CASE STUDY PROJECT
Summary of the Situation:
The introduction should gain attention, have a clear thesis, and preview the main points.
A summary of the situation (This section should not contain analysis)
- Briefly familiarize your audience with the relevant people, issues, and facts in the case.
- Concerns and Issues:
- Corporate-Wide Issues:
⦁ Poor Visioning Across the Entire Organization
Third Bank wants to shift its organizational culture to a “participative organization” and transition to a company where teams are self-driven and every voice is heard. This is the company’s new vision Communicating and implementing the vision effectively is integral to successfully transforming the organization (Testa 2001).
Third Bank did not effectively communicate this new vision to all their branches and employees. This is evident from the behavior displayed by managers at various Third Bank firms. Many managers believe strongly in the classical management style, which prioritizes hierarchy, separation of power, and bureaucracy. These managers do not have buy-in to the new vision of a participative organization; rather, they are disinterested in the vision. A probable reason for their apathy and rejection may be that they have an entrenched mental model that prevents them from picturing the change.
Entrenched mental models are fixed thought structures that influence how people make decisions and opinions. Another reason might be that the vision was not communicated well. Visions are effective when the organization adapts them to its audience and highlights the values that the change will bring. The managers may have felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable with such a transformational change. They may not have identified any meaningful values because of the vision, therefore preventing them from buying into the change.
Branch Specific Issues:
⦁ Poor Organizational Communication Skills
The Third Bank branch in Carson, Texas, is known to have one of the lowest quality rates. The CEO, Damon Hauss, stressed that the organization is facing a lack of participation. Mr. Hauss questioned in his speech if various divisions and managers were aware of the work of other departments, and no one could respond. Interaction across functional units is poor and in need of improvement. In the management retreat speech, executives stated their goal was to strive for increased communication across all the divisions and to encourage ideas from every corner of the organization.
With the previous management’s lack of communication and the continued mergers, the employees feel that there is no change. The employees have no motivation to further work on completing the company’s goals. Many teams are labeled as troubled groups due to distrust in the corporation. The previous managers were not interested in the nurturing of teams, leading to low performance and morale.
The teams are no longer trying to interact and share ideas due to the previous management’s stifling environment. Even when employees were introduced to a new management team, they seemed in low spirits because the previous management team had lost faith. Poor communication seems to be a problem occurring across multiple levels in the organization as Mr. Hauss himself has addressed the problem publicly.
⦁ Previous Leadership Style is Authoritative
Third Bank, formerly known as the “big, lumbering bureaucratic giant,” wants to shift towards being a participative company. Unfortunately, not every division made a smooth shift; some are still facing distrust due to the authoritarian leadership that was previously in place. Authoritative leadership is when the leader heavily exerts influence and complete control over the followers. Within this scope, communication is discouraged, and followers suffer a loss of individuality, loss of interest, and stunted personal growth due to the abuse of power and hierarchy evident.
Third Bank employees have mentioned that they feel they lack a role in the organization, lose willpower, and fail to have their voices heard. They distrust the new shift to a more participative organization, considering it a “phase” that will not last. These problems occur due to managers who fail to collaborate and encourage their teams during the shift and instead pay “lip service” to executives, fostering distrust and lack of motivation.
- Solutions Targeting Overall Corporation:
- Communicating New Vision Effectively to Employees:
This solution applies to both the overall corporation and is branch-specific. The employees in this organization are disillusioned with the new vision of a ‘participative organization.’ Upper management needs to receive buy-in from employees at all levels by highlighting the values of their new vision; a shift to a participative organization (Appelbaum et al., 2009). When communicating the vision to managers across the branches, executives should adapt the vision to the managers by framing it in such a way that it feels easy to accept and implement. If the change is too drastic, employees feel overwhelmed and lose interest.
Executives should also model the vision by valuing input from any employee, practicing active listening, and opening channels of communication across divisions. Frequent meetings with managers to set performance expectations and ensure that they are focused on the goal of a participative organization will garner commitment. When communicating to employees, management should stress that the vision will ensure every voice is heard, and the company will prioritize employee development and career opportunities.
⦁ Implement a Constructive Climate Strategy in their Business Plan:
A constructive climate is an atmosphere that promotes group members’ satisfaction and achieving their personal best. It entails four factors: Providing Structure, Clarifying Norms, Building Cohesiveness, and Promoting Standards of Excellence. Providing structure establishing goals and roles for employees; giving the company stability. Third Bank employees have mentioned that they lack a part and are demotivated at work. Instituting these factors will increase employee purpose and grant motivation.
Clarifying Norms places understanding and expectations on how to behave and should be established to help employees enhance their understanding of their team’s dynamic. Building Cohesiveness creates a sense shared by all the members that they belong; thus, it holds the group together. This is an essential step as it will increase participation and interaction of the group, enhance productivity, and allow for high member satisfaction.
This is due to the constructive environment created that allows Third Bank employees to express their viewpoints, give and receive feedback, accept opinions different from their own, and feel comfortable doing meaningful work. Lastly, managers must Promote Standards of Excellence, which will define performance expectations and require results to establish expectations, review employee work results, and reward them appropriately. This targets the issue of Mangers failing to be involved in their employees’ work and the lack of morale employees face to be successful. (Northouse, 2021).
⦁ Follow up and give Feedback to Employees:
One of the most important things that can help employees feel seen or heard in an organization is to not only listen to their concerns but also give constructive feedback. One can effectively listen by repeating what someone has said through paraphrasing. Paraphrasing has the role of making one feel they are being listened to and understood. The managers of Third Bank can create a positive environment by being the first to try this out. Also, the ongoing issue of communication is a prominent issue for the lack thereof in Third Bank and many other organizations. Managers need to follow up on the issues that are at hand to see if the problem has been resolved and get information regarding the matter.
Branch Specific Solutions:
Team Building Activities: Team building activities have been seen to be highly effective in the workplace when it comes to promoting positive communication and building trust among co-workers. Managers should show interest in the lower division’s activities and initiate team meetings to address concerns faced by employees. Listening to the concerns of members who feel left out and showing them empathy is remarkably effective when trying to make one feel heard and valued (De Vries, Bakker-Pieper, Oostenveld 2010). Team building activities like conducting team trips and meetings would help members bond and feel included.
⦁ Focus on Human-Oriented Leadership:
The Chicago teams were said to have breathing room and a culture of respect among individuals on the team. Due to the friendly environment, the teams were willing and able to challenge themselves to succeed. Employee morale and trust in management are two crucial aspects leaders should focus on when communicating with teams. ‘Charismatic leadership is strongly related to human-oriented leadership and human-oriented and charismatic leadership are much more saturated with relational content than task-oriented leadership’ (de Vries, R. E.; Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W., 2010). Human-oriented leadership focuses on interpersonal relationships within teams to improve group performance, job satisfaction, leader effectiveness, and motivation.
The previous managers were not good at task-oriented leadership, so to boost employee morale in the current state, human and relational-oriented leadership is the best choice. There have been many studies done that investigate the relationship between leadership styles and organizational outcomes; a meta-analysis on leader’s consideration (e.g., human-oriented leadership) and initiating structure (e.g., task-oriented leadership) revealed positive effects on outcomes (de Vries et al, 2010).
‘Charismatic executive leadership communication, featured by executive leaders’ envisioning, energizing, and enabling change communication behaviors, largely contributed to employee’s positive reactions to change, both in terms of openness to change and in behavioral change’ (Men, Yue & Liu, 2020). There is a high chance that this solution will work as it is the result of studies done by many experts listed in the article.
An example of human-oriented leadership is knowledge sharing. When leaders share knowledge and ask for input from teams, it empowers followers and creates an environment where followers are not afraid to share ideas, which is the opposite of what is happening at The Third Bank right now.
⦁ Manager Intervention:
Discuss with managers to make changes and aid their transition by providing coaching, guidance discussions, and books to allow them to become a supportive leader who guides and advises and takes input and feedback, and encourages the employees to depend upon him in a mutually beneficial and effective way. Implement leadership communication skills such as modeling the vision energizing the employees by creating value and, enabling and empowering followers to be involved, granting trust and responsibility (Men et al., 2020). Third Bank should consider this solution since the feedback given will not be implemented until the manager acts upon it and takes steps to adjust the issues.
Recommendations and Action Plan
⦁ Failed Visioning Implementation
⦁ Poor Communication
⦁ Previous Authoritative Leadership Style
The primary problem that needs to be targeted is vision. The company’s vision is looking to shift toward a participative organization but has failed to implement this shift in all divisions equally. This problem is the root cause of all the other critical issues listed. The next issue that requires attention is the poor communication skills present, which is why the company faces issues, both inter-divisions and within divisions. Lastly, an authoritative leadership style is a problem only within certain divisions.
The overall company-specific solutions should be addressed first, then branch-specific issues, since fixing the overarching problem will work as a catalyst to improve the particular divisional matters.
⦁ Communicate New Vision
⦁ Implementing a Constructive Environment
⦁ Team Building Activities
⦁ Focus on Human-Oriented Leadership
⦁ Manager Intervention
Action Plan Steps
- Executive Directors should create a new action plan proposal.
- The proposal should outline the new vision, and the steps managers should implement to create a constructive environment. These include ________________________
- Inform managers at each branch of the new action plan. The plan must convey the vision explicitly: Being a participative organization that values employee interaction and feedback.
Conduct Team Building Activities:
Can be achieved by hosting a team workshop to build camaraderie and trust.
When: A day where everyone is in the office, with no upcoming essential deadlines. It can also be done when welcoming new members, when we need to get the creativity flowing before starting a new project, and when celebrating successes.
Each division must participate.
Depending on the particular activity chosen, the division may be divided into groups and teams. Every employee’s participation is crucial to building group encouragement.
The head of the HR (Human Resources) department would be responsible for organizing and overseeing the event, delegating tasks, and ensuring that things are all set for the actual team building day.
Depends on the activity being conducted.
The HR division should collaborate with the Finance team to allocate a budget for the decided activity for the month. Cost-friendly options can be used when budget limitations are in place.
Consistency is key.
Third Bank should host team-building activities through a monthly activity that is fun and engaging within the office, such as solving a puzzle, hosting a scavenger hunt, building a spaghetti and marshmallow tower, or hosting a brainstorming and feedback session. Additionally, they could also host quarterly team-building events outside of the office to engage the group and keep them excited about retreats such as camping, volunteering, taking a cooking class, or doing an escape room challenge.
Evidence of Successful Outcome: Similarly, TongWei Group Co was successful in team-building implementation. The corporation wanted to “enhance teamwork… cohesion, promote communication and collaboration…, and create a team atmosphere of… responsibility and warmth.” The company did so by hosting fun games such as ice-breaking camps. The activity made the company realize that “the power of the team is indestructible” and how only through working together can the team become stronger and thus could better contribute to the Tongwei dream (Tongwei, 2022).
The director in charge of each division must intervene and discuss with managers to assist in their shift to support and encourage their teams.
The director should refer to the previously discussed action plans and ensure the divisional managers implement those actions. Additional aid can be given through coaching, guidance discussions, and books. Managers who continue to face struggles can attain one-on-one coaching to help them make needed changes. For instance, UC Davis offers a course on “Coaching Skills for Managers Specialization” that will help one gain active listening, communication, management, and coaching skills. This particular online course takes four months to complete and provides instructor guidance.
The price for this course was not explicitly disclosed but mentioned offering financial aid assistance if needed. Many other courses offer free classes or sessions. Additionally, if Third Bank decides to purchase a subscription, they may be able to receive corporate discounts for the courses.
Moreover, guidance discussions are a means for the director to discuss and advise divisional managers by providing feedback and suggestions to assist managers. This should be of no cost and would occur when directors sense a need to intervene or when managers reach out for help.
Evidence of Successful Outcome = UC Davis Course Reviews:
“While I was only auditing this class, it has easily been the MOST useful Coursera class that I have taken thus far. The examples were realistic and relatable and helped me see where I can improve by increasing my self-awareness and giving me tools to think through current and future situations. This is a great and informative class, particularly if you are a fledgling manager like myself or finding yourself stuck and/or feeling disconnected from your staff!” – Kiera R. K. (Coursera).
⦁ Time Restriction:
Depending on the complex schedules of employees, they might not all be working on the same day and time. Everyone may not be present to participate in the activities hosted, which might allow some members to feel excluded.
⦁ Cost Consideration:
Time is money, and although team building does serve a great purpose in helping an organization succeed to its full potential, there is still the payroll consideration for the time spent.
⦁ Inconsistent Engagement:
Lack of consistent participation in the organization is certainly something to take into consideration. Not everyone may see the true benefits of team-building activities and may disrupt or ignore the rules or guidelines of the activity. This can affect the experience of other co-workers and negatively impact the team through the lack of cooperation.
Appelbaum, S. H., Carrière, D., Chaker, M. A., Benmoussa, K., Elghawanmeh, B., & Shash, S. (2009, July 10). Rx for Excessive Turnover: Lessons in Communicating a Vision. Industrial and Commercial Training.
de Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010, September 4). Leadership = Communication? The Relations of Leaders’ Communication Styles with Leadership Styles, Knowledge Sharing and Leadership Outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology.
Men, L. R., Yue, C. “A., & Liu, Y. (2020, October 21). Vision, Passion, and Care: The Impact of Charismatic Executive Leadership Communication on Employee Trust and Support for Organizational Change. UF College of Journalism and Communications.
North ouse, P. G. (2021). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice | Online https://edge.sagepub.com/northouseintro5e
Testa. (2001). Organizational Commitment, Job Satisfaction, and Effort in the Service Environment. The Journal of Psychology, 135(2), 226–236. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980109603693
Tongwei New Energy Design Company launched themed team-building activities. (2022). In China Business News. Athena Information Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
UC Davis University of California. (2022). Coaching Skills for Managers. Coursera.