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What influence tactics and power bases are evident in this case? Explain.
In the first place, the owner of the company has all of the power, if she wants it. Of course, she is bounded by her employees and the law to an extent, but when making a change such as this it would seem that she first used legitimate power. She saw a need to radically change the way the company operated because revenues were consistently dropping, so she had to find a way to arrest the free fall. Legitimate power always seems like a fall back point, but her statement regarding the receptionist of "just figure it out" points to the CEO's use threats, no wheedling, just a strong statement because she has the ultimate power in the company. It can also be said that she employed expert power also. The CEO of a company is the chief executive, and though they may not have as much specific information about individual departments as the managers of those departments have, she does have a better overall picture of the company. This means that she is expert about where the company needs to go to succeed. As an aside, this seems to be on the dividing line between social and personal power because the change is equally for herself and for the company.
Influence tactics are relatively limited in this case. On first examination, it is obvious that rational persuasion was used. There had to be a change, a radical change, and this would give the employees the freedom they wished to have while maintaining the work environment. However, there was most likely some consultation and coalition tactics also. The CEO would have to talk to other members of the management team to see how they viewed the idea. This was the coercion. She had to have some other people involved so that she could sell the idea to others in the company. But, she did not see this as enough. She hired a consulting firm, made of the individuals who had first implemented the idea at Best Buy (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010), to make sure that the program was implemented correctly.
2. Where would you plot J.A. Counter's ROWE program on the empowerment grid in Figure 15-2? Explain.
This is actually a difficult question. The CEO decided to change the organizational face of the company independently because she had needed to somehow boost productivity. Because she had heard about the success Best Buy had implementing these employee scheduling ideas (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2006), she worked to make the change. After the initial decision to make the change, she then talked to the employees about the idea. The employees of the company were allowed to give their own input, and it seemed from the case study that it was mostly either negative, or people at least hedged about possible success of the venture. But, the end result of the experiment is somewhere between power sharing and power distribution. The CEO implemented the plan because she believed that empowering employees would work for her company, but the case of the receptionist shows that employees were not given a completely free hand. Since the receptionist's job was seen as critical, she had to have a schedule regarding her planned departures from work. She was not entirely free to leave whenever she felt like it. This is probably the case with every employee. There has to be some justification for leaving, though no one can complain about another person leaving when they choose under the ROWE program. But it seems that a small company, as the case study intimates, would have a more difficult time because people do "wear multiple hats" (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010). So, the employees have some degree of freedom to make their own decisions, but not total freedom.
Has employee empowerment been taken too far in this case? Explain.
To people who are used to the way that work scheduling normally works, this probably seems just short of anarchy (Kidwell, Bennett & Valentine, 2010). In some cases this could be an issue. People who are not used to a traditional work environment may take advantage of the opportunity to create their own schedule, but this would probably not be the general case. Employees realize that they have a job as a result of the beneficence of their employer, or it is at the very least a mutual contract…[continue]
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