Group Cohesiveness


Group cohesiveness results from all forces acting on the members to remain in the group. The forces that create cohesiveness are attraction to the group, resistance to leaving the group, and the motivations to remain a member of the group. Group cohesiveness is related to many aspects of group dynamics—maturity, homogeneity, and manageable size.

Group cohesiveness can be increased by competition or by the presence of an external threat. Ether factor can serve as a clearly defined goal that focuses members’ attention on their task and increases their willingness to work together.

Successfully reaching goals often increases the cohesiveness of a group because people are proud to be identified with a winner and to be thought of as competent and successful. They may be one reason for the popular phrase, “Success breeds success.” A group that is successful may become more cohesive and possibly even more successful.

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.

Extending the Product Life Cycle


Marketers usually try to extend each stage of the life cycles for their products as long as possible. They can often accomplish this goal if they take action early in the maturity stage. Product life cycles can stretch indefinitely as a result of decisions designed to increase the frequency of use by  current customers, increase the number of users for the product, find new uses, or charge package sizes, labels, or product quality.

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.

Defining Norms


A norm is a standard against which the appropriateness of a behavior is judged. Thus, a norm is the expected behavior or behavioral pattern in a certain situation. Group norms usually are established during the second stage of group development (communication and decision making) and carried forward into the maturity stage. People often have expectations about the behavior of others. By providing a basis for predicting others’ behaviors, norms enable people to formulate response behaviors. Without norms, the activities within a group would be chaotic. Norms serve four purposes:

  1. Norms help the group survive. Groups tend to reject deviant behavior that does not contribute to accomplishing group goals or to the survival of the group if it is threatened. Accordingly, a successful group that is not under threat may be more tolerant or deviant behavior.
  2. Norms simplify and make more predictable the behaviors expected of group members. Norms mean that members do not have to analyze each behavior and decide on a response. Members can anticipate the actions of others on the basis of group norms. When members do what is expected of them, the group is more likely to be productive and to reach its goals.
  3. Norms help the group avoid embarrassing situations. Group members often want to avoid damaging other members’ self-images and are likely to avoid certain subjects that might hurt a member’s feelings.
  4. Norms express the central values of the group and identify the group to others. Certain clothes, mannerisms, or behaviors in particular situations may be a rallying point for members and may signify to others the nature of the group.

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.

 

The Product Life Cycle


Customer demands are constantly changing. There are many reasons for this, ranging from fashions to new regulations. Sometimes there are obvious patterns to demand. Another pattern comes from the product’s life cycle. Demand for just about every product follows a life cycle with five stages:

  1. Introduction. A new product appears and demand is low while people learn about it, try it and see if they like it—for example, palmtop computers and automated checkouts at supermarkets.
  2. Growth. New customers buy the product and demand rises quickly—for example, telephone banking and mobile phones.
  3. Maturity. Demand stabilizes when most people know about the product and are buying it in steady numbers—for example, color television sets and insurance.
  4. Decline. Sales fall as customers start buying new, alternative products—for example, tobacco and milk deliveries.
  5. Withdrawal. Demand declines to the point where it is no longer worth making the product—for example, black and white television sets and telegrams.

The length of the life cycle varies quite widely. Each edition of The Guardian completes its life cycle in a few hours; clothing fashions last months or even weeks; the life cycle of washing machines is several years; some basic commodities like Nescafe has stayed in the mature stage for decades.

Unfortunately, there are no reliable guidelines for the length of a cycle. Some products have an unexpectedly short life and disappear very quickly. Some products, like full cream milk stayed at the mature stage for years and then started to decline. Even similar products can have different life cycles – with Ford replacing small car models after 12 years and Honda replacing them after seven years. Some products appear to decline and then grow again—such as passenger train services which grew by 7 per cent in 1998 and cinemas where attendances fell from 1.64 billion in 1964 to 54 million in 1984, and then rose to 140 million in 1997.

One thing we can say is that product life cycles are generally getting shorter. Alvin Toffler says, ‘Fast-shifting preferences, flowing out of and interacting with high-speed technological change, not only lead to frequent changes in the popularity of products and brands, but also shorten the life-cycle of products.’

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.

Life-Cycle Management


All projects have a natural life cycle from birth to death and that changes inherent in the life cycle cause shifting interfaces and broad changes over time which dramatically increase the need for the project management approach. This life-cycle property is also shared by product sales and systems development.

 The product sales life-cycle is probably the best known. Between the point of introduction and the final removal from the market (replacement by another product is more complicated) there are roughly four phases:

a)    Introduction

b)   Growth

c)    Maturity

d)   Decline

 Actually, a product must go through research and development stages before it is introduced on the market. If we add these phases to the product  we would have a larger cycle similar for products/projects/processes.

 Full Products/Projects/Processs Life Cycle:

  1. Pre-design phase—The product/project idea is born and given early evaluation. Early forecasts of performance, cost, and time aspects are made, as well as of organization and resource requirements. There is a high mortality rate in this phase.
  2. Design phase—A much more detailed design of the project/product is developed and its feasibility and desirability are determined.
  3. Pilot testing phase—An actual prototype of the product, system, or difficult prices of the project are made, tested, and redesigned as necessary.
  4. Startup/Introduction phase—The product is introduced or the main project is started up.
  5. Rampup/Growth phase—Product sales grow, and the product is expanded to its full volume.
  6. Mature phase—Sales are full, as is the project effort size.
  7. Rampdown/decline phase—Sales decline, phasing the project out.
  8. Termination/divestment—The product is removed, the project is stopped, and the system is sold.

 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

The Impeccable Venture Types


Two concepts that appear to have a major bearing on long-term prosperity of a business are the notion of ‘distinctive competence’ and ‘market share.’

 

A company with larger market share in its particular line of business gets more practice in performing that business than a company with a smaller market share and consequently should be able to develop through that practice a higher level of competence. At the same time, by having a larger market share a company enjoys economies of scale—quantity discounts on purchases, thinner spreading of advertising costs, and justification for greater investment in tooling and automation and for more research and development. Consequently, it has an advantage in lowering unit costs, which in turn can allow it to lower prices and thereby outsell the competition to gain still more market share, and so forth. There are research data that indicate both that more sharply defined competence, often as a result of narrower specialization, leads to greater growth, and that larger market share leads to higher profits.

 

In evaluating prospective venture ideas it therefore makes sense to as, “What will the company’s distinctive competence be?” in other words, what will it be able to do better than other companies can and why? It also makes sense to ask what share of market the company will have as compared to competitors. If it seems likely to have only a very small share of market and competitors enjoy larger shares, then it will need either some major performance improvement such as a significant special innovation or else a lot of financing to increase its share and be able to survive.

 

One ideal approach is to begin early in a new industry. When the industry is small, it should be possible for the new company to obtain a significant share without having to be large to do so. As the industry grows, the company can then grow with it, still maintaining its market share, with consequent high profits. This type of enterprise is ideal not only from the entrepreneur’s point of view, because the company prospers, but also from a funder’s point of view, because rapid growth of the company will create a profitable application for capital to expand the company’s capacity to handle increasing business. Thus to capture a major market share at the opening stage of a new industry is an ideal pattern for a growth-oriented venture.

 

A second ideal type of venture is one that captures a major share of an existing but more mature industry. The major share will generate high profits, but if the industry, because of its maturity, is not growing, then the company will not have to grow in order to maintain its market share. This will mean that it will not need external funder. From a funder’s point of view it is not particularly attractive. But from entrepreneur’s position it is, because the profits will not have to be plowed back but can rather be taken as salary, dividends, and other benefits. The trick, of course, is to capture a major share in an existing industry, and this can be done by choosing a very small industry to start in, by entering through purchase of a going concern that already has a respectable share, or by entering with a strong innovation or other competitive advantage.

 

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight