Competitive Advantage And Resources Management Management Essay

As its name implies, project management can be pictured as the administration of specialised task with a life cycle. Project management can be seen as a factor that underpins economic activities as culture does to an individual. Based on this, we can denote that project management will lead to achieve a well defined objective which is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. However project management helps to plan, schedule and control task which has to be done to achieve the objective of a project. As a matter of fact we will look at the key benefits which will be enhanced if the business projects are well managed.

Competitive Advantage

The 21st century market has become blurring in another word no one knows where competition is coming from. As a result of this, new ideas needs to be well managed in order to make business imitative fruitful and also gain competitive advantage in using non- rival resources input.

Resources Management

Resources allocated to the project team will be used effectively and efficiently as task will be well defined to team members. We can easily identify team role and allocate staff task according to their attributes (M. Belbin, 1981).

Time Management

In a religious context they will say time is reward but in business context time is money which is quiet true. An example of this could be related to labour cost which is paid based the number of hour and individual work for the business. Thus, project management will be very vital since various tools like Gantt charts and other schedule control method can be use to minimized time wasting.

Cost Saving

It is in no doubt, if any business want to maximise profit they have to minimise cost since profit can only be realise after Lessing total expenses incurred by the business. Therefore a well managed project will be more likely to use the budgeted expenditure which is also going to be favourable rather than producing adversely favourable outcome.

All in all, the above outlined key points lies at the hearth of project management viability and also can be viewed as the subject matter of why business organisation devote lots of time in managing project. Been the case, we will look at project management furthermore as how to recruit, select and train individuals in order to get the right people at the right place and at the right time.

Recruitment, Selection and Training

Recruitment is the process of identifying that the organization needs to employ someone up to the point at which application forms for the post have arrived at the organization. Selection then consists of the process involved in choosing from applicants a suitable candidate to fill a post .Training therefore consist of a range of processes involved in making sure that job holders have the right skills, knowledge and attitudes required for the organization to achieve its objectives .Recruiting individuals to fill posts within a business can be done either internally or externally to the organization.

In order to reduce the risk of recruiting from outside, company ensures that they select the right candidate with the right amount of skills (Carless, 2007). The company selection process involves various stages such as group discussion and tests. The tests will decide the aptitude and intelligence of the employees (Harris et al, 2003). Moreover, this will enhance the chance for Virgin Atlantic to select the right candidates for the post especially for those who are to bring the virgin factors in Singapore. Competency based interviews such as putting the candidates in to various psychometric tests and real work situations will select ideal candidates (Carless, 2007). The job description of the company decides the experience required for the job and these are also well communicated to the selectors.

Recruitment and selection in Virgin Atlantic gives a wide scope for the subject as the company is very selective. When the flight company as identifies the need for recruiting, they describes and specify the actual required skill sets for the job. After this is done they decide on their selection process which also includes various actual situational analyses in order to assess the candidates (Arthur, 2001). There are few basic skills they look for and this includes communication skills and an optimistic attitude towards work with excellent inter personal skills.

The first screening involves the assessment of airline skills. The recruitment process of Virgin Atlantic includes both internal and external recruitment and the vacancies which require more experience in the company will be filled by offering promotions or moving employees within the company (Arthur, 2001). Virgin Atlantic also has mixed technology in their recruitment process such as using the internet and setting up the career page on their website which is being updated with the new vacancies and this has proved to be very much cost effective to the company. Not to mention the implementation of the new process to manage applicant’s information for all airline vacancies the system is known as I-Grasp process.

The hiring process of Virgin Atlantic is also designed to maintain a diverse workforce in the company. The current diversity present in the company itself justifies the diversity of Virgin Atlantic. Equality on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, beliefs, religion, political beliefs, colour, nationality, ethnic origin or age is maintained and it is a part of the organisational culture of global company (Graham, 2006). Discrimination is not allowed on any grounds. The recruitment and selection process of virgin Atlantic is designed and developed aligned with these factors and therefore it maintains a diverse workforce in all respects (Graham, 2006).


Group TypesIn Virgin Atlantic, teamwork has become a relevant issue in project management as it is in recruitment, selection and training of their staff. According to Katzenbach and Smith, a team can be defined as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (M. Buelens et al, 2002). Virgin Atlantic as a global organisation serving diverge cross-cultural group in different geographical area, teamwork is known to be the wheel through which the business is formulated. As a result of this, group work is seen as a critical success factor to the company’s process of programme and project implementation. We will look at the theories and concepts behind Teamwork in relation to Virgin Atlantic operation. Basically, group can be either formal or informal depending on the basis in which the group if formed.







Interest Club

Task Group

Command Group

Formal Group

This can be defined as a team deliberately created by management for particular predetermined purposes (R. Bennett, 1991); this can also be attributed to an official job where a group of individuals works as a team for example a research team in a marketing department. After Richard Branson sole 49% of Virgin Atlantic share to Singapore Airline, an Advice Team was set up to broaden managerial decisions. The team main task was to facilitate suggestion on quality improvement for services rendered by Virgin Atlantic. The project involve how customer services is been rendered from the Branch of operation, checking of passengers at the airport, passengers boarding process and the services rendered in the fly by crew members. This type of teamwork can be categorised as a task group which perform a specific temporary task. Under command group, we can relate it to a worker and his immediate boss for example market department staffs are giving task and target by their group head and each member of the team has to work under his/ her command.

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This is a team formed out of the boundaries of formal group in another word is out of management support for example interest club and friendship group. Informal group form within an organisation might be against management decision and they have the might have the power to disrupt business plans. As matter of fact management must acknowledge the impact of informal groups for organisational performance.


The logic behind this is very wide depending on the context in which the group is formed. The Virgin Atlantic Advice team was establishing to build up a common commitment in order to fetch out the right information needed my management for the improvement of quality services as a going concern. However, we belong to a team in order to work together on a common task or collaborate to overcome a problem which is common to all team members (P. Baguley, 1994)


According to W.Tuckman 1965, group development under four stages (Norming, Storming, Forming and Performing) of development in order to achieved a common goal. In 1977 the model evolved when Tuckman and a doctoral student added Adjourning which is said to be similar with Maslow’s need hierarchy theory (M. Buellens Et al, 2002).

Performing Adjourning

Norming Return to


Forming Independence



Tuckman’s Group Development Model

Characteristics of the group development stages

Let us look at the various stages of group development in relation to the Virgin Airline advice team set up in Singapore in order to develop quality circle in the business operation.


Initially, members of the advice team were uncertain and anxious to experience such task for the first time. Team leader introduce group’s goals and members also begin to know each other.


As the name implies, conflict resolution arises as testing of leader’s policies is examine by members. Confidence becomes established as the advice team begin to fetch information required however output were still low at this stage.


An understanding of individual skills and team ability trough group discursion has brought team spirit among members. At this stage task were properly defined to the advice team which binds members together (Group Cohesion). A great deal of co-operation becomes essential since members become interdependence. The advice group has been developing very fast as a result of members experience and the urgency of the task assigned to the group.


Group becomes fully operational and closed relationship formed among members. The advice team become effective and efficient in getting the right information required by management to improve the airline quality services.


Since the advice team was establish for a temporary specific task to be performed, therefore the group has a life circle. Adjourning marks the end of the group task after giving management feedback of the research. At this stage, the advice team were disbanded and members return back to their normal work life.

Intra-Group Characteristics

When a group is formed, various attributes could be outline within the group which might be either positive or negative characteristics. In definition, intra-group characteristics can be identified as those attributes that arises as a result of forming a group. We will examine these characteristics in relation to the Virgin Atlantic Advice Team.

Group Development

The virgin advice team has basically undergone some stages of group development before the team becomes fully operational. This process was examined according to Tuckman’s group development model (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning). As a result of this, we can include group development to intra- group characteristics.


Group members stick together as they reach the performing stage of group development. Interdependence of the team in order to produce a single report to management has made members to be co-operative, sharing of a common goals and perspectives.


At the initial stage when the advice team was formed, the team leader outlined rules and regulation under which the project team should work. This involves task definition, politeness and the boundary of the project. The advice team were giving a questionnaire document which show what they should and should not ask during the process of investigation. All in a nutshell, Norms underpin the behaviour of group member when performing a particular task.


According to Irving Janis groupthink is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when members’ striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically evaluate alternative courses of action (M. Buelens et al, 2002). On the reverse of group cohesion effectiveness, there is a probability that team members might be in unison to mislead the teamwork performance ability. Basically the advice team were able to accomplish the research work without facing groupthink negative impact but rather it was positively favourable to the group. Other intra-group characteristics might include the following.

Risky Shift

Social loafing

Group polarisation.

Team Roles

Earlier on, research has outlined the need for team roles in a functioning group. The outcome of this research suggested three significant roles to be present in a group (P Baguley, 1994).

Strong fighter role

Logical thinker role

Friend/ helper

In the latter part of this, Dr Meredith Belbin extended the team roles requirement trough a psychometric test. According to Belbin, team members should balance one another meaning different personality and different skills is needed in teamwork. In his research, the titles outline ranges from the followings.


He is known to be a calm, ordinary and intellectual person. He set objectives for the team and gives command to do a particular task.

Company worker

He is the shock absorber within the group, hard working and loyal member who develop other member’s ideas into useful task evaluation skill.


The shaper is known to be an extrovert who led and others follow. He has the ability to integrate member’s ideas and shaping it to produce a resourceful output.


He initiates ideas for the group but might not be willing to participate in practicing the ideas the teamwork in another word he is creative and genius. Other team identify by Belbin in his psychometric test can be outline as follows:


A challenger can be quiet aggressive and will like to see he ideas in practice. He has the readiness to challenge inertia, self-deception, ineffectiveness and the overall constraint affecting the group.

Team worker

According to Belbin (1981), a team worker is fully supportive, enthusiastic and outgoing with good communication skills. He is portrayed as the fabric that binds the group together and also enhances team spirit.

Resource investigator

The resource investigator served as the interface between the team and the world beyond the group boundary. It has been said that the resource investigator is either on the telephone is out meeting people and hates doing anything else, therefore is has a good public relations (M. Belbin, 1981).

The Monitor Evaluator

He is attributed to good analytical ability to information available for the team but negatively he is seen as an impatient character and lack motivation skill.

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Commonly know to be the completer; he is a shock absorber, self discipline with a conscious mind. On the contrary, he looks worried and nervous when there is pending task. However, the finisher is persistent and will not give up until satisfied with his own high standards (M. Belbin, 1981).

All in a nutshell, for a team to be successful there must be a proper spread of mental ability in another word people specific attribute should matched to team roles. Creativity which fetch in new ideas is a key indicator to a successful teamwork and group leader has to exhibit the quality of a role model.


Leaders can be defined as those people who have influence and guide others to pursuing particular ends or future visions and stimulating them so that they want to follow. Leadership is not always hierarchical as management can sometimes be. (Brooks, 2006)

In order to understand

leadership one would have to observe its different facets which include the schools of theory that have developed in the area, however this has to be looked at in light of different leadership styles that exist today, and how leadership would affect companies not only on a national scale but a global one as Virgin Atlantic has done. Leadership research may be divided into three broad schools namely trait, behavioral and situational approaches. The trait school of thought originated from the idea that ‘Leaders are born and not made’, this idea has been proved to an extent to be more of a myth than reality. These traits included for example:-

Physical characteristics

Social background


However Bennis and Nanus(1985) established some relationship that may exist between that of good leadership and the traits of logical thinking, persistence, empowerment and self control. Although this work has some support, there has been criticism that some studies have been gender and even race biased with only few traits which appear to ‘correlate’

Brooks highlights that leadership refers to the behaviour of leaders towards those who work under them and the way that tasks and functions of leadership are carried out.


In fact Tannenbaum and written in 1958 (updated 1973), their work suggests a possible continuum of possible leadership behavior available to a manager together with various styles of leadership and how these may be placed in simpler terms a continuum from ‘boss’ centered leadership to a more ‘subordinate’ approach.(Mullins, 2007)

In contrast John Adair (2009) has developed an alternative style known as Action centered leadership which states that there are three areas which leaders must satisfy, this theory branches from the recognition of the importance in leadership and also motivation to understand ‘group needs’ and in so doing to result in the success of the business in any commercial sense. The three main components recognizable in any group are:-




Whereby there are common ‘needs’ in any group, the initial two mentioned above are constituents of the group as a whole and the latter relates to individual needs of group members. Therefore in a corporate structure both task and team would adhere to the group but individual to the needs of each member of that group.

Adair therefore recognizes that a leader who is able to ensure that tasks are successfully carried out and maintain teamwork but still satisfy individual needs within the team is likely to be very effective.

Brooks argues that there are four broad leadership styles



Directive/autocratic leadership


It is now thought that task and directive are related and people and participative are also linked. McGregor (1964) work on his theory X and Theory Y states that there are two types of leaders who are differentiated based on their assumptions on human character. The assumption here is that theory X leaders and managers consider that people are generally lazy and reluctant to take on responsibility, this category of people are not only less motivated but lack ambition also. Alternatively a theory Y leader assumes that people who work for them are motivated, have vision and align themselves to the companies goals and work hard to reach them, they require little control and are incentive oriented based on their performance.(Brooks , 2006)


When both behavioral and trait theories are combined and presented with a situation, whether complex or not , then another explanation of leadership arises. Indeed according to Fiedler 1967a leader’s effectiveness is based on the situation he is faced with which would fall into one of three broad categories.

Firstly, the extent to which the leader is trusted and liked by group members; or the task structure, basically how defined is the task at hand and can it be defined in detail? The final category would examine position power, the power that a leader has in his/her position which would include ‘power’ to punish or to praise, and therefore to demote or promote a ‘subordinate’ worker. Fiedler argued that an effective leader may be improved by making the situation more compatible with the characteristics of the leader (Brooks, 2006). Houses’ Path Goal theory (1971) also has implications for leadership, it’s a situational and transactional model of leadership as well as motivational. The theory ‘springs’ from the notion that a leader’s function is to clarify pathways for subordinates to achieve their desired rewards. Therefore once an employee understands the rewards possible from his or her work, motivation will ultimately follow. Rewards are therefore directly linked to performance. Other contingency theories include those of (Vroom and Yetton, 1973) and later Vroom and Jago which considers quality, level of acceptance and time taken to make a leadership decision.

In Leadership within the expansion project that virgin is looking to undertake in Singapore, one can attempt to evaluate the work ethic of the people in that country to ascertain the leadership model that is required. Research shows that people in Singapore have a work ethic that trickles down from Buddhism and Confucianism and therefore the great majority of people are extremely hard working and take their own initiative. (Kigundu, 2002) This would aid Virgin in knowing that the majority of people are type A personality (according to Mullins these are people who have attributes that are hard working and have an aversion to idleness, they also have a need for achievement) and the likely team characteristics that employees would have, this team would probably excel with type Y leadership to enable the team and the company to reach successful goals.

Virgin as a company has a policy that states “From frontline cabin crew to It. analysts, everyone here plays a role in delivering the Virgin Brand”. In fact, the managerial style and leadership that funnels down from its founder Richard Branson is the philosophy that staff must feel valued and though having lower salaries successful leadership in the company is based on making all staff like a team where each is valued and fulfils not only their Job remit but to contributing to the development of the business as a whole. (Management Insights, ‘The Virgin Factor’, 2000) With this in mind the leadership though being a type y leader would also have traits that would be developmental in character rather than autocratic by nature, one when faced with a situation would be a team player that would enhance team performance and in turn company goals. The definition of one category of leader may not be appropriate but rather a leader who must have leadership qualities or traits, and also behavioral attributes that they understand the nature and type of team they have whilst realizing that Virgin Atlantic as a company works from an inclusive leadership model where every decision of an employee would be considered important with team performance and a reward to some extent that mirrors the Goal Path Theory.

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“Leadership and motivation are like brother and sister. It is difficult to think of a leader who does not motivate others. But leadership embraces more than motivation” (Adair, 2009)

The term motivation originates from motives, which are the expression of human needs by a human being. In fact, the activities of human beings are caused, and behind every action there is a particular motive or need. Thus human behaviour is caused by motives or needs and the motivation process of inducing persons to experience needs for a certain desired behaviour so that organisational efficiency is archived.

Scott (1974) defined motivation as: a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals. From the very beginning, when F.W. Taylor (1911) introduced the concept of “Scientific Management” and more particularly differential piece rate system for motivating workers, many researchers and managers in the fields have given their views on this subject.

A.H. Maslow (1943), a famous American psychologist, he pointed a framework that helps to explain the strength of certain needs. According to him, there seems to be a hierarchy into which human needs are arranged to show as a Hierarchical diagram.

Those needs are 1) psychological needs 2) Safety needs 3) Social needs 4) Esteem needs 5) Self-actualisation needs

REFER TO Appendix

However, there the problem in applying the theory into the practice, which a person tries for his higher level needs when his lower order needs is reasonable satisfied. Hence, the level of satisfaction for particular needs may differ from person to person individually.

The other main scientist in the same aspect is Herzberg (1959), who has concluded from his research on the motivation and hygiene theory. There is a big difference between motivating someone into wanting to do something and merely getting them to do it. The motivational theorist Frederick Herzberg noted that he could get even his dog to move by shouting at it or kicking it. He did not regard this as a successful motivation. He has appointed, that successful motivation is based on appealing to individual’s intrinsic drivers rather than using external threats and rewards. Herzberg argued that to motivate and individual involves identifying and using a range of “Satisfiers”, which means to build strong motivation and high levels of job satisfaction. Thus, these are factors that will motivate someone to want to do a job successfully. For instance, by meeting their needs for more responsibility, higher status, greater job satisfaction or enhanced self-esteem.

In the chairman of virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson’s point of view, to making staff happy, in turn, they project the same feeling to the customer. In virgin’s workforce, the staffs still have received an annual bonus from the company in the certain time of period of the year. These benefits have been stopped at most organizations in the private sectors. They also offer some special deal for their employees’ holiday pack.

From Virgin’s case, it seems some of the external rewards also can motivate employees in the workforce. This point has been supported by Porter and Lawler’s (1968) model of motivation, which has suggested that managers should assess the reward structures and that through careful planning and clear definition of role requirements. To further examine the above mention theories, we also look at cross cultural issues that is likely to influence the working environment.

Cross-Cultural Issues

Cross-Cultural differences could play a very important role in determining how organizations can be successful in business in the area of international human resource management processes in different ways. Singapore itself is a powerhouse and is a thriving and successful industrial and commercial center. It is also strategically located which is convenient for the entrance of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, it is located between the South China Sea and the Indian ocean therefore making it a kind of gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia and a focal point for the operation of Virgin Atlantic flights. Virgin Atlantic Airline arriving in Singapore would have to require proper re-training of retained personnel to cope with cross-cultural issues involving Socio-economic, technological, work group characteristics, conflict resolution, norms of business contact, masculinity& femininity, motivation systems, uncertainty avoidance and language barriers. These are but a few of the cultural factors needing to look at in cross-cultural people management affecting the entrance of Virgin Atlantic Airlines in Singapore and the whole of the Asia Pacific rim. Singapore in itself is comprised of people descending from various parts of the world, mostly originating from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Europe etc. This makes their culture a blend and mix of other cultures but could be considered as a mix of Asian and Western culture with constant transformation brought about by globalization. Virgin Atlantic Airlines are not strangers to cross-cultural issues facing their entrance into other countries as they had done that many times before in their quest to expand their business empire to every country they can send their airplanes to.

Cross-cultural implications in managing people- Asia in general and the West

Western Non-Western

1 religion- Basically Christianity majors on differences between good and evil and absolute moral values as its cornerstone

1 while the non-western religions usually focus on purity and virtue for example Confucianism and Buddhism. These help in shaping their ethical and moral beliefs, therefore affecting their code of business norms.

2 western societies have contractual and legalistic relationships as building blocks

2 while here they are based on mutual trust and direct relationship

3 here the society is oriented in an individualistic manner

3 Non-western societies are more group oriented , example in forms of tribes and clans

4 usually holds a weak hierarchical structure

4 holds a strong hierarchical structure

5 Personal conscience and the need for freedom of expression are important values

5 here its more of obedience and security

6 class, family and occupation are attribution groups and are held important

6 company, neighborhood, region are more important and are all frame groups

7 rules, rewards and punishment all control their behavioral pattern

7 more of group coordination and adaptation and any non-compliant behavior with the norm brings shameful feelings

BIBLIOGRAPHY for team work

P. Baguley, 1994, Improving Organisational Performance, McGraw-Hill, p182-3.

M. Belbin, 1993, Team roles at work, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, Oxford, p153-158

M. Belbin, 1981, Management Teams, John Wiley & Sons, New York, p153

M. Buellens, R. Kreitner and A. Kinicky, Organisational Behaviour, Second EU Edition, McGraw Hill, p323- 326

R. Bennett, 1991, Organisational Behaviour, Pitman publishing, p146-150.

For recruitement and selection reference

Arthur. D (2001), “The employee recruitment and retention handbook” AMACOM. New York

Carless, S.A. (2007), “Graduate recruitment and selection in Australia”, International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Vol. 15 No.2, pp.153-66.

Harris, H., Brewster, C., Sparrow, P. (2003), International Human Resource Management, CIPD, London,.

Hunt. S (2007), “Hiring success: the art and science of staffing assessment and employee” John Wiley & Sons, Inc, San Fransico

Stedman Graham, (2006), “Diversity: leaders not labels”, free press, new York

For leadership reference

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