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Managing communication, knowledge and information (mcki) – case study Essays

Introduction
Communication, knowledge and information play an extremely important role in the success of an organization. If ‘The Grange’ wants to become a major success in the hotel service industry, then it needs to have a free flow of communication, knowledge and information among its employees, plus it would need to learn how to manage communication, knowledge and information as well. Communication, information and knowledge are something which cannot be overlooked by the management of the hotel, but it is important they are managed properly so that the required information which is needed to make the decision is provided to the manager at the right time.
This paper shall be discussing the ways that how different types and sources of data and information are required to enable the management team to make the decisions. It shall be providing methods of data gathering and explaining key criteria for effective use of data and its importance. The paper will also be discussing network and a communication process (i.e. a communication processes will also be developed so that the organization is able to improve the gathering and dissemination of information and organizational knowledge and finally systems that are used for the collection, storage and dissemination of and access to the information and knowledge gathered will be designed and improved respectively) and lastly the paper shall provide an appropriate information system which will indicate the various flows of information within the ‘The Grange’ and will provide performance measures for the organization.
Information & Knowledge Needs
Decision making is the toughest part for a management team, why, because one false move or wrong decision can lead the team to disaster in its project, hence information and knowledge plays an important role in the decision making process. Without any sort of information or knowledge about anything related with the hotel business, will not help the management team make the right decisions. And if the right decisions are not made then the organization will be faced with many problems and challenges plus the hotel might lose its customers and the reputation of the hotel within the industry can lose its standing.
The decision makers for any organization are its managers and in our case it would be the mangers of ‘The Grange’. The decisions that are needed to be made by the management regarding its extension of the facilities (like the gym and the swimming pool) would be strategic type of decisions, which are going to help the hotel to improve its performance considerably (in terms of customer service). Decisions are need to be made by the management team for every aspects of the hotel this would include the structure of the organization, the control systems, communication networks, human resources and responses regarding the environment in which the hotel operates.
The team management of ‘The Grange’ needs to identify any treats and challenges, so that they are able to invent solutions to those challenges or problems regarding the extension of the facilities. And this can be done by monitoring and collecting information regarding the outcomes and the trends and fads and this is going to help the  management team to see that whether additional decisions are need to be made by the organization or not. One thing that needs to be remembered is that good decisions are made with the right information provided to the managers are the right time. Therefore it is important that there is a free flow of information and communication within the hotel so that the decisions can be made on time.
Information that needs to gather in this situation is extremely important, it will help the management understand that where they need to spend more of their resources and where they do not. Plus with the help of the information gather they would know that whether they have the space for expansion plans or not.
Types and Sources of Data Collection for Decision Making Process
One of the most methods of obtaining and collecting data about performance, attitudes and other characteristics is to directly ask from the individuals. Therefore the methods that are usually applied for the collection of information are in-depth interviews, focus groups and questionnaires.
·          Questionnaires: questionnaires help the data collectors of ‘The Grange’ to ask questions which are not usually answered by the individuals when asked directly.
·         In – Depth interviews: interviews are used by the data collectors when they are collecting detailed information for example, regarding an employee’s behavior towards his or her job. In-depth interviews are used so that the researcher is able to obtain accurate and not false information so that the management team of ‘The Grange’ is able to make the right decision at the right time. (Patton 2002)
·         Focus Groups: sometimes it so happens that focus groups are not considered feasible for organizations who are conducting research by use questionnaires (because the information that is obtain from the questionnaire can be false and can lead to wrong results), therefore to avoid such outcomes organizations like ‘The Grange’ can use focus groups. Focus groups will help the organization to obtain different opinions their employees have regarding the hotel and this will help the hotel to improve. (Knowles & Cole 2007)
The following figures shows that how information is collected, the figures shows that information can be collected from the hotel’s process (in the form of check sheet) and from the employees (in the form of surveys like questionnaires, interviews or focus groups).
Figure 1: Collecting Information
Methods for Collecting Information
In this section of the report we will see that how information is collected.  It is a known fact that data can be collected in two ways, i.e. secondary approach and primary approach. When collection information it is important for the researchers of ‘The Grange’ to follow two steps, i.e. in the first step the researchers need to search out for secondary data (i.e. data which was previously collected by another party for some other purpose other than for solving the problem at hand for example, how much is spent on gymnasium and swimming pool facilities). In the second step the researcher need to obtain primary data (i.e. data which needs to be collected for solving the current problem at hand, for example, how much the construction company is asking for the building of a new gymnasium and swimming pool facility). Let’s view the two approaches, through which information can be collected, they are as follows:-
·         Secondary Data: information that is collected from different types of channels for example, internet books, radio, TV and even through different articles and newspapers.
·         Primary Data: information that is collected from personal experiences by the researchers at ‘The Grange’. For example, with the help of in-depth interviews the researcher will be able to obtain information and gain inside knowledge and which is going to provide a general perspective and help with the decision making process. (Silverman 2004)
Key Criteria for Effective Use of Data and Its Importance
            The effective use of data and information within an organization like ‘The Grange’ is information sharing. The Grange requires effective flow of information and communication of internally. The information regarding the expansion plans would basically include the operating procedures of the hotel, and the guidelines etc. In the following figure you will be able to understand why it is important to share information with the employee. The employees feel more empowered and will have complete trust in their company. As it can be seen in the following figure:
Figure 2: Information Sharing
The importance of data and information within an organization like ‘The Grange’ is that it will help the management to make decisions, plus it is also going to help them with managing information through the employees.
Networking & Communications Processes
Great deals of factors are required in a communication process needs to reach its ultimate goal but one thing needs to confirmed is that communication process needs to be delivered in the same manner as it is intended to where keeping the different cultural influences on communication in mind. It has become essential that the organizations like ‘The Grange’ are aware of the various cultural factors (these cultural factors that cannot be ignored by the management of the hotel). Diversity has become very common in workplace today; and it is with the help of communication that it can become very effective. A great amount of knowledge can help improve the communication links and this in return will reap the best outcomes in the favor of ‘The Grange’. (O’Brien 2004)
Communication Plan
            It is important for the consultant to the management team to construct a communication plan, so that it helps with the management to understand properly and then make a decision accordingly. A communication plan is actually going to help by not complicating the information that needs to be communicated with the management team regarding the expansion plans.

Figure 3: Communication Plan
            In the above figure is going to help the management team understand the communication goals that actually support the goals of ‘The Grange’.
The first step in this communication plan is analyzing and gathering information; this can be done with the help of surveys (i.e. questionnaires, interviews or focus groups etc.). The information is going to be gathered by the consultant.
The next step is to design and deliver the information. The consultant is the one who is going to design the communication plan and then he/she is going to deliver the plan to the management team (like managers, directors of the departments etc.) for decision making process regarding the expansion plan. The third step is the checking results, it is the duty of the managers to conduct an evaluation and provide the outcomes to their heads of the department. Then it is the duty of the department heads to discuss it with the CEO of the hotel and then reach a decision.
In this whole process it is important that there is a free flow of information and communication between the consultant, the middle management and the top management, so that there is no misunderstanding and they are able to reflect and learn from this experience. It is important that their formal and informal communication channel present, this way the communication goals would be met.
Appropriate Methods of Dissemination
            The appropriate method of dissemination of the information gathered to the following ‘The Grange’ personnel; the management team and operational staff would be with the help of publications (like reports, briefs), meetings and conferences and as well with the help of the internet.
·         The Management Team: the methods that I would recommend for the dissemination of the information would be with the help of meetings and conferences and publications. The publications will provided the management team with detailed information regarding the expansion plans and the feasibility of those plans. The reports are also going to be presenting the budget of such a project and that whether the company has such finances for such a project or not. With the help of meetings and conferences the consultant will be able to understand the wants and the needs of ‘The Grange’ and then provide them with the appropriate information for decision making process, plus the management will able be able to understand that from where the consultant is coming from and what the requirements will be for project like this. Even though the publications and the meetings and the conferences would be a bit expensive and time consuming but it is the right way to disseminate the information to the management team which is comprised of the middle management and the top management of ‘The Grange’.
·         The Operational Staff: the methods that I would recommend for the dissemination of the information would be with the help of internet (more specifically emails). Internet is not expensive and it is not time consuming at all. The management team can inform the operation staff about the changes that are going to take place in terms of expansion plans with the help of emails. Plus the internet will be able to target a wide audience and it is easily accessible and it can be updated easily without any problems. And if there is any change within the expansion plans the management can notify the operational staff immediately with the help of internet since it is fast and extremely efficient. The tools that can be used to notify the operational staff can be done through electronic news alerts, with the help of dissemination websites and as well as electronic forums for the purposes of communicating and sharing information and knowledge regarding the expansion plans. (Laudon & Laudon 2007)
Appropriate System
I believe that the appropriate system for ‘The Grange’ would be Decision Support System (DSS). This system is used as an analytical model, for the specialization of databases within the hotel.DSS is made so that it can help the managers with decision making, this system does not make the decision but it provides insights and judgments to manager. DSS also provide support to the manager especially when they are making semi-structured and unstructured business decisions. Decision Support System (DSS) will provide the management team of ‘The Grange’ to create an interactive modeling process for the hotel and its expansion plan. For example, if The Grange uses a DSS software package for decision making regarding expansion plans, the software is going to alternatives to the manager regarding the outcome and this is going to help the management team to make the right decision. What happens is that in this system the manager enters different variables to see different outcomes. But if we look at it from the demand response it is quite difficult to comprehend since the decision makers are not very determined to demand pre-specified information while making the right decision. Therefore the management team will not have the right information that they need in advance and this might lead them to make a wrong decision. Hence with the help of DSS the management team at ‘The Grange’ will be able to find the information they need to help make the right decision regarding the expansion plan.
Information System Diagram (DSS)
Figure 4: Decision Support System

            Therefore DSS was created so that they are considered to be ad hoc and would respond quickly when there is a need. And lastly the DSS is controlled by the individuals who make the decision within the company. DSS supports the decisions in a direct manner to a specific decision making styles and the needs it fulfills all the requirements of individuals like the executives, managers and business professionals. (O’Brien 2004)
Performance Measures
            There is a need for a performance measurement system within the hotel so that it is able to evaluate the plan and the operational processes. The performance measurement system is going to provide the feedback regarding the expansion plan, it will tell that whether the expansion is good for the hotel or not. Let say that the plan has been given the okay sign, now there is a need for performance measures so that management team of ‘The Grange’ to measure the success of the plan. We shall be discussing three types of performance measures which will help the management team to evaluate and provide feedback, so that if this is a problem they are able to solve it before it creates a great deal of a mess for the hotel. The performance measures are as follows:-
·         Continuous Measurement: in this case it is important for the management team of ‘The Grange’ to keep a lookout on the operational processes so that the project is on its track and does not get delayed. Continuous measurement will keep the management updated about the building the new facilities. And if by any chance a problem arises then the management team will have the time to rectify it in no time, the problem would not delay the project. And if there is no continuous measurement in this case scenario then the management team will be faced with the worst kinds of consequences for example, the operational team would not deliver on time. (Kaplan & Norton 2006)
·         Total Quality Management (TQM): TQM is considered to be core measure for quality improvement. TQM will ensure that the materials that are being in the construction of the new facilities are not of bad quality (second quality). This performance measure will focus on the continuous improvement of the hotel, teamwork of the staff and the management; on customer satisfaction and will also help the company by decreasing its cost expenses. Teams will be created under this measurement and those teams will be trained and empowered so that they have the ability to make day to day decision regarding the operations (i.e. the construction of the new facilities) and it will ensure that the hotel has a high quality standard in terms of its facilities and services. Quality values are infused throughout the hotel with the help of TQM, starting from the frontline workers to the top of the hierarchy. (Kaplan & Norton 2006)
·         Benchmarking: benchmarking is the third performance measure which can be developed within the information system to enable the management team to measure the success of the expansion plan. With the help of benchmarking the management team of the hotel will be able to continuously measure the operations of the expansion plan. One thing needs to be remembered about benchmarking is that once a strong and a compatible program has been founded and analyzed by the hotel then the benchmarking hotel will be able to create and develop a strategy for implementing a new programming and becoming as worthy as the leading hotels within the industry. Benchmarking is considered to be a tool which will help the hotel to learn and will help in measuring the performance against the leading hotels within the industry. Benchmarking is still considered to be one of the most important steps in the evaluation of the performance. The Grange can develop a benchmarking index to analyze the performance of the operating regarding the expansion plan.  (Kaplan & Norton 2006)

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