Case 1: Perfect Manufacturing
I. Managerial behavior of Joe and Martin
i) Definition on managerial behavior of Joe and Martin
According to the behavioral theory of leadership from the Ohio State University, there are two kinds of leadership styles including task oriented leadership and people oriented leadership (Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy 2006). Based on this theory, task oriented leaders focus their behaviors more on the structure of their company, the operation process, and their power of control. Although there may also be some certain level of the concern showed by the task oriented leaders on the staff motivation aspect, more behaviors of this kind of leaders are in line with behaviors of clarifying, planning, and monitoring and so on. In addition, people oriented leaders namely the relationship oriented leaders focus more on whether the inside needs of their people is fulfilled so as to build good relationship with their staffs. Of course, the relationship oriented leaders also show their concerns with the tasks and performance, which are often promoted by behaviors such as supporting, developing as well as recognizing and so on.
Based on the information of this case and the behavior leadership theory from Ohio University (Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy 2006), we may be able to define the managerial behavior of Joe and Martin. For one thing Joe is more like a relationship oriented leader who perform more relation behaviors as the plant manager in Perfect Manufacturing for ten years. While Martin perform more task behaviors who is more like a task oriented leader as the new plant manager in Perfect Manufacturing.
ii) Leadership behaviors description and comparison
Behaviors of Joe
One the one hand, as the relationship oriented leader, Joe had been done a lot in the aspects of supporting, developing as well as recognizing. At first, Joe did a lot to support his staffs to foster a harmonious working environment for people. For instance, Joe set up the fitness center to employees to build a healthy body, offered people with several chances a year to enjoy the activities such as the picnics and parties and spent more time on better understand his subordinates on their families as well as their hobbies. Secondly, Joe also tried some means to develop his staffs by some specific relation behaviors. For instance, he treated people with dignity and respect so as to improve their sense of belongings and loyalty. He offered these supervisors a relatively larger flexibility to do their own tasks to develop their self management skills. Thirdly, he is a good relationship oriented leader in recognizing. For example, once he found employees with some problems in working, he always offered them with great assistant to avoid the lay-offs.
On the other hand, it was seemed Joe did very minimal task behaviors in this case.
By and large, due to these specific relation behaviors, Joe won great support and reputation among his subordinates, which contributed to relatively high sense of belongings and lowest vacancies level. But at the same time, it also resulted in the high cost and poor productivity of this plant due to the low level of the concern on task behaviors of Joe.
Behaviors of Martin
On the one hand, as the task oriented leader, Martin perform a series of specific task behaviors in aspects of clarifying, planning as well as monitoring. At first, Martin clarified his requirement for staffs in his plant that if someone doesn’t prefer to do the work, they will be fired and replaced by others. And it was important for supervisors to set up high standards of performance of staffs when no excuses. In a word, the well fulfillment of the tasks in the plant was seemed as the only requirement and objective of Martin as the plant manager. Secondly, Martin also carefully planned the operation of this plant in order to save cost and to improve performance including calling off the fitness center, company parties, and picnics, the training programs for supervisors as well as the frequency for equipment maintenance. Thirdly, Martin as a task oriented leader focused on the monitoring a lot. For example, besides giving supervisors strict requirement on monitoring employees’ performance, Martin also introduced the computer monitoring system to double check employees’ performance.
On the other hand, some of Martin’s behaviors can also be defined as relation behavior. For example, the introduction of computer monitoring system assisted supervisor to monitor employees’ performance which can be regarded as supporting behavior. Meanwhile, Martin set up the objectives and weekly meeting for supervisors were also the developing behaviors to develop the practical competitiveness of these supervisors in performance management and assist the organizational development as well.
By and large, these task behaviors supported this plant to reduce 20% costs and increase 10% output. But at the same time, it also resulted in different relationship between Martin and his staffs and relatively high turnover rate of employees due to the relatively less focus on relation behaviors to motivate employees.
iii) Participative or inspirational leadership
At first, what Marin done were more like a inspirational leader, who is good at decision making and planning to enable his staffs to fulfill some specific objectives by the support of several strategies (Joshi, Lazarova & Liao 2009). For example, Martin gave its staffs clear goals on cost saving and productivity increasing. And at the same time, he carried out several changes to support the goals’ fulfillment which finally resulted in output rise and cost saving.
Secondly, Joe may behave refers more extent to the participant leader who motivate employees by more relation behaviors. In figure 1.0, it indicates the behaviors of participant leader focusing more on the relationship building but low task behaviors which are the same as Joe had done in Perfect manufacturing as we discussed above (Daft 2010).
Figure 1.0 Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Theory
II. Comparison between Joe and Martin on their influence
i) Difference on employee attitudes and reasons
As relationship oriented leader, Joe showed more concern on his employees, which can be found from this case that he developed good relationship with his staffs by offered them with great support and care by providing them with fitness center, chances to enjoy social activities, holiday parties as well as assistance when they needed help by lowering the layoff rate. In a word, we may summarize that the attitudes of Joe on his subordinates were friendly, considerate, and supportive.
At the same time, as the task oriented leader, the attitudes towards employees were relatively indifferent. All of these task oriented behaviors including closing fitness center, calling off parties and social activities, layoff employees all showed the relatively poor and indifferent relationship between Martin and his employees.
ii) Difference on short term performance
At first, under the governance of Joe, the short term performance may be regarded as relatively poor compared that of Martin. For instance, the costs were the second high compared to other plants under Joe’s governance. And the production levels were also in very poor performance, which ended in the earlier retirement of Joe.
Secondly, under the task oriented leadership, Martin led his plant to produce relatively outstanding performance in the short term. For instance, the production costs were saved about 20% with the 10% rise of the output in this plant. In a word, the data all showed the good performance of the plant under the governance of Martin in the short term.
iii) Difference on long term plant performance
Things may become different when we evaluate the plant performance under the governance of Joe and Martin in the long term.
For Joe, although the short term performance such as the costs and productivity may be seemed unsatisfactory, the performance of this plant under his governance may be regarded as relatively stable. The governance length of Joe was around 10 years which was a kind of affirmation of his leader style. Secondly, the working environment in the plant was relatively harmonious and relaxed which resulted in the low turnover rate of employees and vacancies, which showed the stable working environment and performance.
While although under the governance of Martin the short time performance of the plant was good, the turnover rate of employees both in managerial level and ordinary level was higher than before. When such situation continues, lacking talents may become the biggest headaches for this plant, how can Martin continue his prosperity?
By and large, in the long term plant performance we may believe Martin may not compete with Joe.
At first, the different between the relationship oriented leadership and task oriented leadership results in such difference. Relationship oriented leadership focusing on the relationship building and maintenance makes Joe focusing on the employees’ readiness level and emotion. But the task oriented leadership focuses more on task achievement that is why Martin concerned more on the achievement of the tasks rather than the people side (Kumar 2007). Because of this reason, Joe and Martin performed different attitudes towards employees in the plant. And they also produced different short term performance, because for Joe whether the short term performance was good or poor may not be as important as the relationship with his employees.
Secondly, the working length in the plant may also become the other reason to influence the different performance of the two people. For Joe, he had been working in this plant for ten years, making him have a higher awareness on the importance of maintaining the good relationship with his subordinates so as to make his work go on more smoothly, which resulted in the stability of the long term performance of this plant (Morse 2008). And meanwhile, as he had worked for so many years, the ambition to promote better performance of this plant may fade away gradually, which also resulted in the poor short term performance of the plant in the case (Morse 2008).
Thirdly, for Martin, who was a newly appointed leader, it was so necessary for him to perform good, which may directly result in his more task oriented behaviors and good short term performance of this plant due to his great efforts (Nadi 2008). Meanwhile, as a new leader, there may be some shortage of management experience and skills of this plant, which may become one of the reasons why the relatively high employee turnover rate (Nadi 2008).
As a matter of fact, we can find out that for both the two kinds of leadership behaviors including the task behaviors performed by Martin and the relations behaviors performed by Joe, there are both weaknesses and strengths. Therefore to achieve both high level of employee satisfactory and performance we have the following suggestions.
According to the situational theory of Hersey and Blanchard, there are four kinds of leadership styles for leaders to employ under different situation including telling style, selling style, participating style as well as delegating style (Daft 2010). As there are so many types for us to employ in the plant of Perfect Manufacturing, we will develop the following analysis and then offer the most practical suggestions for the adaptation of leadership style.
At first, based on the current situation we may find that under the changes implemented in this plant, we find out the employees turnover rate is so high, which may indicate that these vacancies may be filled up by many new employers (Jones 2007). Secondly, as the relatively high pressures laid on employees by Martin, these remained employees may have some resistance or unwillingness level towards their current jobs, which may influence their further performance as well (Evans 2005).
Therefore, under such kind of situation, we suggest we should employ the telling style. Because we have already pointed out that these remained employees may own low level of confidence to do their jobs and these newly employed people may be lacking in the job required skills and knowledge to perform better, the maturity level of the two kinds of people in our plant may stay at the bottom line. Therefore, selling style may be the relatively suitable manner to tell people in a relatively specific manner on what should do and how to do it (O’Regan & Ghobadian 2004). At the same time to avoid the same situation as tow task oriented leader as Martin, so relationship rebuilding activities are suggested. By the full consideration of cost, proper social activities or parities or some holidays with no salary means under the company budget can be employed to enhance the relationship between employees and the leader (Kefela 2010).
Secondly, when the confidence of these remained employees have increased, the professional knowledge and skills of these newly employed people are developed, the relationship building has own initial success, selling style is recommended to enhance the communication effectiveness between the leader and employees to further improve their professional skills and knowledge and confidence under gradually improvement of the relationship and the harmonious level of the working environment (Mumford, Antes & Caughron 2008; Daft 2010).
Thirdly, when employee in our plant of the Perfect Manufacturing owned good capability of the professional skills and knowledge and high level of willingness to do their job based on the good relationship between them and the leader, participative leadership style is then suitable to be employed to improve the team working effectiveness and employees’ participant level on decision making and responsibility sharing towards their job (Rahman & Kumaraswamy 2008; Daft 2010).
Finally, under the most ideal situation, we come to the last stage, in which followers in our plant own the required knowledge, skills as well as high willingness level to pursue better performance, the delegating leadership is recommended to offer employees with more chances to take part in the decision marking process by suitable monitoring (Tesluk, Hofmann & Quigley 2002; Daft 2010).
By and large, with the healthy development of the maturity for employees’ readiness level, when we reach the last level that we employ the delegating leadership style, we believe both the employees’ satisfaction and performance on their job will be satisfactory by our company.