Principles of Management Case Studies

We learned about the environments of a firm. Discuss three of the environments that you think have the most direct and immediate impact on firms.  Also, which of the environments has more spread out and delayed impact?

Considering the environments of a firm, the task environment has the most direct and immediate effects on a firm because they can be changed regularly and consists of factors that directly affect an organization’s operations. The environment consists of different elements such as suppliers, customers, competitors, and regulators among others (Daft, 2007). The other environment that has a most direct and immediate impact on firms is the general environment, which encompasses factors that have an immediate impact on an organization’s operations. Contrary to the task environment, the elements of the general environment are broad and unspecific. They include economic, technological, socio-cultural, political-legal, and international dimensions (Daft, 2007). The other environment of a firm that has the most direct and immediate impact is employees who form the most important element the internal environment of an organization. Notably, the general environment has the most diffuse and delayed impact because their change is gradual and not instant as the task environment.

Select a company that you think highly of and do a Google search to find its mission statement and goals. Discuss this company’s mission and some of its strategic, tactical, and operational goals. Also, discuss the relationship you see among the goals at different levels.

UnitedHealth Group is committed to helping people live a healthier life and make the health system work better for everyone. In their operational goals, the organization seeks to enhance the health system performance and improve the overall health and well-being of the people they serve. The company also commits to collaborate with healthcare professionals and key stakeholders to enhance access to quality healthcare and at an affordable cost. UnitedHealth Group supports and encourages physicians/patient relationship and seeks to empower people with information and tools to help them make better decisions about their personal health. The organization believes in inventing the future, learn from past experiences, and continue to invest in new ideas. Evaluating the organization’s mission and operational goals, it is clear to see that all the goals are realistic and specific, which is the relationship between the goals.

Discuss what you think would be the appropriate span of management for each of the following job categories.  In your answer you should justify how did you determine these spans of control.

A physician practices medicine in a privately owned clinic, while also supervising a number of professional nurses and office staff.

The span of control, in this case, is the narrow span of management. The physician practices medicine in a privately owned clinic while managing workers who are physically located in a different facility. Apart from practicing in the private clinic, the physician also has to do additional work of supervising professional nurses and office staff.

An owner-manager of an auto body shop deals with customers directs several experienced mechanics and trains and oversees the work of some unskilled laborers.

The span of management, in this case, is the wide span. The owner controls and manages a high level or competent and experienced mechanics while training and overseeing the work of some unskilled laborers. More elaborated, the span of management, in this case, is wide because the manager and the subordinates are competent and the company has a set of well-established standard operating procedures.

A manager in an international advertising agency directs a team of professionals who are located in offices around the world.

The span of management, in this case, is the narrow span. As Pride, Hughes, and Kapoor (2010) elaborate, in this type of span of management, subordinates are dispersed in different physical locations. There is a high level of interaction between the manager and workers as they deal with everyday operations. Due to the size of the agency, new problems are also likely to occur and at a high frequency, which is characteristic of the narrow span of management.

How would you categorize each of the below innovative businesses along with all three dimensions of innovation? Make sure to discuss on what basis you made your categorization.

According to Keillor and Wilkinson (2011), there are three major types of innovation – breakthrough, technological, and ordinary innovation. Breakthrough innovations establish a platform for future innovations and are often protected by trade secrets, copyrights, and strong patents. Technological innovations are almost the same as breakthrough innovations but at a lower level of scientific discovery. Ordinary innovations extend a technological innovation to develop a better product or service. 

Teaching college courses by videotaping the instructor and sending the image over the Internet

This is an ordinary innovation in that it is an extension of technological innovation – videotaping to turn it into a better product or service. In this case, the teaching college has turned the videotaping technology and customized it to help in teaching the courses and sending images over the internet.

The rise in popularity of virtual organizations

This is a technological innovation. The innovation has created technological advancement in the virtual world and enhanced the operations of virtual organizations.

Checking the security of packages on airlines with the type of MRI scanning devices that are common in healthcare

This is an ordinary innovation. The security of packages on airlines extend the technological innovation of the MRI scanning devices and turned the device into better devices that offer a better appeal to the airline companies.

A device combining features of a cell phone and a handheld computer with Internet capability

This is a technological innovation. The combined device is a technological advancement in the cell phone and handheld computer. 

Robotic arms that can perform surgery that is too precise for a human surgeon’s hands

This is a breakthrough innovation. Although the innovation is based on technology, it is a breakthrough because it establishes a platform on which future robotic devices can be developed.  

Hybrid automobiles, which run off of both batteries and gasoline

This is a technological innovation because it reflects a technological modification on hybrid automobiles to enable them to run off both batteries and gasoline. 

Using video games to teach soldiers how to plan and execute battles

This is an ordinary innovation in that, a technological innovation has been adopted to improve a product or a service. 


Daft, R. L. (2007). New era of management. Mason, Ohio: Thomson South-Western.

Keillor, B. D., & Wilkinson, T. J. (2011). International business in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

Pride, W. M., Hughes, R. J., & Kapoor, J. R. (2010). Business. Australia: South-Western/Cengage Learning.

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