I reflect upon a time when I and my team of consultants had been requested to assist an organization (SFG Electronics), which had been going through difficulties. The firm had faced a lot of negative publicity after several highly publicized theft cases instigated by the firm’s employees. As a result of this publicity, customers had walked away in droves. The employees were also leaving as most of them had lost confidence in the organization.
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The reaction by the management had made things worse as some of them even used threats to intimidate the employees. The results were a lowly motivated workforce and productivity was getting worse every month. This reaction directed to the employees had resulted from the baseless conclusion by the senior management that all employees had participated in the alleged thefts. The idea was to threaten the employees to an extent that they would not make any further attempts to steal from the company. As a result there was growing hostility between employees and the senior management. The departmental heads resulted to giving orders and no group meetings would take place.
The management had also decided to restructure the organizational structure and came up with a structure as a way of getting new applicants for the newly created positions. So far only external applicants had been considered for these new positions, which also attracted high remunerations. Employees were feeling unappreciated. In addition to this, there were new changes in the rewarding scheme such that only the department heads qualified for bonus for achieving department targets.
A new managing director was appointed and part of his strategy was to higher consultants to advice on how the organization would be saved from further loss. I was part of this team that was consulted to deal specifically with the Human resources structure.
My team concentrated on the learning the major functions within the organization. We began by identifying the employees’ attitudes and perceptions and how this affected the communication channels between the management and the employee’s team and group work.
Task 2.1 Impact of Events on Attitudes and Perceptions
The employee’s attitudes and perceptions were affected by the changes within the company. This was causing negative employee behavior which resulted to an increase in absenteeism, high turnover, unethical behavior, tardiness, theft and a general ‘don’t care attitude. Attitude refers to either a positive or negative opinion by an individual in response to an idea, a person or something. Perception refers to the way one processes and interprets the information. The perception will be affected by ones attitudes, values motives and needs and experiences. The employee’s attitudes and perceptions will affect their behavior. In this case employees were showing dysfunctional behaviors. Dysfunctional behavior refers to behavior that detracts from the organization performance (Griffin & Moorhead, 2009).
Barling and Cooper (2008) identify several types of dysfunctional behavior, workplace deviance, counter productivity, organizational retaliation and revenge, and conceptualization of aggression. SFG Company experienced the first two, workplace deviance and counter productivity which refer to negative behavior with potential to harm. Workplace deviance and counter productivity can be conducted against an individual or against the organization through thefts, absenteeism, turnover and sabotage.
There are individual predictors and contextual predictors for workplace deviance and counterproductivity. The individual predictors are trait anger, state hostility, and agreeableness. Contextual predictors include prolonged conflict which at times would lead to bullying, lack of civility, and work environment. Work environment affected the employees’ attitudes and behavior. Perceptions of interpersonal justice and state hostility result to deviance at the work place.
Barling and Cooper (2008) continue as they apply the social exchange theory and add that the perception theory as they argue that unfavorable work behavior will in most cases result to counterproductive behavior. Any unjust practices especially when combined with an employee’s individual character and behavior will result to deviance behavior. When the employees are dissatisfied this many result to the employees engaging in organizational retaliation behavior.
Absenteeism, high employee turnover and company contempt are the most common types of dysfunctional behavior and in particular workplace deviance (Wagner, 2010). Counterproductivity includes traits such as lack of job satisfaction, and lack of positive affectivity. Absenteeism refers to an employee failing to report on duty, which leads to low quantity and quality of work being performed.
SFG experienced a high rate of feigned absenteeism as employee’s morale was low. Some of them had missed reporting on duty as they went in search for other jobs as they all thought that the company was going to collapse. At SFG, new employees were being given higher pays than the already existing employees in the same positions. The management had believed that getting new employees would be the same as instilling new blood into the company. This however is not how the existing employees perceived it. There was a lot of negative attitude especially against the new employees.
Task 2.2 Two Relevant Motivational Theories and impact of events in scenario upon the motivation of staff
Two motivation theories that are relevant to SFG are to be applied in this scenario. These are McGregor’s Theory Y and Hertzberg’s theory.
McGregor’s theory Y is based on the believe that people have a deep need and desire to satisfy their self-esteem and self-actualization and it is this deep need which can be utilized to motivate employees. McGregor’s Theory Y is based on several assumptions. It is assumed that in favorable conditions, work can be as natural and enjoyable as play. There is also the assumption that when employees are committed to their jobs, it is easy for them to be creative and self-directed to meet the organizations objectives (Koontz, 2009).
Quality and productivity will increase if the rewards that are in place for the employees are self-fulfilling. In addition to this, there is creativity and initiative in the whole organization and as such almost all employees are responsible. There is an alignment between the individual employee’s goals and the organizations objectives. McGregor however admitted that such kind of maturity required in theory Y is rare and thus employees require some supervision. Supervision can be reduced as the employee develops into maturity.
Theory Y can be applied in motivating employees SFG employees. To start with the management has to work in gaining the trust of the employees. According to theory Y, employees are self driven and responsible, thus the managers can delegate some duties and decision making to the employees. As employees receive more jobs, it gives them the opportunity to regain their confidence and a chance to have the employees expand their scope and a need to obtain job satisfaction. Decision making initiates the employee’s creativity which provides them with a sense of control for their work environment. This will provide an environment conducive for employee motivation whereby their goals and individual needs are met. However, it has been noted that for theory Y to work, the management has to create trust with the employees. This should be the first step SFG management should take. The managers should then recognize each of the employee’s strengths and adjusts this behavior as he distributes the responsibilities accordingly (Koontz, 2009).
Fredrick Hertzberg’s theory motivation hygiene theory separates those factors that contributed to the employees’ satisfaction were different from those ones that contributed to their dissatisfaction. Hertzberg’s theory is applicable to SFG. The employees at SFG were very dissatisfied and thus the management had to identify the reasons of dissatisfaction so as to reduce the dissatisfaction and at the same time add more satisfiers in order to motivate the employees.
In his theory, Hertzberg named those factors that contributed to the job satisfaction as motivators or satisfiers while those ones that dissatisfied the employees he named them hygiene factors or dissatisfiers (Sabru, 2009).
In separating satisfiers from dissatisfiers, Hertzberg concluded that the two cannot be treated as opposites of each other. To Hertzberg, dissatisfiers are external factors which are used to satisfy physiological need and can only be used to motivate in the short run. Some of the dissatisfies are company policy, supervision, working relationships, salary status and job security. If these factors are availed to the employees the employee is not necessarily motivated but lacks in dissatisfaction. However their removal causes dissatisfaction. On the other side of the coin are the psychological needs and Hertzberg’s theory indicates that it is these needs for one to succeed grow and achieve. According to Hertzberg, these needs when applied as motivators will result to longer term solutions as they are directly related to the job content. Hertzberg calls these factors the satisfiers and they include achievement, recognition, challenging job and career advancement.
The SFG management should take an inclusive approach and include the employees in rebuilding the company’s reputation by offering challenges to the employees. In addition to this the employees would feel motivated as they would take the company’s regrowth as their own personal and career achievement. This would be in addition to the other dissatisfiers which should however be distributed fairly to all employees.
Group Dynamics and Teamwork
At SFG group and team work was isolated to the departments and rarely was there any interaction between other departments unless two departments relied on each other. There are formal and informal groups. Informal groups begin as a result of individual needs. Formal groups are organized and formed as part of the organizational structure. Formal groups are important as they assist in accomplishing tasks that cannot be accomplished by an individual. Together, the group members create ideas and solutions to the task at hand, thus the group is engaged in the problem solving especially for complex issues. Groups do also contribute to creating a social forum for employees. Individuals who are working in a group will benefit by developing their own social skills and affiliations.
Formal groups are formed to perform a specific task or to enhance performance of functions (Tosi & Mero, 2003). At SFG, the formal groups were functional and were formed to enhance performance of the organizations operations. The groups were in form of departments with a departmental head as the leader of the group. According to Tosi and Mero (2003), there are several factors that contribute to the group’s effectiveness and performance. One of these factors is the reward system.
Osland Et al. (2010) supports this as they add that the reward system can be used as a motivating factor in a group. However they add that individual rewards should only be given only when contributions to the task require contributions of a member as an individual and not as a group. Otherwise group contributions deserve group rewards. Fair rewards contribute to the cohesiveness within the group (Tosi & Mero, 2003). At SFG there was less group cohesiveness as only departmental leaders were rewarded for departmental achievements. This affected the departmental results as most members were reluctant to make any contributions for the development of the department.
Cooperation in group work is important. It means working together as all group members work towards the same goal. It includes each member contributing time and effort towards achieving this goal where all group members support each other. The unfair rewarding system created lifts within the group members where some started competing with each other. Competition among group members can both be positive and negative. It is negative when group members become more concerned of their individual welfare rather than the groups welfare, and the competitive behavior hinders the success of the group. This is the situation that existed with the SFG employees. Competition within a group is positive when it helps improve each individual’s performance, (Tosi & Mero).
Team building should be encouraged as it is during this time that members establish goals, define each member’s roles and define the tasks as the team members interact and develop interpersonal relationships and set norms for the group (Osland Et al., 2010). Team building activities help the members in gaining confidence. There were no team building activities at SFG and it was on rare occasions that all members met together. Such meetings were only organized by the departmental head while giving new tasks for the group.
The following recommendations would help improve the situation at SFG in regard to employees: a). attitudes and perceptions; b). employee’s motivation and; c) group dynamics and team work
Managing attitudes and perceptions
Trustful communication and provision of information.
Offering rewards based on performance
This will reduce speculations and fears that the company may be failing (Weber &Weber, 2001). This in turn will reduce absenteeism and turnover. New information can help in making employee’s change of attitudes (Griffin & Moorhead, 2009).
The management should involve the employees
Though this will provide short term results, it will assist in eliminating the dissatisfaction feeling.
Provide challenging jobs for the employees
Employee involvement and Motivation
Create positive emotions
According to Hertzberg’s theory job enrichment can act as a motivating factor. The employee’s ability will be fully utilized.
Employees who show a desire to have more responsibilities should be provided with such opportunities.
This includes the structuring the jobs and job designs and job specialization, job rotations, job enrichment and job enlargement (Griffin & Moorhead, 2009)
Employees will be committed if they participate in decisions especially those ones that affect their jobs.
Emotions can be motioned to be in alignment with the organizations goals. Emotions such as fear, envy and jealous were rife in SFG and this can be turned into positive emotions for the benefit of the company (Lord & Kanfer, 2010)
Group dynamics and teamwork
There should be an increase in group interactions and team participation
When teams are participating in all the groups’ activities they work together and produce positive results. There is cooperation by the team members and which results to innovative ideas for the group tasks.
A leader should assist in creating an effective team that works together. He is supposed to show authority in the group but should be flexible enough to listen to the group members’ opinions.
Cohesiveness within the group providing a sense of belonging to the group members.
Creates norms for the group
It creates motivation for the group employees.
Effective and fair reward systems
Reduces conflict within the group
A fair balance between individual and group rewards ensures that all employees are satisfied.
Reflection in relation to conclusions drawn from the scenario
When a company has been affected by negative publicity followed by employees who have low morale it would be very difficult to get it back on truck. Changing the employees’ attitudes and motivating them would help in turning the company around. Employees make an important part of an organization and the management should work towards creating a corporate culture where employees feel part of the company. In changing the employees’ attitudes the employees will be motivated to be part of the change that the company needs. Replacing the old employees with new employees would only help in providing a short term solution. SFG would need to change their attitude with the employees but should instead engage in empowering them by providing the required training. This way the SFG employees will be committed to the success of the company.
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