Alpha Planning: Organization Analysis

Executive Summary

Alpha Planning is a successful company that has of late experienced an increase in their operations. This is attributed to the amalgamation of several small companies to form it. Despite the witnessed success, the company seems to be having some internal problems. Several workers have resigned while several others are submitting their resignation letters. This indicates that there are aspects of strain and dissatisfaction. This report wanted to identify the problems and hence come up with a solution that will assist improve the productivity of the members and reduce employee turnover.

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After a thorough analysis, it was found out that the employees in this organization were not motivated. Most of the factors in the organization did not work to promote their motivation. Secondly, there was found to be conflict between the workers and the management. This was attributed to the faulty communication that led to communication breakdowns. Teamwork has also failed to be installed in this organization. Some consultants do not have an idea of what another team is doing. Also, teams seem to report bullying which is a negative event that can lead to reduced productivity. Individual perceptions and conflicts seem to be another factor present in this organization. To some degree, part time workers feel that they are unprivileged in that they cannot afford to earn more even if they worked for more hours. Also, their time is limited because of the company’s policies which stipulate that all employees, irrespective of their terms of employment, must keep abreast with the LC news within similar amount of time. However, the targets set do not reflect the disparities in the time. Also, the coordination between the management and subordinates is completely lame. All this causes strain on the side of the workers.

However, studies and research indicate that these aspects of the organization are very important in the day to day activities of any organization. For instance, Forster points out that communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Without a good communication strategy, no organization can experience success. On its part, communication affects the motivation. Equally, motivation has been identified to be a prerequisite for any success. Consequently, this report identifies two important approaches that would result into changes within the organization. To begin with, the report calls for a total training program fro the management and the consultants. The management needs to be taught on how to improve on the communication channel, how to create and improve on their power and influence, how to motivate their employees and how to increase on their productivity through the improvement of the organizational culture. On their part, the consultants need to be trained on how they can work together as a team and avoid conflicts. Finally, organization structure should be addressed. For example, the bureaucracies should be reduced to increase communication. Also, the number of members in a team should be reduced to increase easy management. This will act as the only way forward for the organization.

Study Objectives

As mentioned above, Alpha Planning is an organization that is successful in terms of client base. Furthermore, it is a big organization that has hundreds of employees from different economic and cultural backgrounds. However, the organization is experiencing several problems leading to high employee turnover. Consequently, this report is designed to examine the root cause of these problems and hence identify the solutions that might help Alpha Planning meet these challenges. To facilitate this, the report entails a thorough examination of the organization’s management structure, individual differences, team working, motivation, communication, organization culture and power politics. The report seeks to come up with recommendations that will assist the organization to iron out the identified weaknesses so that the high employee turnover is contained.

Organization Analysis

Alpha Planning is a large organization that is experiencing successful time in terms of operations. Situated in Manchester, the company has witnessed an increase for its services after the various small organizations merged to make up the one big Alpha Planning. However, the organization is experiencing great problems in terms of organization behavior. Several workers in the organization are experiencing hard times and terrible working environment. This has led to a high employee turnover for the organization. Consequently, a deep analysis has shown several points of weaknesses in the organization. They are outlined in this section of the report.

Individual Differences and Perceptions

In this organization, several differences in the perceptions have been identified. To begin with, part time workers feel that full time workers are privileged and hence wish that they could also be given the opportunity to work full time. Other factors that lead to the individual differences come in terms of the number of employees within the organization. After the merger of several small companies, the current organization has very many employees with different backgrounds, both cultural and racial. The differences in such backgrounds might cause misunderstandings between an individual and another.

Team Working

Being a big team, team work plays an important roe in the coordination of the activities of the organization. Failure to facilitate team work can result to conflicts and competitions. Within Alpha Planning, there are several instances where the several workers are failing to work as a team. Although the management made a great positive step in dividing the various workers into small groups, team work has not been coordinated well. To begin with, there is lack of teamwork between the management and the consultants. The managers of the teams have been setting goals, sometimes unrealistic, without considering other factors that contribute to an individual’s productivity. For instance, the targets set for the consultants in winter and in summer are similar. In other instances, the targets do not put the different workers’ nature in consideration. Gail, for example, is given targets that are too much for her to meet and is later cautioned for her poor quality work. Some workers who cannot stand the pressure have eventually resorted to quit. A good example is Yvonne.

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In some occasions, the consultants have even failed to know what other consultants from other teams are doing. This is attributed to the size of the organization. In some circumstances, there has appeared a lack of team work between the managers and the consultants. For example, managers force the consultants to meet a given target in time and with great quality, however, they do not offer any assistance that would enable the consultants to meet the targets. This means that teamwork has not been fully streamlined within the organization.

Team work has also been impeded through reported cases of bullying. Workers are bullied in the teams. The only team that has not reported bullying is Scarlet team which has a small number of consultants.

Motivation

Many workers are not motivated. The management has failed to come up with a good motivation strategy. Their demotivation is characterized by the increasing number of resignations. In the recent past, many employees have resigned. Among those that have resigned include Yvonne and Jan who could not make the management understand that although they did not meet the target, they had tried their level best. Some employees feel that they are not given equal opportunities even though the organization is based on the policy of fairness and equality. Some consultants who might be productive but do not have architectural qualifications are subjected to low pay as the rate of payment is based on the architectural qualification of an individual. In addition, most consultants have not been happy about the issue of suspending targets in cases where a consultant becomes seek.

Another factor that might cause the perception of unfairness and hence demotivation include the reading of LC News. The company dictates that all workers have to read this news in an equal duration of time. This means that both part time workers and fulltime workers’ time to read this news is similar. Unfortunately, the management does not put this kin consideration when coming up with target setting. This perception of unfairness can lead to a worker being demotivated.

The organization however, must be commented for their decision to organize a committee that ensures that parties and lunches. This helps to increase bonding and togetherness.

Organizational Structure

The structure of Alpha Planning has loopholes that can create problems within the organization. One of the weaknesses is the reporting mechanism that has led to a communication breakdown. Starting with the CEO, the nine line managers, the team managers and the assistant team managers forms a very long line of management that can lead to a distortion of information by the time it reaches its destination. However, the decision to work in teams was a positive one. It makes manageability simple. The management should however develop mechanisms that will facilitate the teamwork and avoid conflicts that might arise within the teams. This can be facilitated by reducing the number of members in a team. A good example is Scarlet group which is small and subsequently with the best performance.

Communication

Though communication is a vital part of an organization, it is evident that this organization does not have a good organizational communication format. Many issues by the consultants fail to be addressed by the management. This also marks a point of weakness within the organization. One of the issues that have not been addressed by the management includes understanding workers. Yvonne and Jan try so had to make the managers understand that although they did not meet their targets, they had put in enough efforts. On the other side, Gail is provided with an unrealistic target to which she feels that she cannot meet. However, she feels that she cannot tell this to the management because they will not understand her. They will believe that this is just a characteristic of middle life crisis for her.

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The system of communication in this organization can also impede communication flow. For instance, the company structure dictates that only the nine managers report to the CEO. Down the line, team managers have to report to the respective managers. This stiff reporting structure could lead to dissatisfaction resulting from communication breakdown.

Organizational Culture

An organization’s culture can greatly impact on the productivity of the workers within it. The culture in this organization creates an environment of competition which can lead to the detriment of the organization. One of the cultures that breed competition is the mentoring of new recruits. According to this organization, consultants have to compete for the position of mentoring. This is attributed to the benefits that are associated to the position. Another culture that can breed competition is the compensation for over-performers. With great bonuses assigned to over-performers, people might fail to promote team work as they strive to emerge the best.

Any perception of injustice can lead to demotivation. In Alpha Planning, the most complex jobs and the jobs that come from customers that are difficult to please are given the scarlet team. On the other hand, Tamar is given simple tasks that require less involvement. If salary awarding scheme is based on the architectural qualification, it means that all the people working within the Scarlet team and who do not have architectural qualifications might be made to earn less in comparison to another worker in the Tamar team who has architectural qualifications. This can cause perception of injustice and hence demotivation.

Organizational Conflict

Conflicts are a normal part of a society. However, if the case escalates to a certain level, it becomes an impediment to the productivity of the organization. In this organization, there are several conflicts evident. There is a conflict between the management and the consultants. Managers fail to listen to the plights of the consultants. A good example is the case of Gail who has to break into tears because the management cannot understand that she cannot meet the set targets. Also, Jan and Yvonne have to quit because the management cannot understand the fact that they had not met their targets but they had worked hard enough.

Power & Politics

In this organization, power is vested on the management leaving little room for consultants to make decisions. Most of the performance decisions for consultants are made by the management without consultations with the consultations. However, when the workers come together, they can achieve a certain degree of negotiation power.

Analytical Review

On what foundation can the weaknesses identified above be addressed and how can one make recommendations to help the organization? The identified aspects of the organization that lead to weaknesses are heavy contributors to the high rate of employee turnover. This section will identify each section and how it implicates on the organization. For a successful organization, all of these sections must be balanced in order to ensure that the whole organization, starting from management to the employees at the lowest level of the ladder is motivated.

Given the situation above, it is clear the consultants have very little say on the decisions made concerning them. The power of decision making is completely centered on the management. However, this, according to Forster (2009) can be detrimental to employee motivation, organization creativity and the growth of employees. One of the theories that address this problem is the neoclassical theory of organizational behavior. This theory, which advocates for the wellbeing of the employee, has, as its main thesis the fact that change in the working conditions of an organization can have a positive or negative impact on the productivity of workers. This position was strengthened by the Hawthorne experiment which pointed out that a change in the lighting can have impact on the productivity of workers. What does this imply? It means that good conditions within an organization which improve the working condition of an organization increase the productivity of workers. While contributing on this theory, Simon, as quoted by Walonick (n.d.) argue that managerial attention is in itself enough to improve the production of workers. The theory finally emphasizes on the importance of equilibrium at the work place. This involves the control of both the environment and the workers (Land and Jarman 1992).

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The working environment at Alpha Planning is strenuous. Consultants are forced to meet targets that are beyond their ability. This is evidenced by the cases of Gail, Jan and Yvonne. Secondly, the management seems to be insensitive of the plight of the workers. Qing Qing has to burst into tears because of the management’s insensitivity to her case. This, according to the neoclassical theory of organizational behavior, is an impediment to the productivity of workers. Therefore, for Alpha Planning to gain maximum results from their employees, they must ensure that this issue is addressed.

The contingency theory also seeks to explain organizational behaviors and the motivating factors. In this theory, the issue of conflict is taken from a different perspective from the classical and neoclassical theories (Taylor 1917). The later two point on avoiding conflict while the contingency theory argues that conflicts are inevitable. The best approach is trying to address the conflict. According to this theory, good management should identify the changes within the organization and device means by which the changes could be addressed. Based on this theory, it is necessary that Alpha one identifies the changes that have occurred in the organization and know which changes could lead to dissatisfaction. Amalgamation of different organizations led to coming together of workers with different backgrounds. This is likely to lead to individual differences and conflicts (Wilson 1980).

Putting these theories in consideration, it is clear that the wellbeing of the consultants at Alpha Planning must be given priority. This will work for the better of the organization. As pointed out by the neoclassical theorists, a small change in the working environment can make big differences in their production. Equally, if the management of Alpha Planning adjusts some of the conditions within, it will experience great changes in motivation and productivity of consultants. First, the motivation of employees should be stepped up. According to Forster (2009), motivation is the key to the survival of any organization given the increasing competition and the increasing changes within the environment. He points out that work place motivation is the key to a workplace that is fun and motivated. With such characteristics, the number of employee turnover will be reduced greatly. This is what Alpha Planning needs. With increased motivation consultants will not keep resigning. Forster further puts emphasis on the issues of communication, cultural aspects, power politics, conflict within the work place and team management. He posits that without a good structure for an organization for these aspects, an organization cannot experience any success.

What, therefore, are the remedies for Alpha Planning? Is there a way that employee productivity and workplace environment can be improved? This report will identify remedies through which the company can achieve this.

Recommendations

After a thorough analysis of the weaknesses and strengths of the company, this report has come up with several recommendations for the company. These recommendations are founded on the company’s identified weaknesses. The following are the recommendations.

Management Training

Training of the management concerning the improvement of the working environment will be the first priority for Alpha Planning. The company management should be trained on how they can develop a good channel of communication. Forster (2009) identifies that communication is the life blood of any organization. Through communication, it is easy to integrate the activities of all the hundreds of workers and also coordinate the management systems of the organization. Specifically, the management should be trained on the communication skills, especially listening skills. This is according to Forster (2009) who argues that the largest number of people is only 25% skilled in listening. Secondly, the selective attention of a listener can cause a communication breakdown. And finally, the managers should be taught on how to develop rationality when handling situations. Alpha Planning especially needs such training because there are managers who do not have skills in handling people. A good example of these managers is Aaron Brown who has operational skills but has no people management skills of which communication is an integral part.

By streamlining their communication skills, many other aspects of the organization will have been addressed. For instance, when managers learn how to listen and communicate to the consultants, there will be reduced chances of cases like Jan’s, Yvonne’s and Qing Qing’s. Subsequently, the consultants will be motivated. Communication also helps in addressing individual conflicts and interdepartmental conflicts.

Secondly, the management must be taught how to manage power and politics. Leaders and managers need to be taught that power and politics are an important aspect of organizational management. Forster (2009) argues that genuine power is a product of empowering others. He further argues that power and influence of a leader is usually created through ensuring that their followers are empowered. Alpha Planning managers should be taught to understand the different forms of power and how this power can be used for influencing their followers. They should be taught about the expert power, reward power, coercive power. Emphasis should hence especially be laid on the reward power where consultant’s motivation will be boasted through the use of rewards. This will change the current use of architectural qualification as the tool for measuring one’s salary.

Changes in the Organization Structure

Forster (2009) argues that working in teams and as a team can greatly improve on the productivity of an organization. This is a step that has already been taken by Alpha Planning. However, Forster further argues that working in teams in itself does not guarantee success. Success results from the way the teams are handled or managed. Poor management can result into groups and not teams. Groups work together in a cluster but teams go beyond working together. They share knowledge work together in solution development. He further argues that putting together a team is not an issue. The way forward is developing structures that will assist the teams to increase in their productivity.

Implementation of Recommendations

Date Program Comments Responsible Body Cost in US $
1stJan Restructuring of the Organization Development of good management structures that promote good communication and reduction of the size of teams Davis & Davis Consultants
15thJan-20thJan Management Training The management will be trained on power and politics Davis & Davis Consultants 5000
15thFeb- 20thFeb Management training The management will be trained on communication Davis & Davis Consultants 5000
13thApr- 18thApr Management training Management will be trained on employee motivation, organization culture Davis & Davis Consultants 5000
21stApr- 25thApr Consultants training Consultants to be trained on team building and other maximum performance techniques Davis & Davis Consultants 7000

Conclusion

Although Alpha Planning seems to be a successful organization, the employees are not performing to their best. If the named changes are made, the factors that have been impeding on their performance will be addressed and hence more success is bound to be experienced. The motivation of employees, the communication channel, management of power and politics, organization culture and organization structure must be addressed for a positive change in the organization. As identified, the factors mentioned are very important in the productivity of an organization. As a result, the organization needs training to facilitate their comprehension of these factors. The table above shows the way the changes should be implemented and the cost of the changes. Although the changes might look expensive, the impact that they might have on the organization are substantial.

List of References

Forster, N. 2009. Maximum Performance: A Practicle Guide to Leading and Managing People at Work. Cheltenham: Edward Edgar Publishers

Land, G., and Jarman, B. 1992. “Moving beyond breakpoint.” in The New Paradigm in Business: Emerging Strategies for Leadership and Organizational Change (eds. Ray, M. and Rinzler, A.) 1993 by the World Business Academy. p. 250-266. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Taylor, F. W. 1917. The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Harper. Walonick, D. (n.d.). Organization Theory and Behaviour. Web.

Wilson, E. 1980. Sociobiology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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