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Author Archives: Gilbert Maina

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Introduction

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, widely known as SOX, is a federal law in the U.S. enacted as a legislative response to curb corporate scandals and protect investors against fraudulent activities. The act extended existing requirements and further created new ones that public accounting firms, public company boards and management firms were obligated to uphold. Some of the acts provisions are also applicable to private companies. Enron, WorldCom and Tyco were among the biggest names involved in the past corporate and accounting scandals that led to the legislative response. The Act was sponsored by Us Senator Paul Sarbanes and US Representative Michael G Oxley, from it got its name. It comprises of eleven lengthy sections covering a wide range of responsibilities and requirements for different sectors involved with public corporations and financial statements.

Analyze the intent of the Sarbanes OxleyActof 2002 (SOX).

The SOX was created with certain key intents in mind. The primary intent is to protect shareholders from fraudulent activities such as in representations of financial statements. Another intent is to strengthen corporate oversight through extended and newly introduced responsibilities and requirements. Thirdly, the SOX intends to enhance internal corporate control through provisions stipulated in the Act. Lastly, the act envisioned to enhance corporate governance in general, thus restoring faith in investors. With the achievement of these intents, the investors are assured that they are relying on truthful financial information which has been evaluated and verified by an independent third party. Due to its dedication in protecting the investors, the act has been rendered as being a key piece of security in preventing major corporation scandals.

 What is the major drawback of the SOX Act?

Since the inception of the act, many benefits have been realized. However, the act has experienced major drawbacks and has been spoken out against in many cases with questions being raised on its effectiveness. Of all the drawbacks, an increase in the cost of doing business is the most significant. This has resulted from the fact that most of all the other drawbacks are in part related to influence on the costs incurred. Lombardo (2017) states that the act compels federal auditors to take more time in completing the process since they are required to be very detailed. With increased auditing time, the auditing fees also go high.  Vitez (2017) adds to this by affirming that the public corporations are obligated by SOX guidelines to carry out an annual audit annually. The guidelines also asserts that the audit is to be done by a third-party, with each limited on the total accounting services it can perform. In most cases, this leads to hiring more than one auditing firm, thus leading to additional costs.

The added regulatory measures have also led to an increase in the cost of doing business. Regulatory control and added individual responsibility leads to higher administration costs (Lombardo, 2017). The regulations also leads to a slowed pace for the business thus impacting the production. Internal control, a major XOX compliance, have also affected the cost of production. Each accounting operation is required to have a specific internal control to facilitate safeguarding the company’s financial information (Vitez, 2017).  The numerous internal controls leads to additional processing time thus affecting the overall financial information. In addition, employees are strictly required to ensure accuracy and approval of their paperwork by supervisors. When all these are put together, it is evident that the entire process is slowed down, leading to delays and more costs being incurred.

references

Lombardo, C. (2017). Sarbanes-Oxley Act Pros and Cons – Vision LaunchVision Launch. Retrieved 6 November 2017, from http://visionlaunch.com/sarbanes-oxley-act-pros-and-cons/#

Vitez, O. (2017). What Are the Disadvantages of Sarbanes Oxley? | Sapling.comSapling.com. Retrieved 6 November 2017, from https://www.sapling.com/5494421/disadvantages-sarbanes-oxley 

Asian American history

Asian American history

Over time human experiences have undergone tremendous change owing to the extensiveness and diversity. Diversity has both negative and positive implications. There also exist various reasons that drive variety and extensiveness in the world communities. These include culture, skills, history, crafts, religion, economic structure, social framework among others. America for a long time has had a popular culture that many nations admire and would like to be involved. Time also has a crucial impact on human diversity as things tend to be dynamic to keep up with the changing times. Times influences most of the aspects of the human life and in fact, most of them are dependent on it. The good thing with diversity is its flexible nature to change across space and time.

Diversity also comes as a result of community integration either from the same or different geographical regions. Human interaction has also fuelled this extensiveness and has influenced experiences of people both positively and negatively. It is evident that understanding human experiences in the past helps in fostering co-existence among different people. Past events and their perspectives usually have social, economic and political significance. Beyond the change in demographics, diversity also influences the cultural and political entity leading to the integration and flourishing of Asian American culture and arts and the establishment of their education systems (Okihiro, 2014).

The changes that were set in motion in the 1960s redefined the identities and experiences of those of Asian lineage in America. Initially, there were laws in the history of America that prohibited immigration of the Asian people (Okihiro, 2014). There was a crucial change in the immigration law and policy in the United States that allowed for the repeal of the exclusion acts. This allowed for immigrants to apply for citizenship. This accelerated immigration from the Asian sub-continent. Racial hostility was subjected to the people of the Asian descent despite the overwhelming necessity for manual labor in the 19th century (Okihiro, 2014). They were subjected to murder, barred from obtaining citizenship and attending schools and also denied the right to testify in court. After the civil war ended, there were tensions with Asian countries such as China leading to the culmination of the exclusion act of 1882 (Okihiro, 2014).

This led to Asians been expelled from various occupations trades and residential regions. This also led to Asians congregating in specific areas where they could live in cohesion and unity such as the Chinatowns found in multiple cities in the United States (Okihiro, 2014). Government policies are the ones that led to the development of these towns. They were used as defensive strategies to prevent segregation, prejudice, and discrimination. Due to the appearance, practices, and race of the immigrants, they sparked up both suspicion and curiosity. There was a significant social problem with immigrants to America as there was a shortage of Asian women. Though after the Second World War the number of Asian women immigrants increased.

The Asian community came into America as craftsmen, refugees, artisans, and farmers. They had well-developed skills in the arts and helped in building much of the transcontinental railway along the western part and left it under the maintenance of the Americans. The early Asian immigrants entered the service and manufacturing occupations especially the Japanese. They faced hostility from the union members since Asians were willing to work more for fewer wages and under deplorable conditions. The immigration statute of 1924 denied Asians eligibility for citizenship (Okihiro, 2014). The attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent war by the Japanese led to the expulsion of the immigrants from their homes and being relocated into reserves. At a park in America, Chinese characters were found carved into the wooden walls of Angel Island barracks and detention centers making this a historical site. This showed the bitterness of excluded Asian immigrants who had carved many poems on those walls (Okihiro, 2014).

One thing that is significant is the fact that racial profiling against the Asian Americans was paramount. This led to the exclusion of many immigrants from influential and powerful positions, and it has been carried on up to this day. Asians in America were viewed with prejudice and suspicion due to their races. Since they were in a new country that had good prospects, they were willing to work for minimum wage which causes conflicts with the existing labor force of the natives. They were also not at liberty to form unions to demonstrate for these injustices as there was the fear of expulsion. Their foreign status made them vulnerable to these issues (Okihiro, 2014). The forbidding of Chinese to testify against Americans in court led to increased anxiety among the immigrants as they had no rights in the foreign land.

Initially, men constituted the more substantial part of the immigrant population but as time progressed they intermarried with the locals which would accord them rights to acquire citizenship. Living in fear was evident for the Asian immigrants as they were required to pay a monthly police tax. Being an Asian, mainly Chinese in the meant exclusion from the public schools in America to prevent ethnic diversity. Integration of the different Asian races was received with harsh treatments to appoint where they were executed and hanged (Okihiro, 2014). Young single men were contracted from Asian countries and played a vital role in the development of America from working as miners, builders of railroads among others.

This merging with the workforce posed to be a problem as they faced much resistance. Many countries of Asian descent such as India, China, Japan, and Koreans were excluded by law from marrying Caucasians, owning land and acquiring citizenship. This resulted to the immigration of other immigrants whose countries had not been banned by law in the United States such as the Filipinos (Okihiro, 2014). Economic competition and racism intensified on them too leading to their exclusion as well. The reason that they would be allowed into the country was to provide cheap labor that led to economic development of America. These intersection ties in culture, religion, and ethnicity led to reforms in the immigration laws as international relations changed. This allowed for a few Asians to enter America though, despite this, the laws remained discriminative. The liberalization of the immigration laws has fostered intersectional ties between the Asian and the Americans.

Masses of Asian people immigrated due to the gold rush in California and for the railroad construction, however, after these activities they found themselves discriminated against and unemployed (Okihiro, 2014). This saw the rise of Chinatowns. Unfair taxing was imposed to the Asians. They were also subjected to poor labor conditions and wages. Their social rights were also limited as they could not testify against the Americans. There were even hate crimes against the Asians in several states. They were also denied the right to attend public schools due to their race. Asian immigrants’ access to education was limited, and it is still evident to date. The increasing number of refugees and immigrants to the United States have proved to be a problem with the already existing immigrants thus reducing their wage statistics. There has been increased gang activity among the Asian Americans as they congregate in cultural backgrounds to fight the discrimination and for economic gain (Okihiro, 2014).

There was a growing fear in America regarding the Asians which led to the various legislatures such as the gentlemen’s act and the Chinese exclusion act which restricted the immigration of the Asians into American soil (Okihiro, 2014). The lack of identity and political representation and participation is another struggle due to the lack of unification of the diverse Asian communities. Secondly, the Asians have had a history of being politically shy and inactive which further creates a barrier.

Asian Americans are still not involved in voting and political events. They are usually discriminated against when it comes to education. Their interests include sciences and technical subjects which creates a barrier making it hard for them to get accepted into the best schools. Policies have been formulated to help support them acquire a decent education. Funding programs have also been developed to support the same. Poverty and inequality have been plaguing Asian Americans up to date, and only a small percentage live over the poverty line.

The Chinatowns in the various cities still exist, and they have helped support the diverse Asian communities and also contribute to the economy of America. The gender share of Asian Americans in the workforce is still dominated by men. Many cases also linked to the past and the present. The experiences of economic struggle and contribution, personal struggle, racial discrimination and discriminatory statues targeting Asian Americans have helped shape the history of both the Americans and the Asian Americans.

Reference

Okihiro, G. Y. (2014). Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American history and culture. University of Washington Press.

Food Safety and Vectors

Food Safety and Vectors

Staff Training

Mandatory training for the employees that work in the kitchen and the cafeteria on food safety is the long-lasting solution to enhance food safety. According to Yapp and Fairman (2006), there is scanty evidence that shows the effectiveness of food enforcement programs in changing the behavior of the employees and kitchen staff in ensuring that food is prepared and handled using the highest standards of hygiene (Ditzen, Pellegrino & Vosshall, 2008). On the other hand, when the staff training for employees working in the cafeteria is absent, the kitchen and cafeteria workers are likely to develop habits that are difficult to correct and costly where there are many incidences of food poisoning (Yapp & Fairman, 2006). If the staff training is carried out correctly and the management ensures that all the employees have received training, the final food products delivered to the consumers is safe for consumption and the cafeteria can maintain a positive public image (Ditzen et al., 2008). Training exposes the staff members to new hygiene practices like checking if food is cooked thoroughly and the steps that should be taken if a member of staff gets sick during working hours to avoid food contamination.

Workers Behavior

Workers behavior can compromise the food safety in different ways. The first behavior that can contaminate food is failure to wash the hands before handling food (Ditzen et al., 2008). For example, if a staff member does not wash hands after using the handkerchief, the bacteria can get into the food, and when ingested by the cafeteria customers it can result to disease. The other behavior that compromises the safety of the food is the use of cutting boards that have already developed cracks and crevices (Yapp & Fairman, 2006). The crevices and the cracks offer a favorable environment for the bacteria to bleed and later get into the food items placed on the cutting board.

Protection against Mosquito Bites

The best option for the campus population to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos and contracting the West Nile Virus is the use of the DEET repellents. According to Ditzen et al., (2008), the DEET repellants are cost effective because most of them cost two US dollars and below. The Environmental Protection Agency has also given the assurance that DEET is safe for use provided it is used following the given directions (Yapp & Fairman, 2006). Since the campus community has a high concentration of adults, DEET would be effective because only babies below the age of two months are not allowed to be exposed to the product. The DEET repellents have proven effective in preventing mosquito bites because they remain active for hours relative to other repellants. Yapp and Fairman (2006) explain that the repellants are also comfortable to use because they are odorless due to the micro-encapsulation technology used. By using the DEET repellants, the students can successfully keep the mosquitos away in longer distances.

Mosquito Population Control

The campus community needs to work on harborage reduction to control the mosquito population effectively (Yapp & Fairman, 2006). Harborage can be reduced through cutting the grass in the campus environment as short as possible as well as thinning the shrubs to enhance air circulation through the shrubs that disrupt the mosquitos and create an unsuitable environment for them to rest. Mosquitos often choose shady, humid and cool areas for resting during the day and attack later in the night (California Department of Public Health, 2013). Activities to reduce harborage do not require many resources, as most of the equipment employed for mowing grass and cutting the grass are readily available.

References

California Department of Public Health (2013). West Nile Virus FAQs and Basics: Mosquito

Control. Retrieved Dec 16, 2016, from http://www.westnile.ca.gov/wnv_faqs_basics.php?id=25

Ditzen, M., Pellegrino, M., & Vosshall, L. B. (2008). Insect odorant receptors are molecular targets of the insect repellent DEET. Science319(5871), 1838-1842.

Yapp, C., & Fairman, R. (2006). Factors affecting food safety compliance within small and medium-sized enterprises: implications for regulatory and enforcement strategies. Food Control17(1), 42-51.

African American Culture under slavery

African American Culture under slavery

Literature, spirituals and folk culture as poised in Crossing the Danger Water suggests that the culture of African-Americans under bondage had shaped into an individual culture distinct from slaveholders and the culture of the Africans (Feagin, 2015). The literature, spirituals, and folk culture were a figure of hope. These all advocate that the Africans in America under captivity were intellectual in spite of lacking opportunities to learn reading or writing and having to conform to the slave owners’ ideologies and beliefs (Feagin, 2015).

African Americans were regularly prohibited from reading and writing by restrictive rules. This new culture that had developed from the African American was a blend of culture from where the slaves once were and where they were at that time thus creating the African American culture. This mixture showed the memories and traditions of the past and the hope for the future. Literature, spirituals and folk culture also served as a communication means amid the African American slaves. Crossing the Danger Water suggests that African American culture under slavery was rooted upbringing combined with the experiences lived by the African American slave thus forming a brand new culture (Stuckey, 2013).

Crossing the Danger Water presents faith as a part of the culture. In the American society and culture today, Christianity which was imparted on to the African slaves became a part of the African-American culture (Stuckey, 2013). The slave owner’s teachings and the interpretation of African Americans together with cultural infusion is still evident in the African-American church.

The works of literature including stories and spirituals that were passed down are still being narrated and sung. This is a direct reflection because the African American slaves used things from their past and incorporated it into their present as today’s American uses things from the past in the present (Feagin, 2015). Another example would be music with a message today’s American culture uses music to tell stories or present a message or encourage just as the spirituals did in African American slave culture.

References

Feagin, J. R. (2015). How Blacks built America: Labor, culture, freedom, and democracy. Routledge.

Stuckey, S. (2013). Slave culture: Nationalist theory and the foundations of Black America. Oxford University Press.

Hurricane effects on the energy sector.

Hurricane effects on the energy sector.

Hurricanes are natural disasters that have the potential to do massive damage.  Hurricane Harvey was a category 5 storm that impacted both Texas and Louisiana.  Harvey left over 300,000 people without power, displaced over 30,000 people and forced the rescue of over 13,000 people.  The potent winds caused billions of dollars in damage to include poles and wires that caused power outages and affected the energy grid.  People are the most affected by power outages because without power it is difficult to cook and perform daily activities.  The recovery effort for power is very dangerous because with so many downed lines and so much flood water any area is a potential hazard.  Oil and Gas production was also affected because people could not go into work and all this production took an unscheduled pause.  This limited the supply and increased the demand of Oil and Gas.  Transportation and storage was also affected due to so many road closures limiting the accessibility of storage locations (Choice, 2017).

The most significant impact for the energy sector was the oil refineries.  While crude oil prices went down, petrol oil went up and this is because the closing of the refineries will limited the refining of the crude oil.  In 2008 Hurricane Ike missed Houston by a narrow margin and since then they have spoken of creating dykes for protection of Galveston Bay, but nothing has been done since.  Perhaps this is the best option in order to mitigate damage levels.  The current major vulnerabilities are the exposure of shale oil wells, refineries and the Houston energy complex. These are the areas that need to be looked at for protection from another hurricane which is just a matter of time before it comes along (Mills, 2017).

Works Cited

Choice, E. (2017, September 11). Electric Choice. Retrieved from 2017 Hurricane Season & Energy: Impacts, Dangers and More: https://www.electricchoice.com/blog/hurricane-energy-impacts/

Mills, R. (2017, August 17). The National. Retrieved from https://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/how-will-hurricane-harvey-affect-us-energy-sector-1.623246

Action Plan for Flint’s Water Crisis

Action Plan for Flint’s Water Crisis

After Flint changed its source of water from the Lake Huron, during a construction of a new pipeline, to Flint River, many people started complaining about health issues which included loss of hair and behavioral changes among children and teenagers. These are the general health effects of too much lead in the people’s bodies more specifically children. The reason as to why people started complaining is because the water that was flowing out of their taps was contaminated with lead and other contaminants. This contamination was as a result of the emergency managers chosen by the governor trying to cut off cost involved in the water provision. This was because the governor wanted to turn the water issue to a profit producing business (Cama, 2016). This did not turn out as he expected and In turn brought a contamination issue.

After most people were sure that the water was contaminated, they started protesting against the governor trying to make him leave office by choice and at the same time they shifted to using bottled water (Bernstein & Dennis, 2016). They also lost their trust in the state to provide clean water to them, and this called for the country to come up with an action plan that would win the trust of the people and also provide clean and healthy water.

The actions that the states need to put in place include providing access to Medicaid and other health services to those people below the age of 21 and also the pregnant women. This is because these two groups are the most affected by the health hazards of lead. Lead poisoning leads to slow fetal growth among the pregnant women (“The United States,” 2016). This process is aimed at encouraging most children to get tested for the levels of lead in their body as lead has severe effects on the body.

The second action that the system should put in place is encouraging the purchase of filters. It is believed that the use of filters can reduce the effects of lead poisoning in water to a large extent among those people above six years (“The United States,” 2016). The government also should make these filters readily available to the people at all times and even at a low price.

There should also be the encouragement of people to use the flushing method to reduce and eventually reduce the amount of lead in water. This technique involves the opening of taps in the kitchen, bath tabs and every other place in the homestead, leave the tap open for about five minutes, and this will help to reduce the number of toxins in the water (“The United States,” 2016). This process should be followed by testing of water to determine the level of contamination.

In general, the measures that should be put in place include continuous testing of water, creating awareness to the families, doing away with the water bills that the people of Flint owe to the water company, and adding anticorrosion chemicals to the water (Snyder, 2016).

For people to restore their trust on receiving clean water, the state needs to provide justice to all the affected parties, and this can be done by arresting and charging all the people who made the mess in the first place (Thompson, 2016). The state officials also need to visit the residents of Flint at home level, discuss with them the water contamination issue and assure them that such a problem would not occur again. People need to be given an assurance that the problem has been dealt with and tests to prove that the matter is correct and they will restore their trust again

The primary stakeholders involved in this action plan include Department of Environmental Quality, the governor and the state officials and the public at large to assist in correcting the mistake.

References

Cama, T. (2016, March 24). Michigan task force blames state government for Flint water crisis. The Hill, 23 (30), 13

Thompson, B. (2016, April 19). Michigan judge authorizes the first round of criminal charges in Flint water crisis. Christian Science Monitor, n.p.

Snyder, B. (2016, January 20). Michigan’s governor just apologized for the Flint water crisis.Fortune.com.

Bernstein, L., & Dennis, B. (2016, July 29). Six Michigan employees charged with misconduct in Flint water crisis. The Washington Post.

TheUnited States: Remarks by the President After Meeting with Federal Responders on the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis-Food Bank of Eastern Michigan-Flint, Michigan Asia News Monitor, May 6, 2016

Impacts of Technology

Impacts of Technology

The rapidly advancing technology has come to everyone’s attention and has profoundly affected the functioning system of companies as well as businesses. Technology has mostly helped the companies to plan and integrate themselves as part of the global strategy. However, technology has both positive and negative impacts on businesses.

 

How technology help companies to differentiate themselves as part of the global strategy.

The growing technology is sweeping our economy. No business or organization can elude its impacts. Deflation of processing and transmitting information has drastically changed the way we do business. Companies want to fit in globalization. The company has to develop plans targeting on global level cost (Wible, 2016). Technology has helped companies to develop plans on strategies which will help them to compete with others. Also, technology has enabled the managers to maintain security in their firm. Perhaps through internet security.

 

Does technology help or hinder a company’s work with foreign companies?

Every workplace can benefit from technology. Technology has helped the company to work with foreign companies for its development. Companies offering the same services worldwide can transfer data from one company to another easily through technology. According to (Cutter, 2012), technology has helped the companies to track clients using tracking software. He added and said that technology has contributed to speed up the connection between one company and another. Through this, more time is saved thus more products are produced.

Conclusively, technology is advancing from one time to another. The today’s science is the technology of tomorrow. Technology has brought change in our economy.

 

References

Ahmed, U., Beck, T., McDaniel, C., & Schropp, S. (2015). Filling the Gap: How Technology Enables Access to Finance for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 10(3-4), 35-48. doi:10.1162/inov_a_00239

Cutter, B. (2012). An American Renaissance: How It Is Happening, How to Nudge It Along, Why We Should Care. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 7(3), 15-24. doi:10.1162/inov_a_00136

US companies work together to provide access to clean drinking-water. (2014). Membrane Technology, 2014(11), 1. doi:10.1016/s0958-2118(14)70219-8

Wible, B. (2016). Measuring impacts of technology on growth. Science, 353(6303), 1001-1002. doi:10.1126/science.353.6303.1001-f

 

Organizational and Management Theory

Part 1: Organizational and Management Theory

Organizations are guided by specific principles that have the power to either make or break them.  Although, these principles may vary from organization to organization, certain principles must remain the same in order for true success to occur in the current organizational climate.  This is regardless of sector of operation or focus in field.  When looking at successful companies such as Google, Amazon, or SAS for example.  They put an emphasis on valuing employees, management effectiveness, and overall culture in every facet of their respective organizations.  This has become a new trend in organizations with an extra focus on these principles within company’s human resource departments.

Companies have now realized the importance in culture to retain employees for the long term.  It has become a conscious aspect of organizational thinking in controlling the movement of employee’s in and out of their companies (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  Organizations now understand that toxic management and leadership hurts the bottom line.  It is more cost effective to retain and develop then to have high turnover.  This new wave of thinking has led to better work benefits and environments for employees nationwide (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).

Effective leaders empower and grow organizations through the following principles – 1) investing in employees through wellness, 2) creating career paths for employees, 3) clear and defined organization structures in regards to leadership, 4) empowering personalities to develop top talent, 5) develop a culture of accountability, 6) focus on what they can control within their sphere of influence, 7) judge success internally instead of externally, 8) think outside the box, 9) recognize strengths and the need not to change everything, 10) align strategy with organization goals.  All leaders that are successful in the long-term leverage these personnel principles with fellow collogues that create a more humanistic approach to a working relationship (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  This idea is based in a philosophy that defines leaders as peers not in a boss verse worker like relationship.

Ten Principles of Effective Management and Organizations

Leaders and organizations have found that investing in employee wellness leads to less turnover and higher productivity (Armstrong, 2016).  SAS, a data analytics company is known for this largely in the corporate sector.  Leadership within SAS decided at the company’s inception to take care of employees in order to maintain top talent and reduce turnover.  At SAS, you will find on-site daycare, primary care physician services, a pharmacy, and a gym just to name a few perks.  Within their organization they made a conscious decision to become a leader in employee wellness which is the first principle in effective management and leadership.

In recent years, management throughout quality and growing organizations has grown adept at structuring career paths for employees.  Career paths being the idea of creating a system of reasonable progression for employees to earn higher levels of responsibility and wages (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  The understanding of employee growth and development is no longer taking a back seat.  Human resource departments and managers understand that if they don’t develop from within, employees will take their talents to competitors.  Effective managers counsel and develop career paths constantly to ensure employees grow and view themselves as valued within an organization.  This is the principle of growth and retainment as known in human resources.

Having a clear and defined leadership structure is a mark of an effective leader and organization setting and expanding boundaries.  Some insinuate this to mean isolating power at the top.  This is actually not the case, in fact it’s the art of systematic delegation (Armstrong, 2016).  This process allows for multiple people to be involved in the decision-making process therefor developing them into future leaders themselves.  The idea behind this process allows for individuals involved to have ownership and move around to work on different parts of the scope of each project.  Afterwards leaving employees to feel empowered and confident in their abilities to complete tasks.

A hard task of any leader or organization is managing personalities within groups to accomplish a goal (Armstrong, 2016).  Rarely are tasks individual in today’s organizations, individuals must be able to thrive in groups to accomplish tasks.  Effective leaders will exploit personality traits of individuals and put them in a place where they can best succeed (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  First and foremost, this is done for the project worked on, but also to tie into each employee’s career path.  Management of personality traits can be one of the hardest parts of leadership and requires constant monitoring and adjustment.  This effective principal if managed well can develop senior leaders quickly.

Creating a culture of accountability within a work place can be one of the hardest tasks of any leader or organization.  This is in part due to the often-negative consequences that can come from how some organizations enforce accountability (Armstrong, 2016).  Effective leaders create an environment where employees are free to make mistakes, but hold themselves accountable more than managers.  The action of reprimand for mistakes is often overused and hinders the growth process when developing employees (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  If done right having a strong culture of accountability leads to trust amongst employees and mutual respect.

Accepting individual limitations is often a tough task to do as a leader.  Effective leaders understand that they have a limited sphere of influence no matter how high they are in an organization.  Ultimately individuals have to be motivated through self-motivation to do a good job.  What’s important is setting the environment where results and positive motivation can thrive.  Understanding where to direct your influence is one of the least valued traits of an effective leader and manager.

Organizations are judged on the success of their operations whether reasonable or not.  Often leaders and organizations make the mistake of judging that success externally instead of internally (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  Sometimes this is due to outside influence, but often it comes from internal pressure from the leader themselves.   Effective leaders are able to tune out outside influence on their organization and focus on the internal structure to make it the most productive.  This is not to say they don’t pay attention to the competitors around them, but they create their own thriving model instead of copying.  One example of this is Amazon which entered the mass market Walmart created, but slowly reinvented it while instituting their own organizational policies benefiting employees.

Effective leaders are able to see the big picture when developing goals for their teams and organizations.  In order to be effective, you have to be able to think outside the box while staying in the parameters of your organizational goals (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  This can be as large as designing new programs and methods to simply shoring up a deficiency.  Great leaders will find the little things as well as the big things to target improvement.  This is the mentality of efficiency which contributes to fast growing organizations.

Every organization has strengths and weaknesses they must recognize (Armstrong, 2016).  Recognizing those strengths and weaknesses is key to every effective leader within those respective organizations.  Also, not feeling the need to change things unnecessarily is key to any successful leader.  Leaders who create effective change do so through constant evaluation and looking to improve processes instead of getting rid of processes.  Being able to control the urge to simply rid yourself of a process, but embrace the process of changing it separates an average leader from the best.

Understanding your organizations goals and positioning your employees to most effectively meet those goals is essential to being an effective leader.  It’s pivotal to align department or project strategy with the organizations strategy.  Having one vision gives employees something to buy into and a vision to aim towards (Gross, M., Hogler, R., Henle, C., 2013).  Effective leaders use this principle to ensure everyone is on the same page and requires less micromanaging.  Setting these large goals and small goals to look towards creates realistic benchmarks as well which help as indicators of continued success.

The following ten principals of effective leaders and organizations are simply the foundation of what an effective leader in this space should be.  With a renewed focus on human capital in organizations in the world, principles such as these lead to more fruitful projects and longer lasting professional relationships.  Reducing confusion and creating more productive environments.  Therefor creating more sustainable organizations.

Part 2: Organizational Theory in Relation to Organizations as Machines & Organizations as Cultures

When examining Morgan’s writing in Images of Organization, I was compelled and kept drawing comparisons to my current organization.  Currently, I am the Director of Special Projects for the North Carolina Education and Employment Center.  This is a center focused on employment and education services for transitioning service members, veterans, and their dependents within the state of North Carolina.  Chapter two and chapter five correlate well to my organization as it is both governmental and tied to an ethos with many different cultures combining into one.  Morgan states “that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that lead us to see, understand, and manage organizations in distinctive yet partial ways”.  In my various professional position’s, I’ve yet to find one more rooted in a machine-like environment in the way it operates with such impact on a vast centered organizational culture.

Mechanical Theory – Organizations as Machines

In chapter two Morgan covers the image of organizations being machines.  Especially bureaucratic organizations where he speaks of how this mentality at times can be highly effective; at others though, it can be a hindrance to growth and development (Morgan, 2006).  Morgan speaks of how this mechanical level of thinking is so engrained in organizations today that it can be hard for managers to grow and expand in different types of ways (Morgan, 2006).  Throughout the chapter, multiple points are made out that these types of organizations tend to create routines and mechanize all their work production whether office based or not.  Creating measurables that make evaluation easier and a structure that is very defined.

Within my organization, the North Carolina Education and Employment center (EEC).  We operate very much in this fashion; not exactly by my choice or even other directors.  This is not a reflection of it being a good or bad practice, but just recognizing that the process is mechanical as Morgan describes.  The theory describes organizations with multiple checks and balances, as well as defined sectors of evaluations which screams government bureaucracy.  I believe I can make a point for both reasons why this process can be considered good and bad.

If I was taking the pro-mechanical train of thought approach, I would say this process leads to easier processes to identify and solve problems.  The approach isolates managers, workers, and projects.  It sets team expectations that are easily measurable and lead to straight forward individual and team based evaluations (Morgan, 2006).  This sort of process contributes to better precision, speed, clarity, and efficiency (Morgan, 2006).  All of which are needed for a governmental organization in some ways to work effectively.

The cons to the mechanical approach are also evident as well.  Morgan often references the potential to routinize and mechanize human life leads to the eroding of the human spirit and creative thought (Morgan, 2006).  This process hurts personal interaction amongst employees and can affect the esprit de corps government organizations attempt to foster.  In other mechanical organizations, such as production or logistics companies.  This process becomes not as big of an issue because the value on human capital is not viewed the same.  The goal of mechanical organizations is to make humans fit the requirements of the mechanical scheme of organizations (Morgan, 2006).  Limiting expression that leads to increased innovation some would say.

Within my current organization, we suffer from both the pro’s and con’s that come from mechanization (machine) theory.  The structure that envelops our organization contributes to segmented responsibility which helps defines each employee’s role.  This allows us to best help the people we are assigned to help in the most efficient way.  It also handicaps our expansion though, especially in regards to helping more people in a more expansive and effective way.  An example of this would be our hiring events where since we are tasked with having ten a year, it doesn’t allow us to market and promote these events as effective as we would like.  This could be easily changed by going from ten to seven events per year, but due to bureaucratic policies it hinders us from making that change.

The EEC provides a team based approach which is positive due to group project based work being so vital to our mission.  The negatives with this approach is it limits individuals feeling empowered enough to making their own decisions that can create change.  As an organization, we have lost out on several professional contacts due to this practice only being carried out at the director level.  Although, team approaches in a government organization can be good they can also hinder development for the organization.  This mechanical nature of authority slows progress as much as it enhances effectiveness.

After reading about mechanical theory, I would say the EEC is pretty neutral in regards to whether it benefits or not from this level of thinking.  In some ways it’s costly, but in others it allows for organization within many moving pieces.  It’s easy to say bureaucracy contributes to dysfunction and that is true.  We must also recognize though that within an organization like the EEC the checks and balances need to be greater because of who we represent.  Overall, I see Morgan’s insight as a way to best constantly evaluate what you are doing as a mechanical organization.  Embrace the good and rid the negative portions that adversely affect day to day business.

Social Realty – Organizations as Cultures

In chapter five Morgan explores the idea of corporate cultures and the importance of culture to organizational success.  Through focusing on the values, ideas, beliefs, norms, rituals, and other patterns you dictate the culture of organizational life (Morgan, 2006).  In designing organizations as cultures, it provides another way of managing and designing organizations (Morgan, 2006).  This provides for a certain control of quality and expectations from within all facets of each respective organization.

The focus on organizations as cultures started in Japan in the mid-1960’s (Morgan, 2006).  After a demise in production due to World War Two, Japan then re-invented themselves into a country where work and life commixed in a positive way.  This idea caught the attention of the world in the 1980’s (Morgan, 2006).  When we talk about work culture, we are talking about a societies system of knowledge being shown in the work place.  It’s an acceptance of ideas and values as a day to day ritual (Morgan, 2006).

Throughout reading the chapter, I found it fascinating the connection between culture and symbiotic relationships.  Morgan talks about intensive teamwork and collaboration being a necessity for this environment to work (Morgan, 2006).  At the EEC, I believe we do this well.  Each of us is connected to a similar mission in one way or another and understands the consequences of not completing each person’s individual tasks in the mission.  No matter our culture of origin or background, we are all connected by the passion to help veterans.  For some this comes from serving the country themselves and for others it’s simply a connection they have.

For me, I see very few negatives to an organization focused on culture.  In my young professional life, I’ve been a part of several organizations and all the good organizations had a strong culturally foundation.  Understanding that individuals can have different personalities while still having much in common has been the glue to the success I’ve seen.  Morgan points to this as corporate culture (Morgan, 2006).  Culture based organizations in my opinion run smoother day to day.  I’ve also seen limited turnover as workers get attached to their collogues and organizations long term missions.  These cultures integrate individuals better in the long term and create shared meanings.  This harmony and teamwork is a great foundation for success.

The EEC is a perfect example of an organization centering around culture.  Although, if you point to culture as being a factor to be more inclusive you must also make sure it doesn’t exclude individuals.  Creating and controlling sub-cultures in this organization is essential.  Whether that means different branches of service, service members to spouses, etc.  All must see the big picture as to not create a divide.  The good thing is that within the military that has proven to be easier than other organizations I’ve been in.  Where common life subjects such as politics, hobbies, and other items can cause rifts that go into the organization and cause trouble.

Conclusion

Management and organizations thrive off people first and foremost.  As long as human beings are the main producers this will continue to be the case.  The research proves that without putting individuals in an environment to succeed you will have limited return.  Whether that is using my organization as an example or the various used by the authors you see this as a concept that can be applied worldwide.  It’s important for us to value human capital if we truly care about creating thriving management and organizational cultures.  That is the true theory of success.

References

Armstrong, M. (2016). Armstrong’s handbook of management and leadership for HR: Developing effective people skills for better leadership and management (Fourth ed.).

Gross, M., Hogler, R., & Henle, C. (2013). Process, people, and conflict management in organizations. International Journal of Conflict Management, 24(1), 90-103.

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 

Sir Patrick Spens Ballad

       Critical Analysis of Sir Patrick Spens Ballad

A ballad is a poem that tells a story. Sir Patrick Spens is an ancient ballad that expounds on the role of fate on mortals. It addresses two major thematic concerns, the autonomy of fate in the destiny of human beings secondly it engages into a discourse humanity; people are born and they ought to die at some point in life. The overt themes are interconnected, it is therefore valid to say that life, death and humanity are inseparable. Sir Patrick Spens historical setting appeals to reality; the famous shipwreck off the coast of Aberdour near Papa Stronsay Island.

The ballad commences by presenting the main characters King Dumferling  Scotland, although he is immobile his actions will cause other people to move .This allusion will attempt to answer why the king ordered Spens to sail at such a hazardous period in time; the sailor questioned the reason behind this errand after he received the letter that was signed by the king;( line 18-20) the sailor uses rhetorical question to engage the audience regarding the kings deeds, what was the kings ultimate motive that led him towards settling on such a critical decision, “This ill deid don to me, To send me out tis time o’ the year, To sail upon the sea? A question arises on the role of power and how leaders can twist the fate of their subjects, this is further emphasized in the second line where it is affirmed that he controls the lives of his subjects besides he further sends them to death and finds it as easy just as one might drink a glass of wine. As the poem  develops, the king needs a competent sailor he settles on Sir Patrick Spens this is ironical, it serves both as an honor ,but foreshadows an impending danger on his fate. Despite him being good, his allegiance and good virtues are unable to rescue him. Fate is a force that no one can escape it is tied to vocation of someone. This errand is further reaffirmed by an elderly knight who is of a similar high social status, he acclaims the sailor of his prowess (line 7-8)”Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor that sails upon the sea, the king has written a braid letter “. According to Karl Marx theory of literary criticism ( Marx ,112)illuminates on the social conflict of the proletariat and bourgeoisie in a sociological setting ,those in power tend to oppress their subjects although Spens is not willing to go, his status betray him ;tied to his fate he finally gives in and embarks on the journey.

At this point in time the ballad presents covert themes such as rivalry and self-conflict. After receiving the letter and laughs at it mockingly the journey had been indeed assigned to him ,he finds humor in it and sees it as a joke ,it depicted a turn of events as planned by  fate, alluding to the Oedipal fate that was vividly destructive .”To send me out this time o’ the year, to sail upon the sea?”(Line 19-20) hint information concerning weather being rather perfidious

,although this is a critical matter of life and death they have to heed to the call of authority; this is double tragedy bad weather meant that the journey might be cataclysmic and they had no choice but heed to the voyage.

The men heed to the call as required, terrified they make merry but this is situational irony, they just have to do it unwillingly .In the lines 23-27,”O say na sae ,my master deir,For I fear a deadlie storme”The sailor speaks out at last, the thematic concern of disillusionment comes out he his grieved and wishes that the master may talk back his words .The sailor sees the old moon in the hands of the new moon, this is symbolic of a bad omen that awaits them in the journey ahead, he wishes that the king could ultimately take back his words. The sailor and the crews awful fate has been made through the bad weather and the king’s decision on him. The malevolent omen predicts bad weather and the sailor’s distress, it for shadows that the ship and its crew will be harmed.

Ironically Spens nobility has brought his downfall, his good deeds are recognized but have bred his downfall, as aforementioned alluding to Oedipal crisis, and his upright skills led him close to his date with fate. The sailors are likened to figurines in the hands of nature. In the lines 33-36…the ladies await their men to return, as the poem ends their men lay, the fans are symbolic of the vanity of human wishes, the weather is uncontrollable, the mention of “hand’ is symbolic, the kings hand took part in initiating their death. At the end of the poem the ship is wrecked in the storm. There is a twist of events and the knight sits at the king’s knee.

Ballads often tell of tragedies, death is present as an overt theme and a dominant force in the poem, it is a force that is tied to the human destiny .Death takes a totally different turn and in addition personified by the symbol of a king drinking blood on his throne although he is immobile ,its power is immense and once it knocks the call is irreversible, evident through the kings order .The sailor could not defy, The persona speaks through the poem creatively addressing the interconnectedness of death in a very unique way ,it comes to anyone regardless of the social status.

The poet employs rich literary devices in the poem, making the audience attentive to know what will take place, irony has been vastly used to bring out the uncertainties that come with fate, and natural will. Symbolism has also been used to develop the major thematic concern the bad omen is tied with death, and fate. Humanity lacks control over this immense powers and with great disillusionment no matter how optimistic one is, having a handshake with death is paramount, whether it breeds good or bad deeds for the future its power surpasses the human will.

 

Works Cited

Sir Patrick Spens (1980) pp 394

Karl Marx(2012)Introduction to Marxist Economics (reprint)pp 112

Higher education

Higher education

Introduction

Higher education refers to an optional last stage in the process of formal learning. One goes through higher education upon completion of secondary school education. It is delivered in institutions such as universities, colleges, seminaries and technological institutions. The world’s university rankings which are brought together by Times Higher Education indicate that a number amounting to more than half of top 200 universities in the world are found either in the United States or England. Both of them have a rich tradition in providing higher education of good quality, good facilities for researchers and great culture that gives a chance to intellectualism as well as freedom in academics. However, as much as both of them create a good learning environment, differences are exhibited. The funding and quality of both education systems experience some differences. The preferable system of education is the system applied in the United Kingdom.

Looking into the quality of Higher education in England, colleges and universities focus on teaching in small groups. Much of undergraduate education takes place in groups of 20 students or less (boud, 2014). The seminar sessions are handled by staff who are on full time and are experts in the various fields they trained for. In the United States higher learning, much emphasis, and focus are put on lectures until a student completes the course they are undertaking. The size of the class being taught can go up to 400 students. Discussion in groups accompanies some of the lecture sessions and in, most cases, the staff employed for full-time operation do not lead the students. In cases where students are being taught in small groups, postgraduates are in charge. Usually, the postgraduates have very little knowledge of the content being taught, and they do not have special training. Marking of exams is carried out by the same postgraduate students. The advantage is that senior staff is given a chance to carry out research. The disadvantage is that the learning experiences the students are supposed to be equipped with are not considered important.

The expected level of critical thinking and analysis about a specific field is found to be lower within institutions in the United States as compared to students in England.  Assessments in the United States require that student familiarity with material be tested using multiple choice formats and giving short answers (Chowdry, 2013). This is provided as a reflection that will see to it that students are enrolled in modules within the spectrums in academics on a termly basis. The case is a continuous process until a student completes their fourth-year studies. In England, the opposite of what happens in the United States happens. From the time a student enrolls for the first year, their focus is directed to one discipline. This enhances expertise and the ability of a student to be critically engaged in the field they choose to specialize in.

In funding, an important difference should be noted between that United States and England regarding appropriations related to higher education. United States institutions have very diverse funding opportunities while England falls under similar criteria for budgeting and distribution.  The United States has many government grant schemes some of which are need-based grants and state student incentive grants. The government in England ensures that it distributes its grants on an equal competitive basis (Diamond, 2015). It is important to note that the grants provided are portable and go hand in hand with the school a student ends up choosing. Universities and institutions of higher learning often compete for such students.

A large amount of funding in England is found to come from the tuition fees a student pays. However, the government of England gives a limit to the number of fees an institution of higher learning is supposed to charge. In the United States, however, a decline in appropriations provided by the government led to the introduction of funding by the universities, as an alternative source. Another difference of funding between the United States and England is that the United States relies on private funding, and the most emphasis is given to the endowments by alumni of higher institutions (Clotfelter, 2003).They are expected to give donations. Unlike the United States, England has placed less emphasis on getting donations from alumni students.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the quality of higher education provided in England is of a much higher quality when compared to that of the United States. Students who graduate from institutions of higher education in England are likely to be greater performers in their careers because their foundation is based on receiving more attention from trained lecturers. Different ways of funding higher education are exhibited within the two countries which are meant to help get students through an education system, reducing levels of illiterac

References

Boud, D., Cohen, R., and Sampson, J. eds., 2014. Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. Routledge.

Chowdry, H., Crawford, C., Dearden, L., Goodman, A., and Vignoles, A., 2013. Widening participation in higher education: analysis using linked administrative data. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 176(2), pp.431-457.

Clotfelter, C. T. (2003). Alumni are giving to elite private colleges and universities. Economics of Education Review, 22, 109-120.

Diamond, A., Evans, J., and Sheen, J., 2015. UK review of information about higher education: information mapping study.