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Establishing Covid19 safe work practices during the pandemic

1. Identify relevant legislation and legislative frameworks for the following workplace problems. Fill in the table:

Workplace problem

Relevant legislation / Legislative framework

Reason for your choice

Establishing Covid19 safe work practices during the pandemic

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 will be the ideal framework in this case

The situation demands maintenance of the physical wellbeing of the team members. The legislation defines the range of protocols related to the overall safety of the team members (1). The legislation will act as a critical reference to maintain the overall hygiene practices within the workplace. The employers should ideally refer to the duty of care obligations recommended by the legislation.  The mandates will be aligned with government directives.

A worker claims his Australian colleagues, who are under qualified and have less experience are being promoted at work but he/she is not.

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 will be the legal framework in this case

The legislative framework focuses on uniformity of access to resources, growth opportunities and facilities provided by the management of the organization (2). In this case, the worker had claimed that they are not being offered promotion, despite being qualified and experienced. In this case, the perceived discrimination can be addressed through the legal framework. The worker can refer to the legislation to address the unfair treatment and seek legal action against the management.

Two front of house receptionists at a medical centre are sharing private patient information in front of other patients

The Privacy Act 1988 will be applicable in this case

The legislation prioritizes confidentiality in terms of collecting, maintaining and distribution of data related to patients (3). The legislation is particularly applicable in the healthcare sector. In this case, the receptionists represent the healthcare organisation. The sharing of confidential data can be considered a breach of privacy. The management will be within the legal rights to take action against the employees in question. The legal framework will act as a set of guideline and mandates in this case.

2. What type of organisational policy would be applicable to deal with the following workplace scenario and why?

 Scenario: Maria is a professional, hard-working receptionist. Customers and colleagues think highly of her. Her workplace has a “casual Friday” policy. In the last month, 2 customers have complained about Maria’s inappropriately revealing clothes when they were served by her. Both complaints were made on Fridays.  

Organsational policies should ideally be designed to serve the best interests of all the stakeholders. The stakeholders, in this context, comprise of both the internal and external members of the organisation. In this case, the range of stakeholders will include both the employees and the consumers. The scenario reveals that two customers, on separate occasions, had complained against Maria’s dressing sense on Fridays. The organisation allows the employees to dress casually on Fridays. From this perspective, Maria is within her rights to dress as per her convenience on those particular days. However, the repeated complaints by the customers provide scope of revising the policy, in terms of codes of conduct.

 The organisational policy related to codes of conduct will be applicable in this case. The codes of conduct of an organisation generally assess the perception or impression created by the team members on the other members (4). In this case, the overall impression created by Maria on the two customers had been negative. The management should revise the code of conduct of the organisation, particularly in case of the dressing protocols on Fridays. There should be certain guidelines regarding dressing code that should be followed by the team members. The code of conduct should be modified to prevent similar negative feedback in the long run. In this case, Maria could not be penalized for any breach in code of conduct. The employee had acted as per the guideline of the organisation. However, Maria, along with other employees, should be made aware of the new restrictions in dressing during Fridays.

3. Describe 2 (two) critical thinking techniques and 2 (two) creative thinking techniques 

Reflection is one of the critical thinking techniques. Reflective process helps to reassesses an experience. The strategic objective of critical thinking is to assess the best practices and scopes of improvement (5). The reflective thinking process helps to analyze the entire experience and evaluate the range of key learning. The critical thinking process also helps to reflect the change in mind-set and thought process after the experience. Most importantly, reflective thinking helps to identify the action plan for future. The goal is to avoid the past mistakes and retain the best practices while designing the action plan. Observation is one of the significant techniques of critical thinking. Observation involves active assessment of the action and decision-making styles of the individuals in the immediate environment (6).  The observation reveals the effectiveness of the action and decision made by the individuals. The result of the observed action provides scope of critical thinking. An individual can identify the best practices and the limitations of the decisions made by the observed individuals. Analysis of the merits and demerits of the observed action helps to create future action plan.

A worker claims his Australian colleagues, who are under qualified and have less experience are being promoted at work but he/she is not.

 Brainstorming is one of the most common creative thinking techniques. Brainstorming involves an exchange of ideas, feedback, opinions and insights within a group (7). The exchange helps to develop creative ideas through collaborated effort. Moreover, the process expands the scope of idea generation. The presence of multiple members introduces fresh perspective in the overall creative thinking process. The members can also validate and counter the creative ideas shared by peers and colleagues. The process helps in filtering and further streamlining of the creative ideas through discussion. Storyboarding is considered one of the most effective creative thinking techniques. The techniques involve graphical representation of the various elements of a creative idea (8). Storyboarding is generally considered a group activity. The graphical correlation of the various key aspects helps to determine the cause, effect and potential impact of the various planned strategies. Overall, storyboarding helps to assess the feasibility of the entire creative process.

4. What is 1 (one) advantage and 1 (one) risk involved in the development of solutions for identified workplace problems?

The significant advantage is that identification allows the management to assess the range of resources required for problem-solving (9). Identification of the resources provides concrete idea regarding the timeline and investment associated with the problem-solving techniques. The range of resources, in this context, involves financial, human and infrastructure related aspects. The management might identify that the internal resources of the organisation are not adequate to solve the identified problems. In that case, the management has to generally rely on collaboration or consultation with external agents with specific expertise. Moreover, assessment of the resources may reveal that an organisation may need to realign the internal resources. The internal resources, in this context, may include the organisational culture, knowledge and skill levels of employees, policies, among other aspects. The assessment will allow the management to address these issues through specific strategies. Therefore, monitoring of the workplace problems helps the management to identify the scopes of improvement and maximize the available internal resources. The identification also provides concrete idea regarding the feasibility of the consulting external resources.

One of the key risks of developing solution is inaccurate assessment of the feasibility. The management ideally considers a range of alternatives for an identified problem within the workplace. The problem-solving process involves comparison of the feasibility and the overall risk involved with each of the alternatives (10). The significant risk, at this stage, is the error in assessing the overall feasibilities of the solutions. The management may consider a solution to be feasible, in terms of the overall positive impact in the workplace. However, certain issues may arise during the implementation stage. The members of the organisation may express resistance in accepting the changes. The resistance by the team members may result in major challenges for the management. In such cases, the planned solution may get delayed. The implementation stage may also reveal inadequacies in terms of knowledge base of the team members. The internal members may not have adequate skill set to execute the planned solutions. Each of these risks is associated with inadequacy of the resources and can lead to significant challenges in the long run.

Two front of house receptionists at a medical centre are sharing private patient information in front of other patients

5. What barriers affect effective decision-making processes?

One of the key barriers in decision-making process is the lack of clarity among the management representatives (11). The management representatives may not be entirely certain regarding the scale and intended result of the change. Moreover, there may be uncertainties regarding the overall time and financial investment towards the planned change. The conflicts among the various levels of management can offer another significant barrier in terms of decision-making. Conflict among the management members can result in indecision and overall delay of the implementation plan. The uncertainties can also lead to stagnancy of the decision-making process in the long run.

The decision-making process can be affected due to the lack of adequate resources (12). The resources, in this context, may be financial or workforce related. The lack of resources can result in reassessment of the implementation plan. Moreover, an organization may fail to acquire the required resources from external sources. In such cases, the overall decision-making may face contingency. The lack of resources can halt the progress of a planned change in the long run. The critical issue, in this case, may create stagnancy in terms of available options.  

The management may not have adequate data to support decision-making. Data, in this case, include a range of factors. The data may involve knowledge about the skill-set and knowledge base of the stakeholders. The management may also face dilemma regarding the potential impact of a decision. The lack of historical data can be one of the factors, in this case. The historical data may involve risk associated with the decision, profit and benefits associated with the strategies, among others. The lack of these data will create barriers in terms of decision-making.

The lack of cooperation from the internal team members can be one of the significant barriers of decision-making. Ideally, the effective implementation of decision involves collaboration with all the involved stakeholders (13). The management needs to explain the rationale of the decision to the relevant stakeholders of the workplace. Disagreement and lack of collaboration will create challenges for the overall decision-making process.

6. Describe sources of relevant information used to deal with an identified issue during the decision making process

One of the significant sources of information is the managers from various important departments of the organization (14). The team leaders can collaborate with the higher management and identify the potential solutions related to the identified issues. The team leaders generally have a practical idea about the actual and potential capacities of the team members. The idea, in this context will help to offer an optimal solution that may address the identified issues. The feedback by the team leaders will be a useful source to identify the constraints associated with decision-making in the long run.

The best practices adopted across the industry can be a relevant source of information. Competitor analysis often reveals the range of effective strategies that are being adopted by the rival organisations (15). The management of the workplace can assess the feasibility of adopting those strategies to address the identified issues of decision-making. The management can further identify the range of resources, equipment and budget allocated by the competitors to implement the strategies. The concrete information, in this case, will help to plan the implementation process accordingly.

Assessing and Revising Organizational Policies

Assessment of the historical data of the organisation can be a significant source of information. The strategic analysis may reveal effective approaches adopted by the management during similar issues in the decision-making process. The management, in this context, can assess the feasibility of replicating the approach in the current context. Moreover, the information can reveal the degree of success associated with the implementation of the strategies in the past. This information will provide the management with a reasonable idea about the efficacy of the identified strategy.

The feedback from the clients or customers can be considered a feasible source of information for the management. Customer feedback can offer fresh perspective to the management. Moreover, brainstorming session with the team members can help in developing creative solutions to the issues (16). The team members are aware of the ground realities and can therefore offer focused solution that ensure win-win situation for all the involved parties.

7. What is a feedback register and why is it important to follow organisational requirements for development and presentation of feedback register?

Feedback register is a systematic process of collecting the range of opinions, insight and feedback by the various significant stakeholders of the organisation. The stakeholders, in this context, consist of both internal and external members. The employees or the internal members of the organisation can provide feedback, based on a range of critical criteria. The criteria may include leadership policies, safety policies and protocols, opinions regarding shift timing and work hours, among others. The range of information is categorically stored in the feedback register to provide concrete idea regarding scope of information to the management. The feedback register is also utilized to collate the opinions shared by the customers, who are the key external stakeholders of the organisation (17). The customers can categorically provide information based on pre-determined criteria. The range of criteria includes the quality of service, behavior and conduct of the staff members, efficiency, quality control, among other aspects. The range of information provides the management with the scope of retaining best practices and deciding on scopes of improvement in the long run.

The organisation generally establishes certain protocols regarding the development and maintenance of the feedback register (17). The components of the feedback register may vary, based on the nature of the business. For instance, for a service oriented firm, the consumer feedback will be focused on the Turnaround Time (TAT), service quality, conduct of the front office staff, among other aspects. An organisation may require team members to implement critical operations in the on-site locations. In this case, the feedback from the team members will prioritize the overall safety and hazard standards of the organisation, For a product oriented organisation, the feedback register documents the overall feedback related to distribution and consistent product quality by the customers. Therefore, the development and the presentation of the feedback register may vary significantly across organisations. It is critical to follow the protocols related to the designing of the feedback registers. The categorization of the various segments of the contents of feedback register is generally aligned with the overall business operations and welfare of the specific stakeholders.

Critical Thinking Techniques

8. What are the steps involved in the approval process to implement a workplace solution? 

The approval process follows a range of critical steps. The significant steps of the approval process are as follows :

In the initial phase, the team member or the designated manager defines the scope of the task (18). The task definition primarily includes the nature of the task and the overall impact on the business processes.  The feasibility of resources, estimated budget and manpower requirements are also assessed in the preliminary task definition phase.

The next significant step is to create parameters associated with approval. The approval parameters include a range of criteria. One of the critical criteria is the associated timeline of the task. The approver should assess the feasibility of the timeline and share their decision accordingly. The other parameters include training and skill development requirements, among others.

The next phase involves delegation of the task. Ideally, the task has to be delegated among the members who have the relevant expertise (19). The delegation and chain of command associated with the task has to be ascertained. The delegation parameters should also be considered one of the critical aspects of approval process.

The details of the task are shared with the approver who will be the initial decision-maker. The approver, in this case, will have the authority to approve or reject the task. Moreover, the approver may instruct to modify certain aspects of the task and present the details for further consideration.

The approval from the initial decision-maker will be followed by the second-level approver. The approver, in this case, is a representative of the higher management.

The final phase of the process involves the execution of the task, based on the parameters provided by the manager. The final execution depends on the approval from the second-level approver.

References

(1) Safeworkaustralia. Model WHS laws [Internet]. Safeworkaustralia. 2022 [cited 31 March 2022]. Available from: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/law-and-regulation/model-whs-laws


(2) Legislation.wa. WALW - Equal Opportunity Act 1984 - Home Page [Internet]. Legislation.wa.gov.au. 2022 [cited 31 March 2022]. Available from: https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_30


(3) Fairwork.gov. Workplace privacy [Internet]. Fairwork.gov. 2022 [cited 31 March 2022]. Available from: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/tools-and-resources/best-practice-guides/workplace-privacy


(4) Industrialrelations. Workplace Policies and Procedures Checklist [Internet]. Industrialrelations. 2022 [cited 31 March 2022]. Available from: https://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/employers/nsw-employer-best-practice/workplace-policies-and-procedures-checklist/


(5) Rodham K, Bains K, Westbrook J, Stanulewicz N, Byrne-Davis L, Hart J, Chater A. Rapid review: Reflective Practice in crisis situations.


(6) Sprinkle TA, Urick MJ. Three generational issues in organizational learning: Knowledge management, perspectives on training and “low-stakes” development. The Learning Organization. 2018 Feb 5.


(7) Ritter SM, Mostert NM. How to facilitate a brainstorming session: The effect of idea generation techniques and of group brainstorm after individual brainstorm. Creative Industries Journal. 2018 Sep 2;11(3):263-77.


(8) Schiffhauer B, Seelmeyer U. Responsible Digital Transformation of Social Welfare Organizations. InDigital Transformation of Learning Organizations 2021 (pp. 131-144). Springer, Cham.


(9) Fjeldstad ØD, Snow CC. Business models and organization design. Long range planning. 2018 Feb 1;51(1):32-9.


(10) Sahebjamnia N, Torabi SA, Mansouri SA. Building organizational resilience in the face of multiple disruptions. International Journal of Production Economics. 2018 Mar 1;197:63-83.


(11) Lu M, Shen ZJ. A review of robust operations management under model uncertainty. Production and Operations Management. 2021 Jun;30(6):1927-43.


(12) Fang R, Liao H, Yang JB, Xu DL. Generalised probabilistic linguistic evidential reasoning approach for multi-criteria decision-making under uncertainty. Journal of the Operational Research Society. 2021 Jan 2;72(1):130-44.


(13) Amjad A, Rehman M. Resistance to change in public organization: Reasons and how to overcome it. European Journal of Business Science and Technology. 2018 Jul 31;4(1):56-68.


(14) Di Benedetto CA, Lindgreen A, Storgaard M, Clarke AH. How to collaborate really well with practitioners. Industrial Marketing Management. 2019 Oct 1;82:1-8.


(15) Hatzijordanou N, Bohn N, Terzidis O. A systematic literature review on competitor analysis: status quo and start-up specifics. Management Review Quarterly. 2019 Nov;69(4):415-58.


(16) Kudyba S, Fjermestad J, Davenport T. A research model for identifying factors that drive effective decision-making and the future of work. Journal of Intellectual Capital. 2020 Apr 21.


(17) Križo P, Madzík P, Vilgová Z, Sirotiaková M. Evaluation of the most frequented forms of customer feedback acquisition and analysis. InInternational Conference on Knowledge Management in Organizations 2018 Aug 6 (pp. 562-573). Springer, Cham.


(18) Henry E, Ottaviani M. Research and the approval process: The organization of persuasion. American Economic Review. 2019 Mar;109(3):911-55.


(19) Mueller J, Melwani S, Loewenstein J, Deal JJ. Reframing the decision-makers’ dilemma: Towards a social context model of creative idea recognition. Academy of Management Journal. 2018 Feb;61(1):94-110.

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