SECTION A (60)
Read the case study below and answer the questions that follow:
MOST OF YOUR LIFE IS SPENT WORKING – YOU OUGHT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME DOING IT
Many chief executives focus on creating shareholder value and devote their attention primarily to customers. Branson believes that the correct pecking order is employees first, customers next and then the shareholders. His logic is this: If your employees are happy, they will do a better job. If they do a better job, the customers will be happy and thus business will be good and the shareholders will be rewarded. Branson regularly takes entire flight crews out to dinner and parties when he arrives on a Virgin Atlantic flight. He even stays at the crew’s hotel rather than in expensive hotels away from the crew. He gives every Virgin employee a Virgin card, which provides big discounts on the airline as well as at Virgin Mega stores and other Virgin businesses.
To illustrate, while on holiday on his private Caribbean island, he brought 20 Virgin employees from the various group companies. These were operational employees and not senior executives and included a housekeeper, a reservations clerk, and a pilot to mention a few. They were invited as a result of excellent performance – this is a regular perk for Virgin employees. As Branson notes “The idea is to have fun,but by talking to employees, you learn a lot as well.” He attends as many orientations for new staff as possible in order to set the tone and send the message: “Get out there and have a good time. Really enjoy yourself; because most of your life is spent working and you ought to have a great time doing it.”
He is frequently on the road to visit Virgin businesses, talking with employees and customers. He is known for his ever-present notebook and pen, which he pulls out during these conversations. Branson insists that talking and writing down is a crucial element in his role as chairman. His writings create lists of items for immediate action. He reads mail from employees every morning before he does anything else. This habit, which he started in Virgin’s early days, influences company-employee dynamics even today. Employees do not hesitate to air their grievances directly with him.
Branson has proved with his actions that he actively listens. Virgin has more than 15,000 employees around the world, and he gets some 50 e-mail messages every day from non-managerial employees. These vary from small ideas to frustrations with middle management to significant proposals. He addresses each concern by answering personally or by initiating some action. Branson states “instead of needing a union when they have a problem, employees come to me. I will give the employee the benefit of the doubt on most occasions.”
The culture demands that people are given far more accountability and responsibility at an earlier age. The role of a more senior person is to help the more junior person, rather than instructing employees what to do task by task. The structure of all Virgin companies tends to be very flat so quite often there is no junior person at all. The Virgin group has always done things its own way emphasizing Virgin values, Virgin brand, Virgin spirit and Virgin people.
They believe in making a difference in their customers’ eyes, Virgin stands for value for money, quality, innovation, fun and a sense of competitive challenge. They deliver a quality service by empowering their employees and by facilitating and monitoring customer feedback to continually improve the customer’s experience through innovation.
“Virgin people are easy to identify. They act in unusual ways as it’s the only way they know how – but it’s not forced, it’s natural. They are honest, cheeky, questioning, amusing, confident, and intelligent and prepared to take a risk – they are smart!” Virgin is a diverse organization so there are no set personality profiles for being a Virgin person. However, Virgin is a fast-moving environment so they tend to recruit people who like to be given responsibility, scope to try new ideas and who can cope with being thrown in at the deep-end.
The Virgin philosophy on people management is:
· we know what kind of people we want and we work hard to recruit the best.
· We train them properly.
· We allow them freedom to be themselves.
· We trust them to make the right decisions, and the odd mistake is tolerated.
· We believe in karma – we’re loyal to them and they’re loyal to us.
Branson states: “Loyalty means a lot to me. Working with people I know and trust makes me feel secure. I guess that’s why I prefer to promote from within. People who join Virgin know that there are plenty of opportunities to progress their career.”
Adapted from the Virgin Group Home page at http:www.virgin.com/
With reference to the evidence in the case study, evaluate the type of behavioural management approach used by Branson.
critically discuss the culture of the Virgin group. Your discussion must include the formation of organisational culture and its effect on the performance and satisfaction of employees.
QUESTION 3 (20)
“He reads mail from employees every morning before he does anything else. This habit, which he started in Virgin’s early days, influences company-employee dynamics even today.” Analyse and discuss Branson’s leadership style using relevant theory.
SECTION B (40)
QUESTION 4 (20)
Read the scenario below and answer the question that follows.
John Zulu is a manager at one of five furniture outlets of Creative Furniture. He has five sales executives who are highly motivated to work together. In an attempt to increase sales to exceed those of the other outlets, he decided to talk to each of the sales executives independently to tell them “I have decided on a goal for you to increase your sales every month. I have full confidence in your capabilities and believe you can achieve the target I have set. Feel free to consult me if you need.”
Using the relevant theory, evaluate the effectiveness of John Zulu’s approach to motivate the performance of the sales executives and suggest an alternative approach that he may use to enhance their performance.
QUESTION 5 (20)
Jones, George and Hill (2013) observe that “organizational conflict is the discord that arises when the goals, interest or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and these individuals or groups block or thwart each other’s attempts to achieve their objectives.”
However, in practice, there are many managers who promote conflict in their organisations.
Assessment 5: Organizational Behaviour –Manosa- Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management
This assessment task is based on the case study about organizational conflict. There are two sections in the task A and B. Section A comprises of a case study and three questions. Section B comprises of another case study and 2 questions. The student is required to read the case study thoroughly and answer the questions appropriately.
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