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Chapter 16: The feel-good factor...

...just gets better and better according to entrepreneur and KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth. In 1998 and foregoing a career in law, Ms Forsyth opened a Bluebag café business in Melbourne with her brother. After more than a decade of blood sweat and tears, considerable business growth and an increasing concern about the volume of their packaging waste, they founded KeepCup in 2009, an Australian eco-sustainability family run company that has now gone global in three years.

Driving positive environmental change on an international scale, the story of a customised barista-standard reusable takeaway cup is elaborated upon in the small business article “Entrepreneurs making millions from ‘feel-good’ business ideas” (http://www.news.com.au/finance/small-business/entrepreneurs-making-millions-from-feelgood-business-ideas/news-story/0a990d2a05c96749a942b455090c95cd). Employing 50 people in 65 countries, KeepCup has already sold more than five million cups, which according to CEO Abigail Forsyth means their customers “are responsible for diverting 3.5 billion disposable cups from landfill every year.”

Her key ‘call to moment action’ occurred at home. Instigated when serving her baby daughter’s warm milk in a reusable plastic cup, she questioned why at work the norm was to sip takeaway coffee from a disposable cup. Given the ethical conundrum of contributing to the environmental problem rather than being part of the solution, she set upon solving the problem. Fully endorsing the reason to change along personal, business and environmental lines, and possessing power in her business to make the change, two years of research was undertaken both at the design and market level.

Whilst speed to market was an important consideration, many problems needed to be carefully thought through. For example, current reusable options were considered too ugly, bulky, or just did not meet health and safety or barista machine specifications. Designer rejections included the product being classified as “the stupidest idea I’ve ever seen”. However, fully believing that usability and aesthetics were the key reasons for poor take up of reusable coffee cups, their café experience provided the impetus behind establishing a separate company KeepCup. This organisation stated their mission simply as “to encourage the use of reusable cups … by delivering sustainably made products that are fit for purpose in the context of a positive global campaign that strives to make a difference to how we think about convenience culture.” (http://au.keepcup.com/about-us/)

Despite the first production run highlighting a design flaw with “leaking cups that were too hot to hold”, further creative problem solving and consolidated improvements led to unbelievable demand at the Australian Design Market launch. Ms Forsyth recalled “We sold 1000 cups in six hours. People were saying, ‘I don’t even know what this is but I want one’.” (http://mapmagazine.com.au/abigail-forsyth/) Since then a warehouse has been opened in the UK (2012) and America (2013), internet sales and inquiries have quadrupled, and the simple idea has speedily grown into a global business.

The environmental ethos of the product has driven behavioural change firstly in Melbourne and more recently overseas. As expressed by Abigail Forsyth "The KeepCup has been a labour of love so we are just thrilled that people have adopted and used the KeepCup and spread the word right around the world." For her customers she suggests that it has “been the beginning of a journey to reduce the consequences of convenience behaviour” and is leading to the demise of the disposable cup. In essence it fully epitomises her philosophy of life – “Feel good. Do good”. 

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  1. What were the forces that acted as the stimulants to change?
  2. Appraise the use of Kotter’s eight-step plan for implementing change. How would you describe the operating environment of a typical council?
  3. Why do you think that a separate company was established to deliver the idea to market?
  4. How might KeepCup develop its business strategically in the future?  
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Chapter 15: Reducing police officer suicides...

...has once again been linked to essential cultural change in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) force. The Conversation, in an article entitled “Police officer suicide: it’s not just about workplace stress, but culture too” (https://theconversation.com/police-officer-suicide-its-not-just-about-workplace-stress-but-culture-too-76710), highlights how former NSW police detective Ashley Bryan was treated by the police force and raises questions as to what could have been done to prevent his tragic suicide.

This article, on the back of a highly respected and experienced female federal police officer death, who took her own life inside the Australian Federal Police's Melbourne office in February this year, again exposes deep concerns about the current AFP culture and lack of support offered to its members.

Based upon independent findings and an extensive consultation with more than 1,000 AFP members in six months, the AFP released their “Cultural Change: Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Australian Federal Police Report” in August 2016. However, despite identifying key emerging themes such as “the importance of strong leadership to cultural reform” and the “high rates of sexual harassment and bullying in the AFP”, the report recommended “against rushing in to take action” but instead advised the AFP to “listen and reflect in order to fully understand both … past and possible futures.”

In discussing factors associated with Australian police suicide, The Conversation argues that while work-based trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are contributory factors, recent research identifies police officers experiencing “significant distress from repeated exposure to lower-level stresses.” Examples identified include bureaucratic management styles, insensitivity to personal distress, unfair decision-making by managers, and carrying out work for which officers are not adequately trained.

The article further elaborates that in the very male-dominated AFP culture that stresses macho problem-solving and denial of distress, “there exists a pervasive fear among some staff that acknowledging distress will result in damage to their careers”. In addition, poor assessment and delayed treatment of stress “compounds the effects of trauma – making suicide more likely.”

Fully endorsing the Australian Federal Police values and culture (https://www.afp.gov.au/about-us/our-organisation/values-and-culture), the AFP has recently set in place strategies to improve the response to mental health problems by providing 24 hour access to mental health practitioners. However, The Conversation concludes that by a greater consideration of recurrent stressors, such as eradicating poor management and establishing a more open culture, the risk of further suicides in the police force will be significantly reduced.  

 

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Using your own knowledge and that found on the AFP website (https://www.afp.gov.au/about-us), how would you describe AFP’s common characteristics and organisational culture?
  2. What are the alleged dysfunctional effects of its culture?
  3. How do you think this culture is transmitted to its employees?
  4. How would you attempt to change this dysfunctional culture to a more functional one? 
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Chapter 14: ING changing Australian banking...

as we know it. This Dutch owned bank entered Australian shores in 1999, and by launching the country’s first high interest, fee free online savings account, it has quickly become Australia’s most recommended bank.

Pioneering branchless banking and operating with the lowest cost-to-income ratio in the sector, ING (the trading name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited) has proved successful due to its “simple; straightforward; and good value products. And by doing business online and over the phone, we keep our overheads low and pass the savings onto our customers.” (https://newsroom.ing.com.au/about-us/)

Experiencing incredible growth and popularity over the other Australian banks, Tony Boyd’s Financial Review article suggests “ING Direct can teach the big four some lessons” (http://www.afr.com/brand/chanticleer/ing-direct-can-teach-the-big-four-some-lessons-20160331-gnvgpu#ixzz4vjlqC2DF). For example, their Orange Everyday transaction account grew by 47 per cent in 2015, largely on the back of free ATM access that the big four has only recently copied. From a zero base they now have “1.7 million customers – and $37 billion in savings and $42 billion in mortgages …the highest Net Promoter Score of any bank.” It is perhaps little surprise then to hear that this Australian based bank has won numerous awards in recognition of their success. Recent awards include 2017 Money Minder of the Year; 2016 Mozo People's Choice Award; Australian Lending Awards - Best Customer Experience 2016; SuperRatings Gold Super and Pension 2017; and 14th in the 2015 BRW Most Innovative Companies

This online bank promises “Fast, convenient and secure access to your banking. Anytime, anywhere.” (https://www.ing.com.au/ways-to-bank.html?cid=som:goo:vis:shr) and achieves 24/7 mobile banking through an ING mobile app that is accessible from any SMART phone, watch or computer application. However, should you prefer some face-to-face interaction they have partnered with the Australian Post Office to provide access to 3,300 outlets for cheque deposits. And yes, you can still “speak via telephone with Australia-based customer care specialists 24/7” should the need arise.

With more than 1,000 employees and a strong customer service focus, work at ING is classified as “exciting, challenging and continually evolving.” Their forward thinking philosophy is underpinned by an in-house Orange Code, a set of values that mean “You take it on and make it happen”, “You help others to be successful”, and “You are always a step ahead”.

Being different and future oriented is illustrated with the ING Dreamstarter initiative. In partnership with StartSomeGood (an online crowdfunding platform for social good) and The School for Social Entrepreneurs (an ING community partner) this program “is our way of getting behind some of Australia's most inspired go-getters who are eager to make a positive change in Australian communities. It is an online initiative that uses the power of social media and collaboration to raise the profile of people with innovative ideas for social change.” (https://campaigns.ing.com.au/Dreamstarter)

Furthermore, to ensure ING continues to be always be a step ahead, James Eyers article “Peer inside ING's future of voice-activated, open banking” (http://www.afr.com/technology/peer-inside-ings-future-of-voiceactivated-open-banking-20170818-gxzfxa) provides some useful insights into the company’s future. As explained by ING’s CEO “The convergence of open banking regimes and rapid advancements in artificial intelligence technology could make voice-activated banking environment a reality within the next five years.” Reshaping how customers will interact with banks, ING has invested €800 million in a digital transformation platform, that will include a biometrically operated "aggregation dashboard" of different financial brands. Through personal voice interaction this platform will provide the user with independent best options for big purchase spending “based on a real-time risk assessment that taps their credit history” and buying behaviours from all of their bank accounts.

With ING already the world’s largest direct bank, it appears that the power of this virtual organisation is set to continue its incredible growth both within Australia and around the globe.

 

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  1. What type of organisation would you describe ING to be? What specific market opportunities is it motivated by?
  2. What are the advantages and drawbacks of this organisational structure as compared to more traditional structures in an open banking scenario?
  3. How are ING’s Australian competitors likely to react in the future?

 

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Chapter 13: The long road to a Brexit solution...

...continues to frustrate all parties involved. With Britain’s June 2016 referendum voting to exit the European Union by 30th March 2019, why is progress being made so slowly and so little goodwill shown by either side to what is an inevitable divorce? All that is being discussed at present is the first phase, the terms of withdrawal, before the second phase, the nature of its future relationship with the EU, commences.

However, after 6 months of negotiations, there appear to be major problems reported upon daily. For example, business headlines from Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper in one week have included - “Michel Barnier hits out at 'disturbing' UK stance on Brexit as EU prepares for no deal”; “Philip Hammond [UK Chancellor] forced to backtrack after calling EU 'the enemy' as he denies sabotaging talks”; “A 'no-deal' Brexit is not as scary as the establishment is making it out to be”; and “Theresa May flies to Brussels for emergency talks to rescue Brexit.”

In summary, the BBC News article “Brexit: At-a-glance guide to the UK-EU negotiations” (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-40788669) provides an appropriate overview of the negotiating process from the outset. In discussing the early schedule, the initial plan was for British and European Union (EU) officials to meet each month for four days in Brussels. However, with the UK's snap general election called, a two-month delay was established early in the proceedings.

Of the two negotiating parties, David Davis (Conservative MP who is Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union) leads the UK team, while Michel Barnier (former French foreign minister and EU commissioner) is his EU counterpart. However, behind each are an “Olympic-size squad of officials to work on the negotiations …. [where] much of the spadework is being done by co-ordinators or "sherpas", senior officials whose job it is to pore over the nitty-gritty details and try and pave the way for a political agreement.”

To date though Michel Barnier reports an impasse on this first phase of negotiations, elaborating “that talks were deadlocked after five rounds of pressured negotiations with huge divisions between the two camps remaining, especially over the so-called Brexit bill, and despite British concessions.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/12/michel-barnier-expected-warn-david-davis-no-sufficient-progress/). Whilst David Davis is urging EU27 to move talks onto trade and the second phase, Michel Barnier has suggested that the EU is prepared for Brexit negotiations to end in no deal, and not permit EU leaders to begin trade talks with Britain next week. In essence he is adhering to his EU mantra of "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" in the withdrawal phase.

In particular three thorny roadblocks exist before agreement can be reached. Firstly, the “Brexit bill” where as an EU member, the UK signed off on these 5 year EU budgets. While the EU views this as a commitment, the UK argues it will no longer benefit from the projects and hence refuses to pay. Secondly, there remains a problem of UK and EU citizens’ rights. In particular and post-Brexit, what will be the legal status be of these citizens and who will arbitrate on any disputes? The UK is not prepared to accept the “continued supremacy of the European Court of Justice” on this issue. And the third problematic issue relates to the Irish border, where Northern Ireland exits the EU but the Republic of Ireland remains in the EU. Post-Brexit, the two countries will require a fortified border. The issue remains of who pays, with both sides “wary of derailing the Northern Ireland peace process.”

Given this impasse, there is the possibility that the UK “could simply leave without any agreement, if either of the two sides reject a deal or can't agree on one and decide against extending the talks.” For some, this outcome is the doomsday scenario. But for others, this may be considered the best deal given the current stalemate reached. What is the solution to this messy divorce, only time will tell?

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. What types and loci of conflict exist in the Brexit negotiations?
  2. Using the conflict process model and its variables appraise the current situation as described in this blog.
  3. Which conflict management techniques could be used to overcome the current impasse?
  4. Assess the role and function of third-party negotiations in the Brexit scenario.
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Chapter 12: Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been sacked...

...from The Weinstein Company he co-founded and owned with his brother. Amid the recent sexual allegations that have rocked the Hollywood movie industry, Megan Twohey’s New York Times article “Harvey Weinstein Is Fired After Sexual Harassment Reports” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/business/harvey-weinstein-fired.html) reveals a decade of alleged sexual harassment.

Historically known as a film producer who has shaped the American and global film industry and championed liberal causes, Lance Maerov, one of the company’s four board members, announced that Harvey Weinstein “had violated the company’s code of conduct” and his employment would be terminated with immediate effect. Ironically his brother Bob Weinstein was directly involved in his firing, both as a board member and co-owner, arguing that the negative press “threatened the studio’s ability to continue to attract top talent and to release film and television shows”.

As Twohey explains “For decades, Mr. Weinstein had cultivated an image as a liberal power broker, raising money for Hillary Clinton, briefly employing Malia Obama as an intern and calling himself an advocate for women.” However, due to an extensive New York Times investigation, Ann Hornaday reports that Harvey Weinstein, ’“has become simply the latest in a string of men whose toxic behaviour points to how structural inequality plays out, not just among the people who make movies, but in what the rest of us see on screen.”

Pivotal of this outcome has been New York’s former news anchor reader Lauren Sivan’s story that Weinstein trapped her in the hallway of a restaurant and masturbated in front of her. Whilst the decade old incident has only recently been published because of “a fear of his power” over employment opportunities, it has ignited a growing list of accusers who are now sharing their stories.

Within a week of these sexual allegations surfacing, the New York Times identified that at least eight out of court settlements had occurred, and prompted by former actress Rose McGowan’s “Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening”, new cases of sexually harassed actresses, secretaries and script readers, have emerged daily. Alleged victims include Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Heather Graham, Cara Delevingne, and Zoe Brock.

As the crisis worsened, an internal email from his brother revealed “The Democrats are giving Harvey’s money back,” referring to politicians giving his political contributions to women’s groups and “Women’s rights organizations are offended by his actions and are now calling for him to be fired.” The fall out has already included Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer and legal adviser resigning along with one-third of the company’s all-male board.

Meryl Streep labelled Harvey as “disgraceful” and his actions “inexcusable”. This opened a floodgate of further condemnation from leading actresses such as Glenn Close (“I’m angry”), Kate Winslet (“disgraceful and appalling”) and Judi Dench (‘horrifying’), leading to BAFTA suspending his membership.

Collectively these allegations, and they are only allegations, do build up a disturbing history of this powerful man exerting pressure on young women to potentially make or break their career. The horror of the film casting couch dilemma, where dream makers possess a very hierarchical power dynamic over ambitious young actresses, clearly must be eradicated.

Harvey Weinstein, a six best-picture Oscar winner who was once described as ‘God’, has “struggled with forming a coherent response, veering from contrition to combativeness”. More recently though he has offered an attempted apology suggesting ‘‘I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone. I realised some time ago that I needed to be a better person, and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.” (http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/women-in-hollywood-criticised-for-deafening-silence-after-weinstein-sexual-harassment-scandal/news-story/b73b809f2adf1e09084f9604b2152640)

Whilst Ms. Konner, an Executive Television Producer, suggested that Harvey’s firing “is going to scare any man in Hollywood using his power for anything but making movies and television”, it also raises a further question relating to the company’s power distribution. In particular it highlights a conflict of interest from his brother, who was both involved in the firing process and benefits immensely from him now officially leading the company. In addition, what will happened to the shared 42 per cent of the company that the two Weinstein brother’s own?

 

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  • In terms of power, what is sexual harassment and how is it different to consensual sexual behaviour in the workplace?
  • What are the potential consequences of alleged and/or proven sexual harassment to The Weinstein Company?
  • How could a manager prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?

 

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Chapter 11: The truth behind the effective CEO...

...is finally revealed in recently released research by ghSMART. As reported by Bryan Borzykowski, after 10 years of research this Chicago-based management consulting firm is “Busting the myths of successful CEOs” (http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170803-busting-the-myths-of-successful-ceos) and providing some interesting results.

Firstly it appears that CEOs do not have to be charismatic as once thought. Whilst this may prove successful on interview, the findings identify that introverts did better than extroverts on exceeding their boards’ expectations. As elaborated by Botelho, one of the researchers, “Being more likeable and confident makes you more likely to be hired in that role, but it has no relationship to performance”.

The second myth that is now proven to be defunct, is that CEOs should not admit when they are wrong. In essence, CEOs owning their own mistakes, and learning from them, were found to deliver the strongest performances. By comparison, weaker leaders blame others or “explain things away and that makes it harder for them to learn” says Botelho.

Other perhaps surprising findings include, CEOs do not need to be experienced in a particular sector. Whereas non-sector leaders can provide fresh outlooks without any preconceived ideas, it is strong soft skills, such as people and problem solving skills that are now considered essential. Instead. it is argued that industry sector knowledge can if necessary be learned  very quickly.

Similarly, the ghSMART research found that the once muted idea that high performing executives needed to be ruthless and autocratic, was proved to be false. While decisiveness and conviction were considered positive leadership traits, Botelho explains that the “most successful ones try to get buy-in from employees, boards and shareholders.”

And finally this research confirmed that CEOs do not necessary have to experience a top-tier education. Put simply, graduating from Harvard or Oxford is not a necessary condition to becoming a successful CEO. Indeed, ghSMART identified that only 7% of the high-performing CEOs possessed an Ivy League undergraduate education, as compared to 8% who never even graduated from a university.

In conclusion, Botelho suggests that being a successful executive basically comes down to three things: making life better for the stakeholders, truly understanding the business you are in, and being people-centric. In other words truly creating an environment where people can be their best every day. Tread your own path with astute understanding, decisiveness and honesty.  

 

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  • How do leadership theories support or negate these findings?
  • How are Chief Executive Officer positions likely to be different from first rung operational leadership positions?
  • Given these ghSMART findings, how would you select a CEO? Justify your appointment process.

 

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Chapter 10: Business communication without email...

...is this really imaginable within the next decade? According to Adam Rogers it is, as he introduces the idea that “As Workplace Communication Evolves, Email May Not Prevail”. Despite email being the primary source of business communication for the last two decades, Rogers argues that the changing demographics of the workforce and the increasing acceptance of smart software, may mean email is already on the path to obsolescence.

Given “today’s professionals spend about 6.3 hours a day sending and receiving an average of 123 emails”, it may seem a little absurd. However, Rogers suggests that as the growing numbers of Generation Z enter the workforce en masse, they clearly prefer social media communications (81% use) over emails (6%).

On the one hand and through the World Wide Web, email still provides business users 24/7 access to share information globally. It has proved to be a low cost communication medium that has revolutionised business practices because of its versatility and convenience to deliver potentially large amounts of information very quickly. However, as a communication medium it is one dimensional and with inboxes commonly overloaded with automated messages and spam, it is fast becoming an out of date and ineffective collaboration tool.

By comparison, Generation Z prefers two way open discussion forums rather than be told information, and is increasingly embracing a variety of intuitive and live social media platforms. Sourcing and sharing easily accessible and searchable information via these platforms, has never been easier with additional added value functions being developed. For example, Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa create multi-media help sources with the added bonus that emojis, photos, or videos can provide greater contextual meaning than largely text-based emails.

Furthermore, with fully integrated personal mobile devices becoming the norm, workers have turned to smartphones and tablets over computers, where new collaborative technologies involving augmented intelligence can either help, assist or even automatically complete the task for end users.

Rogers concludes that “Augmented intelligence is now being primed to provide predictive auto-respond messages, which could completely transform not only emails but the entire communications landscape. These prognostic solutions draw from past interactions and can increase productivity of digital workers by decreasing unnecessary distractions.”

With the speed of such technological developments, perhaps email communications will be obsolete quicker than we think.

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  • What is your current use of email and social media for work related tasks? When do you prefer to use which forms and for what purposes?
  • How does you current behaviour of broader communication relate to the concept of channel richness?
  • Do you endorse Roger’s assertion that email may not prevail? Justify your answer.
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Chapter 9: The ultimate pressurised team...

...has to be that associated with Formula One (F1) performances. Involving about 650 people per team, the race day and intense global interest focuses entirely on the driver and the pit stop crew. With the fastest change of tyres in a race being about 1.92 seconds, perfect precision and teamwork can often be the difference between a driver standing on the podium or taking undue risks and crashing out. It is perhaps no surprise then to learn that Lewis Hamilton’s last three grand prix wins have been achieved on the back of his Mercedes team recording the fastest pit stop times.

As a highly competitive team sport where split-second decisions are demanded in every race, what are the roles, training and rewards of a highly effective F1 pit crew team? Matt Maltby’s recent MailOnline article “Formula One Pit stop: How does the crew work and what are the roles …?” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/formulaone/article-4401632/Formula-One-pit-stop-does-crew-work.html#ixzz4sytab8U6) provides some useful insights into the implementation phase of a highly effective team.

Maltby reports that there are typically 20 members that comprise the pit stop crew, drawn from the team mechanics who are selected on the basis that they can perform any task under pressure. With the exception of the lollipop man, the chief mechanic and leader of the pit stop, all other team members can and sometimes do perform different roles. On analysis of explosive power, hand-eye coordination, agility, speed, reaction time, and flexibility, individuals are assigned pit stop roles primarily based on physical attributes, such as strength (to raise and lower the car) and agility (to change the tyres), rather than specialist ability.

As Williams the 2016 DHL Winning Pit Stop Crew reveals, the manoeuvre is practiced thousands of times in a season and underpinned by considerable scientific research and analysis. Planning, recruitment and training are meticulous, with the use of biometric sensors and video analysis to further appraise each specialist role. Williams have not only recruited a dedicated physio to physically prepare each team member for their respective task

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKZEznmGRwA) but they have also mapped the perfect seating location and choreographed each mechanic’s movements during the process. Fostering important competition and camaraderie between all members of the team, Williams now believe they can further reduce the pit stop record having recorded 1.6 seconds consistently in practice.

With technology being able to measure both individual and team performance, how are pit stop crew financially rewarded? According to TSM Sportz, 2017 pit crew salaries are likely to be anything up to $250,000 salary for the refuelling person ($4000 per race and $1000 per podium win bonus) (http://tsmsportz.com/money/formula-1-pit-crew-members-salaries/). Potentially that is $1000 per second for their actual role in the race!

While highly effective and efficient teams in demanding work scenarios may provide very attractive rewards, it must also be remembered that F1 pit crew roles necessitate huge elements of trust where the consequences of getting it wrong can cause severe injury and death.

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  • On what grounds is the pit crew a working team and not a work group?
  • How are contextual, composition and process factors of the Team Effectiveness Model relevant to this scenario?
  • Discuss the considerable variance in role payment for pit crew staff. How might this impact team effectiveness? 
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Chapter 8: The ladies laughter revolution...

...is about to celebrate its’ 20th anniversary. Initiated as an informal friendship group of mature women in California, the infamous Red Hat Society has now become a global initiative of fun and frivolity, where its members shamelessly ‘grow old disgracefully’ together.

As highlighted by its website (https://www.redhatsociety.com/page/red_hat_revolution) the Red Hat is a universal symbol for women around the globe to embrace a renewed outlook on life, as they turn 50 and enter the next phase of their lives. Through common purpose and word of mouth, in just five years the society grew exponentially from 2 to 40,000+ groups (or chapters as they are referred to). Women everywhere resonated with the society’s ideas and they ‘have become their own women's movement – not strident, not angry – [but] with a strong emphasis on the positive aspects of life, stressing the importance of friendship and sisterhood, the value of play, and a determination to find the good in life.’

With the Red Hat Down Under page (http://www.redhatsdownunder.com/) suggesting individual chapters (groups) are for ‘mothers, grandmothers, and daughters of society’, the cited benefits are that there are ‘strictly no responsibility and obligations’. In fact there are only two rules - you must be a woman of 50 or over, and you must attend functions in a red hat and purple outfit. But epitomising their humour, of course those ‘under 50’ women can wear pink hats until they ‘reduate’, stressing the norms of cross-generational friendships and mentoring for fun.

Group members’ purpose and cohesiveness are contagious as illustrated by the recent Australian articles of ‘Laughter wears a red hat and a purple dress’(http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/penrith-press/laughter-wears-a-red-hat-and-a-purple-dress/news-story/d71b5ed9e3494d7767b3ad239f38c1b3) in Penrith, and the ‘Launceston Red Hat Society addressing issue of isolation’ (http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4777871/friends-feathers-fun-a-remedy-for-loneliness/). Whereas the former, the Hawkesbury Happy Hatters chapter, enjoy monthly events that have included ghost tours, harbour cruises, live theatre shows, and even an Elvis Festival at a members’ home, the Launceston Roses of the Tamar chapter meet ‘twice a month for nothing more than the pleasure of each other's company.’ Joining this group is described as being like making ‘instant friends’. Acting as a supportive and preventative health medicine to social isolation in Tasmania, these ladies ‘provide a strong support and safety network for each other.’

Clearly, these ‘playgroups for seniors’ offer highly enriching friendships for women and ‘despite the teasing and banter that typifies meetings, the Red Hats have each other’s back and help out wherever needed.’ And of course Queen bees, the leaders of each group, can and do make up other new rules – such as there ‘can never be too much bling’.

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  1. Using the websites provided in the text, how is group cohesiveness maintained?
  2. How might norms and status exert influence over individual behaviour?
  3. What impacts the effectiveness of group chapters?
  4. Accessing the Red Hat Society website (https://www.redhatsociety.com/page/trainingvideos) how does the organisation maintain a consistent identity across culturally different chapters?
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Chapter 7: Motivating youth prisoners...

...is not easy. But money and a good behaviour code appear to be the internationally recognised youth justice system being adopted by Victoria’s Department of Justice and Regulation. According to James Dowling’s “Thugs paid to behave” Herald Sun article (27th August, 2017, p.3), Victoria’s youth prisons are encouraging good behaviour by paying prisoners up to $40 per week to keep their room tidy and to teach respect of others.

Tested at Barwon Prison using a gold, silver and bronze good behaviour system, inmates at Parkville and Malmsbury youth detention centres are trialling a pay and behave ACE model. This involves adhering to a structured reward and motivation process of Achieve, Challenge and Encourage. Receiving anything from $5 to $40, the latter earned after 6 weeks of good behaviour (gold level behaviour), inmates may spend this money on food, clothing, personal mugs or headphones. Conversely, Dowling reports that ‘serious assault, threats, spitting or property damage’ immediately demotes the person to bronze level status. For the repeat and more troublesome teenagers, further punishments include removable of their television, additional cleaning chores, and denying music access privileges.

On the back of a series of riots in Parkville and a mass escape from the Malmsbury youth justice centre last year, former chief commissioner Neil Comrie was called in to review the youth system. Reporting that violence and disturbances were ‘commonplace’ and hardened youth were showing no respect for authority, clearly something had to change. However, with prison staff being told to take every opportunity to ‘provide positive feedback’, the culture being proposed by the ACE model appears no different from good parenting advice. Good parents regularly use praise and encouragement to build self-esteem and confidence, and occasionally offer financial rewards to reinforce good behaviour.

With the controversial headline of ‘Thugs paid to behave’ and his use of the word ‘bribe’ in the article’s first line, Dowling is clearly critical of the likely impact of this good behaviour model. Similarly, Georgie Crozier, the Government’s opposition families and children spokeswoman, argues that this proposal focuses more ‘on rewarding criminal behaviour than holding offenders to account.’

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. How is the current proposal similar and/or different to the reinforcement theory of motivation?
  2. In the context of the youth prison environment, appraise the early theories of motivation and evaluate their current use.
  3. Using concepts and ideas from the motivation chapter, what do you think would work in the current scenario and why? 
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Chapter 6: Tesla's future and Elon Musk's creative leadership...

...will now be judged on the successful launch of its’ new Model 3 electric car. In the business article “In Pivotal Moment, Tesla Unveils Its First Mass-Market Sedan” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/business/tesla-model-3-elon-musk.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FTesla%20Motors%20Inc.&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection) Bill Vlasic suggests that both Elon Musk and Tesla face “a moment of truth” as they refocus their production towards a mass market electric sedan that starts at $44,000.

Historically targeting the low production high-end electric car market, typically above $100,000, this rapidly expanding company now offers a product to “lure consumers away from mainstream, gasoline-powered automobiles”. In effect and for the first time, Tesla will compete directly and affordably with a crowded market of global car manufacturers that are increasingly developing their own electric cars.

Such ambitious growth is accompanied by enormous risk. Vlasic elaborates, “It plans to more than quadruple its annual production to more than a half-million vehicles, while still maintaining its image as an enlightened outlier in an industry long dominated by global giants”.

Elon Musk, co-founder, CEO and Product Architect at Tesla, is well aware of the consequences of an inappropriate launch. With his company aspiring to revolutionise the automotive industry, demand for the new product is reported at 500,000 pre orders, and since the launch averages 1,800 orders per day. In a thoughtful approach to eradicate any teething problems Tesla is currently only delivering Model 3 vehicles to its employees. However, even on these very low production runs, employee and supply chain problems were being encountered.

With rapid expansion and high public expectations from around the world, Musk has already declared that Tesla is “bursting at the seams” and faces “six months of manufacturing hell”. While Musk has been described as the epitome of creative leadership, which entails taking risks, thinking differently, and not being afraid to buck traditional wisdom, his previous leadership success is founded upon building a strong company/brand, accepting constructive criticism, personal integrity, and continuously learning (https://www.leader-values.com/wordpress/5-leadership-lessons-we-can-learn-from-elon-musk-jp-george/). Vlasic’s article indirectly raises the question, how will Musk’s creative leadership fare in the untested six months that lie ahead?

As the company quickly seeks to expand its global footprint, more than 300 new jobs have been announced this week. However, with additional high staff turnover and increased union safety and pay arguments already ensuing, employing appropriate staff who are immediately passionate, creative, and in some roles at the forefront of robotic knowledge, maybe just one step too far. With Tesla’s mission of being not just an automaker, but also a technology and design company that aims to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, will the innovative and creative talents of CEO Musk and Tesla be able to deliver? Only time will tell.

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. What is creativity and how might Musk evolve and develop this within the Tesla context of the next six months?
  2. How can managers influence risk-taking behaviours and how is the level of risk determined?
  3. What is the role of the rational decision-making model in a creative company such as Tesla?
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Chapter 5: Temporary bad moods may be good...

...according to a recent ABC news article by Professor Joseph Forgas. Entitled “Why bad moods are good for you: The surprising benefits of sadness” (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-15/sadness-benefits-why-bad-moods-are-good-for-you/8527974), Forgas suggests that despite such temporary feelings commonly being devalued, they are normal and can provide many psychological benefits.

In an age and culture of manipulative advertising and self-help industry pursuit of happiness, we are often led to believe that continual happiness is possible. However even in Western societies, where unprecedented material wealth exists, suicide rates are increasing, and happiness and life satisfaction rates have not improved in decades. Forgas therefore argues that it is time to reassess negative moods and emotions, and recognise that “they are a normal, and even a useful and adaptive part of being human, helping us cope with many everyday situations and challenges.”

Psychologists have for a long time argued that temporary “negative emotions such as fear, anger, shame or disgust are helpful because they help us recognise, avoid and overcome threatening or dangerous situations.” While recognising that long term and intense sadness can be very serious and debilitating in the work environment, temporary sadness can “enhance empathy, compassion, connectedness and moral and aesthetic sensibility”.

Indeed, Professor Forgas believes that there is growing evidence that negative moods, such as sadness, possess many psychological benefits. Recent research has manipulated individual moods to be happy or sad, and then measured changes in performance on different behavioural and cognitive tasks. On such tests, the psychological benefits of temporary sadness have been shown to provide better memory, more accurate judgements (reducing scepticism and stereotyping), improved motivation and communication on difficult mental tasks. For example, Forgas’s recent research identified that “people in a sad mood used more effective persuasive arguments to convince others, were better at understanding ambiguous sentences and better communicated when talking.”

These preliminary findings, which have not yet been tested in the work environment, provide a counteracting argument to the unrelenting cult and pursuit of happiness. In conclusion, Forgas suggests that “by extolling happiness and denying the virtues of sadness, we set an unachievable goal for ourselves” which ironically could lead to depression. To this end he proposes a more balanced approach of assessing the benefits and drawbacks of good and bad moods in the workplace, which he argues is long overdue.

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. How are negative emotions and moods linked in theory and in practice?
  2. How might negative emotions be measured? Identify some of the problems in your chosen measurement tool.
  3. What is emotional dissonance? Discuss recent examples where its impact has resulted in negative consequences.
  4. How might leaders positively and negatively influence moods and emotions?
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Chapter 4: Doing business in China

...is never easy, but with Market Engine, an Australian based tech company, access to China's 650 million e-buyers who spend a combined $779 billion annually, clearly provides a very profitable business opportunity. Announcing a multi‐million dollar investment by UK’s Royal Mail, one of the largest postal service providers in Europe, Market Engine leads an impressive array of Western businesses in penetrating growing economies such as China.

In the article “Royal Mail invests in an Aussie tech start-up that helps Western businesses enter China” (http://anthillonline.com/royal-mail-invests-in-an-australian-tech-start-up-that-is-helping-western-businesses-enter-china/) and more recently interviewed on ABC’S World News (http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-world/2017-03-16/australians-doing-business-in-china/8361802),  CEO Roy Hui explains, “Using Market Engine’s unique Market Management System (MMS), businesses can control price, brand, quality and stock through direct online shops in markets across the world.”

Adrian Giles, Market Engine’s chairman similarly elaborates upon the relationship with his national postal service clients, Royal Mail, Canada Post, Australia Post, and Post Nord, “Pairing our technology platform with the postal service’s extensive distribution network removes the traditional barriers of selling products overseas.”

Historically Western business have faced considerable difficulties in doing business in China and no more is this apparent than Walmart’s ongoing troubles in the country. Since opening its first superstore in Shenzhen, the American retailer has struggled to understand the Chinese market, reflecting in hindsight a fundamental misunderstanding of the country’s political, economic, and cultural environments. For example, relative to the United States, it was a challenge to sell universal core products across 117 cities, with cities and provinces often possessing quite unique needs. Similarly, troubled relationships with local and national politics resulted in fines and temporary store closures due to a misunderstanding of business practices and product violations. Yet Walmart’s greatest challenge was how to apply its strength of an ultra-efficient and technologically advanced supply chain. Walmart assumed a sophisticated technology and physical infrastructure that China simply did not possess.  

With considerable local knowledge, Market Engine therefore attempts to strengthen global opportunities and eradicates many of the misunderstandings and risks faced by Western businesses. Chairman Giles said “We do this by providing a technology layer that plugs into market places and so brands can manage price, product, supply, safety and brand. We also offer the best fit logistics options, provide a China based customer service team that supports our clients in market, and a marketing and media team that builds market demand.”

Accessing 30 different countries and dealing in more than 20 currencies, Australian based Market Engine, offers a secure cloud retail platform that helps manages address the differing local needs and business practices. Assisting companies that are poorly positioned to capitalise on global opportunities, Market Engine has proved very effective in assisting brands to convert potential into profit.

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Using Hofstede’s framework for assessing national cultures, China would be classified as a country with large power distance, and a collectivist as well as long term business orientation. What are the key differences between the American, Australian and Chinese business cultures?
  2. What are the implications for Australian organisations wishing to enter China?
  3. Identify one Australian business and determine a realistic strategy of how it could do business in China. Who and where would be your first point of call? Why?
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Chapter 3: Workplace job satisfaction is more important than pay...

...according to recent research by Curtin University and Making Work Absolutely Human (MWAH). While salaries may determine comparable roles and accountabilities, it is the working conditions that were found to create the greatest levels of job satisfaction in Australia.

In a report entitled “Happy workers: How satisfied are Australians at work?” (http://bcec.edu.au/publications/happy-workers-how-satisfied-are-australians-at-work/), Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells’ research set about determining who the happiest and unhappiest workers are in Australia and what contributes to greater satisfaction in the workplace. The trade-off between happiness with certain aspects of a job and dissatisfaction has long been recognised via productivity studies. However, with the Australian labour force undergoing rapid technological advances and facing an increasing ageing population, there are still many unknowns. Is satisfaction dependent upon flexibility, hours, our occupation or the job itself? Is it influenced by where we work, who we work for, our level of pay or in the current environment our level of job security?

Using the latest data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, a key finding from this research (full report accessed from http://bcec.edu.au/assets/curtin-mwah-happy-workers-report-1.pdf) was that pay is only associated with higher job satisfaction to a point. Interestingly workers reporting ‘very satisfied’ levels earned a lower average amount each week than those that reporting ‘satisfied’ levels – $1,182 compared with $1,267. Similarly the research found that the job itself has the strongest relationship with overall job satisfaction, outweighing all other elements such as pay, job security and job flexibility.

With over 40 per cent of Australians being ‘very satisfied’ with their job security and 36 per cent with their work/life balance, a sector comparison revealed different levels of dissatisfaction. Namely, private sector employees (20 per cent) were more dissatisfied with their job, as compared with government (14 per cent) and not-for-profit (12 per cent) employees. Why this should be the case is unclear.

Other key findings identified that Tasmanian workers were the happiest, possessing the highest levels of job satisfaction in the country, with Western Australian and Victoria recording the lowest. The Tasmanian finding may be explained by the research linking higher job satisfaction with older workers and to those living further away from major cities. Just over 60 per cent of workers in their 70s reported feeling very satisfied, not through a compulsion to work, but perhaps because they loved what they were doing.

In conclusion MWAH CEO Rhonda Brighton-Hall summarised the findings by suggesting that pay matters, but it is not everything. She elaborated, “Work is a core component of our existence, our identity, our financial independence, and ultimately, our overall well-being. A happy workplace where people feel valued can increase productivity and innovation and reduce unwanted outcomes like employee absenteeism, workplace grievances and staff turnover.”

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Accessing the full report, how was satisfaction classified/measured? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this method?
  2. What are the likely causes of the job satisfaction findings of this study?
  3. Using an example from the private sector of a major city that you are familiar with, how might dissatisfied workers be motivated? What is the likely impact if these workers are not managed appropriately? 
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Chapter 2: Commonwealth Bank's diversity and inclusion strategy...

...continues to be heralded as an example of Australian best practice. Having been awarded the LGBTI Employee Network of the Year in the Australian Workplace Equality Index awards, and the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) continues to create a positive, inclusive and respectful work environment which enhances their business (https://www.commbank.com.au/cr-report2016/cs-fair.html).

According to the CBA webpage (https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/opportunity-initiatives/opportunity-from-good-business-practice/our-approach-to-diversity.html) diversity and inclusion are an integral part of CommBank’s vision, culture, values and the way they do business. Adhering to a zero tolerance threshold of discrimination, bullying or harassment in the workplace, this success is underpinned by their 2015-2017 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank/about-us/download-printed-forms/diversity-and-inclusion-plan.pdf), and Reconciliation Action Plan (https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/opportunity-initiatives/opportunity-from-good-business-practice/role-modelling-reconciliation.html).

Valuing the individuality, needs, different perspectives of staff, customers and wider community, the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (DIS) provides a roadmap to develop the company’s culture and touches on all areas of the business from recruitment, development, flexible work/leave arrangements and even to succession planning. The aim of this strategy is said to “leverage the unique backgrounds, perspectives and experiences of staff” so that the demands of their equally diverse customer base can be met. To build greater inclusion and awareness of many disadvantaged populations, the DIS has established five employee networks – Women Can (gender), AdvantAGE (life stages), Mosaic (cultural diversity), Reconciliation (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture), Unity (sexual orientation) and Enable (disability and accessibility allies). Each of these employee networked programs are championed by two members of the CEO and Executive Committee, and comprise key areas of focus that include diversity in leadership, inclusive culture, ‘you can be you’, flexibility, reputation and engagement.

Notable achievements under the Women Can program, which has received four consecutive employer of Choice for Gender Equality awards from its peak government agency, include exceeding its 2017 target of 30 per cent of Board positions and 40 per cent Group Executive positions being female. Further successful outcomes include the design and implementation of a bank-wide training module and deep-response training for 450 leaders and HR staff to help staff recognise and understand domestic and family violence. Additionally, significant changes have been made to their parental leave scheme which helps parents share responsibility. For example, secondary carers are now offered four weeks of paid leave rather than one, and a $1,500 return-to-work benefit to primary carers. As suggested by Ms Laing “We know that gender stereotypes can affect how parents share their responsibilities. We believe that this approach will help break down those stereotypes by offering our employees greater flexibility.”

Supporting CBA’s culturally enhancing Mosaic employee network has been the development of the Reconciliation network and the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Ensuring staff possess the appropriate cultural skills to build strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, businesses and communities, CBA has worked with BlackCard, a Supply Nation-certified business, to deliver the company’s Cultural Capability Framework. With the aim of achieving Indigenous employment parity within 10 years, company-wide participation in National Reconciliation Week and AIME’s National Hoodie Day, and more than 200 leaders engaging in the Bawaka Cultural Program, it is little wonder that CBA have already achieved 'Elevate' status, the highest level of endorsement from Reconciliation Australia. 

With so many external recognised awards, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia can rightly claim that “diversity and inclusion is an integral part of our culture, values and the way we do business” and use this as an important competitive advantage over other banks.  

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Using CBA’s website (https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/opportunity-initiatives/opportunity-from-good-business-practice/our-approach-to-diversity.html) identify with examples how the organisation is addressing different levels of workforce diversity.
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of CBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy?
  3. How has CBA developed cultural intelligence and what are the benefits to the organisation?
  4. In awarding organisations for the effectiveness of diversity management practice, what criteria might be used in awards to evaluate different submissions?
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Chapter 14: Meaner, leaner Townsville city council...

...announces a final element to the strategic growth and new organisational restructure of its council. After months of an independent review and extensive feedback, Townsville City Council (TCC) released details of a new Future Cities Office via a press release entitled “Restructure shapes progressive, leaner council” (https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2017/may/restructure-shapes-progressive,-leaner-council).   

Delivering on a key election commitment to the community, Mayor Cr Jenny Hill, argues that this “major structural reform is long overdue and makes sure the council is delivering for the community and pulling its weight in easing cost of living pressures.” Similarly, Council CEO Adele Young, suggests this restructure allows the council “to tackle unsustainable labour costs, cut red tape and duplication, and focus on the delivery of more efficient services to the community”.

While further details of Nous Group’s independent and organisational review are publicly available (see attachment), CEO Young believes the new structure, including the establishment of a vibrant and fully integrated strategic Future Cities Office, will remove “internal silos … [deliver] policy consistency, enhanced responsiveness and quicker and better outcomes for the community.”

Against a background of TCC being formed from an amalgamation of two councils in 2008 and recently struggling with debt and an inability to deliver on policy commitments, this restructure consolidates five divisions into three and largely reduces the depth and duplication of middle management. In practice it reduces management positions by nearly 40%, and converts 72 temporary roles to permanent positions. However, by not reviewing 186 temporary positions, largely back office and support functional roles, it was announced that voluntary redundancies will occur and as a very last resort involve involuntary redundancies. Adele Young confirmed that the workforce and unions had been fully involved in the process, and suggested that there will “be no impact on front line workers or services, and we will work with the workforce to make the change as smooth as possible” for a 3rd July implementation date.

With the establishment of the final element of the restructure, the Future Cities Office, it is argued that this strategic and integrated body will be best placed “to set a compelling economic and cohesive community direction for the city.”

In the last few years restructures appear a common yet cyclical process in all types of business organisation. Driven by management efficiency and sustainable gains, for the staff that remain they often mean ‘more work for less pay’ resulting in low morale. The big questions that remain for Townsville City Council are - will this restructure be any different and how will its effectiveness be measured?

 

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  1. How would you describe the operating environment of a typical council?
  2. Historically what type of organisational structure do council’s possess and why? What limitations commonly exist in comparison with smaller private businesses?
  3. What are the identified benefits and drawbacks of this restructure?
  4. Using the Nous Group’s Organisational Report ‘Review of Management Structure’ section and the six elements of an organisation’s structure, appraise the proposed restructure.  
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Chapter 1: Tomic's "I felt a little bit bored" comment...

...caused outrage in Australia and fury around the world. After his straight-sets loss in the first round of Wimbledon, Bernard Tomic stunned reporters in his post-match press conference by elaborating “I just couldn’t find any motivation” and was “a little bit bored out there’’. The Australian public and press reacted angrily to these comments with headlines such as “Just Go, Bernie”, “Have a crack or get out Bernie”, “Tomic ‘couldn’t care less’ if he fulfils his potential”, and “'Bored' Tomic bombs out of Wimbledon.”

However, there are two contrasting articles, both from the July 6th Herald Sun that form the focus and subject matter of this week’s blog. The first is the “He’s a Tomic Bum” article (p.5), written by Peter Rolfe and Cassie Zervos, which rightly asserts Tomic’s tennis performance on the day was both pitiful and a poor experience for a paying public. The match performance statistics reveal Tomic won just four per cent of return points and no rally went beyond four shots. Clearly this was a very one sided and quick match. Yet in this woeful losing performance, Tomic still earned $65,000 in 84 minutes, or to be precise more than $761 a minute and $387 a point. When questioned about his effort, he elaborated “I couldn’t care less …. I’m going to play another 10 years, and I know … I won’t have to ever work again.”  This mirrored a similar attitude one year earlier, when questioned on a racket handle match point return, he added “would you care if you were 23 and worth over ten million dollars?”

On the latest saga, hardworking Australian public were once again appalled with his attitude and motivation with one forklift truck driver complaining “I earn $50,000, and I work hard. He’s just in it for the money, and his attitude is embarrassing.” Similarly, riled former players such as Martina Navratilova labelled him “disrespectful”, Aussie doubles champion Rennae Stubbs “a disgrace" to tennis and Australia, and Pat Cash said “A lot of ex-players are cringing” at his latest comments. Tomic’s capitulation and attitude coincides with Australia’s worst Wimbledon campaign in 79 years.

The second article, by Andrew Bolt entitled “Honest Tomic is brutally modern” (p.13), accepts the same facts but creates a different point of view.  Questioning the nature and scale of the scandal, Bolt raises similar feelings with his own job, and suggests “isn’t life an endless struggle to find something meaningful to do before it’s all over?” He in fact argues that as a young 24 year old, Tomic actually asks a very logical and sane question - why tennis? While money appears to be his primary motive, is that any different from anyone else?

Indeed Bolt suggests Tomic is in fact very modern, honest and open, and describes him as just being “brutal, frank, mercenary, self-absorbed … deaf to any romantic or moral cause worth playing for”. Again, is this any different from any other Australian 24 year old? Perhaps the only sins he has committed is questioning former player’s dedication to tennis as their purpose in life, although this did not appear to be his intent within the interview, and popping the spectator fantasy, “that players play for their fans or country and not for themselves.” 

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Which organisational behaviours, disciplines, processes are the focus of this blog? Which disciplines have limited application to Tomic’s scenario?
  2. If you were managing Tomic as an organisation or commodity, what plan would you suggest and why? What controls would you put in place?
  3. How is the sport industry context different from others? What are the implications of this for managing organisational behaviours?
  4. How are the two articles different? Which perspective would you best subscribe to and why?
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Chapter 13: Cricket Australia's bitter dispute...

...needs to be resolved by the end of June otherwise the Australian Ashes could literally be in the ashes. Brydon Coverdale’s ESPN report, “Australia's pay dispute: Where to from here?” (http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/1101133.html), discusses how time is quickly running out to establish a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) between Cricket Australia (CA) and its players union (Australian Cricketer’s Association - ACA), and what three image damaging scenarios could eventuate.

The heated and very public dispute has been running for a few months now with both sides threatening action, including an email from CA CEO James Sutherland that insisted sign or risk unemployment (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/cricket/cricket-australia-threatens-internationals-to-sign-pay-proposal-or-risk-unemployment/news-story/32bbf374244e0eddf9a8052ed704dd81). Coverdale suggests that from rigid negotiating starting positions the tension and chasm between the two parties is currently at “Grand Canyon proportions”. Indeed CA’s latest video release to explain their case, was immediately classified by former Test player Ed Cowan as “nothing more than a piece of propaganda” (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-31/cricket-australia-pay-dispute-is-bbl-actually-losing-money/8576448).

With players voicing their collective solidarity towards their ACA view of not changing the 20 year revenue sharing model, what are the three scenarios Coverdale suggests could happen? First, agreement could be reached, but this “would require either significant compromise on both sides, or a capitulation on one.” Regardless, resentment and mistrust of the other party would exist, and a fractious relationship going forward would be a virtual given.

The second option is more likely, where both parties agree to a temporary compromise. As a previously used CA tactic in 2011, Coverdale proposes that the current MoU could be rolled over for one more year. While this might be used as a temporary means to buy more time and avoid male players becoming uncontracted free agents, it does not address an unchartered female MoU, and the inevitable disagreements need to be negotiated anyway.

Thirdly, the scenario could be no agreement. This is the great unknown and worst case scenario for both parties. This could mean some of the best Australian cricketers in effect be unemployed in Australia but be free agents to search out very lucrative cricketing and new sponsorship opportunities overseas. Furthermore, since half of Australia's domestic players are on multi-year contracts, it would mean CA fielding a very weak national team in future fixtures.

Coverdale concludes that this would be the ultimate and greatest disaster of all, particularly as it would directly affect the biggest Australian cricket event of 2017, the home Ashes series. If the series is cancelled or Australia field a sub-standard team, the reputation of cricket, both worldwide and nationally, would be tarnished and negative financial implications would clearly follow. For the good of all, this conflict has to be resolved as soon as possible, but how?

 

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  1. Using the video within the ESPN report (http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/1101133.html), summarise the types and loci of conflict at work, and describe the position of each party.
  2. How would you suggest the negotiation process be initiated and the conflict be resolved?
  3. Would you use third-party negotiators, if so who, how and why?
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Chapter 12: Victorian politics just get...

...hotter and hotter. In recent years there have been eight reviews into Victoria’s fire services, and as the long running political battle between Daniel Andrews, Victoria’s Premier, and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) continues, Peter Hunt suggests “CFA split ‘fight’s not over yet’, Daniel Andrews warned” (http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/cfa-split-fights-not-over-yet-daniel-andrews-warned/news-story/e4629dd28bf3d4ea638f9be2607f4398). Summarising the latest dispute, the state government is trying to restructure the CFA, a voluntary and community based fire and emergency service organisation, to redraft and deliver a controversial United Firefighters Union enterprise agreement, which was previously opposed by volunteers and blocked by the Federal Government.

However Daniel Andrews is introducing new legislation to parliament to establish a new Fire Rescue Victoria agency, which will make the CFA a volunteer-only body, create a new Fire Services Commissioner, and establish a new panel to advise on fire boundaries. (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/cfa-restructure-daniel-andrews-offers-firefighters-cancer-compo-to-dismantle-cfa/news-story/cd70ac263ef35a6a921b5b235bed5b82). Among other things, this bill provides more power for the United Firefighters Union, relegates the volunteers to the fringes of power, and offers paid firefighters cancer compensation to dismantle the 160 year old CFA organisation. But as identified by Johnston and Galloway (Herald Sun) this “extraordinary decision will mean that MPs who do not support the establishment of Fire Rescue Victoria would have to vote down presumptive rights [Cancer compensation] for firefighters.”

Indeed in an additional editorial opinion piece in the Herald Sun, under the headline “Daniel Andrews plays politics with cancer to split fire services” (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/daniel-andrews-plays-politics-with-cancer-to-split-fire-services/news-story/74f372a4d013b9aab2e1b852b6ea0bb7) the newspaper argues that the premier “is playing a shameful political game with cancer in order to ram through his legislation to split the state’s fire services”. It reads “If you thought this Victorian Premier could not possibly stoop any lower in his dogmatic push to deliver more power to the United Firefighters Union and undermine volunteer CFA members, his decision to fold a cancer compensation bill into legislation to establish a new Fire Rescue Victoria agency shows there are no limits to his arrogance, contempt and autocracy.”

On the one hand Daniel Andrews believes the legislation “will facilitate the CFA being what it should have always been - a purely volunteer service.” On the other hand Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria chief executive Andrew Ford argues such legislation “will both undermine community safety and cost taxpayers and their households an arm and a leg.” Elaborating further Owen O’Keefe, a volunteer CFA member for over 40 years, said “Daniel Andrews is treating volunteers with contempt …. If this goes ahead volunteers will see their work isn’t valued and it will be difficult to maintain numbers.” Although O’Keefe is “disappointed and sad the Andrews’ Government has caved in to the union’s demands, without any consultation with volunteers” he adds “the fight’s not over yet. It has to get through Parliament.”

It appears that while the Coalition, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and Democratic Labour Party have lined up behind the volunteers, they only hold 19 votes in the 40 seat Upper House. The fuming CFA’s 60,000 skilled volunteers, about 95 per cent of Victoria’s firefighting force, are urgently calling upon Opposition and independent MPs to block the CFA restructure in Parliament’s Upper House. Only time will tell if volunteers manage to persuade a 20th MP to vote in favour of them and block the Government’s latest reforms.

 

Consider the following tasks/questions for discussion…

  • What sources of power are being used by the Government and what alternatives would be preferable? Why?
  • How might you decide whether Daniel Andrews political action is ethical?
  • Identify the possible causes and consequences of political behaviour in this scenario.
  • What power tactics and specific actions could the CFA volunteers use to persuade Opposition or independent MPs to vote against this legislation?
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Chapter 11: First rung leadership opportunities...

...offered in a growing and global brand in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. Auto & General are a relatively new company in Australia. Being launched in 2000, the company has quickly grown “to provide industry leading motor, home, travel, life, and health insurance products both directly through Budget Direct and via industry leading partnerships.”

Using Australia’s number one job employment, career and recruitment website SEEK to promote two new team leadership positions, one permanent and one temporary, the advert “Team Leader Support Services” suggests an excellent remuneration package and outstanding benefits to the right candidates. On the back of a new set of strategic drivers, refreshed vision and purpose, these positions are focussed on leading and managing the Support Services operational teams of Motor Assessing. Specifically these leadership roles have been established to achieve company targets that align with the strategic objectives of the Claims and Assessing unit of Auto & General.

While key accountabilities cited in the advert include leadership and development of a team of support staff, this will entail cross-training of team-members to sustain a flexible workforce, creating team and individual operator KPI’s, managing tools for monitoring and tracking productivity, and conducting process and systems training for staff.

With a strong drive towards internal and external customer focus, required qualifications and experience to fulfil these leadership roles are perhaps not surprisingly, previous team leader or equivalent experience. This is described as a proven ability to lead and motivate people, an ability to effectively analyse and resolve problems, as well as underpinning all activities via a core focus on customer outcomes and relations. In essence, the person to be appointed needs to be an exceptional communicator, be comfortable with creating and using data to inform decision-making, be a problem solver with a calm demeanour, and be excellently skilled at disarming conflict and managing complaints.

In return, the company is providing the opportunity to join a world class organisation with more than 8.9 million customers, a great company culture with an enviable work/life balance, as well as an excellent remuneration package in sunny Brisbane. Sounds great and direct from being a university student, eh?

 

Consider the following questions for discussion…

  • How could knowledge of leadership theories be applied to submitting an application for these team leader positions?
  • What do you understand by “cross-training of team-members to sustain a flexible workforce” and how would you create trust in leading this aspect of the role?
  • Specifically what examples could you provide to demonstrate some leadership experience throughout your last three years? In being creative AND truthful, identify examples of the outcomes of your leadership actions.
  • With so much creative resume development and interview claims, how would you   assess leadership competence from interview candidates?
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