This paper is a case study on an organization called Southwest which deals with protection of civil rights of minority groups. According to reliable information, the organization is faced with management challenges which have lead to a decline in demand for its services, low cohesion among employees, poor relationship between employees and management, and increased turnover. The paper identifies the possible changes which should be implemented by the management of the organization to deal with the challenges. The changes are discussed alongside the aspects of organizational culture and leadership which may help the organization deal with the challenges.
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Organizational culture refers to shared beliefs, values, norms, and practices which characterize an organization. Norms are informal rules which govern the conduct of employees and constitute what is permitted and prohibited in different organizations. As outlined in the introduction, the Southwest organization is faced with real challenges which if not addressed may lead to deterioration of the situation (ICIRR, 2014).
One of the changes which the management must implement is the introduction of teamwork in the organization. The management should give the employees the permission to divide their work into small achievable tasks to be undertaken by groups of employees. The idea is to replace person’s culture which is characterized by superiority among employees with task culture which emphasizes on sharing of tasks by employees.
Teamwork leads to creation of self-managing teams. Through self-managing teams, organizations encourage employees to work in teams instead of working independently which enables organizations to benefit from the synergy found in teams. Working in teams gives employees an opportunity to exercise their creativity, innovativeness, skills, and talents. It also enables the team members to learn from the strengths and the diverse experiences of each other. When employees work in teams, they learn how to welcome positive criticism.
Teamwork is a necessary condition for employee motivation. Motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from the employees and is characterized by the need to achieve good results, passion in work, the ambition to acquire new knowledge, and the need to be successful at the workplace. Extrinsic motivation arises from things which are external to employees and include things like appreciation, rewards, good salaries or wages, promotions, and congratulatory messages. Working in teams enables the employees to generate new ideas which are implemented by an organization thus increasing employees’ motivation because they feel that the organization values their input. Motivation makes it possible for employees to learn new things from each other. They also learn new ways and strategies of doing things or improving their operations at the workplace.
Teamwork enables employees to micromanage their work in order to boost efficiency and effectiveness thus increasing quality in organizational internal processes. In the spirit of teamwork, the employees are also involved in making decisions regarding the products of their work with the aim of ensuring that the production of new products meets their expectations (Tjosvold & Leung, 2004).
Teamwork training exposes employees to various challenges and ways of dealing with those challenges. During the training, employees learn how to accept positive criticism from others. They also enrich each other with different ideas, views, and suggestions on how to improve their work. The ability to come up with solutions to various challenges transforms employees into transformational leaders (Schermerhorn, 2010).
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The reason is that teamwork enables the team members to organize their work properly through development of work plans and schedules which are in harmony with organizational tasks. Teamwork also increases flexibility among the employees because they work as per their schedules. When given the permission to be flexible, employees become motivated and maximize their talents and commitment to their work which increases productivity (Rivera, 2011).
The other change which the management of Southwest organization should make is the introduction of a system of working in which the employees are less supervised and encouraged to be responsible, flexible, creative, and innovative in their work. The organization should also do away with any rules and regulations which emphasize on procedures and regulations and replace them with rules which emphasize on the end product irrespective of the means.
Also to be considered by the management is the work environment. It should be improved for it to be conducive and attractive to the employees. For instance, the organization should introduce some social benefit schemes like payment of medical cover, provision of loans to employees for career advancement, on-the-job training, and leave allowances. These may increase the employees’ loyalty and commitment to the organization and consequently improve their productivity.
Many successful organizations are managed based on the human relations approach which is mainly characterized by a radical shift from mechanistic to humanistic approach in the management of organizations. The humanistic approach to management is usually associated with strong organizational culture where more emphasis is placed on improving the work environment and making employees feel appreciated.
In organizations with such a culture, employees are perceived as social beings with social, psychological, and financial needs. Such organizations also acknowledge that employees have the potential of being creative in their work. They also value the synergy found in teamwork. Consequently, supervision plays a minimal role because employees are capable of forming group norms and rules which govern their work. Organizations with a strong culture also recognize the importance of employees interacting with their managers in a friendly way without fear of victimization.
Strong organizational culture also boosts organizational efficiency because of the internalization of what is required of each and every employee. The sharing of values and beliefs creates a good working environment free from confusion, ambiguity or lack of understanding among the employees. The good working environment not only increases efficiency but it also saves time because employees are able and free to consult each other without the fear of victimization or intimidation especially by the senior managers. Employees also portray good behavior at work because they know what is right to be done and what is not right.
Furthermore, strong organizational culture leads to cohesion among various departments of an organization which leads to harmonization of all organizational procedures, policies, and practices in each and every department. This cohesion leads to proper utilization of organizational resources without sabotage. It also leads to sound, logical, and relevant polices on how to coordinate organizational activities in a manner that maximizes an organization’s chances of realizing its mission and vision. Cohesion among various organizational departments also leads to sharing of information by various departments which increases the employees’ levels of understanding of how various departments work. The sharing of information is very important because it enables employees to multitask especially during times of staff shortage (Mathew, 2007).
Strong organizational culture enhances control, good coordination, and consistency within an organization. The reason is that employees and management are in good terms and able to agree informally on various procedures and practices without compromising the quality of organizational practices and objectives. Having a good understanding between employees and management saves time because employees implement the changes which they find necessary without having to wait for bureaucratic board meetings and discussions to approve even the slightest change in procedures or practices (Mathew, 2007).
Such a strong culture is conducive for innovation. When managers and employees of an organization perceive each other as colleagues not as rivals, the employees view the organization as their personal business and put all their efforts to ensure that it becomes successful. Such loyalty stimulates the employees to think of new ways of doing things which eventually leads to innovation and increased competitiveness.
The other aspect of culture which can help the Southwest organization is cohesive organizational culture. This is a culture in which all members of an organization have similar beliefs and values which hold them together as an organization. These beliefs and values are implicit or explicit to the organization. In this kind of culture, the organizational structure does not matter but what matters most is the commitment of each member of the organization to these beliefs and values. For example, an organization may value hard work, cohesiveness, and teamwork and believe in transparency, faithfulness, work ethics, and morality (Sakikawa, 2012).
A cohesive organizational culture has the benefit of increasing motivation among the employees because they share common beliefs and values. When employees are highly motivated, there is minimal use of resources in their supervision which in turn increases their productivity because to them, what matters most is the welfare of the organization but not their personal welfare.
Another benefit of cohesive organizational culture is that it facilitates the alignment of organizations for the achievement of their objectives, mission, and vision without many challenges. The reason is that employees are not only fully aware of the mission, vision, and objectives, but they also internalize them. The internalization of organizational mission, vision, and objectives by employees not only increases organizational productivity but also makes employees more motivated to accomplish the set organizational goals, targets, or objectives.
The best leadership approach for Southwest organization is servant leadership. According to DelHousaye & Robert, one of the defining characteristics of servant leadership is the ability of servant leaders to listen to their followers. What is more valuable to the servant leaders is listening not talking to others. They pay close attention to what their followers have to say and think how their followers can be assisted to realize their full potential at the workplace. Listening enables the leaders to bond with their followers. The bonding enhances teamwork in organizations (DelHousaye & Robert, 2004). After listening to employees, servant leaders imagine themselves in the positions of the employees and by so doing; they are able to accurately understand the issues affecting the employees and what can be done to solve them (Sipe & Frick, 2009).
Servant leaders also have high degrees of commitment to the growth and development of employees and organizations. Servant leaders are also committed to the establishment of communities of people in organizations. The communities promote cohesiveness and a unity of purpose in organizations. Under the servant leadership philosophy, all members of organizations are involved in identifying organizational goals and development procedures for reaching those goals.The role of servant leaders is to facilitate the attainment of organizational goals.
In organizations with servant leadership, employees are able to give their suggestions freely and are involved in decision making. Morale, capacity, and relationship between the leaders and employees are greatly improved. Servant leadership enhances teamwork and employees’ performance thus creating a productive work environment. It also creates an enabling environment for employees to maximize their skills and potentials.
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DelHousaye, D., & Robert, B. (2004). Servant leadership: seven distinctive characteristics. Scottsdale: Scottsdale Bible Church Press.
ICIRR. (2014). Latino Organization of the Southwest. Web.
Mathew, J. (2007). The relationship of organizational culture with productivity and quality. Employee Relations, 29(6), 677-678.
Rivera, R.M. (2011). Empowering people through self-managed teams. Web.
Sakikawa, T.(2012). Transforming Japanese workplaces. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Schermerhorn, J.R. (2010). Management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Sipe , J., & Don F. (2009). Seven pillars of servant leadership: practicing the wisdom of leading by serving. New York: Paulist Press.
Tjosvold, D., & Leung, K.(2004). Leading in high growth Asia: managing relationship for teamwork and change. New Jersey: World Scientific.