Business and Communication System

This involves few information in each topic on Administration, Human Resources and Communication

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  • Created by: Trinh
  • Created on: 12-06-11 17:00

Different Levels within a Business

1) Directors- They are responsible for the business's strategy.

2) Managers- They organise the carrying out of the directors' strategy

3) Supervisors- They usually look after specific projects or small amount of operatives.

4) Operatives- They are not responsible for other staffs. They're often given specific tasks to perform by managers or supervisors

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Organisation Charts

1) Hierarchical chart- This is structured in layers. The directors are in the top layer while the operatives are in the bottom layer. This will be difficult for the directors to communicate with the operatives due to lots of layers

2) Flat Hierarchical Chart- This is structured in fewer layers. This structure will bring more communication and it's clearer but the mangers might get overwhelmed if they are in charge of too many people

3) Matrix Chart- Groups of operatives working uder two or more managers. This is designed to encourage flexiblility but it will be a real problem if two managers give out the same project

4) Circular Chart- Arranges employees in circles. The idea of the structure is that no one is at the bottom but this can make the employees feel unimportant.

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Four main activities in Administration

1) Storing- Information cna be stored for future use using either electronic or paper-based filing systems

2) Processing- Information can be processed to generate new information, e.g. Sales figures can be precessed to help decide future production levels.

3) Retrieving- Stored information often needs to be retrieved and used again, e.g. Last year's sales figures might be needed so they can be compared to this year's.

4) Disseminating- Information often needs to be distributed to other people and organisations. This could be done verbally, in writing, in graphs and charts...

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The Tax System

A business's accountant needs accurate information to look after a firm's finances. For example, financial records are important when it comes to paying business taxes. 

Value Added Tax (VAT)- This is the difference between the price a business charges for its products and the amount they cost to make. Businesses need accurate records of what's been paid to suppliers and received from customers.

Income Tax and National Insurance- These depends on how much employees are paid, so a business needs accurate records of how much it pays its workers.

Corporation Tax- How much profit a business makes. Once again, accurate sales figures and records of the firm's total spending are essential.   

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Planning

Planning is about making decisions for the future. It involves several stages

1) Identify your objectives. This means knowing what it is you want to achieve and when you need to achieve it by. 

2) Break the project down into separate tasks. Work out the individual tasks involved in completing the project. Prioritise the task- decide on the order these tasks will need to be performed in, e.g which ones need to be started right now? Can any be left until later?

3) Estimate the time needed for each task.

4) Identify the resources needed. This includes estimating materials, equipment, staff and money

5) Think about how the project is affected by people outside the firm.  

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Efficient Use of Resources

Efficiency means getting big results from few resources. Efficiency is all about achieving your aims using as few resources as possible. An inefficient business may achieve its aims, but waste a lot of resources along the way, e.g. A firm that uses few resources but fails to achieve what it was trying to do is also inefficient.

Work Areas and Equipment should be efficient. The buildings and equipment a firm uses can have a big impact on its efficiency...

1) If a building is too large for the firm's needs, it will waste lots of money on rent, lighting and heating (especially if the rooms are badly insulated). HOWEVER, a growing business needs premises it can "grow into". Premises that is too small may mean the firm will soon need to relocate (which can be expensive)

2) The design and layout of buildings and work areas can affect efficiency too. Employees need easy access to equipment they use often (e.g. Printers). 

3) But firms need to find a balance. For example, a firm could save its employees time if it bought them each a printer to put on their desk. 

4) Choosing equipment also involves a similar kind of balance. For instance, buying cheaper computers may save money in the short term. But if they can't cope with the needs of the business, they'll be inefficient. This may cost the firm more in the long run.

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Office Layout

There are two main types of office layout.

Open-plan Offices - An open- plan office is one large space containing many desks. Open-plan offices:

  • Are cheap
  • Can improve communication since everyone is together in one room  
  • Can easily to supervise staff (managers often work in the same office

BUT

  • The environment can be noisy 
  • There will be less privacy
  • Sicknesses and infections can spread like wildfire in an environment like an open office plan. When flu season hits, you can bet that most employees will catch it.
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Office Layout (continue)

Cellular Offices- Cellular offices are small for which employees can work on their own or in very small groups. In cellular offices:

  • Rooms can be locked in order to protect valuables or important documents
  • Staffs can work in a quiet environment
  • Staffs will be given privacy
  • Infections can't be easily spread

BUT

  • Managers will find it harder to supervise junior staffs
  • There will be less communication
  • The payment will be quite expensive
  • Employees might feel isolated
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Ergonomic Design

Businesses need to take care of their employees. Partly because there are laws that say they have to. Also partly because it's good business- people who are permanently uncomfortable won't be very efficient.

1) Office equipment can be ergonomically designed- this means they're designed to be comfortable, and easy to use. For example, some office chairs can be adjusted to suit the needs of different users. 

2) Poorly-designed equipment can lead to back pain, eye strain and repetitive strain injury. Health and safety laws require businesses to minimise the risk of these injuries- using ergonomically-designed equipment can help them to do this.

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Flexible Working

Some people have different working times. These types of working time are:

  • Flexi-time- Employees work a core time (usually 10am-4pm) then organise the rest of their hours as they please each week.
  • Job sharing- two or more people divide the working week between them. This allows people to arrange their working hours for their family or other commitments
  • Shift working- Some business needs to operate 24 hours a day. Shift workers still work a regular eight or ten hours each day, but could start work at 2pm, 8pm or even 2am.
  • Multi-skilling- Not so much a flexible working practice, but this involves training employees to carry out a wider range of tasks This gives flexibility both to a business and to the employees.
  • Peripheral workers- These are employees that can be brought in at short notice or to carry seasonal work. They work when the business is busy and needs extra help, and can be laid off when work is  
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Working in Different Places

Employers are sometimes flexible about where their employees work (as well as when they work). 

Teleworking- This is when people work away from their normal workplace (usually at home). The internet makes it possible for employees to transfer files and communicate easily from anywhere in the world. The good thing about it is that:

  • It reduces stress, while improving morale, work satisfaction and motivation
  • It save money (food, clothing, dry cleaning, bus, parking, fuel, highway tolls, insurance etc.)
  • It helps balance work and family or life

BUT

  • Some colleagues can be jealous, especially if they are refused the chance to telework
  • There might be isolation
  • There will not be a lot of communication between colleagues
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Working in Different Places Continue

Hot-Desking- Employees are not given their own special desks in an office. Instead, they sit at any free desk in an office (Sometimes in a work centre used by more than one organisation). The advantage of hot-desking is that:

  • It reduces the amount of space needed by an employer
  • It also reduces costs

BUT (lol there's always a but...)

  • It can make it harder to keep information a secret, since data is regularly transferred away from a firm's own network into the 'outside world'
  • It can be stressful because you'll never know where you're going to be working next
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Teleconferencing

Teleconferencing uses ICT to connect people in different locations using sound and/or video. 

  • Audio conferencing- This is a bit like having a telephone conversation, only with more people. Everyone can hear what the others are saying, but they can't see each other.
  • Video conferencing- This provides a video feed between the locations. Everyone can see and hear the others on monitors. 

Teleconferencing saves time and money on travelling to a meeting place- people can hold meetings without leaving their offices. But there could be a technical failure when trying to connect to different locations or during the conference. 

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Health and safety at work

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 means everyone is responsible for health and safety. 

Businesses have to:

  • Take precautions to minimise these risks
  • Provide protective clothings and equipment
  • Record workplace injuries in an accident book

Employees have to:

  • Act responsibly and take care of their and other people's safety
  • Carry out tasks as they've been trained to do
  • Report dangerous practices
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Health and safety at work Continue

1) Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) means aches, pains and muscle or tendon damage resulting from overuse of a keyboard or mouse. And circulation, fitness and back problems might result from sitting all day in front of a computer. These are longterm health problems.

2) Spending too long in front of a computer screen can cause eye strain and headaches. The Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 set out rules concerning the use of computers. The employers must:

  • Analyse workstations and reduce risks
  • Plan work routines so that employees can take periodic breaks from using a computer
  • Provide health and safety training and information 
  • Provide free eye-tests to all staff ho regularly use computers as part of their job
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Human 

Resources

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Patterns of Work- Full time and Part time

Employment can be full time or part time

1) Working full time usually means around 35-40 hours a week. Part-time staff work less than a full working week- usually between 10-30 hours per week

2) Some people prefer to have a full- time job, or need to work full time for financial reasons. Other people choose to work part time, so they can spend more time with family or on other interests. Many businesses are now more flexible about letting staff work around their family lives.

3) In 1997, the law was changed to give part-time and full-time workers equal employment rights. As a result, employees in the UK are now more willing to take on part-time positions

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Patterns of Work- Permanent and Temporary

A permanent contract of employment has no end date. The person stays at the firm unless:

  • They choose to leave
  • They're dismissed for misconduct
  • Their job is made redundant (YOU'RE FIRED)

A temporary contract is for a fixed period (which means they have an end date). If they want to still do the job the contract can be renewed. Temporary contracts can make it easier for the firm to employ people with particular skills for a particular period. This can make it easier to adjust the number of staff employed according to the circumstances of the business.

BUT

Temporary workers often have a less stable income. This can make it ore difficult to get loans or a mortgage

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Recruitment- Job Analysis

The job description says what the job involves. It includes the formal title of the job, it's main purpose, its main duties and any occasional duties. It also includes details of who the job holder will report to and whether they're responsible for managing other staff. It may include some performance targets. Here's an example:

The Necks Directory Ltd- Job Description

Job title: Full-time Vampire Operative
Reports to: Vampire Team Leader
Responsible for: Trainee Vampire Operatives
Main purpose of Job: Climb through people's windows at night and **** their blood.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To bite the necks of humans while they sleep
  • To wear a large black cape and cackle menacingly
  • May involve occasional travel to Count Dracula's castle for meetings
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Recruitment- Person Specification

The person specification describes the ideal person. They lists the qualifications, experience, skills and personal qualities needed for the job. They are sometimes divided into:

  • Essential criteria- things the candidate must have
  • Desirable criteria- things the candidate would ideally have. 

Here's an example:

Vampire operative- Person Specification

Essential: 5 GCSEs including Business Studies, NVQ Anatomy Level 3
Desirable: Two years of vampiring experience
Skills: Ability to climb through windows, bite necks, turn into a bat
Attitudes: Fear of daylight and must enjoy meeting new people

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Recruitment- Advertisement

The job can be advertised internally of externally. The advert should describe the job and the skills required. It will often state what the pay is, and what training and other benefits are offered. It must explain how the person should apply for the job. 

Internal advertising:

  • Adverts are usually put up on noticeboards or sent round to staff in the business
  • It's much cheaper, the post can be filled more quickly and the candidates will already know a lot about the firm
  • BUT, there will be no new ideas and the promotion will leave a vacancy to fill

External Advertising

  • Possible locations include local and notional newspapers, job centres, trade journals and employment agencies
  • The advert will be seen by more people
  • BUT, advertising in the national press is expensive
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Recruitment- The Selection Process

Candidates apply with a written application. A written application helps firms to decide which candidates match the person specification. 

  • A curriculum vitae (CV) is a summary of a person's personal details, skills, qualifications, experience and interests. It's designed to give the firm the basic facts. Almost all employers ask for a CV
  • An application form is designed by the firm and filled in by the applicant. It gives the firm the information it wants- and nothing else. This makes it easier to compare applications.
  • Most businesses now accept electronic versions of written applications. Some even have online application forms.

Candidates are usually short-listed in the following way:

  • Each candidate's application is read- sometimes by more than one person
  • The application is compared to the job description and person specification.
  •  The employers also look for a balance of skills and attitudes
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Employment Law

1) Contracts of employment and the minimum wage

  • Within two months of starting work, most employees must be told in writing information about pay, hours they're expected to work, holidays, pension schemes, and so on.
  • All staff should also have a copy of the firm's discipline procedure.
  • The government sets a national minimum wage for all workers, depending on their age. 

2) Anti-Discrimination laws

  • Employers must not discriminate against employees or candidates for employment: 
    • Gender (Sex Discrimination Act 1975)
    • Ethnicity (Race Relations Act 1976)
    • Disabilities (Disability Discrimination Act 2005)

3) Leaving Employment

  • Employees are also protected against unfair dismissal
  • This could be because they're incompetent, or are guilty of gross misconduct
  • Employees who think they have been unfairly dismissed or made redundant can usually appeal to can employment tribunal. 
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Staff Training

1) Induction training is for New staff.

  • This introduces the new employee to their workplace and should help to make the new employee feel welcome
  • This includes introducing them to their fellow workers and advising them of company rules 

2) On-the-job Training is learning by doing.

  • This is the most common form of training. The employee learns to do their job better by being shown how to do it, and then practising. It's also sometimes called internal training 
  • It's cost-effective for the employer because the employee works and learns at the same time.
  • A problem is the training is often given by colleagues- so bad working practices can be passed on.

3) Off-the-job training can be internal or external

  • This type of training happens when staff learn away from their workplace
  • If the firm has its own training department, it can still done internally. Training given by other organisations is called external training.
  • It's more expensive than on-the-job training and sometimes not as directly related to the job
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Financial Rewards- Wages

If people do more work their wages increase...

  • Wages= Paid weekly or monthly

Wages are calculated in on of two ways:

  • Time Rate
    • If a painter is paid £6 per hour and works 40 hours in a week their week's wage will be   £6 x 40 = £240
    • Time rate encourages people to work long hours
    • BUT, the problem is they also have an incentive to work slowly
  • Piece rate 
    • This is often used if a worker's output can be measured
    • Say a worker who sews sleeves onto shirts is paid a piece rate of 10p per sleeve. If they sew 2000 sleeves per week, their weekly wage will be £0.10 x 2000 = £200
    • Piece rate encourages people to work quickly- this may be a problem if they work so fast that quality starts to suffer. 
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Financial Rewards- Salary

Salary stays the same. 

Salary= a fixed amount paid every month

  • Salaries are usually paid to office staff and management who don't directly help to make the product. A salary of £24,000 per year means you're paid £24,000/ 12 months = £2000 per month. 
  • The advantage of a salary is that the business and workers both know exactly how much the pay will be.
  • A disadvantage is that it doesn't link pay directly to performance, so it doesn't encourage employees to work harder to earn more money

Some employers pay staff an overtime rate if they work extra hours on top of their normal working week, E.g. a painter who's normally paid £6 an hour might be paid £9 an hour to work at the weekend. With performance-related pay the amount employees earn depends on how well they work.

Commission is paid to sales staff. They earn a small basic salary and then earn more money for every item they sell.

A bonus is a lump sum added to pay, usually once a year. It's paid if the worker has met their performance tagets

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Financial Rewards

Changes in Pay are Sometimes worked out as percentages

  • Gross pay is the amount of money an employee is paid- their wage or salary. 
  • Net pay- The amount that an employee gets to keep after deductions
  • Rates of pay can change over time. People may be given pay rises, or paid extra to work overtime. Some deductions and changes in pay are calculated as percentages of gross pay. 
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Communication

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Purposes of communication

Communication involves the exchange of information

  • Communication involves sending information from a sender to a receiver
  • Messages are sent using a particular medium. Examples of media include: email, letter, phone...
  • The receiver of the message can send feedback to show they've received it and understood it. Feedback is important for judging how successful the communication has been

Choose the best method of communication

  • Written- Messages can be kept and read many times, so they're good for complex information
  • Oral- Messages are spoken. They're more personal, and good for getting immediate feedback
  • Visual- The Methods use involves images or body language (They express meaning quickly without words)
    • Pictorial methods use pictures (e.g. =) is a quick, informal way to express happiness).
    • Graphical methods use graphs, charts and diagrams to show technical information and data
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Purposes of communication Continue

Choose the right channel of communication


  • Internal Channel- Messages that don't leave the business 
  • External Channel- Messages that is sent to receivers outside the firm
  • Formal Channel- Normally used for official business, e.g. formal letters sent to suppliers, or job applicants
  • Informal channel- Less official, e.g. word-of-mouth messages
  • Confidential- Confidential messages (e.g. financial data) need to be private
  • Non-confidential- Messages that doesn't need to be private
  • Urgent Channel- Messages that are important needs to be delivered quickly

Choose the best medium

The medium means the 'equipment' you use to send the message- this will depend on the method and the channels of communication

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Internal Communication

Internal communication happens inside the firm. This communication can be between different layers of hierarchy or between people on the same layer.

GOOD internal communication means staff will be better informed about what is going on in the firm, improving their motivation. Communication between staff should also mean that they work together better and make fewer mistakes. These things should increase efficiency, productivity and levels of customer service. An efficient business with happy customers should make more profit

BAD internal communication can lead to employees feeling alienated- that their opinions are misunderstood or ignored. This isn't good for staff morale, productivity, the company or its customers- profits could suffer

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External Communication

External Communication is with people outside the firm.

  • Businesses need to exchange information with a wide range of stakeholders in the outside world.
    • Businesses communicate with their suppliers to agree the size, cost and delivery dates of orders
    • Businesses communicate with their customers in order to improve sales
  • When communicating with external receivers, firms need to make sure that the messages they send are delivered in an appropriate form for each type of receiver (as well as being clear and accurate)
  • Businesses also need to think carefully about the image they want to create for themselves
  • Good communication with customers is vital if a business is having a problem. For example, if a company won't be able to deliver something on time, it's usually best to tell the customer.
  • Bad external communication can cause misunderstandings, which could be pretty serious. For example, suppliers might deliver goods late (or the wrong goods) if they've misunderstood an order. Similarly, customers will be upset if their orders are delivered late, or if they feel they're not being listened to
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Barriers to Communication

Barriers can prevent good communication

  • Jargon- This is technical language to do with a particular subject. 
  • Noise- This could be traffic noise making it hard to hear a phone call. Or it might be visual noise- e.g. too much information on a page can make it hard to pick out the important points.
  • Poor choice of Channel or Medium- e.g. An urgent letter sent by second-class post may not get there in time. And complex information might be best written down, rather than spoken, so that the receiver doesn't forget any of it. 
  • Inappropriate Presentation- A message's presentation should be suitable for the audience, e.g. An advert should be easy to understand- if it's too complex, customers might lose interest.
  • Trust and Honesty- If the receiver thinks the sender is dishonest they may be suspicious about the content of the message
  • Cultural differences- Communicating internationally can be tricky. Foreign languages can easily be mistranslated
  • Emotional interference- e.g. If the sender and the receiver don't get on personally, it can affect how the communication is understood
  • The statues of the sender- People outside a business are often more likely to trust information if it comes from somebody who's high up in the organisation. 
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How the business use the internet

The internet creates all sorts of opportunities for firms

  • The internet is basically a huge network of computers covering the whole world
  • The World Wide Web (www) is a huge collection of websites that can be viewed by accessing the internet. To view these websites you need a web browser
  • Anyone can make a website- it can then be accessed by other computers elsewhere in the world, 24 hours a day

Websites can provide customer services

  • E-commerce means buying and selling products on the internet. Lots of companies let customers order goods online 24 hours a day. The goods can either be posted to the customer or for things like software and music, they can download it straight away
  • Websites can also provide technical support. For example, a lot of software updates are provided over the internet
  • Firms can also provide answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs). This can be convenient for customers. It also means the firm doesn't have to have employees answering the same questions over and over. 
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Advantages and Disadvantages of E-commerce

Advantages:

  • Faster buying/selling procedure, as well as easy to find products.
  • Buying/selling 24/7.
  • More reach to customers, there is no theoretical geographic limitations.
  • Low operational costs and better quality of services.
  • Customers can easily select products from different providers without moving around physically.

Disadvantages: 

  • Any one, good or bad, can easily start a business. And there are many bad sites which eat up customers’ money.
  • There is no guarantee of product quality.
  • Mechanical failures can cause unpredictable effects on the total processes.
  • As there is minimum chance of direct customer to company interactions, customer loyalty is always on a check.
  • There are many hackers who look for opportunities, and thus an ecommerce site, service, payment gateways, all are always prone to attack.
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Comments

Hannah-marie

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Georgina Ennis

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Ryan Bushell

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Emily

LIFE SAVER

anonymous

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AT

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Millie Hurst

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