Principles and practice of management question and answer

Ngura works as a research and development manager in a manufacturing firm. He joined the firm five years ago as a research assistant. The organization for which Ngura works has a policy wherevacant positions are filled from within the organization.

Management relies on the outcome of performance appraisals to identify employees for promotion. The appraisals are carried out annually. The appraisal exercise of the organization has not been dome objectively and superiors have been awarding grades arbitrarily. Many of the employees have been awarded high grades even when their performance does not deserve high grades.

Early in the year, the position of the head of the research and development department fell vacant and employees were encouraged to apply for the job. Ngura felt capable of performing the job, applied and was invited for an interview. Consequently he was awarded the promotion and took up the post of head of research and development department.

It has become apparent that Ngura is not very co-operative with staff in other departments. In his own department he over delegates to his subordinates because he is incapable of handling the tasks involved in the higher job. There have been occasions when assistants have not completed work to the satisfaction of management but when asked to explain, Ngura explains that employees know what is expected of them and they should therefore work, for they are paid for it.

a) State and explain the guidelines that management should have followed to ensure the success of the performance appraisal.
b) Identify and explain the weaknesses in Ngura’s style of management and suggest measures that should be taken to address the weaknesses.

(a) Guidelines to effective/successful performance appraisal.
• Have frequent appraisals – The firm should not appraise only at the end of the year but should look for ways of appraising the performance of the employee throughout the year. The end of the year should be a final review. This firm should adopt the Management By Objective (MBO) programme in which managers and their subordinates set yearly targets and work towards them. In MBO the subordinates’ performance is assessed at very regular intervals. Performance Management is also a new technique currently being used as an appraisal tool and like MBO it involves regular assessment of workers and helps to ensure that the end of year review is a true record of employee performance all year round.
• Be objective, avoid personal bias – there is always a possibility that personal prejudices assessment of the evaluator will interfere with his assessment of workers. In this firm there is no objectivity. Even though avoiding bias may be difficult, evaluators must make every effort to ensure their feelings don’t affect the appraisal.
• Encourage frank evaluation – If the appraisers in this firm were frank, then employees would not be getting these high grades, which they don’t deserve. Senior management expects honest and frank reports even if it discredits the individual.
• Most managers do not like giving negative reports but they must be fully aware that the welfare of the organization must take precedence over the individual’s welfare.
• Communicate the method and purposes of appraisal – this firm needs to make employees aware of the methods used to appraise them. It employees are being appraised for other purposes, apart from promotion, as in this case – they should also be made fully aware of these other purposes.

Appraisals can also be done for compensation, termination, transfers, training and other personnel purposes.
• Use appraisal results to improve employees – An appraisal of how well a manager has performed in the past should serve as a guide to helping him perform more effectively in future. In this given case Ngura continues to perform dismally yet his weaknesses should have been identified and improved on.
• Keep the system simple but use the best available method – an evaluation system should be no more complicated than it is absolutely necessary to achieve the objectives stated for it. It should not be too complex but should be able to give the value expected from it.

Besides the designers of the system should know all the methods available and choose a combination of the best since appraisal results are used for very important decisions management. To make these decisions without the benefit of the best possible evaluation of a manager is a disservice to the organization and an injustice to the manager.

(b) Weaknesses in Ngura’s style of Management and ways to improve them.
• Ngura is not very cooperative with staff in other departments: As a head of research and development, he must learn that for an organization to succeed, all departments must work together. He must acknowledge the interdependence of the various departments and begin to co-operate with staff in other departments.

• Ngura over delegates to his subordinates because he is incapable of handling tasks involved in the higher job: Even though delegation is an inherent part of the management process, the manner in which work is delegated directly affects the overall effectiveness of an organization in attaining its desired goals. Ngura is very justified in passing authority to subordinates but he should not give more authority than they are capable of exercising.

If subordinates are more capable at handling Ngura’s tasks as a manager, then he deserves to be demoted. Ngura must delegate but should be competent in these tasks himself so that he remains in control.

Ngura must begin to look for ways of being competent in the higher job e.g. training. He must also avoid using delegation as an excuse for making subordinates cover up for his incompetencies.
• Ngura’s assistants do not complete work to the satisfaction of management. He retorts that they know what is expected of them and they are paid to work:
• The assistants’ failure is Ngura’s failure as a manager. He is the one who should inspect the work and ensure that it satisfies management’s requirements. They cannot know what is expected unless he clarifies to them. Ngura must clearly define the expectations of the various jobs in his department. He must work himself to show the assistants what standard is expected of them.

Even though the assistants are paid for their work, Ngura must not use this as an excuse for his lack of control over them. He is accountable for their performance; their salaries are not accountable. Besides, satisfaction and work well done is a greater reward to employees than just basic pay.

All in all Ngura is an incompetent departmental head who does not deserve his position. He must now be trained on how to be a competent worker, how to run a department and how to manage subordinates.

Ngura must know that delegation does not make him less responsible to his superiors. He must not abdicate his responsibility since a delegating manager still retains the responsibility for the accomplishment of tasks. He still must answer why the job was not done and he remains responsible for the mistakes of subordinates to whom he has delegated.

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