Pure Competition


The term competition is used ambiguously not only in ordinary conversation but in economic literature as well. Its common meaning is rivalry, but in economics when used along with the word pure, it carries a different meaning. Following are necessary conditions for pure competition:

  1. Homogeneity of the product: For competition to exist in a market all sellers of the product being exchanged sell homogeneous units of the product, or at least the buyers of that product believe that this is so.
  2. Smallness of each buyer or seller relative to the market: Each buyer and each seller of the product under consideration is too small in relation to the entire market for the product to influence significantly the price of the product that is being bought or sold.
  3. Absence of artificial restraints: There are no artificial restrictions on the demands for, the supplies of, and the prices of whatever is being exchanged. No government price fixing nor any institutional fixing or administering of price by producers’ associations, labor unions, or other private agencies. There is no supply restriction enforced by the government or by organized producer groups. Control of demand through governmental rationing is nonexistent.
  4. Mobility: There is mobility of goods and services of resources in the economy. New firms are free to enter any desired industry, and resources are free to move among alternative uses to those where they desire employment. Sellers are able to dispose of their goods and services where the price is highest. Resources are able to secure employment in their highest paid uses.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Disadvantages of the Single Proprietorship


The literature describes the various disadvantages of the proprietorship as follows:

o Owner’s possible lack of ability and experience

o Limited opportunity for employees

o Difficulty in raising capital

o Limited life of the firm

o Unlimited liability of proprietor

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Leadership of Change


Despite the enormous attention paid to popular management literature, the importance of leadership in change management cannot be over-emphasized. Research has shown that many change programs fail because they lack commitment and support from the top management. While effective change management requires credible and visible leadership in all the phases, it is crucial in the execution phase. Large-scale, organization-wide change efforts require sustained efforts and the role of leadership is to ensure momentum for the change effort. Contrary to popular belief, organizational change does not necessarily require charismatic leadership. It does require different leadership roles for the different tasks. The key idea here is that change management require different leadership roles.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Marketing Communication


Communication is a constant activity. It is universal and essential feature of human expression and organization. Its scope is as broad as society itself, for every social act involves communication. Communication is concerned with sending and receiving knowledge, ideas, facts, figures, goals, emotions and values. It is much more than an occasional technique employed to convey a message. It is a ceaseless activity of all human beings, and therefore also of all human organizations. Communication is also a central element of the way in which people relate to and cooperate with each other, interpersonal event which is the building block of society. Individuals not only send and receive information in order to cooperate, but parallel with this individuals are constantly communicating their self-images to all around them. Whether we like it or not, whatever a person does as a social act will be observed by others, and is therefore a communication about themselves.

 Communication is more than a marketing tool. It is also an important basis of culture. It has fostered language and music, literature and philosophy, science and poetry. So in one sense, communication can be viewed as neutral and benign, a form of human interaction which helps society and the organizations within it to work well, and which can only benefit those who take part in it. This would be a reasonable approach to a definition if every communication included everything that could possibly be said on a subject, but of course this would be impossible. Communication is a selective art, as important for what it does not convey as for what it does convey.

 Communication is also a human skill, so it is concerned with the state of mind of the communicator, and with the state of mind of the person intended to receive the communication. Communications objectives are often specified as outcomes of attitude change.

 Does this mean that marketing communication is propaganda? To qualify as propaganda, business communication must be seeking to influence the emotional attitudes of others without allowing them to make an effective or rational choice. This is never the situation in business, where in every market there are competitors, and for every product or service there is an alternative or substitute. Indeed, the existence of competition is now arguably a necessary precondition for business strategy. Communication by a business is a creative form of differentiation, always competitive, always seeking to persuade customers, shareholders and employees that its own market offerings are the best choice available. That is the sales pitch of the marketplace, not the imperative of propaganda.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Political Aspects of Organizational Change


There is a large number of individuals who are undecided about change—they need to be influenced or persuaded to support the change. How can a manager motivate employees to change? Most of the change management literature overlooks the fact that people are largely motivated by self interest. In the 90s, popular writing in Change Management exhorted managers to develop ‘vision’ statements to appeal to people’s hearts. While there is some merit in this proposal, change managers who ignore people’s minds (and by that I mean self-interests) will find it quite difficult to garner support for their change efforts. Individuals are not solely drive by self-interests but these interests are important. In some instances, change may involve relinquishing one’s self-interest. The first thing people are likely to ask when informed about change is: what is in it for me?

There had to be a number of decisions to be made at every stage of the project involving large financial outlays—quickly and without political or bureaucratic interference. The decision-making process ensure this. Public support is critical for land acquisition and later for smooth execution. A number of contractors would be involved, and their effectiveness had to be ensured for the corporation to be effective. The community would be concerned about possible environmental degradation. Though the project would ultimately benefit the community, no cost could be unilaterally imposed on any stakeholder. The project owes its success to effectively managing such political aspects too.

If the organization’s change agenda matches self-interests of employees and other stakeholders, it has little problem in gathering support. On the other hand, if the change agenda requires employees to give up at least some of their interests, then mobilizing support is a more difficult task. More importantly, even if the change agenda is aligned with employees’ self-interests, they have to be convinced that participating in change will advance their self interests. Therefore, mobilising support is largely about influencing people to change despite—or because of—their self-interests. This aspect of influencing people’s self-interest is what makes change management ‘political’; it requires close attention to the science and art of persuasion. In other words, we need to understand the psychology of persuasion before we can devise effective ways of influencing people.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Knowledge Engineering


In the traditional approach to systems design, a system analyst, together with the ultimate end-users, or clients, for the project, will complete a functional specification of the system. At that point, the project is essentially in the hands of professional project management and programming staff, because that group possesses the knowledge and skill required to deliver the agreed upon features and functions. In the development of knowledge systems, this is simply not the case. Following the specification of function, a new problem arises. This is because it is not an algorithm that is being developed but knowledge that is being encoded for machine use.

 

The immediate problem is that traditional applications developers do not have sufficient knowledge of the applications area to complete the project from the starting point of a functional specification. This information generally exists in a variety of forms, depending on the application area. In some cases an individual or group of individuals may uniquely possess the relevant knowledge. In other cases, the knowledge may exist in the form of published materials like manuals or textbooks. In still other cases, the knowledge does not presently exist at all, and must be created and developed along with the system itself. This is an extremely difficult circumstance. Further compounding this problem is a critical factor: Regardless of the form in which the knowledge currently exists, it is not in a form that is ready for use by a knowledge system. Someone must decide what knowledge is relevant and desirable for inclusion, acquire the knowledge, and represent it in a form suitable for a knowledge system to apply. In all but trivial applications the task of representing the knowledge requires not only coding individual “chunks” of knowledge, but also organizing and structuring these individual components.

 

Historically, owing to the remoteness and enigmatic quality of artificial intelligence technologies, the person doing the actual systems development and the “expert,” or source of knowledge, were not the same. The availability of tools, in place of enigmatic technologies, has had an impact on reducing this problem. Even if one can imagine the case in which the “expert” whose knowledge is to be modeled is also an “expert” with the use of artificial intelligence development tools, there still remains a sizable problem.

 

In case where knowledge resides with some practitioner or expert, it does not exist explicitly as a series of IF …THEN rules, ready to be encoded. Most practitioners and experts find it difficult to explain explicitly what they are doing while solving problems. They are not cognizant of the underlying rules they are applying. Their expertise has been developed from numerous experiences and involves highly developed pattern recognition skills and heuristics.

 

In the case where the knowledge to be included is contained in text material like manuals, regulations, procedures, and the like, the information is still not in a form ready for inclusion in an expert system. It must be remembered that one of the most often cited advantages of expert systems is that they make explicit the knowledge that is most often implicit and unavailable for review, evaluation, dissemination, and modification. The task of making knowledge both explicit and available for systems application is that of knowledge engineering. Most literature on the development and application of knowledge systems has identified the need for individuals skilled in knowledge engineering as a critical factor to widespread use of technology.

 

Knowledge engineering involves acquiring, representing, and coding knowledge. The representation and coding aspects of systems development have been greatly impacted by these newly available tools. The speed with which prototyping can be accomplished has also helped reduce some of the difficulty in acquiring or refining knowledge. The knowledge engineer now finds it much less costly in time and effort to represent, code, and test early approaches to systems development, providing a more efficient feedback loop. This feedback loop is critical in the development of knowledge systems. The end-user/client for the project is, by nature, going to be much more involved in the systems design process. The “programmer” often is incapable of deciding if the system is behaving properly, owing to a lack of fundamental knowledge about the application area. This is simply not as strong a factor, where the programmer is capable of evaluating the accuracy and efficiency of algorithms. When the product is actionable knowledge rather than algorithms, the ability to evaluate project progress shifts to the end-user/client. This creates the increased emphasis on the feedback loop.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Product Life Cycle


Once the market has emerged and a firm has decided to enter, it must still contend with uncertinities in the products in the market. The marketing literature offers a parallel to the technology life cycle: the product life cycle. A product has four predictable stages with distinctive characteristics, marketing objectives, and strategies. The introduction stage starts when the new product is launched. Sales are low, costs per customer are high, profits are negative, customers are largely lead users, and competitors are few. In the growth stage, sales rise rapidly, costs per customer start to drop, profits start rising, and the number of customers also increases. In the maturity stage, sales peak, costs per customer are low, profits are high, and the number of competitors is stable. In the decline stage, sales start to decline, costs per customer increase, profits arte declining, and the number of compititors is also declining. These characteristics call for specific strategies. For example, in the introduction stage, a firm’s objective is to create product awareness, and product strategy is to offer a basic product. The demand in each market is fulfilled by a seriies of different generations of products, with the first one introduced at the emergence of the market.

 

The main drawback in using the product life cycle to reduce uncertainty is that number of stages and duration of each vary from product to product. It is also difficult to tell when a stage starts and ends. In any case, they provide some regularities to help a firm know when and what to invest in an innovation.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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