Cases: Automation in the Book Store and The Night Owl Answering Service Part 1) The field of Organizational Behavior is one that is very important when it comes to managing people and to make them work effectively. This begins with training. In order to understand these cases it is important to look at both the structure and environment of the company. In the case of the Automation in the Book Store, the company is a medium sized bookstore. Because this company is a bookstore with very few employees there is not a high level of formalization, less specialization and less authority. Therefore, it has an organic structure. Employees don’t have a lot procedures and rules that they must abide by while doing their jobs. In fact the initial company policy required employees to stay with the customer they were serving from the time they walked into the store until the sale was made. Also, there was not a great deal of standardization in that there was not a set procedure on how employees did their work, rather it was a freer organization because there were very few employees and this resulted in greater flexibility.
These facts all changed once the new computer system was implemented. This system presented employees with some degree of formalization and standardization in their jobs because now there were precise rules and procedures on how to deal with customers. This includes entering an ID number every time a sale was made and closing the store with the system. Also, because this bookstore was not use to high levels of formalization in the past, the implementation of the training program was affected. There were no instructions on how to close at the end of the day in training. The manager had to come in and prepare a hand-written set of instructions about this routine. This is a sign of bad design and implementation. Also, because the company is more centralized than decentralized, the management must follow head office’s requests. This is the exact same thing with employees who must listen to the manager even though the employees were apprehensive, particularly the older staff, about new system. Again, the design of the training program, which was quoted as pretty skimpy and patronizing, was another sign of poor design.
However, because the structure of the company was somewhat centralized they had to the training according to the way head office and management wanted. The structure of The Night Owl Answering Services was that it was between mechanistic and organic. This call center was more mechanistic because it was more centralized and more specialization where each individual had a specific role. Bob was responsible for technology, sales and marketing. Mary was responsible for training. This type of structure affected the training because of specialization. Nobody else was responsible for training, so when Mary passed away, everyone else specialized in a different area which left training to be an open mess. Only Mary knew the system the best because she specialized in this. This left the company scrambling to recover and in turn designed a training program that proved to be ineffective and poorly implemented. There was only one lady responsible for training. In the case of Automation in the Book Store and The Night Owl Answering Service it is important to look at the organizations environment.
In these two cases, the organizations both faced environmental uncertainty. Every organization has the potential for environmental uncertainty. This uncertainty created a poor design for training. This was one of the major similarities in both of these cases. This is when management or people of the organization can’t really predict what is going to happen. The cases with Automation in the Book Store and The Night Owl Answering Services had faced environmental uncertainty that prove to be frustrating and challenging. However, because both of these companies had static environments, that is a company that remain fairly stable over time and had the least amount of uncertainty, they were sensitive to change. In The Night Owl Answering Service the head of training, Mary, passed away. This was an unpredictable event. It was clearly evident that there was no back up to Mary. Because this company was so used to certainty, it caught them off guard, particularly Bob. In the medium size bookstore the company had followed the same procedures to ring up sales until it introduced its new system.
It took one month for the company to adapt. Again, both companies trained employees in such a way that proved to be ineffective. This means these two organizations ability to adapt to environmental change was poor. It’s also important to discuss external environmental factors or outside factors that have a direct effect on the company, which in turn affected training. The answering services company had a good reputation for customer service but when the senior operators started leaving they hired new people and trained very quickly to get people on the phone and take calls. Therefore, the external factor here would be the customer. In The Night Owl Answering Services the customer was always the number one priority because they had a prestige reputation on customer service they wanted to continue providing services in a timely manner. This directly affected the training design and implementation because trainers wanted the trainees on the phone as soon as possible to serve the clients of the company because they were short staffed. As a result of this, the trainers wanted to get trainees on the phone quickly which resulted in an implementation and design that proved to be ineffective.
Trainees were expected to learn through trial and error style of training. Senior operators were forced to take calls and train at the same time. This resulted in slower operators and higher errors and more complaints to the call center, which lead to clients (external factor) leaving the call center and find business elsewhere. This company was so focused on getting trainees on the phone, they ignored the fact they lacked the basic phone etiquette and computer skills. Senior Management was continuously on the phone, with out breaks. In The Automation in the Book Store the external environment component that should be discussed is technology. Like every other company, it must keep up with technology and accept current business practices. They were entering an era where technology was becoming widespread and they needed a system to calculate the GST. This is a reason why the bookstore decided to take on the new computer system. The organizations employees were reluctant to have it but didn’t have a choice and had to keep up with external technological factors.
The company was highly sensitive to this environmental change, which was external, but when the system was implemented, it became an internal factor. There was systematic turbulence in this organization. There ability to adapt to systematic change, the new computer system would be considered systematic turbulence. Systematic turbulence looks at how a company deals with a change in the environment change. This is evident is the case with Automation in the Bookstore. . Part 2) Motivational effects are very important aspects of an organization. People have to be motivated to join and remain in organizations. They also have to carry out their basic work reliability in terms of productivity, quality, and services, requirements and should always interact to accomplish their goal. These are some examples that if were missing in an organization, employees and members of the company began to lose interest and be less motivated. This was the case with these two organizations. One of the major similarities was that both companies faced poor training design and implementation. In Automation in the Bookstore the training was boring and ineffective, which had motivational effects. Lisa was an employee who worked in a medium sized bookstore and was completely dissatisfied with the design of the training. Unfortunately, the training was a mandatory requirement to understand the new system.
The first two days started off by having to watch two half an hour videos which Lisa found to be boring and insulting. On the third day of training it went downhill. The computer system was not on training mode the way it was suppose to be. Also, there were no instructions on how close at the end of the day. The manager had to come in and prepare handwritten set of instructions. This caused a lot of problems and created frustration for all members of the organization including management and head office, who wanted to assign blame to someone. The operation of the system was not going according to plan and this got the trainees upset and confused about the policies of the system. Some parts of the training were vague and the continuous frustration had negative motivational effects. Similarly, The Night Owl Answering Services faced great training problems when Mary died, that evidently created negative motivational problems. Bob was forced to take over training without much knowledge of how to do so, which was also a big problem. Senior operators were forced to work extra hard with no breaks, while at the same time train a new person.
New operators were poorly trained and did not know how to handle calls. All these factors started showing in the office environment. These factors inevitably caused negative motivational effects. For example, intrinsic motivations were clearly not met in this organization. Intrinsic is defined as the direct relationship between the worker and the task. In the call center the task was frustrating and created anxiety. If these factors weren’t here there would be more interested in the position. However, because the training was so poorly done, the intrinsic motivation factor was not being met and created less motivation. It is also important to discuss the Maslow’s Need Theory and how it applies to these two cases. The needs theory states: NEEDS BEHAVIOR INCENTIVE AND GOALS. Both of these organizations both fit the physiological needs, which include the basic human needs. In safety needs it includes freedom from anxiety, and a structured ordered environment. The safety needs were not being met. Both organizations faced stress and anxiety, particularly the call center, which effected motivation.
Results of poor motivation create poor quality of work. The training was poor and it would reflect on the quality of work being performed because they are no longer motivated to work with all the stress factors. Hertrzberg theory should be looked at as well. The first factor is the hygene factor. This includes relationship with fellow employees, security and other various factors. In order for employees to not feel less motivated or dissatisfied is if all these factors are in place. If all these factors are in place you will not feel unsatisfied but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be satisfied. It just means not being unsatisfied. Both companies didn’t even get past the hygene factor of just not being unsatisfied. The second factor of Hertzberg’s theory talks about is motivation. This is a sense of achievement and recognition, which would play different in each company. This doesn’t have a great effect on the bookstore because their situation was short term in compared to the call center. If the company can’t even properly trained there is no chance of being recognized or feel a sense of achievement.
The cases state that the trainees felt like they were being under attack by the senior staff. That would have a negative affect and create decrease motivation. There is no room for job enrichment that in turn means no enhancement in intrinsic motivation. Overall the similarities with respect to the training and the two companies were that of implementation and design. The training program was poor due to various reasons as stated in the report. One of the major differences to note was that the call center issue was a more complex problem and more of a long-term problem. The bookstore training was more of short-term problem. The problem only lasted about a month. Also another difference to note is that the bookstore had a smaller number of employees, so controlling the problem was a bit easier.
In the call center there were various problems that were even more difficult to control because they had to meet client needs. In these two organizations there was lack of leadership. Particularly transformational leadership. This is when a leader makes his/her representative look beyond the task, or in this case the training, by observing the bigger picture or goal. Not doing this would negatively effect motivation because the individual will then began to purse his or her own self-interest. In the case of the The Night Owl Answering Service, when Mary passed away, nobody was able to step up and show leadership. Because this particularity affected training, the person responsible for training should have demonstrated leadership ethics to make them feel more positively motivated. Nobody had the leadership to motivate people to put forth their best efforts. There were no directive and supportive people in these organizations. The coaching was ineffective and the trainees had no proper direction. Automation in the bookstore did not face a great deal of leadership problems because again, it only employed about 6-8 people.