Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Types of Listening

There are four types of listening

Types of Listening

1. Appreciative Listening

In appreciative listening, we seek certain information which will appreciate, for example that which helps meet our needs and goals. Appreciative listening is exactly what you would expect.  It involves listening to music that you enjoy, people you like to listen to because of their style and the choices your make in the films and television your watch, radio programmes and plays and musicals in the theatre.

2. Emphatic Listening

When we listen empathetically, we go beyond sympathy to seek a truer understand how others are feeling. This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals. When we are being truly empathetic, we actually feel what they are feeling.

Among its benefits, empathic listening

  • builds trust and respect,
  • enables the disputants to release their emotions,
  • reduces tensions,
  • encourages the surfacing of information, and
  • creates a safe environment that is conducive to collaborative problem solving.

3. Comprehensive Listening

Comprehensive listening where the focus is on ‘understanding the message’. The writers consider this as the basis for the next three types of listening. However, the problem can come in the form of ‘understanding’. Depending on many factors (both individual and social) students can end up understanding the same message in different, different ways.

To comprehend the meaning requires first having a lexicon of words at our fingertips and also all rules of grammar and syntax by which we can understand what others are saying.

The same is true, of course, for the visual components of communication, and an understanding of body language helps us understand what the other person is really meaning.

In communication, some words are more important and some less so, and comprehension often benefits from extraction of key facts and items from a long spiel. Comprehension listening is also known as content listening, informative listening and full listening

4. Critical Listening

Critical listening is the fourth kind of listening where listeners have to evaluate the message. Listeners have to critically respond to the message and give their opinion. Critical listening is listening in order to evaluate and judge, forming opinion about what is being said. Judgment includes assessing strengths and weaknesses, agreement and approval.

This form of listening requires significant real-time cognitive effort as the listener analyses what is being said, relating it to existing knowledge and rules, whilst simultaneously listening to the on-going words from the speaker.

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Traits of a Good Listener

Whether you’re in a meeting with your boss, sitting in a lecture or trying to ace a job interview, what you hear is almost as important as what you say. How you hear is even more important.

1. Being Non-evaluative

The verbal and non-verbal behaviour of an active listener will suggest to the speaker that he/she is being properly heard and understood. The purpose is to communicate, overlooking the qualities of ideas, attitudes and values of the speaker.

Your behaviour conveys the impression that you accept the person without making any judgement of the right, wrong or bad suitable or unsuitable.

2. Paraphrasing

If one wish to clarify, you can simply paraphrase what the speaker has said and enquire from the speaker whether you have heard it accurately. Use phrase like following ones to ensure that you have correctly paraphrased the information correctly:

  • As I gather, you want to tell…
  • So you mean to say that…
  • Oh! Your feeling towards…
  • Do you mean that…

3. Reflecting implications

To reflect this you have to go a bit beyond the content of the speaker indicating him your appreciation for the ideas and where they are leading. It may take the speaker to further extension of ideas.

The listeners aim here is to reflect eagerness and zest by nodding or through verbal means thereby giving positive feedback. If you use the technique with the genuine intention of understanding more, you can certainly help the speaker by boosting the confidence making him believe that the listener has his content well

4. Reflecting hidden feelings

Sometimes, one has to go beyond the explicit feelings and contents of what is being said to unravel the underlying feelings, intensions, beliefs, or values that may be influencing the speaker’s words.

You have to try to empathize or identify yourself with the speaker, to experience what he/she feels. Also, avoid suggesting to the speaker that the feelings you reflect are what ought to be felt by him in such a situation. This would make the speaker feel evaluated.

5. Inviting further contributions

In a situation where you haven’t heard or understood enough yet to respond with empathy and understanding, prompt the speaker to give you more information. While it is useful to ask questions, be cautious about asking too many. Open minded questions create a more supportive, trusting, climate that will help the communications to move smoothly.

6. Responding non-verbally

You can show that you are an active listener by adopting certain postures and sending non-verbal signals which communicate your interest in what the speaker is saying. These include regular eye contact (without staring), body leaning slightly towards the speaker, head nods and a slightly tilted head. By giving these signals you will make the speaker feel more confident and will by reflecting interest and understanding. You will also be able to generate more trust between yourself and speaker.

Phillips Curve

An economic concept developed by A. W. Phillips stating that inflation and unemployment have a stable and inverse relationship. According to the Phillips curve, the lower an economy’s rate of unemployment, the more rapidly wages paid to labour increase in that economy.

 

Phillips conjectured that the lower the unemployment rate, the tighter the labour market and, therefore, the faster firms must raise wages to attract scarce labour. At higher rates of unemployment, the pressure abated. Phillips’s “curve” represented the average relationship between unemployment and wage behaviour over the business cycle. It showed the rate of wage inflation that would result if a particular level of unemployment persisted for some time.

 

Phillips found that there was a trade-off between unemployment and inflation, so that any attempt by governments to reduce unemployment was likely to lead to increased inflation. This relationship was seen by Keynesians as a justification of their policies.

Phillip Curve

The curve sloped down from left to right and seemed to offer policymakers a simple choice – you have to accept inflation or unemployment. You can’t lower both.

 

The movement along the curve, with wages expanding more rapidly than the norm for a given level of employment during periods of economic expansion and slower than the norm during economic slowdowns, led to the idea that government policy could be used to influence employment rates and the rate of inflation. By implementing the right policies, governments hoped to achieve a permanent balance between employment and inflation that would result in long-term prosperity.

 

In order to achieve and maintain such a scenario, governments stimulate the economy to reduce unemployment. This action leads to higher inflation. When inflation reaches unacceptable levels, the government tightens fiscal policies, which decreases inflation and increases unemployment. Ideally, the perfect policy would result in an optimal balance of low rates of inflation and high rates of employment.

 

Advantages of HRP

Human resource planning can be defined as the process of identifying the number of people required by an organization in terms of quantity and quality. All human resource management activities start with human resource planning. So we can say that human resource planning is the principle/primary activity of human resource management.

The process of HRP plays a very important role in the organization. The importance of HRP can be explained as follows.

1. Anticipating future requirement:

Through this process of HRP, the company is able to find out how many people will be required in future. Based on this requirement the company could take further actions. This method also helps the company to identify the number of jobs which will become vacant in the near future.

2. Recruitment and selection process:

The recruitment and selection process is a very costly affair for a company. Many companies spend lakhs of rupees on this process. Therefore recruitment and selection must be carried out only if it is extremely necessary. HRP process helps to identify whether recruitment and selection are necessary or not.

3. Placement of personnel:

Since the HRP process is conducted for the entire organization, we can identify the requirements for each and every department. Based on the requirement, we can identify existing employees and place them on those jobs which are vacant.

4. Performance appraisal:

HRP make performance appraisal more meaningful. Since feedback is provided in performance appraisal and employee is informed about his future chances in same company, the employee is motivated to work better. Information for all this is collected from HRP process.

5. Promotion opportunity:

HRP identifies vacancies in the entire organization including all the branches of all the company. Therefore when the company implements promotion policy it can undertake its activities in a very smooth manner.

Factors Affecting Scheduling

The factors affecting scheduling can be broadly classified into two categories:

  1. Internal factors – which affect from within the organization
  2. External factors – those affect from outside the organization

Scheduling

Internal Factors Affecting Scheduling

Followings are the internal factors affecting scheduling:

Scheduling depends on how much stock of finished goods is kept by the company. Most companies keep, one month’s supply of each product, as stock. If the company’s product is fast moving or slow moving, then scheduling will have to be changed.

2. Process intervals

It depends on the process intervals of each product. Process interval is the time required to produce a product. Different products have different process intervals. For example, the process interval of a car is more than that of a soap. Scheduling will be different for each process interval.

3. Type of machines available

It also affected by the type of machines available. If the company has old and outdated machines, the schedule must keep provisions for the breakdown of machines. Modern and computerized machines makes scheduling very easy.

4. Availability of personnel

Scheduling also depends on the availability of personnel. If the company has untrained and inexperienced employees, then they will take more time to produce a product. So, the schedule must keep provisions for this. A faster schedule will be required for trained and experienced employees.

5. Availability of materials

It is also affected by the availability of materials. If a regular supply of materials is available, then the company can do normal-scheduling. However, if the supply of materials is irregular, the schedule must be made flexible. That is, when the supply is good then the schedule will be fast and vice versa.

6. Manufacturing facilities

Scheduling depends on the manufacturing facilities available in the company. This includes space for new machines, employees, etc. It also includes the availability and supply of electricity and water, which may be required for production. If all the required infrastructure is available, then the production schedule can be fast and vice versa.

7. Economic production run (EPR)

It also depends on the economic production runs. Economic production runs (EPR) means the optimum lot size. That is, how many items must be produced in one lot in order to minimize the cost of production. If the company produces more or less than the optimum lot size, then the cost of production will increase. There are many formulas for calculating optimum lot size. Scheduling must be done only after calculating the optimum lot size.

External Factors Affecting Scheduling

The external factors affecting scheduling are as follows:

1. Consumer demand

Scheduling also depends on the consumer demand. Consumer demand can be found out by sales forecast. So, the production schedule is prepared according to the sales forecast. However, it has to be adjusted (changed) when the actual demand is different from the sales forecast.

2. Consumer delivery dates

The production schedule also depends on the consumer delivery dates. The consumer is the most important person in a business. So, this factor must be given more importance than other factors. The production schedule must be made in such a way that it will guarantee timely delivery to the consumers. In case of seasonal goods, production must be spread out throughout the year; so, there will not be too much pressure in demand season.

3. Dealers and retailers inventories

It also depends on the stock of goods (inventories) with dealers and retailers. The production manager must find out how much stocks is held by dealers and retailers. He must also know why they are keeping this stock. Are they keeping this stock to meet current demand? If yes, then normal-scheduling can be done. However, if they are keeping stock in anticipation of future demand, the scheduling will have to be slowed down because there will be fewer orders in the future.

Features of International Business

The nature and characteristics or features of international business are:

1. Large scale operations

In international business, all the operations are conducted on a very huge scale. Production and marketing activities are conducted on a large scale. It first sells its goods in the local market. Then the surplus goods are exported.

2. Integration of economies

International business integrates (combines) the economies of many countries. This is because it uses finance from one country, labor from another country, and infrastructure from another country. It designs the product in one country, produces its parts in many different countries and assembles the product in another country. It sells the product in many countries, i.e. in the international market.

3. Dominated by developed countries and MNCs

International business is dominated by developed countries and their multinational corporations (MNCs). At present, MNCs from USA, Europe and Japan dominate (fully control) foreign trade. This is because they have large financial and other resources. They also have the best technology and research and development (R & D). They have highly skilled employees and managers because they give very high salaries and other benefits. Therefore, they produce good quality goods and services at low prices. This helps them to capture and dominate the world market.

4. Benefits to participating countries

International business gives benefits to all participating countries. However, the developed (rich) countries get the maximum benefits. The developing (poor) countries also get benefits. They get foreign capital and technology. They get rapid industrial development. They get more employment opportunities. All this results in economic development of the developing countries. Therefore, developing countries open up their economies through liberal economic policies.

5. Keen competition

International business has to face keen (too much) competition in the world market. The competition is between unequal partners i.e. developed and developing countries. In this keen competition, developed countries and their MNCs are in a favourable position because they produce superior quality goods and services at very low prices. Developed countries also have many contacts in the world market. So, developing countries find it very difficult to face competition from developed countries.

6. Special role of science and technology

International business gives a lot of importance to science and technology. Science and Technology (S & T) help the business to have large-scale production. Developed countries use high technologies. Therefore, they dominate global business. International business helps them to transfer such top high-end technologies to the developing countries.

7. International restrictions

International business faces many restrictions on the inflow and outflow of capital, technology and goods. Many governments do not allow international businesses to enter their countries. They have many trade blocks, tariff barriers, foreign exchange restrictions, etc. All this is harmful to international business.

8. Sensitive nature

The international business is very sensitive in nature. Any changes in the economic policies, technology, political environment, etc. have a huge impact on it. Therefore, international business must conduct marketing research to find out and study these changes. They must adjust their business activities and adapt accordingly to survive changes.

 

Importance of International Business

The points below highlight the importance of international business:

1. Earn foreign exchange

International business exports its goods and services all over the world. This helps to earn valuable foreign exchange. This foreign exchange is used to pay for imports. Foreign exchange helps to make the business more profitable and to strengthen the economy of its country.

2. Optimum utilization of resources

International business makes optimum utilization of resources. This is because it produces goods on a very large scale for the international market. International business utilizes resources from all over the world. It uses the finance and technology of rich countries and the raw materials and labor of the poor countries.

3. Achieve its objectives

International business achieves its objectives easily and quickly. The main objective of an international business is to earn high profits. This objective is achieved easily. This it because it uses the best technology. It has the best employees and managers. It produces high-quality goods. It sells these goods all over the world. All this results in high profits for the international business.

4. To spread business risks

International business spreads its business risk. This is because it does business all over the world. So, a loss in one country can be balanced by a profit in another country. The surplus goods in one country can be exported to another country. The surplus resources can also be transferred to other countries. All this helps to minimize the business risks.

5. Improve organization’s efficiency

International business has very high organization efficiency. This is because without efficiency, they will not be able to face the competition in the international market. So, they use all the modern management techniques to improve their efficiency. They hire the most qualified and experienced employees and managers. These people are trained regularly. They are highly motivated with very high salaries and other benefits such as international transfers, promotions, etc. All this results in high organizational efficiency, i.e. low costs and high returns.

6. Get benefits from Government

International business brings a lot of foreign exchange for the country. Therefore, it gets many benefits, facilities and concessions from the government. It gets many financial and tax benefits from the government.

7. Expand and diversify

International business can expand and diversify its activities. This is because it earns very high profits. It also gets financial help from the government.

8. Increase competitive capacity

International business produces high-quality goods at low cost. It spends a lot of money on advertising all over the world. It uses superior technology, management techniques, marketing techniques, etc. All this makes it more competitive. So, it can fight competition from foreign companies.

Scheduling: Principles and Strategies

Scheduling can be defined as “prescribing of when and where each operation necessary to manufacture the product is to be performed.”

Principles of Scheduling

  1. The principle of optimum task size: Scheduling tends to achieve maximum efficiency when the task sizes are small, and all tasks of same order of magnitude.
  2. Principle of optimum production plan: The planning should be such that it imposes an equal load on all plants.
  3. Principle of optimum sequence: Scheduling tends to achieve the maximum efficiency when the work is planned so that work hours are normally used in the same sequence

Inputs to Scheduling

  1. Performance standards: The information regarding the performance standards (standard times for operations) helps to know the capacity in order to assign required machine hours to the facility.
  2. Units in which loading and scheduling is to be expressed.
  3. Effective capacity of the work centre.
  4. Demand pattern and extent of flexibility to be provided for rush orders.
  5. Overlapping of operations.
  6. Individual job schedules.

Scheduling Strategies

Scheduling strategies vary widely among firms and range from ‘no scheduling’ to very sophisticated approaches.

These strategies are grouped into four classes:

  1. Detailed scheduling: Detailed scheduling for specific jobs that are arrived from customers is impracticable in actual manufacturing situation. Changes in orders, equipment breakdown, and unforeseen events deviate the plans.
  2. Cumulative scheduling: Cumulative scheduling of total work load is useful especially for long range planning of capacity needs. This may load the current period excessively and under load future periods. It has some means to control the jobs.
  3. Cumulative detailed: Cumulative detailed combination is both feasible and practical approach. If master schedule has fixed and flexible portions.
  4. Priority decision rules: Priority decision rules are scheduling guides that are used independently and in conjunction with one of the above strategies, i.e., first come first serve. These are useful in reducing Work-In-Process (WIP) inventory.

 

Marketing Control Process

It is true to say that planning gives direction to an organisation, planning enable an organisation to achieve its objectives, but without control measures planning is of no mean, it’s just an empty exercise without control.

Business organisations do marketing planning to incorporate overall marketing objectives, strategies, and programs of actions designed to achieve marketing objectives. Marketing Planning involves setting objectives and targets, and communicating these targets to people responsible to achieve them.

After an organisation develops and implements the marketing plan, next task is to control the marketing performance. Marketing plans and strategies are required to be monitored, evaluated, and adapted to meet the changing market environment, market needs, and market opportunities. The process by which an organisation adapts its marketing plans and strategies to reach its marketing objectives is called marketing control.

Marketing Control can be defined as “the process of measuring and evaluating the results of marketing strategies and plans, and taking corrective action to ensure that marketing objectives are achieved.”

Marketing Control can also be defined as “the set of practises and procedures employed by firms to monitor and regulate their marketing activities in achieving their marketing objectives.”

Developing and implementing marketing plan is not enough to reach marketing objectives; marketing plans and strategies are required to be monitored, evaluated, and adapted to meet the changing market environment, needs, and opportunities. Marketing control ensures performance improvement by minimising gap between desired results and actual results. If the actual results are found deviated from the expected results, plans and strategies are adapted to bring the results back to the desired level.

Marketing Control Process

Marketing control is a four step process:

  1. Define Marketing Objectives
  2. Set Performance Standards
  3. Compare Results Against Standards
  4. Corrections and Alterations

Marketing controls

Resources are scarce and costly so it is important to control marketing plans. Controlling marketing plan is not an one time activity, it is a series of actions, and it is required to be done regularly. Marketing control process starts with the review of the marketing objectives.

After defining/redefining marketing objectives, performance standards are set. Performance standards provide benchmarks to enable managers and employees to decide how they are progressing towards achieving objectives.

Actual results are compared against standards. If the actual results are in direction to the expected results, there is no problem in marketing plan and its execution.

If actual results are deviated from the expected results, there is requirement to correct and alter marketing plan to bring the results back to the desired level.

Importance of IMC

Integrated marketing communication plays an integral role in communicating brand message to a larger audience. Integrated Marketing communication helps in integrating all essential components of marketing to communicate similar message to potential and existing end-users.

Integrated marketing communication goes a long way in creating brand awareness among customers at a minimal cost. Integrated marketing communication is essential not only for business to business marketing but also for direct interaction with customers. Organizations implementing integrated marketing communication not only successfully promote their brands among target audience but also develop trust among them who would always stick to their brands, no matter what. Through integrated marketing communication, similar message goes to customers simultaneously, eventually creating a better impact on them. Believe me, the end-user does not even think of buying Brand B, if features and benefits of Brand A are communicated well to the end-users. Integrated marketing communication is more effective as it carefully blends various marketing tools such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing and so on.

Integrated marketing communication scores over traditional ways of marketing as it focuses on not only winning new customers but also maintaining long term healthy relationship with them. Integrated marketing communication ensures two way dialogue with customers – a must in all business. Customer feedbacks need to be monitored well if you wish to survive in the long run. Remember, their feedbacks are valuable and need to be evaluated carefully. Gone are the days when marketers used to rely only on advertising and simple promotions to make their brand popular among end- users. In the current scenario of cut throat competition, marketers need to promote their brands by effectively integrating relevant marketing tools for better results and increased productivity. Integrated marketing communication plays an essential role in delivering a unified message to end-users through various channels and thus has better chances of attracting customers. A single message goes to customers across all marketing channels be it TV, Radio, Banners, hoardings and so on. Integrated marketing communication ensures the brand (product or service) is an instant hit among end-users. It also develops a sense of attachment and loyalty among end-users.

Marketers do not also have to think really hard as to which marketing tool is really effective in creating brand awareness. Integrated marketing communication saves time which is often lost in figuring out the best marketing tool. Through integrated marketing communication, marketers can smartly blend and integrate all marketing tools for better response. In a layman’s language integrated marketing communication provides a wide range of options which help marketers connect easily with their target customers. Integrated marketing communication ensures that the customer gets the right message at the right place and right time. Integrated marketing communication uses several innovative ways to promote brands among customers such as newspaper inserts, hoardings and banners at the most strategic locations, pamphlets, brochures, radio or television advertisements, press releases, discount coupons, loyalty clubs, membership clubs,PR Activities, sales promotional activities, direct marketing initiatives, social networking sites (Face book. Twitter, Orkut), blogs and so on.