A business report on accounting

Category: Accounting

Many companies across the world have introduced the business literacy program in their organisation in order to ensure to improve the performance within the organisation by means of pay per performance programs and it is very clear that the success of this program or even any other program is possible only once the employees are aware about the program and can work accordingly. Many big concerns like the Soft Drink Giant PepsiCo has been making use of Visual to conduct the learning program for their employees in order to initiate the success of the new ideas within the context of the company. Many leaders and managers in the company prefer to align the educational system and its offerings with the goals and objectives of the organisation which is not an easy task to do, so it is a must that communication initiates are reinforced along with proper training and education so that this will help the employee to understand the goals of the organisation very clearly and also develop their skills and motivate them to contribute and perform at their best. The leaders have to draw a clear picture by means of literacy programs in order to ensure that the employees are very clear and work form heart and soul and also for rewards obviously.

Learning and its relationship to the Organisation

Even if an organisation concludes that learning provides the answer to its further development it has to consider, not only the approach, but also how people learn in different contexts. WithConstructivism, Behaviourism, Neuroscience, Multiple Intelligences, Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking, Communities of Practice, Learning Styles and Piaget's Developmental Theory to name but a few, all making a case for consideration, the complex issue of learning becomes self-evident. Yet, understanding how people learn is core to any organisational approach to learning.

In terms of managers, it is still widely believed that management development equates to management training, therefore �send him on a course�. However, this view assumes that management development is �done� by someone to someone else, applied, in other words, like an external treatment. Management development planned in this spirit, rarely involves the person who requires development in either the diagnosis of the problem or the formulation of the prescription and follow-up. Thus, he tends to find himself playing a largely passive role in important activities concerned with his learning or development.

Mumford (1993) argues the development a contrary approach, commenting that real development takes place, not through necessarily through training, but when the individual sees for himself the need to modify his behaviour, change his attitudes, develop new skills, improve his performance, or prepare himself for a different role. To this end, the rationale that �only the learner will learn� is being recognised more in organisations and by a growing number of management development specialists, tutors and trainers. Mumford (1999) comments that there three main things about managerial learning which ought to impact on our approach in trying to create effective learning environments.

Organisations needed to analyse the problem

However, during the last 20 years changes in technology, to name but one factor, have contributed in initiating significant changes in organisational practices and requirements. In turn, this has facilitated a need for organisations fully understand what it requires from its employees. Given the acceptance by many organisations that it is there workforce that is its greatest resource, they are increasingly looking inward to find answers. The changing role of managers in facilitating this is arguably a natural conclusion.

Walton (1999) argues, �senior management of organisations have not, until recent years, given a great deal of attention to HRD issues. They have not been seen as strategically significant. He comments that variety of factors have led to a change in this position, most particularly a more general acceptance of the frequently voiced proposition that people are the only sustainable source of competitive advantage for today�s organisations. This new consciousness has led to senior management taking a greater interest than hitherto in the development of HRD-oriented strategies designed to move the business forward. Orchestrating �organisational learning� is now fashionable�. Walton (1999:181)

One clear consequent of this approach is that line managers have had to take on responsibilities that previously had lay within the Human Resource function. Managers have had to learn to coach, mentor, facilitate, question basic assumptions and emotionally relate to employees alongside their traditional roles.

On first look, these new skills may seem straight forward to acquire. However, evidence has shown that managers have found it difficult to adapt. As an example, first referred to as double loop learning by Chris Argyris and Donald Schon, individuals where required, not only question those with whom they are responsible, but also their own approach. The idea that it maybe the manager who is preventing concepts to be grasped, rather than those he is training, requires an understanding and honesty which is a skill that has to be learned for many managers. Double loop learning requires us to challenge basic assumptions, but people learn that for the interests of social harmony, to restrict what they are prepared to say publicly. Consequently double loop learning becomes difficult to achieve.

Additionally, as another example, understanding the emotional needs of one and employees and the advantages that brings, is argued by Daniel Goldman as an essential skill of any manager.

Creditability of Pay Per Performance

Incentive and gain-sharing plans can involve three forms of payment: Commission, Bonus and Base Pay. Base Pay if used at all in an incentive scheme, is a guaranteed form of payment irrespective of output. Typically this base pay compensates for such activities as handling customer returns, fielding complaints, and waiting for machines to be re paired. All these examples restrict employee production, which is typically tied to incentive payments. Consequently this alternative compensation may be considered appropriate.

A commission is any form of payment tied directly to achievement of performance standards. Any salesperson is typically on a commission base, for example. Commissions are especially desirable because wage payments are directly tied to some form of profits index (sales, production level). Employee costs, then, rise and fall in line with revenues. When firms can least afford high labor costs (recession) employees have the lowest sales level and the smallest commissions.

Perhaps the form of incentive increasing in popularity fast rapidly is the bonus pay. Bonus is a lump sum payment to an employee in recognition of goal achievement. Typically the goal is not expressed in standard output but represents a major step toward achievement of organizational goals. Herein lies a distinct advantage. Performance goals can be changed yearly to reflect the changing nature of organizational objectives, upon completion, a previously agreed upon bonus is owed the employee (frequently a percentage of base pay)

Literacy for Pay per Performance Program

Many Employees in the organisations are very clear that they will get rewards and bonus for their performance and they are very clear about this fact , you will b benefitted for your efforts but how will they benefit and for what is their task is what they are not clear about and to make this literacy programs play a very vital role and will help the organisation to ensure better performance from the employee and it is a good method to motivate them , below mentioned are some of the programs which can help them understand their task clearly.

Learning within the Organisation

This inward looking approach to organisational development was seen in the early success of Body Shop, founded by Anita Roddick. Trying to develop a learning environment rather than training, she commented �training was something they did to animals�. Rather than seeing training verses learning as an outward verses inward function, she saw training as passive whereas learning was seen as �the active contribution of the learner�. Going on to comment that she wished to �encourage continuous learning at both individual and organisational level, and loves to demonstrate commitment to the ethos of a Learning Organisation�.

Walton (1999:166)

To be able to carry this vision out, its responsibility for its success lies with every one with in the organisation; requiring managers to adapt learn and develop new approaches to the work-force.

This new approach to organisational learning as apposed to traditional training methods was commented on by Watkins and Marsick (1993). Using an American insurance company they observed how a company could provide a climate where leaders created an environment conducive to learning and support, operated with a continuous improvement mindset, compelling employees to learn to do things differently, to constantly challenge why and how they do specific work activities. In addition, they observed an organisation that developed an open-communication culture that encouraged the flow of information and ideas between management and support staff. However, more importantly, they saw that the organisation was keen to see learning as an ongoing process that applies to all staff at all levels, identify the importance of managers to facilitate these goals. Watkins and Marsick (1993)

However, for this to approach to be successful, an organisation requires the concept of

an �understanding and supportive management� placed higher on its organisational goals, then previously may been the case. Earlier sections have identified the need for learners to have self-confidence, and to receive feedback on their performance. However, for it to work successfully individuals require the opportunity to take risks and hence to make mistakes. This presupposes not only risk-taking and confident approach on the part of employees, but also a risk- taking and supportive management style. Effective learning and development in the organisation, therefore calls for a �managerial style that is compatible with this need�. Beardwell and Holden (2001:153)

Coaching

However, mentioning the role as a coach raises the question, what is the difference between mentoring and coaching? Megginson and Clutterbuck (1996) argue that mentors focus on the individual learner developing through his or her career or life. By contrast, the coach shifts attention to the results of the job, exploring specific problems with learners and setting out opportunities for learners to try out new skills. Further clarification comes from Megginson and Boydell (1979) who define, coaching as �a process in which a manager, through direct discussion and guided, activity, helps a colleague to solve a problem or to do a task better than would, otherwise have been the case�.

Irrespective of a precise definition of the differences, the skills required from a manager include listening and understanding, observing, giving feedback, understanding people, communication, both written and verbal, and influencing. Walton (1999:197). Once again, for this process to be successful, a two learning process must take place, thus facilitating continual managerial development and learning.

Regardless of whether mentoring or coaching is used, one important skill a manager must grasp is the ability to not only accept but also deliver effective feedback, both written and oral. Moreover, for both of these systems to work effectively, appraisal systems must be equally effective. The skill of giving feedback, that is not merely a history of past performance but becomes a forward looking document, becomes more important and will often require more time in composition and delivery than was previously the case. Understanding the importance of appraisals is a hurdle busy managers may need to learn to overcome. This point is made by Handy, who argues that the individual must receive information about his performance, and the standards expected of him, not only in terms of results, but also in terms of his particular learning needs, as they relate to knowledge and skills or to behaviour. �This kind of feedback is particularity difficult to give and to receive�. Handy (1999:243)

Experiential Learning

So how will managers learn? Senge (1999) proposes that the most powerful learning

comes from direct experience, arguing �we learn eating, crawling, walking, and communicating through direct trial and error through taking an action and seeing the consequence of that action; then taking a new and different action.� However, he warns of the consequences of when �we can no longer observe the consequences of our actions? When our actions have consequences beyond our learning horizon, it becomes impossible to learn from direct experience�. So now we have a concept in which an approach to managerial learning can be developed. However, organising it within a managerial context requires more than an adhoc approach which advocates simply walking into subsequent problems, hoping lessons have been learnt.

Williams (1989) proposes that learning by experience, within a management job, is likely to involve the �learner� in at least:

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

raining and learning in organisations.

So what do we mean by training and learning within an organisation? One view is that it is about developing a learning organisation, an �organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future. For such an organization, it is not enough merely to survive, �Survival learning� what is more often termed 'adaptive learning' is important, indeed it is necessary. But for a learning organization, �adaptive learning� must be joined by �generative learning,� learning that enhances our capacity to create�. Senge (1999:14) Further support for this �generative� view is seen in Wick and Westley (1996) who take the perspective that a learning organisation should be seen against the backdrop of its culture. Arguing values, beliefs, feelings, artefacts, myths, symbols, metaphors� form part of any approach taken by a learning organisation. It arguably impossible to clinically define what a learning organisation consists of in a generic form. By creating a learning organisation you create a learning climate, thus hopefully a training and learning culture.

Senge takes the view that, what fundamentally will distinguish learning organizations from traditional authoritarian �controlling organizations� will be the �mastery of certain basic disciplines. That is why the �disciplines of the learning organization� are vital�. Senge (1999: 5). However, it is to be noted that Senge uses the word discipline to mean a set of practices rather than a rigid system of rules, which is often inferred understood in the modern use of the word. Going on to comment, �To practice a discipline is to be a lifelong learner. You never arrive; you spend your life mastering disciplines�. Senge (1999: 11) Futher confirming the view that, this area of management study is far from being a science, but he does present offer a few guiding principles in his best selling book, The Fifth Discipline, �Have realistic goals, challenge your assumptions, commit to a shared vision and that teamworking is good for you. We see here the dualistic approach of both the need for the organisation and the individual to become intrinsically involved in the concept.

Although a popular view, others have felt that organisation learn in there own right, almost biologically. Schon for example sees organisations as, �repositories of knowledge� independent of their members (Schon, 1983:242).

There is a wide school of thought that learning organisations develop and are not imposed, ��as cultures develop and alter their expectations, (an example of which would include the demise of unions and the capitalist ideology of the Thatcher years) so must organisations change that employ within that culture.� (Schon, 1983). Further cultural identities in terms of sector, product or organisations must also be taken into account, highlighted by the work of both Argyris (1960) and Hofstede (1994).

One mistaken view is that the term a �learning organisation� is a new concept. It is certainly true that as the world changes new approaches must be investigated to maintain both personal and organisational survival. However, the idea that organisations have only recently had to deal with changing situations, both operationally and strategically, is clearly absurd. Only the pace and scope of change in the last 50 years has brought the spotlight on organisations managing its human resource in a more effective manner. It remains a truism that it is not an argument about leaning and development, after all we have all learnt and development within any organisation we have been in contact with either consciously or subconsciously. The argument must surely be how we identify, focus and deliver that learning in an organisational context to produce value to the individual and therefore hopefully the organization. A view highlighted by Argyris and Schon (1974)

uman Resource Development (HRD)

Having settled on a broad view of what a learning organisation is, fitting it within a HRD context can only be achieved if we understand what we mean by HRD. In a learning context, HRD has been described as, �Organised learning experiences in a definite time period to increase the possibility of improving job performance growth�. (Nadler and Nadler, 1990:1.3). However, HRD covers a much wider field, �HRD is the integrated use of training and development, career development, and organisation development to improve individual and organisational effectiveness. (McLagan and Suhadolnik, 1989:10). A further view, �HRD is a process of developing and/or unleashing human expertise through organisation development (OD) and personnel training and development (T&D) for the purpose of improving performance. Swanson (1998) confirms this view that HRD is about the relationship of individuals with the organisation in a learning environment.

But surely, HRD can be defined more accurately? Presently there is no universal view or agreement on the theory or multiple theories that support HRD as a discipline. On one hand some have called for systems theory to serve as a unifying theory for HRD to access all useful theories as required (Gradous, (1989) and on the other hand many have proposed sets of principles in the forms of comparative lists of added value, products, processes, and expertise (Brethower, 1995). The alterative to having a sound theoretical and disciplinary base for the HRD profession is the present state of �rudderless random activity aggressively sponsored by a theoretical professional associations and greedy consultants� (Micklethwait & Wooldridge, 1996; Swanson, 1997). This view, it is argued, is a short-term sell of perceived success without having a deep understanding of the key components of the concept. �For this reason, a discrete and logical set of theories as the foundation of HRD is proposed. It is comprised of psychological theory, economic theory, and systems theory� (Passmore, 1997; Swanson, 1995, 1999).

Strategic HRD

With a change in the type of work being undertaken in the western economy over the last 50 years, less�dominated by labour-intensive, low-tech industries with semi-skilled operatives, to high-tech industries reliant on highly skilled knowledge workers in relatively short supply, individuals are now seen as the single most significant source of sustainable competitive advantage.� Walton (1999: 85) The role of HRD has therefore needed to change to provide the level of support required from its parent organisation. The management, retention and developing of this organisational resource, �knowledge workers�,(Wilson 1999) has taken on greater importance at higher managerial levels. A reflection of this is the fact HRD/HRM in many large organisations plays a much more important role at boardroom level, contributing to the overall organisational strategy. But does a HRD manager sitting on the Board make HRD strategic? Walton (1999) argues that for HRD to become strategic is needs to be HRD with a holistic, long-term approach, that may or may not develop a strategic awareness of company goals. He defines the term as one, �undertaken with full strategic intent, with an understanding how the initiative being undertaken adds to the coherence of the SHRD effort, congruent with an explicit learning philosophy incorporated into the overall organisation mission� In short, for it to be strategic the HRD function needs to be holistic with a function to integrate and develop into the overall strategic management system. A little clarification comes from Burgoyne 1988, ��strategic approach has to be conscious and reflective; unplanned, interpersonal and functional experiences cannot be classified as strategic in organisational terms unless explicitly linked to implementation of corporate policy.�

An example of a SHRD approach was for many organisations the move toward individual responsibility for there own learning, �At the beginning of the decade the strategic attention was focused on self-managed learning, continuous personal development, learning organisation and the people messages associated with Total Quality Management (TQM). Walton (1999: 85).

Conclusion

Business literacy has a major role in many organisations in this modern days all the organisations need to ensure that they make their staff literate about the latest happening in the organisation to ensure that they perform their task effectively and that benefits the organisation. Nearly 15 years later many organisations are still working at getting this message across to a workforce that has not fully grasped the concept. The debate about turning strategy into practice remains an issue that continues to find its way into many Board rooms and commented on by many and varied management writers. Economic theory is recognised as the primary force at the organisational level with the systems theory recognising the importance of direction, politics and purpose that could affect any organisational system. Psychological theory acknowledges human beings as a resource, whilst trying to understand the behavioural patterns that must be taken into account, opening the HRD function up to new ideas and concepts such as NLP and EQ.

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Exploring the Intersection of HRM and Entrepreneurship

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