session will also focus on establishing appropriate problem solving and communication structures within Dylan’s family. This session will also focus on establishing boundaries in terms of the responsibilities of each family member in solving this problem. 
Termination session
The termination session will focus on maintain the progress made during previous sessions. In this session, the therapist will focus on enhancing the family’s relapse prevention skills and coping mechanism. These mechanisms may entail meeting and interacting with others. Interacting with other people and sharing experience is one of the effective strategies of preventing relapse among drug abuse patient (Jardin, 2011). The therapist will help Dylan to find a network that will help him cope with the withdrawal process. Establishing religious and other social support networks is another way of preventing relapse. The therapist will encourage Dylan family to establish these networks in order to support Dylan recovery. 
 References
Department of Health and Human Services (2004). Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Treatment Improvement Protocol. 39. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64259/#A70622
Department of Health and Human Services (2012). Brief Intervention and Brief Therapy for Substance Abuse. Treatment Improvement Protocol. 34 
Jardin N. (2011). Relapse Prevention Skills for Drug addicts. May 29, 2013. http://www.ehow.com/way_5260954_relapse-prevention-skills-drug-addicts.html
 Kendra C. (2011). What is Positive Reinforcement? May 29, 2013. http://psychology.about.com/od/operantconditioning/f/positive-reinforcement.htm
Mccollum E. & Trepper T. (2001). Family Solutions for Substance Abuse. USA. Routledge Publishers
Published in Sociology
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:21

Corning’s Five Stage

Corning’s Five Stage


             The process of introducing a new product in the market appears to be a hard task which tends to require complex courses of action before the launching of the product in the market can be successful. There can also be the risk of low market acceptance which comes from the target consumers. The stage gate processes such as Corning’s Five-stage stage-gate process establish a process for development of a new product (Dale, 2002). Stage-gate process helps in funneling projects and also ensuring that projects have clear guidance and goals.


Effect on leadership

Leadership is extremely essential in stage gate process. Innovation is normally vital for the company in securing the market influence against the competitors. Therefore, leaders are supposed to develop a winning strategy so that to secure penetration of the new products (Kerzner, 2013). This process normally ensures that the leaders understand that the launching process is a funnel rather than a tunnel. The stage gate usually enables the leaders in allocating resources in the organization in a proper manner. It is a requirement for the leaders to get involved in the product innovation process where the organization selects the gate keepers with the power of approving and rejecting projects. The leader is responsible of allocating the resources which are required by the project leader and team in implementing the project (Shavinia, 2003). When there is proper implementation of the Five-stage stage-gate process, it creates a great possibility in experiencing speed to market acceleration, lowering waste and revisions, boost probability of product success, and infusion of discipline in naturally chaotic process. Corning’s Five-stage stage-gate process is seen to provide ease in the process of leadership in companies which are using this technique.


Effect on individuals

Corning’s Five-stage stage-gate process tends to affect individuals in a company where it ensures that individuals are informed concerning the purpose of the task and what they are expected to do in every stage of the process. Stage-gate process normally alleviates individual productivity because it supplies operational and conceptual road map in project execution concerning new products from the idea to the launching stage (Cooper, 2009). This is a system that suggests team work; hence, every worker in the company can learn from one another and this synergy will benefit the company. This process makes it easy for workers in the company in knowing what are their responsibilities and roles in the new product development.


Effect on inter organization network

Corning’s Five-stage stage-gate process normally affect inter organizational network, and it can become inter organizational network. This process affects the network where the organizations start working together with other organization in developing of products. The process also encourages open innovations in the companies where the company use resources which are inside and outside in achieving their goals. When companies are able to work together with other companies, it tends to create value.


Effect on organization learning process

Corning’s Five-stage stage-gate process normally affects the learning process of organization. Learning process is extremely essential because it enables the company in adapting to the changing environment (Cooper, 2009). Learning usually makes the company become competitive in the market as the organization can be able to adapt to the outside environment and easily adapt to changes occurring in the environment. This is a process that offers the employees and leaders in the company skills and knowledge required in restructuring of the organization and making the company competitive.


Reference

Cooper, G (2009). Effective Gating Marketing management magazine 12-17

Cooper, G (2009). How companies are reinventing their idea to launch methodologies Research and technology management 47-57

Dale, B (2002). New product development and delivery AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn

Kerzner, H (2013). Project management John Wiley & Sons

Shavinia, L (2003). The international handbook on innovation Elsevier Publishing


Published in Business Studies
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:16

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue


Introduction

Compassion is a vital element in the nursing profession (Bush, 2009). Nurses are expected to share the patients despair and hopefulness. They need to feel what the patient feel and share patients’ experiences. “Compassion is what gives nursing soulfulness” (Bush, 2009). Compassion fatigue results from emotional burnout of nurses. Pain, anxiety and discomfort, which are often associated with the delivery of care, may result in depression, fatigue, anger and a feeling of ineffectiveness among healthcare practitioners. The practitioners may begin to detach themselves from the patient as a result of this emotional fatigue.  This is what is referred to as compassion fatigue. This paper has explored this phenomenon including; its symptoms, causes and how nurses can avoid developing this state. 


Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is manifested through a number of symptoms. A sense of dread and fatigue is one of the symptoms of compassion fatigue (Gupta & Woodman, 2010). The nurse often dreads to be at the work environment and feels very tired of her work. The nurse may also exhibit signs of being overwhelmed by work responsibilities. The task of caring for the patients may become overwhelming to the nurse. The nurse may often complain about the work, the organization or the patients.


Nurses suffering from compassion fatigue may also develop the feeling that their hard work is not being sufficiently rewarded by the organization’s compensation system (Bush, 2009). At this point, the nurse does not view nursing as a profession but as an exchange between skills and material rewards.  The nurse begins to feel that the rewards being provided do not match the work and skills being provided to the patient.


Feelings of fear and anxiety are also symptoms of compassion fatigue (Gupta & Woodman, 2010). Nurses suffering from compassion fatigue may exhibit a delicate sense of anxiety and fear. The experience with patients may lead to the development of fear and anxiety among nurses, in relation to issues of death and illnesses. Some nurses my experience nightmares and bad dreams. The nurse may also become irritable and easily angered. The emotional fatigue makes nurses least accommodative of others and irritant. Compassion fatigue may also be marked by physical symptoms such as headaches, back pains and depression.


Compulsive activities are also symptoms of compassion fatigue (Espeland, 2006). Nurses may develop compulsive activities as a way of coping with emotional fatigue. Many nurses develop habits such as alcoholism and overeating. Some nurses my increase their hours of working thus becoming workaholics. These compulsive activities are adopted in order to shield the nurses from realities.


Nature of Compassion Fatigue and Its Causes

Environmental Stressors

Compassion fatigue is caused by an interaction of environmental stressors and the needs of the practitioner (Bush, 2009). Compassion fatigue develops gradually when the nurse ignores the environmental stressor and his needs. The healthcare environment is rapidly changing. Today, the demand for healthcare services has escalated drastically. However, increase demand for services has not been matched with a corresponding increase in personnel. In fact, the healthcare industry is under immense pressure to cut down cost. Thus, hospitals are forced to do a lot with extremely little resources. The patient- nurse ration has increased.


Consequently, nurses have become overwhelmed by the increased workload at the hospitals (Chen, Hou, Wang & Lin, 2009). The current hospital environment demands excessive energy and resources from the nurses. Nurses have to work for long hours and care for a large number of patients. This environment has resulted in a burnout that is manifested through physical and psychological symptoms. The nurses are diminishing their caring in order to cope with this work environment. The environment does not facilitate the development of personalized relationships between nurses and patients. Similarly, this environment has also become demoralizing to nurses. Nurses have become least motivated to work. They exhibit least commitment to their profession.


Physical Needs

Compassion fatigue is also caused by the needs of the nurses. Work/ life balance is one of the needs that cause compassion fatigue (Gupta & Woodman, 2010). In many cases, people join the nursing profession while having minimal responsibilities. Many people often join the profession as fresh graduates. As the nurses proceed with their careers, other responsibilities are introduced. Many of the nurses get married and have children thus introducing new responsibilities. Sometimes it becomes difficult for the nurse to balance between the professional responsibilities and the personal responsibilities. Work/ life conflict is often a significant source of emotional fatigue and may cause compassion fatigue among nurses.


Compassion fatigue may also be caused by the need for new skills and technologies. The healthcare environment is extremely dynamic. Research in the medical field often results in new developments that replace old ways of doing things. Sometimes, new development may necessitate the need for new skills. Thus, nurses may become demoralized when they are not granted the opportunity to develop their skills. Changes in technology may also necessitate the developed of fresh skills among nursing professionals. Failure to provide nurses with an opportunity to satisfy this need my result in compassion fatigue.


Emotional Needs

Compassion fatigue is also caused by nurses subjectivity while dealing with patient. Nurses often become emotionally involved with the patient during the care delivery process (Bush, 2009). This exposes them to trauma and pain, when they witness the suffering of the patient or when the patient dies. Some nurses develop conditions such as stress, frustrations and chronic disillusionment. Thus, nurses need to have effective coping mechanism in order to manage this emotional stress. Avoidance approach is one of the mechanisms that many nurses adopt in order to cope with emotional distress. The nurses tend to detach themselves from patients in order to avoid the grief that would result from the experiences of the patient. This leads to the development of compassion fatigue.


Nurses also need to spend time with friends and family (Gupta & Woodman, 2010). However, the healthcare environment has made it impossible for nurses to get sufficient time for such relationships. Nurses may also withdraw from the personal lives. They may become detached to their husbands and children in order to cope with the inability to satisfy this emotional need.  This leaves nurses without a social support system.


Spiritual Needs

Nurses also have spiritual needs. Spiritual beliefs give people a sense of hope, purpose and direction (Wengstrom & Ekedahl, 2009). It helps people to develop a purpose and meaning of life. Spiritual beliefs also provide moral, social and spiritual guidance to people. Delivery of care, especially end-of-life care, can be traumatic to nurses. This experience can challenge the spiritual beliefs of nurses. Nurses may develop different attitudes and beliefs concerning life, faith and relationships between people. There are cases where nurses give up their spiritual beliefs as a result of their experiences with patients.


Coping Strategies and Resources

Establish an effective social network is one of the strategies that help a nurse to cope with emotional stress associated with the profession, in a positive manner (Chen, Hou, Wang & Lin, 2009). A nurse can establish strong bonds with the spouse, children, siblings, friends or colleagues. These social networks will provide the nurse with an avenue for sharing experiences and venting out frustrations. The social network can also provide nurses with emotional and moral support. This support is vital in helping the nurse to deal with work related stress.


Nurses should also learn to set goals and work towards the goals ((Espeland, 2006). Nurses are encouraged to establish realistic goals and work toward realizing these goals. Setting goals will keep the nurse motivated to work. The goal may be work related or personal. Setting goals will also help the nurse to remain focused. Nurses are also encouraged to exhibit compassion towards self, as they exhibit towards others. Nurses need to avoid negative communication and encourage positive thinking in order to develop compassion towards self.


Nurses can also avoid developing compassion fatigue by reinforcing religious beliefs (Wengstrom & Ekedahl, 2009). Religion provides a sense of hopes to individuals. Nurses can establish a religious network that will help them deal with the emotional trauma. Nurses within a given hospital can also establish their own support group, where they can exchange their experiences and views, as well as, support each other. They should also be active participants within the religious communities. Belonging to a religious community provide essential support to nurses.


Nurses should also set boundaries and become assertive (Gupta & Woodman, 2010). One area that nurses need to set boundaries is in differentiating between work and personal responsibilities. Work and personal responsibilities have equal significance. Thus, the nurse needs to draw a clear line between time allocated for work and time allocated for personal issues. These two responsibilities should not overlap, and time for each responsibility should be respected. It is also paramount for nurses to organize vacations and take time off from work. Nurses need to plan for professional growth. This will enable them to prepare for changes in skills and technological requirements of the industry.


References

Bush N. (2009). Compassion Fatigue: Are you at Risks? Oncology Nursing Forum. 36 (1): 24- 28

Chen C. Hou T. Wang S. & Lin C. (2009). A Study of Job Stress, Stress Coping Strategies and Job Satisfaction. Nursing Research Journal. 17 (3): 199- 210

Espeland K. (2006). Overcoming Burnout: How to Revitalize your Career. Continuing Education Nursing. 37 (4): 178- 184

Gupta V. & Woodman C. (2010). Managing Stress in a Palliative Care Team. Pediatric Nursing. 22 (10): 14- 18

Wengstrom Y. & Ekedahl M. (2008). Coping Processes in a Multidisciplinary Healthcare Team. European Journal of Cancer. 17: 42- 48


Published in Nursing
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:10

Marketing Report for VisitBritain organization

Marketing Report for VisitBritain organization


Introduction

VisitBritain has in the past three years established strong marketing strategies that have been applied globally and regionally. The global strategy that the company uses clarifies and brings to focus on how companies in the tourism industry can conduct marketing operations. The marketing strategies that VisitBritain has invested in range from hundreds of campaigns within the company’s network to other much greater synergies through large and consistent campaigns. This enables other UK industries to examine at a glance and be involved in various master briefs that are applicable within the network of VisitBritain. The great synergies that the company has established places the company at a greater position for other strategic alliance with other partners and ensure that there is a leverage of public funds that match commercial support.


This report presents the important role that marketing plays for VisitBritain Company and how marketing has contributed to the overall success of the company. The report will further show the strategies that VisitBritain has adopted in the past few years that focus on competitive positioning, market/product development and STP. Third will be on the importance of branding in contributing to the success of VisitBritain. The fourth section will be the outline of the marketing mix strategies that this company has adopted. The role of technology will be shown mainly on how they have contributed to the development of this company.


Importance of marketing and the success of VisitBritain

The strategy for marketing that VisitBritain has established has a strong relation with the Olympic Games that were held in London in 2012. This is an event that had a significant generational impact to the brand of VisitBritain and Britain as a whole. the company’ main driving force is to establish communication channels that support marketing of Britain and this calls for the need to build meaningful activities for communication (Solomon, 2012). The Olympics games gave Visit Britain an opportunity to introduce a consistent and fresh destination brand in Britain. The company used logo device and clear narrative for the campaign in overseas travel and UK trade. The main drivers for this campaign were based on a greater sense of welcome, reason for visiting Britain and building on brand strengths on nations in Britain.


Other standalone activities include travel grade programmes, media coverage and online and offline visitor information. There were also UK summits for the business travel sector, world travel leader. The strategies directly originate from the corporate strategy of VisitBritain. The corporate strategies are based on four main objectives which are 1.) To inspire overseas travelers to explore and visit Britain and, 2.) Maximize the legacy of tourism legacy made by the 2012 Olympics. 3.) Engage industry and champion tourism and the government to support tourism growth. 4) Without support for the tourism industry from both overseas and UK the corporate strategy will not manage to attain its potential (Hooley, Piercy, Nicolaud, 2012).


Advertising campaigns are among the strategies that VisitBritain has used to outsmart its competitors through the creation of focus and agile marketing strategy to fit this fast-changing purchasing habit among consumers and for the 21st century. The company has managed to focus its efforts on consumer marketing in the Britain’s-led markets and additional work originating from segments in devolved and long-haul market. These marketing strategies are conducted based on the British Tourism Framework Reviews Boards of Wales, England, London and Scotland. The standards assist the company in leading consumer marketing within devolved markets and other mainstream segments within the devolved markets (Lee & Carter 2012).


Focusing on direct advertising to its customers, VisitBritain has taken full advantage to reach a wide number of main intermediaries who are the travel industry, the media and brand partners. The company provides these intermediaries with the content, tools and information needed so as to persuade customers in choosing Britain as their tourist and travel destination. Visit Britain has managed to use social media as a cutting edge tool in developing Britain Brand advocates. This is a strategy that mainly targets the young generation to visit Britain. The company further ensures that it maximizes on the use of new technologies at its disposals and to shift from the traditional forms of marketing model that focused on one channel of communication to its customers. This leads to the development of a two way conversation that supports feedback and dialogue (McDaniel Jr, Gates 2012).


Visit Britain ensures that its customers effectively use its main communication channels through its eCRM programme and websites that have won awards. These online technologies provide customers with tailored and flexible content to fit the individual needs of customers. For those customers who do not use online channels, they can find the same content in other places, such as directories on places to visit or blogs travels sites, and significant portals.


VisitBritain has generally made the effort of to keep the pace of the rapidly changing consumption habits and take rich content into a new platform with the main stream now being on mobile devices. The PR filed focuses on quality of coverage and volumes of coverage. The company has also established the visiting journalist programme that enhances the lifetime of the VisitBritain strategy and help in increasing the provision of high quality information content.


In business Events and Visit filed, Visit Britain has strong insights on the business by providing greater integration with campaigns for leisure marketing and is focused on the support of regions, cities and nations to win and bid for new marketing partnerships and other major events with other agencies dealing with global business travel and national supply. The focus of this strategy is to shift from the Britain-lead markets. VisitBritain gives partnership marketing strategy of a world-class level and is experienced in the field of film tourism promotions.


The success of VisitBritain is mainly through the inbound marketing strategies that make the company be recognized by the VICE principals of the World Tourism Organization. These principles are the ability of a company to gain industry profitability, visitor satisfaction, environmental protection and community acceptance. The organization has managed to promote responsible visitors and sustainable business. Sustainable development is all about social, environmental and economic development. These are the aspects that Visit Britain has managed to address through its marketing strategies in the development of its policy agenda and encompasses the use of all other relevant tourism issues that are sustainable (Armstrong, Kotler, Harker, Brennan 2012). The company aims to incorporate sustainable products for tourism in its marketing content and gives education and guidance to its customers.


Marketing strategies

Marketing strategies are a series of actions meant to promote a product, business or service. Campaigns are usually through the use the point of marketing strategy for Visit Britain is to inspire travelers from oversea regions to visit and tour Britain. This is an organization that supports the promotion of tourism. The organization has since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games ventured into new marketing strategies and opportunities. These opportunities arose from games to promote Britain as a tourism destination. The Nation Brand in 2012 reached out to new customers from countries like Belgium, Denmark, Norway, South Korea, India, China, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Mexico, Indonesia and Malaysia.


Visit Britain has invested in Media opportunity by creating a strategy that presents new hooks to revitalize perceptions. Other strategies within the media opportunity are persuasive game –media to widen content coverage beyond just the sports aspects. This is with the goal of providing UK regions and nation and the tourism industry a media platform for improvement. Media coverage is also used to expand the company’s coverage and limit damage resulting from negative stories. Another strategy is the company does agree and partnership strategy that builds on media contacts and insights. This strategy is used to facilitate stories and extend coverage and to establish long lasting contacts and sustenance of interests.


Britain needs an impactful and clear tourism brand. Tourism brand is meant to provide consistency, durability and differentiation in destination marketing. In the past few years, VisitBritain has reviewed its brand approach and the overall landscape, which the company operates by seeing the changes that have taken place. Tourism promotion and national branding are an increasingly competitive area and Britain is faced by different and new challenges. Britain has further experienced a unique opportunity especially in the current Golden decade of sports potential as seen in the 2012 Olympic Games. Media attention towards Britain has allowed the acceleration of brand management that would have otherwise taken decades to develop.


VisitBritain, in 2009, started a process of refining and reviewing its Brand with the goal of finding how it is relevant for the current day business environment. This was with the aim to increase its efficacy in the organization’s marketing. Britain is at a lucky position in holding a strong image brand and performs well in terms of culture and tourism. The chief assets of the country are part of the heritage and history and their stories and the people of this nation (NBI, 2009). There is a need for Britain to establish meaningful associations and distinct environment that this contemporary culture and fascinating history. However, this VisitBritain has to take the necessary steps to address challenges that may limit it from creating a brand and give a great welcome sense to visitors visiting Britain. It has to pass information to them for reasons of visiting Britain. The three main elements in the creation of brand image are;

Brand essence that explains the various types of a brand that will ensure brand consistency throughout the organization. Visual identity that have the feel and look aspect of the company’s creativity when it comes to advertising. There is also the destination and strap line and logo that gives Britain an opportunity to hold principal world sports such as the 2012 Games and addresses facts on the reasons for tourists to visit and to be welcomed to Britain. VisitBritain has seen the essence of a new brand image that can be applied to its marketing activity in the markets and inform its creative strategy in every destination messaging. Some of the aspects that contribute to Britain’s brand falls under three categories as follows;

1.) Place (timeless): include gardens, countryside, legends, castles and museums.

2.) People (genuine): festivals, villages, markets, pubs and B & BS

3.) Culture (Dynamic): arts, cities, shopping, sports, and music.

These three aspects show the genius characteristics of people in Britain and the people act as the brand celebrities or ambassadors. They are the core in social networking and advertising that Visit Britain uses. They are also the ones in charge of user-generated content and Public relations. This organization, therefore, uses the British public as a marketing tool to implying its message of welcoming guest from oversea countries. This results to reduced cost as well as enabling the company to gain competitive advantage (McDonald, 2011).


Importance of branding to Visit Britain’s success

Consumers form the heart of every given type of business. The brand of a service or product acts as the communicator and aid in the identity of a product. This is by presenting a point of difference and at the same time showing value. Branding helps to protect consumers from uncertainties of a brand (Bradley, 2010). Britain for Visit Britain Company is the brand that the company has established. It is what consumers can define Visit Britain and gives a feeling to customers. The consumers are the ones to develop a brand by showing whether the brand is a success or failure (Blythe, 2009). Therefore, brand management for consumers has to focus on the creation of value as an essential aspect to consumers.


Creating value is a process, which the company aims to communicate with its targeted –audience and this can be done through five main elements, which are sales promotion, personal selling, advertising, direct marketing and through public relations. These are means through which VisitBritain can use to communicate with its targeted audience and inform them of the benefits and reasons for visiting Britain. This, in turn, leads to the generation of profit and sales. This is a marketing tool called promotion. Advertising is an element of the promotion mix that involves the impersonal representation of goods and services or ideas that the advertiser has paid for. Advertising is used by VisitBritain to create awareness, communicate information, cultivate attitude, and generate response from overseas markets. The various media outlets can be used to advertise such as electronic technologies or internet-based technologies to support overseas markets (Doole, Lowe 2012).


Marketing mix strategies

VisitBritain marketing has to be focused on the creation of awareness, people‘s preferences, consideration, intention and visit. Visit Britain provides value to its customers through the tourism industry through which it increases demand and activates demand. This is mainly the case for Britain-lead markets that have lower awareness and understanding for Britain. It in order to reach its consumers the company uses various marketing strategies to target consumers with little awareness of Britain and UK so that they start viewing the region as a tour destination. Informing them about Britain as a brand where they can compare against competitor destination. VisitBritain vision is to inspire its customers and make them come to explore Britain.


Marketing involves the way the company is using price, distribution, product and promotion (Aaker, 2010). Product for VisitBritain organization is Britain as being the preferred destination for its customers. Britain is a country with rich geographical artifacts and history; it has palaces and castles that invite tourist to discover the past. The country also has countryside and cities that are described through different stories, legends and myths of the past centuries. It is country inspired by famous musicians, innovators, poets, and writers known around the world. The landscape is adorned with factories, theaters, gardens, houses and other architecture that were constructed decades ago. Generally it is a timelessness region that brings history to the present times.


Price is another aspect that VisitBritain ensures to be desirable to customers. However, the organization is more focused on collective, conversation, community and co creation. This is with the aim of ensuring that consumers are aware of Britain as a destination that will help them in decision making process and know the various processes when considering a trip, preferred destination, during a visit and booking and generally ensuring that customers are satisfied.


Place product distribution for the case of VisitBritain means he whole dynamic aspects that define Britain. It is up to the visitors to come and visit the cities and countryside buzzed with various forms of rats. Shops have different latest fashion and other activities like music festivals, parks, beaches and forests. There are also pubs and villages to soak deep into the various atmospheres that the country has to offer (VisitBritain.com, 2013).


Promotion is done through the people of Britain as well as various media channels that Visit Britain has ventured into. Promotion is all about the creation of value to Britain’s brand. This is by informing the targeted market that Britain has charming and interesting people. These are people who are down to earth who one freely interact with in streets concerts and pubs. There are also taxi-drivers who are aware of the best regions and welcoming communities in the countryside and cities.


Technology and company’s development

The new technologies in the world have helped to transform VisitBritain in enabling it is the leading tourism agency in the nation. This success of technology use is also a contributing factor for this company’s marketing success. Through social networking, the company has increased its potential by in marketing mainstream and has rapidly changed to incorporate other newer challenges like blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (Chaffey, Ellis-Chadwick 2012). Technology y is not an aspect of its own for Visit Britain, but it is a tool for passing a huge influence on the customer’s travelling decisions through the word of mouth. Rather, than just talking about holiday choices to neighbors and friends, the current technology enables customers to gain tips from people they have never met and have information concerning Britain. The main touch points that technology has invested on include decision making, target audiences and channels for travelling to Britain (Hollensen, 2012).


Conclusion

This report has presented an n overview of marketing strategies that VisitBritain agency has used to market its product and create brand value to overseas markets. The company has been successful in the development of local campaigns that can be accessed by overseas and UK travel industries. The company is supported by the tourist board through consumer marketing in devolved markets such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. It mainly targets the Boomers segments through various marketing mix strategies.


Reference

VisitBritain.com (2013) marketing strategy. Retrieved from
http://www.visitbritain.org/mediaroom/archive/archive2010/marketingstrategy.aspx
May 23, 2013

Armstrong G, Brennan R (2012) Marketing, Pearson

Aaker D (2010) Strategic Marketing Management: Global Perspectives, Wiley

Bradley N (2010) Marketing Research: tools & techniques, Oxford University Press

Blythe J (2009) Principles and Practice of Marketing, Cengage Learning

Chaffey D, Ellis-Chadwick F(2012) Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation & Practice, 5/E, Pearson

Doole I, Lowe R (2012) International Marketing Strategy, Cengage Learning

Hollensen S (2012) Essentials of Global Marketing, 2/E, Pearson

McDonald M (2011) Marketing Plans- How To Prepare Them, How To Use Them, Wiley

Solomon M (2012) Consumer Behavior: Global Edition, 10/E, Pearson

Hooley G, Piercy NF, Nicolaud B (2012) Marketing Strategy & Competitive Positioning 5th Ed, FT Prentice Hall

Lee K & Carter S (2012) Global Marketing Management, Oxford

McDaniel C Jr, Gates R (2012), Marketing Research 9th Ed International Student Version, Wiley


Published in Management
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:07

A Chinese Ghost Story

A Chinese Ghost Story


Introduction

            A Chinese Ghost Story is definitely one of the classic Chinese movies.  The movie is a land mark in Hong Kong cinema and also a classic Asian movie. The movie was produced in 1987 by Tsui Hark and was directed by Ching Siu-Tung.  The main casts include Leslie, Wong Cho-Yin, Wu Ma, Sui-Ming, Wei Lin and Dai-Wai. A Chinese Ghost story isn’t content just to capture the heart and mind only it also captures the attention of the viewer with a poignant theme about the danger (and joys) of retreating from the real world into fantasies. From a troubled temple to a flying Taoist swordsman, swarming zombies to an enormous vicious tongue, hymning sutras to harrowing hell, the movie is thrilling, kinetic, commendable and one of the best Hong Kong movies.  The movie is popular among Chinese such that almost everyone can narrate plot to plot of the movie right from the elderly to the young generation. A Chinese Ghost story is one of Tsui Hark’s biggest global successes. The movie contains enough Chinese design and content to make it an Asian classic. It is a story of undying love, and Good vs. Evil told in the style of an American horror on speed. An astonishingly rich mixture of horror, romance, action and special effects, A Chinese Ghost Story is among, Tsui Hark’s most crowd pleasing movies. Hark has managed to transform and expand a narrative from a short story into a three-hour martial epic. The film is above all in terms of its multi-faceted themes and inter-weaving story lines. It combines martial art action with political allegory, ghost story, a love story, and indeed treatise of Chinese culture, referencing Chinese poetry, painting, philosophy, music, and history (Teo,206; 12).


Plot of the movie

            A Chinese Ghost Story’s plot is one part Chinese fable, two parts Evil dead, and the rest pure Tsui Hark. it uses elements from several stories in Pu-Sing classic 17th century collection strange stories from a Chinese studio, sort of the Chinese equivalent to Grimms’ fairly tail. Typically in these short stories a young scholar finds a beautiful, imperiled woman who is either a spirit or an animal in human form; the scholar saves the woman and wins her through an act of courage, kindness or skills. The narrative of the film is centered on three main characters the beautiful ghost (Hsiao), the tax collector (Leslie) and the ascetic priest. Leslie Cheung (a tax collector) encounters unfortunate events as he walked to town. His tax documentation is soaked with water. The young scholar is forced to take refuge in a local Ro Temple. However, Leslie receives a hostile reception from the monk of Yen Che-Hsia. The Taoist monk warns Leslie to stay away from the haunted Temple.   The tax collector is entangled in supernatural events and after a near scrapple with zombies; he wins the heart of Hsiao-Tsing who is a spirit. The two fall in love under very tricky situation. Hsiao is a spirit and is owned by an evil tree demon and is engaged to be married within three days. The evil tree demon uses Tsing to lure men who are eventually killed by sucking out their souls. The young Leslie is able to convince the Taoist monk to help him to go and rescue the spirit of Nieh and stop the planned marriage. Throughout the movie, Leslie is transformed from a naïve tax collector to a hero.


            The success of the film can be partly credited to the staring performance of its main actors.  The cast of the movie is appropriate to 1980s and early 1990s films. Leslie, one of the main characters is perfectly developed and is presented as a reluctant hero.   Leslie is required to act in long stretches of the film entirely on his own as seen at the commencement of the movie where he spent his night in the temple. Leslie manages to play this role without his performance being narcissistic. Ning is portrayed as idealistic without being naïve, clumsy without being foolish, romantic without being maudlin and frightened without being weak.  Joey Wang performance as Hsia-Tsing is one of the loveliest in any Hong Kong movies. Her use of stylized, almost Peking opera-ish gestures work tremendously well, giving Hsia the feel of an elegant, classic character.  She handles the physical requirements of the role well and conveys Hsiao regrets perfectly.   Wu man acting as swordsman Yen is also brilliantly portrayed.  Wu turns Yen into a melancholy Wildman, a brilliant but morose exorcist who would rather dance drunk alone in the forest than deal with another human being. The director of the movie uses special effects, such as composite shots, animation and prosthetic.


            Asian movies exhibit some elements of Sino-effects. There is Hong Kong movie syndrome in most Korea cinema halls.   The syndrome can be associated with the hybridization of different c cultural influences that provides variation to themes, subject and looks of domestic films.  Historically, Korea borrowed and appreciated Chinese characters in its linguistic system for centuries, mostly the written language. Some of the shared themes and characters in Korean- Chinese film industry is trans-temporal romance, use of martial arts and Buddhists belief. In the Chinese Ghost story, the story of two unfortunate lovers existing in two different temporal spaces and the Buddhists influence on the movie left an impression on Korean audience. The Buddhistic theme is one of the most influential religions in both china and Korea (Hyung-Sook, 2006; 107).


Conclusion

            A Chinese Ghost is a blockbuster movie that forms part of childhood stories not only in china but also in other parts of the universe. The movie succeeds in combining several captivating themes of love, ghost story and political strive.  The captivating story of the two different temporal spaces love between Hsiao and Leslie keeps one captivated from the beginning to the end. The horror aspect of the movie are subsided by the captivating romance between Hsiao and Leslie  The movie is full of energy, and action dominates a large scene of the movie. However, it is amazing how Hark manages to combine these scenes of complete martial arts with lovely romantic scenes. The choice of actors also makes the movie a hit.  The main characters play their role in masterful and exciting way making the movie an entertaining watch.  The movie disobeys the 1980s Hollywood climax of a happy ending in romantic movies.  Considering its time of release, the movie was a perfect production.


Work cited

            Hyung-Sook. Between local and global: the Hong Kong film syndrome in South Korea. UMI microform. 2006; 107.

            Stephen Teo. King Hu’s a Touch of Zen. Hong Kong University Press. 2007; 16


Tuesday, 10 December 2013 08:02

London Bombing of 2005

London Bombing of 2005
Introduction
The London Bombing incident of 2005 took place on July 7, 2005 (Strom & Eyerman, 2005).  A series of three bomb explosions was witnessed in the London underground rail system. An hour later, another explosion went off at Tavistock on the upper deck of a bus. The four bombing incidents led to the death of 52 people. It was discovered that the explosions were planned and executed by four second generation British citizens. The native origin of the four individuals was Pakistan. They all died in the blasts.  The bombing triggered the most highly coordinated and comprehensive response system in the country. 
Emergency Response
Several government agencies had to respond to this emergency and offer the highly needed support services to victims and restore the operations of the city’s transport network (Strom & Eyerman, 2005).  The law enforcement agencies were called in to ensure that calm is restored and that potential suspects were identified. The security agencies were also charged with the humongous task of ensuring that subsequent attacks are not carried out. Medical services were also required at the scene of the explosion. The explosions left tens of people in critical conditions and hundred others with injuries. Medical response units had to come in and ensure that these victims receive medical care. 
The fire department also had a huge responsibility of containing the fires that had originated from the explosions and rescue people trapped in the wreckage (Strom & Eyerman, 2005). Other agencies were responsible for restoring the transport system. The bombing had halted the transport activities in the entire city. It was paramount to ensure that the transport network is restored to minimally acceptable standards of operations. Many occasions whereby multiple agencies have to respond to the same incident often result in confusion, duplication of tasks and interferences. However, this was not the case in the London 2005 bombing. The challenges of coordination were eliminated because London agencies had established a mutual relationship and common procedures prior to the incident. 
The response for all the agencies was swift and highly coordinated.  A central command system was up and running within a short time (Strom & Eyerman, 2005). Every person within the response unit knew his task and responsibilities. There were little incidents of confusion or duplication of tasks. Mutual procedures, which had been planned in advance, were executed with a high degree of success. Different agencies were willing and able to share resources in order to ensure the successful execution of the response plan. 
The London emergency response units were well prepared for this incident. The coordination was made possible by the existence of the Major Incident Procedure Manual (Strom & Eyerman, 2005). This is memorandum that was jointly developed by London local authorities, City of London Police, London Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Services and London Fire Brigade. The manual creates common criteria for defining a major incident and provides common procedures for responding to such incidents. The Major Incident Procedure Manual also establishes a standardized command structure to serve all the represented agencies. The structure delineates the mandates of all agencies and stipulates the roles that each personnel should perform at the scene. The agencies also hold joint exercise in every three months thus increasing familiarity among the personnel of the various agencies. 
The agencies have also appointed a single media spokesman (Strom & Eyerman, 2005). This ensured that a consistent message was communicated after the bombing thus ensuring clarity. After the London bombing, the London metropolitan police services assumed control of the joint media center. The agency coordinated the release of information to the public. The constant stream of information from the media center was vital in restoring calm among members of the public. It also led to the identification of the bombers. 
Comparison with the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing
The 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing affected the Alfred Murrah Federal Building. Over 168 people lost their lives. Nineteen of these fatalities were children of below six years. The explosion burnt 86 vehicles and caused damaged to 324 building (Maningas, Mallonee  & Robinson, 1997).  Oklahoma City bombing incident required response similar to that of the London 2005 bombing. Medical services were required to ensure that the more than 600 injured victims are able to receive treatment. The fire department was also called upon to put out the fire and lead rescue efforts. Hundreds of people were trapped in debris and needed to be rescued. The security agencies also came in to ensure that the perpetrators of these attacks did not escape the scene. 
However, the response to the Oklahoma City bombing was contrary to what was witnessed in London. There was least coordination among the emergency response agencies. All the agencies involved pursued their own procedures. The Oklahoma City Fire Department had their own incident command center (Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency, 2000). The FBI also created their own center, where they interviewed hundred of witnesses with the aim of identifying the perpetrators. The American Red Cross attempted to organize a meeting that will bring about coordinated efforts from al agencies. This gave an indication that there were no joint plans from these departments prior to the incident. 
 The scene of the blast became flooded with volunteers. Though the volunteers intended to provide assistance to the rescuers, they ended up causing logistical problems to the rescue teams. Some volunteers arrived with private tracks, pickups, tractors and wheelbarrows and started to carry the debris way (Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency, 2000). The volunteers had little training and lacked coordination. Only three people were extricated alive from the debris after hours of rescue operations. Fourteen people sustained injuries during search and rescue efforts (Maningas, Mallonee  & Robinson, 1997). There was a breakdown in communication among the emergency agencies due to system overload. There was little coordination between the response units, at the ground, at the telecommunication providers. Thus, the rescuers communication was not accorded the priority that it deserved. 
Comparison with 1996 Olympics Bombings
Similar lack of coordination and effective emergency response plan was also visible in the 1996 Olympic bombing. The 1996 Olympic Bombing took place in Atlanta, Georgia. The blast claimed one life and injured 111 people. Before the blast, a 911 call was received, by the city’s police department, warning about the bomb (Sack, 1996). However, the police took a long time before responding to the call. It took over 10 minutes before a warning was relayed to the dispatcher because the operator could not find the address of the downtown park. This is an indication of the lack of cooperation between emergency response agencies. Cooperation between the agencies would have made it easy for the operator to reach the dispatcher thus enhancing the effectiveness of the emergency response. Officers at the park might have run an aggressive evacuation effort if they were notified of the threat early enough. 
Conclusion
Critical incidents such as terrorism attacks require responses from multiple agencies. Therefore, coordination and cooperation among emergency response agencies is critical to ensuring the victims are able to receive support services, and that loss of life and damages are minimized. The Oklahoma City Bombing and the 1996 Olympic Bombing demonstrate how lack of coordination can hamper emergency response efforts. The London emergency response unit presents a model that every other response units need to implement. The agencies responsible for providing emergency services ran a highly coordinated effort. This ensured that victims were able to receive treatment, transported services were restored the following morning, and the suspects were identified. 
References
Maningas P. Mallonee S. & Robinson M. (1997). The EMS Response to the Oklahoma City Bombings. May 24, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10187007
Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency (2000). After Action Report. May 24, 2013. http://www.ok.gov/OEM/documents/Bombing%20After%20Action%20Report.pdf
Sack K. (1996). Atlanta Mayor Says a 911 Delay Did Not Worsen Bomb Toll. May 24, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/22/us/atlanta-mayor-says-a-911-delay-did-not-worsen-bomb-toll.html
Strom K. & Eyerman J. (2005). Interagency Coordination: A Case Study of the 2005 London Train Bombings. National Institute of Justice. 260
Strom K. & Eyerman J. (2005). Interagency Coordination: Lesson Learned from the 2005 London Train Bombings. May 24, 2013. http://www.nij.gov/journals/261/coordination.htm
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