The business field is one of the most important and influential sectors in the world today for it dictates the employment levels, production of goods and services, and the status of the society. In this business self-reflection essay, it is important to understand business practices and theories, as well as factors that influence the operations of a business, including the demographic factors of the clients, tastes and preferences of the consumers, and technology. Most importantly, it is critical for business students to understand all these issues as this reflective study shows.
Changing theories and practices in business and their potential, positive impact on society
Theories are important for guiding the conception, growth, and development of businesses as well as ideas. Through the various stringent measures, limitations and working scope, a theory is sufficiently able to guide a business towards achieving its greatest potential. In addition, these presumptions define the moral standards, compliance expectations, transparency, fairness in terms of operation ground and equal opportunities to the different players in the business industry. Theories often lead to the development of practices and business cultures that guide the day-to-day operations of business environments (FairTrade International, 2015). Ultimately, this leads to a production culture that is not only profit driven but also society and environment mindful, thereby ensuring that all the parties involved in the business activities benefit from the venture directly or indirectly.
Importance of theory in forming the foundation of scholarly inquiry
Some of the benefits and importance of theories and practices in business include protecting the interests of the different participants in business and production processes from employers to the producers of raw material as well as the consumers and the environment. In addition, theories and practices serve as guidelines for the business to follow to ensure that their operations do not affect the society negatively. Issues of pollution, marginalization, globalization, technology, as well as giving back to the society are often sensitive subjects related to business that can only be addressed by adequate theories and practices to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that can affect the operations of a business (FairTrade International, 2015).
One of the business theories includes the Theory of Change that is the backbone for developing strategies for dealing with particular unfair trade issues. Such a theory has eventually led to FairTrade Theory of Change used by Fairtrade International to improve and streamline the FairTrade Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) system. It deals with a wider scope of FairTrade issues such as interventions with interests in changes in the short and long-term period. As such, it is a framework used to find the best indicators and metrics for FairTrade results and progress in line with its goals (FairTrade International, 2015). The different strategies used by FairTrade aim to analyze causes of unfair trade and best approaches to change such trends. It aims at improving trading activities across continents including Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
How business leaders can address cultural differences and change in the twenty-first century
Many factors drive Business in the 21st century, mainly globalization and technology. As such, the business dynamics have greatly diversified forcing business ventures to readjust to fit into the new dimensions the market is taking. Cultural differences are largely attributed to primary, secondary, and tertiary dimensions. The primary dimensions include race, age, ethnicity, gender, and disability. Secondary dimensions include education, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, culture, thinking style, family status, geographic origin, lifestyle, work experience, political orientation, language, and nationality while the tertiary one includes beliefs, group norms, assumptions, values, perceptions, feelings, and attitudes. The cultural diversity can serve to improve a company’s production and consumption if well tapped into though it can also lead to negative consequences to a company if not well-managed (Rijamampinina & Carmichael, 2005).
Such differences mean that companies have to come up with new better ways of factoring in diversity in their production as this ultimately improves their productivity while also giving them a competitive edge. Effective management values diversity as a driver of production at both the employee level as well as the consumer one. Managers and organizations have the challenge of constructively utilizing the cultural diversity at the work place to maximize production and meet organizational goals while also factoring this into the production process and products channeled out into the market (Mazur & Białostocka, 2010). Diversity means variety in demand, which is why organizations should focus their efforts towards producing a variety of goods and services that suit the needs of each group with their specific cultures. Furthermore, when organizations venture into diversifying production, the organization has a competitive edge over its rivals in terms of gaining acceptance in the society.
Business leaders can also make sure that their organizations and productions prosper by investing in building an all-inclusive media image that appeals to all the different cultures and people. Marginalization often occurs in cases where certain groups feel that they are not included or factored in in the production process of a company. In addition, an organization has the challenge of finding out the tastes and preferences of the different groups and cultures and making products and services that specifically appeal to such groups (Mazur & Białostocka, 2010). Such demands mean business leaders have to adopt a flexible approach concerning production and more market assessment to understand the nature of their clients. The approach ensures that they do not waste their effort, time, and resources in producing products that are unacceptable because the consumers do not disapprove of them, and this allows them to save on these important factors.
Describe a trend in business research and the potential positive impact on society.
One of the current trends in business is outsourcing, which came into being because of the need to stay competitive through diversification of responsibilities. Companies are avoiding the idea of taking on all responsibilities by delegating other elements of their production process to focus on the areas of their strength that they are comfortable with. Businesses have over time recognized that they cannot do it all by themselves, at least not excellently. As such, new theories and concepts are emphasizing on the idea of focusing on core areas of a business such as value addition (Hernaus, 2011). Secondary activities that are not the main areas of production that cannot in any way give the company its competitive edge are instead delegated or rather outsourced to outside partners, which gives other organizations opportunities to partner on joint ventures as well as develop business networks that benefit all the parties involved.
Such a trend is beneficial to not only the organization but also the society from two points of view. One is that it provides sustainability and, in a way, provides social responsibility among businesses. The sustainability is through the fact that outsourcing allows for specialization, reduces competition, and ensures long-term survival of organizations. On the other hand, it also ensures that organizations share ideas on ways to maximize the sales of their products, thereby guaranteeing their survival even with a lot of competition (Hernaus, 2011). Social responsibility is because the outsourcing process ensures that many people are employed at a given time. As such, the community is able to benefit from the co-existence of such setups and networks. In cases of international organization such as Multinational Corporations, outsourcing ensures that the locals not only consume their products but also benefit from them by getting jobs.
Compare and contrast the consumption of knowledge with the creation of knowledge.
Address the differences in consuming and creating knowledge, and explain how you will or may contribute to business knowledge in the twenty-first century.
Knowledge creation and consumption are critical aspects of business that cannot be ignored if a business is to thrive (Langlois, 2001). Ultimately, the concept of knowledge management immediately comes in since everyone appreciates that knowledge is available and accessible. On the other hand, using it correctly and appropriately is what distinguishes between those who benefit from the power knowledge offers and those that do not. Knowledge management easily determines the economic progress of the many states across the world since it informs the management on the approaches and decisions they make about a business. Since its start, the internet has availed knowledge that is readily accessible for the businesses, which has made knowledge creation easy. On the other hand, knowledge consumption has also been made easy by these new strategies as well.
However, there is a need to ensure that the knowledge acquired is managed well for the best results in business. Knowledge management has been largely beneficial to businesses that have learned how to use new information availed to them effectively. Knowledge of markets, trends, and technological advancements are readily accessible over the internet making it easy for businesses to keep up with the latest data to help them strategize (Langlois, 2001). It also allows them to adjust easily to catch up with their competitors, which is important in remaining relevant in the highly competitive environment today. Access to information has allowed multinational corporations to learn about new markets where their products can thrive, which helps them to plan before investing there.
Impact of technology on businesses in the twenty-first century
Technology is widely seen as the key behind the success of business in the twenty-first century, however, it is not without a fair share of challenges. Technology and internet have largely contributed to globalization, thereby making the world seem like a small village. This has led to the development of businesses that are able to run across boundaries (Langlois, 2001). Online transactions, the ability to move across continents within hours, and access to the latest technology has made it possible for businesses to grow exponentially and produce more than was initially possible. On the other hand, this has led to issues of monopoly with multinational corporations taking over world markets at the cost of the small business struggling to take off. Such trends have led to hostile treatment of organizations and stagnation of local economies unable to promote their own production and local products, which has been very consequential to some communities.
Businesses have also overtime heavily depended on technology for production and distribution of merchandize. As a result, the human resource is gradually being faced out thereby rendering many people jobless, which is a possible catastrophe in the making. Companies are dropping human resource that is expensive and replacing it with technology that is cheaper and much more convenient. Technology allows businesses to work longer because unlike people who get tired, technological systems do not and can operate for many hours continuously. In addition, the chances of human error are minimal, which is a great advantage to organizations. The result is a continued number of unemployed people who are left stranded, and may decide to engage in unwarranted activities in the quest to make a living.
For this course, the expectation is to learn the different business approaches and strategies that explain the changes in the business environment today. This requires an individual to work towards understanding the business environment overtime to understand the way the different tools and factors such as competition, globalization, and technology among others affect the operations of businesses. At the end of the course, it is clear that a person will have a better understanding of the complex matrix that makes up the business environment and how each cause contributes to business. This is by looking at all the components involved, understanding how they relate to business activities and how they influence each other in terms of their contribution. From the learning experience, so far it is clear that the business world is unique in its own ways and many factors influence the success or failure of an organization. This knowledge is important as it sets a foundation to understand the business concepts taught in the advanced levels better.
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