BFGym Case Study – COURSEWORK
“All organizations are merely conceptual embodiments of a very old, very basic idea — the idea of community.”1. Dee Hock understood the importance of organisation-employee relations; an organisation must be adaptable and responsive to changing conditions, while preserving overall cohesion and unity of purpose. Companies need to place an importance on HR and ensure employees are performing to the maximum while at the same time having a physical and mental wellbeing. BFGym’s employees lack motivation, productivity and enthusiasm and the business suffers to a certain extent with leadership, and the bureaucratic structure. Despite BFGym’s success through its increase in subscribers, the business struggles with the satisfaction of its employees, who arguably, are the most important part of BFGym’s success; the USP of the business comes as a result of a specialised workforce and therefore dealing with the issues of the company will only aid the businesses profitability. Dee Hock explores the idea of micromanagement and getting the most out of a workforce, ”The trick is to find the delicate balance that allows the system to avoid turf fights and back-stabbing on the one hand, and authoritarian micromanagement on the other.”2. Through finding a balance, businesses can control their success and ability to maximise profits through their workforce. Through examining BFGym and understanding the way the business functions as well as learning about the employees, many conclusions can be drawn.
2.Motivation, according to Mitchell, is: ”The degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specific behaviours”3. Motivation is characterised by a certain level of willingness from an individual to increase effort; it is driven by motives and needs of individuals and how they adapt to the role they are in. Motivation is one of the most important factors of achieving success in a business; the motivation of a workforce directly impacts a company’s ability to reach targets and maximise profit. Adam’s Equity Theory focuses on the perception of fairness and justice; an inequity between inputs and rewards can reduce motivation of an employee and usually results in lower effort. The Equity Theory is based on our perceptions of fairness and judgement. In order for a business to get the best out of a workforce, the business needs to treat all workers equally and favourably. The lack of motivation at BFGym can be understood through Jo. Although the concept of fairness is subjective, employees being asked to perform tasks they are dis-suited for inevitably causes motivation to decrease. Jo was given larger classes with shorter durations due to a 270% increase in subscribers. Despite Jo’s preferences of smaller classes with longer durations, management changed her job description in order to satisfy the increase in customers. Through looking at Adam’s Equity Theory, a worker that feels unfairly treated will have decreased motivation to perform a job they dislike. Jo felt a lack of fairness and she believed that the amendments made by management were unfair and did not take into consideration, preferences of the trainers. As a result of these changes, Jo was given larger classes and felt completely drained after, compared to her preferred smaller classes. Jo’s physical state also affected her motivation and with a lack of energy, and the removal of a breakout room, motivation decreased. Weiner’s Three Dimensional Theory of Attribution can be applied in the case of Jo. Through looking at locus of control, it is clear that the cause of a lack of motivation is internal. The changes, due to management, have negatively affected Jo’s job; her job description has expanded against her will. The new demands didn’t fit with her current attributes and strengths therefore causing a decrease in her motivation. This is one example of the lack of motivation at BFGym. The Vroom Expectancy Theory (1964) examines how individuals link specific actions to helping them achieve their goals. This theory can be applied to Nick, who relocated from Nottingham to Birmingham arguably to help him achieve his goals. Through looking at this theory, it can be deduced that Nick has been treated unfairly as a new worker and been given classes other employees don’t want. With an inability to fulfil his goals, according to this theory, motivation will decrease; Nick pursued a job to enable him to improve his skills however the change resulted in being assigned unwanted classes.
5. Gerstner and Day describe leadership as the ”…ability of an individual to influence (and) motivate…” . The position of leadership can be adapted by individuals to fit their specific leadership role. Different approaches to leadership such as the Trait Approach, Behavioural Theories and Situational or Contingency Approaches are examples of styles used by individuals as ways of adapting themselves within leadership roles. A good leader is one who is able to adapt themselves to a specific environment as well as inspire and motivate their workforce whilst also gaining the respect and trust of their subordinates. The extent of Phillip’s leadership is portrayed through his suggestion to hold a meeting with other employees. Phillip encouraged the employees to hold a group meeting and the fact the employees were willing, highlights their trust in Phillip; a good leader is one that gains the trust of others. Vroom and Yetton’s five decision styles state the different styles of leadership; Phillip uses a Consultative style of leadership. Phillip listens to other employees suggestions, to a certain extent, however he makes the final decision despite whether or not the decision reflected the subordinates influence. This style of leadership decreases time spent decision making, and it allows for a leader to make an informed decision. However, this style doesn’t take into consideration the employees opinions causing employees to feel a lack of importance and self-worth; this can cause friction between the workforce and therefore this leadership style is fragile and is not best in all circumstances. Phillip used the Initiating Structure; he undertook the leadership position and asked other employees for their desired solutions. In many ways, this character trait of leadership is positive as a good leader is one that takes the initiative and engages others. The approach of Phillip is autocratic; through using dominance, he is able to control the group meeting and guide the direction of conversation. Although an autocratic approach is good for rapid decision making, it causes passive aggressiveness and blocks creativity amongst a workforce. As well as this, an inability for creativity along with rapid decision making can cause risk as the decision may not be the best and opportunity cost is high. Phillip’s treatment of Nick highlights the issues with autocratic approaches to leadership; as a new worker, Nick’s ideas and opinions are valuable as he is able to offer an un-bias opinion, however Phillip disregarded his opinions. Shouting match As well as this, the opinions of all employees should be listened to and acted on as the workforce allows a business to achieve. This leadership style negatively effects the relations within the workforce. The failure of autocratic leadership is supported by views of Likert and Reddin who argue that autocratic power exercised through leadership results in poor performance and a lack of co-operation from others. Kate’s style of leadership focuses on a passive approach taking into account opinions of employee’s and acting on opinions; compared to Phillip who makes the final decision without listening or acting on others opinions. Kates approach follows a transformational leadership style; she uses individualised consideration in order to tend to the needs, wants, opinions and feelings of her subordinates in an attempt to satisfy their needs. In some ways, her style of leadership combines democratic and laissez-faire leadership. Despite understanding the issues, she delegates the solving of problems to the employees through organising a team meeting and doesn’t make a decision based on their opinions. Despite positive features of both Phillip and Kate’s leadership, both can improve their leadership styles. Phillip should take a more democratic approach and focus on channelling his leadership skills. In order to succeed as a leader in BFGym he needs to use the behavioural approach and use consideration within his approach. Kate on the other hand needs to focus on adopting certain traits of an autocratic leader; she understands the issues within the business. Her understanding and ability to notice problems highlights good leadership, however in order to be a successful leader she needs to act upon these problems.
8. Stress is experienced when demands exceed the abilities of an individual. Stress is characterised by features such as strain, depression and an inability to cope. The Engineering Model conveys the idea that stress resides in the environment; stress occurs not only within individuals but also within organisations as a whole. In BFGym, there are many factors that are causing stress, however they can be resolved and dealt with. The job demands-resource model, highlights the connection between job demands, and job resources. At BFGym, the increase of subscribers from 200 to 540 subscribers has increased stress. The high physical demands of the employees working in the gym results in tiredness and the removal of the breakout room, in order to create more space for customers, has decreased job resources and has created an inability for employees to rest resulting in increased stress. A primary intervention in order to reduce the stress caused by the removal of the breakout room would be to create a new breakout room or give employees longer break durations in order to regain energy and rest from their daily jobs. A poorly designed environment results in increased strain; BFGym removed their workout room and didn’t take into the consideration, the effects of this action, on employees stress.
Through looking at the Social adjustment rating scale (Holmes & Rahe, 1967), the reasons behind Nick’s stress can be understood. The change of workplace for Nick along with the relocation from Nottingham to Birmingham results in stress according to Holmes and Rahe. Payne(1988) in his study, highlights the importance of being attracted to a type of job; Nick was attracted to the job in BFGym, however he is given classes other employee’s aren’t willing to take, which evidently isn’t the job he was attracted to. This unfair treatment and the way in which Nick is being used by other employees is evidence of Nick’s stress; Nick feels unfairly treated and isn’t taking classes he actually wants hence causing stress. The Medical Model focuses on the physiological response to environmental demand. The demand at BFGym caused the company to increase class sizes and create fixed schedules.Jane wanted management to change her class sizes and schedule however they placed importance on customer satisfaction rather than employee satisfaction; due to the fact the customers were pleased with Jane’s classes, she was unable to change her classes. This cause of stress is a direct result of poor management and Jane’s satisfaction and increased stress is compromised to achieve customer satisfaction. The stress comes as a result of the environment However with a dissatisfied and stressed workforce, the company would be unable to function and satisfy customers at all. Through the cases of Nick and Jane, stress has been caused for reasons that could have potentially been avoided. It is clear that management are not effectively dealing with its employees and stress can be avoided. The general adaption syndrome (Hans Selye, 1946)
7. Organisational Culture is fundamentally an unwritten code that affects the attitudes and behaviour of staff, approaches to decision making and the leadership style of the management. A business wants to have a strong culture as this will allow for the business to improve its performance and achieve the objectives that businesses set out for their companies as corporate objectives. Organisational culture, when done right, has allowed businesses to maximise profits and succeed whilst when done in a toxic way, has cause severe problems for the company and other stakeholders involved with the business. According to Eldridge and Crombie (1974) culture is “… the unique configuration of norms, values, beliefs, ways of behaving and so on, that characterise the manner in which groups and individuals combine to get things done”. Through looking at BFGym, the culture of the business is toxic; culture can have a negative impact on a business as it can significantly affect the way the business is perceived by both consumers and employees and all stakeholders affiliated with the business. The lack of
1 Dee Hock, Fast Company Magazine, 1996
2 Dee Hock, Fast Company Magazine, 1996
3 Mitchell, 1982