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In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman presents three convergences that affect how business decisions and ideas can be made. The three convergences are additional factors to the ten flatteners that created a flat new and global world. The convergence includes work- flow software and hardware convergence, horizontal convergence and global collaboration convergence. The three above convergence have great implications to various forms of businesses and organizations.
As a manger of a software development company, understanding the three convergences and their application in a business set up is of paramount importance. The above convergence can be used to determine which route an organization can undertake in order to increase its sells and revenues.
Thomas Friedman first convergence talks about the convergence of work flow software and hardware. The emergence of the above technology largely `advances the competence and usefulness of business procedures. Also, this emergence ensures that hardware is capable of multitasking and there is increased hardware interaction, which increases processing time. As a senior decision maker of a software development company, I will integrate the software bit of the business with the technical wing of consultancy. The application of software into the technical wing that utilizes hardware will ensure that the business attains efficiency and effectiveness.
The second emergence talks about horizontal convergence. In his book, Thomas Friedman argues that businesses should adopt the horizontal coordination and not the vertical one, which has innovation at the top. Business should not use the top –down approach, but they should focus on promoting horizontal interaction between functional areas and even other companies. Such interaction is going to ensure that there is increased technological transfer between departments and other businesses.
As a senior decision maker in a software design company, I will enhance and promote horizontal interaction, since it has various advantages. The advantages include the following; increased productivity since departments are interrelated, high transfer of skills and knowledge, which leads to innovation and it reduces unhealthy competition among companies, since they interact and work as a whole.
The third convergence talks about the globalization concept. Globalization can be described as the process whereby we have increased mobility, interaction and movement of people, culture, economies and countries on the global front. The third convergence determines the importance and benefits of globalization to various businesses and organizations. Friedman states that, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, countries which had adopted the Soviet model like Russia, China, India and Latin America began to open up their economies to the outside world hence promoting globalization and increasing market. As a senior decision maker for a leading software design company, I would promote globalization and increase global awareness of our products. This will increase the market base for our products as well as promoting the horizontal collaboration.
In his book, Friedman proposes seven rules that a company should follow in order to stay competitive. He argues that, everybody and every organization want economic growth, but they do not want economic change. He states that the major challenge facing companies today is finding ways in which to initiate and promote change in the organization. As a manager of a consulting company, Friedman`s seven rules are very important in determining which course of business to choose.
Friedman`s rule number one states that, when a business feels flattened, it should be reached for a shovel and dug inside and not try to build walls. This means that any company or organization should look within itself and identify its core competences. The company should then develop its core competence area and offer the best what it can in that area. As a manager of a leading consultancy firm, I will identify which area the company is most qualified to handle with. If the company is well qualified in the management matters, then I will develop and focus more on the management wing. Alternatively, if the company is qualified in the technical consultancy, I will develop the technical wing.
Friedman`s rule states that the small shall act big. Friedman predicts and gives mechanisms of how a small company can flourish in the flattened world. He argues that, the only way a small company can act big is by taking advantage of any collaboration activities that will enhance growth. As a manager of a management consultancy company, I will ensure that the company collaborates with key players in the market, which will enhance development and expansion of the commerce. Also, collaboration will ensure that customers get the best services and goods at their disposal.
Friedman`s rule number three states that, the big shall and act small. He argues that one way in which big companies can act small, is by encouraging their customers to act in a small manner. The rule states that, an organization can flourish in the flattened world if the organization lets consumers decide their own options. The company should not control consumers` options, but should let the consumers control their own options. The rule points out to the fact that, small companies are well placed to meet demands of the local markets.
In order for big companies to gain from the local market trends, they must learn how to act small. As a manager of a consultancy firm, I will ensure that the products and services provided by the company are geared towards consumer satisfaction. This will ensure that, consumers get the best products as well as value satisfaction.
Friedman`s rule number four states that the best companies are the best partners. Friedman states that, in order for any organization or company to flourish in the flattened world, the organization must embrace collaboration. In his fourth rule, Friedman argues that the best companies are the best collaborators. Collaboration within, and outside the organization should be enhanced in order to guarantee business success.
In order to achieve value creation, then collaboration must be adopted within a business. Friedman argues that areas like technology, marketing, biomedicine and manufacturing, are becoming too complex for a single business to handle. In order to obtain efficiency and effectiveness from the above mentioned activities, then organizations should foster collaborations. As a manager of a consulting firm, I will embrace collaboration within the functional areas of the business as well as collaboration with other companies.
Friedman`s fifth rule states that the best companies are those companies that have regular X-rays and sell the results to their clients. The rule states that, organizations should focus on improving on their strengths and working on their weaknesses. The rules points to the fact that organizations should look for an outside expert to perform an X-ray so as to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a business. The rule states that, sometimes it is hard for a business to identify its own strengths and weakness, and it is important to outsource an expert to perform the X-ray.
The results of such an analysis should be communicated to clients who are the customers. As a manager of a consultancy firm, I will employ the services of an expert who will perform the X-ray analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the company. The results obtained from the analysis will be communicated to the customers. This will enhance customers’ confidence in our company as well as give the directions that the company should take in order to enhance good performance.
Friedman`s sixth rule states that, the best companies should outsource in order to win and not to shrink. Outsourcing is the process in which companies seek the services of an outside expert. Friedman argues that, companies should outsource in order to increase innovation, grow rapidly and faster, gain market share and increase value creation. He continues to argue that, companies should outsource in order to stay at the forefront in the flattened world. He also points out that companies should not fire employees in order to save on expenses. The company should outsource in the area they feel they are not competent in. As a manager of a leading consultancy company, I will ensure that the company outsources in the areas, which the company is weak in. This will ensure that the company gets the best services from the outsourced expatriates. Also, I will ensure that, there is increased employee retention, and less employee firing. Also, I will ensure that the employees are well motivated, what will increase employee morale.
Friedman`s seventh rule states that, outsourcing is not just for Benedict Arnolds, but for idealists. The rule basically states that, the purpose of outsourcing should be geared towards having a two way benefit between the involved parties. For example, some companies outsource their services to areas, where individuals are struggling to succeed. By doing so, the company benefit in the sense that, they get their job well done at a fair cost.
Less labor costs are incurred in such a case. Alternatively, the struggling individuals get to gain, because they get employment from such companies. As a manager of a consulting company, I will ensure that the company invests heavily in the developing countries. This will ensure that the company produces high quality products and services at a cheaper cost.
Management can be defined as the process of coordinating and organizing activities, and people in order to achieve certain objectives must use available resources in an effective and efficient manner. Managers are the people who are mandated with the work and duty of managing. A good manager is that manager who meets the required objectives using the least resources, and all together ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.
Managers perform various functions, which include but not limited to the following; leading, staffing, controlling and directing.. A good manger is the one who tries to attain a balance between the above named functions.
According to Friedman`s analysis of HP, he simply focuses on the results of the company to conclude that the company is doing well, because it has a good manager. In his analysis, a good manager is that manager who drives the company in making a profit. He does consider the internal factors that determine whether an individual is a good manager or not. A good manager is that manager who balances the internal as well as external factors.
Carly Fiorina was considered one of the most powerful women CEO of all times at HP. During her first years as the CEO of HP, she managed to merge HP with the giant PC manufacturer Compaq. Carly was forced to resign from the CEO of HP, because the company started recording losses and performing poorly. Another reason why she was forced to resign from HP is because she did not agree with HP board of directors on ways of implementing HP strategies.
According to Friedman, Carly was mainly focused on merging HP with other players. Her focus on merging was highly praised by Friedman since it enhanced collaboration and innovation. Carly did not focus more on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the company. At the same time her over reliance on Friedman principles of collaboration and merging at the expense of customers’ preferences, made the company perform poorly.
From the above analysis, Friedman`s principles are not the best principles to gauge what makes a good manager. The principles do not provide a comprehensive mechanism and metric that can measure who is a good manager. This explains why, according to Friedman, Carly Fiorina is a good manager while at the same time, during her tenure as HP CEO, the company was facing the brink of collapse.
Friedman was wrong in his assessment of Carly to be a good manager. His assessment was solely based on one factor and rule of collaboration at the expense of other rules. Carly was not faced by circumstances, but her decision and actions are the key reasons why HP failed at her tenure. Fiorina was not a good manager simply because she was realistic and ideologist. She was considered a conservative who wanted retaining American jobs and maintains the status quo. She did not focus on continuous improvement in the business.
Friedman`s glorification of Carly is unjustified and just a mere theory that cannot be used to predict whether a business is bound to fail or not. Friedman`s theories are just mere observations and generalizations with no evidence to support their practicability. The glorification of Carly is based on one principal of collaboration. Friedman does not gauge Carly against the other seven rules and guidelines to be followed, when faced by a flattening threat.
Currently HP has been able to regain its flourishing momentum, because of the change of management. The change of management has ensured that the company is at the fore front in innovation and creativity. The company has been able to move away from the Carly’s focus on collaboration, and instead is focusing on creativity and innovation. The new company management realized that they are losing market simply, because the company was not focusing on innovation and creation of customer satisfaction through value creation.
For example, the reason why some other key players in the industry like Apple computers were performing well was because they focused more on innovation and creation of new products. For instance, the release of apple tablet into the market gave Apple Computers Company a milestone in terms of market share.
With the changing trends in information technology and dynamics in the market in terms of demand and consumption, then change and innovation is paramount. Carly managerial principles did not foster change within the organization, instead they were inclined towards maintain the status quo in terms of production means. The current managerial team has been able to change these principles, and it is focused on innovation and specialization. Innovation and specialization made the company to become the leading technology provider
From the above analysis, it is evident that Friedman`s ideas and ideologies are not a substantial way to measure whether an organization is performing well or not. The ideas and ideologies presented by Friedman can only be used as a blue print for creating managerial policies and decisions. They cannot be entirely relied upon as the only measure of a business performance.
Also, in order for a business to obtain an advantage of the principles put forth by Friedman, then all the rules and principles must be balanced. A balance between the various principles and ideas should be considered in the application of the Friedman`s rules and principles in a business. Managers should not overlook some principles at the expense of the other. For example, Carly overemphasized the collaboration rule at the expense of other principles like innovation and quality improvement. Such a move can be detrimental to the success and growth of an organization.