In the chapter, ‘Managing Scarce Resources in Training and Project’, by Goldsmith and Busby is to give an insight on economic and management concepts for managing scarce resources such as people, time and money in training projects. The key question the authors are addressing is – how to manage these scarce resources? To address this question, the authors give information about two significant concepts such as supply and demand and the economic life cycle. These two concepts are based on the business environment or the economic conditions. Demand refers to the need for the training program and supply refers to the available resources. The rise and fall in the economic activity results in the economic cycle (Reiser and Dempesy, 2007, p.125, 127). The main inferences the authors are making in this chapter is that the application of these concepts will help the training manager to make good informed decisions and help to deal with scarcity and inefficiency. However, I believe, the success of a training project is based on the effective co-ordination of these scarce resources in the globalized environment. There are three reasons; I believe, the authors’ assumptions are weak with regard to the impact of Economic Cycle on the resources in a globalized environment.
Economic Condition and Economic Cycle Stages
First, the authors assume that, the economic conditions will be same all over the world and therefore, stages in the economic cycle will remain the same in all over the world. According to authors, the impact of each stage in the economic cycle can be measured by magnitude and duration of the cycle. The magnitude refers to the height and depth of the cycle. In other words the difference between starting point of the growth stage and its peak is the magnitude; duration refers to a length of time a cycle lasts. This change in the economic conditions will influence the magnitude and the duration of the cycle (Reiser and Dempesy, 2007, p.128). However, I believe the economic conditions are different in different countries; therefore the stages in the economic cycle are different. For example, the current economic recession is one stage in the economic cycle; Goldsmith and Busby call it, the decline stage. This recession (decline) has affected many countries including the US; however Chinese and Indian economies are not much affected in this current recession. In this situation a training project manager of a multinational company (production unit in different parts of the world. eg; IBM, GM) can efficiently coordinate the people, time and money from one country to another.
Adoption Time between Developed and Underdeveloped Countries
Secondly, the authors omit the possibility of adoption time of a business plan between developed countries and underdeveloped countries. According to the authors, the growth stage in the cycle has only one time duration, this is similar to the adoption and diffusion theory; S- curve shows a initial slow growth, a period of rapid adoption and a gradual leveling off of the product or service (Reiser and Dempesy, 2007, p.128). However, I believe in an interdependent globalized economy with different economies such as developed, developing and underdeveloped economy; I think when a training program in a developed country reaches the peak stage, the training program could be started anew in a developing country. For example, let’s assume that GM introduces a new training project with the launch of a new model car in the year 2000 in the US (Developed country). The growth period may end in 2005 ultimately reaching the peak stage. But, the same model and training project may be initiated in India (Developing country). The growth stage in this economic cycle starts in 2005 may end in 2010. Now the model and project can be introduced to an underdeveloped country in Africa in 2010. In the shift of training project from developed countries to developing countries (red line) the training project manager has to add some innovation in the training project based on the economic, political social and cultural situations in each country.
Diversity in work force
Finally, the economic cycle did not properly address the diversity in the work force. The heterogeneity in the work force is a big issue in managing training projects especially in a multinational company. Heterogeneity in the work force means diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, age (Robbins and Coulter, 2005). For example, in Arab world, women do not work as men. In this situation, the training project manager of multinational company has to efficiently coordinate the work force around the world. In addition, the availability of cheap labor is also another consideration. For example, according to Gartner, the wage of an American IT employee per hour is US$87 but at the same time to do the same job in India it costs only US$25 for an India employee (Huntley, H. 2005). In this case, the project manger has to consider the option of outsourcing. Furthermore, ageing population must also need to be addressed; Asians and Hispanics are the large percent of the work force. I think knowledge management is very crucial in this situation. Experienced project managers can transfer the knowledge to the younger generation through knowledge management system.
In conclusion, I do not ignore the interconnectedness of the world economy by technology; particularly via internet. According to T.Friedman, the world has become flat due to the technology (Friedman, T. 2006). I think, technology is helping the project manager effectively coordinate the resources. For example, in a big training project, the client may be in the US, but the support staff may be in India. Through technology, the project manager can provide support 24 hours by coordinating the support staff in a different part of the world. The function of call centers is an example. In the 21st century, countries have opened up their markets; companies and academic institutions are no longer constrained by the national boundaries; expanding their subsidiaries all over the world and facing challenges and opportunities. I believe efficient coordination of people money and time in accordance with the economic cycle and in this globalized environment will led to a good lag (the reduction in the disconnection between what is happening in the economy and our own organization(Reiser and Dempesy, 2007, p.129).
Friedman, T. (2006). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Huntley, H. (2005). Five reasons why offshore deals fail (Research No. G00127840)Gartner http://www.infoworld.com/d/developer-world/gartner-five-reasons-why-offshore-deals-go-bust-601.
Reiser, R., & Dempsey, J. (Eds.). (2007). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA: Prentice Hall.
Robbins, P. S., & Coulter, M. (Eds.). (2005). Management (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River,NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.