Interview of Manager Interview

Excerpt from Interview :

Competing Values Approach

The CVA is best understood as a map that can help leaders look at their organization and structure it accordingly and/or make changes when necessary with the help of the Framework.

The CVA is best envisioned as a two by two figures with four quadrants as in the diagram below:

Some organizations represent greater degree of flexibility and control, whilst others manifest greater degree of flexibility and adaptability. These dimensions are plotted on the CVA above. Organizations generally veer in between with a continuum ranging between this degree of flexibility and control.

The second part of the framework shows the balance towards focus on internal operations of the company (e.g. Work performance, usage of resource, management style and so forth) and focus on external operations, on the other hand (e.g. Competition, government policies, ethos of sustainability etc.). Organizations again veer on a continuum between either ends. There is cohesion and consonance on the one end and separation and independence on the other.

Each of the models that are dispersed between this quadrant -- human relations model; Open systems model; Internal Process model; and the rational goal model -- manifest themselves in different ways:

1. Human relations model - It focuses on human resource development. Generally an internal end. It is characterized by cohesion and morale

2. Open systems model -- this focuses on growth and resource acquisition. It is characterized by flexibility and readiness. It is in the external quadrant

3. Internal Process model -- it focuses on information management and communication. Placed firmly in the internal quadrant, it strives for stability and control of organization

4. Rational goal model - Its focus is on planning and goal setting. Its objectives are productivity and efficiency. It integrates both internal and external sectors.

The most effective organization according to Quinn et al. (2011) is that which merges all four quadrants and applies the various characteristics according to their particular organization and according to circumstance, For instance, at times it is crucial that the creative element (collaboration, creating new ideas, self-organizing (possibly inherent in the Open systems model) be used and that this be done in an adaptable and flexible way.

At other times, it is important that the Control Quadrant and that, let's say, the Rational goal model be used where scientific research on the organization is implemented and data scrupulously drawn and evaluated. Rather than creativity and flexibility in this instance, the organization needs rigidity and control.

There are times when the organization needs to devote its focus to external environment such as with acquisitions, identifying future trends, pursuing innovative ideas, and competing for market share and growth. Other times, it may have to emphasize its internal capabilities such as when it focuses on systems, culture, cost reduction, continuous quality improvement, and human development

The framework not only gives the manager a certain way in evaluating his organization, but can also provide a purview for specific leadership style and for appraisal of the efficacy of the performance of an organization as well as providing a way for the manager to evaluate his own style. It also identifies the multiple ways in which value can be crated within an organization.

Quinn et al. (2011) also used the following terms for each of the four quadrants:

1. Collaborate, - extent to which focus is on (or people do) work together in the organization

2. Create, - focus on innovation

3. Compete, - focus on competing with other companies in field

4. Control. - focus on controlling the company in terms of planning and goals.

The first two structures are internal; the second two are external.

I plan to use these categorizations in the following interview in order to simplify the interview.

The Interview

I interviewed a manager of a small company. Although small, he started it himself and has successfully run it for more than 30 years building it up from himself and an assistant to a total of 15 workers. He has also divided his plant in two: one that focuses on routine vehicle repairs such as computer analysis, brakes, oil changes, radiators, tires (including sales), 24-hour towing, tune-ups, and wheel alignment (and so forth). The other that offers mechanical repair and is a body and paint shop

I used the 4 quadrants of Collaborate, Create, Compete, and Control to guide the open-structured interview as well as the two overarching components of internal and external and control and flexibility to direct it.

The manager's name is Jeff. I asked him to please evaluate his performance in the following sectors as well as to tell me techniques that he had learned in improving them or where he wishes to be. I then asked him to briefly sum up where he is at the moment and where he would like to be in relation to the CVA in the future (let us say 5 years from now). This was his response:

1. Collaborate, - extent to which focus is on (or people do) work together in the organization. There is great focus on collaboration particularly because in this kind of job people need to work together and know what each other is doing in order to complete the job on time and to the customer's preferences. The job can be stressful, but Jeff wants to create a friendly and collaborative environment.

Jeff elaborated on the way that he operates this sector: the staff work in a collaborative environment in secretarial-related matters, accountancy, repairs and remodeling.

The environment is flexible, but, nonetheless, Jeff uses a performance management process in order to guide and manage his team. This consists of a job mission statement that Jeff puts together (usually with his team and usually in regard to the major repairs) for each major project. The description details the purpose of the job, customers, product and scope. The key objectives and performance standards are outlined so that employees working on the job (e.g. performing massive remodeling on a car) know how to proceed. This Jeff calls the commitment analysis. Following the commitment analysis, he has the job description which essentially involves report of job to management. A systems analysis is sometimes substituted. What this does is to determine performance standards for each job and to evaluate progress. The way that Jeff described it seems to indicate that Jeff is placed squarely within the control quadrant and, as reinforced later, his emphasis is almost exclusively on internal control.

2. Create, - focus on innovation. Indeed, Jeff told me that there is virtually no focus on innovation particularly since this is a job that follows rules and structures and where innovation would be detrimental to it. The closest Jeff came to innovation was when deciding where to set up shop and what to do, but this was simple for him since he enjoyed working with cars.

3. Compete, - focus on competing with other companies in field. There is huge competition in the field. Jeff, however, told me that he had long ago decided to place his premium on internal control -- on planning and goal setting, on implementing an honest and friendly structure so that he can spread his reputation and fix his spot within his own corner. His emphasis was certainly on internal control. With this achieved, he hoped to attract clients form other regions and actually thought that he succeeded in this intention.

4. Control. - focus on controlling the company in terms of planning and goals.

Jeff's focus was squarely on this. He and his company often sat together (monthly) to evaluate performance of the past month and evaluate goals for the next. Turnover was rare, and therefore Jeff had to rarely hire. He instead focused on motivating his workers, on implementing a safe and honest environment that accorded care and respect to customer and workers and Jeff made this as a part of his work ethos. His company also had a philanthropy ethos where they gave a certain part of their margins to charity.

Jeff's focus is -- according to him too - veered in terms of the internal quadrant as well as in terms of control. Jeff, however, told me that he also attempts to practice flexibility relaxing his management during less busy periods of the year and trying to be less stressful during the extremely busy periods. The company too is flexible in that Jeff uses an informal performance appraisal approach where there is an open unstructured conversation about employee goals, company goals, and how the two can be integrated to reciprocally help one another. Communication is open and honest; employees are expected to work hard, but understanding exists for personal challenges and hardships.

As commentary on the other paradigms, I can extend Jeff's interview with me to answer these too:

1. Human relations model - This focuses on human resource development. Generally an internal end. It is characterized by cohesion and morale.

Jeff certainly focuses on HR. He told me that he cares for his workers and…

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