Collaboration in the Workplace: Undoing the Past Essay
Collaboration in the Workplace: Undoing the Past
John and Jane Doe were educated at typical public schools in the United States, from kindergarten through college, and both have been hired as interviewers in the Personnel Department of Gidgets, Inc. Gidgets was having a problem because in the current economy there were more clerical and sales jobs than there were qualified people to fill them. John was hired by the department manager, Ms. Boozle, who told him his job was “to have applicants fill out employment applications, ask them the questions on this page, recording their answers, and then give the materials to Mr. Tibbler, the assistant manager. ”
Confidentially, she added, “his failures to verify information provided by applicants keep me in a constant state of fear that one day I’ll wind up hiring a psychopath. ” Ms. Boozle appears to be the bully, described in Major (2002), who believes employees are empty-headed, at best, and need to be controlled. “I get it,” thinks John, “she reminds me of my high-school history teacher, who gave As to the five kids who remembered the most dates. All I need to do is turn in more applications than any other interviewer.
” (About ten years before John, Ms. Boozle had the same teacher. ) Clearly, no-one provided John with any reason to become engaged in his work or any idea of how an interviewer’s job might be related to Gidget’s overall operating policies and goals, as suggested by Gaunt (2007). The receptionist’s job was to assign prospective employees to an interviewer, but on the first day of work, John stood by the receptionist’s desk, greeted and became the applicant’s interviewer. The receptionist wasn’t pleased, explaining why he was curt when an applicant arrived right after John left.
John clearly did not have the “sense of unity” with others in the department and the company that should be fostered (Simon Properties Group, 2006). Jane was hired by Mr. Tibbler on one of the fairly frequent days Ms. Boozehunt was out of the office because of illness, no doubt attributable to membership in a dysfunctional group (Major, 2002). He described the job to Jane as Ms. Boozle had described it to John, but he added that she also needed to verify the information that applicants provided.
“I get it,” thought Jane, “he reminds me of my college anthropology instructor, who gave As to the kids who provided him with the most facts about human evolution – and he didn’t even notice ‘facts’ you just made up. ” One potential employee, Bozo, had provided information that seemed questionable, but Jane, nonetheless, noted that she had verified his statements. “By the time he messes up or quits,” she thought, “no-one will even think about his initial application. ” If other interviewers left their offices during an interview, Jane would take over the interview.
The other interviewers became concerned that Jane’s interviewing rate would make their own look poor, so some began filling out applications from and answering questions asked of non-existent applicants. Gidget’s certainly did not provide any of the orientation programs and courses offered by Simon Properties which focused on team building (2006), nor did the manager provide such techniques as using a facilitator to help the staff learn about each other and how they could collaborate (Gaunt, 2007, p.2).
Illustrating the disintegration of a dysfunctional team (Major, 2007), one day Jane went to Ms. Boozle and told her that she had been conscientiously doing Mr. Tibbler’s employment verifications for him. “No wonder that idiot’s work has gotten even worse than it used to be,” Ms. Boozle despaired. Just then, Mr. Gidget came to the Personnel Department and roared at Ms. Boozle, “Why did I let that idiot brother-in-law of mine talk me into hiring you?
This guy, Bozo, you recommended, has just been carted off by the police after going nuts and shooting at everyone in sight. ” Most public (and private) schools in the United States do not use methods designed to prepare students to collaborate at work, rather than to pretend to cooperate, while trying to stab other group members in the back. Thus, if collaboration is valued by businesses, employees need training in working as a member of a team, which is what the Simon Property Group has attempted to provide (2006).
To “create a team-oriented workplace” (p. 1), they provide employees at all levels on-line access to orientation and training courses, providing information about “corporate objectives, culture, and history” (p. 1), as well as career opportunities and training offered by the company. Although the company publication reported the program has been successful, there is no explanation of how they evaluated success and no particular reason to accept conclusions reported in company publications.
Indeed, almost all of Simon’s on-line offerings are straight narratives, rather than interactive, comparable to some of the straight-lecture courses students have groaned about. Gaunt (2006) briefly suggested managers use (not very original) strategies for increasing employees’ engagement in their work as part of a team effort (and then went on to give some advice to board members). Major (2007) traced the history of assumptions about employees underlying management theories and the resulting consensus that all employees must work together in creating a team that is functional.
She concluded by suggesting the resurrection of Tuckman’s 1965 model that no-one had ever been able to implement. While the serious scholarly journals might offer more insight into managements’ efforts to bring collaboration into the business climate, difficulties in doing so should not be surprising. If people are trained that “winning” at education requires getting good grades, as opposed to getting an education, why shouldn’t they consider “winning” at business, to paraphrase an expression from the 1980s, “dying with the most toys”?
A Culture of Corporate Unity. (2006, July). T+D, Retrieved August 13, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database. Gaunt, K. (2007, May). WHY TEAMS DON’T GEL. New Zealand Management, 54(4), 59-59. Retrieved August 13, 2007, from MasterFILE Premier database. Major, S. (2002, May). Dysfunctional teams. Nursing Management – UK, 9(2), 25. Retrieved August 13, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 April 2017
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