Leadership and Management have always been considered as integral factors that determine the short run and the long run success of an organization. The theory of scientific management has been greatly used to enhance economic efficiency, bringing about a lot of changes in the management of organizations. Advanced by Fredrick Taylor, this theory utilizes a combination of scientific and engineering concepts as a means of enhancing economic efficiency in firms (Northouse 49). Particularly, this theory lays a lot of emphasis on improving labor productivity through motivation, teamwork, positive relationships, and so on as drivers of achieving the set mission, goals and objectives of a given organization.
This paper will critically analyze leadership and management at Sambian, a top-notch architectural and engineering firm. Despite the fact that the management believes that it has an effective and efficient organization structure, the firm has been loosing its key employees in recent time, most of whom have been recruited by rival firm J&N. This paper will thus critically analyze the case, consider the flaws that might be present in Sambian’s organizational structure with special emphasis on leadership, power, communication, decision-making, motivation and team dynamics. This paper will also come up with solutions and recommendations to the prevailing challenges that the firm is facing. Finally, this paper will also determine how the case would have played out in a UAE setting.
Despite having such an efficient organizational structure, it is important to ensure that its implementation by the management is effective and efficient to ensure that the organizational goals and objectives are achieved (Dickens 81). From a critical point of view, it is evident that the management at Sambian was reluctant in efficiently applying this concept, hence its failure to recognize cues of lack of motivation, job dissatisfaction, lack of mentorship and so on from its employees hence the prevailing exodus of its key employees, some of whom have been offered jobs by its rival firm, J&N. To determine the factors triggered this outcome, the next segment of this paper will critically analyze specific aspects of Sambian’s organizational structure to determine the weaknesses that were present and the possible ways that the firm could have avoided such outcomes.
A leader is an individual who has the power and capability of influencing the thoughts and actions of other individuals in order to realize specific goals and objectives (Henderson 191). For managers to be effective at their work, they need to possess effective leadership qualities. It is due to this fact that this paper critically analyzed the leadership skills that are being exercised at Sambian. From a critical point of view, it is evident that Helen Gasbarian, the CEO at Sambian, practices a participative form of leadership. This is because that Helen has the power and mandate to make the final decisions of the firm. However, before arriving at a decision, she is expected to seek out the views and advice of other staff members within the firm, especially from the employees who will be directly affected by the decision. To the contrary, Helen seems to make some of the decisions by herself. For instance, she gave Adrienne Perle a promotion for fear of losing her to J&N without consulting other members of the managerial team including the HR manager, Mary Donillo.
To overcome this challenge and effectively practice leadership in this entity, leaders at all levels of management need to encourage their staff to be creative and participative in the normal running and management of the firm. This is a critical approach as it ensured that all employees are highly involved in the projects of the organization, as well as in the process of decision-making. As such, this strategy will enhance the productivity of the firm through skill development and motivation. These are essential factors in the management of employees because they enhance the level of job satisfaction since employees develop the feeling and belief that they have control over their work and careers, hence eliminating the need to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
Power is an essential aspect of organizational behavior. As Abraham Lincoln asserted, the most effective method that you can use to test the character of individuals is by giving them power (Henderson 197). Furthermore, from a critical analysis of the case study, it is evident that individuals acquire power based on the position that they hold within the firm (positional power). The devolution of power at Sambian is not as per the expected outcomes of an organization that had adopted and implemented a decentralized organizational structure. This is due to the fact that the organization lacks an effective system to air the views and opinions of individuals who do not hold positional power. Despite his innovation, determination, and hard word, Tom Forsythe, is not motivated to continue working for the firm as a result of numerous factors. One of the reasons that triggered his move to work for a rival firm is the fact that Paul Bonney, the head or architectural sales, shunned down one of his projects without taking into consideration the vision and opinion that Tom had for the said project.
Individuals who hold power at Sambian and an organization at large need to be under an obligation to respond to the requests and directives of their bosses as well as their subordinates. This will create a conducive work environment whereby employees comply with the directives given to them based on the roles that they are expected to perform as per their job description, vision, and ambition, as long as these are in line with the set mission, goals and objectives of the organization. Most importantly, it is important to ensure that the power vested on an employee is clearly defined in their job description as well as the constitution of the organization. This is essential as it checks the actions of any individual ensuring that power is not abused.
A firm is usually comprised of many individuals who come from different cultures and backgrounds. Consequently, these people have different skills, ideologies, ideals, goals, and objectives. Therefore, for them to be considered as an organization and not as a group of individuals, they need to have an effective and efficient communication platform. This will ensure that the correct information is decimated to the right individuals within the firm at the right time.
Unfortunately at Sambian, the communication process seems to be very poor, despite the fact that the management is well aware of the importance of having an effective communication mechanism within the firm. An effective communication strategy will greatly enhance the efficiency and productivity of the organization. Based on the decentralized form of organization structure of this organization, communication is expected not to be one-way but multidirectional. However, this is not the case. It is evident that communication among the members of the management is not efficient. At the same time, the communication between the management and employees is also very poor. It is due to this fact that the management missed out on gathering cues regarding employee satisfaction until it is too late and the firm is already loosing its key employees. For instance, Tom lacked a proper communication channel to air out his opinion to Mr. Paul with regards to the project that was turned down. Furthermore, due to lack of a proper communication structure, the management was never aware of Tom’s disappointment even after he left the firm.
With this in mind, it is of great importance for the management at Sambian to develop an effective and efficient multidirectional communication channel that will allow information to flow freely in any direction across all levels of management. This communication strategy will ensure that the right individual receives the right information and sends back an informed feedback. This communication efficiency ensures that effort and time are utilized in an effective and efficient manner because all the employees have an effective and reliable channel of conveying information that informs them about the initiatives, decisions, and strategies that are being implemented. This ensures that employees at all levels make informed decisions, hence improving the overall efficiency and productivity of the firm.
Just like all other organizations in the contemporary world, Sambian is operating in a dynamic environment. Due to this fact that, Helen and other managers within the organization have the responsibility of constantly making decisions to ensure that the firm operates in the most effective and efficient manner to realize its vision, goals, and objectives. At Sambian, it is the management that has the power and authority to make key decisions of a given entity.
Given the dynamic environment that this firm is operating it, it would have been wise for the firm to develop a system that allows minor decisions to be made at lower levels of management (e.g. at department level). However, the decisions that are made at the lower levels of management have to conform to the rules and regulations of the organization. Consequently, these decisions should be made to ensure that the overall goals and objectives of the organization are realized. Most importantly, it would be wise to ensure that every employee is involved either directly or indirectly in the process of decision-making.
Such an approach would have ensured that Tom’s (and perhaps other employees who were not captured in the case study) idea and vision of the project that was turned down was put into consideration at the departmental level. Through a critical analysis, an informed decision would have been arrived at either to proceed or turn down the project without demoralizing any party that could have been involved and interested in the project. Such an approach would have kept Tom at Sambian. This managerial strategy aims at enhancing the overall morale and productivity of the employees since it makes them feel as part and parcel of the organization. This is an effective way of developing employee loyalty as well as boosting employee morale and teamwork ethics.
Employees need to be motivated so that they maintain goal-oriented behaviors that are beneficial for a given organization (Schermerhorn 44). Organizations such as Sambian that comprise of employees who are highly skilled and experienced need to be motivated to enhance their productivity and performance. However, this seems not to be the case within this organization. Despite the fact that the organization is comprised of highly skilled and experienced employees, most of its members of staff are young individuals who have different needs and expectations. For instance, there are those individuals who are single and hence an increase in pay, awards, and promotions would highly motivate them. On the contrary, there are those employees like Tom, who are young parents, and hence flexible working hours would highly motivate them as compared to increased compensation rates and awards.
In this respect, the managers at Sambian need to critically understand the needs and expectations of every employee and develop motivational packages that would act as incentives for enhancing their productivity and loyalty to the firm. Applying the incentive theory, for instance, the firm can offer rewards to desirable behavior and performance with incentives such as overtime pay, bonuses, retreats and so on. Incentives not only boost the morale of the rewarded individuals, but also encourage others to work harder so that they can enjoy the same benefits.
The case study of Sambian clearly revealed that the concept of teamwork is not highly practiced within this organization, hence affecting its overall efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. Sambian should thus ensure the concept of teamwork is greatly emphasized within the organization. Teams should therefore be developed to achieve specific goals and objectives, and hence they should comprise of employees who work on a specific project or projects that are similar in nature.
Team norms are determined by the past experiences that team members have, their history, the values of individual team members as well as their skill level and work experience (Dickens 471). This can thus explain the reason why Adrienne felt demoralized after Tom left the firm due to lack of a mentor and a fellow employee to confide in. Instead of giving her a promotion, Helen should have used the reciprocal interdependence model that ensures that team members make informed decision, develop effective rules, and develop shared expectations by working under a team.
This ensures that team members utilize their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses, hence achieving the set goals and objectives of their projects. If effectively applied, this approach results in the development of teams that are cohesive in nature since the members have the desire to work together to achieve set goals and objectives through cognitive and emotional processes, hence developing each others’ identities. As a result, team members at Sambian will develop trust towards each other, have the desire and motivation to maintain their membership and team loyalty, share strong interpersonal bonds, are willing to share information among themselves and resolve conflict in an effective and efficient manner.
Sambian Case in a UAE Setting
The UAE, like other operational environments, is increasingly becoming dynamic and competitive by nature. In this respect, most of the occurrences and outcomes of this case would have been similar had the firm been based in the UAE. However, given the culture of the UAE and the change it is facing, there could be a mixed reaction to the issue of gender and leadership. Looking at the leadership of this entity, it is evident that both the CEO and HR Manger are women. In a UAE setting, the question of whether these individuals were fit to handle these positions in inevitable.
It is quite difficult to conclusively say that men make better managers than women or vice versa. Modern organizations in the UAE find themselves operating in hostile environments with rapid changes, conflicts and competing pressures. These situations require flexible leaders that exhibit a range of leadership qualities traditionally associated with both genders. Recent research and literature on gender and leadership have put great emphasis on the need for today’s business leaders to be more androgynous (Korabik 26). This applies to any leader, male or female, who is able to combine the best leadership traits from both genders. A female leader may be considered better than a male leader in a particular setting to the extent that she displays flexibility in her leadership style more than the male leader is able to display. The reverse can also be true if the male leader is more androgynous in his leadership style so it all seems to even out. Some scholars have gone to the extent of saying that this seeming parity is a sign of female leadership superiority (Kotter 5). They argue that female leaders have managed to overcome discriminatory barriers not faced by men to rise to their positions and therefore possess more leadership competence.
This case clearly shows flaws within Sambian’s organizational structure and culture, particularly in its leadership and management. This paper has clearly identified the strengths and weaknesses of the firm’s leadership, power, communication, decision-making, motivation, and team dynamic approaches and their role in triggering the current exodus of its employees to rival firms. Through proper planning and management, Sambian stands a chance of overcoming its current challenges and actually overturning them into opportunities, hence improving its overall position in the short term and in the long term.
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