Task 1. (LO1, LO2)
Case Study 1: Organisational Structure and Culture
Surviving Greenscape’s Hard Times
In ten years, Greenscape had grown from a one-person venture into the largest nursery and landscaping business in its area. Its founder, Lita Ong, combined a lifelong interest in plants with a botany degree to provide a unique customer service. Ong had managed the company’s growth so that even with twenty full-time employees working in six to eight crews, the organization culture was still as open, friendly, and personal as it had been when her only "employees" were friends who would volunteer to help her move a heavy tree.
To maintain that atmosphere, Ong involved herself increasingly with people and less with plants as the company grew. With hundreds of customers and scores of jobs at any one time, she could no longer say without hesitation whether she had a dozen arborvitae bushes in stock or when Mrs. McCormack’s estate would need a new load of bark mulch. But she knew when Martina had been up all night with her baby, when Adrian was likely to be late because he had driven to see his sick father over the weekend, and how to deal with Emily when she was depressed because of her boyfriend’s behaviour. She kept track of the birthdays of every employee and even those of their children. She was up every morning by five-thirty arranging schedules so that Johnson could get his son out of daycare at four o’clock and Doris could be back in town for her afternoon high school equivalency classes.
Paying all this attention to employees may have led Ong to make a single bad business decision that almost destroyed the company. She provided extensive landscaping to a new mall on credit, and when the mall never opened and its owners went bankrupt, Greenscape found itself in deep trouble. The company had virtually no cash and had to pay off the bills for the mall plants, most of which were not even salvageable.
One Friday, Ong called a meeting with her employees and levelled with them: either they would not get paid for a month or Greenscape would fold. The news hit the employees hard. Many counted on the Friday paycheck to buy groceries for the week. The local unemployment rate was low, however, and they knew they could find other jobs.
But as they looked around, they wondered whether they could ever find this kind of job. Sure, the pay was not the greatest, but the tears in the eyes of some workers were not over pay or personal hardship; they were for Ong, her dream, and her difficulties. They never thought of her as the boss or called her anything but "Lita." And leaving the group would not be just a matter of saying good-bye to fellow employees. If Bernice left, the company softball team would lose its best pitcher, and the Sunday game was the height of everyone’s week. Where else would they find people who spent much of the weekend working on the best puns with which to assail one another on Monday morning? At how many offices would everyone show up twenty minutes before starting time just to catch up with friends on other crews? What other boss would really understand when you simply said, "I don’t have a doctor’s appointment, I just need the afternoon off"?
Ong gave her employees the weekend to think over their decision: whether to take their pay and look for another job or to dig into their savings and go on working. Knowing it would be hard for them to quit, she told them they did not have to face her on Monday; if they did not show up, she would send them their checks. But when she arrived at seven-forty Monday morning, she found the entire group already there, ready to work even harder to pull the company through. They were even trying to top one another with puns about being "mall-contents."
Answer the following questions:
1.1 Compare and contrast different organisational structures. In your opinion, what is the structure of Greenscape company?
1.2 Briefly evaluate the concept of organisational culture. What type of culture do you think Greenscape has? Justify your views.
1.3. Explain how the relationship between an organizational structure and culture can impact on the performance of an organisation; relate to Greenscape.
1.4. Discuss the factors such as perception and personality that influence the individual behaviour at work. Consider Ong as an example.
1.5 Compare the effectiveness of different leadership styles in different organisations. As a part of your answer, identify Ong’s leadership style at Greenscape and argue its effectiveness.
1.6 Explain how different theories of organisation and management influence the practice of management in organisations
1.7. Evaluate the different approaches to management used by different organisations. Identify the approach to management used at Greenscape, which organizational theory in your opinion has been applied in this organisation?
(This section covers AC 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and AC 2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
Task 2 (LO3)
Case Study 2: Leadership and Motivation
Right Boss, Wrong Company
Brenda Hogan was continuously on top of things. In school, she had always been at the top of her class. When she went to work for her uncle’s shoe business, Fancy Footwear, she had been singled out as the most productive employee and the one with the best attendance. The company was so impressed with her that it sent her to get an M.B.A. to groom her for a top management position. In school again, and with three years of practical experience to draw on, Hogan had gobbled up every idea put in front of her, relating many of them to her work at Fancy Footwear. When Hogan graduated she returned to Fancy Footwear. To no one’s surprise, when the head of the company’s largest division took advantage of the firm’s early retirement plan, Hogan was given his position.
Hogan knew the pitfalls of being suddenly catapulted to a leadership position, and she was determined to avoid them. In business school, she had read cases about family businesses that fell apart when a young family member took over with an iron fist, barking out orders, cutting personnel, and destroying morale. Hogan knew a lot about participative management, and she was not going to be labelled an arrogant know-it-all.
Hogan’s predecessor, Max Worthy, had run the division from an office at the top of the building, far above the factory floor. Two or three times a day, Worthy would summon a messenger or a secretary from the offices on the second floor and send a memo out to one or another group of workers. But as Hogan saw it, Worthy was mostly an absentee autocrat, making all the decisions from above and spending most of his time at extended lunches with his friends from the Rotary Club.
Hogan’s first move was to change all that. She set up her office on the second floor. From her always-open doorway she could see down onto the factory floor, and as she sat behind her desk she could spot anyone walking by in the hall. She never ate lunch herself but spent the time from 11 to 2 down on the floor, walking around, talking, and organizing groups. The workers, many of whom had twenty years of seniority at the plant, seemed surprised by this new policy and reluctant to volunteer for any groups. But in fairly short order, Hogan established a worker productivity group, a "Suggestion of the Week" committee, an environmental group, a worker award group, and a management relations group. Each group held two meetings a week, one without and one with Hogan. She encouraged each group to set up goals in its particular focus area and develop plans for reaching those goals. She promised any support that was within her power to give.
The group work was agonizingly slow at first. But Hogan had been well trained as a facilitator, and she soon took on that role in their meetings, writing down ideas on a big board, organizing them, and later communicating them in notices to other employees. She got everyone to call her "Betty" and set herself the task of learning all their names. By the end of the first month, Fancy Footwear was stirred up.
But as it turned out, that was the last thing most employees wanted. The truth finally hit Hogan when the entire management relations committee resigned at the start of their fourth meeting. "I’m sorry, Ms. Hogan," one of them said. "We’re good at making shoes, but not at this management stuff. A lot of us are heading toward retirement. We don’t want to be supervisors."
Astonished, Hogan went to talk to the workers with whom she believed she had built good relations. Yes, they reluctantly told her, all these changes did make them uneasy. They liked her, and they didn’t want to complain. But given the choice, they would rather go back to the way Mr. Worthy had run things. They never saw Mr. Worthy much, but he never got in their hair. He did his work, whatever that was, and they did theirs. "After you’ve been in a place doing one thing for so long," one worker concluded, "the last thing you want to do is learn a new way of doing it."
Answer the following questions:
3.1 Discuss what can be the impact of different leadership styles on staff motivation when some change initiatives are being introduced in organisations;
Consider the impact Hogan’s leadership style had on employee motivation at Fancy Footwear company.
3.2 & 3.3 Compare the application of different motivational theories in organisations that can be used to motivate staff and evaluate their usefulness for managers. In doing so, consider what aspects of which motivation theories in your view Hogan used in attempting to motivate staff at Fancy Footwear?
What would be your approach as a manager to achieving motivation at Fancy Footwear using the knowledge of different motivation theories?
(This section covers AC 3.1, 3.2, 3.3)