1.Tannen analyzes gender differences in communication within organizations. Does her analysis resonate in your experience? Have gender-specific differences in communication become less pronounced as participation by women at all levels of employment has increased or do they remain stubbornly fixed and inflexible? • In your experience are female bosses that speak and manage like their male counterparts perceived differently by their subordinates? How so? Why? Do women managers confront more resistance from male or female employees or is there no observable difference? • Do managers of color face obstacles comparable to those that Tannen discusses with respect to women? What about managers from minority religions? Old (or very young) managers?Managers with disabilities?Gay or lesbian managers? • What strategies can organizations employ to improve communications in light of the patterns, influences and challenges that Tannen discusses?
2.Provide examples from your work experience of ways that managers strike the balance between their organization's commitment to systems of control and to empowering employees. Are there systematic strategies to address these challenges? To what degree does an organization's success in this area depend upon the good instincts of middle managers and the good will of employees?
3.Provide examples from your experience of the different kinds of leaders identified in the readings. Are typologies of leadership styles useful in the practice of management? If so, how? If not, why not? • Does a good manager need to be a leader? Is a leader necessarily a good manager? • Within any group a leader typically emerges. How can a manager effectively supervise an employee that emerges as a group leader and turn the leader-employee into a managerial asset?
4.What distinguishes quality initiatives like ISO 9000 and the Baldridge National Quality Program from Total Quality Management (TQM) and similar managerial commitments? • There is some evidence that in the years immediately following Baldridge or ISO certification/accreditation, performance standards and attention to quality actually decline to levels below the build up to accreditation review. What might explain this result? How can managers guard against this kind of 'relapse'? • If you have been employed in an organization that has gone through the Baldridge or ISO process, share your experiences. What challenges did you face? Was the payoff to the organization worth the effort?
5. What risks does your organization face with respect to your areas of responsibility? How do you and your organization assess and mitigate these risks?
6.DoesRosabeth Moss Kanter's article resonate in your experience? How? • Do you feel empowered and able to innovate in the organization in which you work? To what extent? • What limits your ability to innovate? As a manager, how do you empower your subordinates to be innovators? Does your organization support these efforts?
7.Have you encountered situations that you would describe as examples of Ghosal's allegation that "bad management theories are destroying good management practices?" By contrast, can you recall situations where management theories have assisted managers in making good decisions? • Roxburgh identifies some 'hidden flaws in strategy." Give examples from your own experience. Have you encountered strategic flaws that do not fit into the categories that Roxburgh identifies?
8.Reviewing the theories of strategy that we have discussed in this course, which seem to you most practical? Most provocative? Why?