Throughout the semester you will complete various self-assessment exercises, which are developed by behavioral researchers to test your skills, abilities, and interests. The exercises include but are not limited to the following and can be found in the component section of your course modules.
Assessing Your Attitudes toward Corporate Responsibility
Assessing Your Perspective on Ethics
Assessing Your Global Manager Potential
Assessing Your Career Vision and Plan
Assessing Your Core Skills Required for Strategic Planning
Assessing Your Decision-Making Style
Assessing Your Preferred Type of Organizational Culture
Assessing Your Person-Job Fit
Assessing How Adaptable You Are
Assessing Your Attitudes toward Teamwork
Assessing Your Readiness to Assume a Leadership Role
Assessing Your Communication Competence
Write and submit a 3 to 5-page paper, which should be in APA format (Times New Roman, size 12, double-spaced and all necessary citations with reference page) of what you learned about yourself from the result of the tests and the course. No need to submit the original tests and results. Please note, any self-reflection papers that do not meet the assignment instructions will receive an automatic 10% deduction. Your outline should focus on the following questions:
What are my strengths? How will these strengths help me manage and work with others more successfully?
What are my weaknesses? How will these weaknesses, if not improved upon, get in my way of success?
What was I most surprised about in taking these assessments and why? What did I learn about myself that I did not know before taking the assessments?
How can I use this information going forward?
Use the following activities I have done as evidence of self-reflection within the essay:
1. This self-assessment is intended to help you reflect on your attitudes about CSR.
If your score is in the positive range (low scores), this might indicate you are very comfortable with the idea of CSR. That is, you think corporations should have social responsibility as one of its chief goals alongside profit maximization and abiding by all applicable laws and regulations.
If your score is in the moderate range, this might indicate you are only somewhat comfortable with the idea of CSR. That is, you think corporations should take social responsibility into account in some types of decisions, but it should probably not be as high a goal as profit maximization.
If your score is in the negative range (high scores), this might indicate you are very uncomfortable with the idea of CSR. That is, you likely think corporations should not generally consider social responsibility as a goal or even a consideration when making important business decisions.
The textbook adopts the perspective that CSR is a good and reasonable idea. However, as the textbook notes, there are organizational theorists and economists who disagree. So, your score is neither right nor wrong, but it does reflect a specific orientation. No matter where you scored, you should try to understand the opposing perspective because this is important in many corporate contexts. You will be able to understand what is going on better the more you are informed. You will almost certainly encounter colleagues who have a different perspective. You will be a better manager and leader if you are able to understand and talk intelligently about this issue.
Your score on this self-assessment will also be helpful to you as you consider various employment opportunities. Different employers and corporations have different views on whether CSR is a good idea. You are more likely to fit-in when your attitudes are consistent with those of your employer.
Further, among those corporations who value CSR, there is considerable variability in what this means. Some corporations focus on the well-being of its employees. Other corporations focus on supporting charitable activity of one sort or another. For example, TOMS famously donates one pair of shoes to people in impoverished communities for every pair of shoes purchased. In contrast, other corporations allow their employees to take paid time off to volunteer in a variety of charitable activities. The point here is you may want to use the results of this self-assessment to guide you in your search for suitable employment. Employees who fit with the corporate culture are more likely to be satisfied and productive.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your view about CSR may change over time, or you may come to understand what your perspective actually is only later in life. Third, there are many varieties of CSR. While you may be uncomfortable with some versions of CSR, you may find you are quite comfortable with other versions.
2. There are many systems that attempt to capture ethical values. This self-assessment measures one possible approach to ethics. You are classified along two dimensions, and then these are used to create four categories of people.
First, let’s define the two dimensions.
Idealism – This is the extent to which you think there is always a clear “right” or “good” action.
Relativism – This is the extent to which you think there are, or are not, absolute moral rules when making ethical judgments.
This then leads to the following four categories.
Situationists – Persons who are high on both idealism and relativism scales. The typical attitude is to “reject moral rules” and advocate that each situation should be analyzed individualistically.
Subjectivists – Persons who are low on idealism, but high on relativism. The typical attitude is to approach moral situations “based on personal values rather than universal moral principles.”
Absolutists – Persons who are high on idealism but low on relativism. The typical attitude is to approach moral questions with the assumption that “the best possible outcome can be achieved by following universal moral rules.”
Exceptionalists – Persons who are low on both idealism and relativism. The typical attitude is to think there are moral absolutes but to be “pragmatically open to exceptions.”
If your score is in the moderate range on one or both scales, you do not fit neatly into these categories. This is not a problem. It just means that your views are a bit more nuanced than those of other people. You can still place yourself in one of the four categories by moving your moderate score to the low or high range based on which is closest.
You will be faced with many ethical problems over the course of your lifetime. Some of these will be relatively easy to address. Others will be very difficult. Sometimes, you will see clearly what you should do, but you find it very difficult to follow through on what you know you should do. Other times, you will have two (or more) ethically ambiguous choices in front of you and you will not know how to choose.
Because you are a college or university student, you have the benefit of having an extended period of time to develop your ethical sensibility. You can do this in several ways. First, you should be in touch with your religious or philosophical perspective. One of the purposes of religion and philosophy is to allow for the development of a deeply thoughtful system of ethics. If you are required to take courses such as humanities, history, religion, and literature, you should not view these courses merely as something to be “gotten out of the way,” but rather you should use them to develop your ethical compass. Ethical problems are as old as humanity. Courses in these disciplines will expose you to some of the great questions in life, and allow you to think deeply about what the answers can and should be.
Second, you can do current reading. The business press is filled with stories of people who are dealing with ethical situations. Sometimes, there are dramatic illustrations of ethical failures, such as the fallacious accounting practices that led to the collapse of Enron or the decision by some Volkswagen employees to write software that would allow their cars to avoid detection of illegal levels of pollutants. However, there are also many less well known or dramatic stories. Read these and think about what you would have done if you were placed in a similar circumstance.
Third, talk with your fellow students, your faculty, and others about ethical situations they have faced and how they were handled. Some of the best learning comes from hearing stories from people who describe their ethical failures and the consequences that resulted from their decisions.
Finally, you should use your time as a student to practice your ethical standards. If, for example, you think people should not cheat on their taxes and they should not lie on their resumés, then you should practice not cheating and lying as a student. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you cut corners now, you will likely cut corners in the future. Now is the time to develop good habits.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your approach to ethics may change over time, or you may come to understand what your ethical perspective actually is only later in life. Third, there are many ways to capture ethical sensibilities. If this one is not helpful, you should investigate other resources that will help you navigate the ethical problems you will inevitably face.
3. The characteristics of a successful global manager include the following 14 dimensions: sensitive to cultural differences, business knowledge, courage, brings out the best in people, integrity, insightful, committed, takes risks, seeks feedback, uses feedback, is culturally adventurous, seeks learning opportunities, open to criticism, and flexibility.
If your score is low, this may mean you do not possess enough of these 14 characteristics or that you are particularly low in too many of them. If your score is moderate, you might be on the cusp of having the characteristics necessary to be a global manager. If your score is high, you might be well on your way to preparing yourself for working as a manager in international contexts.
If you have aspirations to work in a global management context, and if you scored low on this self-assessment, all is not lost. There are many things that you can do to prepare yourself for this exciting and challenging work. In school, you should take courses focusing on international business, economics, and social issues. If you have the opportunity to study internationally, you should pursue those opportunities. This includes studying abroad for a semester or a year, but also includes shorter international study trips as well. If your school does not offer such opportunities, there are many options you can find online. Additionally, you might seek out internship opportunities with companies with international operations. Finally, look at the items on this assessment, identify your areas of weakness, and begin to work on them.
If your score is in the moderate or high range, you are in a stronger position at this point in your life, but you also need to pursue the same courses and experiences that are listed in the previous paragraph. A high score is no reason to assume that you are as prepared as you can be. The fact is that successful managers are constantly looking for opportunities in which they can challenge themselves to learn as much as they can.
Remember that your score on this self-assessment, while helpful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find that your global manager perspective may change over time, or you may come to understand what your strengths are only later in life. If you think that your score does not reflect your actual global management potential, take some time to look back at the items to see why you scored the way that you did. Do not let a score on this self-assessment discourage you from pursuing your career aspirations, but you should use the information gathered here to help you know what you need to work on.
4. Future Work Self-Salience—In the first five items, you are asked about how easy it is for you to imagine your future life, particularly as it relates to work.
Current Behaviors and Future Orientation—Items 6-11 measure the extent to which your current thought and behavior is oriented around your desire to achieve certain future outcomes.
Career Aspirations—Items 12-16 measure the extent to which you are motivated to become a manager and leader in an organization, and to consistently move up from lower level management to upper level management.
In addition to calculating these three subscores, an overall total is also given. This total score combines the responses from the three dimensions to give an overall score of your future career identity. If your score is in the low or moderate range, this may indicate you have a tendency to neglect future possibilities as you think and behave in the present. If your score is in the high range, this may indicate you have a tendency to want to aim at specific future goals and outcomes.
Planning is a critically important function of management. In order to plan, you need the ability to imagine the future and the motivation to plan. Research indicates people vary in terms of this orientation. This self-assessment helps you to discern the extent to which you may have this orientation by asking about your plans for yourself.
If you scored in the low or moderate range, you might want to give some thought to developing plans for yourself. This begins by creating personal mission and vision statements. These are defined, discussed, and illustrated in section 2 of Chapter 5. Most of the discussion relates to developing these statements for organizations, but the basic ideas hold for doing these for yourself. A personal vision statement identifies what you want to become over your life span. This will force you to think about priorities across various aspects of your life such as work, home, leisure, and friendships. It also helps clarify various milestone events you want to occur. For example, at what age would you like to purchase a home, have children, be debt free, and retire? Once these statements are in place, you can use them as the starting point to do some strategic planning (should you go to graduate school?, should we try to have children?, how should we decide where we should live?, and so on). Making plans to accomplish these milestones will help turn them into reality.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your future work orientation may change over time, or you may come to understand what your perspective actually is only later in life.
A third caveat relates to the Upward Career Aspirations dimension. Sometimes, people assume a successful life can only be judged by career and salary progression. This scale might contribute to that assumption. However, there are many criteria by which life success can be measured, most of which have nothing to do with career or salary progression. Persons who want to help others often work in low paying contexts and have very satisfying lives. Many people find themselves in jobs they enjoy and which they are well-suited for, and have no interest in advancing further in the organization. Do not let this scale contribute to the fallacious view that success can only be equated with career and salary progression.
5. According to research conducted at the College of Business at Ohio State University, the 12 skills you have just self-assessed are fundamental to strategic planning.
If your score is in the low range, this might indicate you do not think you are well prepared to do strategic planning.
If your score is in the moderate range, this might indicate you think you possess some of the skills necessary for strategic planning, but there is room for improvement.
If your score is in the high range, this might indicate you think you do possess the skills necessary for strategic planning.
If your score is in the low or moderate range, do not despair. It is not unusual for students to not have these skills, or, at the very least, to be uncertain about whether you have them or not. Each of these skills can be learned and developed. However, they will not develop automatically. You will need to work at putting yourself in situations where you are challenged to get better. For example, if you did not describe yourself as a good listener, congratulations on being honest with yourself. The textbook has guidance on becoming a better listener (see Ch. 15, Communication). You can consciously practice these skills, both in formal situations, such as in the classroom, as well as in informal situations, like everyday conversations over meals and with people you live with.
Many of these skills are discussed in various chapters within this textbook. For those areas in which you scored low, you might consider reading about them in your book and making a plan for how you can improve.
Note that almost all of the skills listed here are what might be called “soft” skills. That is, they have to do with interpersonal relationship and management style as opposed to a so-called “hard” (or concrete) skill such as doing a calculus problem. Computer skills are clearly hard skills, and research skills might best be classified as hard skills also. But the remainder of the skills are things you need to develop and practice.
If your score is in the high range, you are well on your way to having the skills necessary to be successful at strategic planning. However, you should not relax. These skills can always be developed and improved.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your skills may change over time, or you may come to understand what your skills actually are only later in life. Third, to repeat, these skills can be learned and developed. If you aspire to management and leadership, these are skills you should work on, both while you are a student, and early in your professional career.
6. If your highest score is on the Behavioral Style, this indicates you have a low tolerance for ambiguity and you tend to favor focusing on people and social concerns. Persons with this decision making style are warm, supportive and open to suggestions. Of possible concern, these persons can avoid conflict and have difficulty making difficult decisions.
If your highest score is on the Directive Style, this indicates you have a low tolerance for ambiguity and your value orientation is toward task and technical concerns when you are making decisions. Persons who prefer a directive style tend to be decisive and to make fast decisions. Of potential concern is that these persons can tend to be autocratic and controlling.
If your highest score is on the Analytical Style, this indicates you have a high tolerance for ambiguity and you tend to value task and technical concerns. Analytic decision-makers tend to take a longer time to make decisions, but they respond well to new or uncertain situations. A concern with this decision-making style is the tendency to over-analyze a situation or problem.
If your highest score is on the Conceptual Style, this indicates you have a high tolerance for ambiguity and you tend to focus on people and social concerns. Persons with this decision-making style tend to rely on intuition, to favor discussion and consensus, and are often good at finding creative solutions to problems. On the downside, these same persons can be indecisive.
If your highest score is on the Behavioral Style, this indicates you have a low tolerance for ambiguity and you tend to favor focusing on people and social concerns. Persons with this decision-making style are warm, supportive and open to suggestions. Of possible concern, these persons can avoid conflict and have difficulty making difficult decisions.
There is no right, correct, or best way to make decisions. Each decision-making style has strengths and weaknesses. So, the action you might take in response to this self-assessment is not to look to change your decision-making style. Instead, you should focus on two things. First, you should focus on understanding your own decision-making preferences and style. The better you understand yourself, the better you will be able to see both your strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, be able to give thought to how to avoid making mistakes. For example, a person who favors a directive style needs to be careful not to run roughshod over other people and to pay particular attention to suggestions from other people. In contrast, a person who favors the behavioral style needs to recognize that while there is much good in seeking lots of input, many situations require a decision to be made one way or the other, and there are deadlines to be met.
Second, you should recognize people differ as to their preferred decision-making style. This is helpful in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of people, and in helping you to know how to interact most effectively with others. This knowledge might also be helpful to you when you are in a situation of determining who should be chosen to be on a team. You can look for people whose strengths complement weaknesses that others have, and vice versa. This is also important because people with different decision-making styles can easily get into a conflict. For example, a person with a Directive Style can easily become frustrated with a person who has a Behavioral Style because decisions are not being made fast enough or with enough clarity. Recognizing that people have different decision-making styles will help you to understand why your colleagues or bosses approach decisions differently than you do.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while helpful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your decision-making style changes over time, or you may come to understand what your capabilities are only later in life. Third, once you are aware of potential weaknesses related to your preferred decision-making style, you can work to compensate for those possible problems either through your own effort and attention, or through coming along side someone else who can help you avoid these problems. Finally, no person is solely one type of decision-maker in all situations. These results help us think about ourselves and others in helpful ways, but there is much variation in our behavior as we navigate various types of decisions we must make.
7. If your Clan score is the highest of the four scores, this might indicate you prefer an organization with an internal focus that also values flexibility. Organizations with this type of culture often use the “family” metaphor to describe the employee atmosphere. Collaboration and trust are key elements, and the organization has a reputation for “taking care” of its employees.
If your Adhocracy score is the highest of the four scores, this might indicate you prefer an organization with an external focus that also values flexibility. Organizations like this value and encourage entrepreneurial spirit among its employees. There is a lack of stability and certainty since the organization is constantly looking for new challenges and market opportunities. Also, and the possibility always exists that a new product or service, or a new way of performing an organizational function, will lead to a change in organizational priorities and staffing.
If your Market score is the highest of the four scores, this might indicate you prefer an organization with an external focus that also values stability and control. Customer satisfaction is often the highest value in this type of organization such that customers’ needs and desires are valued higher than the needs and desires of employees. This type of organization is highly competitive and pays constant attention to market data.
If your Hierarchy score is the highest, this might indicate you prefer an organization with an internal focus that also values stability and control. This type of organization is characterized by clear policies and procedures, and extensive control mechanisms to ensure quality and reliability of products and services.
There is no “right” or “wrong” organizational culture. Research indicates organizational culture is often determined by the type of industry the organization operates within, the age of the organization, and the size of the company. In newer organizations, culture is often heavily influenced by the preferences of the founder or founders. One of the most important points about culture is that it is very difficult to alter once it is established.
As a consequence, there are two important action steps you can take. The first is to understand your own preferences so when you have the opportunity to choose one type of organization over another, you will have some sense of where you would fit the best. This type of choice, if you are fortunate enough to have a choice, can have a dramatic influence on your satisfaction with your work. Try to avoid working in an organization where your particular cultural preference is inconsistent with the dominant organizational culture. The second is to know different people have different preferences. This will help you to understand how others think and behave. This kind of knowledge is very useful as you enter into the business world.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your orientation to cultural preference may change over time, or you may come to understand what your preference actually is only later in life. Third, the four types of culture are generalizations. Just as individual people are complex and unique, so are organizations. For example, you may find that while an organization has a certain overall cultural preference, the department or team with which you are working has a different type of micro-culture.
8. Not surprisingly, employees who are in jobs that fit them well tend to be satisfied with the work (assuming other things such as pay and supervision are at least acceptable). There are other positive outcomes as well. Employees who have high person-job fit also tend to have the following characteristics:
Competence – They know they are good at their job.
Self-determination – They feel in control of their working lives.
Impact – They have greater ability to influence how well the organization generally, and their work-group specifically, perform.
Commitment – They are more likely to feel attached to the organization because they sense they are vitally important.
Retention – They are less likely to have thoughts of leaving the organization.
If you are working, or have worked, in a job in which you perceived high person-job fit, congratulations. This is a good thing you should attempt to replicate in your career choices moving forward. Persons who have high job fit might not know exactly why they feel this way. If this describes you, spend some time reflecting on why it is (or was) you have such positive feelings about your job. You might be helped by talking with trusted advisers about their perceptions about why you fit in a certain type of job.
If you have moderate or low job fit, you should give serious consideration to looking for different types of work. Of course, you may be in school specifically so you have the option to look for future work that is a good fit for you. However, many students—even those who are close to graduation—do not have a good sense of the kind of job that would be a good fit for them. If you are in this situation, you should make use of the resources at your school. Most schools have a career development office. The staff members of this office are trained to help you think through the match between your characteristics and a variety of jobs and careers. Often, they will offer you the opportunity to take an assessment which will provide you with helpful information. In addition, you should seek the advice of faculty, parents, friends, coaches and anyone who knows you well.
Internships are a particularly good way to determine if you fit well with a particular type of job. Internships are relatively low risk for both the employer and the intern. They are a good way for an employer to get an extended view of your characteristics. And, as an intern, you can determine whether the type of work you are doing is a good match for your characteristics.
Finally, you should also remember the choices you make now in terms of your major or even your initial job do not have to determine your entire working career. In fact, many people find that in the early months and years of employment the kind of job they thought would be a good fit turns out not to be such a good thing. This is a very common experience. Do not hesitate to look for other types of employment if you find yourself in a job that does not fit you well. You can even start to make this kind of assessment during the recruitment process. If you think that you will not fit well with an employer, you may want to consider turning down a job offer. Of course, it may be that economic necessity makes it the wise to take even a low fit job. In this case, keep looking even as you begin work with your new less-than-ideal employer.
Remember your score on this self-assessment, while useful for self-understanding, should not be over-interpreted. First, every person is complex and it is impossible to fully capture your uniqueness in a short self-assessment. Second, you may well find your person-job fit may change over time, or you may come to understand what your fit actually is only later in life. Third, do not allow yourself to feel like you are trapped in a job that does not suit you. You are always free to pursue other options.
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