Mass customization of products has become a common approach in manufacturing organizations.
According to Pallent et al. (2020), mass customization is a relatively new way of offering increased value to consumers by ‘individualizing’ products and services via mass customization, allowing companies to maintain their unique competitive advantage. Companies often integrate this capability through collaborative platforms that connect them with their customers. One way for firms to accomplish this connection is to “deconstruct service offerings and allow consumers to co-configure the optimal level of service” (Pallant et al., 2020, p. 508). An example the authors used for explaining this principle was the mass customization services a New Zealand airline provides their customers. For instance, the airline provides “economy-class travelers with air travel options ranging from ‘seat only’ (with no checked-in luggage) to ‘the works deluxe’ which includes a range of entertainment options and other privileges generally reserved for business-class travellers [sic], such as priority boarding and the guarantee of an empty adjacent seat. In line with this and drawing on the concept of service modularity, airlines could possibly offer a range of deconstructed service options including catering, tax-free sales, flight security and entertainment” (Pallant et al., 2020, p. 509). This co-configuration concept allows the airline to provide a mass customization strategy that matches its services to unique consumer preferences. Moreover, it this strategy provides a creative means to generate increased premiums to be charged above the basic services provided by the airlines.
Chapter 7: A top executive claimed that superior management is a craft technology because the work contains intangibles (such as handling personnel, interpreting the environment, and coping with unusual situations that have to be learned through experience). If this is true, is it appropriate to teach management in a business school? Does teaching management from a textbook assume that the manager\’s job is analyzable and, therefore, that formal training rather than experience is most important?
While there is much credence to this top executive’s claim regarding management as a ‘craft technology,’ it is a commonly excepted, peer-reviewed finding that there are multiple ways for humans to learn; the ‘hands on’ approach is but one of many techniques that are valuable in gaining the knowledge and experience needed to be a successful manager. For example, research conducted by Quain et al. (2018) posits that a teacher can actually combine the opinion proffered by this executive within a classroom setting and create a synergy that is dynamic and memorable. They propose scripted TV and movies can be utilized as training tools for incorporating ‘problem-based’ experiential learning for management students. For example, the authors contend that “The Office, a scripted television sitcom, has been shown to effectively teach leadership and work environment skills … The Apprentice depicted communication challenges and mistakes common in the workplace as well as films such as Slumdog Millionaire that emphasized concepts related to business communication in the workplace” (Quain et al., p. 326). While the authors concede that reality TV shows and movies are often over-exaggerations of our reality, the writers and producers of these shows “portray real-life experiences and are likely to manifest in a variety of organizations” (Quain et al., p. 126). When applied to business concepts, the scenes from these shows “can lead to valuable discussions that help students formulate their own strategies for handing each unique situation” (Bloch, 2011, p. 10).
According to their research, Quain et al. (2018) found that students will become more equipped to:
Recognize and analyze central issues that impact the business’ performanceIdentify managerial behavior and the impact on business successes and failuresEvaluate and apply management strategies and theories in response to business issuesReflect on their personal performance and contribution to the business in current job rolesThe student learning experience becomes enhanced by allowing them to apply theories studied in class and their textbooks and apply them to real-life situations, providing them the opportunity to explore creative solutions to the issues recognized in the reality TV show. While the authors admit that these TV shows are ‘story-rich,’ they contend the students can connect to them because of personalities and people on them are relatable. The authors found that “when viewers perceived reality show characters as more representative of their own lives, they were viewed as more relevant … students can see themselves in the show’s characters, which helps students to self-reflect to improve their own practice in the workplace” (Quain, 2018, p. 127).
Chapter 8: Do you believe that technology will eventually enable high-level managers to do their job with little face-to-face communication?
COVID-19 has significantly changed the way the world does business. Companies trying to adjust have embraced technology to allow for continued production with ‘at home’ employees. However, this has caused significant transitional problems that is starting to be studied now. Moreover, as lessons are learned for this experience, companies will likely explore best practices identified as a result of this change and incorporate them into their business model. Allen et al. (2021) found that the COVID?19 pandemic created ‘work?nonwork boundary management’ with remote workers who transitioned to working from home, creating a difficult work-nonwork balance. They discovered that employees who had a dedicated office work space within their home and fewer had fewer work?nonwork issues and greater balance. However, they concluded that “these variables did not moderate the relationship between segmentation preferences and work?nonwork balance as expected” Allen et al. 2021, p. 81). Other studies have shown that age has a significant impact on the acceptance or embrace of technology (Rosal et al., 2014). Older individuals typically want to meet face to face as opposed to looking at a screen (video conference), whereas the younger generations are more accepting of technology due to the fact that they were raised with it. Seniors are a bit more accepting technology somewhat, especially when they are seeking benefits the technology can provide (like video chatting with their grandchildren), however, they tend to prefer in-person inactions. I’m reminded of an airline commercial from several years ago, where the manager informs the team that they just lost an important client because they didn’t feel like the company knew them anymore. The manager advises that the company will deemphasize telephone orders/contact and get back to basics; meeting with personal client visits. He then begins passing out airline tickets. However, as mentioned earlier, technology does offer a significant benefit to production, communication, and cost savings; the more the older generation leaves the workforce, the less resistance there will be toward accepting nonface-to-face interaction. However, I wonder if several years from now, business schools will ‘study’ the paradigm shifts and the impact of face-to-face interaction on business dynamics in the future?
Chapter 9: Look through several recent issues of a business magazine (Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, etc.) and find examples of 2 companies that are using approaches to busting bureaucracy. Explain the techniques that these companies are applying.
According to Hamel and Zanini, (2017), the best approach to busting bureaucracy is to minimize the number of managers and administrators and increase the ratio of employees to management by a factor of 10 to 1. They used the example of Nucor, who they claim is the most profitable steel company in the United States. “It comprises 90 autonomous manufacturing centres [sic] … individual plants make product and pricing decisions and are responsible for their own product development, [while] self-managing teams within each facility oversee operations and are responsible for innovation and training” (Rimmer, 2020, p. 8). The authors contend that Nucor\’s model empowers the employees at a lower level and encourages efficiency over conformity. In Briton, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHS) is busting bureaucracy by requiring shorter appraisals for their medical doctors. In March of 2020, the DHS suspended the requirement for appraisals due to COVID-19; they discovered that “all of a sudden we could do everything we needed to do quickly and efficiently because of covid-19 … we coped fine without endless meetings and forms” (Rimmer, 2020, p. 10). Moreover, the General Medical Council plans to simplify their international registration process to allow doctors from outside of the United Kingdom wanting to practice in the NHS a more streamlined process.
Chapter 9: Do you believe that a no growth philosophy of management should be taught in business schools?
Personally, I believe the size of the company does not indicate (or should be considered an indicator) of the success or failure potential of any company. Growth is nothing more than a strategy to meet the goals of the organization. Too rapid growth is just as dangerous (or maybe more so) than no growth, especially if the no growth is representative of a failure to thrive. Moreover, understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses are also important when deciding which growth strategy a company wants to pursue. Expanding beyond a company’s capabilities can be like a big fish in a small pond swimming into the ocean to face conditions it had never seen before. I think that business schools should teach both aspects of ‘growth management,’ explaining the pros and cons of each.
How can/should a biblical worldview be applied?
Bureaucracy is an organizational structure that goes back to biblical times; a set of rules, policies, procedures, and hierarchies that combine to establish the authority of its leaders. The Pharisees established a bureaucratic structure and used their strict interpretation of the Torah as a means to set themselves apart. According to Wilson (2011), “the Pharisees’ intention was to safeguard God’s blessing through the strict observance of their interpretation of the Torah; the end result, however, was that people were restricted from God’s presence” (p. 3). Similarly, bureaucracy often restricts employees from the benefits of an organization. Matthew 12:1-8 shows us how Jesus ‘busted the bureaucracy by stating that what was permissible for David was also permissible for his disciples. As such, He clearly is showing us that people’s needs take precedent over polices and rules. Jesus showed us that as “Lord over the Sabbath he also implied that his authority was greater than the Torah … Jesus took on bureaucracy and exhibited the characteristics of a charismatic leader while doing so” (Wilson, 2011, p. 6).
Allen, T. D., Merlo, K., Lawrence, R. C., Slutsky, J., & Gray, C. E. (2021). Boundary Management and Work-Nonwork Balance While Working from Home. Applied Psychology, 70(1), 60–84. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12300
Bloch, J. (2011). Teaching Job Interviewing Skills With the Help of Television Shows. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(1), 7–21. https://ezproxy.liberty.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=60a12d8a-bd6b-4ed1-985a-e8653da61f82%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=65438739&db=bth
Hamel, G., & Zanini, M. (2017). Bureaucracy: Where to Liberate $3 Trillion. London Business School Review, 28(1), 6–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/2057-1615.12147
Pallant, J. L., Sands, S., & Karpen, I. O. (2020). The 4Cs of mass customization in service industries: A customer lens. Journal of Services Marketing, 34(4), 499–511. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-04-2019-0176
Quain, B., Bokunewicz, J. F., & Criscione-Naylor, N. M. (2018). The Profit: Using reality TV to teach management theories and strategies. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1444326. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2018.1444326
Rimmer, A. (2020). Government pledges shorter appraisals for doctors as part of drive to cut bureaucracy. BMJ?: British Medical Journal (Online), 371. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1136/bmj.m4595
Rosal, M. C., Heyden, R., Mejilla, R., Capelson, R., Chalmers, K. A., DePaoli, M. R., Veerappa, C., & Wiecha, J. M. (2014). A Virtual World Versus Face-to-Face Intervention Format to Promote Diabetes Self-Management Among African American Women: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 3(4), e3412. https://doi.org/10.2196/resprot.3412
Wilson, E. (2011). Inner Resources for Leaders|. School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, 3(1), 1–6.
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