Different Viewpoints On The Meaning Of Life University Essay Example

Define and describe the three viewpoints on the meaning of life presented in our text. Throughout the book there has been three viewpoints presented on the meaning of life. The first meaning of life that was presented in our text is the theistic answer. Philosophers such as Leo Tolstoy, David F. Swenson, Louis P. Pojman, Emil L. Fackhenheim, and Philip L. Quinn all discuss this viewpoint of the theistic answer. The meaning of theistic answer and what these philosophers discus is that the meaning of life is found in the existence of God.

In this view, in order to have meaning in your life or have a purpose, you must have god in your life. The second view point that was presented in the text is the nontheistic alternative. In this part of the book we see philosophers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell, Moritz Schlick, Albert Camus, Kurt Baier, Paul Edwards, Richard Taylor, Thomas Nagel, Joel Feinberg, and E. D. Klemke present. These philosophers discus the nontheistic or humanistic alternative and they deny that one must have God in their life or believe in the existence of God in order to know the meaning of life.

This view of thinking also believes that there is no objective meaning to life and also there is no purpose to it. The third viewpoint on the meaning of life presented in out text is the approach that questions the meaningfulness of the question. Such philosophers that have this view of thinking are: A. J. Ayer, Kai Nielsen, John Wisdom, Robert Nozick, Susan Wolf, Steven M. Cahn and John Kekes. This approach takes on the question of the meaning of life as peculiar or as ambiguous. Some think in terms of meaning, purpose and value that it turns out to be cognitively meaningless.

However, there are others who reject this view and have an opposing view. 1) Describe how Leo Tolstoy’s biographical narrative both supports Schopenhauer’s and Camus’ understanding of the meaninglessness of life and how it challenges and transcends this view. Leo Tolstoy’s biographical narrative supports Camus’ understanding of the meaningless of life by first admitting that he did not know how to live or what to do with his life. The significance of life had lost all meaning to him and he terms this as “an arrest of life”.

Leo expresses a sense of “beingness towards death” supporting the meaning that Camus’ had stated: “the midpoint of life curve”. Leo Tolstoy expresses Camus’s sense of being “undermined”: “I felt that I had been standing on had given way, that I had no foundation to stand on, that that which I lived by no longer existed and that I had nothing to live by” (Tolstoy, 8). The reader can also see that Leo predates Camus’s sense of the meaninglessness: “… my life is a stupid mean trick played on me by somebody” (Tolstoy, 8).

Even though Tolstoy had wealth, power and a loving family, he was unable to find any sensible meaning to a single act or to his whole life. Likewise, Schopenhauer’s answer to the meaning of life was that “life has no meaning, it is an evil” (Tolstoy, 13). At first Leo thought that science had given him a positive answer because he had gone through his life feeling that his life had no meaning, and that it was evil because death was awaiting him. But when Leo analyzed the matter, he found that “the answer was not a positive one, but that it was only my feeling which expressed it as such” (Tolstoy, 13).

Leo found that instead of saying that Schopenhauer’s answer was a positive one, it is rather a question that cannot be solved by it, and that for philosophy the solution remains insoluble. Leo challenges and transcends both Schopenhauer’s and Camus’ understanding of the meaningless of life. When he looked around the enormous masses of deceased and living men who were simple and not wealthy, he then understood that life has meaning. He found that they lived their life with meaning in an irrational knowledge, being faith.

If one does not have faith, then they lead their life as meaningless and an evil, as they have rational knowledge. However, from faith, in order for one to understand life they must: “… renounce reason, for which alone a meaning was needed” (Tolstoy, 12). As Tolstoy was led to recognize: “all living humanity had a certain other irrational knowledge, faith, which made it possible to live” (Tolstoy, 14). Faith involves not reason but subjective apprehension of God or the infinite. 2) Albert Camus re-tells the “Myth of Sisyphus” and what this story tells us about the meaning of life.

Richard Taylor also recounts the myth and gives a little pin on the story in discussing the meaning of life. Compare the way these two thinkers interpret the myth of Sisyphus and how they relate what it tells us about the meaning of life. The “Myth of Sisyphus” is told by both Albert Camus and Richard Taylor. It is a myth that involved a character named Sisyphus. Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to roll a rock to the top of the mountain and the rock would fall down to the bottom again. Sisyphus had to roll the rock again to the top and so on, over and over again.

According to Camus, Sisyphus was a man who wanted to test his wife’s love. When she failed to do so, he wakes up in the underworld. He obtained from Pluto permission to chastise his wife on earth. When he returned to earth he no longer wanted to return to the underworld. Mercury then had to come get Sisyphus and return him to the underworld where the rock awaited him. According to Taylor, Sisyphus was a man who betrayed divine secrets to mortals, and for this he was punished by the gods to roll a stone to the top of a hill and it would fall, and he had to repeat this over and over again forever.

When comparing the interpretation of this myth, these two thinkers, Camus and Taylor both agree that Sisyphus greatly struggles to get the rock to the top and when he does it returns to the bottom again. His efforts are meaningless and therefore his life is meaningless. Taylor states “It is not that his great struggle comes to nothing, but that his existence itself is without meaning” (Taylor, 135). Camus also agrees with this notion of a meaningless life, he states: “… his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing.

According to Taylor the human condition is absurd simply because achievements do not last this forcing a discrepancy between effort and outcome. However, Camus believes it was created out of the disharmony between our needs and the world’s indifference. Both Taylor and Camus conclude that human condition is meaningless and pointless. 3) Thomas Nagel and Joel Feinberg both also discuss the notion of “the absurd” in essays. Describe their particular interpretations of this concept. Do these two thinkers view “the absurd” in the same way?

Thomas Nagel first investigated why people feel life is absurd and he evaluated their adequacy. The standard reasons that people gave as to why they feel life is absurd fail as arguments, yet he still believes that these reasons can be seen as fundamentally correct expressing something difficult to declare. Nagel interprets this concept as he attempts to explain what is it is about life that is so absurd and then he provides some solutions. Thomas Nagel describes in his writing that an absurdity in life arises for us when we notice a discrepancy held by all humans between an inflated pretension or aspiration and reality.

Between aspiration and reality in this universal discrepancy or between the seriousness with which one can take their life and the opportunity in concerning everything they take seriously as arbitrary or open to doubt, is not avoidable in any human life. Humans can examine the world sub specie aeternitatis, distinguish the contingency and doubt in our lives, and continue to live our life with undiminished seriousness and concern, as for Nagel the absurd arises from this fact. There should be no reason to resent or escape it, if the sense of the absurd is a way of perceiving our true situation.

In life we go through contingency and doubt, our ability to see them and continue to act with concern should not be a cause for anguish; it only allows us to view our lives with a sense of irony. As Thomas Nagle describes, the absurd is a result of this special capacity that human beings have. Humans cannot escape the absurd and there should be no reason to want to escape it. The absurd can be seen as human beings’ true situation, and one must approach it with ironic and amused attitude. Joel Feinberg believes that everyone should look towards intention to escape existentialism or biological determinism.

Feinberg also raises interesting concern about the endless questions that arise from the supermarket regress. Feinberg eventually adopts Nagel explanation of absurdity and they view it in the same way. Nagel states: “it is not that aspirins are absurd, only that their use is not part of the central pattern that is absurd. ” Nagel states that this is the result from the irresolvable clash between the importance we attach to our lives, and how capable we are in viewing ourselves from a detached and impersonal perspective.

Self-fulfillment, as written by Feinberg’s can be best interpreted in the sense that one should do what they are genetically predisposed to do. He states that this includes both the generic nature and the individual’s individual nature. A person who does not have a fulfilled life reject their own identity, and also they cannot be the individual’s good. The expression of a person’s self-love is their own devotion towards that good, which is the fulfillment of their own nature.

The reader can see that Feinberg adopts and invited Nagel’s suggestion that the appropriate responsive attitude towards a human’s life, can be seen as irony as they are both absurd and fulfilled. 4) Susan Wolf discusses the difference between activities that are sources of meaning and those that are not. Steven M. Cahn disagrees with this way of making meaning, or in some cases no meaning out of life. Compare the arguments of these two thinkers. Which one makes more sense to you? When it comes to the meaning of life, Susan Wolf and Steven M.

Cahn disagree on the meaning of life and the way of making meaning. Susan Wolf believes that “meaningful lives are lives of active engagement in projects of worth” (Wolf, 232). Wolf explains active engagement as being excited, gripped, involved, and passionate. Wolf recognizes that when it comes to defining “projects of worth” it can be a much more difficult task to do so. This is because it hints of a commitment to object value and meaningfulness is theoretically linked to the idea of objective value. However, when it comes to the theory of objective value, Wolf has none.

Wolf’s worry is with protecting this linkage between objective value and meaningfulness. Steven M. Cahn disagrees with this way of making meaning, or in some cases no meaning out of life. Cahn’s disagrees with wolf in which he questions credentials for meaningfulness and seems to be questioning the idea of objective value that Wolf discusses in her writing. Cahn states that it does not make sense to judging a person’s life as meaningful or meaningless, while Wolf seems to believe that it does. Cahn questions why one should value one activity more over another.

However, on the topic of the meaning of life, Cahn does not provide his theory of what it may be. One can see that the weakness of Wolf’s dispute was that her definition of project of worth was unclear. Activities or moral intellectual value that could have major positive impacts on the lives of an individual or others could be seen as projects of worth. This definition of projects of worth escapes all of Cahn’s counterexamples and exceptions against Wolf.


Klemke, E. D. , & Cahn, S. M. (2008). The meaning of life: a reader (3rd ed. ). New York: Oxford University Press.

Athletic Shoe And Reebok

Reebok was founded in Bolton, United Kingdom and is currently headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts. I selected this firm for my report because Reebok manufactures athletic shoes, apparel and accessories some of which I utilize in my life. Reebok is a lesser-known company than a firm like Nike but still is powerful in it’s own right. Reebok produces everything from t-shirts to sneakers and is why I chose to do my report on this particular firm. Since 2005 Reebok has been a subsidiary of the German company Adidas. The company name comes from the Afrikaans spelling of rhebok, a type of African antelope or gazelle.

The original name of the company is Mercury Sports. In 1960, two of the founder’s grandsons Joe and Jeff Foster renamed the company Reebok in United Kingdom, having found the name in a dictionary won in a race by Joe Foster as a boy; the dictionary was South African edition hence the spelling. The company lived up to the J. W. Foster legacy, manufacturing first-class footwear for customers throughout the United Kingdom. In 1979, Paul Fireman, a United States sporting goods distributor saw a pair of Reeboks at an international trade show and negotiated to sell them in North America.

He negotiated for the North American distribution license and introduced three running shoes in the U. S. that year. In 1958 the Reebok company was formed by Foster’s grandsons and in 1979, at the height of the running shoe boom, three models were introduced into the US market. Although they were the most expensive shoes on the market, demand soon outgrew supply. At $60, they were the most expensive running shoes on the market. Adidas plans to buy the outstanding shares of Reebok for $59 apiece in cash, valuing the transaction at $3. 8 billion. Reebok’s executive board has agreed to the deal.

Adidas has said it will pay for the acquisition with a mix of equity and debt. It raised $795 million by selling new shares in November and has also secured a 2 billion euro revolving credit agreement, which might help as a back-up. Shares will be bought only after Reebok shareholders have given the go-ahead for the deal, according to Adidas. The deal will create a firm with combined annual sales of around $11 billion. Global market leader Nike posted sales of $13. 7 billion in its 2004/05 fiscal year. Adidas expects the deal to boost net income by more than 10 percent in the medium term.

Sales are seen growing at a mid- to high single-digit rate, while cost savings are expected to reach 125 million euros annually by the third year once the deal is done. Reebok will become a separate brand within the new group, supplementing the key Adidas and small golf sports units Taylormade and Maxfli. All brands will report to Adidas’ executive board in the Herzogenaurauch headquarters near Nuremberg. The deal is set to enhance Adidas’ position in the United States, which accounts for 50 percent of the sports footwear market alone. According to industry magazine Sporting Goods Intelligence, Nike holds an estimated 36 percent of the U.

S. market, Reebok around 12. 2 percent and Adidas 8. 9 percent. In contrast, Reebok has a much better position in the lifestyle fashion market, where Adidas has been struggling to imitate the success of Puma. Reebok is also known for women’s wear, aerobic and fitness sportswear. In the year 1981, Reebok’s sales exceeded $1. 5 million, but a dramatic move was planned for the next year. In 1982, Reebok introduced the first athletic shoe designed especially for women. In the midst of surging sales in 1985, Reebok completed its initial public offering.

In the late 1980s, Reebok began an aggressive expansion into overseas markets and Reebok products are now available in more than 170 countries and are sold through a network of independent and Reebok-owned distributors. In 1992, Reebok began a transition from a company identified principally with fitness and exercise to one equally involved in sports by creating several new footwear and apparel products for football, baseball, soccer, track and field and other sports. In 2000, Reebok and the National Football League announced an exclusive partnership that serves as a foundation of the NFL’s consumer products business.

The NFL granted a long-term exclusive license to Reebok beginning in the 2002 NFL season to manufacture, market and sell NFL licensed merchandise for all 32 NFL teams. In January 2006, adidas-Salomon AG acquired Reebok, forever altering the worldwide sporting goods industry landscape. The Reebok Company was incorporated in 1979. The organizers of Reebok were J. W. Foster and his sons. Reebok’s net sales in 2010 were around $16 million, combined with their new owners Adidas they rake in over $16 billion in yearly revenue. In 1995 operating costs soared to 32. % of sales, exceeding the industry average of 27%. Reebok is ranked number 795 on Forbes. com’s list of wealthiest companies. Growth exploded and sales soared from $13 million in 1983 to $307 million in 1985, sales tripled in one year, reaching $919 million in 1986. $1. 4 billion was reached by 1987 and $2. 7 billion was reached by 1991. Reebok signed up 3,000 athletes to wear Reebok shoes at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta that blew out the budget. Customers of Reebok are generally athletes and people who participate in any type of athletic activity including yoga and other activities.

Reebok produces goods such as athletic shoes, athletic apparel, and other sporting goods accessories. Reebok’s largest competitor is currently Nike, it was formerly a combination of Nike and Adidas before Reebok and Adidas completed their merger. The current key executives and directors at Reebok are Ull Becker, David Baxter, Jim Gaber, Bill Holmes, Charlie Maurath, Dave Mischler, Matt O’Toole, and John Warren. Some of the strengths of the Reebok brand are access to retailers through its direct distribution strategy, field service and promotion representatives that add value by traveling the U.

S. teaching retailers and consumers about the products’ features and benefits, they are well equipped to handle future supply shortages by manufacturing in multiple countries, there is a high brand loyalty, they have high market penetration, there is a high brand recognition, they have the ability to respond to customers’ needs and desires. Some of the important personnel policies at Reebok are benefits for their employees, work schedules, breaks and leaves, salaries and pay schedule, performance reviews and promotions, as well as terminating employment.

The key skills needed to accomplish the firm’s mission are a dedicated pool of employees who have the proper work ethic and etiquette to keep a multi-billion dollar corporation like Reebok running as smoothly as possible. In 1993, a company publication stated that their objective is to become the best, most innovative and exciting sporting goods company in the world. Since Reebok has diversified into so many different show lines, it has a large number of competitors with whom to contend. However, diversification is also leverage, as if one market segment is facing a decline in sales, other segments are able to make-up for the losses.

Rebok decided to diversify its shoe line to avoid becoming too dependent on a few lines of sneakers. The company has diversified into international markets and into several product niches. First, Reebok diversified into women’s aerobic shoes. This was highly successful, since the company was able to get into a new market segment which was yet unexplored. Secondly, Reebok diversified into high performance walking and causal footwear. The acquisition of Avia in 1987 effectively combined two of the fastest-growing athletic footwear makers in the USA. Furthermore, Reebok as able to add yet another product, a product which could satisfy the most serious athlete. This represented an excellent opportunity for Reebok to directly compete with its worst rival, Nike. The fourth diversification occurred when Reebok’s subsidiary, Rockport company, acquired the John A, Frye Company, which produced high-quality leather boots. These high-class, high-priced and high-quality boots would add another line of footwear to Reebok’s product mix. The fifth diversification occurred in 1987, when Reebok decided to purchase an Italian upscale sportswear manufacturer.

Reebok used the company as a distributor in Italy. This diversification would aide Reeboks struggling apparel division. Nike did a similar acquisition in 1989 of Cole-Haan in order to improve styling of products. The final diversification was made in 1989, when the company acquired CMI’s Boston Whaler unit, which manufactures and sells power boats for the US government and for recreational use. Since Reebok characterizes itself as a “marketing-type company”, dealing mainly in sporting goods and leisure products with an upper-scale image.

The attitude of Reebok employees toward their superiors is overall a good one, never have reports surfaced of employees being unsettled with any on goings concerning the management of their employer. As sales increased so rapidly in the mid 80s, Fireman, who was Chairman and CEO, gave up his position to a management team more experienced in handling such a large company. The new management team proved to be inept. The company went through three different top managers in five years. In August 1992, Fireman took charge and wasted little time in bringing in a new team and planned an aggressive thrust back into the market.

The major problems that are facing Reebok in 1989-1990 are solely related to the organization and to the top management in particular. Virtually all indicators of financial performance for Reebok in recent years show strongly positive results, and sales are increasing. In August 1989, two of the key personnel in the top management of Reebok resigned. The loss of these two personalities would be the main cause to the problems that are now facing the company. Joseph Labonte, the former president and operating officer who joined the company in 1987 and Mark Goldston, the former chief-marketing officer were great assets to the organization.

Furthermore, they held key-positions in a marketing-oriented company operating in a highly competitive market. Both of the persons had managerial experience in multibillion-dollar organizations, and they had both extensive experience in heavy marketing and advertising of consumer brand names. However, none in the whole top-management team had any experience in the footwear industry. The loss of these key personalities caused a managerial vacuum in top-management. Fireman, took the positions of chairman, president, and CEO. That is an impossible task.

Fireman is trying to centralize the organization, and thereby divert responsibility to other key personnel. Still, each executive manager is responsible for too many jobs. For instance, John Duerden is the senior vice president and president, and CEO, Reebok Brands Division Worldwide. Fireman is the chairman, president, and the CEO of Reebok. The company is highly dependent on one single person, who will not be able to effectively handle all of the required tasks. Also, in the new reorganization, AVIA is no longer represented in group of four operating corporate officers. This could cause internal tensions within the corporation.

Reebok’s main product-line weakness is in its apparel division. Many incentives are offered to Reebok employees such as benefits, medical insurance, dental insurance, group life insurance, long & short-term disability insurance, travel accidental death and dismemberment insurance, employee stock purchase plan, savings and profit sharing retirement plan, paid vacation, paid sick leave, paid holidays, educational assistance, dependent care and medical care reimbursement accounts, life balance resources, employee assistance programs, employee discounts, fitness and wellness centers, and a casual business environment.

The types of securities sold to the public from Reebok are in the form of shares. The shares of Reebok are sold on the New York Stock Exchange. There was the Federal Trade Commission lay price-fixing charges the company faced in May 1995 Reebok paid out $9. 5m to settle. The current performance of Reebok’s securities is on the rise and currently improving. Over the past three years Reebok has been continually growing and turning a profit despite a down economy. In 1987 Nike had sales of only $900 million while Reebok’s was soaring at $1. 4 billion but Reebok’s sales slowed and by 1990, Nike overtook it with $2. 4 billion in sales compared to Reebok’s $2. 16 billion in sales. Reebok began to steadily lose ground. Recent financial news made by Reebok was when they had to pay $25 million dollars to tone down advertisement for shoes that claimed to reshape people’s backsides. This news was most certainly met with negative feedback from the public due to the false advertising for the extremely popular sneaker that is currently out on the market. Surprisingly this did not affect Reebok on the New York Stock Exchange due to the company’s speedy response to the advertising mishap.

Reebok has been huge in keeping up their end of the bargain in social responsibility. Ten years ago they started the Reebok humans rights awards which recognizes people who are genuinely inspiring activists. Reebok’s biggest competitor Nike has been boycotted against while Reebok has experienced none of these things. Nike’s overall labor record is also worse than that of Reebok. Reebok isn’t perfect though, their contracting factories in Southern China are riddled with wage, hour, and health violations, and Reebok continues to exploit child labor to stitch soccer balls in Pakistan despite a public pledge to put an end to the practice.

The danger is that the rhetoric of corporate social responsibility can be an effective disguise for seriously antisocial behavior but there is, of course, another side to that coin: namely the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of the matter. Reebok’s top management is highly marketing oriented, and most of the key personnel come from a marketing background. This is a strength in this business, since the industry is market driven instead of product driven. The internal strengths of Reebok relative to its competitions is all of the following. First, the company’s financial position is extremely strong.

The financial growth of Reebok has been phenomenal. According to Forbes, the company enjoyed the highest growth rates from 1983-1987, and sales have continued to increase since then. With very few manufacturing facilities, Reebok has a high level of liquidity. Also the earnings per share has increased, and revenues increased from $12. 8 million in 1983 to more than $1. 8 billion in 1989. The company has operated with minimal long-term debt, and has the financial resources to invest in new market roles. Reebok International is more diversified than the competition.

The company markets a wide array of show-wear, which has been possible by early strategic acquisitions of reputable companies. Reebok’s brand image stands for quality, the latest technology and prestige. The company has been in business for a longer time than any of the competition, and the company has been able to create favorable brand recognition. Moreover, Reebok’s top management is highly marketing oriented, and most of the key personnel come from a marketing background. This is a strength in this business, since the industry is market driven instead of product driven.

Also, an increase in demand is the expected market trend. The external threats that are impacting on the company’s operations are concentrated to competitive threats, litigation’s, and in the manufacturing arena. First, the harsh competition from the main competitors in the industry is significant. To keep-up with the competition’s penetrating efforts will cost a lot of money and put a lot of pressure on marketing and research and development. Also, the short product life cycles play an important role in the return on investment in a particular product line.

Weakening markets may be a serious threat to Reebok. Reebok’s plan to relocate its headquarters to Amsterdam will enable it to centralize its European leadership team and more effectively manage its regional priorities. Also as a result of this program, the company will redirect and strengthen resources against its priority European markets, customers and categories, specifically range merchandising, brand marketing and sales. My evaluation of this particular firm, Reebok is that despite this extremely troublesome economy they are managing to stay a float and successfully turn a profit.

They have had a few issues regarding their CEO’s and other members of the management team but that’s a normal part of any business. Nothing or no one in this world is perfect and every company has its flaws, even a multi billion-dollar corporation such as Reebok. What I personally attained from doing this report was a very in depth look at a company I’ve heard about a lot but never really knew anything substantial about it. This report really made me delve into the business side of the company, a company whose products I use and people all over New York City use every single day.

Every time I put on an authentic National Football League jersey the Reebok logo is right there stitched onto the sleeve. Reebok may not get all of the hype and media attention that their biggest competitor and rival Nike gets but they do manage to hold a big part of the market, even more so now that they partnered with another giant in Adidas. The methods I used to asses the firm’s performance were methods that I would use to find any information, by going to the library and using all the resources available to me such as books and most importantly the internet.

Dick Spencer’s Study On Management Issues And Micromanagement Approach

The Dick Spencer case study contains multiple management issues but perhaps the most glaring problem is Dick’s micromanagement approach. This leadership style appears to be having a very negative impact on employee morale. Additionally, Dick’s approach seems to be perpetuating resistance to desired organizational changes. These three problems are not new to organizations, and a great deal of published literature exists that defines, describes and suggests recommendations to help overcome these issues.

Some research data echoes other’s findings but others hold interesting points of view, especially with regard to micromanagement. MICROMANAGEMENT Micromanagement has been defined and described in many ways. In the most simplistic form micromanagement may be viewed as a basic lack of trust (Ward, 2003). Another view explains micromanagement as “an affliction of small-minded, task oriented, visionless leaders (Hanft, 2004). ” Others depict micromanagers as “the ones who tell you not only why things need to be done (vision) and what needs to be done (mission), but also the who, how, when and where (Weyande, 1996). Very often specific behaviors are associated with micromanagers, to including reluctance to delegate, self-insertion into others’ projects, and discouragement of decision-making without leadership consultation. Harry Chambers, author of My Way or the Highway, identified five specific behaviors. According to Chambers (2006), micromanagers like to exercise power and authority, control others’ time, want work to be done their way, allow no one to move forward without approval, and often demand frequent status reports.

These behaviors have been likened to symptoms of a disease which can be identified and explained. Some micromanagers defend their behavior based on the belief that they are merely using efficient and necessary oversight that is indispensible for tasks to be accomplished correctly and on time (Presutti, 2006). Others go as far as stating that micromanagers actually save time and money (Weyande, 1996). Meetings to discuss options and suggestions are eliminated because the manager decides what to do. Employee training is reduced because the manager knows how to do everything the correct way.

This may indeed be tongue in cheek for most, but for others may be a perception of reality and is just one symptom of the micromanagement disease. Dr. Richard White, a professor at Louisiana State University, described other symptoms that indicate “where good detail management ends and loathsome micromanagement begins (White, 2010). ” These symptoms include being obsessed with meaningless details and setting deadlines for deadlines’ sake. Dr. White goes on to state: “At its more severe level, micromanagement is a compulsive, behavioral disorder similar to other addictive patterns….. icromanagers learn to like to control others (White, 2010). ” These symptoms can be viewed as warning signs but recognition of the symptoms may occur too late as the negative effects may have already impacted the organization. Micromanagement can do a great deal of damage to an organization by adversely affecting initiative, productivity, morale and teamwork. Employees feel they do not have any control over their tasks and soon lose motivation. This, in turn, erodes any initiative, as employees will do only what is asked by completing just the assigned work.

The lack of delegation combined with the loss of initiative results in employees standing idle awaiting direction. Employees may also lose self-confidence after repeatedly being directed on what and how to perform tasks (Presutti, 2006). Any team autonomy is degraded to the point of nonexistence and teamwork almost completely halts. Employees will usually perceive their relationship with a micromanager as mistrusting, stressful and even adversarial which dampens morale (Presutti, 2006). Ultimately, productivity pays the price and the organization goes into a downward spiral.

However, there is a cure for micromanagement. Micromanagers can place themselves on the path to recovery by first admitting there is a problem with this leadership style. One author suggests open communication with employees. The manager simply states the desire to change and asks for honest feedback. This is followed up with providing employees leeway and encouragement to perform tasks and succeed on their own (2010). The manager can then identify employees worthy of trust and capable of executing delegated authority (2010).

An upfront agreement outlining a follow up schedule and results methodology is established to eliminate ambiguity (2010). Of course self-diagnosis and action plans for recovery are rare, so in these cases employees have to act. Micromanagement behavior can be very disruptive to the organization. Quite frequently the employees must take the initiative to take back their territory. Chambers (2006) gives several suggestions on how to do this. First, the employee can take the information initiative by finding out what data the manager needs to feel confident, then provide it ahead of time.

The employee can also communicate progress on priority projects which illustrates awareness and timeliness. Stay clear on expectations by using a trail of memos or emails. Communication is vital as priorities shift, and it is very important to beat deadlines if possible. Exhibiting proactive behavior is key, and sometimes it may be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. This situation is where an employee can put a foot down and stop being an enabler (Ward, 2003). Employees that provide recommendations or solutions to problems may be seen in a proactive light (Ward, 2003).

The goal is to earn the micromanager’s trust. Perhaps the hardest action to take is non-action, as one must pick battles that are worth fighting. Micromanagement does not go away overnight. MORALE Organizational morale plays a major role in that organization’s productivity (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). “Leaders should care about the morale of their employees—not because of humanitarian concern for worker’s happiness, but because study after study unmistakably shows a direct link between employee morale and company performance (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). ” According to Dr.

Gene Klann (Klann, 2004), morale is described as a reflection of a person’s or group’s attitude or mental condition. People with a high level of morale are most likely to be cooperative, optimistic, and supportive of the organization’s vision and mission (Klann, 2004). Other qualities or behaviors include persistence, a can-do attitude and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to accomplish organizational goals (Klann, 2004). Dr. Klann (Klann, 2004) goes on to state employees with high morale “quietly but with great confidence in themselves and the group go about the business of completing their tasks. One can see how these behaviors are conducive to maintaining or even increasing an organization’s productivity. Given this importance, managers then should be aware of what to do to help foster high morale. According to W. H. Weiss, effective managers seek out opportunities to generate and use morale to benefit company operations (Weiss, 2011). He goes on to say that the key to success is a high level of involvement. Leaders should not hold back information no matter how insignificant it seems. This action sets the stage for clear and open communication. “People on the job want to be in the know (Weiss, 2011)”.

Management should immediately respond to problems and provide feedback as soon as possible (Weiss, 2011). Praise and recognition also go a long way to foster morale, but keep it sincere. Positive strokes need to be genuine as employees will see right through fakers. Although knowing what to do is very important, what may matter more is what not to do. According to Sirota, Mischkind and Meltzer, “the main question for management is not how can employees be motivated. Instead, it may be how can management be deterred from diminishing—even destroying—employee morale and motivation (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). Organizations may want to rethink the target group of established policies. Most organizations gear their policies toward the bottom 5% of performers (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005).

This, however, restricts the remaining 95% of employees who are motivated and looking for opportunities to succeed (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). Managers need to fight against being indifferent and pay attention to employees’ needs. This includes obstacles to completing tasks along with verbal appreciation. According to Sirota et al. “When leaders take employee performance for granted, the employee and the organization both lose (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). ” Ultimately, organizational leadership should refrain from decisions and operations that damage employee trust, respect and teamwork (Schafferr, 2010). RESISTANCE TO CHANGE Any leader or manager has to deal with organizational change. Some may approach this topic with dread whereas others look forward to the challenge. A great deal of research has been accomplished on how to properly conduct and manage change in the workplace.

Most agree that resistance to change is a normal human response (Romero, 2007). Resistance to change in an organization may be defined as “employees’ behavior that seeks to challenge, or disrupt the prevailing assumptions, discourses, and power relations (Boohene & Williams, 2012). ” Such behavior is driven by the fear of change which is usually associated with added pressure, stress, and uncertainty (Boohene & Williams, 2012). A leader’s approach to managing change is a key determiner of success or failure. It is highly unusual for any change to not attract some level of resistance.

Good leaders will use this resistance to actually benefit the impending change. According to Michelman, “One of the biggest mistakes change leaders can make is to assume that resistance is without merit. But resisters can shed valuable insights about how proposed changes might be modified to increase the odds for success (Michelman, 2007). ” Atkinson concurs with this philosophy and stated, “…. you should expect some resistance as the norm. Recognize it as a healthy response and an opportunity to openly debate possibilities and treat resistance as a powerful ally in facilitating the learning process (Atkinson, 2005). A positive approach coupled with key insight is a leader’s necessary tools for effective change management. Attempting to get everyone in the organization behind a proposed change is probably unrealistic. Perhaps a smarter plan is to focus on areas that will have significant impact. A leader needs to evaluate where resistance would be most harmful and where spreading power would be most prominent (Michelman, 2007). An important note about change is that not all resistance is overt. In fact, perhaps the most damaging resistance is accomplished behind the scenes which makes it even more difficult to address (Atkinson, 2005).

After the most likely areas of greatest resistance have been identified, the change manager needs to plan how to use and overcome it. General change management rules to follow are as follows: 1) sell the benefits, 2) get key players involved, and 3) execute the plan with allowed adjustments along the way. However, several theories have been developed that go beyond these generic rules. In 1951, the renowned psychologist Kurt Lewin presented a model that depicted change as a three step process to include unfreezing, moving, and refreezing (Boohene & Williams, 2012). Lewin identified change as being comprised of two forces—those driven nternally by people’s needs and those coming from externally from the environment (Boohene & Williams, 2012). Lewin went on to develop another theory know as the Force-Field Analysis. Boohene and Williams described this theory: “An issue is held in balance by the interaction of two opposing sets of forces—those seeking to promote change and those attempting to maintain the status quo (2012). ” When these forces are equal no change takes place. Change occurs only after opposing forces are overcome. Various studies have supported the idea that leadership can overcome the opposing forces by focusing on key factors.

These factors are participation in decision making, motivation, communication and information exchange, and trust (Boohene & Williams, 2012). Getting employees involved early results in a sense of control over decisions and promotes ownership of the planned change (Boohene & Williams, 2012). Motivated employees are less likely to oppose organizational change (Boohene & Williams, 2012). Atkinson states, “Simply by talking with people about the likely outcomes and benefits that will accrue from the change, in tangible terms, is sufficient to ease people into a more accepting emotional state (Atkinson, 2005). “Boohene and Williams explained, “Trust in management involves employee’s perceived confidence levels in the ability of management to do what is best for the organization and its members (Boohene & Williams, 2012). ” Leadership must understand these factors in order to achieve success. RECOMMENDATIONS I believe with a little reflection and mentorship Dick may come to realize that his leadership style may not be appropriate in all cases. Assuming this is the case, there are several things he may have done differently. It is difficult to tell but Dick’s successes as a troubleshooter may have been a temporary success.

According to Dr. White (2010), “In some cases, micromanagement may increase productivity over the short term, but long-term problems will eventually defeat any short-term gains. ” Micromanagers have been quite frequently referred to as control freaks (White, 2010). As the assistant plant manager, Dick repeatedly felt he could not make recommendations or suggest innovations. A better description may be he could not micromanage the employees to get what he wanted because he did not have the control or authority. A better approach may have been to espectfully approach the other leaders and work as a team to improve the plant’s operations. The siding department incident is an excellent example of a micromanager getting involved in a meaningless task. Actions such as this are usually counterproductive and are seen as oppressive and demeaning by the employees (Presutti, 2006). Dick should have worked with the departments to establish short term and long term goals as this is the appropriate involvement level for the leader (Presutti, 2006). Dick’s micromanagement is having a detrimental effect on morale.

Assuming this leadership style can be altered there will still be work to do to rebuild morale. This rebuilding begins with understanding what employees want, followed by giving it to them (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). According to Sirota, Mischkind, and Meltzer, there are three things employees want: equity, achievement, and camaraderie. Equity can be defined as the desire to be treated justly in relation to the conditions of employment (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). Employees want to be treated as responsible adults and not as children. Achievement refers to pride in accomplishment (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005).

Employees want to do things that matter and be recognized for their significant contributions. Camaraderie is a sense of closeness that develops from working well with teammates. Morale is increased and maintained when the organizational culture satisfies these needs (Sirota, Mischkind & Meltzer, 2005). Dick is failing miserably with regard to change management. Naturally, the micromanagement leadership style directly contradicts what needs to be done to properly conduct organizational change. The basic premise to breaking down resistance to change is to get the key players involved (Romero, 2007). Any change effort typically involves change sponsors, change agents, and change targets—all of whom have unique and essential roles (Romero, 2007). ” In this case Dick is the change sponsor as he has the authority to utilize resources to make changes in the organization. The change agents are typically mid-level managers responsible for actually executing the change. Change targets are then the employees who actually accomplish the organizational change. Once Dick communicates with the organizational players involved, the changes he wants to implement will have a much higher chance of success.

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