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Explain how businesses and the attractiveness of industries are evaluated using the General Electric approach. When a firm has multiple strategic business units like PepsiCo does, it must decide what the objectives and strategies for each business are and how to allocate resources among them. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrixBoston Consulting Group (BCG) matrixA portfolio planning approach that examines strategic business units based on their relative market shares and growth rates. The BCG matrix helps managers make resource allocation decisions once different products are classified.
Holding market share means the company wants to keep the producta€™s share at the same level. As competitors enter the market, technology advances, and consumer preferences change, the position of a companya€™s products in the BCG matrix is also likely to change. Another portfolio planning approach that helps a business determine whether to invest in opportunities is the General Electric (GE) approachGeneral Electric (GE) approachA portfolio planning approach that examines a businessa€™ strengths and the attractiveness of industries.. Companies evaluate their strengths and the attractiveness of industries as high, medium, and low.
Although many people may think a yellow light means a€?speed up,a€? it actually means caution. What factors are used as the basis for analyzing businesses and brands using the BCG and the GE approaches?
Discuss the nature of communications in an organizational setting, including communication flows, channels, and networks. Explain barriers to communication, and discuss the most common types of barriers to group communication.
Clearly, the task of preparing and submitting a finished sales report doesna€™t require the same kinds of communication skills as talking on the phone with a classmate.
Communication may also flow laterally in organizational settings (as it does between you and your classmate), but more often it flows up or down. As the term suggests, downward communicationdownward communicationCommunication flow from higher to lower organizational levels. Upward communicationupward communicationCommunication flow from lower to higher organizational levels. Lateral (or horizontal) communicationlateral (or horizontal) communicationCommunication flow across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Your bossa€™s request for a sales report is an instance of downward communication, and when youa€™ve finished and submitted it, you will have completed a task of upward communication. Finally, while horizontal flows are valuable for promoting cooperation, they can also be used to engage in conflicta€”for instance, between two departments competing for the same organizational resources. Note that FigureA 8.9, a€?Channels of Communicationa€? takes the form of a grid, thus creating four dimensions in which communication can take place. An organizationa€™s formal communication networkformal communication networkNetwork consisting of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority. Every company also has an informal communication network (or grapevine)informal communication network (or grapevine)Network that carries information whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs., which goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs.
Though ita€™s sometimes called the grapevine, an informal network is an extremely important communication channel.
On the upside, savvy managers can tap into the informal network, either to find out what sort of information is influencing employee activities or to circulate more meaningful information, including new ideas as well as corrective information. The organizationa€™s formal lines of communication arena€™t working as well as they should be.
The best way to minimize informal communication and its potential damage is to provide better formal communication from the outseta€”or, failing that, to provide whatever formal communication will counteract misinformation as thoroughly as possible. Go to your supervisor or another senior manager and try to find out as much as you can about the organizationa€™s real plans. Ask a senior manager or a human resources representative to meet with your team and address membersa€™ concerns with accurate feedback.
Make it a priority to keep channels opena€”both between yourself and your team members and between team members and the human resources department. Because actions of this sort send a message, they can legitimately be characterized as a form of formal communication.
By barriers we mean anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible.
As for creating unnecessary verbal noise and failing to listen, we can probably chalk them up to poor communication habits (or maybe the same habit, for as legendary management expert Peter Drucker argues, a€?Listening is not a skill; it is a discipline.
If it hasna€™t happened already, for example, one of these days youa€™ll find yourself having a work-related conversation with a member of the opposite sex. It really doesna€™t matter which a€?stylea€? (if either) is better suited to making a conversation more productive. Even if two people of the opposite sex enter a conversation with virtually identical viewpoints, their different styles of expressing themselves might very well present a barrier to their reaching an agreement. FigureA 8.11, a€?Functional Barriers to Communicationa€? illustrates the location of barriers that may be present when a team-based project must deal with a certain degree of functional diversity. The company has assigned team members from different functional areas, notably marketing and operations (which, as at Motorola, includes design, engineering, and production).
Information (which wea€™ve characterized as different types of a€?specsa€?) must be transferred from function to function, and at the key points where this occurs, wea€™ve built in communication barriers (symbolized by brick walls). If, for example, marketing specs called for the new Motorola phone to change colors with the usera€™s mood, someone in engineering might have to explain the difficulties in designing the software. Each technical problema€”each problem that arises because of differences in team membersa€™ knowledge and expertisea€”becomes a problem in communication. Downward communication flows from higher organizational levels (supervisors) to lower organizational levels (subordinates). Lateral (or horizontal) communication flows across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Barriers to communication include anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible. To your manager telling him what the sales were for the quarter and whether sales improved (or got worse), and why.
To the vice president of the company recommending a new system for tracking sales in your division. However, since it is alternating current, the current reverses direction many times a second. This acts as a bottleneck, reducing the amount of power reaching the destination end of the cable. WiFi Map has made it their mission to crowdsource data in an effort to help people find access to WiFi hotspots around the world.
Today the WiFi Map team announced that they have officially hit the 7 million user milestone. By crowdsourcing public WiFi networks, WiFi Map is able to help users stop going over their mobile service providers data limit and help travelers avoid expensive data roaming fees while traveling outside of their coverage zones. The concept and features in WiFi Map have, in essence, made the internet fast, easy, and free to access. Wireless Dictionary is a free tool to get technical definitions and lookup industry terms from more than 11,000 terms, acronyms, and definitions. You can become a trusted adviser by first listening to your customer’s problems, pains or frustrations. Once you know what your customers are feeling and think, you can answer all their pressing questions and educate them on what you sincerely are the best ways to solve some of their problems – for free. While this might seem counter-intuitive, we (us human monkeys) all enjoy working with people, we know, who we feel understand us and who we think can help us. So how can you answer questions, educate and connect with your customers without going broke?  This where your business website and some basic online communications tools can come to the rescue.
A WordPress business blog is of the easiest and most affordable ways to  to connect with clients or customers, that I know of. A good WordPress website with it’s free communication tools can increase your market reach and build trust and rapport with your prospects. Basically you should either add a separate blog to your standard website or makeover your current site using the WordPress platform or software. Without a business blog – a WordPress website – you are severely limiting your chances of online success. For example, what if you went to the website of the Wall Street Journal… and discovered that they had not added any new stories or articles in 2 days!

Your trust would be broken (or at least dented) and you would naturally look for another newspaper website with more up-to-date articles. And you probably would not go back any time soon and it might take you a long time to get over your disappointment (if ever) and come back. And a WordPress blog that you own and control is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way I know to upload and add new content to a website without paying for professional help. Comments prove that not only are you open to feedback but that you want to engage in conversations with your web visitors. This is because social media is a one-to-many communications channel, while email is one-to-one. Sure the same message can be forwarded to thousands but it comes from a single private email out-box and goes into a private email inbox – one single message at a time.
This intimacy is why email messages are seen as personal communication, while Facebook or Twitter posts are not. You can improve your customer connections by using social media sharing technology that lets YOUR customers share your blog posts, product photos, video,s etc. That means 50 people x their 500 Friends = a potential group of over 25,000 people who might see your message.
And if like you, they only reach 10% of that total group – that is 2,500 people who could be reached and maybe have seen your message. And since these referred messages are from people, they know, like and trust (their friends and family), the chances are good that most of these will at least read the message. Social media is very powerful… but it should be used as a referral system rather than an announcement or marketing system. These are just a few of the ways that you can use your blog to connect and build relationships with both current and prospective customers.
I have researched several other web technology tools you can use to connect with your customers and listed them in a special report called, The Top 21 Free Web Marketing Tools for Small Business.
Regularly priced at $10.00, you can download this special report (just on this page) for free!
3 Excuses For Not Having a Website That Make You Look DumbBuild a Business Website on Your Own? A group of businesses can be considered a portfolioportfolioA group of business units owned by a single firm., just as a collection of artwork or investments compose a portfolio.
The same question or problem arises when a product has a low share of a high-growth market.
When a firm pursues this strategy, it only invests what it has to in order to maintain the producta€™s market share. The company has to continually evaluate the situation and adjust its investments and product promotion strategies accordingly.
The GE approach examines a businessa€™s strengths and the attractiveness of the industry in which it competes. The firms then determine their investment strategies based on how well the two correlate with one another. Companies with a medium rating on industry attractiveness and business strengths should be cautious when investing and attempt to hold the market share they have. Organizations that have multiple business units must decide how to allocate resources to them and decide what objectives and strategies are feasible for them.
No matter what your a€?workstationa€? happens to bea€”whether your workplace office or your kitchen tablea€”youa€™re performing the task of preparing that sales report in an organizational setting.
Leta€™s assume that you and the classmate you called on the phone are on roughly equal footinga€”youa€™re both juniors, your grades in the class are about the same, and so forth.
Downward communication, for example, is appropriate for giving instructions or directionsa€”telling people what to do. As information seeps downward, for instance, it tends to lose some of its original clarity and often becomes distorted or downright wrong. The problem is especially bad when such horizontal communications breach official upward or downward lines of communication, thus bypassing managers who might be able to resolve the conflict. Informal communication, for example, can take place either among people within the company (internally) or between insiders and outsiders (externally).
Informal communication can take place just about anywhere (in one persona€™s cubicle, in the cafeteria, on the golf course) and by just about any means (phone, e-mail, instant messaging, face-to-face conversation). Because much of it is communicated orally, ita€™s likely to get distorted and often degenerates into outright misinformation. In the 1970s, Chicago-area McDonalda€™s outlets found themselves fighting rumors about worms in their hamburgers. Because ita€™s your job to replace bad information with good information, you need to find out whata€™s really going on. Its only function is to carry information, so therea€™s no reason why you cana€™t pump some useful information through it.
In a practical sense, what can a managera€”say, the leader of a long-term product-development teama€”do to provide better communication? They also reflect good leadership: Even though the information in this case relates only indirectly to immediate team tasks, youa€™re sharing information with people who need it, and youa€™re demonstrating integrity (youa€™re being honest, and youa€™re following through on a commitment to the team).
Noise, for example, can be a barrier to communication; if you and other team members are mumbling among yourselves while your team leader is trying to explain task assignments, youa€™re putting up a barrier to group communication.
None of these advantages, though, magically appears simply because workplace diversity increases.
If the conversation doesna€™t go as smoothly as youa€™d expected, therea€™s a good reason: Men and women in the workplace dona€™t communicate the same way.
Much the same can be said of differences in style arising from other cultural filters, such as ethnicity, education, age, and experience. Recall that when we introduced the organizational structure of Notes-4-You in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we characterized it as a functional organizationa€”one that groups together people who have comparable skills and perform similar tasks. Simply this: The more a€?divisionalizeda€? an organization becomes, the more likely it will be to encounter communication barriers. At the same time, each group must contribute to the company-wide effort to achieve common goals.
If design specs called for quadraphonic sound, production might have to explain the difficulties in procuring sufficiently lightweight speaker components. In addition, communicating as a member of a team obviously requires much more than explaining the limitations of someone elsea€™s professional expertise. Its formal communication network consists of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority. Users go around to public WiFi hotspots, rate the strength of the network, share the passwords, and leave additional helpful comments. Of the 7 million users on WiFi Map, 24 percent added at least one tip, 17 percent added a hotspot, and 2 million locations have been crowdsourced.
He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. A lot of business professionals don’t understand that connecting with customers is a great way to increase sales and grow their business. Unless you are hit by a lot of spam or junk comments, always leave your blog posts open for your readers to interact with you. You don’t have to do anything they suggest … but knowing what Joe Public thinks can head off a nasty or negative publicity explosion! But outside of the telephone, email is THE most popular way that people stay in touch with businesses they are interested in. Say as a small business owner you only have 500 Fans on your Facebook page and when you send out a message it only reaches only 10% or less.
In order to evaluate each business, companies sometimes utilize whata€™s called a portfolio planning approach. Managers classify these products as question marks or problem childrenquestion marks or problem childrenBusinesses or offerings with a low share of a high-growth market..
One strategy is to build market share for a business or product, especially a product that might become a star.
When a company decides to harvestharvestWhen a firm lowers investment in a product or business.
The firm must also keep in mind that the BCG matrix is just one planning approach and that other variables can affect the success of products.
As we have indicated, a businessa€™ strengths are factors internal to the company, including strong human resources capabilities (talented personnel), strong technical capabilities, and the fact that the firm holds a large share of the market.

As FigureA 2.16, a€?The General Electric (GE) Approacha€? shows, the investment options outlined in the GE approach can be compared to a traffic light. If a company rates itself high on business strengths and the industry is very attractive (also rated high), this is comparable to a green light. Youa€™re still a sender transferring information to a receiver, but the organizational context of the task requires you to consider different factors for success in communicating effectively (including barriers to success). Your phone conversation, therefore, is a€?laterala€?: You belong to the same group (your accounting class), and your group activities take place on the same level.
If it looks familiar, thata€™s because wea€™ve borrowed it from ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, where it appeared as the organization chart for the fictional company Notes-4-You. External communicationexternal communicationChannel through which communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside it. By and large, though you can use the same set of tools (memos, reports, phone calls) to communicate in any of these four situations, some tools (team blogs, news releases, supplier Web sites) are useful only in one or two. For the simple reason that ita€™s typically widespread and can rarely be prevented, even if ita€™s not officially sanctioned by the companya€”indeed, even when the company tries to discourage or bypass it. Remember: The more you know about grapevine information, the better you can interact with employees (who, in turn, will probably come to regard you as someone who keeps in touch with the things that concern them). As a matter of fact, youa€™re putting up two barriers: In addition to creating noise, youa€™re failing to listen.
In the rest of this section, wea€™ll overlook personal barriers to communication and concentrate instead on two types of barriers that are encountered by groups of people, sometimes large and sometimes small, working toward organizational goals.
To the contrary: As diversity increases, so does the possibility that a group will be composed of people who have different attitudes and different ways of expressing them.
According to American linguist Deborah Tannen, men tend to assert their status, to exert confidence, and to regard asking questions as a sign of weakness.
Not surprisingly, communication gets more complicated, for the same reason that an organization comes to rely on more levels of management.[290] Notes-4-You, for instance, needs two supervisors because its note takers dona€™t do the same work as its copiers. Moreover, certain organizational projects, like Motorolaa€™s cell phone project, may require the two groups to work together more closely than usual.
Once theya€™ve surfaced, technical and other problems have to be resolveda€”a process that will inevitably require even more communication.
External communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside the company, such as suppliers, customers, and investors. The informal communication network, sometimes called the grapevine, goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs. Cultural barriers, sometimes called cultural filters, are the barriers that result from differences among people of different cultures. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. A portfolio planning approachportfolio planning approachAn approach to analyzing various businesses relative to one another. Because the BCG matrix assumes that profitability and market share are highly related, it is a useful approach for making business and investment decisions.
To maintain the growth of their star products, a company may have to invest money to improve them and how they are distributed as well as promote them. They must decide whether to invest in them and hope they become stars or gradually eliminate or sell them.
Many companies invest in question marks because market share is available for them to capture. The attractiveness of an industry can include aspects such as whether or not there is a great deal of growth in the industry, whether the profits earned by the firms competing within it are high or low, and whether or not it is difficult to enter the market.
For example, if a company feels that it does not have the business strengths to compete in an industry and that the industry is not attractive, this will result in a low rating, which is comparable to a red light. One of the things that employeesa€”the receiversa€”most want to know is: What, exactly, does my job entail?[279]) Like a sales report, upward communication usually provides managers with information that they need for making decisions, but ita€™s also the vehicle for new ideas, suggestions, and complaints.
The same thing may happen when bad newsa€”say, a negative status reporta€”must be sent upward. Because it incorporates the organization chart for Notes-4-You, it shows the companya€™s lines of authoritya€”what, in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we called its reporting relationships. Unofficial information crosses virtually every boundary drawn by a firma€™s organization chart, reaching out and touching everyone in the organization, and whata€™s more, it travels a lot faster than official information. About 80 percent of top executives say that learning to listen is the most important skill in getting things done in the workplace,[286] and as President Calvin Coolidge once remarked, a€?No man ever listened himself out of a job.a€? Business people who dona€™t listen risk offending others or misinterpreting what theya€™re saying. In this respect, our structure shares certain characteristics with another form of organizationa€”divisional, which groups people into units that are more or less self-contained and that are largely accountable for their own performance.
In addition, because their groups dona€™t perform the same work, the two supervisors dona€™t call on the same resources from the companya€™s four functional managers. When that happens, employees from each of the two groups may find themselves working together on the same team, but even so, one crucial fact remains: Information that one group possesses and the other doesna€™t must still be exchanged among team members. As wea€™ve seen in this part of the chapter, improving communication is a top priority for most organizations (for one thing, developing a team-based environment is otherwise impossible), and the ongoing task of improving communication is pretty much the same thing as the ongoing task of overcoming barriers to it. Functional barriers arise when communication must flow among individuals or groups who work in different functional areas of an organization.
However, the BCG matrix is subjective and managers should also use their judgment and other planning approaches before making decisions. For example, as the price of gasoline soared in 2008, many consumers purchased motorcycles and mopeds, which get better gas mileage. The goal is to try to generate short-term profits from the product regardless of the long-term impact on its survival. For example, the automobile industry is not attractive in times of economic downturn such as the recession in 2009, so many automobile manufacturers dona€™t want to invest more in production. In that case, the company should harvest the business (slowly reduce the investments made in it), divest the business (drop or sell it), or stop investing in it, which is what happened with many automotive manufacturers. Horizontal communication supports efforts to coordinate tasks and otherwise help people work together. Both internal and external forms of communication include everything from formal e-mail and official reports to face-to-face conversations and casual phone calls.
Here we can see that the reporting relationships in question consist of upward communication from subordinates to superiors. Two of the most widely used portfolio planning approaches include the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix and the General Electric (GE) approach. Using the BCG matrix, managers can categorize their SBUs (products) into one of four categories, as shown in FigureA 2.15, a€?The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrixa€?. Eventually, DVDs are likely to be replaced by digital downloads, just like MP3s replaced CDs.
With the success sequence, money is taken from cash cows (if available) and invested into question marks in hopes of them becoming stars.
External communication also takes such forms as customer and supplier Web sites, news releases, and advertising. In reporting to the operations manager, for example, the note-takersa€™ supervisor communicates upward.
Companies with cash cows need to manage them so that they continue to generate revenue to fund star products. As a result, they keep producing products and services they shouldna€™t or invest in dogs in hopes theya€™ll succeed. Conversely, when the note-takersa€™ manager needs to give direction to note takers, she will use downward communication. Thata€™s what Procter & Gamble did in 2008 when it sold its Folgers coffee brand to Smuckers.
If the note-takersa€™ manager and the copiersa€™ manager must get together to prepare a joint report for the operations manager, theya€™ll engage in lateral communication. Many dogs are divested, but companies may also divest products because they want to focus on other brands they have in their portfolio.

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