THE VIDSOFT TRIANGLE (A) The VidSoft triangle case deals with one of the broad-based challenges facing organizations as result of the insisting need to respond globalization through working with people from different cultures (managing multicultural team). The VidSoft triangle case deals also with the “relationship conflict ” which is –as studies demonstrated- almost always dysfunctional and probably ends up with hindering the completion of organizational tasks.
The VidSoft triangle case also reflects one important contemporary theory of motivation which is the goal-setting theory applied through its main tool ;management by objective program “MBO”. The VidSoft triangle case provides an ideal of the integration between both variable-pay program and employees recognition program that resulted in a highly satisfied staff. The VidSoft triangle case also reflects one kind of transactional leader illustrated in James white’s no-nonsense approach to management and another kind of charismatic leader illustrated in Keith Nash personality and management style. First: Managing Multicultural Team:
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Despite their common descent, Hsu and LI grew up in completely different cultures. Hsu grew up in California where the individualistic background dominates, while Li grew up in Hong Kong where the collective background dominates. Given her collective background, Li excelled in terms of organizational citizenship behavior “OCB” by helping everyone in her team succeed which is not a part of her formal job requirement . As a result, she was awarded the best team player award for two consecutive quarters, and when promoted, everyone in the team loved the idea and she got a resounding round of approval.
On the contrary, Hsu’s individualistic background created an obstacle in terms of his ability to work within a team and to participate in group’s nonwork-related events. What’s more, Babatunde’s trials failed to turn him around ,then he sought to move to the other group where the group superintended is absent and the requirement for participation in team-related activity expected to be at its minimum with the absence of leadership roles. Moreover, he will not be required to provide feedback to a lower level manager that he personally doesn’t like.
Second: Relationship Conflict: Listing all his personal nonwork-related reasons for not accepting Li as a direct manager ,Hsu focused on a kind of relationship conflict based on the definition of the interactionist view of conflict, that brew to the fourth stage in the conflict process-behavior. VidSoft Conflict Process: Stage I:Potential opposition or incompatibility The existence of personal differences between Hsu and Li acted as a potential source for creating conflict, given that all reasons he reported to Babatunde were nonwork-related.
Hsu mentioned that he didn’t respect Li and could not respect her due to her poor technical background. Also, he complimented Babatunde management style. Finally, he expressed his frustration resulted from Li being inexperienced at managing people-he didn’t mention one task-related reason. Stage II: Cognition and Personalization Conflict now is perceived by Hsu. His perception ,as one of the conflicting parties, is very important to define the conflict issue. Stage III: Intentions Given his individualistic background ,Hsu chose competing as a conflict handling intention.
He sought his own satisfaction neglecting Li’s interests and the future impact of his intention on the overall group interests knowing that, No else except Hsu had come forward to complain from the same. Stage IV: Behavior In this stage the conflict between Hsu and Li becomes visible and three-way meetings were held to resolve. Despite their several meetings over two weeks, neither party wanted to budge. Stage IV represents the last stage where the VidSoft case paused at, waiting Babatunde’s decision. Stage V: Outcomes As a relationship conflict; most probably outcomes will be dysfunctional.
Babatunde has to choose carefully which conflict-management technique will be more efficient in handling this dilemma. Stage V represents the expected echo of the decision Babatunde about to make. Third: Goal-Setting Theory: In addition to the above main issues, the VidSoft triangle case provided one utilization of goal-setting with the management by objective program “MBO”. The VidSoft triangle case fulfilled the four common ingredients to MBO program which are goal specificity, participation in decision making and goal setting process, an explicit time period and performance feedback. As a manager, he and an employee agree on a set of objectives (goal specificity, participation in decision making and goal setting process) in an assigned period of time, usually a quarter(an explicit time period),he and employees would meet to evaluate and discuss how well the objectives agreed upon were or were not met (performance feedback)” In VidSoft, MBO program works from “top down” which resulted in a hierarchy that links objectives at one level to those at the next level and for individual employee, MBO provides specific personal performance objectives.
Fourth: Variable-Pay Program “Merit-Based Pay”: In addition to the application of MBO program, VidSoft strengthened its motivational strategy with an efficient variable-pay program in the form of merit-based pay through which the employees are compensated based on performance and objective output . Using this plan enabled VidSoft to indentify clearly the performance variation among its employees. Furthermore, VidSoft can benefit from variable pay system in transferring a part of its fixed costs into variable costs in case of declining performance to reduce its expenses.
On the other hand, when pay is tied to performance ,the employee’s earnings recognize contribution rather than being a form of entitlement. VidSoft employees were encouraged to work hard and do whatever was necessary to deliver customer satisfaction. VidSoft encouraged teamwork through awarding bonuses based on collective work to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, which created short-term satisfaction for its employees in addition to the long-term satisfaction provided through variable pay program. Fifth: Employees Recognition Program
Moving along its successful motivational strategy, VidSoft established a formal employee recognition program through which top performer employee is awarded best team player award on a quarterly basis- the award that Jennah Li was awarded to consecutive quarters. VidSoft also applied a “promote from within” strategy, which is considered as an effective tool for motivating employees, and was applied clearly in Li’s promotion. Keith Nash, VidSoft CEO ,developed a culture that encouraged employees to speak their mind.
VidSoft sought to hire friendly ,interactive employees to ensure their compatibility with its culture. VidSoft employees were also given a lot of latitude in their work habit as long as their assigned projects were completed. Sixth: VidSoft leaderships The VidSoft case shows one kind of transactional leader -according to the inspirational approach to leadership- illustrated in James White’s management style. White believed in the contingent reward system where the employees are compensated based on performance.
White’s managements style depends mainly on watching and searching for deviations. He intervened only in urgencies-he followed hands-off approach to manage his groups which is known as Management By Exception. The VidSoft case shows also another kind of charismatic leader illustrated in Keith Nash’s, VidSoft CEO, management style and beliefs. Nash got his own future vision; he believed that the customer satisfaction is the main reason behind VidSoft success, and he aligned all VidSoft strategies toward the achievement of this goal.
At the same time Nash was able to articulate his belief to the whole organization members. Nash helped his followers to link their present performance with VidSoft future success; they did whatever necessary to satisfy VidSoft customers. Current situation Inexperienced manager hierarchal First managerial assignment used to be flat Nontechnical manager collective
No science degree Individualistic The problem Causes: a- Organizational structure Adding a new management layer between Babatunde and the support engineers changed the organizational structure from flat to hierarchal. Engineers should report to Li instead of reporting to Babatunde knowing that Li is still a lower-level manager. Hsu requested to escape to the leaderless group where he will avoid the hierarchy and feel comfortable. b- Cultural differences
Hierarchy is strictly adhered to in collective communities while individualistic communities feel uncomfortable in a hierarchal-structured organizations. The cultural difference between Li and Hsu created a potential source of conflict. Hsu’s individualistic background set him apart from teamwork activities that were highly encouraged in VidSoft workgroups. c- Managerial background Despite her being new manager, everyone in the team seemed to get along with her management style and no one reported her to Babatunde but Hsu.
Also, Babatunde and White were pleased with her development and comfort in her new role. If every manager has to start experienced, no one will be a manager. d- Technical background Li had graduated with a degree in environmental management at university of Hong Kong; she didn’t have an engineering background. Now, she is heading a supporting engineers department and almost all employees are more professional than her. Babatunde is now facing a conflict between Hsu and Li; he has to intervene immediately to resolve and bring the conflicting parties back on the right track.
First, he has to identify the right strategy to be followed and choose carefully the suitable management technique(s) to handle the current situation. How can this situation be best resolved? Resolution process should not be a one shot strategy. First conflict management technique to be followed is altering the human variable, through which Hsu will be given enough time to adapt to the new hierarchy and get used to respect Li as his manager, and report to her as the rest of the workgroup did. Either Hsu will get used to his new manager or he will not.
In case Hsu repels to adapt, exit will be the alternative strategy to be followed by firing Hsu after making sure that he will no longer be able to adjust to the new situation, and thus will affect the overall group performance. Babatunde should withdraw himself from this dilemma, leaving everything in the new manager’s hand without violating her roles by any mean-he is already following this strategy with Li-and let her manage her subordinates her way. Higher-level managerial intervention is not the right strategy for Babatunde to follow, instead avoidance should be his primary selection.
Although Hsu was of Chinese descent, he grew up in the Bay area and he obtained his academic degree from University of California, Berkeley. Babatunde hired Hsu on a wrong basis assuming that he could bring varied experience into the team from a foreign culture, given that Hsu had nothing from a foreign culture to add; his culture is almost American. Babatunde deviated from VidSoft hiring strategy by hiring Hsu who was unable to work within a team, at the same time teamwork was highly encouraged in VidSoft community. Babatunde’s mistake highly contributed to the current dilemma.
Li excelled in terms of managing customer relationship ,which means that Babatunde should have promoted her in the field she excelled in, as a customer relationship manager, rather than heading supporting engineers department where all her subordinates are more experienced than her. Babatunde should have followed VidSoft hiring strategy by hiring an external manager as, no one within the department seemed to be qualified. Maintaining the flat structure among supporting engineers was Babatunde’s mistake from the beginning.
If Babatunde had maintained the hierarchal structure form the beginning, he wouldn’t have faced this problem as the status differences between employees would have been obvious and the promotion decision would have been easier for him to make. What can the Company do to avoid this type of situation in the future? VidSoft problem is mainly a structural problem: VidSoft should respond to the achieved growth in terms of the organizational structure. Flat structure is no longer compatible with the current workforce growth and may hinder the growth of the organization.
VidSoft should do some alteration to its structural variables through subdividing its groups into smaller subgroups, creating common tasks and fostering hierarchal outlines. It is clear from the VidSoft organizational chart the absence of human resources department; recruitment tasks are totally delegated to departments managers who are inexperienced and their choices lacks broad view. Babatunde is a senior technical support manager; he can decide the technical skills for a new candidate but he will not be able to decide other personal skills which are not less important than technical skills and can predict future behavior for .
VidSoft should establish a human resources department to take over the recruitment responsibility on an organized formal basis. Bibliography Books Stephen P. Robbins & Timothy A. Judge. (2009)Organizational Behavior. 13th ed. New Jersey; Pearson Prentice Hall ™. Internet Resources • Beyond the Tutorial: Collective Cultures and Shared Grief in the Writing Center by Emily Walker Heady, Liberty University [web page] Available from: http://projects. uwc. utexas. edu/praxis/? q=node/172 • Management by objectives(MBO)-The five steps MBO process [web page]
Available from: http://www. 1000ventures. com/business_guide/mgmt_mbo_main. html • Fish bone diagram Available from: http: //www. gerald-suarez. com/img/fishbone_large. png ———————– -Highlighted in red is VidSoft triangle case followed conflict process. – Stephen P. Robbins & Timothy A. Judge. (2009)Organizational Behavior. 13th ed. New Jersey; Pearson Prentice Hall “!. p521. Handling intention: -Competing -Collaborating -Compromising -Avoiding -Accommodating Perceived conflict Decreased group performance
Inearson Prentice Hall ™. p521. Handling intention: -Competing -Collaborating -Compromising -Avoiding -Accommodating Perceived conflict Decreased group performance Increased group performance Overt conflict: -Party’s behavior -Other’s reaction Antecedent conditions: -Communication -Structure – Personal variable Felt conflict Cause Effect Decreased group performance Organizational structure Managerial background Cultural differences Technical background