Discussion on Tutorial Solutions

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In business, leaders hold the key to project success.  Managers make decisions, lead the organizations, and develop mission and vision statements, all with primary purpose of keeping the organization healthy and growing with clear-cut goals towards achieving perspectives (Biech, 2007).

The aim of this study is to identify the factors that lead to the learning process of the team.  Specifically, this study will examine how group members influence their peers and to develop a series of guidelines on how they can enhance morale in a group.  This paper will critically examine the different models on learning process and competency reports available from the literature, exploring their strengths and weaknesses and then using these strengths to develop a new model of morale.  So first, we will review the literature pertinent to the research and hypotheses and the relevant theories which include defining and exploring the importance of learning from group discussions, and then a critical analysis of the competencies built will be done.  

Shermerhorn et al. (2000), Silver et al (2000) and McKnight, Ahmad, & Schroeder (2001) indicated that quality work relationships between members in a team  and relationships amongst groups across all levels are a key factor in building and sustaining good learning process. Healthy relationships positively influence communication within a team, hence conducive to learning, according to these authors. Their literature also tells that healthy workplace relationships contribute to the quality of work life and the performance of a group.

“The essence of relationships within a group…; what goes on between individuals defines what a team is and what it can become,” commented Lubans (2002). Batchelor (2003) said that building relationships is absolutely critical to the long term success of one’s group and to one’s learning process within it (p. 11). “Strong relationships and networks [contribute]… to a better quality of life for team members” (Batchelor, 2003 p.13). Bachelor also stressed that, especially during downsizing, vital relationships within the organization must be protected and rebuilt to mitigate the effects of downsizing. Furthermore, in such events, new social networks can be created that empower members and boost their performance. This gives them the momentum they need to pull the [organization] out of the doldrums of downsizing and place it back on (Kouzes & Posner 2002). They also spoke that the value of having informal networks is almost superior to hierarchical channels for spreading new innovations and ideas because the information that passes through these networks has credibility due to the familiarity and trust that the players in the network may have amongst each other. “… we know of no organization that has generated significant momentum in profound change efforts without evolving spirited, active, internal networks of practitioners, people sharing progress and helping one another,” affirmed Senge et al. (1999, p. 49).

Towers (2003) noted that the quality of group relationships is more important than satisfaction or benefits. Good team relationships define a “good team-work”. On the other hand, weak relationships are associated with low morale and absenteeism. In their study the authors found that team members who have strong employment relationships reported good morale within their environment. Their study substantiated that morale is an important ingredient in cultivating a healthy and productive learning environment.

Key elements of quality relationships are trust, commitment, communication, and influence as substantiated by Towers (2003). According to Towers (2003) study, high levels of trust and commitment depend on team members or leaders providing a supportive and well-resourced environment. But maintaining trust requires “a commitment to building interpersonal relationships based on honesty, integrity and a genuine concern for others” (Coulter & Robbins 1999). Coulter & Robbins (1999) pointed out that since information technologies have thrown access to information wide open inside the organization and beyond, members will be sharing information which makes relationships among members crucial. “This trust will be built on the group’s willingness to provide members opportunities and resources, and the members’ willingness to be accountable for results” (Coulter & Robbins 1999). In essence this relationship becomes a partnership tied together by trust.

The ongoing process of building and nurturing relationships across all levels contributes to building an environment of trust in a group. But to do so requires the involvement and commitment of all members.

Indications are that in groups with traditional set of assignments, efficiency, quality and productivity are negatively affected.Bruce (2003) commented that “groups view … strategies in managing a team that cultivate trust, commitment, and employee involvement as anti-union” (p.xv). This poses a dilemma for the other members. While some recognize the benefits of stronger trust and commitment from building healthy team relationships, which include the learning process, their efforts are challenged by group perceptions and cynicism.

Ironically, in today’s intense global competition, changing nature of performance and demanding expectations from others, it is ever more critical and crucial that relationships between team members be collaborative, cooperative and harmonious for the survival and success of the group and the very purpose it tries to achieve. Unfortunately “a team has a long way to go to begin working constructively with organizational strategies and gaining something from doing so” (Romanow, 2002). Research informs that “it is the state of team relations rather than unionism and collective bargaining… that determines better group performance” (Bruce, 2003). Romanow (2002) also spoke of the importance and benefits of members of different levels and functions working together in constructive dialogue to make the team more effective and in doing so improve the quality of their contribution to the group.

This all the more emphasizes the value in cultivating and fostering healthy relationships between team members.

In summary, this model supports those positive relationships across all levels including the institution of management-labor relations necessary for the well being and morale of organizations and employees today. Literature also strongly suggests moving away from the traditional adversarial type of relationship to a transformational management-labor relationships of collaboration and cooperation in which building trust and respect (factors that support positive morale) between the parties is promoted. The benefits from such relationship are mutual.

II. Competency achievement report

In the past couple of months, the field of Project Finance has become one of the most exciting in all of economics. Financial markets are changing rapidly, with new financial instruments appearing almost every day; the once staid industry is now highly dynamic, with the participation of commercial banks and other financial institutions becoming increasingly sharp; the conduct of monetary policy is at center stage in debates about the economic policy, and new developments in project finance have changed the way we think about the role of money in the economy.

The challenge in conducting research about project finance and economics is how to convey these exciting developments and important concepts on the field so that they are understandable and interesting to everyone, including the group members. I confronted this challenge by keeping three objectives in mind when writing this research. First, I wanted to provide others with a simple unifying framework for studying project finance and economics to help them better understand the subject. Such a framework would also discourage them from memorizing a mass of facts that will be forgotten after the final exam. Second, I wanted to write a modern, contemporary research that would enable other groups to understand important and relevant policy debates. Finally, I wanted to create a well-designed learning tool with pedagogical features that would aid and interest them.

To accomplish these objectives, these researches continue to apply throughout a few basic economic principles that students can use to organize their thinking about the role of money in the project finance and economics and the operation of financial markets. These principles include a simplified approach to portfolio choice, the concept of equilibrium, supply and demand analysis, profit maximization, and aggregate demand and supply analysis.

To help students apply these economic principles, the research adopts an approach found in the best principles of economics books; simple models are constructed in which the variable being held constant are carefully delineated and the models are then used to explain important economic phenomena by focusing on the appropriate change in variables, ceteris paribus. This approach makes the subject matter accessible to students who have taken a course in principles of economics as well as to those who have not.

Furthermore, it is my goal to discourage other students from rote memorization and encourage them to think of project finance and economics more as a means to clear thinking than as a set of facts. In a field characterized by rapid change, the use of economic analysis can not only help students to understand the current operation of project financing but also future changes in the regulatory environment and in the conduct of monetary policy.

In order to instill students with enthusiasm for the subject, these three research papers continue to emphasize the interaction of economic theory and empirical data. Throughout the paper, evidence is presented that supports or casts doubt on the economic propositions being discussed. This exposure to real-life events and data should dissuade students from thinking that economists merely make abstract assumptions and develop theories that have nothing to do with actual behavior.

The following discussions of the topics will illustrate how my approach, which stresses application of a few basic economic principles and the interaction of theory and data to project financing, works in practice. As you will see, the text is comprehensive in range of topics covered, but I have tried not to clutter it with unnecessary detail.

All throughout the papers, which outline why economics and finance are worth studying and what money is, we examine the operation and behavior of financing projects. Some preliminaries on the structure of project finance have been presented, followed by a discussion of the basic factors that determine how they behave over one another. Once this simple approach to portfolio choice is understood, an analysis of the projects is easily developed. Such an analysis helps students understand not only the overall level of project finance. The predictions of project analysis are repeatedly compared with empirical evidence so that students can see that this analysis is not a theoretical exercise but a valuable tool helping to explain changes in the economy.

Still, the research focuses on how the search for profits determines the activities of financial institution. The principles of how a project operates are set forth in providing the essential institutional details about the market structure and government regulation of project finances and the increasingly important nonbank financial institutions. These two things also highlight economic principles, such as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have led to severe problems for the industry and to the current crisis in the financial system. The search for profits by participants in project is used in the research to explain many recent financial innovations. An understanding of the factors that contribute to financial innovation is especially critical in today’s economic environment. The knowledge gained about current financial innovations may become obsolete, but the fundamental reasons behind financial innovation are likely to endure.

A simple cohesive model of the money supply process is built step using the Theory of Asset Demand and the principle of profit maximization on the part of banks. The resulting money supply model is used to examine many topics, including multiple deposit creation, the effects of various tools of monetary control, the effects of interest rate movements on the money supply, the results of bank panics, and the role of depositor preferences. As in other parts of the research, historical episodes and data are drawn on extensively in applications that refine the theoretical framework of the project finance process.

Most research papers address these topics as separate issues and never show the students how they are interrelated – an approach that makes the material confusing, difficult to learn, and most unfortunate of all, boring. There is an outline of the basic framework for understanding how the finance for a certain project is determined. This research uses the economic principles to analyze the factors that motivate financial behavior. This paper also promotes a students’ sense of how economists look at the interaction of theory and data to come up with a better understanding of the economy.

Because some instructors do not want to devote much time to the money supply process, some parts of the research are self-contained units, allowing some part also to be skipped without loss of continuity.

The coverage of monetary theory in the paper is unified by the basic theoretical framework of aggregate demand and supply. The disagreements between monetarists are discussed in depth; more important, students will see that there has been a convergence of their viewpoints on such questions as how projects are financed. Because the role of expectations has come to the forefront of current debates on monetary theory, the theory of rational expectations receives special attention in the research.

One problem with many discussions of monetary theory is that the students come away thinking that the theory is elegant but, unfortunately, irrelevant to issues that affect their everyday lives. I have tried to avoid this problem in three ways. First, the entire discussion of monetary theory is oriented to answering questions about the proper conduct of policy, especially monetary policy: Should the project developers give up discretionary monetary policy and adopt constant growth rate rules? Should high employment targets be abandoned? How can policymakers eliminate inflation at the lowest cost in lost output and unemployment? Second, the economic positions implied by differing views of financial theory are examined in the light of empirical evidence; this evidence, on such topics as the demand for money and the importance of money to economic activity, receives more attention. Finally, this part of the book contains nine applications requiring students to use economic analysis in order to explain past and predict future movements of business cycles and inflation.

The research has been designed to allow the readers to cover the most important issues in project finance and economics without having to use models. My own experience indicates that many students find the models difficult to master. I have found that project financial analysis of output and the price level presents students with fewer difficulties because it is closer in approach to the supply and demand analysis learned in Principles courses.

On the other hand, some students prefer to begin with the model and monetary theory. I have arranged the material so that the paper also allows this approach. If the model is taught early in the course, the rest of the paper may be omitted. With this plan, instead of using a partial equilibrium approach to risk determination, students easily see that project finances are determined not only by the money market but also by the goods market.

With the growing integration of world markets, international trade and finance have become a major factor in our economy. In contrast to many other research papers, this one discusses throughout the effect of international trade and finance on project development.

International trade flows are now included as an important element in the model, in the financial model, and in the transmission mechanisms of monetary policy. The final parts on international finance stress that international financial transactions directly influence a country’s money supply and hence the conduct of project finance. The basic principles of supply and demand developed in the literature are again used to explain behavior in foreign exchange markets and the movement of international reserves.

Because other researchers differ on how much they want to internationalize their papers, the coverage of project finance and economics in the paper can be used flexibly. If a student does not want to devote much time to international topics, this material can be ignored without loss of continuity. For a student who wishes to fully internationalize the course, however, the chapters on international finance can be helpful much earlier in the course.

Although the basic framework of the papers remains intact all throughout, comments from reviewers and members of the group have led to numerous changes throughout the research.

With the rapid change in the financial marketplace, much material on financial markets and institutions has been added to the research. Sections on the financial firm has been substantially expanded and now includes a section on managing finances, in which gap and duration analysis is explained, and a section on off-balance sheet activities, which have grown in importance in recent years. The research has been substantially updated to describe new banking legislation and regulations and includes a discussion of the current crisis for the financial sector and the banking industry. The research also makes use of two economic concepts – adverse selection and moral hazard – to suggest why, in recent years, so many commercial banks and savings and loans have  gotten into so much trouble and why recent bank legislation may worsen the problem. It also introduces adverse selection and moral hazard to explain some of the problems for the private insurance industry and for government insurance agencies. The development of securitization in financial markets, an important financial innovation in recent years, is discussed.

The increasing importance of project finance to our economy in recent years has made it necessary to thoroughly integrate international topics throughout. The paper also has a section on the internationalization of project finance, describing the rapid growth of the bond markets and the growing internationalization of stock markets. The section on the international finance has been updated and expanded to discuss the new dominance of foreign firms.

The research also has a section on the role of financial markets. New sections on how international considerations affect the conduct of project finance have been added to the paper. There is also a description how the models in the research can be converted to an open economy model in which trade flows play an important role.

Two new applications in this chapter discuss effects from international trade. 

Each chapter begins with a chapter review telling students where the chapter is heading, why specific topics are important and how they relate to other topics in the research.

A unique and practical feature of the paper is the most recent financial developments, which introduce students to relevant issues and data that have to do with project finance. These are designed to show students how to interpret the reporting on finance found in the literature.

Study guides are highlighted statements scattered throughout the paper that are designed to steer students away from rote memorization. They provide hints on how to think about or approach a topic as students work their way through it. 

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