In this discussion you are asked to consider these topics/questions:
· What factors within the external environment affect businesses, especially uncertainty and stability, that drive towards efficiency and control for management strategy?
· How do demographic and society-wide shifts as well as technological developments create both challenges and new opportunities for business?
· As a manager, how would you integrate these issues into your work for building co-worker relationships and for having negotiation skills to make unexpected decisions?
Note: At 1st glance the readings and other resources in this guide will look big or long. There are 3 major categories that align with the bullets above. Aim to choose 1-3 resources from each topic for your research. You may read more if the topics catch your attention.
1. Resources to help you: Understanding External Forces
Review carefully the commentary link for Content Session 6. In that document you will find a good overview of external forces facing organizations. Pay attention to Exhibit 15.4 which enables you to organize an analysis of uncertainty and stability.
Porter’s Competitive Forces Theory
Michael Porter is recognized for his work on how to see and then use competitive forces, found in the environment, to influence profitability. Researched since the 80s, these forces include:
· The number and power of a company’s competitive rivals
· potential new market entrants
· existing suppliers
· substitute products.
Porter explains the role for competition. The video is about 13 min, from Harvard School of Business, where Porter is distinguished faculty.
So, it’s important to see how Porter’s competitive forces work because they set up attention or focus to what groups (divisions, team projects) hold attention. The following video applies Porter’s principles to Tesla,which is an innovative company, but also does not dominate the market.
Take away: Keep in mind that as you examine the impact of competitive forces, Porter’s theory, that if you assess the threat as “low” then the work unit is likely to be more stable. If you assess the competition as “high” then the impact is risky and but also has more options.
Often wider social trends influence what managers perceive they should do, or what seems important, especially for inclusion when faced with diversity. Select two (2) or more issues that you believe are relevant to understanding social diversity background.
2. The diversity/inclusion issues include–
Race and Work opportunities
Race attitudes in the US
Meet Yvonne Cheek (2-3min video, describing the real world of an African American’s approach to leadership https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7CpQlU_c
Millennials and their work expectations
Video with Simon Sinek characterizing Millennials (under 20 min)
Distinguishing between younger workers and their older cohort, the Millennials for technology practices
An overview of the American Workforce and technology
Perceptions of how Americans use technology since the pandemic started…suggests communication challenges for any large technology change.
Hispanics and how they see themselves in the US
A Hispanic success story (video)
Meet the V-Chancellor of the Univ. of Chicago… Francesca, who tells her story of professional advancement from a modest farm family to the 1st woman of color to hold her position.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE788oP2jXE
What’s been learned about technology adaptations and worker satisfaction from experience with the pandemic:
Co-Vid Pandemic Issues:
Impact of Co-vid 19
Loss of Visibility for Minorities during work at home
Without the networks and encounters that offices provide, companies must foster the visibility of Black and Hispanic workers, diversity experts say.
3. Understanding/Negotiating Conflict:
Conflict is a key factor in the case scenario. Justine must decide whether to accept the last minute demands of Mathias from Allied, or what? For more understanding of conflict and negotiation, look to the top of this post. See/review the attached file “Conflict Management-Negotiation, SPRING 2021”. Consider a review of the 2nd file, which has video clips of important ideas about negotiating.
Guide Details for Your Thread (main post)
· Read the scenario of Morton Papers and Justine Woods carefully. There are several important topics in the case, which offer insights and ideas for helping Justine, who must effectively find a way to negotiate.
· 1st consider the external forces influencing Morton Paper and Justine’s success. Explain two (2) or more by writing at least one paragraph. Using the analysis chart found in Commentary, for session 6, determine the uncertainty/stability of Morton.
· Identify two (2) social trends likely to be influencing Justine. Explain by writing 1-2 paragraphs.
· Each trend should be researched–using a minimum of one (1) source.
Use in-text cites.
· Return to the events of the case and find nuggets of information that point towards a negotiation for Justine.
· Conclude with a paragraph that describes your best advice to Justine. What would you do if you were in her position?
Justine Wood is the top salesperson for Morton Paper Company. She also leads the sales team that supports Morton’s largest client, Allied Office Supplies, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. Justine is very proud of her accomplishments–she is the 1st African-American woman to lead the sales team.
- Allied is an international office supply chain that is growing rapidly in the global market. But due to rapid growth, Allied has adapted a blockchain software record-keeping system to track all vendor transactions and offer strategy to its sometimes complex, but until recently, mostly stable set of external forces, from which senior levels determine Allied’s overall strategy. During the past months, Justine and her team members, Andy and Ronnie underwent intense negotiations with Allied’s purchasing agent, Jaime Matías, and Allied’s CEO, to restructure the current sales contract so that everyone had a level playing field around the blockchain software used by Allied.
The new contract spelled out Allied’s yearly paper requirements (contracted sales amounts) as well as payment and credit terms. But, the negotiations had been particularly hard for several reasons:
- Allied’s sales had increased internationally causing shipping and customs duties to increase the cost to Morton, resulting in an increase in sales price to Allied;
- Morton’s overall sales profits have increased domestically due to technological advances such as e-records, e-contracts, etc., that allowed for a reduction in workforce. While Morton is facing performance issues, generally the management consider external forces to be manageable, with projections for low to moderate instability or uncertainty. The CEO of Morton was especially pleased with their current contract control measures.
- The volume of sales for Allied required Morton to offer a volume sales discount to remain competitive with other paper companies, and every supplier was consistently monitoring its external competitors. The market was very competitive, even in the times of the Covid Pandemic.
- Morton’s CEO has been reluctant to tie so much of the company’s future success to Allied. The concern was raised because in the last six months, Allied was paying down the credit line every 60 days rather than in the 30 days that had been agreed to. This delay signaled a little more instability and uncertainty. Allied did not appear to have credit issues but Morton was not able to give interest-free loans for 60 days.
- The world market has been made more challenging for distribution of Allied office products, including paper from Morton, due to the impact of the pandemic. Shipping and tracking are now somewhat difficult due to workforce being co-located and dependent on virtual team/project planning. The sales force team, led by Justine, has felt the stress and loss of informal, intelligence gathering they relied on pre-pandemic. Although Zoom sessions and TEAM software was used with more skill, communication gaps persisted.
- But, this week, in time for the Labor Day holiday vacation, there was GOOD NEWS! Morton and Allied reached an almost final agreement–to be signed off on Tuesday after the holiday.
- On Friday evening, Justine was packing her belongings readying to leave the office, when her cell phone pinged. “This phone call could not be good” thought Justine.
- The caller was Jaime Matías, the Purchasing Agent for Allied. It appeared that a recent deal with UMGC tripled Allied’s need for office supplies, especially copy paper from Morton, due to the education institution demands for paper–the University perceived it needed a heavy reliance on paper documentation. This deal would raise the total contract sales to $22.5 million. Allied now faced more business, but also needed to change the line of credit in the new contract. Matías made it clear to Justine that if the new terms were not agreed on by the end of the evening, he was prepared to seek a contract offer by Morton’s biggest competitor, King Paper. Matías further stated that, while Allied is pleased with Morton’s work, money is always the most important factor in purchasing. Allied’s president wanted an immediate answer.
- Justine was aware that most of Matías’ talk was a negotiating technique but did not doubt that competition was waiting in the background. Images of last month’s negotiation talks raced through Justine’s mind as she listened to Matías.
- Overall, the month’s negotiation process had been long and difficult. The thought of going over it all again to make the changes seemed mind-numbing to Justine. Yet, making the decision on her own, in a 1-2 hour window of time, would mean obligating the company to an even greater cash flow commitment. Her boss would not be happy with this obligation because he specifically warned her there was nothing to prevent Allied from a delayed payment in the new contract agreement.
- Justine rationalized the facts and thought to herself, “Allied knows we are not likely to cut them off easily. They are too big a customer to us. However, the extra sales volume should offset the lost interest due for ten days in late invoices.”
- Justine told Matías that she would get back to him quickly about the proposal. When Justine hung up the phone, she thought about all the work that went into the external environmental analysis they did prior to the negotiations to take in the strengths, opportunities, and some of the concerns that came up in the world market. She wasn’t sure what she should do.
- Further, Justine perceived that as a black woman in a visible position in her company, there was extra scrutiny. Was there a way to hold her authority while also finding negotiating options that gained resources for her and the team? And, what/when should she alert her CEO about this important change in this very important contract?
Imagine that you are Justine and that you have her job as the sales manager. Describe what you would do and why you would do it. Make sure that you understand and explain the business situation for Morton and Justine, as well as for Allied. Your initial post (thread) is due by Feb 23with replies to 2-4 other classmates before Mar 2. Show an understanding of the situation, likely external forces influencing expectations for performance, and your thoughts about expanding the negotiation process, particularly for being inclusive of minority leadership.
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