Monday, December 7, 2015


As a whole, I enjoyed learning about the Economics of Organizations.  I thought the real world examples from the chapters were very interesting.  Reading examples of organizations that have been around for decades/centuries, how they have remained successful, and how their competition failed was really intriguing.  After having an internship this summer, I’ve become a lot more interested in the different techniques and theories behind managerial practices and how successful organizations are run.  Some of the book chapters taught me a good deal about this that I didn’t know going in to the course.

I also enjoyed the way the class was structured.  There was not an over heavy workload, and the balance between the Excel Homework and Blog Posts was great.   Writing about my own experiences concerning a topic before discussing it in class was a helpful exercise, in my opinion.  For me, preparation for blog posts and excel homeworks varied by week.  My goal would be to read the chapter concerning that week’s blog post/excel homework a day before it was due, and then work on the homework that day.  For excel homework, I would always watch the videos provided and take notes.  For some blog posts, there were immediate examples that came to mind, which made writing a lot easier.  Others, I would have to think and plan my writing, and this took a little longer (but usually not more than two hours).   The same goes for excel homework.  Some only took me an hour; the harder ones took a few. 

I thought the Final Project was also a good assignment.  Letting us pick an article related to any topic from class was great, it allowed us to look through multiple articles and choose the most interesting.   Reading an article on an interesting topic made it easier to understand and write about.  The liked the flexibility in the length of the paper as well.  I also appreciated that there were two options to choose from in terms of what to for the final project.  Finding a scholarly paper was a little difficult at first, but I’m glad I’ve had the experience searching for one, as not many classes require this.  As said in class, we don’t cover the topics in the class in great detail. Using this project as a way to learn more about a topic was interesting and a good exercise. 

That being said, it did feel like we jumped around quite a bit.  I would’ve liked to learn more about some of the topics presented in the class, but touching on them was definitely helpful.  I feel like I have a good base of knowledge for if I’d like to learn more about some of these subjects.  

Monday, November 23, 2015


One place I believe I developed a good reputation was among my co-workers this summer.  I had an internship, and worked with about 15 people (give or take depending on the day) on a daily basis.  Some of the things I tried to do every day to help develop and maintain a good relationship with my co-workers were as follows:

I was always on time.  This was very important to me, I think when someone is always on time they display a certain level of reliability that’s necessary for a working relationship.  Also, its can be disrespectful to be late to a meeting which can hurt a relationship.  One can also appear unprepared if they are consistently late.  This also includes getting my work done in a timely manner, which I tried to finish before any deadlines I may have been given.  

Another thing I always tried to do was be respectful, polite, patient and friendly to everyone I interacted with.  One thing I really liked about my work environment is that everyone was like this as well.   Almost everyone in my office was very easy to work with, and willing to give advice and offer help where they saw the opportunity. 

Lastly, I always tried to volunteer to take on more work or help anyone with theirs.  I think it’s important to display a strong work ethic, and this helps build a strong relationship with your co-workers.  Working hard is rewarding and people appreciate the offered help.  I definitely did whenever one of my co-workers would do this. 

Thinking about times where I might stray from this behavior, I believe I would be tempted to not be as friendly if I didn’t enjoy the company of my co-workers.  If someone was rude or disrespectful to me I would be inclined to not treat them as kindly.  If I didn’t believe my hard work/help was being appreciated, and that my manager would never notice any added effort, than I would also be inclined to not perform as well.  Luckily, I did not have to deal with these situations and thus did not have to risk my reputation by behaving in an unfavorable way. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Triangular Principal Agent Situation

This past summer I worked as an intern for a consulting firm.  I was placed on a project building an agent portal for an insurance company, and through this I was able to experience a triangle like arrangement.  There were around 30 people working on the project: those who worked for the consulting company, those who worked for the insurance company, and contractors.  Who had hired the contractors also varied; the consulting company hired some, while the insurance company hired others.   This created an interesting dynamic on the project (which I’m sure is present in most situations like this, where a consulting company has come in to help on a project).  
            The views, opinions, and goals of the higher ups in the insurance company were most important, as they were the ones with all the money on the line for this project.  However, sometimes the best way to achieve those goals would come into question.  There were several instances over the summer where a small disagreement might be had in determining what was most valuable for me to do that day, and this happened to a larger extent with the developers on the project.  Managers would occasionally debate about what they needed from each employee.  For myself, sometimes it wasn’t exactly clear who I should listen to.  While the head of my QA team was an insurance company man, the head of the project and the person I interacted with more was from the consulting company.  Since the head of the QA team was in Florida, sometimes he was a little out of touch with exactly what was the most efficient thing for me to be doing, and my boss in Illinois might have me do something other than what he asked.  These situations arise when something comes up that my boss knew I could handle while still (eventually) completing what the QA lead had asked of me.  Luckily, my situation worked out fine.   

            More communication would definitely be a good way to resolve the tension when there is a question of how the agent should preform.  Sometimes the principal’s may not wish to waste time by coming to some kind of compromise, but in the long run a confused agent may just become stressed out and less efficient.  If principals are good at compromise, this makes things a lot easier.   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Group Dynamics

When I was in high school, I worked at a fast food restaurant in a mall near my house.  It was a decent first job; I enjoyed working there.  There were a conflict between two employees, we’ll call them Jake and John, that occurred while I was employed there. 
                  Jake had been working at this store for a long time, and he was a really hard worker who preferred things done a certain way.  In my opinion, he was a hothead and probably got in conflicts with people all the time.  He was more respected by the management because he had been there a while, and he enjoyed working there for the most part.  He was the most knowledgeable and valuable member of the non-management team.
John had started working there at the same time as me, and he wasn’t the best at his job.  He didn’t put much of an effort into getting things done quickly, and sometimes we would be stuck behind after hours picking up his slack.  I’m not sure the reason for John’s lack of effort.  There weren’t really any qualifications to work at this store, and they hired a lot of 17 year olds who were looking for their first job.  John’s parents may have pressured him to start working, but he had decided early on that just because he had a job doesn’t mean he had to do a good one.  I’m sure you can see where this is going.
                  So a whole month goes by of John’s poor performance, and Jake is getting very frustrated with him.  John and another employee were told by our supervisor to take out all the trash, and that involved about 15-20 minutes out of the store bringing the trash down an elevator to the dumpster out back.  John leaves to do this. 
                  After about 30 minutes we get an unexpectedly huge rush of customers.  We weren’t prepared for it, people’s orders were taking forever to be made and customers were unhappy.  My manager and Jake were very stressed out and everyone was running around trying to pick up the slack from the two employees who had been gone ‘taking out the trash’ for way too long.  An hour after they had left, the two employees return just as we complete most of the orders and it’s slowing down.  My supervisor is very unhappy with them, and Jake is furious.
                  Apparently they didn’t think they would be missed, and really took their time taking out the trash.  My supervisor issued them both warnings (another stunt like that and they’re fired), but it wasn’t good enough for Jake.  
The manager left a little early that day and put Jake in charge for the last few hours until close.  He took advantage of this situation by laying into John and the other employee about how much they screwed everyone over, what a bad employee John was and how mad he was at them.  John, a blank look on his face, strode immediately from the store.  Fuming, Jake went into the back to brood. 
The other employee was pretty embarrassed, we all went back to doing our jobs and didn’t really talk about it the rest of the night.  I understood Jake’s frustration, but it was very uncalled for and rude.  He let his emotions get the best of them.  Other employees related to the manager exactly what happened, and he fired Jake for behaving that way.

Obviously, if John and the other employee were doing their jobs correctly, this never would have happened.  We also happened to become very busy at an odd time, which made their goofing off negatively affect the entire team.  Jake definitely should have kept his emotions in check; he didn’t have the authority to harshly reprimand them.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Team Production and Gift Exchange

I found the experiment in the article involving the marbles and the children very interesting.  The first example that came to mind of working as a team would be in school projects.  It has been my experience that, in college, the members of the team are usually all willing to do their fair share of work.  It wouldn’t be fair if one person did most of the work, but shared the grade with their partners.  I’m sure this has happened to most people in a school project at some point, and I personally wasn’t happy sharing a grade with other members if they didn’t deserve it.  To combat this, some teachers put in a place a peer review system where you could hold your team mates responsible, and grade them on how much they participated or helped the team.   This definitely provides more incentive for all members to participate, but for my projects in high school I don’t think it was ever implemented.  Thus, most of the workload fell to the more responsible students.  It’s strange, because I would think that the peer review system is even less necessary in college, as most people here are more ambitious and eager to learn than some of my classmates in high school. 
In one of my classes, the project grade had two parts: one for the project itself, and the other for the peer review grade.  Without this peer review, there is no way for students to be in control of who shares the wealth after the project is completed.  They are simply left most of the work but receive the same grade, which could stimulate feelings of unfairness and resentment towards other students. 
This may be projected on to a larger scale with the economy, to explain why the rich are uncomfortable sharing more of their wealth.  This could come down to plain greed (which wouldn’t be represented by my school project example), but they could also be under the impression that they worked much harder to gain their money, and therefore deserve it.  Do they?  If someone is working as many hours and is just as stressed out but receives a much lower wage, is that fair?

Going back to my example, it’s possible students wouldn’t participate because they weren’t comfortable with the course material, not because they were lazy.  I think there is a connection here with low wage earners who simply don’t have the capacity to be an executive.  They may work as hard to do their job, but they’ll never reach the 1% because of other challenges they face (e.g. where they grew up, their family situation).  The top earners know this, some decide to share...but a lot do not want to.  The article stated that 70% of the children who believed that they earned their marbles did not share when asked.  I’m not sure what percentage of adults would be willing to give up their marble, but it’s very interesting to think about.