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Life Cycle Influences

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Managing Life Cycle Influences

In my review of the literature related to management challenges in the life-cycle of an organization (start-up, growth, maturity and decline), I discovered that managers face numerous challenges. I found the simulation, "Managing Life Cycle Influences in an Organization" to be very insightful in presenting a realistic picture of these challenges.

In the start-up phase, the organization is trying to establish itself in the market. It is during this process that the organization develops a business plan, determines its services, objectives, identifies key markets and defines its mission and purpose or vision. It is important that an organization clearly defines its goals to avoid strain on the business in the later stages. The organization will focus on developing its infrastructure and the creation of long-term goals. One of the biggest challenges during this phase is a limited budget, staffing and determining how to allocate resources. The company must determine how best to distribute its funds by deciding how much to spend on personnel, products or services and marketing.

In the simulation, my decisions concerning staff selection were based on the organization's immediate needs. Positions that were considered to be an integral part of the organization were hired as full-time employees. Part-time positions were assigned to areas where it did not constitute an immediate need, and was not relied upon daily. It is important for managers to adopt an action-oriented style in which they are perceived as positive, effective leaders in their market, and have an intense customer focus. At this phase, managers must also be highly motivational in order to maintain the enthusiasm of their employees.

In the growth phase, the company experiences an increase in membership, staffing, funding, publicity and business relationships. It is during this phase that a manager may face stress related to unclear relationships and communication. This may be attributed to a lack of processes and structures that have not yet been developed for the rapidly growing organization. The organization's top level managers must establish effective communication processes between lower-level managers and employees. The simulation refers to several types of communication that managers can utilize in achieving this goal: downward, upward and interactive communication.

Downward communication is provided by upper management to employees to give them specific instructions regarding job responsibilities, organizational processes, and performance feedback. Upward communication gives employees an opportunity to provide feedback to upper management in the form of grievances, employee satisfaction surveys and exit interviews. Interactive communication refers to communication between peers and involves the coordination of tasks, problem solving, information sharing and conflict resolution.

Each type of communication is an essential component to the success of an organization. During the simulation, one of my decisions involved establishing an open-door policy. This gave employees an opportunity to have open and clear communication with upper management and assured them that their issues and concerns were of interest to the organization. Additionally, the decision was made to implement discussions between managers and their subordinates concerning performance issues, and to have regularly scheduled meetings with key members of the organization. Utilizing each one of the types of communication proved to have a positive impact on the Transaction Frequency Communication Effectiveness Matrix. The decision to utilize these tools ensured that members of the organization would have an opportunity for conflict resolution and problem solving through effective communication.

In the maturity phase, the pace of an organization's growth tends to slow down. This can be attributed to a number of factors such as, loss of the originality of the company's product or service. During this phase, the organization develops its long-term strategic plan, has specific procedures in place and has increased its personnel. It is now necessary for an organization to create new policies, update its facilities and develop control systems to assist with management challenges. These challenges may include detecting irregularities, coping with uncertainty and managing complex situations while identifying opportunities to stabilize its growth. Control in an organization is extremely important, giving managers the ability to measure performance and regulate efficiency. Utilizing tools for control, managers are able to evaluate how well an organization is doing in achieving its goals and determine the action to be taken to maintain or improve performance.

The challenges in the growth phase are different from the maturity phase in that the growth phase occurs at a rapid pace. This creates the potential for tension between employees and managers due to a lack of frequent and effective communication. In this stage the organization is past its newness and many of its managerial processes are firmly in



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