Explain the steps you would take in analyzing the environment of an organization. What are several key lessons that a manager needs to keep in mind to manage in a virtual environment?
Analyzing the Environment of an Organization
The environment of an organization is a fundamental aspect of organizations. Similar to the physical environment, the business environment is always changing, and managers or business owners try everything possible to avoid by taken by surprise by the unexpected events that may affect their organizations. And thus, manger must stay alert to these changes and respond accordingly (Bateman & Konopaske, 2020). The organizational analysis assesses business components, both external and internal, that influence the organization. In other words, it refers to the SWOT analysis where the internal factors indicated the strengths and weakness of the business and external factors shows the threats and opportunities. In this paper, the steps in analyzing the environment of an organization are examined, drawing key lessons that managers can use to manage virtual environments effectively.
Essential Steps in Analyzing the Environment of an Organization
Organizations exist almost everywhere; in the public sectors, governments, and business world. Regardless of the type of organization, organizational analysis basics are similar and focused on determining the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. It is part of strategic planning, quality control, and compliance with government and regulatory policies (Namugenyi et al., 2019). The steps that can be taken in the organizational analysis are highlighted below.
- Identification and Data Collection
The initial stage in the organization environment analysis process is the identification of different factors affecting the company directly or indirectly. These factors are both internal such as management and external such as politics. Identification of these factors must be coupled with the collection of the relevant information. It involves observing prevailing factors in a particular department or economic sector and collecting the relevant data from different credible sources. The identification and information collection are performed on various levels based on the priority determined by the particular organizations. The levels include market level, global or national level, the organization level and more.
The information collected and the factors identified in the previous step are critically examined through scanning. The PESTLE and SWOT analysis are the main environmental scanning tools. The former seeks to understand how the organization interacts with the key micro-environmental factors like social, political and technology, while the latter analyzes internal and external factors. At this stage, information gathering still applies because it is a contentious process. Environmental scanning is exploratory in nature and helps the analyst establish the trends and prevailing conditions and counter strategic measures for improvement.
An organization’s success largely depends on different factors that are well articulated by various organization theories that explain the interaction of various business elements like leadership, management, and culture. Apple Inc. is an example of a multinational organization that has effectively utilized environmental tools to achieve its tremendous success. As part of the strategic growth, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, has embraced decentralized decision-making approaches to encourage creativity and innovation at various levels (Dudovskiy, 2021).
- Monitoring and Analysis
Data collection continues in this stage. Once the factors are identified and trends and patterns established, it is imperative to analyze the data to ascertain the accuracy of the emerging trends. The analysis process also aims to determine the effects of these factors and trends on various levels of business and the overall business. Monitoring is a follow-up and extended analysis. Monitoring, evaluation and analysis exhibit remarkable influence on different aspects of public and private sector administration and management. It may lead to environmental transparency, which, according to Sun et al. (2019), have a profound impact on the environmental practices of organizations and their roles in fighting the contemporary environmental-related challenges.
Forecasting is a critical stage in organizational environmental analysis. After identification, data collection, scanning, and analysis, the impacts of the variables are predicted. Scanning only provides the account of the past and present happening, but not the future. However, the strategic decisions developed by companies are future-orientated and require accurate prediction of future events based on the analysis of the identified factors. It is advisable to anticipate these events and their potential influence before formulating the strategic plans. Some of the mainly focused factors include political, technological, social, and economical. And some of the forecasting tools commonly used are benchmarking, time series analysis, building scenarios, Delphi method and econometric models. Several promising companies like Compaq failed due to their inability to forecast future business trends.
Assessment is the final step in the organization analysis. It determines the implications or an organization’s current and potential strategies that can be formulated based on the forecasting results. It involves evaluating the inadequacies in the current strategies and how they affect the management and performance, and why a change in the whole organization or some levels would be necessary. Based on the assessment results, the strategic plans can be re-evaluated to suit the company goals.
Managing a Virtual Environment
Virtual business environments and virtual teams are becoming common with advancements in technology and unpredictable occurrences like the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure continued growth and performance, managers have learned several lessons for effective managing in virtual environments. Virtual managers need to leverage good management fundamentals, such as effective communication, creating clear goals, and expanding on individual and collective strengths.
First, a virtual manager needs to be aware of the different challenges faced by their team members as they work away from their offices. Effective communication tools are key to ensure contact with the teams and track their progress. Second, employing basic measures of productivity like tracking attendance and worked hours is important. Tracking productivity ensures that every team member remains focused on their jobs and deliverables. The third is creating trust and providing the team the necessary support needed to achieve the daily accomplishments. This way, they will feel motivated and inspired to work even harder, enhancing proactivity and performance in the process.
Another important lesson that managers have learned is the importance of creating a virtual corporate culture and fostering empathy. This includes a set of simple but very important things. For example, starting the meeting with check-ins and allowing every participant to state how they feel combined with chat and jokes is necessary for creating healthy work relationships. New skills are needed to develop supporting communication systems that create a sense of belonging to virtual teams and the work (Hafermalz & Riemer, 2020). When Facebook and other tech companies announced that their staff would decide whether to continue working remotely after the Covid-19 pandemic or go back to the offices, these are some of the strategies they had in place to continue engaging the virtual teams.
In conclusion, analyzing the environmental organization is critical in ensuring its growth and prefinancing. The analysis aims to provide insights that enable the formulation of effective strategies to overcome the challenges and threats and leverage the strengths and opportunities. On the other hand, the rapid increase in the number of virtual teams significantly impacts businesses and cannot be overlooked. Therefore, virtual managers must learn how to manage their teams without compromising productivity and performance.
Bateman, T., & Konopaske, R. (2020). Management: Leading & Collaborating in a Competitive World (14th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Dudovskiy, J. (2021). Apple Organizational Structure: a brief overview – Research-Methodology. Research-Methodology. from https://research-methodology.net/apple-organizational-structure-a-hierarchical-structure-that-may-change-in-near-future/.
Hafermalz, E., & Riemer, K. (2020). Productive and connected while working from home: what client-facing remote workers can learn from telenurses about ‘belonging through technology’. European Journal of Information Systems, 30(1), 89-99. https://doi.org/10.1080/0960085x.2020.1841572
Namugenyi, C., Nimmagadda, S., & Reiners, T. (2019). Design of a SWOT Analysis Model and its Evaluation in Diverse Digital Business Ecosystem Contexts. Procedia Computer Science, 159, 1145-1154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2019.09.283
Sun, D., Zeng, S., Chen, H., Meng, X., & Jin, Z. (2019). Monitoring effect of transparency: How does government environmental disclosure facilitate corporate environmentalism? Business Strategy And The Environment, 28(8), 1594-1607. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2335