01-A. What Is a Decision?
A decision is a choice made from among alternative courses of action that are available. The purpose of making a decision is to establish and achieve organizational goals and objectives. The reason for making a decision is that a problem exists, goals or objectives are wrong, or something is standing in the way of accomplishing them.
Thus the decision-making process is fundamental to management. Almost everything a manager does involves decisions, indeed, some suggest that the management process is decision making. Although managers cannot predict the future, many of their decisions require that they consider possible future events. Often managers must make a best guess at what the future will be and try to leave as little as possible to chance, hut since uncertainty is always there, risk accompanies decisions. Sometimes the consequences of a poor decision are slight; at other times they are serious.
Choice is the opportunity to select among alternatives. If there is no choice, there is no decision to be made. Decision making is the process of choosing, and many decisions have a broad range of choice. For example, a student may be able to choose among a number of different courses in order to implement the decision to obtain a college degree. For managers, every decision has constraints based on policies, procedures, laws, precedents, and the like. These constraints exist at all levels of the organization.
Alternatives are the possible courses of action from which choices can be made. If there are no alternatives, there is no choice and, therefore, no decision. If no alternatives are seen, often it means that a thorough job of examining the problems has not been done. For example, managers sometimes treat problems in an either/or fashion; this is their way of simplifying complex problems. But the tendency to simplify blinds them to other alternatives.
At the managerial level, decision making includes limiting alternatives as well as identifying them, and the range is from highly limited to practically unlimited.
Decision makers must have some way of determining which of several alternatives is best -- that is, which contributes the most to the achievement of organizational goals. An organizational goal is an end or a state of affairs the organization seeks to reach. Because individuals (and organizations) frequently have different ideas about how to attain the goals, the best choice may depend on who makes the decision. Frequently, departments or units within an organization make decisions that are good for them individually but that are less than optimal for the larger organization. Called suboptimization, this is a trade-off that increases the advantages to one unit or function but decreases the advantages to another unit or function. For example, the marketing manager may argue effectively for an increased advertising budget. In the larger scheme of things, however, increased funding for research to improve the products might be more beneficial to the organization.
These trade-offs occur because there are many objectives that organizations wish to attain simultaneously. Some of these objectives are more important than others, but the order and degree of importance often vary from person to person and from department to department. Different managers define the same problem in different terms. When presented with a common case, sales managers tend to see sales problems, production managers see production problems, and so on.
The ordering and importance of multiple objectives is also based, in part, on the values of the decision maker. Such values are personal; they are hard to understand, even by the individual, because they are so dynamic and complex. In many business situations different people's values about acceptable degrees of risk and profitability cause disagreement about the correctness of decisions.
People often assume that a decision is an isolated phenomenon. But from a systems point of view, problems have multiple causes, and decisions have intended and unintended consequences. An organization is an ongoing entity, and a decision made today may have consequences far into the future. Thus the skilled manager looks toward the future consequences of current decisions.
01-B. Secrets of Success at an Interview
The subject of today's talk is interviews.
The key words here are preparation and confidence, which will carry you far.
Do your homework first.
Find out all you can about the job you are applying for and the organization you hope to work for.
Many of the employers I interviewed made the same criticism of candidates. "They have no idea what the day to day work of the job brings about. They have vague notions of "furthering the company's prospects’ or of 'serving the community', but have never taken the trouble to find out the actual tasks they will be required to do.”
Do not let this be said of you. It shows an unattractive indifference to your employer and to your job.
Take the time to put yourself into the interviewer's place. He wants somebody who is hard-working with a pleasant personality and a real interest in the job.
Anything that you find out about the prospective employer can be used to your advantage during the interview to show that you have bothered to master some facts about the people who you hope to work for.
Write down (and remember) the questions you want to ask the interviewer(s) so that you are not speechless when they invite your questions. Make sure that holidays and pay are not the first things you ask about. If all your questions have been answered during the interview, reply: "In fact, I did have several questions, but you have already answered them all.”
Do not be afraid to ask for clarification of something that has been said during the interview if you want to be sure what was implied, but do be polite.
Just before you go to the interview, look again at the original advertisement that you answered, any correspondence from your prospective employer, photocopies of your letter of application or application form and your resume.
Then you will remember what you said and what they want. This is very important if you have applied for many jobs in a short time as it is easy to become confused and give an impression of inefficiency.
Make sure you know where and when you have to report for the interview. Go to the building (but not inside the office) a day or two before, if necessary, to find out how long the journey takes and where exactly the place is.
Aim to arrive five or ten minutes early for the actual interview, then you will have a little time in hand and you will not panic if you are delayed. You start at a disadvantage if you arrive worried and ten minutes late.
Dress in clean, neat, conservative clothes. Now is NOT the time to experiment with the punk look or (girls) to wear low-cut dresses with miniskirts. Make sure that your shoes, hands and hair (and teeth) are clean and neat.
Have the letter inviting you for an interview ready to show in case there is any difficulty in communication.
You may find yourself facing one interviewer or a panel. The latter is far more intimidating, but do not let it worry you too much. The interviewer will probably have a table in front of him/her. Do not put your things or arms on it.
If you have a bag or a case, put it on the floor beside your chair. Do not clutch it nervously or, worse still, drop it, spilling everything.
Shake hands if the interviewer offers his hand first. There is little likelihood that a panel of five wants to go though the process of all shaking hands with you in turn. So you do not be upset if no one offers.
Shake hands firmly -- a weak hand suggests a weak personality, and a crushing grip is obviously painful. Do not drop the hand as soon as yours has touched it as this will seem to show you do not like the other person.
Speak politely and naturally even if you are feeling shy. Think before you answer any questions.
If you cannot understand, ask: "Would you mind rephrasing the question, please?" The question will then be repeated in different words.
If you are not definitely accepted or turned down on the spot, ask: "When may I expect to hear the results of this interview?"
If you do receive a letter offering you the job, you must reply by letter (keep a photocopy) as soon as possible.
Good luck!
02-A. Black Holes
What is a black hole? Well, it's difficult to answer this question, since the terms we would normally use to describe a scientific phenomenon are inadequate here. Astronomers and scientists think that a black hole is a region of space (not a thing ) into which matter has fallen and from which nothing can escape ?not even light. So we can't see a black hole. A black hole exerts a strong gravitational pull and yet it has no matter. It is only space -- or so we think. How can this happen?
The theory is that some stars explode when their density increases to a particular point; they collapse and sometimes a supernova occurs. From earth, a supernova looks like a very bright light in the sky which shines even in the daytime. Supernovae were reported by astronomers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some people think that the Star of Bethlehem could have been a supernova. The collapse of a star may produce a White Dwarf or a neutron star -- a star, whose matter is so dense that it continually shrinks by the force of its own gravity. But if the star is very large (much bigger than our sun) this process of shrinking may be so intense that a black hole results. Imagine the earth reduced to the size of a marble, but still having the same mass and a stronger gravitational pull, and you have some idea of the force of a black hole. Any matter near the black hole is sucked in. It is impossible to say what happens inside a black hole. Scientists have called the boundary area around the hole the "event horizon." We know nothing about events which happen once objects pass this boundary. But in theory, matter must behave very differently inside the hole.
For example, if a man fell into a black hole, he would think that he reached the center of it very quickly. However an observer at the event horizon would think that the man never reached the center at all. Our space and time laws don't seem to apply to objects in the area of a black hole. Einstein's relativity theory is the only one which can explain such phenomena. Einstein claimed that matter and energy are interchangeable, so that there is no "absolute" time and space. There are no constants at all, and measurements of time and space depend on the position of the observer. They are relative. We do not yet fully understand the implications of the relativity theory; but it is interesting that Einstein's theory provided a basis for the idea of black holes before astronomers started to find some evidence for their existence. It is only recently that astronomers have begun specific research into black holes. In August 1977, a satellite was launched to gather data about the 10 million black holes which are thought to be in the Milky Way. And astronomers are planning a new observatory to study the individual exploding stars believed to be black holes,
The most convincing evidence of black holes comes frown research into binary star systems. Binary stars, as their name suggests, are twin stars whose position in space affects each other. In some binary systems, astronomers have shown that there is an invisible companion star, a "partner" to the one which we can see in the sky. Matter from the one which we can see is being pulled towards the companion star. Could this invisible star, which exerts such a great force, be a black hole? Astronomers have evidence of a few other stars too, which might have black holes as companions.
The story of black holes is just beginning. Speculations about them. are endless. There might be a massive black hole at the center of our galaxy swallowing up stars at a very rapid rate. Mankind may one day meet this fate. On the other hand, scientists have suggested that very advanced technology could one day make use of the energy of black holes for mankind. These speculations sound like science fiction. But the theory of black holes in space is accepted by many serious scientists and astronomers. They show us a world which operates in a totally different way from our own and they question our most basic experience of space and time.
02-B. Worlds within Worlds
First of all let us consider the earth (that is to say, the world) as a planet revolving round the sun. The earth is one of nine planets which move in orbit round the sun. These nine planets, together with the sun, make up what is called our solar system. How this wonderful system started and what kept it working with such wonderful accuracy is largely a mystery but astronomers tell us that it is only one of millions of similar systems in space, and one of the smallest.
The stars which we see glittering in the sky on a dark and cloudless night are almost certainly the suns of other solar systems more or less like our own, but they are so far away in space that it is unlikely that we shall ever get to know very much about them. About our own solar system, however, we are learning more every day.
Before the American and Russian astronauts made their thrilling journeys into outer space it was



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