1. Introduction There are some significant challenges in managing the workplace in changing business environment. The workplace environment becomes more complex in which the complexity of interactions, relationships and processes often makes difficult to understand. In the organization, managers are required to be effective in organizing, decisive, and maintain good relationship with employees (Kimball 1997). In this report, the practice of empowerment is analysed as the new management enforce the capacity of employees to make choices and decisions into actions.
However, there are situations where employees feel uncomfortable with the change in management. Mostly, people do not accept and understand the benefits in changing the management. Organization needs to consider the internal and external factors in implementing a new strategic management. It is important to develop strategy to help employees learning about the change. Managers are also required to develop good communication within its employees since people may come from different cultural background, skills, age, and gender (Holden 2001).
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These differences will create barriers in communication based on different values and perceptions. The effective management of workplace in organization requires an understanding of leadership and motivation in managing the workplace on performing the job and being motivated to do so. This report analyses the issues and problems to the empowerment practice in the case of the Regency Grand Hotel to understand and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management within the organization. It also identifies the internal and external factors that affecting the organization towards the complexity and changing situations. . Outlining the problem and issues in the Regency Grand Hotel Empowerment is a concept which is commonly used in management in various organizations. According to Ongori (2009), employee empowerment have benefited many organizations through managing and taking care especially enhancing employee commitment and reducing employee turnover. As the case of the Regency Grand Hotel, the new management introduced the empowerment practice while at the same time expecting the employees to go beyond guidelines and standards to consider guest needs on a case to case basis (McShane & Travaglione 2007).
Employees’ empowerment is needed in organization in order to expect employees to be in position to make quick decision and respond quickly to any changes. However, in order to effective and efficient, empowerment is required trust, motivation, decision making and breaking the inner boundaries between manager and employees (Thite 2004). There are internal and external factors which affecting the employee empowerment in the organization. Employee empowerment often fails due to various patterns and attitudes of employees. Most of people would feel uncomfortable and do not want to accept the change in management.
Ongori (2009) stated that people may believe they want greater freedom and responsibility, while on the other hand, after years of being restricted, people may be unwilling and unable to take advantage of empowerment. In the case of Regency Grand Hotel, the previous management enforce employee to always work according to the management’s instruction and ensuring that the instructions are carried out diligently and conscientiously (McShane & Travaglione 2007), through empowerment, employees will have greater freedom and rather being more creative and innovative.
In addition, there are several factors which might discourage employees’ empowerment in organization including poor credibility of management, mistrust in management, fearing of loosing jobs and employees unwilling to take responsibility for their actions (Ongori 2009). Lack of information is one of the various interventions to promote employee empowerment (Thite 2004). As in the case of Regency Grand Hotel, there is no proper coordination regarding the handling of issues since employees seem have different ways of approaches to the problems.
Employees could not distinguish between minor and major problems and issues. Ongori (2009) also stated that these factors will lead to slow down the service delivery to customers as customer is one of the most critical external factors that affecting the organization’s reputation at large. There is another perception of employees which employees may sense that managers may hand over all the responsibility and accountability for decision making and yet employees may get punished for failures and mistakes.
In this case, there is lack of proper communication and information between manager and employees. More additionally, people throughout the organization may have different cultural backgrounds, skills, age and gender (Holden 2001). These factors also need to be considered as to be the most critical issue in communication. In the case of Regency Grand Hotel, John Becker, a new general manager, has good amount of experience working with American hotels, however John Becker seems unfamiliar with the different culture and way of doing things in Thailand.
Most of the cases prove that it takes amount of time and work which people can feel whether they have truly understood one another’s culture (McDonald, Coulthard & Lange 2006). These factors are taken into consideration in the leadership style and actions of management. Leaders are expected to have ability to adapt in changing situations and also shape the organization’s culture (Ongori 2009). In the case, John Becker’s leadership is tested to adapt and resolve problems and issues in the Regency Grand Hotel as the empowerment is established in practice.
It is shown that John Becker was very keen to address the front office staff so long as there were no problems. However as the number of problems started to mount, John was increasingly getting frustrated and decided not to look into any of the minor issues. Clearly the workforce was in state of chaos and confusion with no proper leaders to handle the situation. 3. Theories and model in conjunction with problems and issues in The Regency Grand Hotel Recent research in management has considered the adaptation of management control to situational factors.
An appropriate matching between internal organizational characteristics and the demands created by external environment will lead to an effective organization (Moores & Mak 1993). In the case of The Regency Grand Hotel, there is situation where the new management took control over the business. There are several issues and problems occurred in the new management. Therefore, there are theories or concepts of management based on situational and contingency that can assist in understanding the case problems and issues.
One of the theories is Fiedler’s contingency theory which emphasizes the leadership effectiveness depends on both the leader’s personality and the situation in which that leader operates (Fiedler 1967). This theory implies that the most effective style of leadership will vary depending on the characteristics of a situation. For example, in highly routine environment where the tasks are usually repetitive, a directive leadership style may result best by giving instruction and order to specific tasks.
On the other hand, in flexible environment where job is highly structured or fairly unstructured and employees are required to be flexible with any situations occurred, participative leadership style is required (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison 2003). In the case of The Regency Grand Hotel, the previous management had encouraged employees to always work according to management’s instruction and employees were not allowed to trying out ideas that had not been approved by management. Fiedler identified that there are situations where managers are required to be task oriented or relationship oriented.
Task oriented managers tend to do better in situations where good relationships with employees is built. Usually task oriented managers tend to do well on structured tasks and strong position power. While, relationship oriented managers are able to do better in all other situation where manager could take on a different style for a different situation (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison 2003). In addition, Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter (2006) stated that the Hersey-Blanchard leadership theory is also based on situational perspective of leadership.
This theory is based on the task behaviour, relationship behaviour and maturity. In task behaviour, the manager appoints the employees by spelling out the duties and responsibilities specifically. While in relationship behaviour, this theory extends the manager to engage in two way or multi way communications by listening, facilitating and supporting employees. The employees are enforced to be willing and take responsibility. Generally, people tend to have varying degrees of maturity depends on the task and objective which manager attempts to accomplish through their efforts (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter 2006).
As the case of The Regency Grand Hotel, the new management introduced the practice of empowerment with decision making authority in order to be initiative and creative. Hersey-Blanchard leadership theory suggests that readiness and developmental level of employees are required to determine the appropriate leadership style (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter 2006). Manager can facilitate the level of readiness and developmental level of employees by directing and providing clear instructions and directions.
Bolden, Gosling, Marturano and Dennison (2003) added that managers also encourage to help employees by building their confidence and motivation although manager still need to have responsibility and controls over decision making. With this approach, employees are ready to accomplish the task given and both competent and motivated to take full responsibility. As the level of employee’s maturity level increases, manager can be able to decrease their task behaviour and managers might need to increase the relationship behaviour. 3. 1 Introduction of Model – Hofstede’s model
Extensive cultural differences across different countries might require corresponding differences in personnel or management practices in a company’s foreign acquisition. Professor, Geert Hofstede (1980) provides a model of cultural dimensions for understanding international cultural differences. His findings suggest that all cultures can be catergorised, and thus accommodated by transnational management practices, along four crucial dimensions, they are Power Distance, Individualism versus Collectivism, Masculinity versus Femininity and Uncertainty Avoidance (Deresky, H. 2006:407-408). Hofstede identified Power Distance is ‘the extent to which the less powerful members of organisations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally’, the second dimensions, Individualism versus collectivism defines as ‘the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups’, the third dimensions, Masculinity versus femininity explains ‘the distribution of roles between the sexes’ (assertive versus nurturing) and the forth dimensions, Uncertainty avoidance is describes as ‘to what extent a culture programs its members to feel ither uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations’ (Narkervis, Compton and Baird , 2002: 628). Figure 1 encapsulates Hofstede’s categories. [pic] Figure 1- Source: Hofstede, G (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 217.
According with the wide-ranging quantitative data from Hofstede’s research, it is interesting to compare the score for Thailand and America against four of his dimensions as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2 – Source: Based on Geert Hofstede, Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind, McGraw-Hill, London, reproduced in B. W. Stening and E. F. Ngan, ‘The cultural context of human resource management in South –East Asia’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 5, no. 3, 1997, p. 8 As shown in Figure 2, Thailand scores considerably higher than US on Power Distance, which is people or workers in Thailand, are more respect for hierarchy and authority is expected in the workplace, unlike US with lower scores, hierarchy means an inequality of roles, established for convenience, American believes all people should have equal right (Hofstede, 1997:8).
In relations back to the case study, The Regency Grand Hotel, John Becker, the new general manager of the Regency Grand Hotel (Bangkok) adopted a new management practice, which is empowerment. The main purpose of empowerment is employees under Becker’s must be empowered with decision-making authority. It is, to develop their own innovation and judgment to satisfy guest’s needs and handle problem effectively in order to increase their job motivation.
However, where Thailand’s workers were used to work according to management’s instructions, the new leadership style caused lots of problems, for example, the employees had trouble deciding between a major and a minor decision, therefore, numbers of mistakes and their levels of stress have been increased (McShane and Travaglione, 2007:192). Moreover, Thailand score considerably higher than US on Collectivism, in Thailand, the decision making, order and duty are provided by an organisation. However, in US’s culture, they are believes in individual decision (Hofstede, 1980: 48).
In the case of Becker, he assigned more decision- making authority to front-line employees. This action disappointed those who had the power to make those kinds of decisions in the past, and several of them resigned (McShane and Travaglione, 2007:192). Furthermore, Thailand score considerably lower than US on Masculinity, assertiveness in Thailand is not common and interdependence is the ideal, whereas in US, they are tended to be more independence in their workplace environment (Hofstede, 1980: 49).
From the case study, it demonstrated that Becker was highly disturbed and exhausted with the increased number of consultation with minor issues by his subordinates after the introduction of empowerment. One of the reasons leading to this issue is that mistake is not accepted for employees in Thailand, therefore, they have no confident in innovative or making any new ideas unless they have received approval from management , eventually, Thailand’s employees were anxious to speak up and take risks (McShane and Travaglione, 2007:192).
Finally, Thailand score considerably higher than US on Uncertainly Avoidance, stronger Uncertainly Avoidance prefer more structure resulting in written or unwritten rules and regulations in an organisation, yet, in contrast, US with lower levels of Uncertainty Avoidance accepted more flexible culture and where facilitate unstructured situation (Francesco and Gold, 2005:27). The employees in Regency Grand Hotel used to work under management’s rules and instructions. Their main task ‘was to ensure that the instructions from their managers were carried out diligently and conscientiously’ (McShane and Travaglione, 2007:192).
Before acquisition with American hotel chain, Regency accentuated administrative control, hence a high level of bureaucratic practice among the organisation. Nevertheless, Becker reduced the number of bureaucratic rules after he has appointed as a General Manager in Regency, the purpose of this change is to develop personal competency by allocated more decision- making authority to front-line employee. However, for most of Thailand employees, with lack of confidence and decision-making ability, they eventually returned to following their superior’s instruction. 4. Recommendations and solutions
It is clear that a lack of cultural understanding and adaptability was a major contributor to the failure of the Regency Grand Hotel. Although Becker’s use of empowerment has been proven beneficial in providing employee motivation, performance and job satisfaction within the Western culture (Pratt and Nikolova. ,2006:462). It is evident that Becker’s implementation of this practice in a foreign country without gaining full understanding of its culture had significantly resulted in the failure of the organisation. Therefore, the following recommendation will be presented as a solution to improve these issues: . 1 Expatriates training General manager, John Becker need reinforcement training to help him to deal with various stages of adjustment, for example, understanding the impacts from cross-cultural differences in management thus, find an appropriate ways to fit between with his employees in Thailand. One of the main reasons caused his failure in introduction of empowerment was the minimal of pre-assignment training and preparation before he became general manager of Regency Hotel, he only believes in his self reference criteria from his previous successful experiences in other countries.
It is important to have monitoring system which would analyse the impacts such as, empowerment on the employees. Thus, due to his lack of knowledge in understanding the cultural differences, for example, the four cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede (1980) as mentioned in previous section of this paper, eventually, the overall performance of the hotel deteriorated. Therefore, it is important for Becker to attend regular training to help and develop skills in order to face his current and future challenges. 4. 2 Proper Communication and Engagement system
The purpose of proper communication and engagement system is to assist in understanding the cultural differences and backgrounds of different countries. According to the Herzberg theory, a leader must differentiate between various motivating factors that would motivate his employees in the right way to carry out their duties in an efficient manner (Ivancevich et al, 1997:132). Through effective communication, it determines the needs of those impacted by the change, for example, the new practice of empowerment as well as review the support and commitment levels of key managers and department heads.
As for the general manager, John Becker, his responsibilities should act as an additional source for feedback regarding staff member’s reaction and views, reviewing training and communication materials to ensure clarity and relevance, providing coaching and support to those applying the new process and knowledge of the empowerment. Thus, this is an on-going practice for John in order to gain success for his implementation of empowerment.
The outcomes from a successful communication and engagement system are that employees in The Regency Hotel gain a good understanding of the new management practice, how it impacts them and the overall benefits of the change. These individuals also feel positive about the change because they feel they have been engaged and have had an opportunity the influence how the change is implemented and re-shaping some of the outcomes. 4. 3 Training for the employees John must train employees with skills which would help them understand complex problems from an analytical point of view.
He should have proper screening methods to pick individuals who would have the abilities to work in a group and pick individuals who can lead them effectively. Individual members have the abilities that can be used to lead the group for goal accomplishment (Ivancevich et al, 1977:132). 4. 4 Identify key roles and responsibilities to the employee There needs to be proper defining of roles and responsibilities amongst employees, so that everybody would be aware of the tasks which need to be performed in order to achieve the goal.
Therefore, Performance Management System, or referred to Performance Management Cycle plays an important role to “ensure that the employee’s performance is supporting the company’s strategic aims” (Dessler et al, 2007:314). Following provides an example of an overview of the Performance Management Cycle for John Becker to apply in his hotel. The following Figure 3, Performance Management Cycle illustrates how regulate feedback throughout the year is vital to the success of the team and is a key part of the process. Figure 3 Performance Management Cycle
Source: Adapted from Government of Alberta, Human Resources and Employment, 2003. ‘Finders & Keepers, Recruitment and Retention Strategies’ Human Resource Strategies for Employer, P. 40 4. 5 Strategic purposes of Performance Management in The Regency Hotel The purpose of the Performance Management, as shown in the Figure 3 above, is to regulate feedback to individual employees at the Regency Hotel. This is conducted in the form of one-on-one formal discussions where managers ensure that employees understand what is expected of them within the organisation.
At the same time, objective and goals are outlined and progress is monitored by providing feedback, coaching and measuring achievement. Rewards and recognition are tools used for motivating high performers; similarly, career planning and development will be implemented for those who are not meeting performance expectations. Moreover, they would be aware of the powers given to them so that they use them in a more responsible manner. There should be unity in the decision making of the employees. There cannot be conflicts between employees as there would be no solution to the problem at hand (Schein E,1968). . Conclusion An organization must not be overwhelmed by the concept of change and should learn to deal with it in an effective manner. From the above analysis of the case, one can learn a valuable lesson in how an organization should be able to deal with both kinds of extreme situations, for example, when it is a crisis and when it is at the peak of its success. When an organization is successful and is undergoing change at the top management, the new authority in charge cannot drastically change the existing culture assuming it will better the current situation.
It should preferably retain the old culture and introduce change gradually over different time intervals, in order for employees to better understand the positives. It should have proper channels of communication in place. It should explain in an effective manner the changes it would like to implement in the organization and the positive impact it would have. It should help employees adapt to change without affecting their morale and help them maintain their levels of performance. The top management must have proper leaders who have the ability to lead the organization to better heights.
There must be high levels of motivation amongst the workforce which would ensure total commitment from them. Leaders must also emphasize on the concept of unity while achieving the goal for which they must have good team building practices in place. In this way any organization would learn to be successful no matter what the situation is. References: • Bolden, R. , Gosling, J. , Marturano, A. & Dennison, P. , 2003, A Review of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks, University of Exeter, United Kingdom. • B. W. Stening and E. F. Ngan, (1997). The cultural context of human resource management in East Asia’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 3-15. • Deresky, H. , (2006). ‘International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures’. 5th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. • Dessler, G. , Grififths, J. , and Lloyd-Walker, B. , 2007, Human Resource Management 3e, Theory Skill Application, Person Education Australia Frenchs Forest. • Fiedler, F. E. , 1967, A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness, McGraw-Hill, New York. • Francesco, A. M. and Gold, B.
A. (2005). ‘Motivation’, in Pratt, J. & Nikolova, N. (2006), 21717 International Management, 2nd Edition, Pearson Education Australia. • Hofstede, G. (1980). ‘Motivation, Leadership, and Organization: Do American Theories Apply Abroad? ‘ Organizational Dynamics, 9, 42-62. • Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Hofstede, G and Hofstede G, J. (2005). Cultures and Organizations; Software of the Mind (2nd edn), McGraw-hill, New York. Holden, R. , 2001, Managing People’s Values and Perception in Multi-Cultural Organisations, Employee Relations, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 614-626. • Ivancevicch, J, M. , Szilagyi A, D. and Wallace M ,J. , 1977, Organizational behaviour and performance, Goodyear publication co, California. • Kimball, L. , 1997, Managing Virtual Teams, Team Strategies Conference, Toronto, Canada. • McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. (2007). Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, Sydney. • Moores, K. and Mak, Y. T. 1993, Adaption of Management Control Systems to Rapidly Changing Environments: A Comparative Study of Two Brewing Companies, University Drive, Gold Coast, Australia. • Nankervis, A. , Compton, R. , and Baird, M, (2002). ‘Strategic human resource management’. 4th edition. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson. • Ongori, H. , 2009, Managing Behind the Scenes: A View Point on Employee Empowerment, African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 3, pp. 9-15 • Pratt, J. & Nikolova, N. (2006), 2171 International Management, 2nd Edition, Pearson Education Australia. • Robbins, S. , Bergman, R. , Stagg, L. & Coulter, M. 2006, Management, 4th ed. , Pearson Education, Australia. • Sayles, L, R. , 1989, Leadership: Managing in real organizations, 2nd edition, McGraw hill, USA. • Schein, E. (1968). Organizational Socialization and the Profession of Management, Industrial Management Review, 1968 vol. 9 pp. 1-15 • Thite, M. , 2004, Managing People in the New Economy, International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Vol. 4, Griffith University, Australia ———————– High THA (64) US (40) Low Low Low
Power Distance Individualistic US (91) THA (20) Collectivistic Individualism High US (62) TH (34) Low Masculinity High TH (64) US (46) Low Uncertainty avoidance 1. Setting Objectives – Objective – Behaviours 2. Assessing Performance – Objective Measured – Behaviours Measured 3. Rewarding Performance – Fixed Pay – Bonus Regular Feedback Regular 1:1s