Management style plays a crucial role in today’s business activities. There have been many theories regarding management and employee motivation strategies. However, such theories might end up not working as planned, when put into practice. Furthermore, a strategy that has proved to be useful once may not be the option for a different place or scenario. This paper aims at analyzing the professional path of Ron Powell at Jones & Jones and examine his motivation strategy.
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At first, Ron became one of the youngest partners at the firm’s Chicago office, where the executive committee quickly recognized his leadership potential. According to Ameer and Khan (2020), “Various studies have reported that organizations with younger managers perform better in terms of performance due to their propensity to pursue risky strategies and initiate changes” (p.4). Therefore, Powell’s appointment was a risky move by the committee that, on the other hand, had reasonable grounds. Powell’s outstanding qualities may come from the fact that he had been working in a large-scale accounting firm. Perhaps, being surrounded by talented and experienced co-workers motivated Powell and made him work at a maximum capacity, which attracted the executive committee’s attention and brought to light Ron’s innate talent.
Subsequently, Powell was appointed to lead a new office in New Jersey, where his management style proved to be successful. Being a goal-oriented leader with clear objectives, Powell was yet seen as a somewhat democratic leader. The combination of strict work-related goals and not so tense relations on the level of personal communication shortly brought positive results. According to Abyad (2018), determining the needs of the employees is the key to “developing effective incentive programs and maximizing productivity” (p. 21). Powell was able to find common ground with his staff, which created a positive work environment and made the objectives attainable.
It is often said that motivation is the heart of a successful team. Motivation theories have been studied at length since the 20th century. Abyad (2018) says that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one classic example of such theories that can be connected to later studies of motivation, such as Herzberg’s Two-factor theory. According to this hierarchy, human beings must have their needs fulfilled from the bottom to the top, i.e., starting with basic safety and nutrition to self-esteem and self-actualization. Abyad (2018) notes that Herzberg’s “hygiene factors” correspond to Maslow’s lower levels, while the top of the pyramid is the “motivators” (p.21). The Two-factor theory says that the first group is associated with job dissatisfaction, and the second one is closely connected to the team’s productivity.
At the same time, Abyad (2018) notes that “the factors leading to job satisfaction are separate and distinct from those that lead to job dissatisfaction.” (p. 21). Therefore, a manager is supposed to implement a two-step plan to motivate the team. Firstly, one must eliminate dissatisfaction, and secondly, a good leader must create favorable conditions to increase job satisfaction among employees. Powell managed to meet the second requirement by allowing his team members to express their opinions and be heard.
Following Powell’s resounding success in New York, he was appointed as managing partner in the firm’s Dallas office. Ron followed the same strategy he used in the previous workplace, yet got no result. The office began to lose long-term clients, and staff shortening came after that. Motivation theories are not universally applied. Therefore, a system that works well in one place might turn out to be useless elsewhere. Being in Dallas is different from New York in many ways. Each region is populated by different people with their particular mindsets and values, therefore, a leader must also be versatile. As Neisig (2020) says, “when the environment of organizations is characterized by great uncertainty, volatility and unknowability, agility becomes important” (p.152). Following the layoffs, the employees lost their sense of security and, naturally, began to question their leader, as their primary “bottom-of-the-pyramid” needs were not fulfilled. In the end, Powell was not able to work in an unfamiliar environment, so he was shortly relocated to New Jersey.
As far as Jones & Jones’ Dallas office is concerned, it might be a good idea to find a managing partner that is familiar with the particularities of the region. The best candidate would be able to understand what the staff and the clients want. According to Abyad (2018), “there is no one theory that is correct or one theory that will work well in a project situation” (p. 21). Therefore, Powell was not using the correct approach for this particular position. The right person for the job may be among the firm’s current Dallas employees or someone from the outside with the relevant experience and knowledge of the market.
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All in all, Ron Powell’s performance can be considered a positive experience for him and the firm. Having yielded positive results in New York, he later failed in Dallas but was able to continue fruitful work in New Jersey. Powell proved to be an efficient leader in the right environment. Nevertheless, he lacked flexibility upon his transfer to the Dallas office, which hurt his overall career path. All facts considered, Ron Powell deserves a 7 out of 10 grade for his performance at Jones & Jones across two years.
Abyad, A. (2018). Project management, motivation theories, and process management. Middle East Journal of Business, 13(4), 18–22.
Ameer, F. & Khan, N.R. (2020). Manager’s age, sustainable entrepreneurial orientation, and sustainable performance: A conceptual outlook. Sustainability, 12(8), 3196. Web.
Neisig, M. (2020). When motivation theories create demotivation and impair productivity. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 5(3), 149–152. Web.