Rita's problem is Bob Antice. Bob, an employee of Powerful, was a star who brought his reputation to the company but is not living up to the changing times nor changing along with them. Still a legend in the recording history, friend and mentor to generations of performers, a legendary speaker, enthusiastic, imaginative, and the most successful salesman in the company's history, Bob seems to be losing his edge and not realizing it. Most importantly, he is delusional about his current performance and optimistic that the company is succeeding when it actually is not, and Rita is faced with pressure from colleagues to fire him.
A key-contributor to Powerful success, Bob is not 'living' in the 21st century. Computer have taken over -- ipods, Shazam, LiveNation and so forth- sales had declined to more than 20% in 2009, and as Klein, Powerful's CEO noted, Bob was still in sales excepting that the wasn't selling anything any more. Bob had not only failed in adapting himself to the real world, but wasn't aware that he had failed in doing so, and, whilst the company was sliding back in sales, Bob was still retaining his original high salary preventing the company from employing another, more lucrative salesman, in his stead.
On the other hand, firing Bob will mean firing the very person who, from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s had placed Powerful on top, had recognized and introduced platinum faces, and had forged indispensable connections with wholesalers, retailers, promoters, managers, and other employees. Bob is optimistic, well-liked, and trustworthy. Firing him may create ripples and will be a criticized act. Hence Rita's problem: Faced with pressure from Klein on the one hand to fire Bob and from some other colleagues, on the other, to retain Bob due to his popularity, Rita has to decide whether to fire Bob or to give him one more chance at making sales go, and if the latter would be her option her challenge then will be to attempt to motivate him.
Part II. Rita's decision
Firstly, Rita has to be fair. Rita has to take the good of the company into consideration and act with procedural fairness (justice, consistency, objectivity, and ethics) synthesized with interactional fairness (dignity, consideration, and respect) for Bob whilst implementing her decision. The synthesis of both will not only placate the company but will also prove understanding to Bob. The deficiency of this synthesis may well result, on the other hand, in the company not only sliding further downhill but in increased discontentment from employees and employers, such as Klein, that may sabotage the company still further.
Rita should further consider whether externalities may be holding Bob back: his unfamiliarity with the equipment; unintentional deception by others produced by fawning instead of honest and informative feedback about his performance; Bob's specific environment -- he may be helped by being moved to another work station, and so forth. Externalities can affect Bob's performance.
It may be the case, too, that clever aligning of Bob's values with the organization's interests may induce Bob to upgrade his performance. Collins (2001) states that employees become motivated by a Flywheel effect, i.e. when they see the organizational wheel spinning, feel the excitement of momentum, and see others of the organization putting their all into spinning this wheel too, that is when they put their shoulder to the wheel and push. It may be the case, therefore, that Bob, when told about decline in sales, will be motivated by interest in the company alone to upgrade his performance and that this motivation will be exacerbated by seeing others in his environment put their shoulder to the wheel too. The combined effort and excitement in the atmosphere will be sufficient to motivate Bob to improve his skills.
If that were still not sufficient, Rita could employ the Expectancy theory. From what we have been told about Bob -- his high salary, confidence in himself, and apparent laid-back personality -- it seems unlikely that Bob will be motivated by any additional factors and, therefore, it seems unlikely that Bob's performance (according to the Expectancy theory, as described later) will change. Nonetheless, Rita as fair manager, has to giver Bob a chance. Her decision, therefore, should be to apply the Expectancy theory to his situation, provide Bob with the ultimatum of 'shaping or leaving', and provide him with a specific perimeter of time whereby he can, with her assistance and the assistance of others, upgrade his marketing skills.
Part III: Recommended Actions
The Expectancy theory is one the most reputable motivational theories in organizational management and could be used by Rita to great effect. Essentially, the Expectancy theory proposes that individuals, deciding amongst behavioral options, select the option that gives them the greatest motivation (otherwise known as motivational force (MF)).
This MF is comprised of three components or perceptions: Expectancy; Instrumentality; and Valence.
1. Expectancy is based on subjective characteristics such as on the individual's expectations of self, of past performance, and of challenges and/or realistic possibility of achieving present goals. In other words, Bob's questions to himself here would be: If I work harder would I be able to synchronize to and acquire the tools of the very different times that I am presently living in, adjusting my worth to the new times, or will I be unable to do so?
2. Instrumentality probability: Bob has to be seduced by some reward to make the tremendous effort desired of him. Can Rita present him with a reward larger than the one that has at the moment that will entice Bob to make the extra effort to pull up his sales and to learn new skills?
3. Valence: Bob has to feel that it is worth his while to make that effort. His salary seems to be large enough at the moment. Presumably, Bob will not be motivated by a larger salary, but will he be motivated by retention of his job, or will he not mind the possibility of early retirement?
The motivational force is the product of the whole, consequently if any of these elements is zero the whole equation cancels out (QuickMBA.com)
In whichever way Rita decides to act -- whether to fire Bob or present him with another chance -- Rita has to inform Bob of her decision and this information would be handed over as clear and concise as well as explanatory and respectful a manner as possible. Here, explanation -- or appraisal -- should be given him regarding his performance as well regarding the company's expectations and a clear rationale should be delivered regarding the reason for her decision.
If Rita decides to retain Bob on a test-basis, Bob should receive regular, consistent and clear feedback as to his development and this feedback should include both negative and positive components and should be relevant to his learning trajectory. The positive feedback provides the individual with notification of his or her specific improvement, whilst negative feedback identifies areas that need improvement. Both types of feedback should be specific, goal-oriented, descriptive, well timed, and succinct. Being that Bob may have to take major leaps to upgrade to the 21st century, Rita will have to ascertain that he is provided with the help and resources to do so, that this is done at his pace and level, and that information is imparted to him in a comprehensible, acceptable manner.
Most importantly, Bob has to want to do it -- and this is where we return to the Expectancy theory.
Bob's reputation, character, and past performance make him a valued employee. Unfortunately, however, Bob has failed to upgrade his performance to the rigors and expectations of the 21st century and pressure is mounting upon Rita to fire Bob. Rita has to decide whether to fire Bob outright,…