What was interesting about my experience as a team member was that I came to realize how human diversity helps to create unique perspectives and ideas that can cause both disharmony within a group as well as lead to the creation of a better outcome than would have otherwise been created if all of us shared the same background. For example, while most of us were in roughly the same age range within our group there were individuals that came from ethnic minorities, those who were born rich or experienced significant financial adversity as well as differences in gender. This all lead to a diverse method of analysis when it came to determining how a project should be implemented, what factors should be initially considered and what can be done to resolve the problems indicated within the project scope. To be honest, it was initially a mess due to problems in communication between the members of our group.
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Our diverse backgrounds and personalities created a considerable level of confusion regarding the project’s initial inception, where it was suppose to go and who was supposed to do what in terms of research, writing and project delivery. However, as we all soon found out, in the interest of cooperation (i.e. wanting to pass and not fail this course) we were able to put aside our differences and communicate in such a way that were able to collaborate on the project. What the team member experience has taught me is that open channels of communication are an important aspect of efficient and effective collaboration, especially among people from diverse backgrounds. If people are not open to communicate or do not have a single all encompassing goal in mind, it is likely that they would fall into bickering due to their diverse backgrounds.
Engaging in Community Projects
Based on my experience with the community project, I would have to say that I have developed a better sense of why companies implement strategies such as Corporate Social Responsibility into their business operations. From what I saw, it is the support of the community that directly impacts the viability as well as the success of any business venture. Without sufficient community support, it is likely that the business will not succeed at all and may even fall into ruin. I saw that communities often responded positively when it was shown that those implementing a project within their general location was out to ensure that they would be well taken care of.
By showing that you actually care for the members of the community they in turn show their support by helping with the project’s completion, being accommodating to the project personnel and even giving advice when necessary in terms of how to properly setup some aspects of the project. Based on an examination of literature on the subject of corporate social responsibility, I have to the conclusion that being ethical in business dealings, showing proper social responsibility and implementing open channels of communication between a company and the local community often leads to a project’s success. Without such factors in place, there is often distrust on the part of the local community regarding the intentions of the company as well as distrust on the part of the company involving the manner in which the community would support/sabotage the company’s efforts within the locality. By ensuring that a mutual sense of distrust is not in the picture, this results in a better and more hospitable environment for business.
What new insights and understandings have I gained through the required reading of this course?
Through this course I have learned that assumptions and good decisions in regards to community relations are built upon sound business reasoning, practicality, accurate evaluations of current market trends, utilizing outside advice, and finally knowledge about the customer base that is being targeted Without such tools in place when making an assumption business managers tend to become overzealous and complacent during the planning process which often results in the business either overextending itself into new markets where no profit can be made or employing conservative practices when expansion and development is needed.
It is based on this that I have come up with the following criteria when it comes to community relations and business:
Criteria’s of Good Business Decisions
Sound Business Reasoning
Good business decisions must be based on sound business reasoning, this means that when a decision is made it must be logical (meaning that it makes sense), results in positive effects for the company (creates profit, reduces costs, etc.) and finally conforms to proper ethical practices (meaning that it isn’t illegal in the least).
Based on Factual Data
All business decisions need to be based on factual data obtained through credible sources. This means that before actions related to expansion to new markets, the removal of a particular product line or the creation of a new product a manager must base such decisions on data obtained from customer data, market analysis (SWOT, Porter 5 forces etc.) and finally financial data.
All business decisions need to be practical in that they should conform to the expected goals of the company or the department. This means that decisions should be framed with the goal of gradual improvements for the sake of improving the company rather than grandiose idealistic dreams that are risky and more often than not result in the dissolution of a company due to risky and impractical decisions.
How have the readings in this class furthered my skills?
Based on a slight period of self-reflection, I have come to understand that the readings in this course have helped me to better understand my inherent limitations in terms of my knowledge involving businesses and their interaction with local communities. Through the readings I have become more knowledgeable regarding issues pertaining to corporate social responsibility, proper project management, community relations as well as the necessity of ensuring the creation of open channels of communication among the project team. Not only that, I learned that in the world of corporate decision making assumptions can be likened to the “currency of the realm” so to speak wherein they are utilized in almost all aspects of planning, operations and evaluation. Assuming, in the context of formulating a decision, is actually an educated guess wherein based on a variety of facts, figures, and presented data a plan of operations is created which is then implemented as the means by which a company or department will operate within the near future. Such assumptions though need to be tempered through proper advice, experience and project planning so as to prevent possible mistakes.