First employee: “So, what are you bringing for the party? As for myself, I will bring Bhelpuri.”
Second employee: “I will bring Chana.”
Both employees laughed after this conversation. Mr.Kumar felt that nobody seemed to be concerned with his scheme.
What were the reasons for not supporting the actions of Mr. Prashant Kumar by the employees?
Advise Mr. Kumar about how he should proceed in the matter.
Analysis and Discussion of Case: Change in Office Timing
There may be different reasons for not supporting the actions of Mr. Kumar by the employees.In this case, there are two types of actions of Mr. Kumar which have not been supported by the employees: change in office timing and holding of monthly dinner party though both are interlinked.
Reasons for not supporting the action for change in office timing may be as follows: (1) Very often, when any change is brought in an organization which affects the employees, they show their resistance as the change disturbs the existing way of doing things which the employees do not like. (2) It is assumed that Mr. Kumar did not consult the employees on the matter of change in office timing and he made decision unilaterally. This might have created perception in the minds of the employees that Mr. Kumar is an autocratic person.
Therefore, he may make many decisions in future which may go against the employees. (3) The perception of Mr. Kumar that the employees do not work effectively after 5.00 P.M. is not based on reality. The reality may be that the employees handle more pressing work during morning hours, followed by less pressing work in the afternoon. At the fag end of the office time, they handle lighter work but such a work is equally important for the organization. Therefore, the employees may resist such perception.
The reasons for not supporting Mr. Kumar’s action for holding monthly dinner party may be as follows:
1. Since the employees have formed an opinion that Mr. Kumar is an autocrat, he must have refused to have discussion with the employees after they submitted memorandum for restoring the old office timing. This must have created bitterness between Mr. Kumar and the employees. It is because of this bitterness, the employees have resisted the concept of monthly dinner party which is non-official social get-together.
2. The employees might have thought that by having monthly dinner party, Mr. Kumar must have realized that he was not right in making unilateral decision of changing office timing. Instead of correcting his mistake, he is taking social get-together route. Therefore, if pressure is put on him by boycotting monthly dinner party, he may feel need for reverting back to old office timing, or he may take the employees into confidence before making any decision affecting the employees. It may be mentioned that boycotting any non-official function does not invite any disciplinary action against any employee. Since monthly dinner party is a non-official function, the employees might have been encouraged to show their resistance to change in office timing through this method.
The next issue in the case is: what action should Mr. Kumar take to overcome the problem? Taking into account all the relevant factors, Mr. Kumar has the following alternatives with consequences both positive and negative attached with each alternative:
1. Mr. Kumar may stick to both actions – change of office timing and holding of monthly dinner party. Views : On such an action, Mr. Kumar may be treated as a firm person who believes in sticking to his decisions at any cost. His action may please those employees who prefer to work under strict discipline. Counterviews : This action of Mr. Kumar may spread fear among the employees. This may result in adopting the practice of work-to-rule and nothing more. This practice may hamper employee productivity in the long run as the employees may not feel adequately motivated to do more in the absence of supporting leadership.
Further, if only a few employees and their family members attend the dinner party, it may work as demoralizing to them which is not favorable from the organization’s point of view.
2. Mr. Kumar may stick to change in office timing and drop or postpone monthly dinner party. Views : This action may put more emphasis on formal relationships between him and his employees. Through formal relationships, he can get things done from the employees and over the period of time, the employees may adjust themselves with the new office timing. Counterviews : This action may have the same negative impact which the first action has with the absence of showoff in monthly dinner party.
3. Mr. Kumar may drop or postpone change in official timing and proceed with monthly dinner party. Views : This action may please the employees and they may participate in the dinner party enthusiastically as the controversial issue has been dropped. Counterviews : This action may weaken the position of Mr. Kumar as the employees may develop a feeling that he can break under pressure. This feeling does not hold good for future.
4. Mr. Kumar may call an informal meeting of employees to discuss the issues before implementing these. Views : Mr. Kumar may used this opportunity to explain the rationale of both these actions as sometimes, the employees resist a change because either they have not understood its implications in true perspective or they feel that the change has been forced upon them unnecessarily.
If Mr. Kumar can explain the rationale of both these actions effectively, the employees may accept both the actions. Counterviews : A basic question arises: Does Mr. Kumar has persuasive communication style? Does he really believe in true participative leadership which gives high weightage to the employees’ views? From the facts given in the case, it appears that Mr. Kumar lacks both. In such a situation, having an informal meeting with the employees may weaken his position which may not be beneficial to Mr. Kumar as well as to the organization.
Based on the above analysis, you can proceed to group discussion. You can take a stand and justify it too but do not expect that your stand is a final verdict.
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