Showing posts with label Project Human Resources Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Project Human Resources Management. Show all posts

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Doubt in Conflict Resolution Techniques

By With 2 comments:
I got the following question from one of the candidates in my PMP training programme. The question relates to "Conflict Resolution Techniques" from Project Human Resources Management. Let us see the question below & our conversation/ discussion regarding the answer:

The Question

Choose from the following combinations, the combination that shows the most preferred and the least preferred conflict resolution techniqes:

(A) Smoothing, Withdrawal
(B) Problem Solving, Withdrawal
(C) Confrontation, Forcing
(D) Compromising, Forcing

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Discussion on the Answer

PMP Aspirant: "Manick, I chose answer (C). But, the correct choice seems to be (B). As per PMI, least preferred is forcing right? I don't understand. Can you please explain?"

Manick: "The answer is (B). The most preferred conflict resolution technique is problem solving/ confrontation; the least preferred technique is withdrawal.

In withdrawal, there is no resolution. You are running away from the solution. Whereas, in Forcing, you have a resolution arbitrarily; through force and power. But, the point is, in Forcing, at least you have some solution whereas in withdrawal the conflict still remains."

PMP Aspirant: "Ya I agree ..but during our class I remember u saying generally withdrawal is least preferred but as per PMI forcing is the last the confusion:("

Manick: "As per PMI, forcing should be the last resort if other conflict resolution techniques like Confrontation could not work. What it means is, you can use forcing if everything else fails; but, withdrawal should not be used at all. So, in the hierarchy of preference, forcing comes before withdrawal."

Is that clear to you? Are you with me? You can share your opinion or comments for further discussion on this issue.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Role of the Sponsor

By With No comments:
In an organization or in a project, it is very important to understand the roles of each individual. The sponsor and the project manager have different roles to play in a project. In general, the sponsor authorizes the project while the project manager plans and executes the project. An understanding of the roles of the sponsor would help you in answering few questions in the PMP Certification exam. You, as a project manager, should be clear on the areas where the Sponsor's help is required. The following list gives a guidance on the roles of the sponsor:
  • To provide clear direction for the project and its impact on the organization's strategic plans
  • To set the project priority; this is important as the project manager should know which of the three triple constraints are critical for the project success. In some projects, time is very important and is least flexible - for example, projects relating to Olympics games. Similarly, some other projects will have cost as the primary constraint.
  • To make important project decisions and participate in major project reviews including approval of key deliverables
  • To approve the budget and provide the necessary funding
  • To approve resource levels and commit specific resources
  • To finalize the project objectives and the scope
  • To protect the interests of the project

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

By With 3 comments:
Abraham Maslow proposed a theory in psychology, which is popularly known as "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs". One of the many interesting things Maslow noticed was that some needs take precedence over others.

He laid out five broader layers of needs: the physiological needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order.

Deficit Needs and Being Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. Maslow calls the bottom four levels as deficit needs, or D-needs. He has called the top layer as being needs or B-needs.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Needs identified in Maslow's Hierarchy

Physiological needs are obvious; they are the literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, people will not be interested in any higher order needs like social needs or esteem needs.

When the physiological needs are largely taken care of, the second layer of needs (Safety Needs) comes into play. You will become increasingly interested in finding safe circumstances, stability, protection; the individual's safety needs take precedence and dominate behaviour.

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs are social needs and involve feelings of belongingness. The individual begins to feel the need for friends, family, relationships and a sense of community.

Next, we begin to look for self-esteem. Esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others.

The last level of need is Self-actualization. This level of need pertains to what a person's full potential is and realizing that potential.

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As a project manager, it is important to understand Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire the secondary or higher level needs. This concept is important in managing and developing human resources in an organization.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

McGregor's Theory Y

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In the last article, we had seen the assumptions of McGregor's Theory X . In this article, I am going to discuss McGregor's Theory Y, the other extreme set of assumptions about employees.

McGregor promoted Theory Y as the basis of good management practice. Theory Y represents the democratic approach and gives the employees scope for creativity and responsibility.

McGregor's Theory Y Assumptions

  1. People are not, by nature, lazy and unreliable. They consider work as a natural part of life.
  2. A large percentage of people has a high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity and can be used in solving organizational problems
  3. Close control and threats of punishment are not the only ways to get things done.
  4. Motivation occurs at the social esteem and self-actualization levels, as well as at the physiological and security levels
  5. People enjoy work and can be self-directed in work if properly motivated.
  6. People take responsibility and are motivated to fulfill the goals assigned to them.
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It should be an essential task of the management to unleash the potential in individuals. In supervising human resources, Theory Y offers a better description of people than Theory X.

Of course, we cannot deny that there may be some lazy individuals who may have to be threatened, controlled and prodded strictly. But, it is obvious that far more people respond better to a project manager who applies a management style based on Theory Y.

In projects managed by managers who believe in Theory Y, team members at lower levels of the organization are involved in decision making and have more responsibility.

Final Note

Authoritarian management style is adopted in Theory X organizations with centralized control while in Theory Y, the management style is participative and inclusive. Although Theory X management style is widely accepted as inferior to Theory Y, it has its place in large scale production and operations that involve largely unskilled workers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

McGregor's Theory X

By With No comments:
Prof. Douglas McGregor has proposed two opposite sets of theories about individuals at work. They are known as McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y.

McGregor's ideas suggest that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. In this post, we are going to see what are the assumptions made in McGregor's Theory X.

McGregor's Theory X Assumptions

  1. Most people prefer to be directed and prodded.
  2. People like to supervised very closely
  3. They are not interested in assuming responsibility.
  4. They are lethargic.
  5. They do not like to work and will avoid it if they can.
  6. Most people have little capacity in solving organizational problems.
  7. Desires security above everything.
  8. Motivation occurs only at the physiological and safety needs.

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As you can see, Theory X generally represents standard bureaucratic and authoritarian attitudes towards employees. Managers who accept the assumptions of Theory X attempt to structure, control and closely monitor and supervise their project team members.

Many managers tend towards Theory X, which leads to poor results. On the contrary, managers using Theory Y produces better performance and results, and allow people to grow and develop.

We will see what are the assumptions made in Theory Y in our next article.