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Brighton School of Business and Management Student Newsletter September 2009


Forecasting Risks the People Behaviour Factor

As we discussed in the first part, in most organisations the focus of risk assessment and management activity is usually on policies, procedures, processes, equipment, maintenance, and is carried out by technical specialists from Finance, Quality, or Health and Safety.

It is now recognised that in order to successfully forecast, assess and manage risk, it is necessary to take into consideration “people” factors.

This includes the prevailing culture, the levels of motivation and morale, the levels of knowledge, understanding, expertise, competence, ability, of the managers, specialists, and operational staff, involved in the activities that are being risk assessed and managed.

In most processes this means all activity – routine, irregular, non-critical and critical – because small, incremental mistakes, errors, misjudgments, poor practices, can create problems and lead to events which are as damaging events occurring in the infrequent more visible, more obvious areas of risk.

In the case of managers, poor performance in communicating information, poor decisions on training and development needs, lack of ability in motivating staff, inadequate monitoring and control of the performance of teams and individuals, all can lead to poor performance, a fall in standards, mistakes, errors, going unnoticed and uncorrected.

In the case of individuals, incompetence, inadequate training, low levels of motivation, will inevitably lead to problems, mistakes, errors, accidents.

All of these problems are likely to occur even if the process is perfectly planned, the physical resources are sufficient, the quality manual is perfectly written, distributed and read by all, wages and salaries are adequate or better, and so on.

If these are also problematic, then the risk is multiplied exponentially.

Add to these factors the potentially damaging effects of a culture which is racist, sexist, harassing, discriminatory, bullying, or simply uncaring, and you have a recipe for disaster – albeit a disaster that comes broken down into multiple small doses, is spread across many areas of activity, and may take months to be recognised as a full scale disaster!

The answer?

In each area of activity, the Risk Assessment and Management process must include assessment of the:

·         current competence and performance levels of individual managers

·         current competence and performance levels of individual operational staff

·         training and development undertaken by managers and operational staff

·         motivation and morale levels of the managers

·         motivation and morale levels of the operational staff

·         the culture of the organisation in the area being assessed

·         the wider culture of the whole organisation

before the process turns its attention to the more obvious operational, technical factors.

A report on these behavioural factors should be presented to senior management, who must then be prepared to take appropriate corrective short term and long term action.

Until this system is fully established, and corrective actions implemented and judged to be successful, an audit of “people” issues should take place on a regular basis, at least every 6 months, separately from any event/activity specific risk assessment.

If these behavioural factors are not audited, analysed, evaluated and then built into the risk assessment and management process, then the process will continue to be flawed.

Written by the Tutor Team at Brighton School of Business and Management,

The Case For and Against Studying for a Degree as a Mature Student

Many mature students have a strong desire to study for and gain a Bachelor Degree, believing that without a degree it will be more difficult to find work, gain promotion, or to change direction into a different career path.

This could be a good decision, but may well be a poor and damaging decision, for the following reasons:


Some careers do demand a degree – for example teaching, engineering, the legal profession, many clinical specialisms, but most don’t.

In most other careers, in the public and private sectors, a degree could be useful, but there are powerful reasons for not taking this route, and focusing on a different level and type of qualification.


Up to your mid to late 20s there is an argument for “catching up” and then being able to make positive use of a first degree qualification.

However, for those who are nearly 30, if you gain a degree at 31-32 you will be 10 years older than most graduates just obtaining their degree. If in your mid-30s, 15+ years older, at 40+ 20 years older.

Once you are over 30 having a degree that you have only just obtained would be viewed – by many employers – as a poor decision, a waste of time, and an irrelevance (even though, yes, it would be a significant personal achievement).

Employer – Client Requirements

In today’s difficult job market there is no question that having recently gained a first degree, but not having relevant, current, professional qualifications, will cause subtle but damaging problems.

What employers and clients want – all employers and clients, in all sectors, worldwide – is solid experience and relevant mature professional qualifications in your specialism (such as in Management itself, or Quality Management, Supply Chain Management, Project Management, HR, Marketing or Consultancy).

Mature Academic Qualifications

There is of course, a market for mature students studying for a first degree, and this option is perfectly appropriate for some, particularly those wishing to move into a career pathway that requires a degree as an essential qualification.

For all others, there are better options, proven and established, and recognised and encouraged by the educational providers and by employers and clients.

These options range from academic postgraduate qualifications in a wide range of subjects and levels from Certificate, through Diploma, to MA, MSc, MBA, and for a few, mostly heading back to academia, the Doctorate level.

Mature Professional Development Qualifications

Included in this academic group are some qualifications which are now established as professional development, workplace, qualifications, such as the Certificate in Management Studies, Diploma in Management Studies, and a range labeled as MBA, MA, and MSc which offer business and management studies at the Masters level.

Many other professional development qualifications are available, some provided by the universities, business schools and colleges, some by private business schools and training providers.

These include internationally recognised, highly respected qualifications in areas such as Accounting, Marketing, HR, Supply Chain Management, Leadership, Quality Management, Project Management, and Management itself.

These are nationally accredited and audited by organisations such as Edexcel BTEC, the Chartered Management Institute CMI, the Chartered Quality Institute CQI, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply CIPS, the ACCA and CIMA accounting bodies.


Regardless of all other factors, we return to the most important one in respect of your personal, professional development planning and activity.

Once past your mid 20s, the only qualifications and courses of study that you should consider are those that are relevant to your immediate and-or your long term objectives.

In this context, relevant means necessary, required, expected.

To determine whether any course of study meets these criteria you need to look first at workplace environment that you are planning to be in – as an employee at any level, or in a self-employed capacity.

When you analyse what those employers or clients expect, that is the first step clarified.

Secondly, you need to look at your plans and objectives and then select the courses of study and qualifications that are required to ensure that you achieve your objectives, within the workplace environment, business sector, that you plan to be in.

Final Thought

It does not matter whether you study in the classroom, at workshops, or by distance learning. What matters is that you choose personal professional development activities that help you achieve your objectives, and help you to have a satisfying, enjoyable, and successful career.

This article was written by the tutor team at Brighton School of Business and Management website: where some, but not all, of the courses and qualifications suggested here are offered. Many other providers can offer similar courses, and some offer highly specialised qualifications.

Tutors’ Tip of the Month

Using your own experiences of organisational behaviour

When writing assignments it is often possible, and useful, to include examples from your own experiences in the workplace, or as a customer.

This can be done in confidence, as your tutor is bound by rules of confidentiality, laid down by our own organisation but also by our accreditation bodies. However, you can also change names of individuals and departments, and event dates, as long as you inform your tutor that you have done this.

A good example is when writing about management or leadership styles.

Your studies will have highlighted the many styles, models, and theories that managers can adopt, but it will also have confirmed that there is not a single style that is suitable for every situation.

Describing your own experiences of the management styles that you have adopted or experimented with, or the styles of a manager that you have worked with, is a valid and valuable contribution to any assignment on this topic.

 A simple way of describing this experience is to structure your description around the 6 questions:

What, Why, Where, When, Who, How

Use these as a foundation to describe the situation and the behaviour, and then discuss and give your opinion on how suitable, how effective, this behaviour was, and what alternative behaviour/approach could have been taken.

Including your own experiences in this way will enhance your assignments and, more importantly, make you a more thoughtful manager

New Professional Short Courses Available

Full details of our new nationally accredited courses – Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas in Leadership, Human Resource Management, Marketing Management, Events Management, and Supply Chain Management are now on our website.

For information on these go to:

CIPS Approved Centre Awarded

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded Approved Centre status to provide CIPS Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply professional qualifications at Level 4 Foundation Diploma, Level 5 Advanced Diploma, and Level 6 Graduate Diploma levels.

These courses will be on our website and available for enrolment in late September.

Website Link to CIPS:

Chartered Quality Institute Examination Results

All our students who sat CQI Chartered Quality Institute professional quality management examinations in June were all successful.

Well done, Congratulations to you all!

Website Link to CQI Courses:

Study Resources of the Month


Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus, by Tim Hindle, published by Economist Books

Guide to Project Management, by Paul Roberts, published by Economist Books

On our website we now have a direct link to the Amazon Management Books section , to use this go to our page:


A wide range of articles, case studies, reports, discussion documents, models, theories, checklists, on the major management topics.

Student Recommended Resource

“ ….. here’s a tip that might help other students try website:

 where quite often books have a ‘limited preview’ which can run from a paragraph to most of the book, so for students who can’t buy tons of books or don’t have access to a library, they can often still browse lots of sections of the books for research and reference…..”

 “….have found another two very good sites. Loads of free articles etc, some are readable only by registering on the site, but registration is free for both anyway … try and  …..”

 our thanks to Jacqueline

Advice from the Gurus

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So …… Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

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