Decisions in Paradise
Given the chaotic nature of the Kava operation organizationally, the apparent lack of direction, and the unfocused efforts of Alex to create any strategy in Kava, Nik needs to tread lightly on any change that is suggested. What needs to happen first is that any vision of what kava can become must be wholeheartedly bought into by Alex, Nike and Chris at a minimum to have any chance to succeeding. Alstyne, Brynjolfsson and Madnick (1997) comment that “The very act of decentralizing decision-making – asking workers for their values and then taking them seriously – can have a positive effect on the change process by giving employees a sense of ownership and responsibility,” and from previous work show the impact of theories of ownership on change management with this insight from their work Alstyne, Brynjolfsson and Madnick (1995): “Theories of ownership, for example, suggest that decentralizing management can boost quality levels in systems users control themselves.”
These concepts of taking control of change is further supported by general attributes and decision-making techniques discussed by Paul, R. And Elder, L. (2001). Specifically the decision making styles of reflective, integrative and logic-reasoning are critical in this situation. To preserve the apparent freedoms of starting up operations on Kava, Nik, Alex, Chris and any other critical members of the team who join later on must band together and create substantial value over time. Not just their careers, but their lives on Kava will be directly influenced by their ability to first define a common vision, then work to create multiple strategies for its fulfillment. Mr. Morales assumes that the team on Kava will bootstrap the operation into existence, all the while holding firm to the values of organizational processes, human resources, and ethics. Combining these three values of the company in conjunction with reflective, integrative and logic-reasoning decision styles must create a shared vision that galvanizes the team together if they are to succeed. There has got to be a strong passion for this vision they collectively create if it is to continue growing, and in essence redefine the company in the context of this island nation.
From a critical thinking perspective what needs to happen is that Alex, Nike and Chris must think of the many unmet needs present on the island, ranking them from a business opportunity perspective. The good news is that Kava has a diversified economy that includes petroleum, natural gas, agriculture and tourism and as a result has a stability of income and wages, yet is susceptible to many natural disaster threats and has a relatively young, potentially under-educated population. With over 50% of the population below 15 years of age, the assumption is there are many large families on the island, with parents have well over four children per household. Given the socioeconomic and demographic profile of the nation, several major unmet needs begin to surface using an integrative approach to decision making specifically. These unmet needs include but are not limited to the following:
The need for inexpensive healthcare especially in the area of pediatrics and child care. There must also be a significant unmet need for prenatal care with such a large percentage of the population being below 15 years of age.
Significant unmet need for education including the use of distance learning and the introduction of higher education on the island including a college or university. Hand in hand with this unmet need is that of having Internet access and wireless access through government buildings.
Massive unmet needs in terms of the value of technology in everything from learning, to banking, and the establishment of a micro-payment bank to give the local natives access to low-cost or no-cost micro-payment loans so they can start their own businesses.
In just these three dominant areas of unmet needs including healthcare, education and banking there are more than enough opportunities for the company to grow. What Nik needs to do is create a vision based on the core strengths of the company represented to ensure a high level of congruence of the company’s core strengths with the specific unmet needs in the chosen area. Best of all, any initiative in these areas, priced fairly for the island natives, delivers significant social value, or economic good for the nation and abodes by Mr. Morale’s belief that in the long run, economics drives everything needs to be added to that by doing these core processes well, his company is doing good. The social conscience of Mr. Morales is also clear, and the ability to take the company’s respected process-centric approach to problem-solving and apply it to the needs of Kava while at the same time earning a profit is a win/win for both the company and the nation. The concentration on healthcare especially and the development of a pediatrics clinic, potentially even underwritten by the local government for the citizens would also be significant in its contribution and revenue potential.
What Alex and Nik need to do is find broken processes in key areas and set about to find strategies that their company can excel in while delivering excellent service. This is the basis of Business Process Re-engineering. Business Process Re-engineering is described Michael Hammer in his many books on this topic including the Agenda (2003) illustrate through examples, financial analysis, and intensive analysis of how companies can improve their financial performance through examining their many processes and re-defining them for greater competitive performance. The bottom line is that Nik and Alex need to find the vision that will propel the company into the greatest social contribution, and in fulfilling that goal, gain profitability and a permanent place in the economy of Kava.
Alstyne, Marshall van, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Stuart Madnick (1997). “The Matrix of Change: A Tool for Business Process Reengineering.” MIT Sloan School Working Papers available on the Internet, accessed on February 5, 2007:
Alstyne, Marshall van, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Stuart Madnick (1995). “Why Not One Big Database? Principles for Data Ownership.” Decision Support Systems 15.4 (1995): 267-284.
The Agenda (2003) – Chapter 4: Put Processes First. The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade. Accessed from Michael Hammer and Company website on February 5, 2007:
Paul, R. And Elder, L. (2001) – Critical Thinking-Tools for Taking Charge of Your
Learning and Your Life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Working as a television sales presentations for a local television station is hectic, marked by time and financial pressure to make projects happen at or before deadlines. As the main service I am selling is air time, visibility on a television station, the majority of the time the problem identification ands formulation style focused on a combination of discerning and integrative approaches to problem identification and resolution. As time is of the essence in television advertising, the majority of decisions are made through integrative approaches.
The strengths and weaknesses of this leadership style are that it readily translates knowledge between and among different experiences with clients quickly. This leadership style also is useful for distilling large bodies of information into new frameworks by which advertising clients can be managed more effectively. The weaknesses of this approach are its high level of knowledge required on a per client to be effective with the strategy, and the need to communicate details quickly and accurately as it relates to a potential problem with a client and their specific media.
In terms of the most favorable aspects of this style, it is useful for quickly organizing clients into segments and defining a strategy for working with them. It is also very useful from the context of pricing analysis and the development of programs to increase sales during slower times. Ultimately this approach is very useful for staying on top of the current market and competitive dynamics that influence clients and their spending.