Summary of Case: TGIF
The case titled ‘TGIF’ speaks to a weekly beer bust held at Quantum’s Seattle Headquarters. The company, which was founded three (3) years ago by Stan Albright and Erin Barber, hosts these beer busts to allow the employees to relax as a reward for their extra efforts.
Quantum has grown to more than 200 employees and $95 million in sales over the past three (3) years. Bill Carter, the company’s corporate attorney, on attending one of the weekly beer busts received good reviews about working at Quantum.
After a work day of 16 hours, six (6) days a week, the beer bust held every Friday afternoon seemed to be keeping employee morale at an enthusiastic level.
However, Bill Carter had some reservations or concerns about serving alcohol at a company sponsored party especially after observing a new employee’s behavior at the party after he had lost his balance and fell on the snack table. He believed that the beer bust parties were getting out of hand and could possibly result in an exposure to liability.
There is now a dilemma between wanting to keep the team spirit and at the same time reduce Quantum’s liability exposure.
Review of the Case
The case, TGIF, presents an organization, Quantum Software that though it was founded three (3) years ago has managed to set for itself an organizational culture that can majorly be described as fun, relaxed and amicable yet hard-working. Organizational culture, according to Robbins & Barnwell (2002), is the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, to be taught to new members as the new way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems. Therefore, it can be said that the employees of Quantum Software have adapted to such a relaxed culture to cope with its work pace of 16-hour days and six-day work weeks. The case also points out that the founders, Stan Albright and Erin Barber treats their employees as team members instead of subordinates, especially at these beer busts. According to Brown & Harvey (2006), culture is derived from both management and the organization itself and managers define a culture of how their employees are treated through their actions and words.
It is stated in the case that the company had been able to achieve $95 million in sales with more than 200 employees in three years. Part of accomplishing this goal was to motivate the employees to work the extra hours or to get them to enjoy being a part of the company so much that they were willing to work towards its success. Therefore it can be said that in this instance, the three basic organizational dimensions that affect performance were portrayed, that of managerial effectiveness, managerial efficiency and producing a motivational climate. Any OD Program put in place in this organization would seek to improve and maximize these organizational dimensions.
Organizational change occurs when a company makes a transition from its current state to some desired future state. It can be perceived from the case that the idea some form of organizational change is being entertained by both the corporate attorney, Bill Carter, and the founders. However, because the beer busts have been ingrained into their culture over time, organizational change will be difficult and will meet up on some resistance from the employees. This is supported by Brown & Harvey (2006), where it stated that culture is something that emerges out of the working relationships of organization members that have developed over time and as such, cultural transformation will take time to take effect.
It was also seen in the case where Bill Carter was particularly concerned about serving alcohol at company-sponsored events and as such was rallying to implement some degree of change into the organization’s culture in order to reduce the company’s liability exposure. Bill’s dissatisfaction with the present situation can be understood to be a driving force towards change (Brown & Harvey, 2006).
Looking at the psychological contract that exists among Quantum, which is an unwritten agreement between individuals and the organization of which they are members, it can be seen that Quantum expects the members to be on the job 16-hours a day in six day weeks and to increase the number of computer software being sold to independent oil businesses. On the other hand, the employees expect Quantum to provide them with a great work experience and opportunities to socialize with coworkers.
Analysis of the Case
Does Quantum have a Problem?
Quantum Software does have a problem which essentially is the fact that they are hosting a party that has possible risks to the company in terms of liability suits. In other words, the underlying problem is the concern about the suitableness of hosting the weekly beer busts as a method for the employees to relax and unwind after hectic work weeks. The company opens itself for liability suits by providing alcohol to employees at the beer busts who may take advantage of the free beer and consume too much or overdo it and end up injuring themselves, either at work or on leaving the beer busts, as a result. An instance was seen in the case where an employee, John Hooker, had lost his balance and fell on the snack table. A smaller problem also lies in the employees seeing each other in a drunk or intoxicated state which could possibly impair professional integrity or the way people operate within the workplace separate from personal life. Subsequently, there is a dilemma in wanting to strike a balance between maintaining team spirit and reducing the company’s liability exposure at the same time.
Response to Bill
A positive response showing agreement would have been given to Bill, as it is also believed that hosting weekly the beer busts and providing alcohol to the employees while on work time, opens up the company for risks of liability and that other alternatives should be sought to keep Quantum’s enthusiastic and team spirit levels up. Suggestions of alternatives would include continuing to host the weekly social gatherings without serving alcohol, instituting breathalyzers at the end of each gathering and have waivers be signed that would relieve Quantum of any liability or reducing the amount of work hours and hire more employees. Another alternative would be to give the employees the Friday afternoons off to allow them to do what they please.
Pros and Cons of Actions
The pros of the various actions would be that Quantum’s liability exposure would be reduced and hence reduce their business risk, and family and personal time would increase among the employees. Also, not serving alcohol at these social gatherings would allow all employees to actively participate in the gatherings as not all employees will be drinkers. However, the cons of the actions are that because of the familiar culture among the employees, if change is effected then Quantum will meet upon resistances from the employees against changing their culture. This will especially occur as the beer bust had already been seen as a good way to minimize workplace negativity, and improve staff morale motivation and socializing. Also, in reducing the number of working hours and subsequently, hiring more staff, that would result in a higher recruitment and hiring cost to Quantum.
Action Quantum should take
Quantum should continue to host their weekly social gatherings but refrain from offering alcohol. In order to keep their interest, it is possible to substitute the alcohol with appropriate games for the employees to use to unwind. Quantum should also include the employees in this change program by allowing the members to participate in game ideas or probably finding other substitutions to offering the alcohol, which would also lessen any resistance to the change. Finally Quantum should ensure that it communicates to its employees clearly the reason why the change is being implemented as this will reduce their resistance to the change program as well.
Summary of Case: What’s Your Culture Worth?
Without realizing it, the founders of Setpoint had built a corporate culture that had become the company’s most valuable asset. This culture had been observed by Steve Petersen, owner of Petersen Inc., on a visit to Setpoint. Petersen’s plan on this visit however, was not to entertain a merger but to tour the facilities. Setpoint is a custom-manufacturing company employing approximately 30 employees and whose main source of revenues came from designing and building factory-automated equipment.
At a particular point in the tour, Petersen had been introduced to a board system used by Setpoint to track their projects and their progress towards making money. This board was then explained in depth by one of the technicians employed by Setpoint who worked in the shop. After having spoke to several other employees, and observed their positive attitude and understanding, Petersen had began negotiating with the owners of Setpoint. This acquisition would include Setpoint’s business, their services, their management system, and their culture.
With companies being bought for a limited number of reasons, it was noted that Setpoint had little to offer Petersen in terms of those normal criteria. Petersen however, had still seen an asset in Setpoint that he would be willing to pay for and that was their corporate culture.
Review of the Case
The underlying subject of this case refers to open book management which is used as a tool for change in the form of information. According to French & Bell (1998), open-book management pushes the empowerment of employees by encouraging them to think like owners of the business and to start acting like one. One principle of open-book management could be seen in the case where the employee understood the basic company financials such as being able to calculate the gross profit and to compare it through ratio to operating expenses. Another principle was also seen where the technician believed that part of his job was to ensure that financials are being moved in the right direction by keeping each project’s gross profit per hour in mind.
Corporate culture can be referred to as a system of shared values and beliefs that interact with an organization’s people, structure, and systems to produce behavioural norms (Brown and Harvey, 2006). Corporate culture was also an important essence of the case as this was what Petersen was really interested in, Setpoint’s culture of openness of information which allows all the employees to have greater confidence in their work and in their organization as well as their positive attitude.
It is also stated by Brown & Harvey (2006) that for some organizations, the company’s corporate culture is what helps set it apart from the competition. This is evident in the case where Petersen did not want Setpoint for its earnings or its market share, but saw its corporate culture as the asset that would help his company be more effective.
Analysis of the Case
Duplicating Setpoint’s Culture
It is reasonable to expect other manufacturing companies to be able take on a culture involving open-book management, but it is not expected that they will actually be able duplicate the culture that Setpoint has developed. Keeping in mind that culture can be defined as an interdependent set of beliefs, values, ways of behaving, and tools for living that are so common in a community that they tend to perpetuate themselves over long periods of time (Brown & Harvey, 2006). Therefore it can be said that such things as that make up Setpoint’s culture such as their values, invisible rules, attitudes beliefs, standards of behaviours and paradigms cannot be duplicated.
Can Culture be bought?
Culture cannot be bought as it is a unique set of shared norms and beliefs within a company that develop over time due to values stemming from both the management and the organization itself. This view is supported by Hellriegel & Slocum (2004) where it stated that culture is the dominant pattern of living, thinking, and believing that is developed and transmitted by people, consciously or subconsciously. It is something that develops and grows as the company develops and grows and socializes new employees in its norms.
Would a merger destroy the culture of Setpoint?
According to Brown & Harvey (2006), cultures often clash following mergers and other forms of restructuring. With mergers bringing different groups together, it involves bringing different goals, operating methods and cultures together. These differences can bring about a nonproductive situation where the employees of one culture are against the employees of the other culture that was merged with them. This is additionally supported by Stahl & Mendenhall (2005), where it stated that there is an inherent danger of the acquirer destroying the very attributes that it initially attracted it to the selected target in the process of merging. Employees will tend to focus on the perceived cultural differences rather than similarities and see each othe as competitors.
Cite this Quantum Software
Quantum Software. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/quantum-software/