Human Resources Management: Takeaways


The Human Resources Management course covers a variety of concepts with the aim of preparing learners to be future HR and business managers. After going through such a unit, it is important for every student to undertake a personal evaluation, which will gauge their knowledge acquisition. In the bid to evaluate personal gains, it is deemed important to analyze at least ten takeaways from the lectures attended in the course. The ten selected takeaways range from various concepts, including organizational structure, power and politics, organizational cultures, decision making, strategy, leadership, diversity management, reward, performance management, and change management.

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Takeaway 1

“I now know why organizational structure matters to a modern company.”

Organization structure is a pillar upon which work and processes in an organization are developed. The structure provides guidelines where task allocation, coordination, and supervision take place in the bid to boost the realization of the firm’s objectives. Developing an organization structure is, therefore, one of the steps in defining how the organization operates and performs its activities. Business processes take place through a systematic integration of the activities as outlined in the work schedule and organizational structures. This structure influences procedures and routines in communication and the flow of information and command, which are important in influencing interaction and performance.

A reliable organizational structure creates a sense of togetherness and reduces conflict in roles and functions. In addition, it becomes easier for the external stakeholders such as visitors, customers, and suppliers to navigate through the organizations and receive the services and attention from the appropriate officer. It is, therefore, clear that an organizational structure affects the work plan, procedures, and the working environment for both the internal and external stakeholders. Consequently, it guides the business managers to ensure that the organizational structure adopted is acceptable and in line with the business size, type of business, and the objectives of the operations.

Takeaway 2

“I now know the impact that power and politics have in an organization “

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Power and politics play a role in decision-making and interaction in an organization. The impact that power has depends on how negative or positive it is used to influence others in the organization. Politics in an organization may influence the use of power in the workplace and determine the productivity level. Positive power and politics encourage a progressive work environment and motivates the employees to remain committed to their roles. The power allows the employees to participate in decision-making and eventually rewards strong performance and promotion based on the handwork. In an organization where positive power is applied, the employees develop respect and confidence to their seniors, a situation that motivates them to remain focused on meeting the expectations of their jobs. On the other hand, when negative power is applied in an organization, the seniors have little or no respect for those working under them. In this aspect, the managers try to drive employees to perform as expected by issuing threats, punishment, or sometimes favoritism. The use of power in this way largely discourages many employees and reduces their commitment.

Positive politics make the working environment relatively conducive and encourage high productivity. Indeed, knowledgeable business manager and leaders are aware of the fact that favorable politics inspires the employees to participate in productive activities. The managers strive to come up with clear policies and communication channels. Employees in such an environment can get quick answers on issues affecting their performance and spend more of their time on productive activities. On the other hand, in an organization where negative politics is evident, a sense of negativity and conflict is highly experienced. In fact, negative attributes such as dishonesty, unclear policies, favoritism, and other unethical behaviors reduce the time take by employees on productive activities.

Takeaway 3

“I now know why the concept of organizational cultures is highly emphasized.”

Organizational culture, which constitutes of the assumptions, values, and beliefs, drive the behavior in an organization. The values are important in guiding the employees on how to act and perform their duties and responsibilities. The written and unwritten rules that an organization develops for a given time are the basis of the culture adopted. In the attempt to understand the organizational culture, one can look at four aspects. The first consideration is the way the business conducts its operations and treats its stakeholders. The stakeholders, in this case, including the employees, customers, and shareholders among others, are largely treated depending on the values upheld. The second aspect that defines the culture of an organization is the flow of power and information. The flow, in this case, is considered important because it determines the communication channel and how participative the stakeholders are, especially during the key decision-making process. Lastly, organizational culture can be evaluated by looking at how committed the employees are in the instance of collective objectives, productivity, and performance.

The managers are compelled to develop organizational culture by the benefits it has to business entities. The culture is critical in facilitating innovation, teamwork, and fairness to the people. The innovation is a critical tool that assists the organization in gaining competitive advantage. When organizations allow their employees to take risks in trying new approaches, they develop a culture of innovation and eventually the company benefits from improved performance. In addition, the teamwork arises in organizations that have been able to develop common goals and encouraging people to work together for a certain objective. Such an organization develops a collaborative organizational culture by emphasizing on positive relationships among the coworkers and managers. Finally, fairness to the people is another crucial aspect used in establishing the culture of an organization.

Takeaway 4

“I now know the due process that effective manager/business leaders must follow in making decisions in an organization.”

In an organization, decisions are made on a daily basis and at different levels depending on the issues of concern. Making critical decisions is a complex understating because of the potential implication it may have on the entire organization. A due process, including the identification of the problem, analysis of the alternatives, making the decision, follow-up, and feedback is recommended for effective decision-making. The identification of the exact problem is the first step and starts with the evaluation of the underlying issue(s). The management should bring on board all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the real problem is identified to encourage the development of the right strategies that would resolve the real problem.

A problem may be resolved using different approaches. Therefore, the management should listen to the proposed solutions from other stakeholders, including the employees and the customers among others. However, only one of the alternatives can be implemented to address the issue. Each of the substitute solutions is evaluated to determine its appropriateness in addressing the problem. The decision-making on the alternative should be objective and guided through the involvement of the relevant parties. The implementation of the selected alternative is a critical step in resolving the problem. The stakeholders in the implementation process should be aware of the objectives and their roles in the process. A follow-up and provision of the feedback during and after the implementation of the decision can assist in identifying the areas of weakness and rectify them for better results.

Takeaway 5

“I now understand the concepts of organizational strategy and “sensemaking” and their importance in organizational performance”

An organizational strategy constitutes of actions undertaken by an organization to drive the realization of its long-term goals and objectives. The strategy provides a sense of direction and a clear path upon which the future performance is predetermined. In developing a relevant strategy for an organization, it is clear that the managers involved must consider the mission and vision of the company. The effectiveness of a strategy depends upon the ability of the top leadership/executive to interpret the mission and vision of the overall organizational strategy. Since the organizational strategy details are general, they may not assist in the realization of the objectives. The middle and operational management take up the organizational strategy and extract short-term goals and plans on how to realize them. The managers at this level are concerned with the day-to-day running of the business; hence, the reason their goals and plans are deemed short-term.

The “sensemaking” is another important takeaway from the lecture. The important knowledge acquired, in this case, is why organizations should continuously embark on it. It is clear that the “sensemaking” can take place in three steps, including scanning, interpretation, and action. In the scanning, the management seeks to gather information from both the internal and external sources to assist in strategy development. The information gathered, in this case, assists the organization understands the internal strengths and weakness, as well as, external threats and opportunities. The knowledge and information gathered are then interpreted into strategic plans upon which relevant actions are undertaken.

Takeaway 6

“I now know why some business leaders are said to be successful while others are said to have failed”

A leader is expected to come up with a vision and plan that are acceptable and supported by others in the bid to achieve certain goals and objectives. Leaders who fulfill their tasks concerning the vision, strategy, and the people can achieve the objectives and make the organization successful. A visionary leader defines the purpose of the organization, identifies the next product or service, and the markets for the organization. In trying to realize the vision, the leaders develop strategies and plans to guide the players for the given period. The strategy adopted can incorporate aspects as restructuring the organizations, product development and management, and the adoption of technology, as well as innovative approaches.

The realization of the vision and application of the strategies adopted requires the support of the people. In essence, a successful leader attracts the right people with the required skills and retains them in the organization on the long-term basis. On the other hand, a leader that fails to match the three dimensions does not achieve the organization’s objectives and risks the business failure.

Takeaway 7

“I have learned why diversity management is becoming popular in organizations today”

The movement and integration of people with different backgrounds regarding races, tributes, religious orientation, sex orientation, and educational level among others have increased in the recent year. These factors, as well as the globalization of business operations make diversity in the business organization today an inevitable concept. Bringing together the employees from the diverse background and enabling them to work for a common goal is not an easy task. The benefit of engaging a diverse workforce is to encourage business leaders to commit resources and time in enhancing cohesion. The benefits, in this case, may include the increased adaptability, ability to offer a broader range of services, and effective execution of service delivery.

Takeaway 8

“I have learned why the reward is the system adopted by an organization plays a role in influencing the overall performance”

The reward system adopted in an organization is a key tool for motivating employees. The reward to the employees is an acknowledgment of the labor, skills, and expertise they commit in the operations and activities of the organization. A fair and comprehensive reward system is considered appropriate in motivating the employees. In rewarding the employees effectively, an organization should look at various factors, which includes the needs of the employees, the jobs performed, and the market trends. In fact, paying the employees the amount that can meet their needs is a critical requirement in the reward systems. Apart from paying salaries, employees are motivated by non-monetary compensation, including health care and work- life balance programs.

Takeaway 9

“I now know why business organizations are encouraged to undertake performance management”

The aspect of the performance management is an initiative to keep track on the routine of the individuals, departments, and the organization at large. It is a long-term undertaking and plays a critical role in ensuring that the business goals and objectives are realized. In case the goals and objectives are not achieved, the performance management assists in identifying the individuals who have failed and other contributing factors. Indeed, performance management starts with the setting of the goals and objectives, the deployment of the right people, provision of resources, measuring performance, and providing feedback. The step, in this case, keeps the employees focused and motivated towards realizing the expected outcome, which boost the overall performance of the organizations.

Takeaway 10

“I now know how business leaders and management strive to undertake change management effectively”

The business environment in which businesses operate changes from time to time. Therefore, businesses should become dynamic, so that they remain relevant. The first reason the business manager strives in managing change in business approach is to keep up with the modifications in technology. The adoption of better and innovative technology by the competitors increases their competitive advantage due to better service delivery at reduced costs. Organizations that are unable to change and adapt to the relevant technology can experience operational challenges because of low customer turnout. Secondly, improved business performance, including massive growth and increased scale of operations is managed through the changes in the organizational structure. The organizational design, leadership, and processes are changed to support the operations in the improved operational level. Managers are keen to ensure that change is successfully implemented despite the potential resistance and inadequate resources.

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