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Practice of management - The image case study.

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BLACKBURN BUSINESS SCHOOL DMS PRACTICE OF MANAGEMENT YEAR 1 ASSINGMENT THE IMAGE CASE STUDY Introduction. After examining the Image case study, it is apparent that Walsh and bridges felt a need to "get more organised". In this assignment I shall discuss their need for this and also discuss whether bureaucracy is still a valid form of organisation structure in today's business environment, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of this style of organisation. I will also discuss the pros and cons of applying this style of organisation to Image. The need to get more organised. When Image (Case Study, 2002) was first established, the partners adopted a client-centred mode of organisation, where each partner became project manager for their individual clients. Due to this style of operating, each partner developed a good all-around knowledge of how the business was operated, developing a multi-skilled style of working. New staff were encouraged to develop the same all-around skills and capacities, creating great flexibility, however it was often time consuming and expensive. The long hours and pace of life at Image was affecting Walsh and Bridges, who had heavy family commitments and wanted more leisure time. They felt the need to become more organised, in order to exercise a closer control over their staff and office activities, thus taking pressure from themselves in letting the office run itself within the framework they had developed. Walsh and Bridges were not happy with the ad hoc style of organisation they had developed during the first two years; where-by the organisation was temporary, adaptive, creative and flexible, aspiring to a more structured organisation with clear systems, responsibilities and office protocol. The four principals (Walsh, Bridges, Beaumont and Rossi) frequently found themselves in lengthy meetings concerning office organisation. Walsh and Bridges favoured "more systems", whilst Beaumont and Rossi argued for the status Quo. Walsh and Bridges felt that future progression could only be achieved by exercising their authority and insisting that a reorganisation of the office was initiated. ...read more.


2. Large size: Successful organisations survive and grow large, and the bureaucratic form is most efficient with large size. 3. Natural selection favours bureaucracy: Bureaucracy's natural features, the six identified earlier, are inherently more efficient than any others and thus allow the organisation to compete more effectively. 4. Static social values: The argument is that western values favour order and regimentation, and bureaucracy is consistent with such values. People are goal -oriented and comfortable with authoritarian structures. For example, workers prefer clearly defined job responsibilities. 5. Environmental turbulence is exaggerated: The changes currently being experienced may be no more dynamic than those at other times in history. Management strategies can also reduce uncertainty in the environment. 6. Emergence of professional bureaucracy: Bureaucracy has shown its ability to adjust to the knowledge revolution by modifying itself. The goal of standardisation has been achieved in a different way among professional employees. 7. Bureaucracy maintains control: Bureaucracy provides a high level of standardisation, coupled with centralised power, which is desired by those in command. For this reason senior managers who control large organisations favour this organisation design. Weber stressed (Conley, 2002) both the advantages and disadvantages of bureaucracies The advantages are: * Bureaucracies provide a hierarchical structure whereby workers can rise through the ranks to positions of relative power. * Progression is based on technical expertise thereby increasing the professional management of organisations. * The development of written rules offered protection to less powerful workers and provided a basis for trade union negotiation. * Bureaucracies replaced nepotism and favouritism with impersonal social relations and the basis for equality of treatment. The disadvantages are: * Hierarchies and rules formalise power structures and status divides in workplaces * Rules cannot cover every eventuality and are themselves subject to interpretation. Over-attention to a rigid set of rules can often hinder the smooth running of an organisation * Bureaucracies can create 'iron cages' which dehumanise work Although bureaucracy has proved its need in the current business environment, there are still several downsides, not only for the organisation, but also for the employee. ...read more.


Walsh and Bridges must realise that to change the organisation structure at Image, they must be prepared to accept the consequences of doing so. Although they may be happy with the framework they have developed, due to the change in culture, de-motivating employees, leading to staff leaving the firm because of their discontent with change. Not only would Image lose the skills of these individuals, but potentially they could also lose some of their business clientele if certain individuals were to work in a similar industry elsewhere. In my opinion, if Walsh and Bridges were unhappy with the structure of the organisation and felt a need to get more organised, a lot more time should have been spent on deciding how and when they were going to make these changes, also realising that changes such as these, if they were to work, could not be implemented overnight. Did Walsh and Bridges want to totally re-organise the business to the point that it lost its reputation as a cutting edge agency, the reputation that put Image on the map in the first place or, did they want to create an agency that produced sound financial results, but was un-inspiring? A decision that could be detrimental to the business. Looking at Image as a viable business, working within the public relations field, I feel it would have greater potential with a less rigid organisation structure. If Walsh and Bridges felt under too much pressure and wanted more quality time, I feel they should have given Beaumont and Rossi a greater share of the responsibilities. Beaumont and Rossi were happy to bare this in return for a greater equity in the firm. By allowing Beaumont and Rossi extra responsibility and equity, this would create a greater incentive for the junior partners and would also reduce the burden on the senior partners. The business would still have the same reputation, to sustain or potentially increase the excellent financial results and still be a fun place to work, "the Image way". ...read more.

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