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A perfect response to an Imperfect storm
Ques 1.Describe how you think new employees Mississippi power “learn” the culture.
Answer. Organizational culture has been described as the shared values, principles, traditions, and ways of doing things that influence the way organizational members act. In most organizations, these shared values and practices have evolved over time and determine, to a large extent, how things done in the organization.
Our definition of culture implies three things, First culture is a perception. It’s not something that can be physically touched or seen, but employees perceive it on the basis of what they experience within the organization. Second, organizational culture is descriptive. It’s concerned with how members perceive the culture, not with whether they like it. Finally even though individuals may have different backgrounds or work at different organizational levels, they tend to describe the organization’s culture in similar terms. That’s the shared aspect of culture.
Employees “learn” an organization’s culture in a number of ways. The most common are stories, rituals, material symbols and language.
Organizational ‘stories’ typically contain a narrative of significant events or people, including such things as the organization’s founders, rule breaking and reactions to past mistakes.
The “Passing of the Pillars” is an important ritual at Boston Scientific facility near Minneapolis. When someone has a challenging assignment, they’re “awarded” a 2-foot-high plaster –of-pillar to show that they’ve got support from all their colleagues. Corporate rituals are repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the important values and goals of the organization. At Aditya Birla, an Indian multinational company, there are three high profile awards that are given by the company to recognize individual contributors every year, awards for superior teamwork, awards for internationally benchmarked outstanding achievement and a monetary award for performance recognition in delivering excellence. The awards are presented by the Chairman in a very extravagant
award ceremony. It conveys to the company’s employees that delivering excellent performance is important.
When you walk into different businesses, do you get a feel for what type of work environment it isformal, casual, fun, serious and so forth? These reactions demonstrate the power of material symbols or artefacts in creating an organisation’s personality. Material symbols convey to employees who is important and the kinds of behaviour (for example, risk taking, conservative, and authoritarian, participative, individualistic) that are expected and appropriate.
Many organisations and units within organizations use language as a way to identify and unite members of a culture. By learning this language, members attest to their acceptance of the culture and their willingness to help preserve it.
The Mississippi power employees “learn” the Organizational culture by two ways which we are mentioning below:
In Mississippi power one key elements is the company’s can do organizational culture, which is evidenced by important values inscribed on employees’ IDENTIFICATION TAGS “unquestionable trust” Superior performance, total commitment.” Because the values were visible daily, employees knew their importance.
The employees at Mississippi power worked in difficult and demanding situation in the wake of hurricane Katrina. For their dedicated and devoted work during the situation the Mississippi power was honoured with an “emergency response award” by the Edison electric institute in January 2006 it’s an award that all the company’s -employees are proud of. During such situations do stories of various employees and the culture of the company come forward and new employees can learn from these stories the real culture of the company.
Ques 2. What stake holder might be important to Mississippi power? What concern might each of these stake holders have? Would these stake holders change if there was a disaster to which the company had to respond?
Answer. Stakeholders: Stakeholders are any constituencies in an organization’s environment that are affected by the organization’s decisions and actions. These groups have a stake in or are significantly influenced by what the organization does. In turn, these groups can influence the organization. The idea that organisations have stakeholders is now widely accepted by both management academics and practising managers.
Stakeholders include both internal and external groups. As both can effect what an organization does and how it operates. Managers care about stakeholder’s relationship for one thing; doing so can lead to desirable organizational outcomes, such as improved predictability of environmental changes, more successful innovations greater degree of trust among stakeholders and greater organizational performance.
As a provider of one of the most important services, almost all stakeholders are important to the Mississippi power company such as (employees, customers, trade and industry associations, governments, shareholders)
As for the concerns that each stakeholder might have:
Employees: Employees are their main concern is to restore the power network as soon as possible. They might also be concerns that their efforts should be encourage and reward must be given to boost their motivation level.
Customers: their concern will be about being reconnected with power.
Governments: Government can also be stakeholder as government can earn tax revenue from company and it’s also the responsibility of government to provide electricity to citizen of state.
Shareholders: Shareholders are also key stakeholder in company as they have invested in company. They mainly concerns with the profitability of company.
In case of a disaster, stakeholders will not change; however, the company’s priorities will change, in our case, restoring the power network; i.e., employees are the most important stakeholders
Quest 3. What could other organization learn from Mississippi power about the importance of organization culture?
Ans: The other organization can understand the company’s decentralized decision making approach to contribute to the way in which employees were able to accomplish what they did. The old approach were responding to a disaster with top down decision making being push further down to the electrical substation level, a distribution point that serves some 5,000 people. This structure made things happen faster then the expected people were getting more done.” At the end all employees if Mississippi power worked in difficult treacherous and often dangerous situations did what they had to do they got the job done the reorganisation of the company’s outstanding efforts to restore power in the wake of hurican Katrina Mississippi power was honoured with an “emergency response award” by the Edison electric institute in January 2006 its an award that all the company’s employees can be proud of.
Other organization could learn from the Mississippi power company their values, principles, and traditions and how they influence their employees and allow them to take risks and innovate in order to complete their tasks.
Other organizations could also learn that in strong and dynamic cultures almost all goals could be achieved through delegation of authority, decentralization, motivation of employees. And after all, rewarding and recognizing successful employees, also conveying the company’s culture to new employees.
Case Study 2.
When Yes Doesn’t Always Mean Yes and No Doesn’t Always Mean No
Quest1: What Global attitude do you think would most support, promote and encourage cultural awareness? Explain.
Ans: A multinational corporation (MNC) is any type of international company that maintains operations of MNC is a multidomestic corporation, which decentralizes management and other decisions is to the local country. This type of globalization reflects the polycentric attitude. A multidomestic corporation doesn’t attempt to replicate its domestic successes by managing foreign operations from its home country. Instead, local employees are typically hired to manage the business and marketing strategies are tailored to that country’s unique characteristics.
Another type of MNC is a GLOBAL COMPANY, which centralizes its management and other decisions in the home country. This approach to globalization reflects the ethnocentric attitude. Global companies treat the world market as an integrated whole and focus on the need for global efficiency.
Other companies use an arrangement that eliminates artificial geographic barriers. This type of MNC is often called a transnational or borderless organization and reflects a geocentric attitude.
In my opionion a geocentric attitude is one of the ideal attitude as it derives its own attitude which reflects in all the offices of the company.
Quest2: Would legal-political and economic differences play a role as companies design appropriate cultural awareness training for employees? Explain.
U.S. managers are accustomed to a stable legal and political system. Changes are slow and legal and political procedures are well established. The stability of laws allows for accurate predictions. However, this certainly isn’t true for all countries. Managers must stay informed of the specific laws in countries where they do business.
A country’s political/legal environment doesn’t have to be risky or unstable to be a concern to managers. Managers must recognize these differences if they hope to understand the constraints and opportunists that exist.
A global manager must be aware of economic issues when doing business in other countries. First, it’s important to understand a country’s type of economy. An MNC’s profits can vary dramatically, depending on the strength of its home currency and the currencies of the countries in which it operates.
Like every organization have their own culture the countries have their own culture which is termed as National Culture, it is the values and attitudes shared by individuals from a specific country that shape their behaviour and their beliefs about what is important. Research indicates that national culture has a greater effect on employees than does their organization culture.
Thus, cultural training is very important when doing business outside the boundaries of one’s country because the style of working changes from country to country.
Ques 3. Pick one of the countries mentioned in the case and do some cultural research on it. What did you find put about the culture of that country? How might this information affect the way a manager in that country plans, organizes, leads and controls?
Answer. In this case study I would like to discuss the cultural trait of Indians’
Business etiquette and Protocol India
Relationship and Communication
. Indians prefer to do business with those they know. . Relationships are built upon mutual trust and respect. . In general, Indians prefer to have long-standing personal relationships prior to doing business. . It may be a good idea to go through a third party introduction. This gives you immediate credibility
Business Meeting Etiquette
.The best time for a meeting is late morning or early afternoon. Reconfirm your meeting the week before and call again that morning, since it is common for meetings to be cancelled at the last minute. . Keep your schedule flexible so that it can be adjusted for last minute rescheduling of meetings
. You should arrive at meetings on time since Indians are impressed with punctuality. . Meetings will start with a great deal of getting-to- know-you talk. In fact, it is quite possible that no business will be discussed at the first meeting. . Always send a detailed agenda in advance. Send back-up materials and charts and other data as well. This allows everyone to review and become comfortable with the material prior to the meeting. . Follow up a meeting with an overview of what was discussed and the next steps.
. Indians are non-confrontational. It is rare for them to overtly disagree, although this is beginning to change in the managerial ranks. . Decisions are reached by the person with the most authority. . Decision making is a slow process. . If you lose your temper you lose face and prove you are unworthy of respect and trust. . Delays are to be expected, especially when dealing with the government.
. Most Indians expect concessions in both price and terms. It is acceptable to expect concessions in return for those you grant. . Never appear overly legalistic during negotiations. In general, Indians do not trust the legal system and someone's word is sufficient to reach an agreement. . Do not disagree publicly with members of your negotiating team. . Successful negotiations are often celebrated by a meal.
. Business attire is conservative. . Men should wear dark coloured conservative business suits. . Women should dress conservatively in suits or dresses. . The weather often determines clothing. In the hotter parts of the country, dress is less formal, although dressing as suggested above for the first meeting will indicate respect.
. Indians revere titles such as Professor, Doctor and Engineer. . Status is determined by age, university degree, caste and profession. . If someone does not have a professional title, use the honorific title "Sir" or "Madam". . Titles are used with the person's name or the surname, depending upon the person's name. (See Social Etiquette for more information on Indian naming conventions.) . Wait to be invited before using someone's first name without the title.
. Business cards are exchanged after the initial handshake and greeting. . If you have a university degree or any honour, put it on your business card. . Use the right hand to give and receive business cards. . Business cards need not be translated into Hindi. . Always present your business card so the recipient may read the card as it is handed to them.
After looking at the cultural traits of Indians, we can conclude that professional wise they tend to be quite formal. They are both collectivistic and Individualistic. They do not believe that people control their own destiny and at the same time would not mind to be on their own to achieve their goals. They value relationships and will go to great extent to build relationships and their view for relationships is long term. Indians are paternalistic, which means the head of the family is revered and respected. A leader or boss is looked upon as the caretaker and father figure. Last but not the least they value keeping of word, once trust is established and a word is given, Indians will try hard to honour it. They might be late or little slow to honour their word but will eventually come back to you and will keep their promise.
Knowing about the culture of the country can help a manager to plan their meetings keeping the sensitivity of one’s culture in mind, so as not get embarrassed while dealing with the management. Moreover, since national culture is kept at a higher level than organizational culture. Different aspects of a country’s’ diversified culture should be kept it minds. Since, the politico legal and economic environment of different country is different the dealings should reflect the knowledge of that country and advancement should me made likewise.
Ques 4. What advice might you give to a manger who has little experience globally?
Answer. Doing business globally is not easy today. Managers face serious challenges – challenges arising from the openness associated with globalization and from significant cultural differences.
Managers who have little experience globally should keep in mind the kind of challenges they are likely to face in their career span. Some of the challenges are mentioned herein.
Globalization has created challenges because of openness that’s necessary for it to work. One challenge is he increased threat of terrorism by a truly global terror network. Globalization is meant to open up trade and to break down the geographic barriers separating countries.
Another challenge from openness is the economic interdependence of trading countries. If one country’s economic falters, it could potentially have a domino effect on other countries with which it does business.
The far more serious challenges for managers reflect intense underlying and fundamental cultural differences – differences that encompass traditions, history, religious beliefs, and deep-seated values.
Successfully managing in today’s global environment will require incredible sensitivity and understanding. Managers from any country will need to be aware of how their decisions and actions will be viewed not only by those who may agree but, more importantly, by those who may disagree. They would need to adjust their leadership styles and management approaches to accommodate these diverse views.
Case Study 3 – Communication Lesson
Ques 1. What barriers to communication were evident at Voyant? What other communication barriers likely existed? Explain.
Answer. Communication is the transfer and understanding of meaning. Transfer of meaning implies that if information or ideas have not been conveyed, communication hasn’t taken place. Communication also involves understanding of meaning, for it to be successful, the meaning must be imparted and understood.
A good communication is often erroneously defined by the communicator as agreement with the message instead of clear understanding of the message.
Communication encompasses both interpersonal communication – communication between two or more people and Organizational Communication – which encompasses all the patterns, networks and systems of communication within an organization.
The most evident barriers to communication in the case of Voyant would be:-
Emotional Barrier - One of the chief barriers to open and free communications is the emotional barrier. It is comprised mainly of fear, mistrust and suspicion. How a receiver feels when he or she receives a message influences how he or she interprets it.
Language Barrier - Language that describes what we want to say in our terms may present barriers
to others who are not familiar with our expressions, buzz-words and jargon. When we couch our communication in such language, it is a way of excluding others. In a global market place the greatest compliment we can pay another person is to talk in their language. One of the more chilling memories of the Cold War was the threat by the Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev saying to the Americans at the United Nations: "We will bury you!" This was taken to mean a threat of nuclear annihilation.
However, a more accurate reading of Khruschev's words would have been: "We will overtake you!" meaning economic superiority. It was not just the language, but the fear and suspicion that the West had of the Soviet Union that led to the more alarmist and sinister interpretation. The other likely communication barrier would be: Cultural Barrier - When we join a group and wish to remain in it, sooner or later we need to adopt the behaviour patterns of the group. These are the behaviours that the group accept as signs of belonging. The group rewards such behaviour through acts of recognition, approval and inclusion. In groups which are happy to accept you, and where you are happy to conform, there is a mutuality of interest and a high level of win-win contact. Where, however, there are barriers to your membership of a group, a high level of game-playing replaces good communication.
Ques 2. What suggestions presented in the chapter might Voyant’s employees have used to overcome communication barriers? Answer. For the benefit of Voyant’s employees they would try to remove communication barrier by: Simplifying Language – Because language can be a barrier, managers should consider the audience to whom the message is directed and tailer the language to those individuals. Employees should be reminded that effective communication is achieved when a message is both received and understood. For example Messages to the surgical staff should be purposefully different from those used with office employees. Jargon’s can facilitate understanding only if the communication is with people who knew its meaning. Listening Actively – As it was found that Top engineers weren’t listening to the product managers and vice versa, Listen attentively and carefully. There is a difference between “listening” and “hearing”. Active listening means hearing with proper understanding of the message that is heard. By asking questions the speaker can ensure whether his/her message is understood or not by the receiver in the same terms as intended by the speaker. Eliminating differences in perception: The organization should ensure that it is recruiting right individuals on the job. It’s the responsibility of the interviewer to ensure that the interviewee has command over the written and spoken language. There should be proper Induction program so that the policies of the company are clear to all the employees. There should be proper trainings conducted for required employees (for eg: Voice and Accent training).
Ques 3. Why were the structural changes important to the success of the communication changes? Answer. Yes, the structural changes were necessary it this case due to the obvious lack of communication and team bonding. Since Polycom took over voyant, there is a new CEO Bill Ernstrom at the helm of affairs and he was not happy with the state of affairs,
One of the most significant essentials for success during transition is teambuilding. Leaders that can challenge, motivate, and empower their teams through change are successful. While newly appointed leaders bring a unique style to the table, they often do not have the necessary information, tools or a plan to make them successful in their new role. Managing the transition is the key to success. Newly appointed leaders must have guidance on how to take charge in their new roles. As there was no effort to have a good team communication and communication of organizational information within the workplace. He made the change from traditional authoritarian, top-down leadership to self-directed work teams in different areas of work. He mixed the product managers with the top engineers to stream line the process of communication, which not only reduced the friction between the teams but also make them aware of what each other was looking for in a product.
Ques 4. Why do you think Ernstrom believes that the Company’s customers are happier than ever before? What role do you think communication plays? Answer. The customers were happy because now they were getting what they really wanted to in a product. That all happened due to interaction between the “geeks” and the “suits”. Now when the technological people were able to design according to the mangers there was a less chance of a product not going according to the customer’s need and eventually it benefitted the customers too. The communication plays an important role in any organization. It not only set the tone of understanding the needs of a customer but also creates a culture for employees in the company to follow. It was only after the bridging the communication gap does the company was able to make the products as an engineer rightly said “ We’re building stuff that people use”.
Case Study 4 – Hostile Mint
Ques 1. What HR problems were evident at the Denver Mint? Answer. 1) Hostile Environment
The main HR problem at Denver Mint was the lack of employee safety especially the women group at Denver. The women were facing a hostile work environment. For one they were under constant sexual harassment from their co-workers.
For example, the case of the pornographic materials stashed in the toilet. The other example is the proposition by the male supervisor to the lady who had just come from her bereavement leave of her late husband.
It is the duty of every employer to ensure the safety of their workers and protecting employees from sexual environment should be one of them. Not only had Denver Mint failed to ensure the safety of its female staff but also made it worse by participating in it. For instance the case of the male supervisor propositioning the female sub-ordinate. His duty is to ensure her safety not endanger it.
2) Longer time to act on complaints The other HR problem is that it took Denver Mint long to act on complaints forwarded by the staff. For instance the female employee that filed a petition in 2000 with the facility’s EEO officer only had a hearing in 2003. Not only that the ruling favored the company. This shows not only lack of speed in acting to complaints but unfair ruling.
3) Another HR problem is: the lack of equal employment opportunities (EEO). Denver Mint favored the male staff and any female staff that filed complaints it took longer to act on it and also favors ruling. Further, not only that any female employee that went further with the complaint was either dismissed or had her duties reassigned. Like the female staff that was required to work at home and had all her duties reassigned just because she filed an EEO
charge claiming discrimination. The other example is that of the highest ranking woman at Denver Mint. This represents unfair dismissal and discrimination of women who are the minority at Denver.
Ques 2. Some businesses use a zero-tolerance policy – unacceptable and detrimental behaviour is not tolerated under any circumstances. Is a zero-tolerance policy an appropriate response for combating sexual harassment? Why or Why not? Answer. A zero tolerance policy is one which requires a severe penalty to be
imposed which is unbending in its imposition, and often does not give allowance for extenuating circumstances. It is, as it states, completely intolerant of the behaviour for which it requires consequences, no matter what. It is a policy that punishes all offences severely, no matter how minor.
Arguments for For sexual harassment, using a zero tolerance policy will be good in setting an example any future person intending to do will be scared.
Arguments against What constitutes sexual harassment is subjective. For instance it may be taken by one person as sexual harassment, for another it may just be mere acquaintance. Thus if zero tolerance is implemented, it may judge people with only minor slip-of-tongue to have done sexual harassment.
Another thing is zero tolerance fail to look at situations. People act differently in different situations. For example, let’s say Denver Mint proposes that holding hand of opposite sex is considered as “sexual harassment”. Thus based on zero
tolerance, whatever circumstance it may be if a co-worker holds the hand of the other then he’s subjected to harsh punishment. For instance, something emotional happens like a fire outbreak or death, and one co-worker holds the other of opposite sex colleague, then based on zero-tolerance he’ll be punished.
Thus this will lead to dealing with minor issue severely leading to many cases of punishments daily thus wastage of time in dealing with cases. It may even lead to high employee expulsion as a result of the offences committed. Thus Zero tolerance is not suitable to Denver Mint or any other institutions for that matter as it does not look at the circumstances it just set rules and sets mandatory punishment if people breaks them irrespective of circumstances.
Ques 3. What types of training might you suggest for the employees of the Denver Mint? Explain what this training should include and how you would present it? Answer. Instead of Zero Tolerance Policy, Denver Mint should adopt another
policy that is flexible. That looks into situations thoroughly before proposing punishment.
To protect its female employees from sexual harassment, Denver should educate its male staff that it is wrong to harass their female colleagues and anybody found guilty of the offence will be punished. Supervisors also are not excluded from the punishment. Denver should investigate sexual harassment cases and punish the offenders with strict punishment so that it can set examples to others not to do.
Then Denver should provide equal opportunities to its employees. For instance, increase the number of high-ranking female staff. Put some more females into supervisory position if they are capable. This will balance the minority issue that currently exists. If the number of female employees and female supervisors increases, there will be less imbalances, thus the male staff will start acknowledging their female counterparts.
The other thing that Denver needs to amend is the time it takes to investigate and act on a complaint. In future, Denver should act with speed to employees’ complaints.
Presentation A happy satisfied staff leads to increased productivity. It will also lead to increased loyalty which leads to fewer turnovers and in the end less cost for searching new staff. This will make a company more competitive. Many authors and researchers have supported this that the only key to a company’s competitive advantage is its social capital.
Thus if Denver really wanted that competitive advantage then it should be sensitive to its employees’ needs and all employees for that matter not the male employees only as each employee contributes a significant part to the organization. Thus, Denver will need to implement the above proposed measures in order to have satisfied employees.
Ques 4. If you were superintendent in charge of this facility, what steps would you take now that a settlement has been reached to ensure that your workplace becomes a model workplace? Answer. To accomplish the general goals, the United States Mint will focus its strategies on adding value, ensuring integrity, and realizing world-class performance. Implement a comprehensive, aggressive safety program to ensure a safe work environment. As the superintendent I would devise program evaluations, through objective measurement and systematic analysis, to assess the manner and extent to which the Mint achieves intended objectives. Monthly independent internal analysis and review of the Mint's performance is conducted by the Mint's Office of Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) and also by the Equal Employment Officer. The Mint’s Office of Program Evaluations will independently audit Mint programs, major initiatives, and finance functions, including review of standard operating procedures, policies and internal management controls.
Case Study 5 – Behind the Scenes When the Sun Goes Down
Ques 1. How might value chain management be useful in this type of Organizational Setting? Explain. Answer. Let us first try to know something about operations management. It refers to the transformation process that converts resources into finished goods and services. The system takes in inputs – people, technology, capital, equipment, materials and information – and transforms them through various processes, procedures, work activities and so forth into finished goods and services. It is easy to see the operations management (transformation) process at work in these types of organizations because raw materials are turned into recognizable physical products. But the same is not readily evident in service organizations because they produce nonphysical outputs in the form of services. Value is defined as the performance characteristics, features and attributes and any other aspects of goods and services for which customers are willing to give up resources (usually money). How is value provided to customers? Through transforming raw materials and other resources into some product or service that end users need or desire when, where and how they want it. The value chain is the entire series or organizational work activities that add value at each step from raw materials to finished product. Value chain management is the process of managing the sequence of activities and information along the entire value chain. In contrast to supply chain management, this is internally oriented and focuses on efficient flow of incoming materials (resources) whereas value chain management is externally oriented and focuses on both incoming materials and outgoing products and services. In a major concert tour where the transforming of resources (lighting, sound systems, logistics etc) to finished product (performance of artist) the value chain management will be very helpful. The benefits from value chain management are Improved Procurement Improved Logistics Improved product development Enhanced customer order management (in this case it would be enhanced customer satisfaction from the performance).
Ques 2. Would productivity measures be important to a concert tour? How might productivity be measured in this type of organizational setting? Answer. Productivity is an overall measure of the ability to produce a good or service. More specifically, productivity is the measure of how specified resources are managed to accomplish timely objectives as stated in terms of quantity and quality. Productivity may also be defined as an index that measures output (goods and services) relative to the input (labor, materials, energy, etc., used to produce the output). Productivity measures are important to a concert tour. It would not be possible to quantify the measurement of productivity as it is the efforts of an entire team to make such kind of programme a success. One would have technichians, stage creators, dress designers, logistics department, crowd control and various other intangible services. One cannot really put a number on how much the different teams of the concert tour was successful. One can’t really say that the sound technicians were 60% successful as one would be able to judge the quality of sound system as good or bad. In my opinion the productivity of be measured in the success of such a show.