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The spirit of competition also negatively impacted the manner in which employees communicated. The lack of specific definition as well as the highly isolationist company mentality ultimately resulted in a communication breakdown which prevented the effective running of the company.
Knowledge Sharing: Mentoring and cross-training have been declining leading to less knowledge sharing and familiarization opportunities for younger less experienced staff. Section members lack the opportunity to share knowledge and to share in lessons learned. This enforced specialization of employees will ultimately result in poorer results. Cross discipline work is essential in the successful integration and most efficient use of employed experts (Forrester, 1971). It could potentially take months longer to reach a favorable outcome if indeed the most efficient and effective outcome is ever reached at all.
Compartmentalizing of Data and Ideas: There are silos / compartments of information that was not readily communicated across departments (Richmond, 2001). As discussed above this mentality ultimately hinders progress. Employees within a unified organization must be both able and willing to share information across departments in the effort to find the most favorable outcome for the organization as a whole. In an organization where managers are seen fighting amongst themselves and interdepartmental cooperation is not encouraged or enforced it is not likely that there would be an environment of free flowing information.
Coordination and interface management: Between SSG, Operations, Venture and other groups of RasGas is extremely critical in such a dynamic environment to meet the key deliverables from each group and to spot any potential optimization opportunities. Need to create the opportunities to address the right balance of projects and to address immediate and future shareholder needs considering the on-going multiple projects.
Minor metaphor: Brain
There was a general lack of communication between the departments and between sections. Each section tended to work independently from the other sections. This effectively led to distributed control. Staff worked with a mindset that they only needed to be involved in work activity related to their discipline. Each section had well defined duties so that from the department-level perspective, parallel information processing was taking place (Ackoff, 1981).
Tasks definition: No production activity descriptions or production standards are defined or followed -- There are no common grounds for data analysis or priorities. There is no common surveillance program. The necessity of task definitions which are clear and concise is for the purposes of more efficient activity as well as ensuring accountability (Churchman, 1971). It has been shown that employees in a work environment with stringent accountability requirements
Accountability: Unknown or misunderstood accountabilities for surveillance and production activities. Ownership not fully defined and sections have not agreed on ownership resulting in misunderstandings pertaining to who will be performing the work and when it will be completed. Decision making and common goals not addressed for new and missing activities. Without accountability there is less motivation for precise and timely work (Gleick, 1987). There is also the increased likelihood that important aspects of jobs will be left out or forgotten as a result of thinking it would be handled by another employee or department. In the instance of such a misunderstanding, it is also impossible for specific blame to be allocated as it is impossible for the mistake to be effectively corrected and prevented from happening again.
Better Distribution: Sections are assigned work to just several experienced personnel leading to overwork. The overwhelming lack of trust even within departments also indicates that it is unlikely that in the event of a work overload that there would be intra-or inter-departmental assistance (Dewey, 1989). Also even if it were clearly evident that another expert or department might be better equipped to address an issue or could be possessing of information relating to an assignment that the employee or department initially assigned the task would reach out and ask for assistance or input.
Technical Analysis: No consensus on what the data was saying. Data is analyzed and scrutinized by different sections who added their own unique perspective. When there is no cohesive report to present to shareholders, it not only jeopardizes continued involvement in the organization but it has the potential to create panic in this industry (Singer, 1959). Individuals as well as individual governments rely on the cohesive presentation of facts and figures regarding available and projected fuel resources. In the event that departments are not working together, those facts and figures cannot be relied on effectively. If there is the inability to predict available stores as well as realistic projected supplies then not only is there panic in the immediacy regarding fuel which will negatively impact the market and thus the shareholders, but it also jeopardizes future projects.
Standardization of Processes: Each Section has overlapping and duplicated processes which requires optimization and standardization. One such process, the PLT is less efficient and it is used over several sections. Standardization assists in reducing the learning curve of new users. It also reduces the unnecessary redundancy of processes and procedures. The elimination of duplicated processes ultimately saves money for shareholders as well as increasing the efficiency of different departments. The time spent not performing redundant operations may also provide departments with more time to pursue other projects which may have been neglected or nor pursued at all because of a lack of time.
Discussion of Applicability:
Customer (beneficiary or victims of the situation): The customer in this context, or more pertinently the shareholders suffered as a result of the isolationist mentality employed by the SSG. Though ultimately individual employees and by extension individual sections and departments were all focused intently on the production of reports results and progress within their specific field there was no integrative work done (Wolfram, 2002). This resulted in conflicting reports as well as missed deadlines and ultimately the failure to meet production goals.
Actors (those directly affecting the situation): Employees in this organization though highly skilled in their respective fields were not skilled in effective communication. Though there was a clear definition of specific duties, responsibilities, and goals there were no guidelines on the protocols regarding interdepartmental cooperation and communication. Employees approached their tasks with the mindset of competition as opposed to cooperation. This often lead to a hostile and ultimately unproductive workplace environment (Churchman, 1971).
Transformation process (what is happening in terms of inputs being transformed into outcomes in this situation): Asset Surveillance Teams have been utilized. This effectively combines the efforts of multiple departments in order to provide a unified front for the benefit of both Shareholders and Company executives. This unified team enforces a mentality of cooperation and mutual advancement (Boulding, 1956).
Weltanschauung (worldview of participants -- the underlying narrative that addresses the question "why bother with this situation of endeavour?"): Though the results of RasGas have been largely positive, employees as well as shareholders have become aware that with increasing demand, there will be an increased need for effective communication. Currently, departments struggle to work effectively together often resulting in disappointing outcomes. With the increased responsibility of greater commitments to the world fuel supply, there will be increased pressure on the existing system of cooperation and communication. As it stands, it is unlikely that it will be able to meet market and by extension shareholder expectations. The implementation of AST protocols though may ease this burden (Gleick, 1987).
Owner (the entity most affected by the particular situation): The owner of the RasGas group is actually a joint venture of two large fuel providers. These organizations represent not only the financial but also the energy interests of millions of individuals worldwide (Singer, 1959). It is essential that a more cohesive work method be developed in order not only to facilitate the successful attainment of work goals, but also to ensure that the owners of RasGas are able to continue expanding research and drilling in order to meet the energy needs of the world at large.
Environment (what lies outside the situation): RasGas is one of if not the largest single supplier of natural gas in the world. As such the majority of the world's gas needs rest within the direct purview of the company heads. The continued expansion of drilling operations is not only essential to the continued success of the company but also the continued energy supply for the world at large. Successful carrying out of the daily operation of this company directly affects futures around the world (Gharadajedaghi, 1999). Though the world is moving to cleaner more environmentally friendly energy sources, currently natural gas is one of the primary fuel sources for everything from heating to space exploration. Without the effective communication and management of so essential a company it is possible that there could be very serious worldwide ramification.
Methodology: Systems Theory- A Socio-cultural View
In the context of an organization so in need of organizational overhauling, the only methodology applicable is one which focuses on the organization as a socio-cultural entity. Within this methodology,…[continue]
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