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For this assignment, we have conducted a thorough research on the people management in ifeel magazine. ifeel owns by a media organization, Astro Media Holding Bhd. This org-anization integrates all the media entertainment in our country and southeast Asia which includes Pay-TV, Radio, Publications and Digital Media. On 2002, they become one of the top publishers in Malaysia, which is known as Astro Publication Sdn Bhd. Being a well known organization in media industry, they took the opportunity to publish magazines in Malay, Engli-sh and Chinese. For instance, Fourfourtwo (football magazine), FHM(ultimate men's lifestyle magazine), ifeel(young women's magazine), inTrend(women fashion and lifestyle magazine), Men's IMO (man's fashion magazine), and Style (top notch fashion magazine). ("ifeel", n.d.)
About ifeel magazine
The first ifeel magazine was published in 2004. It talks about fashion, relationship, beauty, celebrities, music, and so on. Basically, it is an all in one A5 size magazine which sells at the price of RM 6.50. Their target market is Chinese young women with attitude, vibrant, cheerful, fun and trendy ("ifeel", n.d.). The organizational chart is shown below:
We are lucky for having a chance to interview the friendly managing editor of ifeel magazine, Jeen Lee. She has been working in this company for almost 9 years. She was once a little girl who loves fashion and wish to be an editor when she grows up. With the passion in her, she is now the managing director of ifeel.
** for the detail of organizational chart please refer to Appendix APeople Management
Flow of communication
According to the managing editor, ifeel magazines is using downward communication. The employees always need to refer to their head of department in order to complete their task. This is because the company is too big and there are a lot of different department that is hard for one person to handle it all.
In downward communication, managers need to create a vision for employees with which they can identify. The employee needs to know what they are suppose to do. Most jobs have a job description. Typically the job instruction is given by the head on starting the job and then in coaching and support along the project. Other forms of downward communication occur when a customer gives orders to a supplier, and when shareholders instruct management to take specific action. ("Boundless", n.d.)
According to Katz and Kahn (1978), benefits of an effective downward communication are:
Improved individual performance through the development of intelligent participation
Improved consumer relations
Improved industrial relations
In order for downward communication to be effective, the manager should remain respectful and concise when giving orders. This is to make sure the subordinate clearly understands instructions, and give recognition for admirable performance.
The downward communication approach is also referred to as the top-down approach. This approach is used by top level management to communicate to lower levels. In this type of organizational communication, distortion of the message may occur. ("Boundless", n.d.)
Motivation is a power that drives people to achieve their task, hence it is important for an organization to provide good motivation to their employees. According to the managing editor, ifeel magazines provide a good working environment that motivated a lot to the employees to work. ifeel provide the restroom which provide Astro, sofa and air-conditioner. The restroom is available for all the employees anytime. But there are also some terms and condition to follow to avoid some of the employee to take advantages from that. ifeel also provide pantry that the employees can get drink and food, like coffee and biscuits for free. She feel very comfortable and relaxing to work in this environment and this motivate her to stay for ifeel (as mentioned she had worked for ifeel for coming 9 years).
Besides that, the managing editor also mentioned that the salary and bonus given by the company also one of the reason that motivated them to work. According to Kendra Cherry (n.d.) in the study of psychologist Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs, suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other. One of the hierarchy needs is "physiological needs". Physiological need include the most basic needs that are need to survival, such as the need for water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met. (Kendra Cherry, n.d.)
In order to fulfill the physiological needs, people need money. At ifeel magazines, the employee salary rate is around RM 2500 to RM 4500, it depends on the employee position and how long they have been work for the company. Besides of the salary, the company will give bonus to the employee when Chinese New Year and some others festival. The managing editor also mentioned that the employees also often get the free goodies or sample pack from the client. For example tester of makeup product, free voucher, and others.
According to the managing editor, the requirements to be part of ifeel which who must have a degree holder of mass communication, but bachelor of journalism will be first considered or three years related experience. The reason why ifeel will be consider journalism degree holder first is just because most of the stuffs they doing are writing for print, interviewing, reporting towards the artist and public. In other hand, they need to have interest in current trends and sensitivity of fashion. Between must have the ability to write scripts, idea briefs and proposals, other than that good network with important contacts of medium.
Basically the training is provided by Astro, because ifeel magazine is under Astro Company. The training courses have included core management skill training which is companies can use core ability to limit the waste of economic resources. This help the company built a better cost position in the economic market and offer good services to consumers. It helps the company increase profits and long-term sustainability. Because it can be avoid staff do wrongly such as print wrongly, quote the wrong prices to the advertisers. Besides, they have training on creative writing, as a journalist creative writing is important to them. Besides, training on editing based on the Photoshop, illustrator skill and photography skill, due to they need to improve and updating their editing skill on the design.
ifeel always have town hall section to motivate employees. Town hall is informal public meeting. Everybody in town community is invited to attend, voice out their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. In this case, ifeel Company also giving their staffs a town hall section, conducting a democracy method to let the staffs' voice out. Due to Astro is a big company and they are using upward communication, maybe the staffs have suggested some issue to the upper management, it have filtered by the manager. Therefore, this town hall meeting is good to communicate with all of the staffs. Besides, there are no specific rules on this town hall meeting. If the turnout is large, and in a particular case the objective is to give as many people as possible an opportunity to speak, then the group can be broken down into smaller discussion groups. Each group, in that case, the leader of the group summarizes the discussion. Many companies also have such meetings.
Problem on hand
The problem of people management that always occurs when producing the magazine is there is argument happen between writers and designers or sales and marketing department. Sometimes, the writers will think that the designer aren't detail oriented don't appreciate how critical a word is to the meaning of a piece while the designer will think that writers are always boring and won't cut a couple of unnecessary word just to make the pages fit well. For the conflict that occurs between sales and marketing are marketing department always focus on the steps that will lead to the prospect. While sales department have to directly face the buyer and planned the strategy upon the people that whom they are trying to sell. These are the point of that the conflict between sales and marketing department developed. Sales department felt they must obey and practice the marketing's theoretical while the marketing department believe that sales department didn't follow the step of positioning.
The difference opinion from different department will create gap and conflict between the employees. Every department has their own demand and task that they wish to complete. Employee management is needed in solving all these kind of conflict in order to accomplish goals at work. Effective employee management will lead to capitalize on the strengths of employees and their ability to contribute to the accomplishment of work goals.Â
The second problem of ifeel magazine company is too much of terms and regulations. Everything that done by the employees must always get approve from the management level. It Caused the employees couldn't be independent while doing their work.
For the conflict that occurs between writer and designers or sales and marketing department, our group recommend that reader must be the first priority to be considered when solving the conflict.
Regardless from which department, all of the employees must always put themselves in the shoes of reader and always view the whole situation from the point of view of the reader. This is because readers are the main audience of the magazines.
In order to solve the problem of too much of rules of regulation, our group recommend management style can be changed by ifeel Magazine from authoritarian management style to democratic style. This management style is grounded by a set of rules and regulation about employee's behavior and attitudes. Douglas McGregor, the professor from business school encompassed this set of rules and regulation with the entitled of "theory X". Theory X takes a rather cynical view towards the lowly employee, its assumptions being: the employee doesn't like to work, is a feckless follower, acts purely for the benefits of oneself, narrow-mindedness and shows foolish naivety. From this basis, it is expected that the employees are to obey their manager unconditionally; the employee's views on how the company can be improved are seen as worthless.
ifeel magazine should start to use democratic management. The democratic style of management is a multilateral approach that involves the manager empowering his/her employees to share decisions with the manager listening to all views and finding the best overall decision from the amalgamation of the views he/ she deems useful for the company after much deliberation and time. It may help boost up the mood and creativity of the employees when producing the content of magazine. Thus, the chance of conflict occurs also will decrease due to the employee involvement, teams, and employee empowerment enable people to make decisions about their work. This employee involvement, teambuilding approach, and employee empowerment increases loyalty and fosters ownership. Team building can effectively involve people.
Management of transformer should also be used so that the employees can be motivated by exciting products and the creative environment. The employees need a great degree of flexibility to deal with last-minute changes and a tolerance of ambiguity. Management of transformer can make the employees happier to work, unlike now, they are just motivated by money instead of happy and working inside a creative environment. Management of transformer can also makes the employees work in a more flexibility way instead of bound by too much of rules and regulations.
Appendix A : Organization Chart (position)
Managing Editor (Jeen Lee)