The organization’s construction concerns how people are grouped and to whom they report (manner of making and managing the business). There are two main types of organizational structure: formal (constructed to fulfill specific objectives) and informal (loosely structured, spontaneous, and flexible in form).
While the organizational culture of a company represents the behavior and attitude of the workforce of the organization and the meanings that those employees link to their acts. In fact, the word “culture” incorporates the values, norms, systems, visions, working language, beliefs, and habits of the company. Consequently, it affects the way the people of the company interact and communicate with others (employees, clients, stakeholders…).
There are different types of organizational culture as it can be influenced by the internal and/or external environment. For example, the size, history, goals, function, location, etc. of the organization could influence it. The four types of organizational culture are the power culture, the individual culture, the role culture, and the task culture.
The role culture is the most common one (particularly in large organizations). The employees’ activities will be strongly influenced by clear and detailed job descriptions (what is expected from them). It implies that the company will be split into different departments (functions).
Therefore, each employee (within a department) will be assigned a particular role. The advantages of using the role culture are that the employees are getting specialized as they focus only on one task (assigned by their job). Furthermore, it will generally imply an increase in the company’s productivity. When looking at the features of the role culture, we can confirm that it corresponds to the functional and divisional structure.
A task culture represents a team-based approach. In fact, specific teams are formed to complete and achieve goals and objectives. The difference is that the employees are freer. Indeed, in a task culture, the team will be able to solve its tasks or assignments by using any means (as long as it is legal and appropriate). This type of organizational culture is more frequent and popular in modern businesses.
The advantages of using it are that it is easier for companies to undertake work for different clients in various fields. Also, it will bring more flexibility and motivation (as staff feels valued and empowered) to the administration’s workforce. When analyzing the features of task culture, we understand that it is more likely linked to the matrix structure.
A functional structure corresponds to the fact of organizing people by their functions.
Some of the advantages might be:
- Specialization of employees
- More efficient staff
- More operational task squads (higher productivity)
While some of the disadvantages could be:
- Lack of communication between departments
- Less flexibility
- Slower decision-making within the organization
A divisional structure means that each organizational function is grouped into a division.
Some of the advantages are:
- Specialization of the workforce
- Better coordination between employees and divisions
- Self-sufficiency for the division and decentralization
While some of the disadvantages are:
- Augmentation of operating costs
- Different product divisions could fail to share resources and customers (too much independence)
A matrix structure combines some features of the divisional and the functional structures (employees are grouped by both function and division).
Some advantages may be:
- More fluid communication (efficient information exchange)
- More flexibility
- Decentralized decision-making (quicker decision-making)
- Diverse skill set (improved access to perspectives and skills)
Some disadvantages can be:
- Internal complexity (confusion about to whom employees should report)
- Expensive to maintain the structure
- Too much competition between departments (creating animosity)
It is very important to control and manage individual behavior at work, as it directly impacts the overall results of the company, such as productivity and performance. Individual behavior represents how an employee behaves at work and how their behavior is influenced. Indeed, it can be influenced by several factors, which may be internal or external. However, a company can only manage internal factors.
For example, an external factor could be family life. A conflict in family life or happiness at home will certainly impact the employee’s behavior at work, as it affects their mood in a positive or negative way.
The organizational structure can impact the individual behavior of employees as it corresponds to the company’s procedures, expectations, and policies. Using a healthy structure will allow employees to be more efficient and to show their full potential.
Leadership styles will also influence individual behavior in an organization. Therefore, if employees perceive that leadership integrates values such as integrity, trust, honor, respect, etc., it may motivate them to work harder.
Individual performance and behavior are highly affected by skills and abilities. Skills concern the ability to act in a certain way that will enable someone to achieve their goal. While abilities are the physical capacities of someone to do something, such as completing a work task. For an employee to be successful, their abilities and skills need to match the job requirements.
Attitude will also be a factor. As attitude is defined as the inclination for a person to respond to certain situations or people (positively or negatively), managers have to create a good work environment. If they do so, employees will be more efficient (they will have a better attitude). Unfortunately, attitude is also highly influenced by external factors, such as family, culture, beliefs, etc.
The demographic factors will concern all that is linked to the socioeconomic background of the employee (instruction, nationality, age, sex…). If directors study those factors, they will be able to elaborate a better-enlisting policy. This should result in an improvement in individual behavior at work as the right people are chosen from the beginning.
The personality of a person will certainly impact their behavior at work because it involves their features and typical traits. This factor (one of the most important) will determine the way in which an employee will react and respond to someone or to a situation (affecting their relationships). Again, it is a complex aspect of individual behavior as it is often influenced by external factors (heredity, society, culture, family…). The only way for a director to improve this aspect will be to motivate the individual (through training, and rewards…).
Finally, perception corresponds to the ability to hear, see, become aware of something, and understand it. But, the way something (like environmental stimulation) will be understood and interpreted will differ depending on the individual. Consequently, it will be easy to affect. That’s why it will be necessary for directors to create a good work environment to improve the perception of the workforce (flexibility, good pay, appropriate workload…).
Before beginning to analyze the impact of Melanie’s leadership style on her staff, it is important to know clearly what leadership means and what it implies.
Leadership is the capacity someone has to influence employees (by means of their personal behaviors and properties) to be able to achieve a common aim. In this sense, it is really important to distinguish between managing and leading. For Watson, managers will mostly focus on strategy, structures, and systems, while leaders will have the disposition to focus on style, staff, skills, and shared goals. But, some managers are leaders as well.
The leadership style will correspond to the way in which the leader’s functions will be carried out (the way leaders behave). Because of this fact, we will be able to discern three categories of leadership styles: autocratic style (autocratic), democratic style, and genuine style (laissez-faire).
We can confirm that Melanie Reynolds is really executing an autocratic style of leadership. Indeed, this type of leadership implies that the director has power and authority over the workers. Consequently, the director will be able to make decisions and determine policies, goals, procedures, rewards, relationships, etc., on their own (those won’t be questioned). Therefore, the staff works according to Melanie’s rules as she applies strict control and powerful discipline (a kind of absolutism).
A bossy leading manner can sometimes have advantages. Indeed, decision-making will be faster as the director won’t have to consult a group or other people before deciding. In addition, this strong leadership will make the company more effective when times are stressful. Furthermore, some people prefer to be told what to do (mistakes due to the incompetence of the staff will be avoided).
But in this instance, the impacts of Melanie’s leading style are mixed but mostly negative. First, we notice that there is a lack of communication between Melanie and her staff, as this job is dedicated to one employee. This will have the effect of a somewhat bad relationship between them (as she is already feared by the workforce). The main effects of this situation are a decrease in employee engagement and a higher rate of absenteeism.
Also, we realize that the workforce is not motivated, which directly affects labor turnover (more labor turnover). In fact, what is happening is that the employees do not feel valued at all, as they have no liberty and almost no responsibilities. Furthermore, they understand that their efforts are not truly taken into consideration as they can’t impact and participate in the company’s directions and decisions. Therefore, they don’t feel concerned about the goals and aims of the administration.
Other disadvantages of an autocratic leading style could be the feeling (for the staff) of being exploited or a low-skilled workforce. Finally, it could smother creative ideas (employees will be less innovative).
Even if I am new at Advanced Goals Ltd (in the Human Resource department), I have clearly noticed that there is a problem in Melanie Reynolds’s section. After identifying the situation, I realized that there was a more or less important lack of engagement and motivation from the staff. To solve this issue, we could use the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” model.
To be able to do so, we first need to analyze and identify the “need level” at which the employees are existing. In fact, Maslow’s theory is based on two parts: the categorization of human needs and the consideration of how these categories are related to each other.
Motivation is simply the result of an unsatisfied need. Consequently, those needs will be used to improve the workforce’s motivation and engagement. There are five categories of needs in this model:
- esteem needs (respect by others, goal achievement, recognition, freedom…),
- social needs (friendship, family, love care, affection…),
- self-realization needs (fulfillment, creativity, self-contentment, more knowledge…),
- physiological needs (food, water, sex, clothes…),
- safety needs (environmental and emotional safety and protection, stability…).
However, when one need is satisfied, often another one emerges. For Maslow, it is because of this fact that we need to allow employees to see that the business, the organization, will be able to satisfy these emerging needs. However, this action must be controlled because if it takes too much time, or if it is too difficult for the staff to recognize that, their motivation and commitment will diminish.
In our case, there are four main problems:
- First of all, the strict control applied over the staff creates a lack of safety needs (job stability). Employees are fearful and feel that they can be easily fired.
- Secondly, as it is an autocratic leadership style, there is a lack of self-actualization needs; the staff is not independent and cannot make their own decisions (no career advancement perspectives).
- Thirdly, the lack of communication between Melanie and her staff creates a lack of esteem needs, as the employees feel that their thoughts and opinions are not taken into consideration.
- Finally, Melanie seems to be proud of her department’s productivity and efficiency, but she never congratulates the workers, which creates a lack of esteem needs again (any recognition or rewards).
Therefore, the situation needs to change. I would suggest to Melanie Reynolds some solutions and options such as:
- Encourage teamwork to increase communication and improve relationships (more trust between employees and the manager).
- Propose training and development opportunities, or challenging professions in which the staff’s competencies and skills are fully utilized.
- Reward and value employees who are achieving their targets by recognizing them through higher pay, job promotion, or job security.
- Provide regular feedback and recognition to employees to increase motivation and job satisfaction.
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