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David Fletcher Case Essay

Jenkins, Fletcher Partners (JFP) has the potential to thrive and succeed in the financial service industry with stimulated, productive, and satisfied employees. However, there are small and large issues to be addressed in order to carry that in action. In this specific case analysis, we analyze the issues hindering JFP from further development, and suggest respective and appropriate suggestions to resolve those problems. First, a thorough evaluation of JFP shed light on a number of issues: The inconsistency with JFP’s differentiated and key organizational structure: wide, flat, informal structure for quick decisions. Struggles for autonomy within the company and the pending decision to hire a new research analyst. Anti-cohesiveness and lack of appropriate human resource management. Low team productivity and insufficient and inaccurate incentives within the work teams Although these issues present obstacles for further growth and potential of the firm, JFP is able to resolve these issues and consequently differentiate itself from its competitors in the industry with the following suggested resolutions: Further emphasize the informal and quick information sharing in between all the employees. Convince Stephanie to remain with the firm with a larger responsibility to enhance the structure under the assumption that her requirements are met.

Hire Robinson based on her qualifications and acceptance by current JFP employees, and develop further evaluation of Fiske’s. Maintain a balance of young and senior analysts to achieve a productive and conducive learning environment. Implement regular and functional meetings at which every employee has an input. Develop performance management instead of performance reviews. Maintain the organizational restructures through work team productivity and implementation of appropriate incentivizing system. With these critical resolutions, JFP will become the unique, successful, and differentiated financial service firm that the founders originally dreamed of. One of the points of differentiation that JFP has from other financial service firms on Wall Street is its unique structure of small, flat, and wide for effective and efficient communication and decision making process. But Fletcher made a mistake to contradict that very principle of JFP. By not communicating with Stephanie and other salient members of the firm with regard to hiring process of Doyle, David Fletcher put more workload on himself, slowed the decision making process, and disregarded other employees’ opinions and thoughts on Doyle, and practically created the silo effect.

Fletcher explains, “I figured that Stephanie would do the health care and environmental stocks as well as the retail stocks while Brian would focus on his specialty, high-tech”, as he reveals his own “thought process” without the actual confirmation from Stephanie. Furthermore, Fletcher admits, “hiring Brian wasn’t coming from her pocket, it was coming from mine”, and demonstrates the contradiction to shared ideas and smooth flow of information he so desperately pursued himself. The employees at JFP are meant to communicate and share information with each other fluidly without any excluded members. However, Fletcher contradicted the ideal environment he desired to create by not communicating with Stephanie throughout the hiring process of Brian Doyle and thus deteriorated the structure he wanted. Although a desire for autonomy and greater success are contributing factors in Stephanie wanting to leave the firm, this significant incident has led to her feeling alienated and secluded from Fletcher and the work they used to do together.

Another issue that Fletcher faces, looking forward, is whether or not to hire Fiske and/or Robinson. As previously mentioned, Fletcher makes the hiring process ineffective and inconsistent. When hiring Kindred, Fletcher learned from the conflict that had already risen between Doyle and Whitney, and makes sure to receive feedback from Whitney and other employees before moving forward with Kindred. Fletcher also maintains an incredibly packed schedule and the hiring process is overly crucial and overwhelming for him to do by himself. Moreover, because of his overwhelming schedule, Fletcher cannot possibly to train all the new hires on how evaluate stocks and consider the investment strategy. On a greater scale, throughout JFP there is an extreme lack of group cohesiveness and issues with conflict management. Members of the company compete to achieve the identical goal to become portfolio managers. Members of JFP have a power struggle to achieve their own individual goals; consequently, pay compensation directly associates with individual accomplishments. The very structure of Wall Street that Lodge dislikes includes silos with high departmentalization, and members with their own agendas. JFP requires a group cohesion for an effective decision making, yet the firm rewards for self-fulfilling achievements.

Therefore, presented is a “Rewarding A while hoping for B” issue. Also, a clear relationship conflict versus task conflict is evident. There are personal and social disagreements that hinder employees to expend effort and resource on discussing vital company tasks and objectives. There are also many interpersonal and organizational conflicts that arise through peripheral transactions within JFP. One simple example includes Stephanie’s concern about where her desk is located. And yet, there are no company procedures to address and resolve these conflicts in a systematic way. Another example is lack of employees’ input about new hires. Unrest and social disturbances are within an organization present obstacles for employees to work efficiently and to be creative which affects their performance and in turn JFP’s success. The final issue to be address is JFP’s lack of effectiveness in work teams and motivation on both the individual and group levels. More attention can increase productivity and motivation according to the Hawthorne Effect. Fletcher’s decreased attention toward Stephanie, demonstrated in Doyle’s hiring process, reduces her motivation and attachment to the firm and develops negative feelings about Doyle.

Because Doyle and Stephanie have relationship conflicts, they cannot properly address task, including feedbacks for investment choices, which leads to decreased productivity and creativity within the firm. When Stephanie finds personal fulfillment and interest in her work, intrinsic motivation, Doyle’s hiring process situation diminishes it significantly. Because she is less secure and satisfied, Whitney is less motivated, which falls in line with Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory: hygiene factors, including security and working conditions, “operate primarily as de-motivators if they are insufficient” (175). Stephanie also has extrinsic motivation—Fletcher’s attention, praise, and guidance—which increases her intrinsic motivation as well as job satisfaction and a sense of purpose at JFP. Whitney’s lower job satisfaction results in a poor job performance and her attachment to JFP. In order to better achieve the wide, flat structure for efficient and effective decision making, Fletcher should attempt to keep Stephanie Whitney with the firm because she has already gained expertise within the industry, and training and molding another new employee in place of Whitney bears immense opportunity cost for the culture and productivity of the firm.

Additionally, Whitney has consistently performed at a high level, and the success she’s attained transitioning from an administrative assistant to a portfolio manager can be leveraged as an effective tool to inspire others to work. Since Whitney has expressed a desire to leave, Fletcher needs to intrinsically and extrinsically motivate her to. In order to keep Stephanie motivated at JFP, Fletcher should have Stephanie with a team of her to delve into an industry that she is curious and enthusiastic about, so long as that industry has an investment potential for the firm. Since monetary incentives can be sufficiently satisfied with firms other than JFP, Stephanie needs to have the extrinsic motivator of autonomy. This reward for staying would be unprecedented in a firm where most decisions come down to David, and would be an indication that she is incredibly valued and essential to the organization. Permitting Stephanie to recruit her own team will also serve to widen the structure of the firm and delegate more tasks.

Fletcher also needs to highlight the tie that they have shared in the past, apologize for not being transparent with her completely, and express respect towards her career development. Despite the possibility that Whitney will decide to pursue other opportunities, Fletcher needs to convince her to stay because of her credibility and the value lost from the firm’s perspective. There is an argument to be made that Whitney was at the root of personal issues in the past, but Whitney’s conflict was task-oriented, not personal. Her disagreement with many of Doyle’s investment strategies causes problems when Fletcher failed to address her concerns. In the end, Whitney ends up being right about Doyle, and it is not to be understated that she gets along very well with everyone else in the organization.

Building a strong culture is a key for JFP in hiring new employees. Whitney, who already gets along with Robinson, can help to develop the environment in which portfolio managers work creatively and get along on a personal level as well. By treating Whitney as more of a thought partner than protege, Fletcher should keep Whitney for the benefit of JFP. As Kindred’s case reflect, new hires are more effective in their roles in hiring them. Therefore, the hiring process should be structured in a way that all existing employees get to meet the candidate before the decision is made. Organization’s small scale will allow such procedure that will result in more effective hiring process. More attention should also be paid to the current employees, not only to ensure new employees’ transition, but also to deal with the hiring process more effectively. Whitney’s insistence upon leaving can be circumvented entirely had Fletcher heeded her concerns and addressed the issue earlier. JFP should also aim to balance between experienced and new hires, and encourage the experienced portfolio managers to act as mentors.

Fletcher cannot possibly serve as a mentor for everyone; but forging mentor/mentee roles amongst the portfolio managers will lead to more cohesiveness in the organization, experienced employees leading by example and contribute to the flat structure of the organization with reduced risk of employees’ uneasiness. Fletcher has already taken a step in the right direction by seeking the approval of other employees for hiring Robinson, but needs to continue with evaluating Fiske. Moreover, JFP should feel confident about hiring Robinson because the other employees think highly of her and Robinson offers a unique background and valuable expertise. Despite Fiske’s experience, his ability to collaborate with his colleagues is the critical point to evaluate in the hiring decision. And thus Fletcher must turn to the rest of JFP for advice. In terms of cohesiveness and people management, JFP should implement work teams to emphasize the outcome is greater than the sum of individual’s effort. Also, work groups can be particularly utilized in the new research analyst candidates’ environment because their primary task is to share information.

Cohesiveness can be developed by rewarding employees as groups, increasing the time that employees spend with each other, stimulating competition amongst groups, benchmarking JFP’s performance to that of a competitor firm, and by increasing the exclusivity. Furthermore, JFP requires regular meetings at which everyone is involved and present to facilitate increasing the time employees spend together and resolving conflicts within the organization. Group successes and failures can be discussed and evaluated. In order to successfully restructure JRP, performance management is essential because it is another method for conflict resolution. Performance management will also bring a continuous flow of feedback so the employee can adjust his or her performance. An increase in employee satisfaction within the workplace will follow. Additionally, the Hawthorn Study states that non-financial incentives are more effective than financial incentives; also, attention from leaders has been proven to be 63% effective, praise from managers 67% effective, opportunities to lead projects 62% effective. “…(P)eople will feel competent if they obtain feedback that indicates progress in their work or suggests ways that can increase their competence”.

(176) The delegation of autonomy within JFP can also be addressed because autonomy is easily assessed and provided to employees if management constantly evaluates employee’s performance. Lastly, Fletcher needs to address work team productivity and motivation within JFP. As an example, Stephanie demonstrates enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment in her job, and Fletcher needs to develop these motivations further. He also needs to ensure a good team dynamic. Intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity and result in more unique, productive and creative analysts. According to “scientific management”, extrinsic motivation is strictly positive; however managers often create undesired behaviors in their employees by utilizing this incorrect statement. (181) Therefore, Fletcher has to give critical feedback and attention to his analysts to provide them with some continuing extrinsic motivation.

In addition, Fletcher should foster an environment in which analysts develop enjoyment and attachment, that will contribute to intrinsic motivation as well. Hackman and Oldham’s model of job enrichment (1976) suggests different ways to increase employee motivation. For example, task identity, task significance, and feedback are a number of them. Developing task identity means to increase an analyst’s sense of meaningfulness in one’s work and growing task significance means to increase the sense of importance of their work. Additionally, ongoing feedback will also contribute positively to the analysts’ motivation. Fletcher should focus on these methods, as well as an appealing work environment and good group dynamic, to increase his analysts’ motivation. With these constructive resolutions—further consolidating the unique organizational structure, effectively recruiting new employees, critically addressing conflicts and cohesiveness within the group, and appropriately maintaining the balance of motivation—JFP is assured to thrive as a differentiated, outperforming, and attractive financial service firm.

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