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Suggested Answers to Case Questions 1. Identify the symptoms indicating that problems exist in this case. The main symptoms in this case are that employees stop using their initiative, that employees applied empowerment ineffectively, and that the hotel experienced higher turnover, absenteeism, stress, and customer complaints. Students might also identify con1lict and dissatisfaction. 2. Diagnose the problems in this case using organizational behavior concepts. Empowerment Problems. The most obvious problems in this case is that the empowerment process did not create a setting that supports empowerment. First, it is not clear that all employees possessed the necessary competencies to feel comfortable with that degree of autonomy. Second, empowerment requires a learning orientation culture, yet it is clear that employees were not supported when mistakes were made. Similarly, although John Becker seems to trust employees, other supervisors seemingly do not have the same level of trust. Third, empowerment requires jobs with a high degree of autonomy with minimal bureaucratic control. The opposite seems to exist here. Employee decisions were reversed, thereby undermining their autonomy. Job design problems. This case can also be understood from the perspective of job design. Empowerment is a form of job enrichment,. According to job characteristics model, enrichment requires certain conditions, lacking here: Skills/knowledge ‐‐ employees did not have competencies or role clarity to engage in empowerment
their supervisor’s reversed these actions. These include expectancy theory. Expectancy theory Expectancy theory is the main motivation theory that applies here.Growth Needs ‐‐ some employees probably lacked growth needs because of their contented roles taking orders from management. This likely undermined their self‐ef1icacy regarding the ability to work in an empowered job. particularly regarding employee motivation to engage in empowerment practices. Overall. he later retreated to his of1ice. While Becker initially supported employee empowerment. (But as noted above. and possibly from customers. employees stopped taking initiative because both their E‐to‐P and P‐to‐O expectancies decreased. Employees who tried empowerment experienced negative outcomes from their supervisors. All rights reserved Some concepts from other chapters are also relevant to this topic. Low self‐ef1icacy results in a lower E‐to‐P expectancy. thereby providing less favorable outcomes to employees to took initiative. P‐to‐O expectancy also had an adverse effect on employee motivation. other employees demonstrated that they did have fairly high growth need strength. they might suggest .) Work context ‐‐ Fine initially. With respect to the E‐to‐P expectancy. behavior modi1ication. Speci1ically. but deteriorated with low supervisor support Chapter 6: Applied Performance Practices Page 6-16 © 2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies. employees were uncertain about how much discretion they had in their jobs. Needs Hierarchy theories Some students might apply content motivation theories to explain part of this case. ERG theory. When they did try some initiative. and stress management. Inc.
not what behaviors they engage in. which did not offer much job challenge. needs theories generally explain what needs people possess. suggesting that they had some degree of growth need strength. Organizational stressors – It is possible that the purchase of the regency as well as subsequent changes probably added to stress. Several stressors explain the causes of this stress: Rolerelated stressors ‐‐ ambiguous expectations and practices about how to engage in empowerment Interpersonal stressors – Employees experienced increasing con1lict with management. Some might suggest that Becker (or his successor. Others suggest that empowerment will work at the regency if employees are given clearer instruction . This point may be true for some employees. Students might identify a variety of recommendations for this content‐rich case. Behavior modi:ication This case can also be discussed in terms of behavior modi1ication (covered earlier in this book). Moreover. Recommend solutions that overcome or minimize the problems and symptoms in this case.that most regency employees have low growth needs because they were comfortable with the previous leadership. The supervisors either punished or provided extinction reinforcement to employees who engaged in empowerment practices. but this issue isn’t certain. Stress management Some employees quit or increased their absenteeism because they experienced higher levels of stress. but several regency staff members DID try to apply empowerment. as some students doubt that Becker has any credibility now) requires sessions in cultural sensitivity. 3.
including coercion to supervisors who do not “get on board” the change effort. so students who have read that chapter would recommend a number of change management initiatives. . and employees see role model examples of empowerment.and training. It might also be useful to introduce the process slowly so employees have time to adjust with less stress. The empowerment intervention is a major form of organizational change.