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Engineering Management Report on Communication


This report will provide information on an interview with a restaurant manager conducted by our group members. The report covers the planning and process of our group¡¦s interview, the role and responsibility of the interviewed manager, the key areas to be covered of the business such as its environment (Jonas), communication (Able), groups (Jack) and management (Loon) and our group’s findings of the business.

1. Introduction

1.1 General Background

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The topic discussed in this report is ¡¥Being a Manager in an Organization¡¦. Our group consisting of four members, Loon Luong, Able (Sai Kit) Koo, Jonas (Lam) Ng and Jack (Wai Kei) Yip conducted an interview with a restaurant manager (Nancy Choi) in a small organization (Restaurant – Singapore Hut). The report will be based on our group¡¦s knowledge, findings, insights and understanding of what actually happens in an organization.

1.2 Purpose

The purpose of this report is to investigate the manager¡¦s role within an organization, how he/she operated the organization, his/her responsibilities, his/her relationship and things he/she takes into account. Further, it will make recommendations to specific reader¡¦s who would like to be managers, with possible information on the manager¡¦s management techniques and how he/she solved problems.

1.3 Scope

This report will be looking at the particular manager interviewed and his/her skills involved in the organization. However this report will not cover other positions irrelevant to the manager position. The report has the limitations such as researching participants that are managers, the short period of time to write this report, our group only consisting of four members have to summarize everything with the word limit of 3000 words in this report.

1.4 Research Methods

Information to this report was obtained from a conducted interview with a Restaurant manager Nancy Choi. Our group faced difficulties finding a manager in the engineering area, we tried contacting three managers, but two of the three managers gave us negative response. Luckily the 3rd manager made time for our interview, our group then travelled to the manager’s home in the evening and conducted the actual interview. Each member of the group asked different questions that were relevant to our report¡¦s criteria and achieve the necessary information to construct this final report.

2. Environment

2.1 Type of business
The business type is a restaurant providing Asian food.

2.2 Size
The size of the organization is small, there is one Kitchen; two customer toilets; one dining room having sixteen tables, two 8-seaters, three 6-seaters, five 4-seaters, seven 2-seaters, one cash register, two managers and 5 supervised staffs.

2.3 Structure

Since it is only a small restaurant, the structure of the organization is very simply:

1. Hierarchical-
Level 1: Board of Management/Directors/CEO/Staff with supervisory roles:
Provides and implements the strategic, policies and decisions; operational and financial performance; and day-to-day operations and procedures. The Managers conduct these.
Level 2: Supervised staff
Accountable to Level 1; often closest to end-users and suppliers. The supervised staffs conduct this.

2. Participatory:
The managers who are the people in charge of all the staff. They provide strategic and policy framework and also financial support.

They will make the decisions as follow:

1. Finance: control the business profit or loss;
2. Quality control: make sure the food provided is not contaminated /dirty and meets customers taste;
3. Make sure supplies are always adequate;
4. Final Product: decide what kind of food to make;
5. Preparation: prepare special dishes to attract more customers;
6. Supervise staffs (training);
7. Advertisements to attract more customers;
8. Customer demand for improving service qualities;
9. Staff relationship (communication);

Since this is an informal organization. Managers do not only do task within the structure level they are within, but also attend to task of the supervised staff. Tony Choi, one of managers sometimes can be a cook. And Nancy Choi, another, manager is a cashier and waitress.

The supervised staffs are accountable to implement the business policies. They serve the customers in a good manner.

Here are their individual tasks:
Chef-The chefs will be in charge of the qualities of food;
Waiters/Waitress-The waiters who contact the customers must have a neat and tidy appearance at all times. They will take down orders for customers and keep the dining area clean. They always have to keep up a decent smile towards customers;
Cashier-The cashier has to take down phone orders and he/she takes the responsibilities in looking after the money. He/She will have to calculate the total cost and give back the required amount of change.

3. Egalitarian:
All of the people in the organization are equal, including the managers and supervised staffs. They have at least one day off each week and have 10 days long vacation each year. They can also contribute their opinions towards the restaurant or improve their working environment.

Informal Organizational Chart:

3. Communication

Effective communication between employer and employees is beneficial to the enhancement of staff morale. This close integration can reinforce the employee¡¦s confidence and job satisfaction as to achieve the safety needs and esteem needs as described by Maslows¡¦s Hierarchy of Needs Theory.

Basically, communication is any behaviour, verbal or non-verbal, that is perceived by another. Probably the most common view of communication is as an activity whereby an individual transmits information to another individual or group. This is more accurately describes purposeful communication events or activities rather than the overall process. A simple model describes the steps in this process:

Exhibition 1. The Communication Process

Source: Deresky, H. (2000), International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures, (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA.

3.1 Formal vs. Informal Communication

Employers have adopted either formal or informal communication to develop a good relationship with their employees. Formal communication refers to the communication that follows the chains of command. (Cheng, 2000, p. 217) The communication channels are determined by the organizational structure. Who reports to whom is illustrated clearly by the organization chart. The reports prepared by subordinates for their superiors must be in a written form, rather than verbal or non-verbal form. For example, the restaurant¡¦s cashier reports daily income of the restaurant to accouter, and then, the accouter reports the profit and loss amount to the employers per month.

Informal communication refers to the communication that does not follow the chains of command, which only follows the networks and interactions among people. Through informal communication, they exchange information, share complaints and get help from each other. An example of formal communication is the annual meetings, conferences and briefings in the morning; informal communication involves social gatherings, communicate with colleagues in a tearoom, go to pub together after work and gossip. (Cheng, 2000, p. 217)

3.2 Analysis of the effectiveness of communication

Effective communication occurs when the receiver of the message understands the message the way the sender intended it. (Cheng, 2000, p. 219) Since effective communication is essential to the achievement of the organizational objectives, management should make every attempt to overcome the barriers of effective communication.

In general, the communication barrier consists of differences in perception, differing attitudes and values, inconsistency between verbal & non-verbal, withholding information, passing judgment by telling people their reaction is stupid and dismissing the concerns or point of view of others. (Cheng, 2000, p. 168)

As the organizational structure is quite simple, in other words, the complexity of the communication channel should be lesser. Workers can communicate with their bosses directly and easily, thus, conflicts are not easy to occur or employers can solve the conflicts easily.

3.3 Differences in Cultural Background; differences in perception

In Singapore Hut, as two bosses come from different cultural backgrounds (one from Singapore and other from Hong Kong), the knowledge of cross-culture communication should not be ignored. According to Hodgetts and Luthans (1994), ¡§culture is the foundation of communication, and communication transmits culture¡¨.

Since Tony and Nancy from different cultures have different perceptions and values, they interpret others¡¦ messages in the context of their own culturally determined factors (Kim, 1999). Triandis (1977) states that the greater the dissimilarity is between the sender and the receiver, the more likely that distortion of the message will occur.

As they have different perception, attitudes and values between Tony and Nancy, conflicts sometimes would be occurred. Therefore, to reinforce the effectiveness of the communication between Tony, Nancy and their employees, the awareness of the cross-cultural communication skill and two-way communication channel should take place in order to reduce the conflict in the organization.

3.4 Communication enhancement

Singapore Hut used the briefing to boost the effectiveness of the organization, the purpose of briefing is evaluating each day working performance and existing mistakes with the colleague and find out different ways to solve the mistakes and avoid the same mistakes occur again, encouraging employee involvement as to improve the communication between each others increase the team spirit, motivation and the interaction between a team and create a close and warmth relationship.

4. Groups

For management, a group is a collection of people united by interests and actions and striving towards the achievement of a particular goal or objective. It may operate over the medium to long term, with specific responsibilities for managing the operation or undertaking a particular project through to completion.
Basically, group is for enabling the achievement of goals, identifying available options, canvassing ideas and opinions as well as improving decision-making. (Engineering management A, Roslyn Rimington, P.63)

There are three aspects, which are vitally focused:

  • Description of the formal and informal groups.
  • Participation in groups.
  • Analysis of group effectiveness.

4.1 Description of the formal and informal group

For formal group, it is developed on the relationship between participants and bind by ¡¥norms¡¦; for informal group, it is developed spontaneously. (Engineering management A, Roslyn Rimington, P.64)
In the restaurant, there are informal groups:

1. Cashier. (4 people, including waiter/waitress, manager ¡V Nancy)
2. Waiter/waitress. (4 people, including manager ¡V Nancy)
3. Cook. (3 people, including manager ¡V Tony)
Manager one (interviewee ¡V Nancy) is responsible for the financial (cashier), waitress and training that his role is leader.
Manager two (Tony) is responsible for the delivery, advertising and cook that his role is leader.

4.2 Participation in groups

The managers (Tony and Nancy): they are the leader of the small group meeting. Basically, They are responsible for collecting opinion of different people and makes the final decisions on any plans or problems.

In addition, they need to allocate people to work.

Although they are the managers of the restaurant, they don¡¦t just focus on planning and allocating work. They also participate in task such as being a waitress, cashier and cook.

For manager one (Nancy), she is responsible for the cashier and waitress.

For manager two (Tony), he is responsible for delivering the food, cook and cooperate with other workers.

4.3 Analysis of group effectiveness

In effective groups, listening is very important in order to understand both the ideas being put forward and people¡¦s feelings, all members of the group participate in discussion, and all members contribute to their full potential. (Engineering management A, Roslyn Rimington, P.67)

For example, the restaurant was established at the beginning, the profit is not ideal. After they obtain information and opinions from each member, the profit is obviously increasing.

P WHAT IT DOES ¡V RESULTS: they want to improve the profit of the restaurant.

P HOW IT ACHIEVES THE RESULTS ¡V PROCESS: they analyze the opinion from the advertising group and make the decision that he/she decides to make a take-away menu¡¦s and post them to departments and homes to introduce their restaurant. Besides that, they adjust special prices and make special dishes to attract more people.

Therefore, the group can carry many advantages such as quality decision-making, a wide range of ideas and experiences, capacity to evaluate ideas, morale and motivation. (Engineering management A, Roslyn Rimington, P.73)It is not only on the restaurant but also on the all organization.

5. Management

5.1 Management Style

Management can be categorized into different levels depending on the manager¡¦s responsibilities. For large organizations, there are three types of management levels, top-level management, middle-level management and first-line level management. While in a small-sized organization top-level and middle-level management can be integrated into only one level (Cheng, 2000, p. 156).

Due to the size of the organization researched, the restaurant can be classified as a small organization. There are currently two managers and each has different responsibilities towards the business. Nancy Choi is the manager that looks after areas such as interviews, training new recruits, supervisor employees, customer satisfaction, research, public advertising, staff relationships, services and products that meet customer demands. While the other manager Tony Choi looks after the financial area, quality control, food preparation, supplies in stock and final packaging.

Therefore the style used is a free-rein leader, who gives employees full autonomy in decision-making without giving directions (Cheng, 2000, p. 167). This allows employees to make their own decisions and enhance employee morale. But however, employees might find difficulty in completing a task without adequate directions from the supervisor and cause expensive mistakes to be made.

5.2 Management Method

The method used in the researched organization can be categorized as decentralization, this allows decisions to be dispersed from the managers to the waiters, meaning more people can make decisions (Cheng, 2000, p. 206). This can relieve the workloads of managers and allow managers to put more time in the long term planning. This also gives Individuals to be more flexible and allow them to adapt to changes in the environment.

5.3 Management Effectiveness

With effective management, the organization can achieve its organizational objectives, for example, provide better goods and services, maintains it¡¦ survival in the industry, minimize the time to complete the task, minimize human resource and maximize it¡¦s profit.

In the organization researched our group has come up with the conclusion that the business has been effective. Firstly the business has been operating for more than twenty years now, customers dissatisfaction has to be kept to a minimum, employees all perform their task with very little to no mistakes, everyone working in the organization has two-way communication with very few conflicts within the workforce, satisfied customers and staff demands.

The organization uses an informal structure that puts employees and managers to the same level, this will allow better communication and team spirit to play an important part in this organization.

5.4 Difficulties in both being a manager and working with other managers

Difficulties being and working with other managers existed in our researched organization, for example being of the same level, certain decisions cannot be made directly without the other manager’s agreement, sometimes managers tend to have different ideas and have different perceptive views to the same task, even as the manager employee’s task is still sometimes performed by the manager.

Since the restaurant is a small business the managers here have to perform a large number of tasks that only they and no one else in the organization can perform. Even though employees and managers somewhat appear to be on the same level some sort of authority still has to be shown that they are in control or the organization.

5.5 Assessment of management skills

Here is an assessment of the skill of the interviewed manager Nancy Choi.

Current Skills Skills acquired Skills required
LeadershipCommunicationTraining skillsEvaluationPerformance Appraisal PersuasionFlexibility Being fairRaise productivity effective use of resource commitment Enhance employee’s morale enhance communication promote employee’s loyalty

6. Conclusion

In the process of writing this report, our group had made many findings of how a manager runs an organization. Since the report is based on information gather by each group member, there were different views of how things were to be done and how the information was to be combined into this final report.

This topic is quite interesting in the sense of having to be more sociable and make contacts with new people, the techniques learnt will be very useful to our groups, if any of us are to become managers this would be worthwhile. We have found that our research to be a success, but during our course of this exercise, we ran into numerous problems in finding managers that were willing to conduct an interview. We would like to also thank Nancy Choi for making the time and effort to put up with our group ^_-

7. Recommendations

Utilizing the information gathered from our group¡¦s research, we found that the restaurant manager was very effective, for a small-sized organization our group concluded that there wasn¡¦t much improvement that could be improved other than renovations and providing more services.

Restaurant businesses are usually for small organizations and rarely expand to the larger organizational structure. Restaurants are usually family businesses, usually owned and maintained by the family.

Solutions can only be applied only when problems have been identified, not all businesses are perfect, there are always problems that arise and decisions will always be made. Authority plays a big part in decision making, without authority even with great ideas nothing can be done.

8. Appendix

(Some of the questions asked in the interview)

What sort of structure would you classify the business to be operating in? Formal or informal?

How long has the business be operating for?

How many managers are in the business?

Can you give me examples of what each different manager does?

Are there any conflicts?

What would be your responsibility as a manager in the business?

What sort of relationships do you have with other people in the business?

If staff to staff conflict occurs, how would you solve the problem?

How would you control the amount of stocks?

How do you obtain opinions from customers? Direct or indirect?

During the busiest business hours, with limited time how would you handle the situation?

Due to different seasonal change, how do you control the cost of production?

What appropriate leadership style is used within the organization?

If a new staff made a mistake and caused a loss, what action would be taken?

What sort of image do you try to imply to the customers?

What sort of promotion method do you use to promote the restaurant? Internally? Externally?

What is the targeted customer of the business?

What sort of concerns do you take into account due to society changes?

If your suppliers increased in price? Does that effect the products price to the customers?

If for example one of the elements of the production had sudden changes (eg. Chef, waiter, kitchen hand), restaurant what solutions would you have?

9. Bibliography

Kim, P. (1999) ¡§Globalization of Human Resource Management: A Cross-cultural Perspective for the Public Sector¡¨, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp.227-243.
Triandis, H. (1977), ¡§Interpersonal Behavior¡¨, Brooks/Cole, Monterey.
Hodgetts, R. & Luthans, F. (1994), ¡§International Management¡¨, (2nd Edition), McGraw-Hill, USA.
Deresky, H (2000)., International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures, (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA.
Cheng, C. N.(2000), ¡§ Introduction to Business Studies¡¨ Hong Kong Educational Publishing Co, pp.156-158, 167-172, 206.
Engineering Management A, Chapter 2/ 168, 216-219,37-44,66-73.

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