Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Final Assignment


           

            As I have mentioned in my online-themed posts, there is a daily checkpoint question given each day.  For the most part the questions will be on the class subject of that particular week. The basic classes (the ones given to brand new students) will often throw in questions about finances and career choices. The economy class I had recently taken was/is a basic class.

            I had originally decided to approach my assignment from a different angle as I had asked my instructor about non-profit organizations during one of the lectures.  I had wondered it any would be considered oligopolies and so had pulled up references for that.  I had actually tried three or four approaches before I had about 20-30 references.  I knew I would not end up using them all and actually ended up going in the same direction as my post.  I called my final assignment  "Show Me the Money"  and added a thesis statement though I probably didn't need one since it was a starter class for many of my peers.

             APA Style is the writing style that is required by the school.  APA stands for American Psychological Association.  Many instructors seem to put a greater emphasis on the style itself than they do with the content.  I think that is annoying.  I had more examples, but it was only supposed to be 600 words and I have over 800.  I'm pleased that I have received full credit for this assignment.  I double spaced for the assignment itself, but will do not so here.  It just looks weird as a post.
                                                   Show Me The Money Conflict


            "Everyone  should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized. - Albert Einstein.
            All people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of  what position they hold.  A single mother struggling to put food on the table should not be treated as though she does not matter, nor should a president of a large company expect to be worshiped or take advantage of others because he has more money or power.  We are all human beings, not statistics. Oligopolies and poverty levels are statistics.
            An Oligopoly can be defined as a few large firms that control a larger percentage of the market than all the other competitors put together (Study, 2013).  Oligopolies form from competition and advertising enticing the customer into believing that theirs is the best product (O. Market, 2017) .  They do this by offering goods at a lower cost or a deal of "buy one get one free" or some other "reward" for purchasing said product from them and not their competitors.
            For example, there are several cell phone providers - but according to study.com (2013)  it appears that AT&T  and Verizon deal with more than half the consumers' cell phone plans, followed by T-Mobile and Sprint.  Those four cell phone plan providers make up for 99% of all consumers with cell phone plans leaving every other cell phone provider all lumped into one percent.
            Some of the lures these markets have used is, "keep your same cell phone number" "switch for free" "we will pay your old phone bill if you make the switch" and there are consumers who actually go back and forth between companies trying to get the best deal. Then there are those who choose not to deal with the larger companies because they all seem to fail at great quality customer service.  It is not just cell phone plans that have an oligopoly, but fast food chains as well.
            I have never considered the food industry as having oligopolies and yet Welker's Game Theory (2013) used two popular food chains to explain oligopoly.  Burger King and McDonald's have long time seemed like rivals - trying to outdo one another enticing consumers with prices or selling how the  meat is cooked or how fast service.
            Some people are under the impression that it is the American Dream to get ahead, to build an empire and earn billions of dollars.  That may be the case for some, but not all Americans have that dream.  According to The Founder, the McDonald Brothers had set up shop just to make an honest living.  It was not their dream to blow up so big that they would lose control over a concept they had.  Ray Kroc believed it was his dream to head a food empire and kept the McDonalds name, though the McDonald brothers were no longer involved.   Kroc paid a high price - though not as high a price as did the McDonald brothers (Hancock, 2016).
            According to 20/20  the top six fast food chains - including Burger King and McDonald's -  made up for 6.6 billion dollars in 2015 and yet 52% of their employees are on some kind of welfare assistance.  The cameras followed Terrance Wise, who worked for both McDonald's and Burger King.  As he spent most of his day either working or traveling to get there, it gave him little time to spend with his family.  It's disheartening as he watches unsold food being thrown away (Reality, 2017).
                        I live in Douglas County, which once was a thriving community.  Sawmill workers may have had dreams about how they would spend their money after they retired from the saw mill where they had worked for many years and expected more to come. When the sawmills closed in 1978, those who could afford to leave Myrtle Creek packed up their belongings or sold off what they could, to find work in another location, generally in another state.  Circumstances changed whatever dreams they may have had  (Heilman, 2014 p 78).  Very few people (if any) choose to be poor.
            A rich person may donate $1,000 to a local charity and  use it as a tax write off.  For him to write a check for that amount is no big deal.  For him, it may be just chump change.  Another man may spend only $7.00 on a swimsuit so that his daughter may have a birthday gift to unwrap (Reality, 2017) and though the amount of  $7.00 seems so much smaller than $1,000, the poor man is giving everything while the rich man gives something that he may consider small. 
            If we treat one another with respect, regardless of our position, we create better human beings.  Humans should be made to feel humane and not a statistic.  Respect may be the first step taken towards stamping out the poverty.
References
Einstein, A. (n.d.). Quote of the Day May 9th. Retrieved May 09, 2017, from             http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes_of_the_day.html
Hancock, J.L. (Director). (2016). The Founder [Motion Picture].
Heilman, R. L. (2014) Overstory: Zero: real life in timber country. Myrtle Creek, OR. Sylph             Maid Books
My Reality in America. (2017, Jan 13). Retrieved from abc NEWS:           http://abcnews.go.com/US/deepdive/diane-sawyer-income-inequality-my-reality-hidden-       america-44770807
Oligopoly Market. (2017). Retrieved from Business Jargons:        http://businessjargons.com/oligopoly-market.html
Welker, J. (2012, May 2o). Game Theory Intro - The Prisoner's Dilemma as a Model for      Oligopoly Behavior . Retrieved from YouTube:          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlEBGYD7LUo
Study.com (2013) What is an Oligopoly? - Definition & Impact on Consumers. Retrieved from        study.com: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-an-oligopoly-definition-impact-on-        consumers.html
Why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. (2014, March 20). Retrieved from CBCnews:             http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/why-the-rich-get-richer-and-the-poor-get-poorer-            1.2580263
 
            The pictures were not a part of my assignment, but are there for the affect of the post.       On Monday I start to more classes.  Management: Entrepreneurship and Math.   



Friday, May 12, 2017

Two Discussion Posts


          I have now completed my economics course.  My instructor has completed grading all of my work, and so I will go ahead and share what I have turned in.

          On my first post this month I shared a video of a phone service parody.  This is the discussion that went with it:

      "How many of my classmates remember the landline and payphones? Funny how perspective changes from being a child to being an adult. Our responsibilities are not the same, and therefore we view the world in a different way. For example, I never personally had to wait for AT&T to come out and install or repair a telephone, but my mom did. Back then we didn't have the option of cell phones or even provider plans for that matter. The Bell System had a monopoly all across the nation with its "Bell" trademark on every phone booth. Every household that had a phone received a bill from Ma Bell, Mountain Bell, Southwestern Bell and others (depending on which part of the nation you lived).

     "By 1979 AT&T employed over a million people within all of its Bell locations (History). They were the phone company. There was no competition (Easterbrook, 1985). If you had a phone you either dealt with them, or you could forgo dealing with them which meant you also gave up the privilege of having or even using the phones. (Remember all the pay phones were provided by Bell)

      "I was still in high school in 1979 when Ma Bell settled a law suit brought on by the justice department (Barger, 1984). I understood the negative effects that a monopoly causes and was happy about the Bell System's 'break-up" in 1984. My great aunt had worked for and retired from Mountain Bell. I wanted to ask her opinion but was not allowed to bring up the subject. I'd forgotten all about that until I started doing my research for this topic.

     "I think monopolies are dangerous - at least for the consumer. The telephone company is just one example of what a monopoly does to the economy. I wonder how many of my classmates remember the parody included with my references.

"References:

"Breaking Up Is Hard On You - Bell System Divestiture . (2011, May 6). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZt1V8VqlAE (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Barger, M. D. (1984, April). "What Killed Ma Bell?". Retrieved from AT&T Divestiture: http://www.beatriceco.com/bti/porticus/bell/whatkilledmabell.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Easterbrook, G. (1985, Jan 28). Off the hook: How the breakup is helping AT&T--at your expense. The New Republic (Pre-1988), 192, 18. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/198720686?accountid=41759 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"History Timeline - AT&T. (n.d.). Retrieved from ATT.com: https://www.att.com/Common/files/multimedia/history"

          The instructor as well as eight students responded to my post. Here is a funny story I may have shared in a post before.  I brought it up again as different class members would reminisce over the landline:

            "I have to share a funny story that has nothing to do with perfect competition or monopolies, but rather about the rotary phone (remember those?)  My husband was a realtor who would bring home rare treasures every now and then.  One day he brought home a rotary phone to plug into the jack that was in the hallway - this way the boys could answer calls without having to run to the kitchen.
            "Our three boys (all younger than the cell phone) stood around it and looked at it and at each other.  Finally, one of them asked, "How does it work?"


          For this week's discussion, we were given the choice to speak on oligopolies or poverty.  This was my discussion post:

            "Funny how we were given a choice to discuss oligopoly or poverty as I feel that the two seem connected. I am not saying that Oligopoly is solely responsible for poverty, but I do think it is one contributing factor. Let me use an example of the banking industry. There are hundreds of banks, perhaps thousands, located throughout the country. Yet according to the pie graph (Jennings, 2016) below, there are only four banks which deal with over half the nation's money. Half! That is a lot of power to put into four banks.

            "As a customer, having dealt with three of the four banks, though their initial customer service seems to be professional and friendly, it felt like it is only a facade. Once I had been lured in it felt like the Oligopoly (in this case the bank) preys on my financial weakness and feeds itself out of my pocket (Parramore, 2011).

            "In some cases I had not made the choice to deal with the large bank, but had made a loan purchased from a competitor that may no longer be in business as it was swallowed up by the larger bank as well. I think Bare Truth (2013) explains it best when the comparison is made that the "ideal" is someone believing he may share a small piece of the wealth as it may be "melted" onto him, when in reality, the rich get richer by sucking finances from the poor like an inhuman vacuum.

            "If you live from paycheck to paycheck, you are better off putting your money in a smaller bank or credit union. I personally do not support any oligopolies if I can help it. I bank at a local chain that I would guess most of you have never even heard of. I actually had not heard of them until I moved into this county.

            "I think oligopolies seek power, often at the expense of their own employees  in which the dollar seems to be a higher priority than human welfare (My Reality; 2017). In my opinion, supporting oligopolies seems to be allowing them to have unnecessary power.

            "References:

"Bare truth how rich get richer & poor get poorer . (2013, August 4). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmwPVWAPkTE (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Jennings, A. (2016, January). Loans and Debt Collection Issues Top CFPB List of Consumer Complaints. Retrieved from consumer financial protection bureau: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/loans-debt-collection-issues-top-cfpb-list-consumer-alpine-jennings pie chart

"Parramore, L. S. (2011, October 11). Banking Has Become an Oligopoly Instead of a Competitive Business -- And That's Really Bad News for Us 99%. Retrieved from Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/152695/banking_has_become_an_oligopoly_instead_of_a_competitive_business_--_and_that%27s_really_bad_news_for_us_99

"Sawyer,D. (host). (2017, January 13). 20/20: My Reality in America [Television series episode]. In My Reality inl America. abc."

          My instructor than asked me to explain why I would recommend a small bank or credit union over the larger banks.  My response was:

            "In my experience, the larger banks have always "charged" me to keep my money in the bank.  If a deposit (biweekly paycheck) is made on the same day that my written checks (bill pay) have cleared, they will do the withdrawls before the deposits and charge me for each check that has gone over which wouldn't have been an issue if the deposit would have been cleared first. 

            "I realize that my check should not even be written if the money isn't in the bank.  Knowing it will be in the bank, I have taken it on faith that the deposit would clear first.  After the bank "robbed" me by charging me for each check, I was short for the next set of bills.

            "This has never happened for me with the credit union.  The smaller unknown bank  that I am currently with in Oregon is very much like a credit union.  Deposits clear before withdrawals are made.  I don't have to have a mandatory savings to open a checking account.  I only had to have a 25.00 minimum to open an account.

            "I struggled from paycheck to paycheck more with the large banks.  I have not had that problem with my credit union or the bank I am with in Oregon."

          I had also used this response to another class member on her post:

            "I agree that this has been an interesting week for topic discussion.  I took a class once in which the instructor picked two people to represent a very small fraction of the world.  He proceeded to carry out his demonstration by distributing groceries that he would pull from a few bags that he had. He had three of each item and would pass them out accordingly:

            "Each of the two students in front received an entire box of crackers for instance.  The remaining box of crackers would be shared among the remainder of the class (there had to have been at least 28 students) and continue with each grocery item until the bags were empty. 

            "His demonstration wasn't on poverty exactly, but rather the wealth in United States as opposed to some other countries.  US gets two entire boxes of crackers while everyone else has to share just one.  But not all US citizens are enjoying the metaphorical crackers - I think his demonstation would now be less than one cracker per class while the wealthy get to stock up on the remainder.

            "It's a problem that has existed long before the Great Depression.  I think it's well past time that we reevaluate ourselves and our values."
             I will post my final assignment tomorrow.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I Don't Get Procrastination


Procrastination drives me CRAZY . . . I don't understand the logic.  Logic?  I don't believe that logic and procrastination can exist at the same time.  Why do people procrastinate? 

            I've posted a bit about the qualifications for school.  We have to have our initial post on the discussion board by midnight Wednesday.  I have always posted either Monday or Tuesday by afternoon.  It absolutely boggles my mind when I there's not a great selection of those I can respond to as the majority of my classes have students that don't do their initial post until Wednesday night or Thursday morning - or often not at all.  What is up with that?  Granted, the research can eat up much of one's time.  Why not just spend a few hours at the beginning of the week and get it over with instead of creating a post at the last minute.  I suppose I've had time to read through others' posts, but truthfully, I have not even read through those last minute posts.  I am Before the end of the week, I am done.  I am done with my discussion, assignment and assessment for this week.  Tried to get a jump start on next week.  It's on monopoly.  (If this was a live video, you would see me cringing)






            Procrastination isn't going to change my mood of NOT wanting to do it.  The grey cloud hanging over my head will get darker with each passing minute.  I have to post right away or do my assignment as soon as I am able just to have at least two days of rainbow or sunshine. 






            I do see that things come up and situations change ONCE IN A WHILE - but I don't think there is any excuse good enough to consistently wait until next week to turn in this week's assignment.  Of course I don't know in what order any of my classmates do their work - but it seems to have been every week in every class.  What's wrong with people?  Even if it is a less than exciting subject.  It is, afterall, only four weeks. I personally like to be first to post so that my ideas are fresh and original and I don't like a copy cat of somebody else's post.



           Usually I haven't had the option for moving ahead, but I am able to all four weeks for this class.  Usually it will only display one class at a time.
            Monopoly.  Blech!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

FLOORED AGAIN part 1


It has been a major struggle for me to post discussions or write the assignments for my management class.  As I've already mentioned, I lack the passion, and yet I feel there is strength in what I'm learning if I but apply. I've noticed that I've made some huge grammatical errors to past posts . . . I'm not even going to try to correct them - at least not right now.  My apologies to those of you who have struggled through.  Hey, but thanks for being interested enough to continue.

We (students in any class of an online university) don't have verbal discussions in our classes as we don't all live in the same state or time zone . . . we have written discussion.  All my other credited classes required at least 150 words for our initial post and 50-75 words in comments made to other students.  This class requires more than 150 words - and references - and they have to be cited.  I actually lost points that first week because I hadn't cited. 

          My first discussion topic was on the span of control.  


Span of Control means the number of employees that can be managed efficiently and effectively by a manager. There are two types of span of control:
  1. Narrow span of control: In a narrow span of control, a single manager or supervisor oversees only a few employees. This normally results in a tall organization – and organization with many levels of authority.
  2. Wide span of control: In a wide span of control, a single manager oversees a large number of employees. This normally results in a flat organizational structure – one with very few levels of authority.

We had to answer three questions. 

  1. You are a manager who works directly with employees that are new to the company. Do you want to have a narrow span of control or a wide span of control? Why?
  2. You are an experienced employee who has worked for a company for many years. Do you want to report to a manager who has a wide span of control or a narrow span of control? Why?
  3. You manage a team of employees. The owner of your company has asked you to report how many sales were generated by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You have no time to do the report - one of your employees must do it. Tell us how you would use the delegation steps to decide which employee should create the report for your owner


 This was my first post:

I would hope that all of my employees would be able to work well together and follow instructions to get the job done well and on time. I would want to have a narrow span of control.  I know that there are some people who catch on quickly, while others may not.  I would like to show to my employees how to do something and be able to trust them to discipline themselves and get the work done.  I am happy to help when they haven't quite grasped something and would hope they would come to me if they do not understand something.  I don't wish to watch over them constantly.  I have obligations as well.  I personally would rather manage just a few employees than many.

Being an employee isn't any different than being a manager although I would prefer that the manager could walk away and let me do my thing without standing over me every single minute.  So I guess I would want the span to be wide. I am a good worker. If my boss has given me a specific assignment and deadline, I can get the job done and will ask if I need assistance.  Just as I would not want an employee to fear me, I do not fear my boss.

There are many people who have facebook accounts, however, not all users are wise.  I would choose someone on my team who has used the social media wisely and who is most resourceful and tell him/her  that I have a deadline to meet and I need him/her to get the word out and will see that he/she gets full credit for the work which has been done.  We all have talents and can utilize each talent for the benefit of the company. We must pull our resources together and work as a team just as the elements, string and tail each plays a vital role in kite flying.


My assignment for that week was on Organizational Structure.  The subject was on a company I had never heard of before: One Smooth Stone, which is a theater business and sounds like a good company to work for.  They are performers who entertain at sells conventions and motivational meetings and so forth.  My attitude toward the subject of attending said convention or seminar is briefly mentioned here.

I received full credit for my assignment.  I did not do so well at the assessment.  That first  week had convinced me that I'd be doomed in the class as I expected that each week would be harder for me with this less than wonderful attitude I have.  But I'm happy to say that I showed improvement by the second week.

The second week my post needed to be on the functions of management.  I posted the following:

The four functions of management are planning, organizing, leading and controlling.  I'm happy to see in this video (Hartzell, 2013) points out that management is needed in more than just sales.  Management is needed when conducting classes or raising funds for charity (SW project, 2015) This helps me focus better to understand management is not just about job and income - it involves so many aspects of our lives.

 I believe my weakest function is with controlling - following up to see if everyone else has followed through.  I think that because I have done my part, everyone else has, which is not always the case.  I don't know that I've had great examples to follow within the workplace.  But I do have a great example of management at home - only it's my husband who does the follow-up to find that our sons have not cleaned their rooms, or finished with their duties in the kitchen or what have you.  I need to become more observant.  I think I'm pretty good at planning, however.

 I really can't think of any outstanding managers that I have worked under.  Two of my  "managers"  were let go, probably because they lacked in management skills.  One quit because of confrontations which I don't understand.  I remember telling one of my "replacement" managers that I thought it was really important for us to have a meeting in order for us to communicate and all be on the same page.  She did have her meeting, but I wasn't invited.  I didn't see that her management skills were any better than the one she replaced.  Morale had actually gone done, as I recall.

 This video (Hartzell, 2013) also points out that we don't see half of the functions that our managers do.  Planning and Organizing take place behind closed doors - or in small groups.     I used management skills in church groups and in the community functions. For example,  I will be involved in a meeting on Thursday night in which ideas will be discussed and reviews will be made for saving the libraries in this area from closing.


Our assignment was on the difference between management and leadership.  Our topic was on the CEO of Southwest airlines, Gary Kelly, which I briefly mentioned here.



Our third week (this week) was on managerial decision making process:

I have checked into more videos and research by typing in "the six steps of decision making" although the steps are not always introduced in the same manner, I think it's the same principle, but the emphasis seems to be made more about one step or break into more steps or combine into fewer steps;  I've also noticed a different order.

Brian Perryman (2014) for example, gives eight steps with evaluation at number 6.  Carrie Olson (2015) gives us six steps.  Her evaluation  also appears as number six, while easy presentation 1 (2012) also includes eight steps places evaluation at number 4.

Regardless of what order or how many steps, decision making needs to be thought out.  Identify the problem or situation at hand, gather information and establish criteria (Olson 2015).  A good manager will analyze and choose options.  Unfortunately, it is not a step I see too often.  I don't think "ultimatums" are good choice options.

I have had managers that haven't even been able to identify the problem.  I often wondered how they had been put in the position of manager, to begin with.
There will be some instances when a manager will have to make what appears to be an "instant decision" but just as the "four functions of management" that we discussed last week, we don't always see what goes on behind closed doors.  A good manager has already observed and analyzed situations and environment of  employees are working.  Thus what may appear instantaneous to the employees involved had already gone through a procedure of steps by the manager.

Allow me to give an example from my own work situation.  There was an employee who wasn't pulling his share of the work.  He was a bit crude with his language and did not show respect to his co-workers but the customers loved him.  He evidently had some kind of charisma that only they could see.  He wasn't the top seller, but always in the top two or three.  Management had taken that all into consideration.  It had been weighing on her mind for a couple of months.  She had actually taken the employee aside - I don't know what words were said, but I know he was let go after a while.  Though it appeared to some that her decision had been abrupt,  it really wasn't.
Active listening requires listening from both management and employee  (Denton, 1992). This employee just wasn't willing to listen.

And here is a comment made in response to a class member's post about:

I agree with you that managers don't always follow the six step process.  I have had a few managers who did not even identify or evaluate the problem -  unfortunately not every manager gets to have the training that we will be learning in various classes.

I've also been in situations where the manager (I'll call her Ruth) had interviewed for a position opening at a retail store.  She had called to tell me that I had been chosen, only to call me one hour later to rag on the owner (I'll call him Mac) of the store.  Mac had given Ruth explicit instructions to interview candidates and then decided to hire someone that hadn't even gone through the same procedures as those that had been interviewed.  Ruth was actually more upset about the events that took place than I was. 

I wouldn't have had a problem working for or with Ruth.  I did have a problem with Mac and his interference.   Ruth had used the steps of management assigned.  I don't think Mac took any steps and was oblivious to the problem.  I don't know what became of Ruth, as I did not get the job nor was in a position in which I could just pop in and ask.  I think it's important that an employee has respect for his or her manager.  Equally, I think it's just as important, maybe even more for a manager (or owner) to respect employees.  I think that taking the time to take the proper steps in decision making makes a huge difference in showing respect.

 To avoid an even longer (and possibly boring) post, I will finish up on Monday.  My final thought shouldn't be posted to this blog before I post it to my discussion wall.  Both say roughly the same thing, though what I have saved for my blog gives a bit more detail than what I will post to my discussion.  And at last . . . including a topic that I'm actually passionate about.  Yeah!