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Hands-off vs. Hands-on Approach to Management

1. Should Bison be taking a more hands-off or a more hands-on approach to the business? Justify your response.

2. How far has the senior leadership change been effective? What else might senior leadership do to influence change more positively in the near future?

3. How far has the senior leadership change been effective? What else might senior leadership do to influence change more positively in the near future?

The following essay is a case study report on leadership, cultural and performance change issues at the company at MeatPack. This is a family owned food processing business with its headquarters in Sidney, Australia. The company has over 27 years’ experience in the meat production industry that include other areas like fresh soups and prepared meals. The company also owns processing plants in Queensland and New South Wales.  For years, the company has been led by its founder and CEO Mr. Derek Bison who is the fourth generation from the family to work in the meat business. The company has for years performed well under his leadership with a record sales of AUD$300 million in 2013. One of the company’s strategic goals is to become a 1 billion dollar company by the year 2020. This calls for the company to make some cultural and leadership and performance changes as discussed in the next pages.

1. According to Armson & Whiteley (2010), it is very important for a leader to create a culture where it is clear to each employee that the most important thing is meeting are the organisations values. This will ensure that employees do not need to be followed in everything they do, and do not need to be reminded all the time of what they need to do and what they do not need to do.  Armstrong (2012), adds that if an employee knows the foundation and the mission and vision for the company, they are able to realize what the company values and the kind of goals that are important for the company. In this regard, the employee will also know what to do in in any management situation. In this regard, it will take different types of management style to realize strategic goals for the company. According to Dowling, et al. (2013), a hands on manager is not recommended when it comes to meeting organisations strategic goals. This is because they are usually characterized by exercising a lot of control, criticism, judges and threatens employees all the time. This is the opposite of hands-off manager, who coaches and encourages employees to work with minimum supervision (Giannakis, et al., 2015; H.Zhao & Seibert, 2006; Compton, et al., 2014).

Implementing Cultural and Performance Changes

However, at MeatPack, Bison will need to assess how much his employees will need to be managed and directed. For example, some employees may be self-starters in need of little supervision. Such employees are well aligned with the goals of the organisations, the engage in their work and are self-motivated in their work stations (Heller & Darling, 2012). There are however, employee who may not be able to think for they in complex situations, such employees will need to managed at all degree. Kenton & Yarnall (2009), adds, that employees though may be in need to be managed, what they do not want is to be micromanaged. If employees have the kind of manager that is all over the place all the time, the feel intimidated as the manager will keep on providing large doses of critical feedback. In the end, they will not be able to work freely and be open to express ideas on how the company is able to meet its mission and vision  (Mathis, et al., 2013).

To implement proper cultural and performance changes, the company will need to consider having a new kind of management. According to Compton, et al. (2014), real power in organisations leadership comes from forming partnership and not criticizing. In this regard, the new leadership changes would be best using hands off approach. This kind of leader is able to motivate the spirit of employees toward organisations goals as the leader maintains hands off allowing the employee success to happen.  For Bison, exercising hands off will mean being able to manage his team without having to bypass the line of authority. He should not be seen to interfere in the daily running of the business during times of strategic change (Keasey, et al., 2005). As this is done, change will be realized gradually as the business continues to maintain its course. Productivity in the organisations will also be constant and both the managerial and the customer service level as would be expected in the strategic change.  Some of the area that he would need to exercise hands on approach would include direct reports which identify departments of employees who do not meet targets or complete assigned tasks.


It is a great challenge for Bison as exercising hands off approach might be difficult for employees who develop slowly. This might happen since a hands-off manager may not be able to pitch their support or coaching at the right degree for these employees to ensure employees are able to develop the mandatory skills.  During the change management strategy, it will be important for Bison to consider time bound actions, since the hands off approach might lead to slow processes from employees, even when they may achieve great results (Lincoln, et al., 2014; Mathis, et al., 2013; Adrian, 2009).

Transforming Employees to Blue Type of Leaders

This is because the hands off manager will remain at a distant and may not be actively involved with their change programs and which runs a risk of not meeting the full potential of the business. However, at the end of the day, the employee will be able to realize the goals and even become more creative to express own though regarding the program. In this regard, it would be recommended that Bison exercise both leadership styles depending on the situation (Keasey, et al., 2005). However, hands off style should be highly exercised as no employee loves to be followed around every time when they are working as it makes then more nervous and less creative in handling the business.

2. According to the case study, it is reported by Bison team members in senior leadership position as having gained many insights from the trainings and coaching provided and organized by Bison. Even after stopping the coaching exercises, the senior leadership employees have continued to work on their leadership strategies. With the introduction of Human Synergistic circumflex to the organisations, employees are able to rate their performance. Behaviors are also classified in three colors. Red stands for defensive or aggressive, green stands for defensive or passive and blue for constructive. In this regard, organisations culture in the company was realized as being red. At this Bison found that, most people in the organisations were ether aggressive or very defensive in the way they related with one another or the way they related with customers. In this regard, most of the change leadership campaign was to ensure that they changed to blue for his plans to be realized (Hoegle & Muethel, 2016).

In this regard, there will be need for the change of organisations structure to much more horizontal organisations with the front line workers and senior leaders being responsible for performance of their fellow employees. According to Compton, et al. (2014), only 30% of employees in a company are always fully committed to their job at one point. It is also a common occurrence that most executives usually realize that one of the major challenges will be closing the gap between realized talent and potential and the energy of the employees under their leadership. With reference to Bison’s company, it can be said that they have various departments and employees who are willing to perform to their best from top to below management (Kenton & Yarnall, 2009). If he will be able to transform these employees and ensure that they become blue type of leaders then they company will be headed to the right direction in leadership development.  As much as it is not the intention of any, employ to be defensive or aggressive. The challenge is that most of them lack the clear understanding of the type of changes that would take to realize where they are good at when it comes to leadership (AustraliaLaw, 2010).


Some of the employees may not have come to realize the kind of changes that was needed to bring out the best in each senior leader to achieve the impact. According to , leaders are also able to obtain the understanding through an approach known as Blue kind of leadership as the one implemented by Bison. Blue leadership would be good when it comes to creating new markets for MeatPack and converting people in to new customers. The concept is important in helping senior leaders in the organisations realize their talents and energy in their organisations and be able to save the cost of coaching. 

In this regard, leadership is thought as being a service that employees in the organisations will embrace or not. Each leader in the organisations must be able to work towards gaining new customers and bosses must be able to deliver performance. In addition, employees in the department should also be able to access support from their managers. According to Keasey, et al. (2005), when employees value the leadership practice, they will in turn buy that kind of leadership. In this regard, Bison will realize his employees acting with commitment instead of disengaging and becoming noncustomers of his leadership, as was the case before coaching (Armstrong, 2012).

Once Bison began to think in  this lines about leadership, he realized that his concepts and leadership coaching was developing among his senior employees, in this regard employees were able to work toward converting noncustomers in to customers thus increasing the market share for the organisations. The blue leadership was also important in converting disengaged employees to engaged ones.  According to Armson & Whiteley (2010), the blue leadership strategy have also enable employees understand the company’s mission and vision and it does not only have to be about getting salary and keeping their job, but about driving their efforts towards the organisations strategic goals.  Adrian (2009) adds that blue leadership style will also bring about change in the company’s leadership strength. As is realized in the case study, the senior employees were able to adapt Bison’s model which was different from the traditional leadership model and development approaches in different ways.

It can be said that is for senior leadership, what they can do to influence change would be to focus on acts and activities in the organisations. According to different studies on leadership, the values, qualities and characters that make for good leaders include proper coaching.  In this regard, changes in qualities, values and character will eventually translated in to high performance. This means that when the senior leaders look back in to Bison’s coaching program, they should be able to act on the evidence of notable change. They need to put more dedication on ways they can transform organisations behavior. As much as it can be difficult to assess and measure if leaders in the organisations are internalizing and embracing the new kind of leadership, it can be done if they focus on what acts and actions they need to undertake to motivate other employees towards the strategic goal of the organisations. 


At the end of the day, they will be able to asses and measure the difference. According to Chernev (2011), it is usually easier to change people behavior and activities in the organisations. However, it is usually difficult to change their values, qualities and other traits. It thus calls for the senior managers to alter their values and qualities so that other employees in the organisations will be able to follow course through their guidance.

3. For MeatPack to become one of the market leaders, it had to have an innovation-friendly organisations structure.  In this regard, they also needed to establish and inspire a proper organist ion culture through their structure. According to Giannakis, et al.(2015), flat structure in organisations enable them to meet many goals. The word flat is actually a misnomer since it does not necessarily mean that the organisations are flat but they are not tall. In this regard, employees do not shift responsibility to a higher level department in the management ladder, meaning that they are able to take charge of situation in their own level, it enables them make decisions and enjoy responsibility in the company.  According to Mathis, et al. (2013), there are many leadership and management advantages of having a flat structure. For MeatPack one of the advantage is in the structure itself. As with most flat organisations, MeatPack does not have many layers of management. This is different from the tall structure which is common with many businesses. Flat structures also enjoy a short chain of command meaning that each level enjoys its own managerial control (Chernev, 2011). The span of control will also look at the number of senior managers who will directly report to Bison. At MeatPack, several senior managers for each department directly report to Bison. With regard to the reduced number of layers of management, MeatPack is able to get the most out of this structure.

The other benefit for MeatPack in flatter structure is on communication. There is a great level of communication between the top management and other employees. This is because senior manager are more democratic and offer room for employees to be innovative. Communication is also faster in this company, it is more effective and reliable that in the tall structures. This is because any input by an employee will get more support from the decision makers since there is no chance for power struggle in the organisations (Hoegle & Muethel, 2016).

When it comes to decision making, it was realized that MeatPack come out as being more flexible and adaptive than would be the case in tall structures. The level of flexibility also depicts decision making as being one on a need basis. This makes it easier for the employees to serve the company’s clients. When one looks at tall organisations, staff member are required to seek approval from the top management who will also need approval from the director and the director from the shareholder before a decision is made. This is not the case at MeatPack, since employees are given the power to makes some of the decisions independently. The reason is that the company has few layers of reporting in their organisations structure meaning that there is less bureaucracy.  In this regard, decisions are made quicker giving the company mobility and agility (Armstrong, 2012).

When it comes to organisations change performance, the flat structure at MeatPack is made of competent and qualified staff to do this. Employees are fully engaged, there are skilled working groups which leads to satisfaction among workers and lower employee turnover. If the employees are more responsible in operations, they will be able to lead the company towards strategic goals. In addition, the company is able to save cost on employee upper management which decreases employee expenses and increase company’s profits to a huge margin (Armstrong, 2012).  Lastly, the flat structure has worked well for MeatPack since there are very few variations about office structure and operations.  For example, it will be a common thing for a customer to be given a discount in purchasing bulk unprocessed meat but denied one in the ready to eat meat since they are different departments. However, the end strategic development will move to the same organisations.

References

Adrian, H., 2009. Corporate truth: the limits to transparency. Sterling: VA: Earthscan..

Armson, G. & Whiteley, A., 2010. Employees' and managers' accounts of interactive workplace learning: A grounded theory of “complex integrative learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 22(7), pp. 409-427.

Armstrong, M., 2012. Armstrong's handbook of management and leadership: developing effective people skills for better leadership and management. s.l.:Kogan Page.

AustraliaLaw, 2010. Australia: employment law. Commonwealth Law Bulletin, 36(1), pp. 137-163.

Chernev, A., 2011. The Marketing Plan Handbook . In: s.l.:Cerebellum Press; 3 edition, pp. 97-104.

Compton, R., Morrissey, W. & Nankervis, A., 2014. Effective recruitment and selection practices. 5th ed. Sydney.: CCH Australia.

Dowling, P., Festing, M. & Engle, A., 2013. International Human Resources Management. 6 ed. s.l.:Cengage Learning EMEA.

Giannakis, D., Harker, M. & T.Baum, 2015. Human resource management, services and relationship marketing: the potential for cross-fertilisation. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 23(6), pp. 526-17.

H.Zhao & Seibert, S., 2006. The big five personality dimensions and entrepreneurial personality dimensions and entrepreneurial. Journal of Applied Psychology, pp. 91(2), 259-271..

Hackman, J. & Katz, N., 2010. Group behavior and performance. In S. T. Fiske, D.T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.). Handbook of social psychology (5th ed.), Volume 2, pp. 1208-1251.

Harzing, A. & Pinnington, A., 2011. International Human Resource Management. London: Sage Pub.

Heller, V. & Darling, J., 2012. "Anatomy of crisis management: lessons from the infamous Toyota Case",. European Business Review, , 24(2), pp. 151-168.

Heneman, H. & Judge, T., 2006. Staffing organizations. 5th ed. Middleton, WI.: Mendota House.

Hoegle, M. & Muethel, M., 2016. Enabling shared leadership in virtual project teams: A practitioners’ guide.. Project Management Journal, 47(1), pp. 7-12.

Hofstede, G., 2001. Culture’s consequences:Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations, (2nd ed.),. s.l.:Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage..

Jacobs, R. F. & Chase, R. B., 2014. Operations and supply chain management. 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Keasey, K., Thompson, S. & Wright, M., 2005. Corporate Governance: Accountability,. Enterprise and International Comparisons ; The Wiley Finance Series, 2(3), pp. 234-245.

Kenton, B. & Yarnall, J., 2009. HR: The Business Partner. s.l.:Routledge; 2 edition.

Lincoln, J., Ahmadjian, C. & Mason, E., 2014. "Organizational Learning and Purchase-Supply Relations in Japan: Hitachi, Matsushita, and Toyota Compared",. California Management Review, 40(3), pp. 241-264.

Mathis, R. L., Jackson, J. H. & Valentine, S. R., 2013. Human Resource Management . In: s.l.:Cengage Learning; 14 edition, pp. 112-118. 

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