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Leadership: Affecting Change

This paper presents the present scenario of S & F Online with the prevailing informal group and later, largely discussed as one formal group. The formal organization shall be tackled within the context of the challenges assigned to this COO to consolidate operations by streamlining the online operations, increasing the reach of the Online Sales Channel, and making S & F Online a profitable Strategic Business Unit.

This COO maps out the plan to carry out his strategies in assiduous consideration of the following: to restructure the department to improve organizational culture while seeing to the empowerment of every employee; to address the effects of structure and management tactics on developing power and politics on the formal and informal networks: how the size and new structure could affect organization as well as individuals, groups, and teams, and the future of the company; and what management practices would be most effective and why.

The discussion progresses by presenting the current organizational situation immediately followed by the recommended formula – the institution of a boundaryless, organic, and a spiritual organization, utilizing the social exchange theory and acceptable influence exercising legitimate and expert power. A schema is presented at the end of the discussion. The

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close-knit relationships in the informal groups that develop over time are the hard nuts to crack in organizations particularly when the workers become “unwilling” to cooperate.

Studies of organizations over the decades have been heavily focused primarily on man, the most important resource in any organization. Aside from the formal organization, there emerge the informal groups sometimes, also the psychological group. These are the invisible cohesive, social sub-structures that can become invincible that influence the organizational culture. In addition, it is from the informal groups that leaders emerge.

This COO is initially confronted with “intruding” into the informal groups more than the formal groups especially that resentment of the employees is felt and discerned. This COO views the situation as demanding but definitely challenging and requiring psychological effort to his leadership abilities and management decisions. The launch pad starts by identifying the power centers in the informal groups. The Marketing Manager, at the instance of this new Chief Operating Officer, becomes the gateway to “enter” the clique territories.

S & F Online is a relatively small unit with only fourteen personnel – a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a Chief Operating Officer (COO), three managers (Project or PM, Marketing or MM, and Logistics or LM), 3 team members of the Logistics team (LT), and six members of the web development team (WDT). On the overall, the PM is able to win everyone in the organization as a “friend’ beyond the organization. He is at the power center of either the formal or social sub-structures at S & F Online. In effect, he calls the shots in both groups. LM comes next after PM.

Under the present situation, the organizational culture gives the impression that the PM is in control of the whole small organization and if carried on, will simply undermine the presence of the COO. One thing is assuredly important in viewing organizations: there is no one best method to approaching an organization. However, one can effectively manage and lead an organization by picking out the best practices based and “choice cuts” on the theories and principles that have emerged from the findings of numerous empirical studies on organizations and management with human behavior at the core.

With these tools as springboard for deciding, this COO is well on its way to the most pragmatic yet effective mix of organizational structure, management tactics, and leadership styles to ensure attainment of S & f Online targets. WDT and LT are situated in their respective work specializations and departmentalized as their team names suggest. While the first quarter “looked promising” (Leadership in Action simulation), work specialization does not guarantee that either employee satisfaction or higher productivity will not diminish or suffer if prolonged (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p. 560).

In the long run, employee satisfaction may wear out cascading into productivity decline. It is real to assume that repetitiveness, routine, and narrow tasks lead to boredom and tiredness and hardly personally gratifying. Robbins and Judge (2007, p. 560) claim that the present workforce scenario “has become more highly educated and desirous of jobs that are intrinsically rewarding, the point at which productivity begins to decline seems to be reached more quickly than in decades past. ” Workers who are aggressively for personal growth and diversity will demonstrate downbeat behaviors when kept in compartmentalized narrow and routine tasks.

The other thing to be mindful about is that the present structure limits and controls what the team members do in their respective teams. A relatively high formalization and specialization among other considerations, Robbins and Judge (2007, p. 570) further notes, give employees little autonomy. Limited specialization with low formalization ensures greater employees’ freedom and more autonomy. Addressing this particular area of concern is the institution of a boundaryless organization adopting a corresponding organic model.

Under this new organizational set up, the workers are empowered which is the organization’s ticket to high performance, satisfaction, and autonomy. Given the small size of S & F Online, the organizational design proposed is a shift from the team structure that characterizes its present stature into the “loose and amorphous boundaryless organization” using the organic model (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p. 552-4). Using the organic model is not merely in consideration of its newness simply to be in as following a fashion of organizational structure but surely because of its suitability and propriety in the nature of the business – online.

In addition, the apparent organizational benefits of a boundaryless and organic framework meet the size of S & F Online. A boundaryless design also referred to as technology-based, while empowering the teams, gets rid of the chain of command, vertical and horizontal boundaries, takes on a limitless span of control, and characterized by a flat hierarchy. The gaps between status and rank are narrowed down through the installation of the cross-functional teams. The teams are situated on a cross hierarchy replacing the functional and narrow departments of the LT and WDT and asserts participative decision-making.

Activities are organized around processes no longer through the former functional departments so that teams coordinate work. LT and WDT will be working in a single process instead of the usual logistics members-for-logistics only and web development members-for web-development only. Performance evaluation-wise, team members and managers alike are evaluated by those up and those under each team member or manager using the 360-degree performance appraisal (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p.

553). Annual budgets will correspond precisely on the online processes and not anymore on functions or team-department. S & F going boundaryless considers rotating the managers and team members making them “generalists” not “specialists” anymore (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p. 554). In the long run, external barriers are knocked down such as customers and geography especially so that S & F Online optimistically views to increasing its reach of the Online Sales Channel.

When this happens and management so desires, customers can become management partners of S & F, such as with the strategy of AT & T, when employees are given bonuses resulting from the customer evaluations of their service (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p. 554). Telecommuting in the future will have a boundary knockdown upshot. A good organizational culture knows no boundaries with a meticulous and tactful mindfulness of empowering its employees through an orientation making clear-cur strategic direction and intent leading to an ambiguous-free vision that is recognizable and strong (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p.

577). How to realize the discussed strategy requires power to influence workers including those who are resistant and resentful. According to Yukl (2006, p. 158) which is very relevant to S & F Online, “It is much easier for leaders to influence culture in small, newly formed organizations than in large established ones, and once a strong culture has been established it is difficult to change.

” In addition, because S & F Online is young and small, it is yet less entrenched to the culture, thus it is also easier to communicate its new values. Much can be learned from the Social Exchange Theory in trying to acquire power. The theory elucidates that “the amount of status and power accorded a person is proportionate to the group’s evaluation of the person’s potential contribution relative to that of other members” (Yukl, 2006, p. 158-159).

Such a person’s potential contributions that will gain him trust, approval, respect, esteem, and more influence appreciated by the members through (preferably repetitive) acts such as dispensation of good and sound judgment, initiative, skills/abilities in dealing with critical task problems, innovative proposals that prove successful, access to vital information, the credible and trustworthy source of information, inferences, and predictions, and intelligent decisions on scarce resources.

Yukl’s (2006, p. 164-169) useful influence tactics are worth using as aide-memoire to “silently” but quite assuredly influence and persuade people by using one or a combination of the tactics depending on the situation. The use of rational persuasion, collaboration, consultation, and occasionally, apprising, coalition tactics, and inspirational appeals are perceived to be rewarding rather than ingratiation, personal appeals, and legitimating tactics.

The use of pressure as an influence tactic is no longer appealing and may be resorted to as the last option when the pressure is so great and the situation is understood by every member. COO draws influence from legitimate authority being in position and expert power to evidence confidence and decisiveness at critical times. In addition, he must be well informed and continually scanning the environment for updates and predictions.

Such attributes and behaviors of the COO will become the radical change in a quiet way by role-modeling. Once achieved, the new organizational culture sets in. The organization workplace must be embedded in an atmosphere of spirituality (Robbins and Judge, 2007, p. 593) to counterbalance the stress of work and life, loneliness whether implicit or explicit, so that people feel involved and connected while integrating personal life values with the professional life.

It is providing community life by helping workers make meaningful lives within the workplace without necessarily encroaching on religion. It builds a culture that has a strong sense of purpose inspiring people; focuses on individual development where people continually learn and grow; plants the seeds of mutual trust and respect, honesty, and openness among workers; and provides humanistic work practices (Robbins and Judge 2007, p. 593-594). 17-5

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