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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Case Study of The Community Festival

Executive Summary

This report highlights some of the problems facing The Community Festival to warrant a need for change. The agency has poor and weak organizational structures, and this aspect is affecting the way it is run. The top management, including the supervisor and the Board of directors, has failed to offer decisive leadership, which explains the unprofessional manner in which Mark’s issue was addressed. The first step to pave the way for the implementation of the change proposal is to reconstitute the Board of directors based on merit and experience. The new Board will act as the change agents.

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Case Study

Presumably, the incident involving Mark happened last year during the preparation for the annual community arts festival organized by The Community Festival. Mark has been a dedicated volunteer to the community organization, and he was extensively involved in facilitating this festival. The Board of Directors organizing the festival made a mistake when activating an 800-phone number to facilitate ticketing. Mark’s issue was handled unprofessionally, and it is likely to ruin the Board’s credibility and reputation in the community. However, a closer look at the issue involving Mark reveals underlying systemic poor organizational structures at The Community Festival. Therefore, this report highlights some of the problems affecting the organization by analyzing both internal and external factors and gives some recommendations on what needs to be done to address the issues.

Analysis

The major issue that triggered an awareness of the need for change is the unprofessional way by which Mark’s case was handled. The Board of Directors refused to initiate an investigation into the matter or at least respond to Mark and explain to him the steps they have taken after receiving his request. Second, the director that promised to write a recommendation letter for Mark reneged on his word. However, the Board’s behavior points to widespread weak organizational structures, which could be understood using the Six-Box diagnostic model – purpose, structure, relationships, rewards, leadership, and helpful mechanisms (Gözükara, 2017; Zaffar, Naeem, & Jamal, 2018). Structurally, the organization lacks clear details of how duties should be executed. In terms of relationships, the management, supervisor, and permanent workers relate poorly with volunteers. According to Griffin, Bryant, & Koerber (2015), poor employee relations affect performance and overall productivity in an organization. Additionally, workers do not get rewards due to a lack of funding. The organization is run on laissez-faire leadership and management style, which is a major contributor to Mark’s problem. In addition, the organization lacks any form of helpful mechanism.

Organizational Culture

Based on Hofstede’s model, the organization has a high power distance index, as indicated by the widespread inequity between volunteers and permanent staff members. Additionally, the Board of Directors is not connected to the day-to-day occurrences in the organization, thus compounding the bureaucratic issue in the Festival. The organization is also individualistic as the supervisor expects every person to act in his or her own way for the benefit of the agency. On the uncertainty avoidance index, the Community Festival ranks low, and thus it is prepared to take risks. For instance, when the local artists stopped participating, the Board of Directors decided to focus on national artists and expand the scope of the annual festival. The issue of masculinity vs. femininity has not been mentioned in the case study, which could indicate that the organization observes gender fairness. The agency is short-term oriented as it lacks clear long-term goals and strategies. On indulgence vs. restraint, the Community Festival is highly restraint because it lacks the resources to support gratification.

Based on the cultural web analysis, the stories talked about in the organization are negative. For instance, volunteers are treated poorly, and they are likely to share their bad experiences with newcomers. Similarly, the organization lacks clear-cut symbols to create a corporate identity and the power structure is skewed towards the top and concentrated within the Board of Directors. In addition, the organizational structure is hierarchical with permanent staff members reporting to the supervisor, who then answers to the Board. The relationship between these layers of organizational structure is poor, which explains the misfortunate handling of Mark’s case and the mistreatment of volunteers. Similarly, the control systems are lacking as the supervisor practices the laissez-faire style of leadership. The agency has poor rituals and routines as the supervisor expects everyone to know what he or she is supposed to behave. Therefore, the high power distance index, individualistic culture, negative stories, and lack of control systems are potential barriers to the implementation of the change process, as the agency’s culture is lacking some elements of a successful organization.

External Factors

One of the threats facing this organization is political influence in appointing members of the Board of directors. Some of the members are political appointees without any experience in running a business. Second, the organization faces the threat of artists, both local and international, failing to participate in the art festivals. Economically, the organization depends on donations and grants, and without proper structure, securing sufficient funding could be a problem, which according to Banks, Hulme, and Edwards (2015), is a major issue with NGOs. However, there are several opportunities that could be exploited. First, there are many experienced people who could be incorporated into the Board of directors to streamline management and leadership issues. Similarly, the organization could tap into the wide pool of talented artists, both locally and nationally. Additionally, with proper organizational structures in place, enough grants and donations could be mobilized to support the organization’s day-to-day operations and even the annual festival.

Internal Factors

Internally, The Community Festival has several strengths that could be capitalized. First, the organization has been around for many years, and it is well known in the area. Consequently, it attracts supporters of the arts, owners of small and independent galleries, as well as boutique and specialty storeowners who are in search of unique forms of art for their clientele. Therefore, the festival has established a reputation as a well-known venue for local art. The festival has also been enjoying growth and continuity over the last 20 years. The identity of the festival has remained intact, and thus it is considered part of the local community. However, the organization has some inherent internal weaknesses. First, the internal organizational structure is weak and poor. The supervisor practices laissez-faire management style, and she assumes that everyone working at the agency shares the love of arts and understands the need to support it. There is no formal training for workers and the management team. The Board of directors has not developed specific rules of conduct, expected behaviors, or guidelines.

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Strengths Opportunities
  • The agency is well-known in the community
  • It attracts many supporters
  • Consistent growth and continuity
  • Intact identity
  • Part of the local community
  • Many experienced people available to serve in the Board of directors
  • Many local and national artists
  • The community and other stakeholders are willing to donate
Weaknesses Threats
  • Weak and poor internal organizational structure
  • Laissez-faire management style
  • Lack of training
  • Lack of rules and guidelines
  • Political influence
  • Political appointees without experience
  • Artists may fail to participate
  • Over-dependence on donations and grants

Figure 1: SWOT analysis

Organization’s Readiness for Change

The following assumptions are made concerning the agency’s readiness for change.

Factors Score (1-7)
1. Change leadership has been identified 4
2. The leaders of the proposed change are willing volunteers 7
3. Skills needed for effective implementation of the change proposal have been considered 6
4. All those who could stop or inhibit the change have been identified 7
5. A strategy to win over those who can inhibit the change has been devised 7
6. Top management is deeply committed to the success of the change process 4
7. The overall leadership of the proposed change is able and willing to exercise decisive leadership 4

Based on the above assumptions, the organization is not ready for change, specifically because the top leadership (Board of directors) is not ready to offer decisive leadership. Therefore, the starting point is to disband the current Board of directors and reconstitute it anew based on competency.

Recommendations

The following second-order change recommendations will help the agency navigate the current organizational problems. Second-order change is chosen for this situation because the system has to change qualitatively and discontinuously. In this kind of change, a new way of thinking is created to facilitate a change of behavior and how things are done (Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974). Based on advice from Palmer, Dunford, and Buchanan (2017), these recommendations will facilitate a systematic process of change at the agency.

  1. Disband the entire Board of directors and reconstitute it based on merit and competency. At least half of the members to be experienced in running a business. The new Board of directors will drive the change agenda.
  2. The newly formed Board of directors to set rules and guidelines to be followed in the agency and indicate the expected behavior from everyone from volunteers to permanent staff members.
  3. Replace the current supervisor and fill the position with a competent individual experienced in managing people.
  4. Initiate training programs for permanent employees.
  5. Set clear communication channels, both vertically and horizontally.
  6. Create reward programs for hardworking employees.
  7. Roll out elaborate plans to source for funds from donors and grantors
  8. Re-engage local artists and other stakeholders under renewed partnership terms

Change Implementation

The change plan will be implemented using Kotter’s eight-step plan as a model, as shown below.

Steps Actions
Creating a sense of urgency The current organizational culture at the Community Festival is unsustainable. The poor handling of Mark’s case will ruin the agency’s reputation.
Therefore, within the next two months:
  • Disband and replace the current Board of Directors based on merit and qualification – avoid political appointees without the necessary experience.
Powerful coalition The new Board of directors to drive the change agenda by –
  • Interviewing and hiring a competent supervisor in the first month in office.
  • Put in place organizational structure by creating rules and guidelines to be followed.
  • State clearly the expected behavior of volunteers and permanent staff.
  • These goals to be achieved within the first two months in the office.
Vision for change
  • Mission statement: To create a sustainable platform for both local and national artists to display their talent.
  • Vision: To be a leading Community Festival in the world.
  • Core values: – integrity, value people, partnerships, stewardship, honesty, respect, excellence, and responsibility.
  • The vision for change to be created and communicated within the first three months in office.
Communicating the vision
  • The Board to communicate effectively about the vision throughout the organization. Speak about the vision in general meetings, create visuals to demonstrate the change process clearly showing the current and future state.
  • The Board to tie the vision to the organizational culture and address any arising concerns publicly and candidly.
Removing obstacles
  • The Board to task the supervisor to sell the change vision to the permanent staff and volunteers through weekly briefs and meetings.
  • Assess the organizational structure to ensure it aligns with the vision.
  • Identify areas of resistance and create proactive solutions
  • Recognize and reward supporters and implementers of the change process
Short-term wins
  • Create a strategy to source for funds within four months.
  • Start appreciating volunteers with tokens
  • Address Mark’s issue, write him a letter of recommendation and issue a public apology
Building on change
  • Monitor and evaluate the change process monthly.
  • Incorporate local artists in the planning of the annual festivals
  • Engage local business owners to support the festival.
  • Set monthly simple, measurable, achievable, and realistic goals
Anchoring the changes in corporate culture
  • Incorporate the change process into the organizational culture by speaking about it often at every opportunity to do so.
  • Continue bringing on board key stakeholders (artists and businesses) and create opportunities for them.
  • Inform new hires and volunteers about the core values

Conclusion

The Community Festival has a strong brand that has been built for over 20 years, and its reputation among the locals should be protected. The unprofessional manner in which Mark’s issue was handled is regrettable. This problem arises from systematic structural weaknesses in the agency. The organization should capitalize on its strengths, exploit the available opportunities, improve on the weaknesses, and minimize the threats. The recommendations given above based on second-order change will solve the problems being experienced in the agency by initiating behavior change and the ways things are done.

References

Banks, N., Hulme, D., & Edwards, M. (2015). NGOs, states, and donors revisited: Still too close for comfort? World Development, 66, 707-718.

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Gözükara, I. (2017). The impact of perceived leadership style on performance appraisal satisfaction and organizational diagnosis in terms of turnover. International Journal of Business and Management, 12(9), 104-127.

Griffin, J. J., Bryant, A., & Koerber, C. P. (2015). Corporate responsibility and employee relations: From external pressure to action. Group & Organization Management, 40(3), 378-404.

Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. A. (2017). Managing organizational change: A multiple perspectives approach (3rd ed.). McGraw- Hill Irwin.

Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J. H., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution. W. W. Norton.

Zaffar, J., Naeem, M., & Jamal, W. (2018). Organizational Diagnosis using Weisbord Model: A Comparative Study of Health Sector in Peshawar. Global Management Journal for Academic & Corporate Studies, 8(1), 43-52.

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StudyCorgi. "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Case Study of The Community Festival." February 27, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/no-good-deed-goes-unpunished-case-study-of-the-community-festival/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Case Study of The Community Festival." February 27, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/no-good-deed-goes-unpunished-case-study-of-the-community-festival/.

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