Case Analysis: Employee Attitudes
1. Which of Schwartz’s 10 values are driving the behavior of managers at Bain & Company, Home Depot, and Best Buy? Provide examples to support your conclusions.
Bain’s management is driven by he Schwartz’s values of power and self- direction. In a downturn, he chose to go against the grain and take advantage of the situation, hiring people instead of laying off which allows him to snatch up recently unemployed or underemployed quality candidates. His approach is clever and keeps him ahead of the competition. He also spreads out from the market in recession and looks for opportunities in emerging ones. In the case of Home Depot, the management is driven by universalism, lowering the target goals for the employees so they can more easily achieve bonuses when business isn’t booming. This also touches on security, in that they are building loyalty and dedication within their workers.
Best Buy chose to bring their employees into being part of the solution. The value of universalism is seen here as they encourage their workers to think globally to solve a problem. While I understand that this approach has value, making employees part of the solution fosters a feeling of team spirit and working together, I believe it could also backfire, leaving employees feeling they must help solve company financial issues or they could be left without a job. I am not sure Best Buy’s approach is enough.
1. How would you describe Steve Ellis’s affective, cognitive, and behavioral components of his attitude toward managing in a recession? Be specific.
Steve Ellis’s attitude toward managing in a recessions contains an affective component, reflecting emotions and feelings towards his ideas. His affective component is positive, optimistic and enthusiastic. His cognitive component, which reflects his beliefs about this situation, is shown as his belief that doing the counter intuitive thing by hiring and expanding to other markets will result in better power and profit, regardless of the recession and certainly when the market recovers. His behavior component, how he plans to act in this situation, is clever, insightful and strategic based on experiences and instincts he has gain during his career.
2. How are Home Depot and Best Buy trying to increase employee involvement? Home depot and Best Buy are trying to increase employee involvement in similar and also different ways. Home Depot cut the targets employees needed to hit to achieve a bonus, allowing the bonus to still be possible in an economic downturn. They are ultimately creating loyalty and a feeling of working for a company that values and understands its employees. Best Buy is bringing their employees into the management process by taking their feedback and using that to create processes and policies that help manage costs during the recession. This also can create loyalty and a sense that the company values the employees.
3. Use Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (Figure 6–3) to analyze how managers can increase employee performance during a recession. Be sure to explain what managers can do to affect each aspect of the theory.
Managers must first change the employees attitude about their work. They can create engagement by seeking feedback, making employees a part of the solution. They can create a level of loyalty and a feeling of being respected by being honest about the company’s financial state, long term goals and challenges. They can also do as Jet Blue did and show the employees that everyone is affected, from the highest ranks, by lessening salaries at the top and spreading the negative impact fairly throughout the organization. Next they need to convince the employees that the behaviors they want the employees to harbor are important to the employees.
They can do this by tracking process and showing them results of the behaviors, keeping communication open to allow updates, bringing the employees into the process so that they understand the bigger picture impact of their individual and group behavior. Finally, they must convince the employees that they have some control over the outcome. Show them that every change has an impact and give them some decisions to make. Allow them to choose between equally important processes.
4. Based on what you learned in this chapter, what advice would you give to managers trying increase employees’ organizational commitment? I believe that a good manager has the ability to inspire individuals and teams, has a strong ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses in individuals and teams and capitalize on the strengths while lessening the impact of the weaknesses. Managers must always communicate the goals and objectives, repeating often to keep the focus on them.
They must recognize achievement with pay, but also recognize the other things that drive and motivate employees, like awards. In my company, sales people are always rewarded for high achievement with money, but many of the other teams appear more satisfied with awards relating to recognition, promotion, sitting on committees, etc. Managers must foster teamwork, and allow working conditions that give a good work life balance. They should encourage work to be a fun, fulfilling part of the employees’ lives, not a job.