to have, but not necessary. Author
are many activities that although not strictly necessary for accomplishing the
line-of-business activities or for supporting or managing them, are nevertheless
still appropriate and lend a richness to the organization and may even
contribute to a more profitable operation.
guided tours of a factory, running
a coffee shop in a hospital, organizing the Christmas party for employees'
children and activities concerned with local organizations or charities.
tail wagging the dog': Incidental
activities can get out of hand. An example of this was the case of an
internationally renowned centre for horticulture, in beautiful countryside near
London, which opened a restaurant for visitors. This provided a congenial rest
for refreshment between looking at the plants in the gardens. The refreshments
were so good that people were visiting the restaurant with a look at the gardens
as an after-thought. Unfortunately, management decided that the restaurant had
to operate on a 'business basis' and make a profit. Soon, prices were increased
sharply and those delicious home-made cakes were replaced by mass-produced
bought-in ones with the result that the restaurant's reputation suffered and not
only did it receive less patronage, but the number of people visiting the
gardens decreased as well. In other cases, what starts out as incidental
activities can form a major source of income and can then impinge on the
line-of-business ones, for example, airport authorities promoting the
excessive use of shopping centres at their airports taking away space from seating areas.
a better environment: In
the majority of cases incidental activities often make the organization seem a nicer place for
staff and customers. However, they usually don't have much effect on efficiency and for this
reason are often the first activities to be stopped during cutbacks. They
should be evaluated to make sure that they give some benefit to someone. This
will probably not be a financial benefit, but could be a positive effect on
morale or public relations. If they are done, it must be remembered that
incidental activities can form a 'shop window' for the organization as with
guided tours or coffee shops. Thus anything done which impacts potential customers should therefore be carried out in a
professional manner. >>>