Jonathan Langston’s Case Study

A Hotel Manager’s Career Dilemma

The transition in changing job positions is an important step that affects the career. Making decisions considering the potential new position is no less important than the decisions that should be made in regard to the responsibilities of the old job position. Contract negotiations imply the consideration of issues that go beyond the financial aspect only, and involving issues such as professional, ethical, personal, and sometimes even cultural, when the transition involves changes in the geographical position of the job.

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In that sense, the employment contract should be approached with full consideration of all the aspects involved in the process. In that regard, this paper discusses the aspect of the transition process according to the case study of Jonathan Langston, a manger of a New York luxury hotel, who was offered the opportunity to manage London-based luxury hotel, owned by a Middle Eastern businessman, which recently went through hard times.

The Case

Jonathan Langston is the manger of the 5-star Regent Hotel in New York, who successfully turned the hotel in two years to one of the best luxurious hotels in the city. Langston was approached by Mr. Al Sayed, a new owner of the Dorset Hotel in London, offering him a position to lead the reconstruction and the redevelopment of the hotel, as he was unhappy with his present management team.

After declining Al Sayed’s offer, Langston agreed to evaluate the state of the hotel and give Al Sayed his professional advice travelling twice to London. Another offer from Mr. Al Sayed followed after the evaluation had been made and Mr. Al Sayed ascertained that Langston was a true professional. The next offer was more determined, presenting to Jonathan tremendous opportunities and many concerns at the same time that should be evaluated.

Analysis

Assessing the considerations of Langston, from a professional point of view, the issue might be related to the aspect of motivation. One motivation that is driving Langston is the motivation for achievements, i.e., the motive of a person to reach particular goals, solve assigned goals, and moving through the career. The need for a higher and deeper motivation where this motivation can present an opportunity to fulfill oneself can be seen as one of the main factors for consideration.

In that sense, Langston can be seen as seeking new responsibilities, rather than only accepting them. It can be seen that in Langston case, the motivation for achievement factor is prevailing considering that he already reached the goals that were assigned for the position in Regent hotel, while Dorset hotel is a new field for new achievements and challenges.

In that regard, the professional aspect that Langston should consider is his assurance that he can perform the tasks that are assigned to him. Considering the fact that after two trips to London, Langston already formed a particular vision on the way changes should be implemented, one important condition that should be considered in his contract is the timeframe through which the reconstruction and the redevelopment of the hotel will be financed. In that sense, Langston should confirm that Al Sayed’s intentions will not be changed halfway through the redevelopment process.

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The personal considerations imply the existence of concerns about the inconveniences that will be caused to Langston’s family. The schools of Langston’s girls, the part time job of his wife and the residence in New York are some of the factors that Langston should discuss with his family. In that sense, part of the contract’s terms and conditions should be devoted to the provision of all the necessary conditions for him and his family, along with covering all the expenses related to moving.

Additionally, the transition process should include providing assistance through the adaptation prior and after moving. This assistance might include providing information about the area, the climate, schools available, potential employers for the spouse, local tax rates, bank affiliations and etc. In case the new residence will not be located in the hotel, information regarding realtors and prices on properties should also be discussed and included in the contract’s terms and conditions. Additionally, the timeframe for moving should also be settled, where the dates should be coordinated with Mr. Al Sayed’s representatives in order to eliminate any delays as well as to establish estimated time to sell any assets, close bank accounts and finish any remaining tasks, both in his old workplace and his wife’s.

The ethical aspect could be related to ending the contract with your current employer and any issues associated with that process. Considering the work that was accomplished with the Regent hotel, it can be said that the cooperation between Langston and his current employer will end in a friendly manner, not to say that any that any counteroffer will be excluded. In that sense, it should be of Langston’s responsibility to provide full assistance in transferring the records and the documentation to his successor. A detailed report should also serve as an indication of the financial condition of the Hotel at the moment of transferring the duties.

Taking in consideration that both job positions, i.e., the current and the new one, are in the same sphere, although operating in different geographical locations, an important aspect of the contract’s terms and conditions should be devoted to discuss the aspect of the conflict of interests, in case such issue arises. The term s might include a certain timeframe during which Langston might provide assistance to his successor in the Regent hotel. Nevertheless, this case might never arise, although considering the friendly relations with his current employee, the future relationships with his current employer might imply cooperation rather than competition.

The last aspect, although not the least in importance, is among the top driving forces in changing jobs. In Langston’s case, this factor should be considered according to his new role as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is mostly associated with risks, and as stated by Langston, it would be the first time operating without the support of corporate resources. On the other hand, the formulation of the offer presented by Mr. Al Sayed, i.e., “What’s Your Price”, might make Langston believe that the financial aspect will not be an issue. Nevertheless, this issue should be settled with the consideration of such factors as his current income statement, insurance and any additional expenses that might arise through both the transition and the moving process.

Through analyzing Langston’s areas of concerns it can be concluded that the transition process is a major step in one’s career, and while the financial factor plays a major role in this step, there are other factors that are no less important.

Re-launch of the Dorset Hotel

Outlining the strategy for an organization that is going through reconstruction is not an easy task. In that regard, the task of the manager to formulate the objectives of the changes could be directly related to the output measured which is already affected by the drawbacks of the redevelopment process. The role of managers in that process can be seen as activating work efforts and performance accomplishments of others.

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The responsibilities of top managers include creating long term strategies that should suit the current state of the organization as well as its objectives and purposes. In that regard, this paper analyzes the process of formulating a turnaround strategy for the organization, based on the case study of the re-launch of Dorset Hotel.

This case is focused on Jonathan Langston, who left his job as a manager of a top luxurious hotel in New York, and started his new job to redevelop and manage the Dorset Hotel in London. From the first days of his new job, Jonathan noticed several issues that required consideration, especially in terms of the HR management.

Meeting with several supervisors of the hotel, Jonathan shared his vision on the way the redevelopment of the hotel should be directed, however stating the existence of many problems that should be addressed both on short and long terms. Considering the multitude of the problems, Jonathan should assign priorities to the task that should be handled, especially taking into account that the financial situation of the hotel is going through hard times. In that regard, a strategy should be presented to the Board summarizing his potential initiatives to approach managing the hotel’s situation.

Analysis

The management issues that the hotel is facing can be divided into several levels. One of the levels is the issue of personnel. According to Senge’s learning organization, the core principles that lies within such organization can be seen as deficient through Langston’s observations. The absence of a shared vision, where the employees are not aware of the financial situation of the hotel; preconceived assumptions, which can be seen through the positions of the union’s representatives and Paul Green’s;

At the same time, HR of the hotel is overstaffed, which in the time of the need to cut the costs put additional pressure on the hotel’s financial statement. Taking in consideration the hotel’s business positions it can be seen through comparisons of the expenses, profit and occupancy that the hotel should pay attention to the existent clientele

base, in order for the occupancy rate not fall down. Organizational changes can be accompanied by a breakdown of certain habitual and mutual values shared by the employees, the norms and action patterns, and also the traditional ways of decision-making which might become an obstacle in the process of the adaptation of the organization to the pace and direction of market changes. In another sense, considering the information technology as an additional business environment, implementing new technology can lie within the framework of managing changes. In that matter, developing a new IT infrastructure can be considered as a competitive advantage through the area of support activities.

Assessing the general objectives of the Hotel, these objectives can see through the goals put by Mr. Al Sayed when he purchased the Dorset, i.e., restoring the position of the hotel as one of the top luxurious hotels in the country. This objective as the final destination of the redevelopment process could be seen through turning the hotel into a customer-driven organization. At the times when the customers might turn to competitors, customer-driven organizations focus on the needs of the customers. In order to achieve such direction, Langston “needs to make sure that everyone understands the strategy. Unless strategies are understood, the daily tasks and contributions of people lose context and purpose.”()

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In that sense, the strategy should be formed, executed within a performance oriented culture that is working within a flexible structure. Adding two secondary practices, as a part of the 4+2 formula, which might represent leadership and innovation, and the latter might serve as the niche for competitive advantage, the organizational change can take place.

Applying the principles of the learning organization as the main strategic approach, i.e., enforcing values, sharing the vision of the company with the employees, overcoming assumptions, working in teams, and outlining the factors that limit growth, the second primary objective is the execution of assigned goals. The assigned goals might vary in each department, but in general they can be related to quality as the main standard of performance.

Establishing the culture of the organization as customer-driven and performance oriented could be achieved through assigning rewards for performance. The change in structure, as the fourth primary objective, can be achieved through simplifying the organizational chart, and the implementation of the IT infrastructure, which will allow for many positions in the company to be cleared out. The secondary objectives that will fit into the strategy of the company are related to leadership and innovation.

As a way of implementing the changes, according to the financial situation of the hotel, the rational perspective should be considered as the most suitable in that case. According to the rational perspective, management is the rational administration of the organization, where the organization is a set of resources designed to achieve particular goals. In that sense, “rational perspective assumes that the intended final destination of an organization is the guiding power behind change attempts.” {Graetz, 2006 #487} In that sense, the resources used in the change are driven by the final destination, which in this case is the main objective of the hotel stated previously.

Summarizing the paper, it can be seen that there are different approaches toward implementing and managing the strategies of the company, whereas several of these approaches can be implemented simultaneously. This is especially evident in cases such as the presented, where there were more than one issue to handle for Jonathan Langston.

Additionally, it can be seen that the main framework of the strategy that should be implemented is focused on the culture of the organization and the changes in the employees’ motivation. Although the financial aspects are as much important, the hotel industry is characterized not only by décor and furniture, but also by the service level. In that sense, the reconstruction of the hotel’s interior might be easier than changing the employees’ culture, which in this case required implementing strategic management and organizational changes.

Works Cited

“The Job Transition”. 2008. Fitz Patrick Careers. Web.

Graetz, Fiona, et al. Managing Organisational Change. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2006.

Pierce, Jon L., and John W. Newstrom. The Manager’s Bookshelf : A Mosaic of Contemporary Views. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008.

Schermerhorn, John R. Core Concepts of Management. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004.

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