Moral Leaders


Moral leaders strive to be principled decision-makers. They think deeply about the great ethical principles of moral philosophy and work hard to employ these principles in their actions they think ethically because moral principles guide their outlook on organizational life. Many companies do not use, at least by name, the same principles that might be used by philosophers or business ethics practitioners, they may be principled nonetheless.

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.

Elaborative Creativity


Elaborative creativity is the innovative amplification of a core idea or principle. The difference is between say, staff empowerment as a core belief and its amplification into personnel policies, participative management structures, training programs, and so forth. Elaboration can become innovative when it is creatively contextualized, that is, creatively fitted to the organization’s situation rather than simply borrowed from elsewhere. It can become innovative when it is done participatively, involving various viewpoints and much brainstorming, and the ideas are creatively synthesized. It can become innovative when not just one but several powerful, possibly partially conflicting ideas are fused together to form its basis, such as the ideas of centralization and decentralization, control and authority, or internal entrepreneurship and efficiency. Elaboration can also become innovative when it is periodically reviewed and creatively modified to suit changing circumstances. And it can become innovative when it is benchmarked, not with practices of the leading competitor, but the world’s best practitioners. And not necessarily in the organization’s industry, but in any sector of activity, for then it may reveal gaps that can be bridged only innovatively. When elaboration is made innovative in these ways, it is difficult for others to copy it, and therefore such elaboration confers a competitive advantage on the organization.

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.

Business Cards


Business cards can be plain and straightforward for big company executives. The executive’s name, company name, address, and phone number are enough. Perhaps a title is also necessary. But for a smart practitioner of individual enterprise, that business card ought to contain a lot more information.

A business card can double as a brochure, a circular, a walletized advertisement. The cost to produce such a card is not much more than one pays for a standard card. But the need is different. Lacking a large stockpile of hard currency, the small businessperson must make use of all the advertising media available. A business card can be more than a mere listing of one’s name, address, and phone number, it can be an advertising medium.

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.

Services Marketing


As the forces coincide and evolve, those involved realize that there is something different about marketing services and managing services. When a firm’s core offering is a deed performed by an employee, how can the firm ensure consistent product quality to the marketplace? As services businesses begin to turn to marketing and decide to hire marketing people, they naturally recruit from the best marketers in the world. People who move from marketing in packaged goods industries to marketing in healthcare, banking and other service industries find their skills and experiences are not directly transferable. They face issues and dilemmas in marketing services that their experiences in packaged goods and manufacturing has not prepared them for. These people realize the need for new concepts and approaches for marketing and managing service businesses.

Service marketers respond to these forces and begin to work across disciplines and with academics and business practitioners from around the world to develop and document marketing practices for service industries. As the field evolved, it expanded to address the concerns and needs of any business where service is an integral part of the offering. Frameworks, concepts, and strategies developed to address the fact that services marketing is different. As the field continues to evolve into the 21st century, new trends are developing that will shape the field and continue the need for services marketing concepts and tools.

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.

Message Content in Marketing Communications


Message content deals with what is said in a message and how it is said. There are five common content topics that have great relevance for marketing practitioners: 1) fear appeals; 2) the use of humor; 3) the role of music; 4) sex appeals; and 5) subliminal messages. Advertisers, salespersons, public relations spokespersons, and other marketing communicators use all of these message styles to varying degrees in hopes of gaining attention, achieving impact, and ultimately producing sales.

Fear Appeals: Companies sometimes use fear appeals in attempting to motivate customers to action. The underlying logic when using fear appeals is that fear will stimulate audience involvement with a message and thereby promote acceptance of message arguments. The appeals may take the form of social disapproval or physical danger aside from the basic ethical issue of whether fear should be used at all, the fundamental issue for marketing communicators is determining how intense the fear presentation should be. Numerous fear-appeal studies have been performed by psychologists and marketing researchers, but the fact remains that there still is no consensus on the “optimum” level of fear. Some Neither extremely strong nor very weak fear appeals are maximally effective. It seems that appeals at a somewhat moderate level of fear are best.

Humor: Politicians, actors and actresses, after-dinner speakers, professors, and indeed all of us at one time or another use humor to create a desired reaction. Salespeople and advertisers also turn to humor in the hopes of achieving various communication objectives. Whether humor is effective and what kinds of humor are most successful are matters of some debate among marketing communications practitioners and scholars.

Despite the frequent use of humor in advertising, relatively little is known in a definitive scientific sense about its effects on customer behavior. However there are some generalizations:

  • Humorous messages attract attention.
  • Humor can inhibit consumers’ understanding of the intended meaning of a message.
  • Because humor is a pleasant form of distraction, it can produce an increase in persuasion by effectively “disarming” receivers’ natural selective perception and reducing their tendencies toward counter arguing with persuasive selling claims.
  • Humor tends to enhance source credibility, thereby improving the persuasive impact of an ad message.
  • A humorous context may increase liking for the source and create a positive mood, thereby enhancing the persuasive effect of the message.
  • To the extent that a humorous context functions as a positive reinforce, a persuasive communication placed in such a context may be more effective.
  • The effects of humor can differ due to differences in audience characteristics. Advertisers must use humor carefully since consumers display a variety of tastes in what is humorous and what is not.

Music: celebrated musicians, as well as, non-vocal accompaniment and unknown vocalists are used extensively in promoting everything. Music performs useful communication functions such as attracting attention, putting consumers in a positive mood, and making them more respective to message arguments. Although music’s role in marketing is an increasingly understand subject, a few recent studies have begun to demonstrate the roles that music performs. Music is an unconditional stimulus in an effort to influence experimental subjects’ preference.

Sex Appeals: Sex appeals in advertising are often explicit. The use of explicit sex was unthinkable just a few years ago, it now represents part of a new trend toward more sexually explicit advertising. Sexual explicitness is prevalent and overt in some countries. Whether such advertising is effective and under what conditions it may be effective remain largely unexplored issues. Complicating the matter is the fact that sex in advertising actually takes two forms: nudity and suggestiveness. It is uncertain which form is more effective. There are several potential roles. First, sexual material in advertising acts as an initial attentional lure and also holds attention for a longer period, given that the models are attractive or the scene is pleasant. This is called the “stopping power” role of sex. A second potential role is to enhance recall. Sexual content or symbolism will enhance recall only if it is appropriate to the product category and the creative advertising execution. Sexual appeals produce significantly better recall only if the advertising execution has an appropriate relationship with the advertised product. A third role performed by sexual content in advertising is to evoke emotional response such as feelings of attraction or even lust.

Subliminal Messages: the word subliminal refers to the presentation of stimuli at a rate or level that is below the conscious threshold of awareness. Stimuli that cannot be perceived by the conscious senses may nonetheless be perceived subconsciously. This possibility has generated considerable concern from advertising critics and has fostered much speculation from researchers.

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.

Satisfaction versus Service Quality


Practitioners and writers in the popular press tend to use the terms satisfaction and quality interchangeably, but researchers have attempted to be more precise about the meanings and measurement of the two concepts, resulting in considerable debate. Consensus is growing that the two concepts are fundamentally different in terms of their underlying causes and outcomes. Although they have certain things in common, satisfaction is generally viewed as broader concept, whereas service quality assessment focuses specifically on dimensions of service. Based on this view, perceived service quality is a component of customer satisfaction.

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

Specifying Problems


In the broader sense a problem is the area of concern expressed by the client/system and the area on which the practitioner and client/system agree to work. Thus, a problem doesn’t have to be “negative” or harmful. It could be a strength or an asset on which a client/system wishes to build. In this sense the term, problem can be seen as roughly synonymous with target that which the practitioner and/or client/system aims at for change purposes. A problem in this conception, then, could be a behavior, thought, feeling, activity, or situation the client/system finds undesirable (for example, too much inappropriate anxiety or oppressive agency practices), or a behavior, thought, feeling, activity, or situation the client/system wants to build on.

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

Value Stream Management


Value Steram Management is a strategic and operational approach to the data capture, analysis, planning and implementation of effective change within the core cross-functional or cross-company processes required to achieve a truly lean enterprise.

 

Value Stream Mapping approach was initially developed with an underlying rationale for the collection and use of the suite of tools as being ‘to help researchers or practitioners to identify waste in individual value streams and, hence, find an appropriate route to (its) removal. The approach requires the researcher to identify the severity of a series of wastes that exist generically within a supply chain and to choose, apply and then analyse the out output from a series of appropriate contingent tools.

 

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 primacy of Internal Marketing


Internal marketing is the conceptual process by which managers actively encourage, stimulate, and support employee commitment to the company, the company’s goods and services, and the company’s customers. Emphasis should be placed on continual. Managers, who consistently pitch into help when needed, constantly provide encouragement and words of praise to employees, strive to help employees understand the benefits of performing their jobs well, and emphasize the importance of employee actions on both company and employee results are practitioners of internal marketing. In service marketing, successful internal marketing efforts, leading to employee commitment to service quality, are key to success.

Properly performed customer satisfaction research can yield a wealth of strategic information about customers, the sponsoring company, and competitors. However, service quality goes beyond the relationship between a customer and a company. Rather, it is personal relationship between a customer and the particular employee that the customer happens to be dealing with at the time of the service encounter that ultimately determines service quality. The importance of having customer-oriented, frontline people cannot be overstated. If frontline service personnel are unfriendly, unhelpful, uncooperative, or uninterested in the customer, the customer will tend to project that same attitude to the company as a whole. The character and personality of an organization reflects the character and personality of its top management. Management must develop programs that will stimulate employee commitment to customer service. These programs must contain five critical components:

1) A careful selection process in hiring frontline employees. To do this, management has to clearly define the skills the service person must bring to the job.

2) A clear, concrete message that conveys particular service strategy that frontline people can bring to act on. People delivering service need to know how their work fits in the broader scheme of business operations. They need to have a cause because servicing others is just too demanding and frustrating to be done well each day without one.

3) Significant modeling by managers, that is, managers demonstrating the behavior that they intend to reward employees for performing.

4) An energetic follow-through process, in which managers provide the training, support, and incentives necessary to give the employees the capability and willingness to provide quality service.

5) An emphasis on teaching employees to have good attitudes. This type of training usually focuses on specific social techniques, such as, eye contact, smiling, tone of voice, and standards of dress.

However, organizing and implementing such programs will only lead to temporary results unless managers practice a strategy of internal marketing.

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