The Management of Human Resources: Frymire’s Leadership Style

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Four key attributes of Larry Frymire’s leadership style

One of Frymire’s strengths was that he had a high degree of technical competence & intimate knowledge of administrative steps. Within one year, Frymire had already established a television channels in the state capitol. Within three years, he had started more channels around various areas including Camden, New Brunswick and Montclair.

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Frymire did not seek or attract personal visibility but concentrated his energies steadily and in a well-organized manner in order to successfully launch the operation of the station.

When Frymire was encouraged to look for funds from outside sources, he showed an effort by working with a group of individuals who supported the aspect public broadcasting.

When working in groups, Frymire exercised transformational leadership. According to Bass (1999, p. 9), transformational leadership involves the encouragement and empowerment of the followers through the development of high involvement individuals and teams who are focused on quality, service and cost-effectiveness.

The commission had desired for a more effective development program and wanted a new headquarters to be established but Frymire advised that state-supported systems generally had little success raising funds from private sources. This was mainly due to the fact that people believed that it was supported with taxpayers’ money.

He could not be influenced or manipulated. Even when threatened he stood his ground.

Despite Frymire’s strengths, he also failed as a leader in several ways. Several arguments had been made about Frymire’s resistance to change. He was against any proposal made concerning the company’s future. His excuse was that he had not given joint study to any of the proposals due to lack of time. He was against the proposal about the budget and also did not want a joint venture with Channel 13.

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According to Farazmand (2004, p. 3), the world has been changing dramatically over the years and several changes have occurred. This, according to him, comes with unpredictable changes, which have far reaching consequences. Therefore, the management systems in organizations need to be transformed either by choice or pressure and necessity of adaptation for survival. It is evident that Frymire was not willing to adapt to the changes even with the pressure that came with it. Therefore, the organization may have not survived in the current business environment.

According to Farazmand (2004, p. 3), the world has been changing dramatically over the years and several changes have occurred. This, according to him, comes with unpredictable changes, which have far reaching consequences. Therefore, the management systems in organizations need to be transformed either by choice or pressure and necessity of adaptation for survival. It is evident that Frymire was not willing to adapt to the changes even with the pressure that came with it. Therefore, the organization may have not survived in the current business environment.

Frymire was only content with achieving the goals and objectives of the company. However, he was not willing to go above and beyond for the sake of NJPTV.

The Community service department had been disbanded due to lack of funds. Even when there was consideration for revival, Frymire was reluctant to allocate more staff to such service. He assumed that whatever was in place at that moment was sufficient service to the community (such as the news and public affairs programs).

Frymire was not able to manage his networks and other relationships and this is one of the reasons why he finally lost his job.

The manner in which he resigned shows this. While people were arranging meetings, he was not present and this shows that he was passive on certain administrative issues. He also did not appear to be willing to fight for his job. He simply resigned since his ideas were not welcome. Frymire did not communicate his views well enough and this is why they were not taken seriously or considered.

Managing networks is very vital to the survival of the organization. O’Toole (1997, p. 45) argued that networks exhibit some structural stability. He also argued that networking is necessary to combat the decision-making weaknesses experienced by individuals. For this reason, the human limitations are converted into organizational strength.

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Frymire did not seem to have respect for his superiors (the governor). Whenever the governor made proposals or made suggestions, Frymire was quick to judge him and inform the employees about how bad he was. He did not believe that the governor meant any good for the company.

Four Major influences from the tug-of-war between Frymire’s and governor

The tug-of-war between Frymire and the governor made the governor want to know more about Frymire. Since he was informed of Frymire’s great leadership skills, he tested the truthfulness of this allegation. The governor witnessed the results of Frymire’s first ‘call-in’ report and was impressed. He repeated the format every 3 or 4 months and the results were the same. This meant that NJPTV had a large audience and that Frymire was good at what he did.

Frymire’s colleagues appeared pleased with his hard work and the commissioners did not show indication of dissatisfaction with the enterprise. Even with the pressure from the governor, Frymire could not change his mind since he was equally satisfied with his work.

With the arrival of the new governor, the potential that NJPTV started to be realised. The governor saw an opportunity of working together with Channel 13 through a joint venture. However, Frymire was strongly against this.

Provan and Milward (2001) argued that networking is essential to organizational success. He suggested that networking could contribute significantly to outcomes at organization level (Provan & Milward, 2001, p. 420).

Before the arrival of the new governor, everything seemed just right. Frymire had no reason to think that the company was not performing as required. The commissioners were also satisfied with the enterprise. However, things changed when Governor Brendan T. Byrne was elected into office. He immediately started probing about Frymire and his leadership. It was then that the governor started to show his dissatisfaction with Frymire’s leadership.

Frymire failed to show some characteristics of a transformational leader since he mainly focused on satisfying his self-interests. According to Bass (1999, p. 11) a such a leader should move the employees beyond immediate self-interests through idealized influence (charisma) and inspiration.

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The governor attacked Frymire’s leadership and openly showed that he was not pleased with his leadership. He thought that Frymire was too rigid to change and yet the marketplace demanded that. Frymire did not take this positively since he was convinced that he was doing things perfectly.

Frymire argued that the proposal should be rejected since it the requirement for Channel 13 to provide $1 and NJPTV to provide $1.5 was not acceptable. However, he stated that he would accept it if the daily operation of the news program should be responsible to the NJPTV director.

Frymire finally felt overwhelmed by the pressure from the governor and other officials and decided to resign. He was aware that people did not consider him a state-wide personality and that he was not well known among the leaders in the state. It had been stated that he had failed to penetrate the business and foundation community for financial support and his excuse was that none of the other state-supported systems had. He then announced his resignation. Frymire did not understand that, at times, pressure and necessity of adaptation for survival prompted for a leader to change the management systems (Farazmand (2004, p. 3). When Frymire finally announced his resignation, he showed that he had given up the fight. He could not fight for what he believed in. When he left, new leadership took over.

Four of Frymire’s responses to the budget issue in the changing political environment

Frymire felt threatened by the governor’s considerations about the budget issue. The governor’s attempt to cut expenses by cutting the television’s request from $3.8 million to $1million. This figure would not have been enough even to maintain operation. The governor somehow forced this decision through and was likely to move against them if they did not agree.

Frymire opposed the proposal made by the governor. He argued that due to time factors, they had not conducted research to determine the effectiveness of any proposal or budget less than what they had set. He was against the giving up of control of the company to an equally weighted editorial board. He believed that final decisions should be made by the NJPTV Director of News and Public Affairs.

He wanted his company to remain autonomous and maintain its competitive edge – he argued that having a joint venture with Channel 13 would be similar to giving their top programs to their major competitor in that part of the market. He then suggested that he had a series of other options for joint venture and a better way to use the $1 million from WNET.

Despite the efforts to revive the Community Services Department, Frymire did not appear passionate about it. He recommended that no further specific staff be allocated at that particular time to provide such services. He also assumed that the news and public affairs programs showing on their television network was some form of community service. He also argued that they did not have the resources for that particular venture but was willing to continue with the discussions about it.

Frymire did not understand that capacity building was strategic to human resource management – Frymire appeared to have a problem when it came to capacity building. According to Farazmand (2004, p. 5), innovation is a strategic tool for building and enhancing capacity in public administration. Therefore, organizations should employ strategic human resource management in its development plan and programs. He argued that strategic human resource management was essential to all organizations, whether private, public or in the non-profit sectors.

Vigoda (2002, p. 527) argued that modern public administration should treat citizens more as clients. He argued that public service should consider social welfare, equity and fair distribution of service to the citizens. Therefore, administration needed to examine citizen’s attitudes and feeling concerning the public services. Satisfaction measures would indicated whether public administration actions are fruitful. Frymire’s company assumed that the citizens were satisfied with the services rather than conducting research to ascertain this.

Provan and Milward (2001) argued that networks should satisfy the needs and expectations of groups within a community that are directly or indirectly served by the network.

References

Bass, B. (1999). Two decades of research and development in transformational leadership. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(1), 9-32.

Farazmand, A. (2004). Innovation in strategic human resource management: Building capacity in the age of globalization. Public Organization Review: A global Journal, 4(1), 3-24.

O’Toole, L. (1997). Treating networks seriously: Practical and research-based agendas in public administration. Public Administration Review, 57(1), 45-52.

Provan, K., & Milward, B. (2001). Do networks really work? A framework for evaluating public-sector organizational networks. Public Administration Review, 61(4), 414-423.

Vigoda, E. (2002). From responsiveness to collaboration: Governance, citizens and the next generation of public administration. Public Administration Review, 62(5), 527-540.

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