Note from the Editor: This is the third of series of 6 articles written by the author, Vardar Çobanoğlu. The full series is a compelling piece on Organizational Behavior, Human Resources, and Corporate Management. You can read part 1 and part 2 here. You can find the author’s other articles here.
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A Case of “Defending Champion vs the Challenger,” or “Cat-Mouse Play,” or else “Dog Fight?”
- In this scenario, Mr. Hart was the equal of Bing in Technical Skills when he was a fellow employee and because of his honesty or cowardice in refusing unconventional practices along with his Conceptual Skills, he got promoted to the Supervision position by the Management, but probably without a proper check or training on his Human Skills.
- With this promotion, no matter the lowest Managerial Position in hierarchy, he probably lost or resigned from his Union Membership, but got rewarded with a raise in salary and fringe benefits, perhaps some bonus on the group’s overall performance, as well. Things were quite well until he got married, but then, the budgetary needs of his new life style may have led to some unfair comparisons and unpleasant remarks of a demanding wife on his status and competence.
- As the Market Demand was putting additional pressures on the Company to increase the production and deliveries, the Labor Contract with the Union was revised and a clause enabling “the employees to use any time-saving method or device to speed up the process while respecting the quality standards of the job”, was added to this end. This revolutionary change has surely brought in unforeseen imbalances among employees’ and supervisors’ earnings, favoring the former.
- Living through the dilemma of sincere personal values condemning the new practice as cheating, and fear of exposure with instability and inconsistency as he tolerates it under the household pressures, Mr. Hart helplessly assumes the status of a Passive Spectator than a vigilant Supervisor. On one hand, he does not want to permit the new Technical Skill under Bing’s leadership as his authority is endangered by the latter’s popularity due to his unscrupulous liberties as well as his singing abilities; on the other hand, he can not oppose, nor stop the new practice because of his Conceptual Skills, for Management tolerates it; but also benefitting from the group’s efficiency, he leaves Bing’s requests of transfer pending. With these unfortunate contradictions which are spotted for sure by the members of his group, and the resulting negative feelings of guilt, shame, jealousy and helplessness, his Human Skills deteriorate further as he “eats his hearts out”. The Star of Classical Boxing some time ago had now become the Defending Champ against the Ruthless Challenge of Bing “the Kid” along with the new rules of “Kick Boxing!”
- Up come the Quality Control Checker’s repeated warnings, no matter his new-comer status, as Mr. Hart welcomes them as the long awaited Managerial go-ahead for exercising his Corporate Avenger role and equally mending his hurt feelings, and he starts the “Cat-Mouse Play”: with no intentions whatsoever of setting himself free from his contradictory dependence on the indispensable performance of Bing “the Mouse”, Hart “the Cat” is given the unexpected opportunity of shaping Bing up. As if along with Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (TA) and Thomas A. Harris’ Parent-Adult-Child (PAC) approach in communicating, he starts the typical “I’m OK, You’re Not OK!” Parent-Child monologue in a demanding and unforgiving manner, well perceived and of course, disliked by Bing.
- In line with David McClelland’s 3-motive (Achievement, Affiliation and Power) theory in Behavior, Mr. Hart’s profile seems to be characterized by the Dual Style of Equally Dominant Achievement and Power with Low Affiliation.Blinded by the ego satisfaction opportunity and sure of his victory, he can not foresee Bing’s reactions and retaliations.
- Along with his “Mixed Profile” of all three Equally Dominant Motives that account for his Conscious Professionalism, Bing tends to judge each situation on its merits, rather than responding to all events in the same characteristic manner. Since he is very intelligent, every action he undertakes has a preplanned explanation: his singing is a motivator for the group; and occasionally leaving the job a few minutes early and going down to the washroom is just that he had exceedingly fulfilled his morning quota of inspections. Neither one of the three motives predominates the other two, but whenever the opportunity arises, Bing capitalizes on High Achievement Style in order to maximize his gains, or on High Power Style in disregarding and disobeying Mr. Hart, and finally on High Affiliation Style in contracting his fellow workers’ alliance against their Supervisor. Hence, depending on the circumstances, he goes in and out of the “Dog Fight” that he had started when Mr. Hart was promoted.