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MGMT1110 Summer course 2013

List of biases we discussed in class. For each of those biases you should be able to :

  • Describe the bias in your own words.
  • Give an example for the bias from an organizational context.

Biases :

We discussed in the beginning of the 3rd class your quiz answers and some of the problems.

This is a list of things you have to watch out for when answering questions in the exam:

  • I need to be able to read your answers - write in clear handwriting.
  • Maintain coherent structure. I should be able to follow the flow of your answer.
  • Use only the space provided to you, not more. Part of the challenge in answering an exam question is answering to the point.
  • Make sure you answer all parts of the question. Some students only answered the first part of the question.
  • Make sure that you answer with something we studied in our class, not some other class. The exam requires you to demonstrate what you learned in this class.
  • Some of the examples provided did not make sense. If you're not sure you know – it's best to use the examples we discussed in class.
  • Everything we study in class has managerial implications which I'm very likely to ask about in a quiz/exam. If you learn something in class but you thought about it and you're now sure how this applies to management – ask!
  • I asked for one bias, some students gave me all 6. There's no need and in this case - more is less (more chances to get something wrong and deduct grade). When I ask for one - give me one.
  • When I ask for an organizational example, I expect an example from work life. A general example is not good enough.

Are on the LMES under “Course Content→Mid Term exam”.

Note :

  • These are only provided to you as a reference. This year's exam might have a slightly different structure.
  • Some of the topics we did for this course are slightly different than last year's. Don't worry, I will not test on things we didn't study.
  • I will NOT use the same questions as last year. We will have new questions. Those are provided for you as practice to understand my style.
  • Most students indicated that they found last year's exam difficult, in the sense that it required them to think about the things we learned, not just memorize them. Memorizing details is NOT enough, you'll need to be able to integrate knowledge.
  • I will only test on things I mentioned in class. The book can be used as a supplement to make sure you understood what was said in class.

The following are definitely going to be on the exam. This does NOT mean the other topics we discussed in class won't be, but I will definitely highlight the following and ask the more complex open-questions on those.

Organizational Culture

  • 7 dimensions of an organizational culture
  • Weak versus Strong cultures (comparison, advantages/disadvantages, implications)
  • Three components of organizational culture.
  • ASA theory.

Personality, Values and Attitudes

  • The Big Five personality traits
  • Personal values structure (the 4 dimensions)
  • Differences between personal values and personality traits
  • 3 components of attitudes (differences, examples)
  • Job satisfaction and Job commitment.

Managerial ethics

  • Why do people cheat?
  • Be able to recognize and analyze an ethical dilemma and then offer a solution.


  • Goal setting theory (SMART goals)
  • 3 forces in motivation (direction, effort, persistence)
  • Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation
  • Needs theories (only 2 out of 3) - Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, McClelland’s Needs Theory. Make sure you can analyze a case study and recognize what kind of organizational rewards fit to which kind of needs.
  • Common motivation mistakes


  • Differences between managers and leaders.
  • 5 sources of Power.
  • Leadership theories - trait, behavior and contingent models.
  • People oriented versus task oriented.
  • Ohio State Model - consideration versus initiating structure.
  • Fiedler’s Contingency Theory
  • Transactional & Transformational Leadership

You will write an analysis of management issues of a company based on managerial articles.

In the paper, you should:

  • describe the management issues presented in the clippings,
  • identify the managerial challenges, problems and / or opportunities presented in the clippings,
  • analyze the issues with relevant theories and concepts you learnt from the course, and
  • discuss implications based on your analysis, such as your recommended next course of action or potential consequences emerged from the identified issues.

Each group will prepare a maximum of five-page analysis (12pt, Times New Roman, 1.5 lines-spaced), not counting the cover page and reference list.

Towards the end of the term, your group will give an 8-minute presentation to the class based on your written analysis. There should be no less than 2 presenters from each group. At the end of each presentation, there will be a 2-minute question and answer session. The entire class will vote for the best presentation of the day at the end of the lecture. The group with most votes in their respective lecture session will receive 10 bonus points for their group project presentation score.

You must choose one of the companies below and use the articles provided to review and analyze the managerial issues the company is facing. You don't have to use all the articles, and you may use other articles you find about the company as long as :

  1. The articles should not be older than 2 years.
  2. The articles must be from one of the following sources : Business Week, CNN, Fast Company, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, International Business Times, New York Times, South China Morning Post, The Economist, Time, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.
  3. You must clearly and explicitly state which articles you use and where they can be found.
  4. You follow clear rules of citation. If you use a piece of data in your project, it must be cited appropriately and credit must be given to the source.
  1. Group projects will be submitted through Turnitin. Make sure you do your own original work, be careful to cite and quote appropriately and give credit to sources when credit is due. We will not tolerate any form of plagiarism.
  2. Group projects are a group effort. In the last page in your project you are asked to detail what each member has contributed to the project. Also, you will be asked to evaluate your group mates and indicate the effort contributed. I expect a fairly equal contribution from all group members. If one or more of your team are not putting in their part, please do let me know.

To write a good paper, follow the following …

General advice

  • Develop a theme – e.g. develop a question which you will provide answers to in your paper. That question is the title of your paper.
  • Apply adequate amount of theory / framework – i.e. just do a SWOT analysis as an analytical tool in not enough.
  • The yardstick is: you need to show you have well- understood and applied the management concepts / frameworks.
  • You must have a topic for your group project. In essence, the topic is the theme you set to analyze. The general advice is to explore a controversial (debatable / argumentative) topic so that you can present both sides of the argument. This approach can reflect more of your critical thinking than answering questions that start with “what” or “how” (which are descriptive approach). Remember learning management is to learn how to synthesize, analyze and recommend solutions to management issues / problems.

Word allocation

  • Introduction (e.g. 300/2000 words) - This should include your thesis statement which summarize the purpose of your paper, followed by why you pick this topic and a brief explanation of your approach for this analysis
  • Body (e.g. 1250/2000 words) - This is the bulk of your analysis. Determine the priority (logical sequence) and allocate word-limit accordingly.
  • Conclusion (450/2000 words) - This should include discussion of the managerial implication – potential course of actions, consequences – as well as a conclusion for your analysis
  • Appendix and reference list are not counted towards the 5-page limit

Writing the paper

  • This paper is not a summary of the articles. You need to apply management framework / concepts, reflect your originality and recommendation.
  • Types of analyses : Choose your analysis carefully and don't attempt to cover everything at the same time.
  • Graphs and tables : You may include them as appendix and not in the “body” of the 5-pages
  • Headings : Use headings wisely. Too many headings make your essay very “choppy” (chopped into pieces)
  • You should not use “headings” as a means to connect your paragraphs. You need to have a transition paragraph or sentence to link your sections. “Headings”

just make it easier to read.

  • Remember this is an essay. You should not use bullet points.

Effective team work


  • Agree on the theme and develop subthemes - Discuss what should go to each of the subtheme. E.g. the theme is to discuss the success factors of Amazon’s Kindle (e-book) – you talk about PETS (very briefly), SWOTS, growth strategy, challenges and recommendations. Then assign one subtheme to each member.
  • Appoint one member as the “editor”. Allow the editor a few days to edit the whole piece to ensure the logic flow, and good English writing.

Do not

  • Do not ask each of the five members to each write 5 pages then pick the “winner”
  • Do not merely combine the various sections together as your “final product”
  • Do not treat each section as “mini” “standalone” analysis, because your paper will become disconnected
  • Do not submit your first draft as your final version

Examples for good titles with interesting management issues

(Do not simply copy these, be creative)

  • Restoring the broken wings of Kingfisher
  • Nissan’s diversification strategy in the electric vehicle industry: a success or failure?
  • A review of Starbucks in China: The way forward
  • Takeover of Cadbury: Is it really such a sweet deal?
  • Can Alibaba open the sesame door for sustainable wealth and glory?

A temporary archive with all the PDFs of the articles below can be found on the MGMT1110 LMES course system.

Q: How to explain accountants cheating for accounting firms where they have all the risk but no personal benefit?

Watch Dan Ariely talking about cheating on Ted.COM (10:10):

Dan Ariely explains (link) :

Take what happened in Enron. There was partly a social norm that was emerging there. Somebody started cheating a little bit, and then it became more and more a part of the social norm. You see somebody behaving in a bit more extreme way, and you adopt that way. If you stopped and thought about [what you were doing] it would be clear it was crazy, but at the moment you just accept that social standard. The second thing that happened at Enron is that it wasn’t clear what was the right social norm to apply to this particular emerging energy market. They could basically define it anyway they wanted. And, finally, they were dealing with stuff that was really very removed from money, which allowed them to [cheat]


  • Everybody cheats a little.
  • The norms of the industry matter, if you know others are cheating you’re more likely to cheat.
  • Accountants are closer to money and have specialized skills regarding money.
  • Accounting is cognitively distanced from money. They come to think that it’s not really cheating.
  • Perhaps it’s a challenge - they feel they can get away with it.

Q: I wonder that in the class you mention to make specific goal one step at the time. However, I am a big believer to dream big and having a big dream for my selves. I always refers to this motivational quotes “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” - Brian Littrell that means that I always need a big goals to drive me giving more in every things I do so even i'll miss my goals I still land not to far from that goal. Therefore, is it right if I manage to put it this way. I make specific goal for my work and big goals (dream) for my final achievement in my life?

When we talk about motivation and building motivation things get tricky. I'm not always sure that I understand what all those slogans about “aiming for the moon” and “landing in the stars” mean but I'm assuming that you're talking about setting an extremely difficult goal as a motivator and just going for it in hope that this will push you to do your best and then you eventually get somewhere that's better than where you are.

Research shows that for most people general impossible goals may back-fire. The problem with “aiming for the moon” is that if you don't have a strong persistent personality you're very likely to become frustrated and disappointed with your performance even if you do “reach the stars”. In a sense, if you're aiming for the moon and you know it's unachievable you're lying to yourself or cheating yourself to believe this is possible when it's not, and that's not advisable when you're looking to motivate and improve.

Moreover, SMART goals help you understand how you'll get where you want to go. When you don't have those smaller steps, you might be exerting effort in the wrong direction without knowing whether you're really making progress in getting closer to “the moon” or whether you're actually digging yourself in deeper and further away from your goal. Once you find you're in the wrong direction it might be too late.

I think the main point those motivational speakers are trying to tell you is to think big and go boldly towards realizing your dreams. Generally, this doesn't need to contradict with SMART goals. The dream is the vision, the goals are the plan. SMART goals emphasizes difficult (yet attainable goals) in the pursuit of an overall (personal/team/organizational) vision.

Q: I want to know the difference between the Ease of Recall Bias and the Retrievability Bias because they seem to be similar when i read through the wiki.

That's actually a very good question I did not get to in class, since it's more complex than what you need to know for an intro class. This is not required for the exam. But, yes, the retrievability and ease of recall biases are very similar to one another and they are both specific versions of the Availability heuristic. Simply put, heuristics are the general mental shortcuts or rules our brain does and biases are the possible failures in producing an accurate judgment of reality as a result of that shortcut. (read more on that here)

Ease of Recall is a bias that's referred to as a bias based on “vividness and recency”, so the extent to which an occurrence is vivid or recent in your mind, while the retrievability bias is more based on “memory structures”. Vividness means it's easier for us to think of a case where someone dies from guns than it is to think of a case where someone has died from tobacco. Memory structures is that our mind works quicker to detect certain patterns, like “ing” than is is to detect patterns like “_n_”. So, Ease of Recall is more about which memories we're more likely to recall, and retrievability is more about how our mind stores and retrieves information.

Q: How actually the biased we learn related to management when i am answering the question(i just think this is more likely to be used in “marketing' approach?)

Every one of those biases is about our perception and our judgment and decision making skills. Obviously, this has implications for the organizational context for managers who need to analyze the situation and make important decisions regarding the organization. You need to think of an example when these biases may happen in the organizational context. For example, Escalation of Commitment is obviously a very common managerial problem with managers who keep investing in a course of action that isn't looking good without the ability to withdraw in time to avoid massive losses.

If you're having trouble thinking of examples, there are plenty of resources online and in our library. The book I recommend which I used for many of our examples is : Judgment in managerial decision making / Max H. Bazerman, Don A. Moore.

Q: I find it rather difficult to rank the 7 dimensions of OC for a company. Like, yes some of the company mainly focus on Two dimension, then how should i rank the other 5?

Many of the dimensions are related. If the company is high on one, then it is likely to be low on another (for example - innovation versus stability). It's not required to write down all 7, but I do need to be able to see that you understand the company, you understand the dimensions and that you're able to connect between the two in a meaningful way.

Q: The only advantage for weak culture's organization i can think of is, less rules, more innovative. Is it right? and what else actually?

We actually discussed this in class very briefly. Generally, it has long been assumed that a strong organizational culture leads to better performance, but in recent years this view has began to change as the environment changes more rapidly. An organization with a strong culture is also more rigid and more difficult to change. If the environment needs flexibility and adjustability, weak organizational cultures may be able to adapt faster. Also, weak organizational cultures benefit from having more diversity, which ASA processes in strong cultures are less accepting towards.

Q: I asked myself: “What are the implications of weak organizational culture?”. I came up with: Miscommunication between members of organization, less teamwork, ASA framework does not work effectively resulting in unsuitable workers in the organization, low motivation, higher turnover. Is that correct? Is there anything to add?

Some other students asked about this as well. Generally, you’re right, weak organizational culture is traditionally associated with some of what you mentioned – there is more diversity, possibly more conflict and misunderstandings, less commitment, less bonding, lower motivation and possibly higher negative consequences. However, like everything in life (and especially management) we’ve come to accept that all things have a combination of good and bad. As for possible good points about weak cultures - this answer I gave on the WIKI provides a direction :

Q: For the three components, artifacts, shared values and assumption, i got confused. i find it quite hard for me to distinguish between the shared assumptions and values when i analyze a real case. i know their difference is unconscious/conscious belief. However, to determine whether they are conscious or not is also a problem. For example, google treat “good ideas can come from anywhere”as an assumption and ” Fast is better than slow“ is a value. If i analyze this case, i may easily think it oppositely. So, i actually want to know how to distinguish when i analyze a real case. In addition, for artifacts, i usually be prejudiced that they are something related to symbols/logo. When i again, analyze a real case, should i answer all 6 aspect of artifacts instead of just saying about the logo? So, how to analyze the three components of HKUST?

Yes, this is a delicate difference, but there's more to it than just the conscious level. I think that some of the examples in the course slides could be especially confusing, like the Google example. Generally, assumptions are taken for granted and reflect facts and statements about how the world operates (“the earth is round”), values are things that are considered important (“the earth should be protected and preserved”). When you analyze a case, the most important thing for you is to show how you made your analysis and explain why you thought something is a value and something is a shared assumption. If your reasoning is logical and makes sense and uses the definitions, then I'll accept it. As you can see in many of our in-class exercises I emphasize analytical skills over 'right or wrong'.

Q: Can shared assumptions also at the same time be shared values (e.g. the example of “safety” at an engineering firm: This might on the one hand be an assumption but maybe they also promote it as one of their key values)?

First, see my answer here -

So, yes, safety is a general term that can serve as a basis for both share assumption and values, but the framing might be a bit different. For a value, it would be “safety is important to us” and would be compared to and discussed with other values. When the importance of safety becomes so ingrained in the culture that it is taken for granted and no longer needs to be articulated and discussed, it becomes a shared assumption “there is no work without safety”.

Q: I dont really understand about the 4 dimensions of personal value structure. I mean i can't get the point of it. How should i answer to the point if the question is asking about this?

You should understand what the dimensions are about and be able to analyze someone based on the circular structure of values. Many of your classmates did a very good job in their home-exercise analysis. Here are two good examples :

  1. I think Donald Duck is a character which emphasizes more on his self-enhancement more than self-transcendence. He has a great ambition and wants high achievement as he wants to be the greatest star I'm Disney and compete with Mickey Mouse as shown in the cartoons. It also shows that he wants power and authority, Donald Duck should be a quite conservative character rather than a character who is open to changes. He does not like new ideas and tricks from his three nephews and he likes to conform to the tradition ways of doing things.
  2. Forest Gump : I think that he is self-transcendence. Since he love helping other people to achieve their goals. He enter shrimping business in order to help Bubba to achieve his goal. Therefore, I think he is benevolence. Moreover, he is openness to change because his life was exciting. His leg braces break apart and fall away and he discovers that he can run very fast.

If you're not sure about the personal values dimension I recommend reading more about it here - How values work and Schwartz's Value Inventory.

Q: I would like to ask questions regarding the forer fallacy of personal validation In class experiment. As I read through the wiki, I still cannot get the idea of it. Could you explain to me more? And, as I was enrolled into this class in the last minute, so I missed the first two lectures. I would like to know more about the in class experiment regarding the fake handwriting one that you have done in class?

Explaining this through email might be a bit tricky, and you haven't explained what's not clear, but perhaps I can offer the following two resources:

Briefly, we accept very vague and general statements about ourselves in fortune telling and handwriting assessments as revealing and accurate when in fact they're constructed in a way that aims to be true for anyone so that people feel self-validated. I gave students a personality assessment they thought was especially tailored for them, but in facy they all had the same vague and general statements. Most of the students thought this is a very good tool for personality prediction and were surprised that in fact all the students got the same analysis.

Q: Is there any difference between the people-oriented leadership style mentioned on page 5 and relationship-oriented leadership on page 22?

Good question. I know this is confusing, and I'm very glad you asked this so I can clarify.

I'm not entirely sure why, but academic researchers sometimes like to reinvent the wheel by calling similar things in a different name. I think you noticed that “people-oriented leadership” from the “Behavioral studies” theories in the 1940s, the “Consideration” in the Ohio State Model and “relationship oriented” in Fiedler's contingency model are basically about the same thing. The main different between them is that they belong to different theories. Some would argue that the more recent “transformational leadership” from Bass (1985) is also based on similar ideas.

So, basically, if we try to organize all the terminology in all the theories, we'll have two major categories :

  1. people-oriented leadership / consideration / relationship-oriented / transformational-leadership : emphasizing leading through interacting and influencing people.
  2. task-oriented leadership / initiating structure / task-oriented / transactional-leadership : emphasizing structure, task accomplishment, defining goals etc.

IMPORTANT - though the leadership categories have similarities, the different theories have very different assumptions regarding those categories :

  • Trait theories (20s) - you're either one or the other (an introvert or extrovert). Certain traits are better than others
  • Behavioral studies (Ohio State model, 40s) - It's good to have a dynamic leader that can apply both types of leadership. The impact of the context is not clear.
  • Fiedler' Contingency model (60s) - the leadership style is fixed, leaders don't change, but you need to choose the right leader for the right context or change the environment to fit the leader.
  • Bass Transformational leadership (80s) - transformational leadership is generally better than transactional leadership. Leaders can change and adapt, and they need to be able to move from transactional to transformational and combine the two according to the followers and the context.

Q: On page 15, it states that contingency studies are about the adaption of leaders to the immediate situation , however,on page 18, it states that leadership style is fixed and very stable so we need to change to situation to fit the leader.

Good catch, thanks for pointing that out. It really shows that you're paying attention to detail and that's VERY important.

So, yes, Fiedler assumes leadership styles are fixed, but more recent contingency models like Bass Transformational Leadership and other more modern theories mentioned in the book have changed the Fiedler's model to assume that leaders can and should adapt to the situation. So, if you're referring to Fiedler's model - leadership style is fixed. If you're referring to more recent contingency models - leaders can and should adapt to the context.

It’s a bit like with the ASA, but on the organizational level. Companies that want to be bought by Google and integrated into the company already know the Google culture and want to be part of it. Companies that don’t like the Google way wouldn’t try to get Google’s attention but would prefer other companies with a more fitting culture.

Q: How would you answer the question provided in one of the homework assignments about how would most people act in an ethical dilemma situation?

I would answer truthfully how I think others would act. This is for me to see that you're giving this some thought and understand how you see the world. This is a good example for an answer that you can NOT get wrong, what ever you answer me, I will accept - as long as you do answer and explain in a way that makes sense.

Q: How would you define “trait”. Under trait content it says “enduring dispositions” (slide 37). How is this to be understood? In management terminology is “traits = personality”? If yes, are values also part of personality or not?

Believe it or not, this is a very hot topic for discussion in the personality research literature and at the moment I have an academic paper under review with two other colleagues in the UK and the US that aims to answer this question. In short - traits are dimensions of personality and values are different from personality traits, though both are part of a generalized model of the “self”.

Q: Can you give me three examples of personality traits? How about the dimensions of the MBTI, are they traits: extroversion, sensing, judging,…?

Big five is the important personality taxonomy to know. MBTI is another attempt of a different type of taxonomy for personality, and it is NOT well accepted by researchers since it has a problem with validity (though many organizations seem to like it for its simplicity). Nowadays, most of the personality researchers follow the big-five, which is why I mainly focused on that in class. We mentioned a few other traits in class, but only very briefly as they require more discussion that goes beyond an intro class - Locus of Control, Need for Power, etc.

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