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Leadership and Management - Behavioural Methods

Jesse Stockton is an employee at Norbury Manufac-turing, and he approaches his boss, George Under-hill, with a dilemma. Two of Norbury's main clients, Lowry Ltd. and Principal Contractors, have orders for motor components. Jesse explains to George that, due to an unexpected emergency order, there are only enough components to fulfill one of the two orders. Jesse informs George that Norbury will be able to fulfill the second order within two weeks, but that they will miss the deadline of one of the companies. Shipping incomplete orders to either client is not ac-ceptable, so they must choose which company's order to fill. Jesse assures George that he will rush out the second order as quickly as possible. Jesse asks George what to do. George knows that Lowry Ltd. has been a long- time client of Norbury, consistently ordering all of its parts from the company and always making payments on time. Lowry, a company of about 150 people, completely depends on Norbury's strong track record of order fulfillment to maintain its day- to- day business. Lowry is also one of Norbury's largest clients with monthly invoice nearly double that of most of Norbury's other regular clients. George has even greater insight into Principal Con-tractors' situation: George's sister- in- law is the head buyer. He knows that if Valerie's first attempt to order through Norbury falls through, it will be a disaster for her because she is new and attempting to instigate change. He doesn't want his brother and his brother's wife to suffer. Valerie could lose her new job if George's company can't meet its obligations. George looks Jesse in the eye and tells him to fill Principal Contractors' order and to fill Lowry's order as soon as possible. Jesse leaves George's office very confused. He was certain that George would have told him to fill the Lowry order given the long and successful relationship the two companies have shared. This is not the first time that George has made a decision that Jesse questions, but it is the first time that the decision could have such negative outcomes. Jesse considers going over George's head to confirm the decision but if George's boss agreed, Jesse's job could be at stake.

* What issues of power, influence, and authority does this situation introduce? Recommend how an organization should address these issues. Are they a positive or negative influence on the organization? Explain.

Discussion 1:
Good leaders are not necessarily good managers, nor are good managers necessarily good leaders. According to Kotter, managers control complexity and leaders produce change. Leaders work for change; managers advocate stability. Leaders and managers differ along four distinct personality dimensions: attitudes toward goals, conceptions of work, relationships with others, and sense of self.

* Do you (or would you want to) work in an autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire work environment? What might be the advantages and disadvantages of each? How would your style of leadership differentiate you from a manager?

Discussion 2:
Creative Steps, a Northeast Philadelphia day camp, paid The Valley Club, a predominantly white suburban private club, a $1,950 membership fee in order for its campers to swim in the club pool each Monday afternoon. After the camp's first visit, the club refunded the camp's membership without explanation. Several of Creative Steps' campers reported that they heard several club members making racial remarks and at least one person complain that the children did not belong there. The Valley Club's president insisted that race did not precipitate the refund of the camp's fee, but rather that the fee was refunded for safety reasons. The NAACP filed a formal complaint, the Justice Department began an investigation, and the public began to weigh in.
* Identify the causes of conflict in this situation. Would you describe the conflict between Creative Steps and The Valley Club as functional or dysfunctional? Explain. Despite the obvious demographic differences, what additional diversity issues are relevant here?

Maria Vasquez has called a department meeting to ad-dress a critical issue affecting Universal Product Ship-ping as a whole. Maria's department seems unable to meet its deadline, and as a result, orders and fulfillment are constantly getting backlogged. Maria's supervisor has ­instructed her to divine the source of the problem through team brainstorming and exercises. Maria asks everyone to share his or her role in the process so that the department can start determining where the bottlenecking problems are occurring. Jim, a longtime member of the team, explains that he thinks that when he passes his work onto Vincent, the files don't move forward in a timely manner. Vincent pushes back against this assessment, saying that he has to go through Jim's work a second time before he can add his component and pass it forward to Cassie. Jim begins to get defensive, accusing Vincent of making a claim that Jim's age is negatively affecting his performance. Shelly, who works closely with Jim, men-tions that she thinks there's a significant amount of data missing when the files get to her step in the process, and thinks that the department needs to explore why that information is absent. Unfortunately, just as people start ­brainstorming about where that missing information is, Jim and ­Vincent begin to raise their voices. Maria tries to keep everyone on topic, but she realizes that Jim and Vincent seem to be at the heart of the problem. Maria believes Jim's missing information is stymieing the process, and Vincent's tardiness with moving the files forward is further compounding the problem. Maria knows that they can't resolve the problem without keeping these two people staying engaged in the process. However, Jim and Vincent's interaction is becoming louder and more personal. Maria has been trained to intervene when interpersonal conflict becomes problematic, and she thinks that Jim and Vincent have crossed the line. On the other hand, she has a mandate to solve this crisis immediately, and believes that she needs Jim and Vincent to stay in the brainstorming session in order to accomplish this.
• What are Maria's options for managing this conflict?
• What are the most effective techniques she could choose?
• What techniques should Maria avoid? Why?
• Why is it important that a manager understand conflict?

Solution Preview

The issues of power, influence, and authority are important in this situation. George uses his power, influence, and authority to make a decision that is against the interest of Norbuy. The power, influence, and authority is being used by George to fill Principal Contractors order instead of Lowry's order. This decision is against the interests of all stakeholders including the company's long time customer Lowry. Norbury's interest is being sacrificed in favor of a company where the sister in law of George is working. The personal interest of George has subsumed the interest of the Norbury, and its long time customer.
An organization should address such issues by developing a code of conduct, and communicating the code to all employees. Further, the employees should be provided with an anonymous helpline that can be used to inform the HR or the a designated member of the management if there is any violation of the code. This will be a positive influence on the organization because it will prevent such decisions and also inform the top management if there is any violation of the code of conduct.

Discussion 1

I work in an autocratic work environment. I am simply told what has to be done and I follow orders. The advantages of autocratic environment are that one is given the decisions and one does not have to make decisions. The disadvantage is that work can become repetitive and boring. In a democratic environment the ...

Solution Summary

The response provides you a structured explanation of behavioral methods . It also gives you the relevant references.