An Exploration of Managerial Skills and Organizational Climate in the Educational Services

By Punia, Vandana; Punia, B. K. et al. | Journal of Services Research, April 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

An Exploration of Managerial Skills and Organizational Climate in the Educational Services


Punia, Vandana, Punia, B. K., Dhull, Indira, Journal of Services Research


THE THEMATIC FRAMEWORK

The business environment conditions are likely to witness increasing volatility in the coming years and to balance the local and global challenges the economies are relying more and more on the service sector. Even the fastest growing segment of the US economy and other developed nations are dominated by services. In the Indian economy today the domination of the sector can be testified from the fact that its contribution to our national income is more than half. Service is the fastest growing sector witnessing growth. In such a situation of precariousness, gaining competitive advantage and professional excellence will be the major guiding forces in all type of organizations including the services sector. Within the services sector educational services come at the core while setting the pace for rest of the sectors. Education as a service can be said to be fulfilling the need for learning, and acquiring knowledge, by providing an intangible benefit (increment in knowledge, aptitude, professional expertise, skills) procured with the help of a tangible (infrastructure) and intangible (faculty expertise and learning) means, and where the buyer of service does not get any ownership (Ravi Shanker, 2002). Education, like most 'pure' services is intangible and evaluation of the same is obtained normally by judging service content and the service delivery system and wherein precise standardization is difficult as it is procured as a shopping service or speciality service. Therefore understanding whether a service is bought for instrumental motive (i.e. as a means to an end) or for an expressive motive (as an end in itself) may provide useful insight for service designers (Swan and Pruden, 1977). However irrespective of any design or framework, competitive advantage and professional excellence fundamentally depends upon the managerial skills of the educational administrators and the prevailing organizational climate.

Conceptually the term 'skill' means the ability to complete the specific task successfully, and an acquired or learnt ability to translate knowledge into performance. It is important to remember here that the individuals are not universally competent and their performance may vary according to a situation. Key component of ability include taskrelevant education (formal and informal training that facilitates the successful completion of the specific task); task-relevant experience (prior work experience that contributes to the successful completion of the task); and task-relevant skills (proficiencies that enhance the successful completion of the task) (Hersey and Blanchard, 1995). Hence the skills occupy a prime seat because an individual needs specific training and coaching in order to develop an ability to solve problems. However, developing skills require an attitude which cannot be learnt overnight. To analyze the performance of his fellow colleagues an educational administrator has also to confirm whether they have the knowledge, skills and experience for task performance. This very analysis requires an administrator to be a multi-skilled personality. The managerial skills as such can be classified as skills according to levels of management i.e. technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills, and skills according the managerial functions i.e. planning, organising, leading and controlling skills. Within the gamut of these two categories, there are certain skills which are of prime significance for an educational manager, which is why the paper has limited its scope of study to only three managerial skills viz. problem solving styles, locus of control and conflict handling styles.

Every organization has a distinctive climate which to a large extent reflects the personality of institutional head. Organizational climate is a set of attributes specific to a particular organization that may be induced from the way that organization deals with its members and its environment. …

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