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Disputes among the workforce


Explain the proper management of the business organizations.

Proper management of the business organizations with the help of attaining the commitment of the employees is one of the most important aspects required for the growth of the organizations. In case of the Calgary Oil shale Technologies, (COST), the company employed many highly skilled professionals. The company excelled in providing intense assistance to the energy companies in order to gain higher productivity from the oil shale formations. Highly skilled engineers, geophysicists, geologists and the usage of the sophisticated technology have made the company achieve its growth (Afzal 2012). However, amid such strong factors of production that were harnessed by the company, disputes persisted among the workforce. Disturbances with respect to the maintenance of morality and certain aspects of productivity constituted the major problems of the COST. The employment of the skilled and semi- skilled employees in the company and their combined operations often gave rise to frequent clashes between these two groups in the company. This occurred due to the lack of integrated management and absence of the supervisors to develop and maintain the specific roles and responsibilities of the employees (Aziri et al 2014).

Thus, in order to resolve such problems, the company undertook certain measures and decidedly appointed Algoma Howard who had experienced success at various points of time in coordinating people at working at various organizations. She had proven her skills in supervising and forming teams who would work together towards a common goal (Al et al. 2014). Algoma Howard also found it very pleasing and easy to coordinate the workforce at COST. The company, thus, relied upon her ability to bring the workers together, so that they can understand the importance of the team spirit and increase their efficiency as well as the commitment towards the organization (Christiansen and Sezerel 2013).

Howard felt quite lucky in after joining the Alberta office  or the field operations site of COST under the governance of Martin Bouchard, the president and CEO of COST. At COST, he came into contact with another very well experienced person Debrito, who did serve the company for a very long period. Debrito who possessed much knowledge regarding almost all the departments proved to be a great help to Howard (Danesh et al. 2012). Howard along with Debrito and his 26 years of experience at COST made had commenced making plans for undertaking the pilot project at Alberta location of the company. Debrito after serving the company for so many long years had a good understanding and experience about the issues that afflicted the employees engaged both in the technical and field or non-technical sides of the business (Harper 2015). Therefore, this made it very much possible for Howard to proceed in his plans and activities with much confidence. Howard and Debrito together investigated the situation and decided to bring the three kinds of functional groups that operated at the Alberta operations site of the company. These three functional groups worked at various sectors of the company. One of them worked at the operations unit, the other formed the below ground group and the group of equipment maintenance (Griffin 2013). The operations group consisted of the employees who were engaged with the logging of the equipments. The “below ground” group consisted of the workers, mainly the engineers, geophysicists and the geologists who directed the workers involved at digging or drilling. The third group consisted of the employees those who were engaged on call; they were the equipment maintenance people (Holsapple 2013).

Appointment of Algoma Howard

The first step implemented by Howard and Debrito was the “fireside chats “that attempted to bring the employees close together. These fireside chats were organized by these two supervisors on monthly basis during the late afternoons, so that the employees from different units can come together and have a discussion over the matters of concern. These “fireside chats” were held in the cafeteria, so that the employees could gather together and have tea and some snacks along with the conversation. These sessions in the very beginning were assumed to be much of the casual sessions , and only a few engineers wandered about in the cafeteria and enjoyed the snacks. By seeing this condition, Debrito who was much known about the condition of the company and the workforce took the first stance (Giacalone  et al.2013). On noticing those engineers hovering around, he started the meeting by arranging four chairs around a fireplace created by him. Thus, in this way the entire aspect regarding the “fireside chats” were being carried out by Carlos and Howard and were taken a bit seriously by the workforce.  However, such sessions did give rise to disputes among the workers who focused more on the personal issues rather on the business related matters (Pullen and Rhodes 2013). Both Carlos and Debrito , after noticing such issues, introduced “rules of engagement”, by which they notified that only the business or job related matters should be brought to notice, rather than the personal. Those who would priority to the personal rather than the business related issues would himself take the responsibility of solving it (Bellamy 2015).

Gradually, by the virtue of excessive efforts and contributions made both by Carlos and Howard, the “fireside chats” that were optional and attracted very less people started gaining importance (Rahn 2014). The employees had begun taking those sessions as much valuable for them and for solving their problem. 

Most of the problems got resolved through these sessions. The workers placed their problems during those sessions and steps were taken Debrito and Carlos, the two supervisors assisted them in solving their problems. These changes were noticeable within about six months. As for instance, one of the employees reported and put forth the complain regarding a specific piece of equipment that could not be operated properly during the cold weather and contamination caused by sand (Menzel 2012). At this, Debrito took immediate step and asked a maintenance engineer to resolve the issue. The engineer proposed new configuration for the machine that would suit the changes in the weather conditions, and thus the problem was resolved.

Carlos and Debrito with the success of the “fireside chats” proceeded to introduce their new venture, that was the official “problem busting” teams. These “problem busting” teams were the temporary teams that were formed by involving the individual employees from the three functional areas, namely, the operational, below ground and the equipment maintenance team. Theses temporary teams were led by their team leaders or supervisors, who were typically the first-line supervisors (Lyneis 2012). These team leaders who were appointed for presiding over the temporary teams of the “problem busting teams” shared various leadership techniques with the team members that helped in solving the problems and through their prudent decision making capabilities brought solutions to the issues that cropped up among the workers. Mr. Martin Bouchard had at this point of time ordered the teams that were formed for a temporary time limit, to solve their problems within certain cost limits so that the cost of production can be maintained along with solving the problems of the employees. Thus, in such a case, Debrito and Howard had to supervise these teams and the team members as the management approval was not available in a proper manner. Besides, this management related problem, there arose the quandary regarding the matters related to the positions at the company (Yasir et al. 2014). Although a team spirit had been built by the efforts of the two supervisors, complete accomplishment of the aim in its true sense was still remaining at this time. Some of the engineers resented and denied working together with the personnel and on the other hand, those who were in the managerial positions felt it against their dignity to discuss and take assistance in the decision making procedures from the workers who were at the lower positions. All such problems were not easy to tackle and the aim was to manage and bring all these into an integrated state. At this point of time, Howard who had prior experience in terms of building the cooperation among the teams and managing them wisely, suggested  Carlos that they must apply the method of “connect ion ladder” that he had once seen to be used in hospital nursing. This connection ladder served as the medium for them to detect the areas where the individual team members had been connected or disconnected with the entire process c carried out by the team.  This would in turn help them to take certain steps in order to enhance the commitment of the workers towards the company by encouraging their individual aims and deciding solutions for the matters that created the discomfort. 

Fireside chats

All such efforts and dedication of the Howard and Carlos did wonders and the “problem busting” teams started working well and produced good results. The problems or the issues that arose among the employees during the “fireside chats”, were taken up evaluated by the team leaders of the “problem busting” team s and solutions were formed. Therefore, in this way the two initiators of the teams succeeded in the enrichment of the company’s employee and management relationship. The continuation of this process gave rise to several the permanent cross-functional teams. The professional and the hourly workers together discussed the issues among themselves and the “fireside chats” continued. Hockey sessions were organized during this time, and were served and organized by Howard and Carlos. Such sessions made it possible for both of them to bring the entire organization of the Albert in an integrated position.

Thus, it becomes evident that Debrito and Howard together proved to be the efficient supervisors who by trusting upon the capabilities of the employees and their efforts strived to strengthen the team work at the Alberta location. 

As and when Howard and her team members or the entire leadership who were upholding this responsibility were sent to the Colorado office to implement these plans and strategies that were incorporated successfully at the Alberta location, Howard found it quite difficult to manage the workforce at Colorado. Thus, the entire team, especially Howard felt alone without the company and assistance of Carlos Debrito. Debrito played a very important role at Alberta in providing aid to Howard and the other members of the entire process. Debrito having the experience of about 26 years in the company and being aware of the employees and their concerns was much more able to extend leadership and taking certain initiatives to bring the team members close together and work cooperatively. The problems faced by the employees were much more known to Debrito that made him much confident to form decisions about forming the teams. The company or the branch that was present at Colorado was also facing the problems that the operations site at the Alberta location was facing before the appropriate strategies were implemented at the Alberta site. However, when Howard and his team members or the leadership had been sent to the Colorado branch to accomplish the same, Howard to her surprise found that it was not so easy to tackle the employees in the company of Colorado. Howard and his team trained the personnel at Colorado to develop the team spirit, but in vain. The “fireside chats” and the “problem busting” teams were also formed in Colorado by the efforts of Howard, but the employees of this location hardly showed any kind of interest in such sessions that could have provided better results as it did in the Alberta location. Softball games sessions were also introduced by Howard and his supportive team members, employees were  bribed by them by providing  different delicacies or the food items, nevertheless all the pains taken by them did not produce satisfactory results in the Colorado facility (Storey 2014).

Problem busting teams

At this point of time, when the lessons learned at Alberta, the ground rules and the freewheeling sessions that were implemented effectively at the Colorado branch proved unsuccessful and Howard’s team was facing immense pressure from the top executives and management, Howard felt the intense need of Carlos Debrito. Yes, it is really a fact that if Carlos and Howard would have worked together at the Colorado facility, they together could have studied the entire process and issues of the Colorado branch and after evaluation devised new methodologies of managing the working staff at the Colorado facility of the COST (Rahn 2014).

Carlos Debrito , being an experienced worker employee who worked in the company( COST) for more than 26 years of age, could have understood the employees and their movements in a better way than Howard who was almost new to the company. The manner in which Alberta served and almost followed the  strategies of the Human Resources Management in solving the fisticuffs and trifles between the employees , the assistance of Debrito could have given confidence to Howard and her leadership team in generating morale in the Colorado facility and determining the production related issues.

The Leadership approach of organizing communications between the workforce and the authorities of the company that had been followed by Debrito via the “fireside chats” and “Problem busting” teams ware of immense importance in any company for the sake of employee retention.  

In order to develop employee friendly environment that would be cost beneficial and also would serve to provide the best results in the industry, Howard who had prior experiences in this specific field must try to implement those strategies that he had experienced earlier. Furthermore, Howard and her team can effectively apply the concept of McKinsey’s 7s model.

The 7s model of McKinsey’s states seven steps, namely the strategy, structure, systems( hard elements) and the shared values, skills, styles and staffs (Lyneis 2012) .

  • Strategies : Howard need to make research upon the specific strategies and find out the better plans that can be incorporated to deal with the workforce of the Colorado facility, the plans other than those that were implemented in the Alberta location as they did not work at the Colorado location.
  • Structure: In association with the top executives and the management, Howard should try to find out a redefinition of the entire structure of the Colorado branch of COST, so that they do not lag behind in terms of team integration.
  • Systems: The management of COST should understand the problems that Howard and her team were facing at the Colorado branch. Howard should approach the management and discuss with them the issues related to the
  • Shared Values: A one day session has to be introduced for a longer period at the Colorado facility in association with the top executives of the company. This should aim at making the employees understand the important matters that can help in assuring the employees that the company would take care of their individual aims, by providing for training and career development schemes along with the concessions if they would like to proceed with their education (Dent and Whitehead 2013).
  • Skills: The entire team that is presided by Algoma Howard and should try to understand the specific skills of the employees working in the Colorado facility. This will help them in identifying the individual employees with particular skills and abilities, and thus, Howard and her entire team members can bring together the employees with similar skills and aims in one group or team thereby enhancing the levels of production and the interests of the employees towards the aims of the company.
  • Styles: Howard must once again make a study on the usage of various skills based on the organization and team building aspects of the that can be applied
  • Staff: The staff is the main asset of any company and similar is the case with that of the COST. Thus, Howard and the entire leadership should take into consideration the aspects that are related to the welfare of the employees. When the employees would find that their well-being is one of the major concerns of the company, then it would subsequently increase their organizational commitment.  


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