Motivation in the Workplace Case Study

Acme, Inc., is a large industrial manufacturer with locations in several states. The home office, located in Springfield, employs a large contingent of white-collar professionals who support Acme’s operations across the country.
Whenever Acme’s operations needed soft skills support, such as team building, leadership development, or facilitation of natural working group problem solving, Acme would contract out for those services. With the company’s recent growth, the chief executive officer (CEO) decided to create a small new team at the home office that could handle these types of issues in-house. The goal was to reduce operating costs and response time when needs were identified.
The CEO tapped Carol, a proven executive performer in the company, to start up the new group, called the Internal Support Group. Carol was to staff the group with experienced, proven professionals from a variety of disciplines. When the hiring was completed, the Internal Support Group consisted of:

• Carol, age 50: 27 years with Acme, a proven executive who has successfully managed every task previously assigned
• Berl, age 58: new to Acme, a clinical mental health counselor with 25 years’ experience counseling individuals and small groups in a workplace
• Siri, age 29: recent law school grad who has just passed the bar exam, with specializations in employment law and equal employment opportunity (EEO)
• Amil, age 45: who worked for Acme up until about eight years ago, left for another co.

As a result, this well-paid group was underutilized and bored. Whereas Carol thought she would be giving the team assignments out of the office, working with other departments, she gave assignments such as creating flow charts of internal processes, writing policy, and designing charts and spreadsheets. The staff, all capable professionals in their fields, viewed this as busy work. Carol considered it her best effort to keep some activity going in the office. Several of the staff asked for funds to attend off-site conferences and training, but Carol said the money for that would not be available until the staff had proven their value to the organization.
One morning at work, Carol hastily called a team meeting. A family situation was requiring her to relocate, and she would be leaving immediately. She was moving to live near her parents and Acme had a facility in that area. She had cleared it with the CEO that Acme would find a job for her at the new location so she could work her last few years until retirement. Carol announced that Ron would replace her as the Internal Support supervisor.
Ron was a new executive with Acme. Ron had an MBA and some prior work experience. At age 32, this would be his second Acme assignment. Ron’s previous Acme work assignment was in the engineering department.
After the meeting with Carol and before Ron arrived, the staff talked among themselves. The general consensus was that Ron’s appointment to their staff was not a good sign. “If the CEO really believed in what we were doing, he would have appointed a more senior, experienced supervisor” was a commonly heard sentiment.
Ron’s approach was not well-received by the staff. Although the staff was underutilized while Carol was there, they appreciated her hands-off approach.
According to the staff, Carol allowed them flexibility in their work and encouraged collaboration. For example, if Kerry was called into a situation where she needed Amil’s expertise, Kerry could go directly to Amil for assistance. Ron required that all such collaboration requests be funneled through him.
Ron required weekly statistical reports of staff activities, including phone calls received, emails received/sent, dates/times/durations of meetings, and hours spent in preparation and active work.
The staff wanted to develop a marketing plan for their services so the rest of Acme would know of their skills and availability. Ron indicated that the CEO did not want increased marketing, that the brochures and posters around the building were enough. According to Ron, the CEO was happy that the staff was available, and he would work on increasing their utilization. The staff did not note any increase in publicity or the frequency with which their services were requested.
One day when Ron was out of the office, the Internal Support staff met informally. In summary, here is what each of them said:

? Berl: “I’m good. I understand that the rest of you want to get more engaged and do something productive. I would like to be productive too, but I don’t see that changing. I’m two years from having enough in my 401(k) to retire, so I’ll just coast until then.”
? Siri: “I am livid! Carol sold me a bill of goods. I’m a lawyer; I passed the bar; I’m ready to do something. This has to change or I’ll have to go!”
? Amil: “I love Acme. The company has been good to me. I got a great start here and was really happy to come back. I’m working my old contacts under the radar to see if I can drum up some business for us. Until then, I’ll keep reading and studying to stay sharp. Hopefully this will turn around soon.”
? Peter: “Ron is killing us. Carol was bad enough, but at least she didn’t throw this stupid ‘measure everything’ stuff at us. I’m going to email the CEO directly, and soon, if we can’t get through to Ron that we need to generate more business and stop filling out meaningless internal paperwork.”
? Lillith: “I don’t have anything against Ron. He is new and trying to make his mark here. He’ll grow out of this rookie foolishness soon. Hopefully, he’ll get to where he can go out and sell our services so we can get to work.”
? Kerry: “This is the worst job I’ve ever had. I used to get to do things at work. Now, nothing. I’m actively looking for another job and will be gone soon, or at least I hope so!”
For Milestone Three you will submit a draft of the recommendations of your case study analysis on the above case study, (Section III), including all the critical elements as listed below. Analyzing Acme from a perspective of motivation, productivity, and morale, describe the specific changes you would recommend to the company. Be sure to address the following questions:
? How will your recommendations directly address the key issues surrounding morale, motivation, and productivity that you identified in the overview? Justify your claims with rationale. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations.
? What tactics might you recommend that would efficiently address common sources of employee resistance to change in this scenario? Justify your claims with rationale. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations. For example, is the method you are recommending cost effective? Is there support that this is a proven method?
? How would these tactics impact current organizational strategies and techniques? Justify your claims with rationale. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations.
Your draft will incorporate the course readings and be informed by at least four scholarly journal articles.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed in Milestone Three:
III. Recommendations
Remember that your recommendations should be as authentic to a real-world situation as possible. If you are going to be asking your organization to spend money on training, for example, your justification might include that the organization will be realizing a return on the investment. Consider carefully whether you can justify these recommendations before making them.
? How will your recommendations directly address the key issues surrounding morale, motivation, and productivity that you identified in the overview? Justify your claims with an evidence-based rationale consistent with your selected motivational theories. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations.
? What tactics might you recommend that would efficiently address common sources of employee resistance to change in this scenario? Justify your claims with an evidence-based rationale consistent with your selected motivational theories. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations. For example, is the method you are recommending cost effective? Is there support that this is a proven method?
? How would these tactics impact current organizational strategies and techniques? Justify your claims with an evidence-based rationale consistent with your selected motivational theories. You may also wish to consider how you might use applicable real-world examples to illustrate your recommendations.

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