The organization of work
Mrs. Price’s position at the “Shack” also became untenable due to the increased responsibility and workload placed upon her. She was rendered impotent to resolve the additional workload due to Mr. Fraser’s attitude towards over time, where he believed that there was enough time during the work hours to finish off the backlog if the staff did not take tea breaks any time they wanted. Firstly a hierarchical structure was established from the outset of the changes in the system.
Mrs. Price became the record keeping manager where she had to give orders to the other four clerks with whom she had work for years as a team mate, this gave Mrs Price an element of control and authority. Secondly the hierarchical structure was reinforced by the location of “knowledge” contained within the management group; this began with Mr. Fraser having meetings with the Regional Management Service Organisation and Methods (O & M) and MRO and with some other Hospital department and also his periodic checks on Mrs. Price’s office.
These kind of activities led to bad feelings on both sides and also when he discovered missing cards (management key), and the staff used to refer to him as ‘the bloodhound’. It took
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Morgan suggests that organizations can be seen as “information-processing brains” he states that: “Organizations are information systems. They are communications systems. And they are decision-making systems. ” The Medical Records at Anersley Hospital scenario and its organizational functioning depended greatly on information processing; this is evident from the fact that Mr. Fraser, the O&M clerks and Mr. Littlewood had regular meetings, where they discussed the new “filing record system”.
But Mr. Fraser was the architect of the master plan, and he made the decision on which, what? And where? Issues. This approach to their organization implementation reflects the brain metaphor. Further Herbert Simon’s theory of decision-making suggests that organizations can be viewed as: “Institutionalized brains that fragment, routinize, and bound the decision-making process in order to make it manageable. ” This again is evident by the way Mrs Price tried to performed tasks based on the decision-making process (the new position that she has got when they changed the environment (building) in order to manage and keep in line with the file record keeping.
But unfortunately she could not make decision and give orders because she was used to another system in which she had worked for thirty years (and it was very hard for her to change in such a short time). Morgan also suggests that Karl Pribram’s of Stanford University view of organizations is equally valid in which he suggests: “The brain functions in accordance with holographic principles: that memory is distributed through out the brain and can thus be reconstructed from any of the parts. ”
When we compare this image to the Medical Records at Anersley Hospital scenario it is evident through use of a Rota system and the interchangeable ability of each staff for each of the task, that the knowledge/memory is indeed distributed through the whole organization. It can also be seen that the staff were trying to make impression and schedules in a way that made them look busier that they actually were. This happened when they asked Mr. Fraser for some over time, in order to get the work done.
But he replied that they need to work properly by not talking so much and having less tea break when ever they wanted. This also reflected the budgeting problems where he did not want to spend from his current budget for the staff over time. All the “new” stuff was identified with the responsibilities and their objectives associated with their role and the team, in the new way that was supposed to lead them to the value of the achievement of their responsibilities and objectives. This has happened in the new place where Mrs.
Price was assigned a new post, also to her assistants were given new orders, goals. As sociologist Max Webber has noted, “Legitimacy is a form of social approval that is essential for stabilizing power relations. ” The other main reason why Mr. Fraser was pushing them so hard was to achieve his own aim of getting promoted hence showing private motivation through organizational act. The political metaphor emphasizes that organizational goal was rational for some staff but not for others. The Aversely Hospital embraced such rationality as some staff member were in pursuit of achieving personal goals.
The challenge for staff came from inside the system: in the form of ‘just-in-time’ method where the entire file keeping system was done just before the file was needed. By building a system that relied on high quality and high volume of work being performed at every stage, thus the system should have been error free. Such a nature of the physic prison, favoured ways of thinking and acting which become traps that confine the individual staff within, socially constructed worlds that prevented the emergence of other departments.
The staff used detailed myths, rituals, and modes of involvement in everyday work to defend themselves against consciousness of their vulnerability. The jobs on which the men (assistants) were involved are harder then the women’s, where Mrs. Price’s new job was even easer then it was on the “shack” department. Structures, rules, behaviours and patterns of culture that define the system were not just corporate phenomena. All these aspects are very personal. Mr.
Fraser changed these aspects of the system hence he mobilising all kinds of opposition as individuals and groups tried to defend themselves and their social life at work. I also believe that the new department and the new plan for record keeping was unsuccessful because the habit of working in the bad system had the compensation of allowing many workers to leave some of their own sense of sadness in the system, because they hated their work.
My Personal View I think that Mrs.Price should have played a major part in the design and implementation of the new system. She should have been there from the meetings stages right through to instructing her staff. And as part of the failure, I think the main victim was Mrs. Price because she was unhappy throughout and after the changes, and also the fact that she has worked there for thirty years it was hard or her to adjust to the new system when she knew that her retirement was soon due. So she did not respect and worked as hard for her new position.
The other option would have been that Mr. Fraser, to achieve good results, could have given more freedom to the staff. Also the fact that Mr. Fraser has full support from his seniors i. e Mr. Littlewood. Mr. Fraser should have converted a small amount of the budget into promotions, patronage, threats, promises or favour to buy loyalty, service and support of the staff. Although filing procedures were not very different in the new department, the overall mode of operation of the department was considerably streamlined and more efficient in concept.
Mr. Fraser felt that his concern before the move, in getting people trained in advance had helped them get used to the changed physical layout and conditions, and to the new standards that he hoped to introduce. Also before moving, Mr. Fraser gave the instruction to Mrs. Price to instruct her stuff not realising that they were passive and did not take a notice. Faced with such issues, Mrs. Price requested Mr. Fraser to let her staff work half an hour’s overtime each evening for a week to clear the back-log. Mr.
Fraser refused, with the words ‘If the staff spent less time chatting and got on with the job they’re paid to do, there’d be no problem – the O & M team didn’t recommend any overtime’. Although her staff several times again mentioned this solution to her, Mrs. Price was never willing to raise the matter again. This kind of behaviour shows that Mr. Fraser was not part of the team and that he did not trust his co-workers. Mr. Fraser should have realised that not every employee is will to work etra and that he was lucky to have such a team.
Giving an extra half and hour would have been a good idea as during the movement there would have been a great deal of time loss. And I think that Mr. Fraser did all the changes to quick including changing their social life such as changing the way staff worked at the “Shack”, it probably made them feel like they started a new job. Conclusion “Improvements in productivity of 25% to 50% have been demonstrated when employers are willing to engage their employee and create an environment where employee motivation is the norm not the exception. ”
This case study is a clear indication of a lack of management and breakdown of a well structured system through changes that were not well planned. It should be realised that employees demand more from the employers now, wanting both a job that can secure their financial situation and give them job satisfaction, supporting Masbow’s theory of self actuabisation (Huczynski & Bucimamman, 2001, 241). Some writers claim that we are moving towards a “leisure society”, a “post-industrial society”, which both implies changes in both the organization of work and in the work ethics (Noon & Blyton, 2002, 68-70).