Resolving Organizational Culture Issues Situational Overview and Essay

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 8
  • Subject: Business - Management
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #74471393

Excerpt from Essay :

Resolving Organizational Culture Issues

Situational Overview and Background of the Issues

The organisation consists of 43 employees managed by a management team of 3 males in their middle 60s: a Director, General Manager, and National Sales Manager. The average age of the employees is 30, and only 3 of the employees are female. The 3 managers all adhere to very outdated authoritarian management styles and communication patterns, routinely resorting to verbal abuse and screaming. The managers maintain very high expectations; meanwhile, they pay their employees less than is standard within their industry. Female employees are paid even less for doing the same jobs as their male counterparts and they receive less respect and deference than male colleagues in identical positions. The management team spends a large percentage of company profits, partly because they adamantly refuse to adopt newer technologies that have already become standard in contemporary business organisations as well as in their industry. In general, the organisation's personnel do not respect the managers and this is reflected in an unusually high turnover rate.

The Impact of Diversity Issues

Age and Generational Profiles

The three managers are products of an era in modern business in which authoritarian management styles and communications patterns that are considered professionally inappropriate and unacceptable by contemporary societal and vocational standards (George & Jones, 2008). The interpersonal dynamic that characterizes the workplace consist nearly exclusively of instructions and directions issued as orders and without any meaningful bi-directional input in any form. The managers typically chastise personnel in any situation where guidance or correction is required, including situations in which the employee involved could not reasonably have been expected to do anything differently or in which the employee made a perfectly reasonably first attempt at an unfamiliar task. As a result, a culture of fear and mistrust permeates the organization in which personnel do not communicate openly with or seek guidance from management.

Initiative is ignored and more often provokes anger and rebukes such as "just do as you're told" than any appreciation or acknowledgement. As a result, personnel follow instructions and procedures that are inefficient, outdated, and that waste time and increase overhead costs unnecessarily. On a regular basis, the refusal by management to incorporate digital functions and other processes that have already become standard in contemporary business have cost the organisation business relationships with prospective customers. While they never expressly indicated their reasons for terminating their inquiries, on several occasions, representatives from prospective customers expressed surprise that the organization still relies heavily on fax machines, for one example.

Gender

The three female employees endure significantly worse treatment by management than their male counterparts. All three managers regularly employ pejorative sexist terminology, such as addressing female personnel by the terms "honey" and "sweetheart." In any situation involving the delegation of supervisory authority or responsibility, management invariably prefers male employees, ignoring any requests by female employees to be considered for projects or other responsibilities. The female personnel are instructed to submit their work to male colleagues for review before submitting them to management, even where the respective female employee is more experienced than the male employee. The three female employees all receive less compensation than their male colleagues occupying identical positions and fulfilling the same responsibilities.

Spiritual Orientation

The three managers make occasional references to "good Christian" values and sometimes compliment staff members on trinkets or jewelry with apparent Christian identity; they also sometimes make references to the fact that the Director and General Manager are members of the same church, such as in connection with work-related conversations they have over the weekend. Meanwhile, the management, communication, and interpersonal styles of the managers are antithetical to even the most secular conceptual approaches to so-called "Christian" ideals. They neither express nor manifest any respect for others; and they violate fundamental and foundational Christian concepts such as "do unto others." They make decisions and exercise their authority to change elements of the office environment without any explanation or apparent need, even where those arbitrary decisions cause significant annoyance and ultimately interfere with operational productivity.

To the staff, those types of decisions, such as to reassign work stations and to order restructured working teams without any justification or explanation, appear to be nothing more than deliberate attempts to demonstrate authority by its exercise and even outright malice. As a result, employees are guarded about expressing any preferences because they believe management will exploit any apparent opportunity to cause instability and to prevent employees from becoming "too comfortable" in the office. Naturally, there is no trust of management on the part of the staff; a culture of secrecy prevails along with the mindset that the less management knows about them the better.

Policies and Practices that Affect Interpersonal Communications

In some respects, elements of the managers' management style are contagious in precisely the manner described in the relevant literature (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009). Instead of demonstrating patience and consideration, some coworkers -- particularly those with seniority and supervisory responsibilities -- have emulated the unforgiving authoritarian style of management. In some cases, they do so while excusing their conduct on the basis of mutual awareness of the consequences faced by supervisors if work for which they are responsible fails to meet management's approval. As a result, there has been an evolution of sorts in which long-term employees typically treat their subordinates in substantially the same manner as the managers treat their staff.

The senior staff members often resort to raising their voices inappropriately and they respond to being criticized by management by blaming their subordinates for being responsible. As a result, employees communicate much less with their superiors than they do among themselves and with significantly less disclosure. This undermines operational efficiency because employees seek guidance from one another in situations where it would ordinarily be more appropriate to direct to supervisors. Another result of these communications and interpersonal styles that prevail in this organization is an unusually low employee retention rate. Predictably, this also undermines organizational efficiency and increases overhead costs by virtue of the continual expense of hiring and new-hire training and by the corresponding diminution in productivity that is typical in any organization where high turnover means that a significant percentage of personnel are still learning their roles and responsibilities (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Similarly, the fact that an unusually high number of employees are perpetually searching for alternative vocational opportunities that will enable them to resign from the organization also significantly decreases productivity during that period (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Predictably, turnover rates are highest among female employees by virtue of the extent to which they are patronized, insulted, and deprived of equal opportunities to earn and to increase their responsibility levels or advance within the organization. A culture of resentment and "us against them" exists on the part of the three female employees and that is a pattern that has been substantially consistent with other female personnel in this organization. In many respects, some male employees have adopted the attitudes modeled by management toward females, even employees who had never previously held chauvinistic or sexist attitudes. This also is entirely consistent with the relevant literature pertaining to the adoption by subordinates of attitudes and values of superiors (Fitch, 2010). As a result, female employees tend to consult primarily with the other female employees and only as necessary with their supervisors and other male employees.

Furthermore, the managers' disdain for adopting modern technology, particularly for communications, has generated apathy on the part of many employees who are responsible for soliciting new business. They have come to expect and to anticipate surprised responses that obviously mask amusement or disappointment with humor (or just silence) and they have become conditioned to avoid putting themselves in positions where they will be embarrassed in that regard. Some employees have also learned to exploit that situation to their benefit, such as by pretending not to know one another's email addresses when that provides an excuse to avoid responsibilities or having to inconvenience fellow employees. This To a great degree, this is also consistent with the relevant literature about the evolution of defensive reactions as a consequence of resentment toward the unfair and inconsiderate business practices of managers and supervisors who are perceived as uncaring or malicious (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009; Maxwell, 2007).

Recommendations

On the basis of the existing issues in this organization, the following recommended changes would be advisable:

First, management personnel must receive training to increase their awareness of the degree to which their policies, practices, and management and communications styles are adversely impacting their organization. It is anticipated that the best approach to making any meaningful progress in this respect would be by emphasizing the connection between the prevailing culture and practices of the organisation and revenue. In general, this is a fundamental constant within the change management process in so far as reluctance on the part of decision-makers is concerned (Robins & Judge, 2009).

Second, once management agrees to consider making the necessary changes to increase productivity…

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