Sunday, December 4, 2016

Final Post

I will address the first option for this week’s prompt. To begin with, I didn’t really know what to expect when taking this course. This was my fourth 400-level Economics course taken for my major, so I had built some expectations on this previous experience. Also, a good friend of mine had taken this course a few semesters ago that was able to provide a little information as to what I would expect from the class. I understand that there have been some changes, but my guess is these changes didn’t have too large of an effect on the overall outcomes of the course.
With that being said, I would have liked the in class session to be a little different. I understand that attendance was not mandatory and I didn’t attend on a regular basis. I think I would have attended more if there were more of a set topic with a powerpoint or slides. The classes I did attend I often felt confused on what was being talked about most likely due to there not being a powerpoint to follow along with. This isn’t a large issue, though. I personally really liked the excel assignments we had for the class. I have had previous excel experience from other courses I have taken, but I believe the assignments in this class showed different ways that excel can be used and how it can be helpful in the business world. Some of these assignments were quite tough and at times I was confused on what exactly I should be doing. But for the most part I looked forward to working on these when they were due. I also really enjoyed the quizzes that we had. I was expecting to take in class exams, so it was a little bit different to adjust to the quizzes. However, I think that the quizzes were effective in testing what we have learned in the class as well as provided insight to areas that we should have learned more. Some of the blogs I found to be an annoyance at times. I don’t think this is because of the actual nature of the blogging, but rather I ran into mental roadblocks while writing some of the blogs where I didn’t really know what to write about. I do think that having us comment on our classmate’s blogs was a great way to get more insight on the topic and receive feedback for the work we had already done ourselves.
To add to my outlook on the homeworks, I preferred working on the excel assignments as compared to the blog posts. I usually worked on the excels days in advance where as it would take me more time to get the blogs done. This could be in part to myself being more inclined to do math problems over writing assignments.

I also think that the things we learned about organizations in the class will be very beneficial once we join the workforce. For example the last couple of blogs we have done have forced us to learn and think about specific parts of an organization. From the topic on group dynamics to personal reputation within an organization, these blogs while looking at individual parts of an organization will really help when trying to be successful in an organization in a few years. I also really liked the blog on the principle-agent model. This is a model I have had a lot of work with in previous courses, but haven’t learned about in the same context. As my college career has progressed, I have learned more of how what I will more than likely be doing in a few years directly relates to this model. All in all I enjoyed the content we learned in this class. I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of the way the in class sessions went.  

Monday, November 28, 2016


There are a lot of different factors that influence and ultimately determine an individual’s behavior. These factors can range from general moral standards on a personal level to more calculated reasons like trying to impress someone and anywhere in between. What most people don’t realize is that other people can tell if one’s behavior is honestly genuine or completely fake. These differences in behavior are part of what contributes to a person’s reputation.

For the most part I can say that I have been content with the reputations I have held so far in life. Although I don’t really care about reputations and what people really think about other’s behavior, I do think it is best to associate one’s self with a respectable society for a variety of reasons. One reputation that came to mind as I was reading the prompt is my reputation that I had in high school. According to my mom, I was raised differently than some other kids that I grew up with. A big part of this is she explained that she wanted me to hold myself to a higher standard than what I see from my peers around me. I was never really sure what she met by this, but I did notice some differences in my behavior as compared to other’s behavior. I would argue that I try to carry a decent character in most scenarios in life. I think this has contributed to the majority of my reputations being what I would expect. Back to my overall reputation in highscool, I would that I was seen as a hard working kid that also liked to socialize. I went to a high school of 400 students where my grandpa had previously been the principal and my mom was a current teacher in the district. I remember at the time thinking that I also had a family reputation that I had to uphold. From a teacher’s perspective, I was at the top of my classes while getting straight A’s and never really complained like some others. I wasn’t really friends with everyone in the school, but I tried to treat everyone with respect and have a good time. I think that my reputation helped lead to a variety of accomplishments in high school including being the captain of my football team as well as the president of the school’s National Honor Society. I didn’t really get in trouble a lot, which I think I can give credit to the fear of my parents as well as the sense of “being in trouble.” However, as important as my success in school was to me, I also really cared about the social aspects. I went to a lot of parties on the weekends and even hosted a few of my own. I remember some fellow students thinking this wasn’t a good move considering my positions, so I could probably equate that towards a negative reputation with some students. All in all, I would argue that my reputation has evolved over the years as I have gotten older as well as gained more experiences.

In this scenario as well as the majority of other areas that I could have a reputation, I would say that I have never “cashed it in” for some sort of immediate gain. I understand why some people might be tempted to do this, especially if the amount of gain is of significant worth or even worth than the reputation itself. However, I think that one’s behavior should be for what they honestly stand for, and therefore their reputation should be genuine. I realize that this is an ideal that myself and others might strive for, but I have also met a variety of different people that could care less about their reputation.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Principal-Agent Model

We have learned that the principal-agent model is traditionally considered bilateral. However, in reality it seems to be more like a triangular situation if you consider all of the parties it concerns. For most of us in this course, this is a model that we should learn well as we will most likely be experiencing it in a real world scenario as soon as we enter the business world. It is common in business, regardless of the industry, to be managing both your relations/outcomes with either multiple clients or clients and the business you work for. Both of these scenarios require a unique management of your resources in order to achieve the desired outcome for all parties.

As already established, the principal-agent model consists of three parties. The agent has a variety of choices he can make which can have a direct effect on the overall outcome. He can optimize his own outcome, maximize the outcome of the principle (client), or maximize the outcome of another party (hiring manager/business). There are also variations to these listed choices. Ideally the most efficient outcome is one that benefits all three parties. If the main principal receives the majority of the benefit then the agent will most likely receive nothing in return for his work. Where as if the agent receives the majority, the principal will be disappointed in his results and most likely not return for more business. Most importantly the principal must not feel as he is being taken advantage of or he will look to move his business elsewhere. There is a fine line that the agent must stay on in order to get the best overall outcome.

I’ve personally been in the middle of many principal-agent relationships throughout my life and expect to continue to be a part of them in the future. Most notably, I am applying for a lot of sales positions for after graduation. If I end up going into a sales position, I will be engaging in this activity on a daily basis. One of my main responsibilities will be to achieve my monthly sales quota in order to make money for the company I am working for. In addition to this I will also want to make even more sales in order to earn benefits in the form of commission. Most importantly, I will need to be able to back whatever I am selling. This is easier achieved if I am working for a company with a solid reputation that delivers the product/service I am selling. This means that the principal client will need to be satisfied with whatever I am selling him. Hypothetically I could sell as much as I want of a given product/service and not care about the overall outcome of the principal, but this could do more harm than good in the long run. Part of building a solid business is having a good reputation with clients. I believe it would be in my best interests to not only sell a lot of business, but also be able to achieve all around beneficial outcomes in order to have a good reputation with my clients. I could just sell as much as possible and not worry about the outcome, but would have to worry about the client taking his business elsewhere the next time he needs the good or service I am providing. It would be in my best interest to sell marginally less if that means being able to achieve greater outcomes. Hopefully this would mean that this client would come back for more business so I would be able to spend less time giving sales speeches and more time servicing a larger client base later on.

The principal-agent model can be looked at as an art that can be mastered. I believe that doing this could be a key in being successful in the business world. In my example I applied this to a sales position, but realistically It could be applied to any other business sector, for example accounting.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Organization Conflict

Anywhere you have a group of people together for an extended period of time; there is a large chance for conflict to arise. This is especially true in scenarios where individual personalities clash and people don’t always work well together. From an organization’s stand point where the same people are together for an extended period of time most days of the week, conflicts can easily arise. This behavior can be normal in an organization, and can have some effects on the overall productivity. If the conflict is extreme enough it can cause individuals to focus their attention on issues both within and caused by the conflict, which prevents them from being able to finish their desired outcome within the time limit.

Reading this prompt I was initially reminded of a conflict that arose at a place I worked a few years ago. I was the head lifeguard in charge of a team of 8 other guards for the day. All nine lifeguards must collectively watch the pool and other facilities in order to insure the safety of all of the members and other visitors at the pool. If the team is unable to work well together, the safety of all of the members is in jeopardy. In this case of the workers deciding to get in a conflict, they are unable to watch the water, which could create an issue at the pool. As head lifeguard, part of my job description in addition to watching the water, is to manage the team of guards so that they work well.

One day a few summers ago, a conflict arose that put the patrons safety in jeopardy. I must add that at all times of the day, 8 of the guards are covering a specific section of the aquatic center while one is inside on break. It is the responsibility of the guard on break to start the rotation early enough as well as the other guards to finish rotation so that the guard at the end of the system may be allowed to go inside on break. If people take too long changing positions, or the initial guard on break starts his rotation too late, the guard going on break can get his own break cut short. This is perhaps an issue in the rotation system, which was created by upper management, but this is the issue that created the conflict that arose a few summers ago.

Most of the time when an issue would arise due to slow rotations, the person effected would just tell the other people to please rotate faster so that they too can get their full break. However, one day one of our younger guards decided that he was getting shafted in his break times. Instead of addressing it in a professional way, he acted out on his anger. Instead of walking inside to go on his break, he filled up a cup of water and went across the pool and dumped it on another guard, which he believed was the reason he was missing his break. The two guards then started to argue about who was really at fault for the conflict. Due to the nature of the job being outdoors working with all of the citizens, everyone was able to see the conflict happening and was instantly alarmed. The biggest issue is that this occurred in the shallow end, which was mainly occupied by young children. These are the type of swimmers that need the most attention from the guards. Thankfully I was able to diffuse the situation by getting the guards to realize that they should resolve the conflict out of the eye of the swimmers. Had the conflict escalated, there was potential for the safety of the patrons to be in more danger. Thinking back to this now, this conflict is one that was pretty pointless. However, it has made me aware how easily a conflict can arise in an organization. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Team Production

After reading the assigned articles, it made me more aware of growing up with your siblings as an example of teamwork. Personally I grew up with 3 younger sisters and in ways, I really see how this better prepared me to work with others today. Specifically with the sibling who is closest to me in age, one of my sisters is two years younger than me. Thinking back to my childhood, there were a lot of scenarios where my siblings and I were forced to work as a team. For most of us, these experiences from a young age serve as the building blocks for teamwork later on in life. From my observations, people who are only children don’t work in teams as well people with siblings. This might be a unique result of the only children I know, or could be a more common occurrence.

Building on the belief that people’s teamwork skills benefit from growing up with siblings, we are faced with ample opportunities to both work on and use these skills in the real world. From playing team sports in middle/high school all the way up to the jobs we will work for the majority of our careers. The success of a high school football team relies heavily on the ability of the players to play as a team. One team could have a handful of elite players, but not perform as well as a team with comparatively worse in skill players who play as a cohesive unit. The team that is willing to work well together is rewarded with the ability to be victorious. In college a lot of the classes we take require us to work in small groups. This can be for group projects, homework assignments, etc. If a few students decided not to participate and pull their own weight and “Let George do it,” then the group will probably not perform as well, directly effecting the result of the group’s work. How well the group does is reliant on how well the members work together. After college, a lot of us will be required to work as part of a team for our jobs. In certain divisions of the business, people are often required to work with a variety of coworkers on a project. On a larger level, each division of the company is required to work together. For example the HR must work with the Sales and Finance divisions. At the end of the day, the success of the company is in large part reliant on how well the individuals are able to work together. A common theme behind these examples is that the success of the team is related to how well the teams work together. Success can be seen as an incentive to work well with your team members.

I believe that being able to work well with others in a team is a valuable skill to have in order to lead a successful life. From a larger level and applying this belief to the readings, it seems that for the most part the concept of working as team can be applied to individuals making up our complete society. If every individual decided to act selfishly, then at the end of the day the success of the society might not reach it’s complete potential. We have to assume that most people are going to act in their best interests. However, it is crucial that parts of our society work together in order for continued success.