Business Responsibility Portfolio

Business Responsibility Portfolio

348SAM – Portfolio Question One

Critique the term ‘Personality clash’ Why might an assumption of personality clash cause problems in a workplace relationship? Discuss this statement concerning the reading and the seminar work and briefly explain why it is important for a manager in an organization. 

Personality is the behavior, attitudes or mannerism unique to every individual in the society. Personality is also described as the differences exhibited by individual in patterns such as thinking, behaviour, and feelings. A person can be ‘ambitious’, ‘shy’, ‘funny’, ‘hard-working’ etc. all these are personality traits. Allport cites in his book ‘Personality; a psychological interpretation that Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristics behaviour and thought. Personality incorporates both elements of a particular characteristic unique to every individual and stability in the exhibition of these characteristics. Vivien Burr argues that a person cannot change their personality daily or overnight but rather change may occur slowly and over a period or as a result of a major life event such as death or planned interventions that may alter a person’s perception. Burr also adds that a person’s personality trait should be consistent and compatible; to mean that an individual can be mature, outgoing, kind generous and social but the same person cannot be described as immature, shy, arrogant and mean. These set of traits are inconsistent and diverse. Our personality influences our behaviour and therefore how we act primarily has to do with the kind of person we are. It is believed that there are biological traits in individuals that can or are modified by the prevailing social and environmental factors. We can conclude therefore by saying that different people show or have different personality traits unique to them only, and while humans have different coping mechanism of dealing with others even those with different personalities, it is sometimes difficult to escape a misunderstanding or arguments when dealing with various personalities. A ‘personality clash’ therefore occurs where two people with different personalities disagree with varied views, approaches, or ideas on the same issue. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes it as a disagreement between people with different personalities.

Personality clashes are common in the workplace and should be checked to reduce anxiety and depression for the employees involved as well as to prevent the eventual breakdown of healthy working relations in a department or a team.  In the long run, frequent and unchecked personality clashes in an organization can compromise the productivity and cohesiveness of the entire team. Any organization seeking to reap the full benefits of their inputs should be concerned with their employee health and wellbeing by eliminating or reduces factors that may contribute to these, personality clash being one of these factors. As further explains that it is crucial to understand the underlying cause of any personality clash first before addressing it. Several factors such as unclear job roles, poor management, diverse leadership style and approach, and work ethics can lead to the personality clash. Employees having experience personality clash may isolate themselves from the colleague she/he had a disagreement with to avoid further confrontations, their job performance level may suffer due to depression or anxiety as an aftermath of the conflict, they may tack sick offs may often than before and finally their motivation to take on new task may decrease or lack. In some cases the sign of conflict is so obvious like public confrontation which can be seen by most people, sometimes it is not so obvious, and managers need to be familiar with the above symptoms to help identify and remedy the situation early.

Managers should be trained on how to effectively manage conflicts between individuals and conflicts between groups at work including personality clash disputes. Acas (2012) recommend the following steps to be taken by managers in addressing personality conflict between individuals in the organisation; managers must sit down and personally address the issue with each party involved discretely. The procedure that follows should be to the investigation of the problem to identify the main reason for the conflict (internal company procedure for dealing with grievances are applicable here), the skilled mediator could be used in the case where peace negotiations between the two have hit the deadlock. The manager could also upgrade line management skills through training if this were the primary cause of conflict. In managing group conflicts, Acas recommends the following for managers; Improving the methods of communicating and coordinating with employees, enhancing the culture of representation within your company to address challenges such as working groups or staff councils, applying problem-solving cycles to find collective solutions to workplace challenges, getting outside help.

 

348SAM – Portfolio Question Two

Present a simple diagram and explanation of Lewin’s Force Field Analysis.  Then provides a framework of the nation of Weick and Quinn’s model and discuss them both about an organizational change that you are familiar with.

Force filed analysis is a change model by Kurt Lewin, that involves the ‘Unfreeze’‘transition’ and ‘freeze’ process. The unfreeze process involves the increase of driving forces towards change and decrease of opposing forces which leads to disruption of equilibrium towards the desired change outcome. Once the change has been established, there is the freezing process to maintain the status quo. NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement (2008) cites that it is used in developing strategies aimed at reducing the impact of restraining forces to change which generally inhibits change while at the same time encouraging policies which strengthen the effort to facilitate change as well as identifying setbacks to the successful implementation of solutions and suggesting actions to reduce the strength of the setbacks. In other words, it identifies opponents and allies as well as ways to influence the stakeholders through action planning. The forces can be people, events, traditions, values, policies, attitudes, relationships or even trends.

 

Application of the forced field analysis; how it works.

The first step is to identify the problem by clearly defining it. As per the diagram below, the problem could be a low return on investment. Next identify the existing factor which are the driving force to change ( e.g. demand for superior products, availability of cheap labor, reliable work force) as well as all the threat to change( e.g. lack of capital, small market share, limited time frame) .step two involves clearly stating the desired outcome for the future. Step three identifies factors that support change and their strengths as well as the opposing factors and their strength (factors that resist the anticipated force and wants to maintain the existing situation). On the force field analysis diagram, the length of the arrow should reflect their relative strength. And finally the last step should be the development of a clear, detailed change strategy

Forced Field Analysis Diagram

 

Driving force                              status quo                           restraining force

 

Demand for superior product

Lack of capital

 

Availability of cheap labor

Small market share

Reliable workforce

 

Limited time frame

 

 

Weick and Quinn’s Change Model

Weick and Quinn change model involves both the episodic change and continuous change and the measures taken to ensure that these changes do not adversely affect the organization. Episodic changes are the occasional, infrequent and discontinuous disruption of the status quo or the equilibrium which encourages short-term adaptive measures to restore stability in the organization (Weick & Quinn, p. 366). Episodic change is brought about by the growing misalignment between a deep inertial structure and perceived environmental demands which can be internal or external depending on the dynamics (P. 365). It borrows on Lewin’s model of ‘unfreeze’, ‘transition’ and ‘freeze’. Continuous change, on the other hand, is consistent alterations in work processes and social practices driven by organizational instability and attention to daily contingencies (Weick & Quinn, p. 366). Organizations with continuous change are self-evolving where change is constant and on-going (P. 375) with emphasis on long-term change strategies. Continuous change uses the freeze, rebalance and unfreeze model. Argyris (as cited in Weick and Quinn, p 380) cites that to freeze continuous change is making of a sequence visible to show patterns in what is happening. While to rebalance would be to reinterpret, re-label and to re-sequence the patterns so that they unfold fewer blockages (Weick and Quinn, P 380).

348SAM – Portfolio Question three

Briefly, define a ‘complacent’, ‘resigned’ and ‘cynical’ conversation.  Present examples that you have been part of or have overheard or have viewed in a film or television programme.

“Complacent” according to the Oxford dictionaries refers to a situation where an individual is not bothered or is uncritically satisfied with one’s achievements while dictionary.com refer to it as a situation where one is pleased or satisfied with their merit or advantages to the extent that they fail to see the potential danger or defect of the situation at hand. The person normally feels self-confident and satisfied about the present condition or the expected outcome that they fail to identify the pitfalls or possible failures or dangers that can cumulate from that situation, they fail to make any efforts towards the betterment of the current situation. Individuals or organisations can become complacent to their current positions especially when they are uninformed about the dangers. Example below explains more;

Behavioural tendencies Example of utterances What ought to have been   said
 

Satisfied

uninformed

 

When presenting the annual sales budget, the head of the sales department said “the figures look good and sales have increased, this will trend into quarter four no doubt’’ despite the fact that two of the good performing sales personnel in the department had resigned at the same time. Instead he could have said, “we will maintain this increase in sales if we retain our employees and recruit the best suitable ones to replace the ones who are leaving.’’

Demand Media (2016)explains that the verb “resigned tone” means to accept or tolerate something negative, unwanted or undesired in one’s current or future circumstances because there is likely no alternative or it’s unchangeable. It’s basically submitting to the circumstances at hand with the belief that one has no choice but to comply.
Example in a sentence

 

Behavioural tendencies Example of utterances What ought to have been said
Resigned

 

 

Michael opened a service company from the money he had saved while in formal employment. He hired two employees to assist him, when the company failed to make any profit in a year, he said “I had to quit to save myself from using up all my life saving, there was no any other way. It was either that or I end up completely ruined’’

Michael felt he had no choice but to close the company, the conversation could have been like this instead. “ I had to close it down to re-strategize before I could start operations again’’

 

“Cynical” tone according to dictionary.com is the tendency to not trust other people’s motives or to show contempt for accepted standard of honesty or morality by one’s actions. A cynical person believes or expects the worsts in others especially in acts that are selfless.
 

Behavioural tendencies Example of utterances What ought to have been said
Cynical

Contemptuous
judging

When the company received a non-repayable funding from an NGO donor a colleague was quick to say that, “ it was the NGOs way of making sure the organisation comply to their demands in future.’’

A more acceptable response could have been, “ thanks to the NGO now we have funding to carry out our projects on time”

 

348SAM – Portfolio Question four

What is a ‘breaching experiment’ (Garfinkel)?  After you have read and understood how these experiments work to consider how an understanding of them might be helpful to a manager.

The breaching experiment is the manipulation of social interactions to highlight the processes that are at work in rendering them ‘normal. This concept is designed to break the rules of an unstated social role to study them.  They are planned and deliberate breaks of the common accepted social norms (Carr, 2012). Sociologist Harold Garfinkel used the breaching experiments to explore the level at which people are tolerant to the standard social norms in the society. Garfinkel panned the experiment around his students; he asked them to act as boarders or paying guest in their homes. This meant that the students behaved differently in their homes than they did previously. The outcome was that the parent responded differently with some being amused at the sudden politeness while some become frustrated and angry at the sudden behavior change. How society reacts to the sudden change in behavior is important to the experiment.

Breaching experiments can be used by managers to break out the norm around organization procedures and to equip better employees to change. Organizations normally anticipate change, and while some have continuous models of strategizing around the change and adapting to it, some organization, however, are forced to adapt momentarily having failed to put in place consistence change model. It is hard breaking down the norms of the organization, trying to do things differently can face some internal resistant. Employees can be unwilling to try out new ways of doing things or to adopt new technologies if they view this as something that can bring about an unwanted outcome. The example in a situation where the organization needs to acquire new technologies, the employees may be weary thinking their roles will be taken up by the machine which may render them jobless. Managers need first to explain to the employees the benefits of adopting new technologies and reassure each of them of their job. Training can also be offered on how to use efficiently the equipment to avoid anxiety and excitements in anticipation of change.

348SAM – Portfolio Question five

(adapted from Jabri, 2012: 68)

  1. List the personal characteristics and competencies of change agents that enhance the prospects of change taking root.

Organizational change is aprocess in which an organization optimizes performance as it works toward its ideal state. Organizational change is a reaction to an evolving business environment, crisis control or it can be initiated by a leader. The authors further state that it’s a process in which an organization optimizes performance as it works toward becoming its ideal state. Change is described as a socially constructed on-going process, reinforced by the interactions of employees at all levels.

Change agent has been defined as a person responsible for organizing and coordinating the overall change effort. The change agent can either be an internal change agent, who are most frequently a sub-set of organizational leaders, or an external change agent, like consultants or managers brought in to invoke change by providing either predetermined solutions for organizational development, Lakoff (as cited in Martin and Krdzalic) or learning and consulting the views of stakeholders in determining the right decisions and directions to be taken. Martin and Krdzalic thesis show that the most significant characteristics that conform to the ideal view of a change agent are a person who possesses the following skills and qualities; great analytical skills, good listener, good mediator skills, excellent architect, good teacher skills, a wise coach, person with good understanding of the goals to strive for, a person with good understanding of the task at hand and the communications styles to use in a given phase of organizational development

 

  1. B) Outline your style of influencing change and provide an illustrative example.

 

To influence change, a current project needs to be reviewed and monitored closely to detect any change. Change has to be envisioned at every process in project management, thoughtful yet effective guidelines are set throughout to manage projects cautiously. After that a change manager and a multi-disciplinary change team members are appointed, the persons in question would have undergone vigorous training in organizational change management and is properly skilled in various aspects of change. The last process would have to be the implementation of change. Change should be clearly communicated before implementation; this should be done at every level of organization and the impact of change on every individual should be evaluated carefully and understood. Even so, still some level of resistance should be expected during implementation.

 

 

Reference List
Acas ,( 2012). Advisory booklet- Managing conflict at work
Burr, V. (2003) Social Constructionism, 2ndEdn. London and New York. Chapter 1.

Macleod S. (2014) personality theories. Simply psychology
Karl E. Weick And Robert E. Quinn (1999)  Organizational Change And

DevelopmentuniversityOf Michigan Business School, University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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