Philosophical discontinuity in a business is a situation whereby the business stakeholders have different opinions on the same issue. This can greatly affect the success of the business (Warner ,2001). Philosophical discontinuity sets in even without the knowledge of the stake holders and they can only realize it when they communicate (fowler ,2002). People tend to focus on only what they stand to gain as they venture into a business. They sit down and come up with a long term vision for the business , the requirements necessary for the business to operate but they normally downplay philosophical differences and this is when problems set in (fowler ,2002). Once the business vision and logistics necessary for its functioning are laid down, operations begin (Warner ,2001).
Though the business starts operating with a single vision and all the parties pulling in the same direction, with time the parties start to view things differently. These philosophical differences can be attributed to the fact that the business stakeholders have different backgrounds , needs, cultures, style , experience, education , mindset and desires (fowler ,2002). The philosophical differences could be over issues such as billings and collections, profits and partner distributions. Other issues may include disagreements on the right time to perform a task in the business, the right way to motivate workers, pricing, and the right way to communicate (fowler ,2002) . This leads to bad relationship between the stakeholders, high turnover ,low productivity , a trend of low profits and growth of the business stalls. A business with philosophical discontinuity is characterized by : lack of new products and services, failure to honor promises , failure to resolve issues , failure to start projected projects , competition in the business with stakeholders working hard to bring down each other instead of cooperating with each other, high employee turnover and lack of a conducive work environment.
Fowler (2002) talks of a scenario whereby ,a 75 year old manufacturing company which had annual sales of $15 million merged with a regional distributer that was it’s marketer. In the beginning , all was well and the overall performance of the company greatly improved. Initially, the company’s executives were placed at the helm of the partnership but with time philosophical differences set in with the distributor managers coming up with different ideas concerning the direction of the company. The newcomers wanted now to sell other related products. Finally, the company started performing poorly and the distributorship was sold due to these philosophical differences. At the end, the company incurred high costs in personnel recruitment ,as well as court battles with the distributor.
Fowler (2002) also discusses about a twenty year old CPA firm with annual fees of $1.7 million and two offices intended to expand its client base. There was confusion though regarding which industries to focus on and which services to offer. Disagreements reined for quite long with the firm’s partners at odds over how to maintain the two enterprises. Logistics on expansion were therefore never laid down and this led to a split after five years. Having spend a substantial amount of their investments in the struggle, the partners didn’t have adequate resources for their new ventures (fowler ,2002). To avoid this philosophical discontinuity in all of the above cases , communication and wise decision making should have been put into play. The management should have focused on areas of disagreement and at the same time focus on their vision. The stakeholders should therefore invest in healthy communication so that they can reach a consensus based on compromise. They should discuss all the areas of confusion and agree on a good approach to employ to succeed.
The main function of communication in a business is to ensure that every party in the company understands what the other party is up to and this helps to avert philosophical discontinuity. The main reason for venturing into a business is to make profit but this goal may not be achieved if communication is not is not given priority . The stake holders in a business must learn to respect each other’s opinion for there to be a consensus in decision making. Businesses should critically analyze and resolve contentious issues among stakeholders . Businesses can even consider retiring senior management , selling non productive divisions or merging them in order to address areas of conflict and maintain a focused vision (fowler ,2002).
From these examples and explanations, it’s clear that effective communication and decision making procedures should be employed at all times to avoid philosophical discontinuity. Businesses should not undervalue their philosophical leanings because they are as important as any other assets in the business. Businesses should consider documenting their philosophical issues and then subject all the different perceptions to discussion order to come up with a consensus based on understanding, respecting and appreciating each other’s opinion (Williams ,1996).