Assessment and Recommendation to Resolve Interpersonal Communication Problems at the Griffith Hotel
Transcript of Ideal Conversation
The Griffith Hotel is a relatively new luxury hotel established in Tel Aviv. The hotel has some experienced and knowledgeable front desk staff, but is suffering an increasing level of complaints from customers regarding the attitude of the staff. An examination of the problems indicates that communication within the department is poor. Problems start with the department manager, Simon, who takes an autocratic approach, demanding compliance rather than working with motivating staff. The autocratic/commanding approach of the department manager filters through the hierarchy. The dissatisfaction and "jobsworth" attitude of many of the employees can be explained through the application of social exchange theory. The employees gain relatively few rewards for a high level of input, so display only a minimal level of commitment to their job tasks. Cross-cultural communication also appears to be problematic, with individuals from different cultures misunderstanding each other.
It is recommended that the organization adopt a new communication strategy, implementing a training course to increase communication skills. The course will be based on cross cultural communication skills, as this will include basic communication skills training as part of the course. The course workshops and role-play so employees can practice the skills they learn. Providing the employees of the relevant skills and knowledge, communication should take place more efficiently and redress the cost benefit balance to provide more benefits for all involved in the communication. Following the courses feedback will be gathered from employees, management and customers, in order to determine whether or not the strategies been successful, and identify any potential areas where improvement will be needed
The Griffith Hotel, a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv, has a number of experienced and knowledgeable, staff. The Front Office Manager; has a great deal of faith in those staff, but despite this there are an increasing number of complaints. Simon, the front office manager, feels he is dealing with the situation by issuing instructions to the staff on how they should perform their jobs. The strategy he is using does not appear to be getting the desired results as the situation is deteriorating rather than getting better. Simon, who appears to have an autocratic or command style of leadership, does not understand why his staff do not do as they are told. The aim of the report is to examine the situation and make recommendations the way the situation may be improved.
The front of office department at the Griffith hotel has some major problems. Many of these are related to the way communication takes place. Simon adopts a very autocratic or commanding style of leadership. The command or autocratic style is a very one direction style, the leader or manager direct and controls, with a tell style and the expectation that the followers will do as they are told in an unquestioning manner (Goleman, 2004; 2000). This is a style often associated with the military or the police (Adlam and Villers, 2003). There is an inherent problem with this style of leadership; it does not allow for bilateral communication, it is also a style that does not engender trust (Bass, 2000). Basic motivation theory indicates that when employees feel as of they matter to the employer, which is communicated through their manager, they will be motivated and more productive compared to those who do not feel they matter (Bratton et al., 2005). With Simon failing to listen to the employees, merely dictating to them, he is communicating an attitude that will be interpreted as indicating the employees' thoughts and feelings do not matter. Simon's failure to pass on praise or recognize good work, and only issue complaints emphasizes this perspective. Simon's actions may also be seen as undermining a good relationship with employees, when Simon does step in to help during busy times he will only do the easy bits and leave the harder tasks or the more difficult tasks for the front desk staff to take over.
The lack of bilateral communication impacts on the employee relationships with management and creates conflict. Management and employees who do not feel they are being heard are likely to react badly, with low levels of motivation and commitment (Bratton et al., 2005). The low level of commitment is seen in the way the front desk staff perform their jobs; they do not engage in conversation with the guests checking in or out, this also reduces the potential to up sell the room and generate more revenue for the hotel, other guest requests are received poorly, as an interruption rather than seen as a part of the job. Overall, these 'jobsworth' attitudes indicate a low level of commitment to the job and a lack of willingness to invest effort to perform the job to a higher level (Bratton et al., 2005). This is further emphasized with the way that the new employees are received, in an unfriendly manner where they are treated as a burden when shadowing the experienced staff. There is also a lack of communication involved in this as the staff are not informed in advance they will have a newer member of staff with them. New staff are exposed to this as a cultural norm and adapt it as a value.
Not all members of staff are bad at communication. One Italian member of staff; Bruno, an Italian, has a very personable nature and is able to manage employees and guests. However, the flamboyant Bruno clashes with the more reserved English Simon, who interprets his flamboyance and excitable nature as being unprofessional. The clashes emerge with disagreements between Simon and Bruno in front of the other staff. Where staff see these disagreements continuing the attitude that this is acceptable continues. This reflects a lack of respect for Simon. This example also demonstrates there are also cultural barriers to communications present, with the cultural background of the managers playing a role in the way communication was interpreted. There are employees from many different countries, including Israel, Australia and Japan, theoretically this should provide the hotel with increased cultural awareness to help dealing with guests, but as there is a lack of cultural understanding, the different cultures are another barrier to effective communication that results in fragmentation and dissatisfaction.
To place this in a meaningful context according to Presbury (et al., 2005) there are four main areas where there are barriers to service improvement in high quality hotels, these are budget constraints, the attitude of the staff, the lack of mentoring and the high customer expectation. In the case of the Griffith Hotel the problems appear to be the attitude of the staff and the lack of mentoring, both of which may be distilled into the way communication takes place.
To assess the problems and the way they may be resolved it is necessary to look at the way communication takes place. The most appropriate theory is social exchange theory. This theory looks at the way communication takes place ands is very repellent to the workplace, the theory also provided the foundation for Adams equity theory; the way in which employees will look at the employment relationship to determine whether or not it is fair (Adams, 1965).
Social exchange theory is classified as a symbolic interaction perspective. This theory has its foundation in economics, sociology and psychology, explaining the way social exchanges take place arguing that all relationships will be assessed in terms of the potential cost and potential benefits and the way in which each individual's own self-interest may be served through that relationship. In the case of the workplace the relationships assessed may be the employment relationship between employer and employees, or between different employees.
The theory has as its basis the idea of interdependence postulated by Thibaut and Kelley (1959), where it is stated that relationships will go through different stages, growing, developing deteriorating and then finally dissolving due to the way in which social exchanges take place (Thibaut and Kelley, 1959).
This theory postulates that human relationships, including employment relationships, as similar to an economic transaction. Those involved within the relationship will seek to maximize their rewards benefits at the same time as minimizing their costs. In this context costs are factors which will have a negative value to an individual, for example the effort required in order to make a relationship work. Costs may also be assessed in terms of time as well as effort, and in monetary terms. The rewards are the elements or factors of the relationships that have a positive value to the individual, this may include social acceptance, or support, or in the case of employees it may also include wages. It may also be argued that these positive factors may also be associated with the higher order needs found in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which also noted as being motivators, and having value to an individual (Bratton et al., 2005). In…