1.Characterize the culture of the organization in which you work. How does this culture affect the work of middle managers? Have you experienced deliberate interventions by senior management that were intended to refocus, refine or revise the culture of an organization? To what degree were these interventions successful or unsuccessful? Why? [See textbook assignment and linked websites for background.]
2.Mintzberg distinguishes between 'deliberate' and 'emergent' strategies. What are the advantages of emergent strategies? Are they particularly appropriate and effective in certain kinds of organizations? In certain kinds of environmental and competitive conditions? In tackling certain kinds of problems? • Comment on RosabethKanter's use of improvisational theater as a metaphor for emergent and flexible strategy.
3.Kaplan& Norton suggest techniques for implementing strategies without disrupting organizations. Provide examples from your work experience of disruptive and non-disruptive strategy implementations. Were the strategies that did not disrupt the organization deliberately designed so as not to be disruptive? Is it sometimes appropriate - even necessary - to design strategies with the intention of disrupting organizations? Can implementing disruptive strategies constitute a strategy for organizational change? How do disruptive strategies impact middle managers?
4.How are reward, benefits and employee development systems aligned with strategy in your organization? • What, according to Huselid, Beatty & Becker, are A, B, and C 'players.' What role should each of these categories play in an organization's strategy? Does your organization have a clear and coherent strategy for recruiting, training and retaining employees in all three categories? Are you in the category appropriate to your talents? • Kerr addresses examples of misalignment between strategic needs and reward systems. Give examples of reward systems that fail to provide incentives, or in fact provide disincentives, to efforts and activities that advance organizational mission and strategy. How can middle managers mitigate the undesirable effects of these kinds of misalignments?