Note from the Editor: This is the fourth 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 the other parts and find the author’s other articles here.
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What to do, now ?
So, this does not seem to be a straightforward case of “Misunderstandings and Lack of Communication” between a subordinate and a superior as advocated by F.J. Roethlisberger, but rather that of a “Mismanagement” originating from the nature of the work serving the involved parties’ Needs/Wants along with their Skills and Resources. Also, conflicting interests and practices are contracted by the concerned actors, consequentlyfurther deteriorating their fragile interpersonal relations through their Behavioral Styles. Hence, a top managerial intervention becomes mandatory:
- As understood from the Counselor’s report, the lack of Communication seems to have gradually reached the almost irreversible stage of Destructive Communication, because of the Quality Control Checker’s and Mr.Hart’s joint mismanagement: The tension at Bing’s side is mounting, as he now develops hostility against Mr. Hart, and this might lead to, so far avoided, Physical Confrontations of all kinds: “… I’m going to screw him every way I can… whenever I get the chance I’m gonna slip it to him, but good”.
- Hence, it is not advisable to keep Bing in Mr. Hart’s group, anymore. In total consensus with the Union Representative and the head of another appropriate department, the decision about Bing’s transfer should be definitely taken and announced so diplomatically that this is not a reward, nor a victory for Bing who gets a strict warning to behave properly according to the directives of his new boss, as he would otherwise be fired in line with the Personnel Code of Conduct. No matter how unfair or inequitable they might be, sacrifices or scapegoatings, at times, become indispensable for the sakeof institutional-ization, for keeping the order intact and for saving the interests of the majority.
- After duly criticized in writing for his mismanagement, Mr. Hart should be trained for improving his Human and Communication Skills. He should be closely watched by his supervisor for his performance both during and after the trainings. He should be materially rewarded in case of success, but de-moted to the skilled employee level in case of failure.
- The Quality Control Checker should be first, duly briefed on the Corporate Culture and priorities, and then be assigned the resetting of the operational standards and procedures in collaboration with other technical units.
- The Counselor, assumingly a Psychologist or an Organizational Behavior expert, should undertake a much more important role and his duty should not be confined to “become acquainted with the workers and talk over any problems which they wished to discuss with him”, only. His contributions in counselling and even coaching should include all hierarchical levels in reviewing and up-grading or renewing the Corporate Norms, Rules and Regulations as well as the Personnel Code of Conduct.
- Finally, the concerned managers and the Labor Union should collectively and equitably redetermine the new payment scales and system on the basis of the new operational standards and procedures.
- All these, so as to avoid new cases of “Mr. Hart and Bing”…
F.J. Roethlisberger made important contributions to Management and Behavioral Sciences through this “Evergreen” case and his other works. May his soul rest in peace wherever he is…