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Riverside Club - Culture, Decision Making, Teams, and Conflict

Riverside Club

Following the termination of the previous manager's contract Aileen Green has been appointed catering manager of the Riverside Diggers Club. The main reason for the termination of the contract of the previous manager was falling revenue of the catering area and his desire to change service and product lines to cater for the needs of new customers.

The Riverside Club was founded in 1947 to meet the social and material needs of local ex servicemen who had just returned from World War II. Its committee had always been drawn from founding members, their families and friends. At all times during its existence committee members, being retired, were actively involved in the club and its activities. This has continuously created a level of friction within the club, specifically with its management and other employees. This friction has now got to a point where management and staff feel that they are being hindered in undertaking their jobs in a professional manner.

The club has continued to prosper because of the revenue derived from the bar and poker machines. Over the sixty odd years since its founding much of the profit has been put back into facilities including a bistro and coffee shop. During recent years the local area has seen growth in a major commercial area which has resulted in new customers using the club's facilities specifically for lunch and catered functions.

The club committee did not like the idea of new members who lacked an interest in the club's traditions. They did, however, recognise the need for the money spent by these people. In recognising this they also saw that over recent months this revenue had begun to decline. Hence the termination of the former catering manager's contract and Aileen's appointment. During her first few weeks Aileen observed a number of things:

While the committee wanted results which were to be measured in higher takings it was not supportive. Committee members did not like outsiders, whether they are new members or new staff members, such as herself. Overall they did not like change.

A number of staff in the bistro were long time friends of committee members and claimed to like working for the previous manager. There was a higher absentee rate than what she had experienced in previous organisations. There were clear demarcations between jobs and very little cooperation between staff. Staff turnover was, however low, mainly due, in Aileen's eyes to a low skill base.

There were various times in the day when staff started and ended shifts. This meant that one group of staff left as others arrived. Every time this happened there were mistakes in the preparation and delivery of food and drinks.

Revenue had been dropping at a rate of 5% per year for the last three years, with no reduction in staffing levels. There were no job descriptions and no budget allocated for staff training and development. Aileen observed, asked questions and sought background information on the business activities of the club from committee members and others who were willing to spare time to talk to her. Aileen sensed that everyone expected her to make changes but no one was interested in supporting her in any way. It seemed like a no win situation as her operations would soon be losing money if the downward sales spiral continued.

Aileen found her staff to be friendly but involved. A number said that no one had ever asked them about their work and they seemed surprised when their opinions were sought. There was an element of concern about job security and the lack of leadership and indifference to employees shown by the club's committee and manager.

What disturbed Aileen most of all from a personal perspective was that all staff members considered that they reported directly to her. That may explain why her predecessor had not taken any leave in three years. Aileen recognised that she needed to reorganise her staff in order to make her operations more effective and her job less onerous.

Please relate all answers to information contained in the case study as it applies to the Riverside Club.

Question 1
An organisation's culture involves the values, beliefs, understandings and ways of doing things that provide members of the organisation with a sense of identity. Identify and comment on at least four aspects of the culture of Riverside.

Question 2
Aileen has discovered that her staff have never been involved in decision making. Briefly comment on the consequences should Aileen decide to immediately involve the catering staff in deciding on strategies to turn around the declining revenue in the catering operation.

Question 3
In her position as catering manager Aileen has decided to establish work teams for the different areas under her control. List and briefly describe the factors within Riverside that Aileen needs to consider when establishing her teams.

Question 4
There appears to be major conflict within Riverside. Briefly describe what you see as the major aspects of the conflict and how you, if you were Aileen, would attempt to remedy the conflict.

Solution Preview

Question 1

Four areas are worth noting when it comes to the organization's culture with Riverside. They first of all value those who served in World War 2. This is what keeps this business going, since that is their original customer base from 1947. With this particular company, they seek to do excellent customer service through their committee in order to meet the needs around them. However, money is the source of what management believes that keeps it going on a regular basis. In reality, this gets them into trouble because of the firm choosing to not change their ways; consequently, their profits have decreased because of it.

In regards to the committee, they are close knit because many of them are friends. They believe in not letting others join their club, and as a result many choose to become absent in their work and slack in it. In essence, the organization seeks to find ways to reach those who have retired from the military, and want to give them an outlet to socialize with those whom they may have served with during the second world war. Overall, if they became open to change, they would prosper all the more and in an efficient manner.

Question 2

Aileen would actually be doing them a favor by ...

Solution Summary

This solution discussed Riverside Club and what it should do to make it better.