Management Attributes and Skills




SUBJECT NAME: Management Attributes and Skills




This is an Open Book exam.


You do not require a separate answer booklet. Please type your responses in the space provided.

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Total marks for this exam is 60 marks.

This exam is worth 60% of the total grade for this subject.

This exam consists of two sections.


This section consists of 2 compulsory questions. Answer BOTH questions. Each question accounts for 15 marks. Total 30 marks for this section. As a guide, your answer should be approximately 150 – 200 words.

Question 1 (15 marks)

Planned change is often considered ideal. Do you think unplanned change could be effective? Discuss. Can you think of an example?

[Answer here]

Planned changes happen where the management consciously makes any efforts for change for some particular problems. They are quite effective since they are structured in the best manner possible and coordinated as per the employee’s abilities and potential to change. On the contrary, unplanned changes take place randomly with no definitive intent of the management to find solution to a problem. However, the unplanned changes can also be highly effective for organisations and its managers/employees as it is primarily responded by the management by applying their creativity and innovative skills. When leaders promote generation of new creative ideas and instill lateral thinking culture within the organisation, unplanned changes starts out which are useful for improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of organisations. For example, with the advent of covid pandemic, countries had to go into lockdown and businesses were shut. But the organisations responded quickly to this by promoting a work from home culture and schools and universities going into the digital forum. Even Universal Business School had to start conducting online lectures and online exams – an unplanned change handled effectively by use of technology and employees strong culture to adaptability.

Question 2 (15 marks)

Discuss the relationship between team cohesiveness and performance. As a leader, can you think of specific ways you would encourage norms of cohesiveness and collaboration?

[Answer here]

Team cohesiveness is the level of interpersonal connections between the team members such that they are attracted towards the team and motivated to stay in it. It is the bond of the team which allows them to participate in the team tasks and be motivated to achieve team goals. Therefore, strong team cohesiveness improves team performance. Team performance is the completion of the objectives or goals set by the team. A cohesive team feels happy when the team performs and targets are met.

In simple terms, team performance is a consequence of team cohesiveness. A cohesive team provides greater productivity. It promotes strong employee energy and creativity from members where members are highly satisfied from their team which encourages them to work more freely and effectively towards the set tasks.

The specific ways to encourage norms of cohesiveness can be:

i. Setting out shared values and missions where individual goals and values are aligned to team’s goals and values.

ii. Foster a culture of open communication or collaboration and strong, clear & continuous team interaction with resolve of any conflicts.

iii. Promote culture of valuing everyone’s contribution for increasing their personal attraction to the team.

iv. Encouraging team building activities to empower team members and build a team on trust and faith.

v. Provide adequate training & development opportunity to improve competency and skills of members at same level.


This section contains one case study with 2 compulsory questions. Answer BOTH questions. Each question accounts for 15 marks. Total 30 marks for this section. As a guide, your answer should be approximately 150 – 200 words per question.


AmeliaLassiter is chiefinformationofficer at WaitePharmaceuticals,alargeCalifornia-basedcompany. In anindustrywhereit generallytakes,$500 million andaround 12 years tobringanewdrugtomarket, companies such asWaitearealwayslookingfor ways toincreaseproductivity and speed thingsup. After about eight months on thejob,Lassiter suggestedtocompany’s president James Hsu that Waiteimplement anew global knowledge-sharing applicationthat promisestocut development timeandcostsinhalf.Shehas done extensive researchonknowledge-sharingsystemsandhastalked closely with an ITdirectoratglobalpowerhouseNovartis, acompany onthecuttingedgeinpharmaceuticalsandanimalhealthcare, aswellasotherdiverseproducts.The Novartisdirectorbelievestheknowledge-sharingsystemplays animportantroleinthatcompany’s competitiveness.

Hsupresented hisidea tothe board of directors, andeveryoneagreed topursue the project.HehasaskedLassitertoinvestigatefirmsthatcouldassistWaite’sITdepartmentin developing and implementing a global knowledge-sharing application thatwouldbe compatiblewithWaite’s existingsystems.Hsu explainedthathewantstopresenttheinformation totheBoardofDirectorsforadecisionnextmonth.

Lassiter identified three major firms that she believed could handle the work and tooka summary ofher findings to Hsu’s office, where Lucy Lee, a young attractive woman who served as a sort of an executive assistant to Hsu, greeted her. Word wasthat therelationshipbetweenLeeandHsuwastotallyproper,butbesidesthevalueofhergoodlooks,no one inthe companycouldunderstand why shewasworkingthere. Herlack oftalentandexperiencemade her aliability more thanahelp. She was very deferentialto Hsubut condescending to everyone else. Lee was a constant source of irritation and ill will among managersthroughoutthecompany,butthere was no doubt that theonly way togetto Hsu wasthrough Lucy Lee. Lee took the informationfromLassiter andpromised the presidentwouldreviewitwithintwodays.

The next afternoon, Hsu called Lassiter to his office and asked why Standard Systems, a smalllocal consultingfirm,wasnotbeing considered asapotentialprovider. Lassiterwassurprised – Standardwasknownprimarilyforhelpingsmallcompaniescomputerizetheiraccountingsystems.Shewasnot aware thattheyhaddone any workrelatedtoknowledge sharing applications, particularly on a global basis. Uponfurther investigation intothe company, she learnedthatan uncle of Lucy Lee’s owned Standard, andthingsbegantofallinto place.Fortunately, shealsolearnedthat thefirmdid havesomelimitedexperiencein morecomplexapplications. Shetriedto talkprivately withHsu about hisreasons forwantingto consider Standard, but Hsu insisted that Lee participate in allhisinternalmeetings.At theirmostrecentmeeting,Hsu insisted thatStandardbe included for possibleconsiderationby theboard.

Duringthenexttwoweeks,representativesfromeachcompanymetwithHsu,histwo top executives)andtheITstafftoexplain their services and demonstrations.Lassiter had suggestedthattheboardofdirectorsattendthesepresentations, butHsusaidtheywould nothavethetimeandhewouldneedtoevaluateeverythingandmakearecommendationtotheboard.At the endof these meetingsLassiterpreparedafinalreportevaluatingthepros andconsofgoingwitheach firmandmakingherfirst andsecond choicerecommendations. Standard was dead last onher list.Although thefirm had some excellentpeople anda goodreputation,itwassimplynotcapableofhandlingsuchalarge andcomplexproject.

Lassiter offeredtopresentherfindingstotheboard,but again,Hsudeclinedher offerinthe interest of time. “It’s best if I present them with a final recommendation; that way we canmove ontoother matterswithout gettingboggeddownwith alotofquestionsand discussion. These arebusypeople.” The boardmeetingwasheld the following week. Lassiterwasshockedwhen thepresident returnedfromthe meetingand informed herthattheboardhaddecidedtogowith StandardSystems as the consulting firmfortheknowledge-sharingapplication.

Question 3 (15 marks)

Discuss the types, sources, and relative amount of power for Lassiter, Hsu and Lee in this case.

[Answer here]

In the given case, Lassiter, the Chief Information officer at Waite Pharmaceuticals has an Expert Power (Soft Power). This power is the result of the relevant skills and expertise she possess. The subordinates in the organisation will follow her recommendations because she is a true expert leader with regard to the task performed by her.

Here, Hsu, the President of Waite Pharmaceuticals has Legitimate Power (Hard Power). This power arises from the formal position of authority given to a leader. Hsu has a relatively higher power compared to the other two characters Lassiter and Lee as both work under him and are required to report to him. He has a direct communication with the board of directors and can influence them with his recommendations as seen with the approval of Standard Systems.

Lastly, Lee has a Referent Power (Soft power). This power arises from her personality characteristics where she influences her followers by her admiration. She has a relatively higher amount of power than Lassiter as she has a greater influence of Hsu who is acting on the commands of Lee. This is evident when he denies recommendations of Lassiter who is an expert in this area and makes recommendation for Standard Systems as selected/requested by Lee.

Question 4 (15 marks)

How might Lassiter have increased her power and influence over this decision? If you were in her position, what would you do now?

[Answer here]

Amelia Lassiter must politics and influence to gain power in the organisation so as to gain power in this decision. She must make use of her expert knowledge to develop allies and influence them with her skills. She must directly ask Hsu to change his recommendations and be forceful at the right time. When more employees in the organisations follow her, she can use the influences to emulate their leader. Also, she can use communication means to gain power with regard to this decision. She can make a written recommendation (email it to him) about the companies to Hsu, also mentioning the cons of selecting Standard Systems and how it can cause the project to fail. This can serve as an evidence for her report and persuade Hsu that he would be directly responsible for the failures when Standard Systems is selected based on his recommendation. She can also try to communicate directly with the board of directors and use rational persuasion to influence them by using facts and logical arguments.


[Extra writing/working space if required]