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A Brief Summary Of The Situation At Vidsoft
Since going public Vidsoft Technologies has witnessed rapid expansion and revenue growth. Its CEO, Keith Nash, has created and maintains a strong customer-responsive culture. To uphold levels of motivation employees are given a high degree of autonomy over their work. Teamwork is incentivized and promotions come quickly to those who fit the mold.
Alaji Babatunde - in his third year of employment and already a senior manager - manages two product lines and eleven staff. Unable to allocate his time effectively, he contemplates introducing a new layer of management to the organization structure. Babatunde identifies one suitable candidate among his staff and settles to look outside the company for the second. With the consensus of James White, Babatunde offers a management position to Jennah Li, a conscientious and admired member of the group. Soon after, Alex Hsu, a young engineer and a direct report of Li, cites irreconcilable differences and requests to be transferred to the group without a manager. Li, concerned that Hsu's transfer may be seen as a sign of weakness on her part, insists he continue to report to her.
How can this situation be best resolved? 这种情况如何才能得到最好的解决？
Babatunde's first challenge is to understand why the problem manifested itself in the first place. The second is to match his managerial approach to the situation without further negatively impacting the equilibrium of the group. The solution requires a combination of transformational leadership to help Hsu and Li rise above their own self-interests and focus on the organization's mission, and transactional leadership to maintain structure within the group.
Individuals join work groups for a number of reasons: security, self-esteem, status, affiliation, goal achievement and power (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:299). Work place norms influence how those individuals behave, work, dress and allocate resources. Conformity to these norms is a powerful force that can significantly modify a performance prediction based solely on an individual's abilities and motivations (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:307).
In his Hawthorne research Elton Mayo (1933) concluded that the workplace is primarily a social system influenced more by social demands than by work environment. A critical and often sensitive issue of group dynamics is authority and control. A person's perception of their leader greatly determines their attitude toward yielding independence (Clawson, 1983:2). Members wishing to define how much control they have may resist the efforts of those who attempt to exert control over them (Clawson, 1983:2). Hsu doesn't much care for the social reward the group provides. Detached from the social norms that constrain his peers, Hsu believes his education and technical background give him a degree of status that cannot be matched by Li. Perceiving the new hierarchy to be inequitable, Hsu struggles against the disruption the change brings to his routine.
Babatunde should remain up-front and central during the action. His attitude and actions greatly influence group behaviour. Using the powers of suggestion, emotion and logic, Babatunde can promote group initiative and rebuild group morale. He has a much better chance of success if he uses this approach rather than trying to coerce group members to accept decisions. Babatunde must continue to motivate and rally the group, constantly listening, reassuring and enthusing its members. It is through an unswerving commitment to the group, that the group will maintain it cohesiveness and high levels of performance.
Transferring Hsu to the other product line to reduce tension will likely do little more than aggravate an already delicate situation. Babatunde should continue with the new layer of management and, being mindful to address any doubts and concerns held within the group, sell a compelling reason for change (Robbins, 2002). Without vision and sense of mission, group members may reach their own decision whether to commit to the new procedures. Babatunde should conduct further meetings with group members to ensure they understand the reporting structure and their responsibilities, all the while sharing his knowledge and experience to increase their confidence and expand the breadth of their interests and needs. A favorable outcome, Hsu and Li realize they can learn a lot from each other. They are able to move forward and build an effective working relationship. An unfavorable outcome, Hsu refuses to play ball. If this happens, a hard decision will need to be made. Babatunde should not tolerate a non-team player who puts his own interests above those of the organization. For Li, enrolling her in technical courses, in addition to direct supervision and on the job training, will be of great benefit to her long term development. As her confidence grows, she will need to step up and start behaving like a leader. She will gain the respect of the group through her leadership qualities and personal achievements. The development of all group members should be ongoing whilst they remain with the organization.
Motivation is the key--动机是关键
You can take a horse to water but you can't force it to drink. So to with people. Employees are motivated or driven to work intrinsically or through some external incentive (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:183). These include positive reinforcement, punishment and reward, approval and recognition, job enrichment, goal setting and satisfying needs. Effectively, motivation is a means by which to move a group or individual towards some desired state.
McClelland's theory states that achievement, power and affiliation are needs that help explain motivation. People with a high need for achievement want to do things better. They seek responsibility and perform best when a situation involves a degree of uncertainty. Those with a high need for affiliation seek meaningful relationships, preferring situations of cooperation over competition. Those with a high need for power seek opportunities to manage others. Quite the opposite to those with high affiliation needs they prefer competitive and status-oriented situations. McClelland's theory allows that if a job requires high affiliation, a manager can develop a candidate through a system of training (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:188) and OB Mod.
Without resistance, organizations would lead a chaotic existence (Thietart & Forgues, 1995:19). Resistance may be overt, implicit, immediate or deferred (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:650), though it is easier to deal with when it is immediate and overt. In this instance Hsu quickly responds to Li's promotion by voicing his complaints. The source of resistance is rooted in his character, perception, personality and needs (Robbins, Judge, Millett & Waters-Marsh, 2008:650).
Babatunde can employ a number of tactics to manage resistance to change:
He can communicate his vision to help group members see the logic of change.
He can bring those affected into the decision making process, obtaining commitment and improving the quality of the decision.
He can offer supportive efforts to improve emotional commitment to change.
He can provide incentives that appeal to individual needs.
As a final resort, if a group or individual remain resistant to change, there is always the option to punish, threat or force. A major drawback of coercion is that it has a tendency to backfire, resulting in the diminished credibility of the agent of change.
What could Babatunde have done differently to avoid this situation?
This situation may have been avoided if Babatunde had discussed his strategy and vision with his team before instigating the change. This includes not only the promotion of Li, but his intention to hire a second manager from outside the organization. The benefits of change should have been clearly communicated to the team so as to obtain their commitment and support. Babatunde needs to engage the group in the strategy and ensure their energies are behind it. This will result in better teamwork, higher productivity and improved levels of customer satisfaction which in turn will bring promotion and financial reward for the group.
"The more people contribute to answering the how questions, the more they will buy into making the how work" (Robbins, 2002:4)
Communication comes in many forms. With small teams it is more effective and efficient to maintain face-to-face, two-way communication, and to keep members abreast of what is happening and why. All employees should be given the opportunity to ask and raise questions. This provides management with a better understanding of individual perspectives and a means by which to gain support. Interactive communications help reduce misinterpretation, misinformation and misrepresentation, easing concerns and reducing the likelihood of surprises to ensure strategy is implemented effectively. Babatunde needs to lead and inspire his followers to greater accomplishments to increase the value of the department and to contribute to the overall profitability, market share and reputation of the organization.
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