Organizational leadership traits are significantly crucial for practical implementation. Managers, who possess such characteristics, can perform more efficiently, and encourage their employees also to be more productive. It is essential to mention that one of the primary approaches to guiding, monitoring, assessing, and inspiring the subordinates is the theory of task and relations-oriented behaviors. In this case study, the mentioned theory will be employed in order to compare managerial practices, the influence on subordinates’ attitudes along the short-term and long-term performance of two managers from the case. Also, there will be proposed a personal opinion on possible improvements which could be implemented for the situation described in the case.
Description and Comparison of Managerial Behaviors
First of all, it is essential to dwelling upon the differences in managerial behaviors of Ben and Phil, two plant managers from the case by Yukl (2013). Ben Samuels is a plant manager for Consolidated Products, a fictional “medium-sized manufacturer of consumer products” where production workers are not unionized (Yukl, 2013, p, 73). He has been working there for ten years, and, in the course of time, he earned the reputation of a likable and supportive boss. His employees were thankful to him due to numerous reasons:
- Ben built a fitness center for the employees
- his subordinates enjoyed picnics and holiday parties which were sponsored by the plant’s budget
- the manager knew the majority of the workers by name and was aware of their hobbies and families (Yukl, 2013).
Therefore, it is evident from the mentioned facts that Ben Samuels displayed the relations behaviors style of management to a significantly vast extent. It is not complicated to trace the primary aspects of this management style in Ben’s work. Firstly, his support of employees is explicitly represented by several facts, such as the provision of the fitness center and sponsorship of different leisure activities by the plant. Secondly, the developing aspect of relations behaviors should be observed because, as it is mentioned in the case, Ben stimulated his supervisors to attend the human relations training programs. It is evident that Ben aimed to develop a more human-oriented working process. Thirdly, it is also possible to mention that the manager executed the recognizing function to a vast extent since he knew most of the workers by name. Additionally, Ben should be considered the proponent of participative leadership because his managerial style was vastly based on power-sharing, a delegation of responsibilities, and empowering of his followers (Landis, Hill, & Harvey, 2014; Yukl, 2013).
Further, it is essential to describe the second manager in the case and to compare his managerial style with Ben Samuels’ approach. After Consolidated Products was acquired by another firm, Ben was asked to take early retirement, and Phil Jones was appointed as a replacement (Yukl, 2013). Phil had brought numerous changes to the order which was set by the previous manager. First of all, he cut the production costs by eliminating such activities as the fitness center, sponsored picnics and holidays parties, and training programs for supervisors (Yukl, 2013). Secondly, Phil set out several means of monitoring his subordinates’ activities and performance (including the installation of a computer monitoring system). Thirdly, he ordered his supervisors to establish strict practices and policies, which should be followed under any circumstances.
Thus, it is evident that Phil Jones is the proponent of the task-oriented behaviors style of management. Based on the description of his managerial style, one could conclude that some specific task behaviors (including clarifying, planning, and monitoring) are easy to trace in Phil’s work. First of all, it should be observed that Phil has set out a clear plan of the working process’ reconstruction from the very beginning. Also, his motto, which is mentioned in the case, clarified the question about the workers who were not able to meet the required standards. Secondly, the supervisors were ordered to develop plans for increasing productivity. Thirdly, the monitoring aspect of the task behaviors style is evidently present in the work of Phil Jones. Additionally, it is possible to mention that Phil is not a proponent of participative or inspirational leadership since he is somewhat close to the autocratic leader type. In comparison, it is possible to observe that the managerial styles of Ben and Phil are immensely different, representing the polarized versions of task and relations behavior theory.
Influence on Plant’s Performance and Employees’ Attitudes
Further, since the fundamental description and comparison of two managers were given, it is possible to dwell upon the questions of managers’ influence on short-term and long-term plant performance as well as the employees’ attitudes. Speaking of the plant’s productivity, it should be noted that Ben’s style of management served for low turnover rates and the development of workers’ loyalty. However, the plant held the second-worst record for productivity level and expenditures (Yukl, 2013). Under the guidance of Phil Jones, the plant was able to reduce production costs by 20 percent and to increase the production output by 10 percent (Yukl, 2013). Nevertheless, the company experienced increased turnover, including three supervisors and several competent machine operators, who are difficult to replace. Concerning the employees’ attitudes, it is possible to observe that under Ben’s guidance the workers felt valuable, needed, and recognized. However, when Phil became manager, it is possible to suggest that the employees felt a significant distance between themselves and the new managerial order, and thus they developed their need to form the union.
Personal Opinion on the Case
Finally, it is appropriate to express my personal opinion on the case situation. Hypothetically, if I were given a chance to be the manager of the Consolidated Products plant, I would implement the policy which would be both beneficial for the subordinates’ satisfaction and the plant’s performance. In my opinion, the core problem of the case under discussion is that both Ben and Phil exaggerate one aspect of task and relations behaviors style of management and do not pay enough attention to another. Therefore, the solution should be proposed: to increase both satisfaction and performance, it is essential to implement a balanced version of the task and relations-oriented leadership (McCleskey, 2014). For example, it is possible to give the employees access to the fitness center, but it should be of high importance to follow the developed working schedule.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the case under analysis represents a significantly important problem of contemporary management. It is evident from the study that the neglect of task or relations aspect can harm the productivity of the company and the loyalty of the subordinates. Also, the personal opinion on the case was asserted in order to describe a possible solution for the problem.
Landis, E. A., Hill, D., & Harvey, M. R. (2014). A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2), 97-100
McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117.
Yukl, G. A. (2013). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.