It Wasn’t About Race. Or Was It? Group Paper MNGT 3400, Human Resource Management For: Professor Donna Driver Due: April 22, 2010 Charlotte Nanninga Student #: [email protected] com Alexander BauduinStudent #: 2607363a. p. v. e. [email protected] nl Sahil TimbloStudent #: [email protected] com Yilmaz InceStudent #: 26607[email protected] com In this assignment, the issue we will deal with is interpersonal conflict within the workplace. We will be required to take on the role of the human resource manager in order to resolve conflict.
Moreover, three of the most critical problem statements will be formulated and looked at in depth. Every phase is of underlining importance, as each phase builds on the other. A problem that is ill defined will cause havoc in the resolving process. In the first phase three problem statements must be formulated. Once the critical problems have been identified, then these need to be translated into problem statements. The problem statements should serve as a statement, thereby eliminating any personal value judgments or bias towards the main people involved.
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Once the three problem statements have been formulated, the next phase to follow is applying Cox & Blake’s six features theory into the context. The six features of Cox & Blake’s theory concern, is how to manage cultural diversity and how it can provide a competitive advantage. The six features are concerned with the changes and adaptations that managers must seek within their firm if it is to be truly a multicultural organization from integrating workers to establishing a flexible model for managing this diversity. The next phase to follow would be to apply the right type of human resource management activities that would help towards onflict resolution. The final outcome should be three action plans. In this final phase a solid plan of attack should be formulated along with each of these three action plans. The idea is that we defined three problem statements and therefore, we need to end with three action plans which could be carried out to resolve this conflict. The case takes place in a national accounting firm named Fuller Fentonn. The case incorporates three main person’s Hope Barrows (a white female), Dillon Johnson (a black male), and the Manager Jack.
Both the employees Dillon and Hope were well known employees of the company who have become valuable members and assets to the firm. Hope, having some years of experience at the firm was a partner, while Dillon was an associate. The main problem which occurred was the last straw for Dillon; he had been already having issues with the firm stemming from earlier accounts. The main final straw; When partner Hope wanted to come to work on the weekend early Sunday afternoon, she entered the firm’s parking garage following all standard security procedures as they would have been in place on a normal working weekday.
However, while entering the garage, a car pulled up behind her and piggy-backed its way inside the garage as well. Hope, not knowing who worked his way into the garage behind her felt a little threatened and scared. Due to the timing of the event (Sunday afternoon), Hope left her car and asked the other driver of the car what he was doing in the garage, and if he had a legit ID. Dillon recognized Hope’s face, however, not knowing her name, did not say anything. Dillon felt that, Hope had asked for his ID card because he had slipped into the garage behind her and she thought he was some kind of criminal. He believed it was a racial issue.
This was because, he thought, “I’m black, she’s white. Most people at the company are white. ” This problem actually stemmed from an earlier problem. When Dillon signed on to the company he had always felt like an outsider because he was black. There were stories already hovering around that Fuller Fentonn was reinventing itself and trying to create a diverse, multicultural organization. Dillon’s experience, however the complete opposite. His first week there he was confronted with an odd experience with one of the administrative assistants. She saw Dillon’s wedding picture and commented that his wife was very light skinned.
He had replied with a smile, “She’s white. ” The appalling, disapproving, and disgusted face the assistant gave was horrible. He felt insulted, however, knowing that she was from the older generation at the firm he decided to let it slide. After being a member of the firm for four months the second incident occurred. Dillon was going to join a team for a consumer goods company in Texas. Within 48 hours he was taken off the team because the partner felt that a “black face” would set the client off. Although Fuller Fentonn had stated that it was changing its corporate culture it not acting and abiding to the rules they had set for themselves.
Dillon thought he might be imagining this; this just couldn’t be. He wanted Jack to do something inside the company and wanted him to have a word with Hope. Hope’s side to this story was that she did not ask Dillon for his ID because he was black, but because he piggy-backed his way into the garage without swiping his ID card past the security measures. This completely freaked Hope out. It was a Sunday afternoon in an empty garage; she was concerned about her own safety… The skin color of the man did not matter, he could just as well have been all the colors of the rainbow.
Hope felt threatened in the empty space and started to engage in a somewhat negative thought about what could happen, these being that she could get raped or robbed. Hope frequently came to the office on Sundays to complete work for the next week just as some others colleagues often did as well. However, she did not recognize Dillon or his car. Just as Dillon felt that Hope was insensitive, she felt that Dillon was being insensitive towards her for “piggy-backing” his way inside. Shouldn’t he understand that a woman can feel vulnerable and potentially threatened if someone evades all security measures while following a woman inside a garage.
He should have used his own ID card. Hope’s main reason for feeling threatened was because two of her dear friends had been mugged. One of the incidents occurred in a similar garage, and the other one on a subway platform. Hope stated that she was so frightened that she had her phone in her hand with the numbers 911 already dialed and her finger on the send button. This was all because Hope did not recognize him, his car, and he was wearing a t-shirt. She never saw anyone wearing t-shirts who worked at the company… She stated to Jack once more, “In no way was I acting out of racial prejudice. She felt that he was using his past experiences to blame her. Jack, acting as the manager, replied that the two would have to sit in a room together with him and discuss the issue. Jack also made an appointment with the HRM department to have a meeting with both this partner and associate as soon as possible. For the rest Jack did not do much, other than try to calm the employees of the firm and keep the issue from exploding. In other words his main priority was to contain the problem and not to solve it. 1) Problem Statements- (8) Dillon did not follow the preventative security measures placed at the company garage entrance. 2Fuller Fentonn is trying to reinvent itself into a multicultural corporation, however it seems more efforts need to occur. 3Jack as a leading manager, as identified that he needs some managerial training as he had not begun to solve the problem in the past. For the firm of Fuller Fentonn to have a competitive edge it will need to become a truly multicultural organization and for that to happen it will need to apply some of Cox and Blake’s features.
One of the features the firm should work on is the employee attraction and retention argument (2). This feature states that certain companies can gain a good reputation by attracting women or ethnic minorities. The companies with the best reputation will attract more people and in doing so also attain better skilled personnel. This will be especially essential as the number of quality workers shrink in the labor market shrink. The Fuller Fentonn firm is avoiding important issues by pushing all the problems under the carpet.
Dillon is not as comfortable as he would be if Fuller Fentonn had followed this feature. He should not have to deal with a disgusted look when his secretary looked at a photo of his wife. Also his talents and energy would have been better used in closing deals rather than getting removed from them about the color of his skin. If Cox and Blake’s theories had been put into practice and the company worked at employee attraction and retention, then Dillon would not be considering leaving and in so doing, also giving the company a bad name and bad reputation. Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008)
Dillon leaving would also lower the fluidity of the company, (2) not just because they would need to find someone to replace and train but because, as the world we live in is changing and people are growing more together, having a company that would lose an employee because of unfairness reasons would destroy its reputation and lower it’s fluidity in the market. If the company loses valuable people and cannot replace them by similarly talented persons, they would be sluggish to adapt to the developing market, thereby costing the company more money. However, this problem can be solved.
For the company to adapt to the changes in the developing market it would further have to hire and train new employees. Even if they are skilled superstars in their own fields, some training is essential. This brings up the cost argument feature. (2). This feature states that when a new employee is hired and brought in, if trained by an incompetent manager/employee, the new employee will take longer to understand the inner and outer workings of the company and therefore the company will miss out on a cost advantage. In our Dillon vs. Hope case, losing either employee will be a very hard hit to the firm.
The firm has already proven itself to have incompetent managers who have not had any HR training and some of the other employees seem ‘close minded’ and ‘old fashioned. ‘ If this is the case, then hiring and training a new employee might be more expensive than the firm expects it to be. For example;- bringing in a new face to the market might direct him down a more ‘narrow’ path and the new employee might just adapt to the company and in doing so, become inadaptable to the company’s surroundings or the developing market, which is to say, again keeping that important fluidity down.
Hiring an experienced employee or super-star worker might work out a little differently. If this new employee is concerned enough with the firm, they would work to start new HR activities at the firm, try to loosen up the company, making it more fluid and therefore might be a success or the new employee might take the company as already beaten and look for a new job once he/she gets wind of the inner workings of the company/firm. (1) After understanding and applying Cox and Blake’s different features, the company can apply some HR activities in order to try and resolve the problem.
The first of Cox and Blake’s feature that we need to address is the ‘Employee attraction and retention argument’ feature. (2) For Fuller Fentonn to try to attract more skilled employees and keep the hard working, HR trained- money makers, they will firstly be needing to start treating everyone as equals- ‘Equal employment compliance’ & ‘Employee and Labor/management relations. ‘ The first step would essentially be to just take a look at the laws and instead of trying to weave their way through them, maybe understand why they are in place and start following them.
The fourteenth amendment provides equal protection for all citizens and requires due process in state action (3). Now the company obviously is not even following this. Removing Dillon from a case just because of his skin color… that might be good business but it is wrongful to that particular employee and while that deal might go more smoothly, it might also compromise himself and his future work. The VII of CRA (3) forbids discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Dillon has been discriminated against time and again in this workplace and if he had not, he might have seen Hope’s action as a hate crime and would have understood that she might have genuinely been afraid of anyone piggybacking their way inside behind her. Fuller Fentonn has proven that it is not a competent firm with the right HR activities and Jack as an acting manager needs training himself. The workplace must be a comfortable and safe environment for all people regardless of gender or ethnicity. For the firm to be more successful it needs to concentrate more efforts internally.
Diversity training is key for this operation to run smoothly. Diversity training is a training designed to change employee attitudes about diversity and develop skills needed to work in a diverse environment. Some awareness training programs should be started in order to get employees to gain an appreciation of cultural differences among themselves in order to help make a more comfortable behavior exist between them. Some other types of training exercises that might seem efficient are behavior-based programs (6).
These programs are focusing more on organizations policies and individual behaviors that inhibit employees’ personal growth and development. These programs are very important as they target individual or group problems and tackle them therefore allowing the group or individual to move forward (6). One important way to get employees working up to their potential is to identify what motivates them. Employees are asked to identify specific promotion opportunities or performance management practices that they feel were handled unfairly. Specific training exercises are created based upon these results.
Another approach that would be helpful towards groups or individuals would be to teach managers and employees basic rules of behavior in the workplace. Managers, being in leadership positions should step forward as role-models and not be slandering anyone and in any context. They should be motivating employees to work their hardest and working to make the work place almost a second home. Cultural immersion is also a very effective measure which will place the individual or group into a community where they have to directly interact with people of different races or genders.
Also transactional activities, which are day-to-day, should be followed in order to get the employees also closer to one another. Jack was not a well trained efficient manager and should have taken responsibility for the issue from the start (1). The second of Cox and Blake’s features is the ‘System flexibility argument. ‘Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008) Fuller Firm has proved that they are not an adaptable firm by not solving their problems and just hiding them. The loss of Dillon to the company will be invaluable, as the company with then, not be an ideal for prospective employees and may miss out on great, quality employees.
The firm’s H & R department should work on some new HR strategies, mainly traditional activities. (5) These activities go over performance management, training, recruiting, selection, compensation and employee relations. Training is a major part of this and the benefits include learning in a more efficient way to perform a process, establishing contact with other employees in the firm or increasing opportunities to pursuer different career paths. The firm will mainly have to work on its HR development programs in order to become more fluid and adaptable to the developing market.
The Fuller Firm will have to work on training its current employees so if/when new employees are brought in they can be trained by skilled professionals. This is the cost argument feature of Cox and Blake’s theories. To make sure effective training is given to its employees the company/firm must make sure that its HR department is efficiently running throughout the firm. So the first step would be to evaluate the effectiveness. There are two main approaches; the audit approach and the analytic approach. Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. (2008) The audit approach uses customers’ satisfaction reviews or other indicators like turn-over rate or time for particular jobs, and relates them to a particular HRM feature like recruiting or training. When doing the audit approach it is important to realize that the customers are key-whether they be external or internal as other employees. The other feature we will talk about is the Analytic Approach. Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). This approach, as the name explains, is more analytic- more cause and effect like.
This approach tests training and theories to see whether the cost and effectiveness make it worth applying. For example, they would check weather a compensation system might motivate people to work harder and make it more profitable. Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008) 1: ID goal of what type of training will be used and how it will be used 2: Strategies for reaching these goals, including resources 3: Strategies for receiving feedback e. g. meetings with managers to discuss 4: Expected outcome (what will be different) 7) 1Dillon did not follow the preventative security measures placed at the company garage entrance. 1:This training will include educating employees about the protocols which are in place at the company regarding the company security policies. This will tie in with the firm’s, code of conduct regarding clearance passes and badges. Employees at the firm must all act and behave consistently towards these regulations. The type of HRM activity which this will fall under will fall under the realm of transactional activities. 5) These types of activities are focused around the day-to-day transactions which include benefits administration, record keeping and employee services (employee assistance programs, relocation/outplacement services). 2&3:The strategies will be reaching the goal of informing, educating and complying with these regulations will include employees at all level of the organization. The best way in which to emphasize this would be by having a week long seminar on the types of regulations regarding safety, security and clearance for all employees.
This could be done by setting up meetings for each division at the firm and could be placed towards the end of each day. However, to not strain the firm’s resources too much, the meetings should last up to thirty minutes in which information will be made available and questions from employees can also be answered. 4: The desired outcome will be having employees who will be well-informed and fully compliant towards these protocols and regulations. The importance in this case is that all employees need to be consistent in their behavior.
This means that even if an event takes place on a weekend these regulations are set in place to be followed regardless. Had Dillon held his part of the bargain and been consistent as he would have done on a week day then this whole issue might have not occurred in the first place. In order to track the progress and evaluate the success rate of the action plan concerning the first problem the first problem statement surveys could be used. Employees at Fuller Fenton will be asked be asked to fill out these surveys concerning their thoughts and feelings and the information collected will be held confidential.
The outcome of the survey would be to enhance the protocols and therefore prevent any issues of this nature to occur in the future. Monday| Tuesday| Wednesday| Thursday| Friday| Saturday| Sunday| | | | | | | | 2 Fuller Fenton is trying to reinvent itself into a multicultural corporation, however it seems more efforts need to occur. 1: The training regarding creating a multicultural understanding and competence will be centered on diversity training at the firm. This is a type of training especially designed to change employee attitudes about diversity and/or develop skills needed to work with a diverse workforce.
In order to be genuinely multicultural the firm needs to target all levels and thereby educate employee from the ground level and upwards. 2&3: There will be two sets of strategies for current employees at the firm for those who have just been recruited. The current employees will receive seminars and work shops including activities concerning multicultural competence. This should be done by an external organization that is specialized at this type organizational training. The external company will have a non biased perspective and will have a vaster amount of tools at their disposal to facilitate.
For those employees who have just or recently been recruited they will receive an internal training which the firm will provide regarding employee diversity. For these employees they will receive feedback from HRM on activities which will be focused on working and understanding the multicultural environment at the firm. This will be followed up by the training which current employees are offered from the external specialist organization if need be. 4:The final result which Fuller Fenton will be aiming for is creating a truly multicultural environment at the organization for each level and department.
In doing so employees will show understanding in how their values and stereotypes influence their behavior toward others of different gender, ethnic, racial or religious background. Through this program employees should be gaining an appreciation of these cultural differences and be able to see the positive in creating a truly multicultural organization. To track the success of this strategy the firm should set up a small test or a game which will be played at each department incorporating the values of diversity training.
This will act as a screen to evaluate how the training has been absorbed. The outcome will be used to make any possible improvements and to prevent issues of diversity in the near future. Monday| Tuesday| Wednesday| Thursday| Friday| Saturday| Sunday| | | | | | | | Jack as a leading manager as identified that he needs some managerial training as he has not begun to solve the problem in the past. 1:For Jack the strategy would involve off the job training as he had never had HRM training or professional education in this field of business management.
In order to increase the chances of success it would be best for Jack to be trained in a organization which specializes in this. Thereby, offering him the most professional training from a leading HRM firm. 2&3:The strategy for reaching the goals set by the organization to qualify as a multicultural firm would mean that Jack after his training need to report and be assessed on him understanding and competence in this field. Had Jack received such a training program then he might have been able to solve the issues instead of just containing them and delaying the problems at the firm.
Jack will need to report to the HRM department at Fuller Fenton as to be evaluated on his ability to solve these diversity issues which are currently threatening the firm’s creditability. 4: The desired outcome would be that Jack would have an understanding of the sings and triggers which lead to these types of tensions and inevitably solve these issues on the spot instead of delaying them. Jack should work closer with the HRM department to prevent future events of this nature. In order to evaluate the success of Jack’s training the firm should set up a meeting with Jack and the HRM department.
In this meeting Jack will be presented with different situations and scenarios in which he must solve on the spot to see how the training has affected his multicultural competence and diversity understanding. The firm will then see how Jack’s managing skills have improved or not, if not then he will be assigned to additional training programs. As we first approached this case without any knowledge of HR, we suspected that it was a misunderstood situation which blew way out of proportion. We thought that both parties were acting too unfairly towards one another. Why was Dillon making such a big deal about being asked for his ID.?
Later on we learn that Dillon had more than reason to act the way he had. Hope also had reason to do what she had done, two of her friends had been mugged previously and therefore she was on constant alert. However, throughout this paper we have realized that it is not either of these people’s faults. The company is too blame, the company which did not assign the appropriate HR management group to the firm. With the proper HR firm this whole issue would not have occurred. Neither Dillon nor Hope would be considering leaving. With the proper HR training maybe Jack could have resolved the situation earlier.
We do not feel as though it was about race. It was an in spur of the moment incident, which if given the proper training could have been seen through a different perspective. Bibliography 2) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 3) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 PG 35 4) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 Pgs. 03-105 5) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 Pg. 694 6) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 Pgs. 391-392 7) Hollenbeck, N. , Wright, G. , (2008). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage, ISBN 978-007-127943-7, MHID: 007-127943-1 Pg 287 8) Connor, J. C, (2000). It wasn’t about race or was it? Harvard Business review.