Oct 3, 2018 in Case Studies

Introduction

Cases such as ‘Ted and Manuel’ are quite common in HR management. They are basically revolving around managers-subordinate relationship, micromanagement, improper motivational system, power-struggle, and cultural gaps.

Problem Analysis: Causes of Implications

These are the probable causes and implications of the situation:

Power Struggle and Crossing of boundaries /Role Conflict in Decision Making

This is a problem that can be seen in a number of ways. Firstly, Ted invaded Manuel areas of responsibility and this might have made him feel belittled and incompetent. It thus appears that already from the first day he probably wanted to see Ted failing, despite his noble aims. In a way, this sense of power influenced policy decisions and behavioral patterns when trying to resolve labor costs conflict. His participatory role was also interfered with. Gabriel (1997) asserts that leaders acquire power from individual initiatives. This is from both position and sources, which are at a personal level. Personal power, which is used to facilitate authority over others to do what they are suppose to do, has a number of tenets including the leader having skills, data, strong personality, attractiveness, and energy resulting into effort to execute projects. This is what challenged Ted and made him to appear irrelevant, yet relevance is important to managers. According to Gabriel (1997), relevance refers to the leader having the chance to exercise internal and external boundaries in terms of roles. The roles here include monitoring, evaluation, and appraisal of activities in the organization. Further, enhancing relevance can be seen in the context of the leader participating and shaping opinion and decisions made in the company or organization (Gabriel, 1997). Moreover, it appears that Manuel imagined that Ted wanted to be more recognized than him, that is why he did not want to listen to his contrary opinion, and this resulted in the problem of visibility. Visibility involves a leader getting in touch with the other leaders above him in order to help him in making important presentations, in terms of oral skills and enhancement of problem solving ability. Beyond this, the leader takes advantages to build his name legacy and attains respect (Preffer 2002).

Motivational and Communicational Insensitivities

The recommended motivational framework lacked some tenets. Gabriel (2002) believes that motivation is an important aspect in management of organizations, and it must be executed to boost performance. Goble (2004) reckons that according to Maslow, people tend to be motivated by what they do not have. Usually a person begins at the lower point of the hierarchy (pyramid) and tries at first to satisfy only the basic needs (e.g. shelter, food). When these needs are satisfied, they do not serve as a motivator anymore, then the person goes up to the next level (Goble, 2004). This explains why after an increase of some employees’ wages, work performance did not necessarily increase.

The firing of some employees must have de-motivated some workers who were part of them. According to Maslow’s view, social needs recognize the people’s moral necessity to be a part of a group. These would also include the need to love and to be loved and the need of belonging (e.g. working with colleagues who are supportive and cooperative) (Golan, 2005). Esteem needs can be satisfied when a job is recognized as well done. This kind of needs is a reflection of the fact that most people want to be esteemed and respected by others. The fact that Ted assumed that Mexico is some ‘dirt poor country’ where employees will be inclined to working even more hours at a reduced compensation, must have injured the employee’s ego.  Further, Ted did not bother to study at what level each of the employees’ capacity was initially. Yet Goble (2004) observes that self-actualization, which is at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy, is about how much people think of themselves , which is mostly measured by the success and/or level of challenge at work. He, therefore, did not seem to heed Maslow's model, while if management is able to define which level has reached each employee, then they are also able to reward he/she suitably. Besides, the communication structure and pecking order in the plant is haphazard and employees do not know who to obey.

Decision Criteria: Alternative Methods to Assessing the Situation and Areas where improvements should be seen

The decision should be based on Rational Decision Making Model. Bin Li (2008) notes that decision making is one of the most central processes in organizations and a basic task of management at all levels. Price (2002) defines decision making as the process of identifying a problem, evaluating alternatives, and selecting one alternative. Decision making is the process of producing a solution to a recognized problem. The process of decision making according to the Rational Model consists of a structured four step sequence which are: a) identification of the problem: b) generation of alternative solutions; c) selections of a solution, and d) finally, implementation and evaluation of solution. Therefore, the improvements should be included in a number of areas. First of all, both Manuel and Ted, and the entire management together with the workers should create a measured guideline in defining the Human Resource problem (with input from oneself and others, hinting the cause rather than jumping into it, thereby addressing an issue rather than people). Secondly, the most ’important and urgent’ issues should be addressed effectively. These should include a pay system that responds to the Mexican culture. Thirdly, there is a need of defining complex problems and the process that should be followed, such as redefining the goal and objective, as well as monitoring implementation of the plan, in order to solve the Human Resource impasse, which leads to poor motivation and low output. Finally, Manuel and Ted may think of a way how to improve their relationships and understand the working environment.

Action Plan and Recommendations     

Based on the foregoing discussions, this study outlines a number of recommendations. Bill (2008), for example, notes that in a work place scenario, motivation would be important in areas such as introduction of financial incentives, structuring pay package, time-rate pay, job rotation, job enlargement, shares and shares option, performance related pay, and cultural considerations. These are the recommendations: a) a review should be carried out to determine reward system based on the Mexican Human Resource culture and the universal human rights practices; b) there should be a facilitation of group bonding policy intervention for employees in the company; c) the reward systems strategy must be based on capability, personality and culture. This is because motivational programs are often tailored to individual’s capability, targets, past performance, market conditions, etc. For a manager, it would be important to ensure that motivations match targets. In addition to this, in some exceptional cases, managers must not load good performers with extra targets, in hope to obtain even more results that above the target. It would be important to take into account that this kind of measures sometimes make the employee to work harder, even beyond his/her capacity, thus causing strain, which eventually lead to poor performance.

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