In my opinion, finding a problem in such a case study is strictly related to whether you agree with the LMX theory or not. In this sense, stimulating a certain part of your personnel may be considered efficient or less efficient, in which case there may be a problem.
However, there several issues that should be discussing when referring to the way Jim is applying the LMX theory. First of all, the permanent and main reason for which he is using the in-group personnel is that he "doesn't have to do it himself" or because he is reticent about stepping up front. This doesn't seem to me to be a leader-like attitude. Using in-group people for certain jobs should be directed towards increasing the overall efficiency rather than covering up for yourself as leader.
The second thing that should be discussed is related to compensation and motivation for the job. All of the rewards the in-group people get are appraisals, general recognition, a close relationship with the boss. In general, we would expect this kind of compensations to be doubled by material ones, as well as by possible future promotions. In my opinion, the forms of reward that Jim has been using may have a limited period of effectiveness.
2. Management practices and behavior
It is quite clear that Jim Madison prefers to delegate most of his work, especially to a few trusted employees that he has formed a special relationship with. This may be seen as a positive practice, as we may consider that a manager's task is, first of all, to organize and coordinate rather than to actually do the work himself.
On the other hand, as I have already mentioned here above, Jim seems to be one of those managers that wants to be involved as little as possible in everything that gets done, because he may be afraid of the blame he might take lest something goes wrong. This may be, in my opinion, a certain personality trait that may take off some of the efficiency of the methods he is using
3. Problem Analysis
As I have mentioned before, this particular organization is not necessarily having a problem. I am asserting this because none of the indicators that may show there is a problem are present. Indeed, the company is functioning efficiently, the public and clients benefiting from the services provided are satisfied and, just as important, the employees are satisfied, both with their positions and the way they see themselves in the organization. It is clear that the people working with Jim Madison are satisfied with the way he is performing as a supervisor.
However, it may be the case that this is only momentary. It is difficult to believe that the people in the in-group will remain content with the rewards they are receiving for their extra services. There seems to be no sign that in the future this will change and it is difficult to keep people stimulated only by recognizing their merit and thanking them for their services. So, in my opinion, while maintaining a benefic and self sufficient system of in-groups and out-groups, Jim Madison may be ignoring possible future discontent in the workplace.
4. Recommendations for managerial actions
There are several actions that Jim should take in my opinion. First of all, why always use the same people in his system and for those specific jobs? What will happen if, one day, those people decide to leave and apply for better paid positions in other organizations or other fields? Jim should probably attempt to better train his staff so that anyone may, at a future time, assume a certain position within the company and become part of the in-group. A higher level of flexibility is perhaps desired in this case.
On the other hand, I kept mentioning motivation throughout my analysis of the case study. One can't always be motivated by praise and it is perhaps time that Jim should use different other motivational tools. I am referring here to bonuses for extra work and to possibilities that those people will get promotions in the future.
Additionally, Jim should probably change his vision over his own position within the company and should probably take, in his position as manager of the company, more responsibilities.
5. Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the theory
The case study is keen to underline and sustain several aspects that the LMX theory brings forth. First of all, it is obvious that, in an organization, there are people with whom the manager gets on better than with others and it is only natural that he would choose his closest collaborators among them. The LMX theory only points out theoretically something that practice has long shown. In this case study, this is most obvious: Jim has selected a few persons that are assigned more difficult taks and more responsibilities.
On the other hand, one of the weaknesses of the theory, exemplified here as well, is that it is not necessarily fair and may lead to a certain degree of discrimination within the organization. Indeed, in the case study, we may have the feeling that the people in the out-group are ignored and that they do not receive the same treatment with those who are in the in-group.
MBTI or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the numerous personality tests. However, the relevance of this test in an organization is increased by the fact that interpersonal relationships and decision making characteristics are emphasized in this case, which makes it relevant for the work place environment.
On the other hand, the MBTI is one of the practical tools that the transformational leadership theory uses in order to determine adequate qualities for a leader and how the connection that is formed between an employee and a leader evolves and operates with the organization. In this sense, it is perhaps best to first have a look at some of the basic notions from the transformational theory and then refer to the MBIT example provided.
According to the textbook, transformational leadership refers to "the process whereby an individual engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower." From this definition, I may understand and assert further on that a leader is a person that will need to have several qualities in order to make an impact on those around him. This impact refers first to the communication that is formed between the leader and the followers, then to the connection level and to the response the leader receives from his followers. An excellent leader will always be able to motivate his followers. Examples from history are numerous. The text book refers to Gandhi, however, in my opinion, military leaders are the best. Leaders such as Napoleon or Julius Cesar managed to mobilize the troops and ask them for superhuman efforts.
In an organization, things are very much the same. A true leader will first of all be able to set trends, have a vision, determine ways by which this vision and the strategic objectives can be reached, etc. Afterwards, a leader will be able to communicate his vision and his expectations to the employees and his followers. He will check that certain checkpoints are reached, correct the mistakes and motivate his "troops." Of course, feedback and control (one of the four functions of management) is also essential for an organizational leader.
Going back to the MBTI Personality Test, this was developed in order to analyze and determine our cognitive capacity in several situations. Every since early ages, we are always bound to ask ourselves whether we react upon knowledge and analysis of facts or simply upon instinct, whether we have a personality directed towards the outside, here including activities and persons, or towards our inner side, etc.
The result of the test is given as four basic characteristics of one's personality. One can be extroverted or introverted, sensing or intuitive, thoughtful or inclined towards feeling and judging or perceiving. I will briefly use some of the next lines in order to properly explain what each of these psychological characteristics represent for a person's character.
Extroverted vs. introverted. Extraversion refers to a preference for the outside world and for activities related to it. This means that an extroverted person is motivated by contact with the elements of the outside world and that it draws energy from such an interaction.
On the other hand, an introverted person is more motivated by the relationship with his inner self and is inclined to be less open to relationships with the others. This doesn't necessarily mean that he is a solitary person or a loner, however, he prefers conversation in smaller circle and needs to take occasional time offs from the rest of the world.
Sensing vs. Intuitive. A sensing person will obviously rely on senses when making a decision or an evaluation. The important detail is…