Sunday, 22 April 2012

Forces of Influences and Framing a Problem

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Abstract In this paper, I will discuss Critical Thinking Styles and Forces of influence. I will describe the setting, frame the problem in two different ways, each reflecting specific forces of influences. I will describe the types of thinking used and examine other forces that influenced the way the problem was framed. How do we accept each other’s differences and still get anything done?

Decision-making often comes from people’s experience, thinking, and preferences. Sometimes a decision can make perfect sense in theory, but it may not work in real life situation. To make a good decision requires critical thinking skills. How the management of a company makes decisions has a big impact on the outcome. Some years ago, a manager of our company made a decision and refused an employee time away from work to care for her child. This decision raised some issues in our workplace.

The day started off as any typical Monday morning and things were going as usual. Associates were getting coffee, discussing what they did over the weekend, and preparing their desks for the start of the day. Unexpectedly, a crying noise was heard from one of the associates. Immediately, a few concerned associates approached her and asked was there a problem? At first, the individual was little hesitant to expose what had occurred because it was private. After a little coaxing, from another associate, she explained. The associates had a sick child and needed time away from the office to care for the child. She said, while explaining why she need time off, the manager abruptly stopped her and said she would need time to determine if the weeks needed away would be granted. The following day, the employee spoke with the manager and told request denied without any explanation.

Another manager department who had excellent reasoning skills heard of the incident and tried to console the individual. The manger explained to the associate he would speak with her manager and try to determine why the problem. He also advised he would do some checking if any type of exception could be made. A meeting was held, immediately after the two managers spoke. The associate’s manager was being very persuasive while giving her valid reasons how she arrived at her decision. She explained that it was in the best interest of the department to decline the request because of a large assignment due. She went on and explained granting the request other associates would have to work overtime to meet their target date. Some associates thought her reasoning were legitimate. Some thought she was being very creative by acting as if the department was in her best interest and the declination was valid. In addition, she reminded everyone that she was empowered to make decisions, right or wrong and that was something everyone would have to deal with. She indicated she was the manager and was accountable of the work and she was doing her job. After that comment, the meeting was out of control. Associates threatened to quit and a few walked out. Some did not want any involvement in what was occurring. The associate accused the manager of being a racist. The two were arguing uncontrollably. The team leader made every attempt to calm them, but was not very effective. Because, the power to make decisions was the manager, she screamed and said it was her department and she had made the decision and it was final. This irritated the team leader and she asked if the two could have a meeting with a Human Resource representative with the associate. She explained as team leader, it was her duty everyone is treated fairly and with respect. She made it very clear to the manager her judgment was not logically thought out and was not acceptable. Following that remark, the meeting ended and the department manager, the team leader, and associate went to the Human Resource department.

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The Human Resource representative, manager, team leader, and the associate met. She offered everyone an opportunity to convey his or her version of the story as she listened attentively to every one. Afterwards, she sat quietly and began to speak in a very polite but firm tone. She expressed her disappointment to the manger. She said the situation was handled poorly and not in a professional manner. She apologized to the associate and the team leader of the mistakes made. She commented the ordeal could have been avoided if the manager had discussed the situation with the associate alone. If there was a problem that the manager felt she could not handle, she should have gotten HR involved immediately instead of involving the department. She said, displaying a firm attitude was not the answer to this particular problem. She did not consider the negative factors involved in her decision. She could have considered other options. She went on to explain the manager should not have had a meeting discussing the associate’s problem in front of the team. It was a private matter and should have stayed that way. Being in a management position, rational thinking should have been practiced. She explained the assignment should not have been compared to a sick child. It was unsympathetic of the manager.

Next, she spoke to the associate. She apologized and expressed her concern in regards to her sick child. She told her she would do whatever to grant the requested time needed to care for the child. She informed there would be a salary reduction. The associate was very appreciative and thanked the representative for being so empathetic in her time of need.

Finally, the human resource manager praised the team leader for her efforts. She told how courageous she was to jeopardize her position for someone else. She also told her not to worry that no one would reprimand her. Her final remarks were everyone makes wrong decisions from time to time. But, by developing decision-making skills, one can increase their success on a personal or professional level by having compassion for the other person and treating the other how you would like to be treated.

In conclusion, to base any decision on personal perspective or opinions without taking the time to analyze the situation is risky. If the resource manger had not solved the situation, it could have resulted in losses for the company or even a law suite. One factor that was definitely an influence was the manager’s inability to reason logically with her associates. Being a manager, she probably thought she could make any decision without any repercussion. Other factors that could have had an influence on the problem was one of the individuals was white and the other black. Race participated in this situation because it was openly expressed. The associate felt the manger declined her request because of her race.

How do we accept each other’s differences and still get anything completed? In order to solve problems and get the job done, an individual would need to put their differences aside and made the right decision. Race, culture, gender, religion, economic statutes etc. should not have an influence on how a problem is solved. When people are put in position of authority, to make decisions, they should be receptive. One should not judge others by jumping to conclusions without gathering all of the facts. People should understand bad decisions are made consciously and unconsciously. Decisions should be based on information and facts that are relevant to the problem. If something is not understood, seek advice from others who know more about the details of the problem. We should not be afraid to admit things we do not know. All resources available should be used. We need to accept individuals have different personality types have and relate to decision-making strategies differently. Most importantly, we all know in some cases, two or more heads can be better than one. Learning how to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of others, we can get things done!



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