1. Categorize each of Fisher’s activities according to the four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling.
Management is the process of achieving the objectives of the business by using its available resources effectively. Management has been described to have four main functions namely planning, organizing, leading and controlling. George fisher’s activities while working at Kodak can be categorized into these four functions.
Planning involves setting goals and strategizing for the future and deciding the most efficient way to obtain them. The new CEO has big plans and new goals for organization.
Fisher has his own vision for Kodak. He is one of the big advocates of for the development of Kodak’s digital imagery. He does not deny the fact that the firms current business i.e., photographic technology is very important at the moment but he believes that investment in the new field will open up new doors and future profits.
Before Kodak had a rather bureaucratic culture, which laid a lot of emphasis on the hierarchical structure of Kodak. Fisher however is trying to change all that, he believes that this culture is inappropriate for an organization facing a lot of competition. Fisher wishes to set tough goals and then wants his managers to achieve them in their own way and encouraging innovation and creativity.
George has also put expanding into international market on his list of things to do. He wants Kodak to do better in the dynamic markets of Asia, Russia, Brazil and India.
Organizing involves the implementation of the goals laid out in the planning function. Here all factors of production are allocated and arranged according to the goals and strategies.
Fisher sold of Kodak’s health and home division to pay of the company’s debt.
Following his goal to expand Kodak’s business into the digital imaging direction, fisher set up a new digital division using widespread resources already available in the firm.
He also went ahead to hired a new executive from the digital equipment corp. to head his new digital division.
Several product and service alliances were also made to gain a competitive technological edge over the competition already present in the digital imagery market.
The third function of management involves communicating the organizations goals to employees, helping them ahcive these goals, motivating them and encouraging change and innovation.
Firstly fisher is working on changing the culture of the company. He encouraged innovation by giving his managers the freedom to carry out goals laid by fisher in the fashion that the managers wanted to.
To get rid of the bureaucratic structure of Kodak Fisher did some other things that the previous CEO did not do. He made himself more accessible to his employees, making regular visits to his research’s offices, talking with employees while he has breakfast with them. Employees are also welcome to contact him via email; all messages are answered by means of a hand written note on a printed document. All this will lead to greater motivation amongst his employees.
He makes his goals clear to his managers by means of his one word slide presentations. He works with his managers to set realistic and achievable goals and later he checks on their progress.
Fisher is also working on adjusting the performance related Compensation system to reward managers who achieve the set goals.
Some of Fisher work practices will lead to increased levels of motivation; however they will also fall under the fourth function of management. For example His regular communication with his employees and researchers will not only lead to higher levels of motivation amongst employees but it will also lead to greater innovation amongst employees
The last function of management involves checking whether or not managers and employees achieve the goals set by the top management.
Fisher is also working on the cycle time or introducing new products, a shorter cycle time will lead to greater levels of efficiency.
Fisher has also maintains regular contact with his researcher to obtain new information and keep check on stuff.
2. Which of Mintzberg’s roles are apparent in Fishers activities?
Mintzberg suggested that while carrying out their functions managers also fulfill certain roles. These roles are divided three types. According to Mintzberg Fisher carries out the following roles:
Leader – this role involves things such as hiring, firing, training and motivating ones employees. The case study provides evidence that Fisher has performing the role of a leader. He has taken upon himself the task of communicating the company’s goals to his managers so that they can pass it on. He is also working on building relations with his employees when he has breakfast with them or when he invites employees to contact him through email.
Monitor – managers performing this role will seek information which will affect their firm. Fisher seeks information internally when he contacts his researchers for information. His contacts with his employees can also serve as means for obtaining information.
Disseminator – he will transmit the information. If Fisher is using the information that he receives from his researchers to make his goals, he will be a disseminator because he will be the on to transfer this information to his managers.
Entrepreneur – a manager who performs this role will be the one who thinks plans and encourages change. Fisher has certainly played the roe of an Entrepreneur. He has brought about a lot of changes in Kodak, these ranges from changes in the company’s culture to expanding Kodak in international markets and other changes brought within the company like the compensation system. Fisher also encourages innovation and change when he asks his employees for ideas.
Resource allocator – a manager playing this role distributes all the four factors of production. Fisher played this role when he distributed the widespread resources of Kodak to set up the new digital division.
3. Point to the evidence that Fisher possess technical, human and conceptual skills. To what efforts do you believe Fishers efforts at Kodak will be successfulGive your reasoning.
To carry out his functions a manager requires certain management skills. There are three types of skills that a manger may possess namely Technical, human and conceptual skills. Technical skills refer to the mangers understanding and proficiency in a certain field. The case study states that Fisher has acquired some technical skills by studying in detail every aspect of Kodak. Human skills refer to the mangers ability to work with others both as a co-worker and as a leader. There is a lot of evidence in the case which suggests that fisher has exceptional human skills. He is good when it down to communicating with others, he has lots of goals and he has devised numerous ways to get his message across. He communicates with his employees on a regular base and makes sure that his set targets are clear to everyone. He has breakfast with his employees in order to talk to them. Conceptual skills are related to visualizing the company as a whole, the passage also suggests that Fisher has conceptual skills he has proper knowledge of his competition and where Kodak stands in relation to that competition. He can also visualize the organization in the future which is how he knows that diverting towards the digital division will be good for Kodak. His conceptual skills led to the different changes brought about within Kodak such as the change in culture or the product and alliances.
The success of Fishers efforts depend on a number of things, some of which he cannot control. For example the fact that Fisher wants Kodak to move slowly towards the digital division may depend upon things such as the conditions of the market, a boom or recession or a change in consumer preferences or if something totally new turns up and consumers prefer that over digital pictures. Govt. policies might also come into play here to some extent, a large subsidy to one of the 599 global competitors. Although there are a number of such things like those mentioned above, I believe that the changes Fisher brought about in the organization will only benefit it. Communication between employees and management is very important a lack of communication leads to low levels of motivation which may cause a number of other problems in the future. Fisher has devised number of ways which help to aid the communication process, whereby his employees can contact him directly.
This type of atmosphere in the work place often leads to the generation of new ideas by employees on the lower levels. Fisher has spent a considerable amount of time studying Kodak in detail and therefore he has an adequate knowledge of their competitors which is always a good thing. It was mentioned in the case that costs of Kodak are high as compared to Fuji, a major rival; the case however does not state Fisher laying any emphasis on bringing them down. This might cause problems for them in the future if there is a slight change in market conditions. His efforts however will definitely lead to better things for Kodak but the extent of their success cannot be determined by the information provided in the case.