Adapting to Environments

The role of a manager is to monitor and shape the internal and external environments and to anticipate changes and react quickly to them.

Managers can monitor the environments through boundary spanning — a process of gathering information about developments that could impact the future of the organization. Managers can access information through a variety of sources: customer and supplier feedback; professional, trade, and government publications; industry associations; and personal contacts.

Managers can also actively work to influence their external environments through lobbying, voting, and using the media to influence public opinion.

Internal elements comprise the organization itself. Internal change arises from activities and decisions within the organization. Managers can gather information by conducting a thorough evaluation of the internal operations of the organization. The purpose of this internal analysis is to identify the organizational assets, resources, skills, and processes that represent either strengths or weaknesses. Strengths are aspects of the organization's operations that represent potential competitive advantages (any aspect of an organization that distinguishes it from its competitors in a postive way), while weaknesses are areas that are in need of improvement.

Several key areas of the organization's operations should be examined in an internal analysis. Key areas to be assessed include the marketing, financial, research and development, production, and general management capabilities. These areas are typically evaluated in terms of the extents to which they foster quality and support the competitive advantage sought by the organization.

An organization that regularly affects and is affected by various and constantly changing forces can be described as a(n) _____.

natural force

sociocultural force

open system

closed system

Of the following, which is a directly interactive force in an organization's external environment?

technological forces

leadership

economic forces

customers

Which of the following is not an indirectly interactive force in an organization's external environment?

sociocultural forces

competitive forces

legal/political forces

technological forces

The term organizational climate defines _____.

how the employees feel about working for the organization

how organizations share values, beliefs, habits, norms, philosophies, experiences, and behaviors

what the company does best

a key concept that guides managers and their actions

Boundary spanning sources include all of the following except _____.

customers

competitors

government statistics

core values