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Employee Motivation, Structure and Communication

Please make comparison of the attached case scenarios related to motivation, structure and communication, which are:

a. Jane in the Communications Taskforce (Case 1)
b. Samantha in The Human Resource Strategies Branch (Case 2)


Solution Preview

Please see response attached. Interesting cases indeed. I hope this adds to you present analyses. Take care and good luck with your final copy.


First, I analyzed the cases and highlighted information for each person in a different color for easy reference later. I included this at the end of this response, as you might want to refer to it. I responded to the first and second questions making reference to the five specified areas and basically did them in paragraph form according to these five areas, although there was some overlap between the five areas. As well, the first and second question had some overlap which remains.
Overall, it was a very interesting case as usual.

Both Jane in the Communications Taskforce (Case 1) and Samantha in The Human Resource Strategies Branch (Case 2) were being denied accommodations in organizational practices that could become very de-motivating for them. Answer both of the following questions regarding these two situations.

1. Compare and contrast the de-motivation that they would experience if they both did not receive the accommodations they were seeking.

Both structures were mechanistic. In part, both Jane and Samantha were denied work privileges and rights because of the mechanistic organizational structure, which impeded them getting their work needs met. For Jane, the structure was set up a double-bind situation that challenges her work expectations. Whereas is was formal, it was also somewhat flexible, as it allowed her to the freedom to expand her position, but yet when it come to receiving the benefits (i.e., attend the meeting to learn about the stock market strategy) the structure once again become very rigid (i.e., receive the information from the Portfolio Manager - Brad, instead). Likewise, Samantha was denied CWW when someone else in the organization was allowed the privilege that she was denied. Samantha had expected to receive CWW, and when she was refused, her work motivation decreased. The lack of recognition for your accomplishments, work expectations not being met and perceived unfair treatment has a high potential to decrease work motivation for both women.

Equity and expectations are tied to work motivation. For Jane, being refused the right to attend the meeting devalues both her new position and her previous training, but yet the system was flexible enough when it would benefit the organizational structure (i.e., Investment Manager). These types of equity issues have a high risk of decreasing work motivation for both Jane and Samantha. Samantha was told that CWW was not part of the organizational policy, but yet another co-worker (i.e., Amy) was allowed to bend the rules as if the structure was flattened and organic for some, but rigid and mechanistic for others. One point stands out her, Samantha's de-motivation greatly increased when she learned of Amy's differential treatment (i.e., equity issue). Similarly, with Jane, although Bob and Brad strongly supported these efforts by Jane to acquire the extra qualifications because it allowed the group to expand its business, when Jane attempted to exercise more authority, the structure returned to rigidity.

Work motivation is also tied to personality styles. Jane was obviously very innovative and self-directed, as evidenced in her work performance (i.e., she took responsibility for designing, preparing and presenting financial planning summaries for the clients). Thus, when Jane's work behavior advanced the organization, the structure was a flattened and organic structure, but when it come to Jane getting her work needs met (i.e., attend the meeting for needed information, getting funded for training), it returned to a rigid mechanistic structure. when it came to Jane's request for the organization to recognize her accomplishment and reward her by giving her the freedoms and rights afforded for new position. Similarly, Samantha obviously had a personality style that valued justice and fair treatment, as evidenced when she would rather look for another job than to use Amy's situation to further her ends. If refused, these circumstances have a high probability to decrease Jane and Samantha's motivation (i.e., highly de-motivated).

Communication paths applied differentially across situations and employees which has the potential to de-motivate employees as was evidenced for both Jane and Samantha. Although the communication took the right organizational path within the organization (i.e., followed the hierarchal structure except when matrixes and team work blurred the structural boundaries), different things were being communicated to different people (i.e., Brad encouraged to take course that was refused to Jane, as was the funding allowed for Brad but not for Jane). As previously mentioned, Jane's work motivation is a product of her personality style, and because she is very innovative and self-directed (i.e., training, Investment program), when her freedom is impeded by the organizational policy, this would be high de-motivator for Jane. As well, Jane expected to get treated fairly as evidenced by her persistence in asking that she be heard (i.e., first to Brad, then to the Director and then in the meeting), therefore if her expectations are not met (i.e., refused to attend the meetings and to additional training and funding for training) her work motivation will probably drop to a record low. Likewise, Samantha's personality type appears to be one of persistence with a high value for justice and equity, so when she hears that Amy is getting something that has been refuse her, she was highly de-motivated (i.e., considering taking another position).

Alternative working schedules have a potential to increase work motivation. Although totally different circumstances, freedom and flexibility afforded Jane to take additional training and a different job type and schedule was a high motivator for her; likewise when her freedom to alternative training was not afforded, a high degree of de-motivation also occurs. Similarly, Samantha expected an alternative-working schedule, which is linked to work motivation, and when she felt defeated in her efforts to meet these needs, she was somewhat de-motivated. However, the de-motivation greatly increased when an equity issue was added to the mix, and Samantha was considering looking for another position.

2. How did the structure and communication policies of each organization contribute to the problems Jane and Samantha were facing?

For the most part this is dealt with above, but let's go through each again to see if something new surfaces. The structure and policies clearly contribute to Jane and Samantha's problems.

1. For Jane and Samantha, the structure seems decentralized, especially appearing flattened and organic when the flexibility afforded the workers benefited the organizational structure profit wise.

2. However, there is another level to consider, the policies within these structures and how they contributed to Jane and Samantha's problems. For Jane, the policy and regulated the Portfolio managers greatly contributed to her problems. Although Brad is somewhat independent and had encouraged Jane at a personal level (i.e., training and Investment Manager), the independence that this might provide is somewhat moderated by the fact that he work for a corporation with policies and procedures to be followed. These, in turn, are largely influenced by the regulations of an Investment Retailers Association, a self-governing body designed to maintain high levels of integrity in the investment business. Within these boundaries, the Portfolio Managers can provide services to benefit their clients according to their own discretion. It is within this structure that he refused Jane (i.e., to attend the meeting, and for further training and funding).

3. For Sally, it was somewhat different but the same principle holds true. The structures and the organizational policies were flattened and organic, but yet rigid in other areas. This causes confusion and expectations continually being violated. A large part of work motivation is what we set up as our expectations, and whether or not they are met. When a ...

Solution Summary

This solution compares case scenarios related to motivation, structure and communication. Specifically, it analyzes two cases: Jane in the Communications Taskforce (Case 1) and Samantha in The Human Resource Strategies Branch (Case 2).