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Case final


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Case final

  1. 1. Telese 1 Trouble at Telese Vince Rubiera MGT 600 Dr. Linda L. Neider March 14, 2007
  2. 2. Telese 2 I. Case description Telese is a major communications company based in the southeast United States. Telese spans nine states and has approximately 40,000 employees. Half of these employees are responsible for the maintenance of the physical communications network. This department, Network Services, is structured geographically. Each area “district” is organized into two large departments. The first department, Engineering and Construction (P&P), designs and builds the physical network with fiber and copper cables. The second department, Installation and Maintenance (I&M), maintains the network and installs individual services. Roberto Port, General Manager, directly manages the I&M departments through his Area Managers. Each Area Manager in I&M is in charge of a smaller area “turf”, except the Area Manager for DSL services (high speed internet); who is in charge of the repair and installation of this product for all of Mr. Port’s area. See attached organizational chart. In 1999 Telese rolled out this DSL product in Miami. The DSL I&M department quickly grew over the next two years under the management of Tim Richard, Area Manager. In 2002 Tim Richard decided to open a new work center in South Miami. He felt his technicians were driving too far each day. Tim moved his top supervisor, Frank Dobbs and his crew of field technicians to the new South Miami location. Telese network employees are represented by the Telephone Workers Union (TWU); consequently, moving Frank’s crew south involved a formal bidding process. The working agreement was written to consider seniority for most decisions, including transfers and pay. Frank thought he would lose some prized employees due to seniority, and gain some challenging ones. Even though Frank’s entire crew was at top pay, there was a lot more seniority in the other groups. All he could do to lessen the impact was to generate rumors that a co-worker would be managing that crew. This had worked for Frank before, since the co- worker was seen as a difficult boss. It worked again, and for the most part Frank was able to bring the majority of his technicians with him. The only technician that Frank received from another manager through the bidding process was John Berre. Tim told Frank that John was considered trouble maker, and he would have to keep an eye on him. Frank felt confident he could handle John, since he has been successful with challenging employees in the past. Frank would always try to give employees the benefit of the doubt. The move south was completed by April of 2002, and the new crew was comprised of 19 technicians. Within the first two weeks in South Miami, the new crew was at full effectiveness. Frank had created a good atmosphere for his technicians, and everyone (excluding John) had always worked well together. Frank knew how to manage DSL crews well, and he used the remote location to foster greater cohesion. He knew his informal leaders and union stewards within the crew, and created excellent relationships with them. He would call on them to help
  3. 3. Telese 3 him with difficult customers or sensitive union issues. It would not be long before he would need their help with the first serious disciplinary problem Frank had ever seen as a manager. Within 3 weeks of starting in South Miami, Tim called Frank to let him know that John was sleeping in his service vehicle near Tim’s house. Tim went on to say that he was disappointed in Frank for letting this happen, and he wanted Frank to drive over and suspend John immediately. Tim was always quick to respond with harsh discipline, and this incident was no different. Frank drove up and found John 10 miles from his dispatched location, sitting near Tim’s house. He asked John to head back to the work location where he asked him to go home for the rest of the day. Frank then went over to Tim’s office to discuss John and his history. Tim had just finished the transfer documents for John and explained John’s personnel record to Frank. John had several incidents of being off the job site. He had moved up the disciplinary stages from several “formal counseling’s” to a few “warnings” and even a prior “suspension”. Tim had several arguments with John in the past, and he had found John a few times at CompUSA and other hideouts when Tim followed him. Tim made it very clear to Frank that he never liked or trusted John. Tim also commented that John knew his job very well, as he witnessed on several post inspections, but John had no motivation. Frank agreed to report any other incidents to Tim and left his office. The next day Frank had an informal meeting with John and Danny Gards, the union representative in the crew. Frank stated he was concerned with John’s actions and did not want to see it happen again. He documented the meeting carefully and set clear expectations for John, including being on his job site and awake when he should be. After the meeting John went to work and Frank stayed and spoke to Danny. Frank explained his goal was to see John improve, and to avoid anymore of Tim’s attention towards the group. Danny agreed, and said he will have a talk with him. Two days later though, while Frank was checking his vehicles’ locations in GPS, he saw John’s van at the Publix around the corner at 8:30 AM. Frank drove over and found John’s company vehicle unlocked and several miles from his work location. Frank waited for John in the parking lot. It appeared John had made it a habit to stop by for breakfast every morning before his first work ticket, against company policy. After leaving, Frank called Tim and let him know what had occurred. Tim seemed pleased to get the news, and told Frank to administer another suspension. Tim made it clear that H.R. could not support a termination at this point. The next morning, Frank suspended John for misconduct with Danny present, once again clearly explaining what had happened and what was expected of him. John did not approach the union on any of these actions. He would usually nod his head and go quietly. This time, Danny took John into a separate room for a very heated discussion. The argument could be heard through the walls, as Danny asked John if he wanted his job here. He also shouted at John, “are you on drugs or something”, “you know this job better than me, you know how good we have it here”,” do you really want to bring Tim’s attention on our crew”?
  4. 4. Telese 4 The union came out and assured Frank that he would have no resistance from them regarding any management action taken, beyond their obligation to follow any grievance protocol. Frank documented all these conversations and occurrences carefully, since this was becoming a pattern. One week after that suspension Frank found John six miles from his work site. He was using a restroom he claimed was cleaner than the other seven John passed to get there. Frank was furious. Port, Roberto General Manager, Network Ops Miami Richard, Tim Manager, DSL I&M Force DSL-Miami Bhort, Clarence Network Manager DSL-Miami Deres, Lourdes G Office Assistant DSL-Miami Mazelli, Jorge Network Manager DSL-Miami Bonitez, Rafael Supervisor,I&M Group DSL-Miami Hyalt, Bryan Network Manager DSL-Miami Dobbs, Frank Supervisor,I&M Group DSL-Miami Mont, Eddie Field Technician DSL Miami Dige, Kenneth Field Technician DSL Miami Barvis, Perry Network Manager DSL-Miami Thomas, Kenneth Project Manager,I&M DSL-Miami Ruiz, Rogelio Supervisor,I&M Group DSL-Miami Harris, David C. Specialist-Ntwk Ops Support DSL-Miami Nova, Tom Field Technician DSL Miami Gards, Danny Field Technician DSL Miami Roche, Denny Field Technician DSL Miami Berre, John Field Technician DSL Miami Ray, Kacy Field Technician DSL Miami Armen, Jorge Field Technician DSL Miami Selles, Terri Field Technician Florida Meyers, Steve Field Technician DSL Miami Brandt, Lynn Field Technician DSL Miami Dixon, Tony Field Technician DSL Miami Coleman, Bill Field Technician DSL Miami Pias, Magda Field Technician DSL Miami Sturr, Kathy Field Technician DSL Miami Delgado, Robert Field Technician DSL Miami Duran, paul Field Technician DSL Miami King, Peter Field Technician DSL Miami Lacross, Josie Field Technician DSL Miami Aguado, Dagoberto F. Supervisor,I&M Group DSL-Miami Alzer, Duke Chairman, President and CEO Telese Corporation Tom L. Smith SENIOR VP - NETWORK SVS Network Field Robert D. Elk General Manager - Operations LD Operations Robert D. Daniel SR VP - CONSUMER MKTS Consumer Markets Riguez, Juan Supervisor,I&M Group DSL-Miami Brach, Macci Engineering Director, Planning And Provisioning Miami
  5. 5. Telese 5 II. Analysis In order to analyze this case, I will focus on a few aspects of organizational behavior. The focus will be on personality, perception, group process, motivation and leadership. The analysis will focus on the elements that led to the characters’ actions, and will lead to recommendations towards Frank’s best course of action. A. Analysis – Personality Successfully managing individuals depends on having an understanding of differences of personality. Personality plays a key role in recruiting, selecting and training, which in turn contributes to performance factors.1 In order to understand the dynamics between each of the characters, I wanted to start by illustrating how each of them demonstrated the five dimensions of personality. 2 1. Tim’s (Area Manager) 5 dimensions Conscientiousness Extraversion- Introversion Agreeableness Emotional Stability Openness to Experience Dependable Outgoing Arguable Stressed Narrow Interests-Tim had demonstrated his tendency to argue early on in the case. He also approached Frank in a very open fashion when he found John sleeping, certainly in line with an extrovert. Tim’s stressed nature may have also contributed to the outburst. Tim was under a lot of pressure, since he had such a large area of responsibility. 2. Frank’s (supervisor) 5 Dimensions Conscientiousness Extraversion- Introversion Agreeableness Emotional Stability Openness to Experience Dependable Reserved/Shy Agreeable Content/stable Broad interests Frank may have been too agreeable, which may have contributed to the amount of suspensions instead of terminating. Frank’s introverted nature was likely the cause of the frustration and his anger over the last incident. He did not show any of this frustration earlier in the case, which could have been bottled up until he was fed up. His openness to experience was highlighted briefly with his interest to build new non-traditional work relationships to foster a better work environment, like 1 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Managing People.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 9. 2 Jerald Greenberg. Managing Behavior in Organizations Fourth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2005. 75.
  6. 6. Telese 6 engaging the informal leaders in the group. Also, a narrow focus would not consider changing behavior, only discipline. 3. John’s (technician) 5 Dimensions Conscientiousness Extraversion- Introversion Agreeableness Emotional Stability Openness to Experience Unpredictable Reserved/Shy Agreeable anxiety/stressed Narrow interestsJohn was quietly defiant and unpredictable. His lack of union involvement and absence of argument throughout the case was probably due to his agreeable and shy personality. His consistent misconduct demonstrated his low conscientiousness. Other symptoms of this are visible in this case such as: laziness (sleeping on the job), and unreliability (going to breakfast).3 B. Perception and Biases This case demonstrated several of the effects biases can have on performance. It started with Tim’s outburst toward Frank when he found John sleeping. Tim assumed Frank was aware of all of the specifics behind John’s past; therefore, his perception was that the fault rested with Frank. This then led to Tim’s disappointment with Frank. This is described as the elements of perception, where assumption leads to perception then to feelings.4 Some of the Biases seen here are the Horn, Contrast and Leniency biases. Some of which led to a negative Pygmalion effect, which may have contributed to the constant misconduct. 1. Tim’s Biases In this scenario, Tim showed a strong horn bias towards John, stating that he never trusted him and would follow him to find him in places away from his job sites. Also, his initial advice to Frank was a word of caution about John. He even used the term “trouble maker”. Later on in the case Tim seemed pleased when receiving news about John’s misconduct, as if he had received additional reinforcement of his perceptions.5 Tim may have passed this Horn effect onto Frank, and also added to the negative Pygmalion effect. 3 Jerald Greenberg. Managing Behavior in Organizations Fourth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2005. 75. 4 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Perception.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 26. 5 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Bruner’s model.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 29.
  7. 7. Telese 7 2. Frank’s Biases Frank initially seemed to show some leniency bias when he first received John. The case stated that he would give employees the benefit of the doubt; regardless of the warning he was given. There may have been some contrast bias as the misconduct grew, since all of his other employees were good employees and this was his first serious disciplinary problem. Also, the negative Pygmalion effect started again in this new crew with John’s sleeping incident. The more Frank expected conduct issues from John, the more occurrences there were. According to the Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome by Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean- Louis Barsoux, unsatisfactory conduct can be largely the boss’s fault, by setting up underperformers on a path to failure.6 C. Group Process Although it was not mentioned in depth in the case, there was some group dynamics involved here. Frank mentioned that he used elements of the group to develop the group cohesion, and that played a part in the case. This would be considered a formal group with a command group structure. Some of the elements that are relevant here are the stages of group development, group size, cohesiveness, group norms and roles. 1. Group Development Since it was mentioned that “Frank had created a good atmosphere for his technicians, and everyone (excluding John) had always worked well together”, it may be assumed that the group had reached the “performing” phase before the move south. This may have been thrown back into the “storming” phase due to the introduction of a new member7 . There was also some affective intragroup conflict mentioned in the case when Danny asked John if he was on drugs. It may also be assumed if the union was upset with John, so were other represented employees in the group. This transparency is found in almost any represented labor force. This would certainly have caused additional conflict with the others. 6 Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux. “The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome.” Harvard Business Review Massachusetts: Harvard, March – April 1998 7 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Stages of Group Development.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 54.
  8. 8. Telese 8 2. Group Size The size of the group (19) may have led to the formation of the informal leaders. It stated that frank would use his informal leaders (Danny) to help him with behavioral issues, like John. 3. Cohesiveness Some of the elements that lead to cohesion existed here. They were all located in the same location, so they would have plenty of communication opportunities. Also, with a represented work force, communication is usually strong between the members. They felt the external threat was Tim. The group was isolated from the rest of the DSL employees in a new work center. It was also mentioned earlier that the crew had achieved some group success working together, which may have been the result of an effective leader.8 4. Group Roles and Norms In the case, Frank was the formal leader within the group, while Danny was the informal leader. John had become the deviant by violating one of the established norms. This norm was, avoiding any negative attention from Tim (he was caught by Tim sleeping). There also appeared to be another norm that was pointed out. Frank would go to Danny at times when he needed help to change a behavioral issue. D. Motivation When I look at motivation theory, the first thing I would like to mention is the effect of inequity if we were to apply the Equity Theory9 . From John’s perspective, he is getting equal pay and benefits for less work then his coworkers. This is balanced though, by the disciplinary actions. When it comes to Goal setting theory: Must have specific goals: Frank “set clear expectations for John, including being on his job site when he should be.” Goals must be challenging: John would need be at work more (actually working) Goals must be accepted: No indication except the continued behavior may indicate a lack of acceptance Must have knowledge of results: John’s received clear feedback each time he failed 8 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Cohesiveness.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 55. 9 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Equity Theory.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 42.
  9. 9. Telese 9 In the article Managing Interpersonal Feedback, they state that three conditions are needed to establish norms for the feedback process: the feedback must be specific, it must be accepted and the person must be able to do something about it.10 In the case, Frank’s feedback is clear and specific. It is also possible for John to meet the expectations, but there is no indication that Frank tried to discover if John accepted the feedback. E. Leadership According to Hershey and Blanchard’s Life Cycle Theory, employee maturity is determined along 2 dimensions11 : people orientation and task orientation. Applying this to the case, one could deduce that John needed high relationship support and low task support. This would require a “participating” approach. Greenberg stated in Managing Behavior in Organizations: “(it) works well in such situations because it allows followers to share their expertise while enhancing their desire to perform.”12 There were 2 comments that showed John’s high skill level. The first was when Tim commented that his post inspections revealed his task knowledge. The other was when Danny yelled that John knew the job better than he did. The low will (relationship) factor was illustrated in the constant behavior. It appeared Frank did focus on behavior, and there was no discussion about skill issues.13 10 “Managing Interpersonal Feedback.” Harvard Business Review Massachusetts: Harvard, March 1998 11 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Life Cycle Theory.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack & notes) Fall, 2006. 80. 12 Jerald Greenberg. Managing Behavior in Organizations Fourth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2005. 376. 13 Chun Wei Choo. “Management of Information Organizations” Picture acquired from the internet site: on March 21, 2007. University of Toronto
  10. 10. Telese 10 III. Recommendations There are several alternatives Frank could follow. I have listed 10 below, and provided a recommendation below that table. Recommendations Pros Cons 1. Frank allows the behavior to continue without taking action Frank avoids confrontation with John Tim disciplines Frank for his lack of action Frank’s crew interpret John’s ability to slack-off without any consequences as inequity (equity theory) and the others start contributing a lot less Frank losses credibility 2. Frank quickly suspends John again Provides some feedback for John’s behavior (goal setting theory) Frank’s crew interpret John’s ability to slack-off with relatively little consequence as inequity (equity theory) and the others start contributing less Frank will have a hard time showing the others the rewards of working hard (Expectancy Theory) 3. Frank challenges H.R. and presses for termination Sets an example for the rest No more energy spent on managing John Behavior was never changed just eliminated 4. Frank tells Danny to have the crew handle it informally The pressure for the group may help with cohesion Frank avoids confrontation with John Frank losses credibility and the ability to lead the group himself 5. Frank follows John everywhereJohn will never be off his jobsite Perpetuates the negative Pygmalion effect Frank will be ineffective to lead the others, with all his energy placed on John
  11. 11. Telese 11 Recommendations Pros Cons 6. Frank tells Tim to handle it Frank avoids confrontation with John Tim looses respect for Frank Frank losses credibility and the ability to lead the group himself 7. Frank creates a developmental plan with John in writing with daily goals and monitoring May motivate John to change his behavior May be too late May cause animosity with others if not administered with discipline 8. Frank rides with John for a day to discuss goals and identify issues May motivate John to change his behavior Will allow Frank to bond with John and gain his acceptance to feedback May be too late May cause animosity with others if not administered with discipline Determined will issue, and riding may only identify skill issues (need to be sensitive to other signs to be effective) 9. Frank Quits Frank never needs to decide John’s fate, nor expend any additional energy on him He will be unemployed and lose his confidence 10. Frank has John moved to a more controlled environment where he is in an office setting, i.e., the dispatch center John will not have the opportunity to travel to breakfast or sleep on the job John will have to change his behavior by default John may find other ways to avoid work Frank will be passing the issue to someone else My recommendation in this case involves a blended approach. I feel Frank needs to try to evaluate the cause of the misconduct. Since there are others working for Frank, there are certain norms that should be present to regulate the team. One of the norms that should be reinforced in the scenario is calling out errant behavior14 . Under the circumstances, the primary action frank should take is to issue a suspension (option 2) within 2 days. After issuing another suspension, Frank should exercise option 8 soon(ride with John for a day) within a week. This will allow for an opportunity for Frank to get to know John and see if there are any missing 14 Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff. “Building the Emotional intelligence of groups.” Harvard Business Review Massachusetts: Harvard, March 1998
  12. 12. Telese 12 hygienes or motivators leading to his behavior (Hertzberg)15 . Although it may be fruitless, Frank can use it to further strengthen his documentation. This experience may also lead to John accepting Frank’s feedback (Goal Setting Theory)16 . This element appeared to be missing from Frank’s feedback in the case. After they arrive back to the office Frank should sit down with John discuss issues and create an action/developmental plan (option 7). He should start by discussing John’s strengths, his knowledge of the job. Frank should then communicate John’s struggles, the specific incidents of misconduct. Frank should instill a sense of urgency regarding John’s improvement, since the behavior has continued for so long. Frank should express confidence that John can turn it around. Frank should then ask for any feedback John would like to provide. Frank should be aware of John’s introverted nature and remain quiet until John speaks. Then Frank should write some expectations (be on his job when he should be, call Frank for any exceptions), set timeline (must immediate improvement), and explain how he will provide feedback to John (daily GPS reports). After the exchange they both sign the developmental plan. This approach is the “tell and listen” approach to feedback17 , and given John’s agreeable traits, I think it is the best style to use. By giving John the opportunity to actively participate in his developmental plan, it may start to negate the “set up to fail” cycle Tim started. It may even generate the change Frank is looking for. Due to John’s persistent misconduct, there will be very little flexibility in any action plan, but the action plan serves two purposes. First, it is the right way to approach John about his behavior. Second, it provides additional documentation illustrating attempts were made to change behavior, which is crucial when disciplining represented employees. If none of these options are successful, Frank will need to terminate John immediately (option 3)if there is another serious incident . If he is unable to terminate John, due to H.R.’s lack of support, he may need to move John to an environment with more controls, like an office or dispatch center (option 10). This may be considered an easy out, and cause motivation issues with other employees; therefore, it should only be used as a last alternative. Also, it should only be exercised as the settlement of a grievance with the union, since grievance settlements are not considered “precedent setting” events. 15 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Two Factor Theory.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 38. 16 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Goal Setting Theory.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (course pack) Fall 2006. 49. 17 Dr. Linda L. Neider. “Giving Feedback.” Managing Responsible Behavior in Organizations (class notes) Fall 2006.