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The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Week 5 Issues

The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on the contrary, it appears that CanGo’s corporate ideology is based upon modern viewpoints regarding empowering employees, and on fundamentally personal levels. CanGo seems to adopt a casual, equality-driven human resources philosophy, one in which the employee’s sense of esteem is a priority. While there is value in manifesting regard for a workforce, it can as well result in confusion, unclear relationships and responsibilities, and employee friction when taken to an extreme.

The first video of Week 5 offers a striking, and not immediately obvious, dilemma inherent within the CanGo HR procedures. Nick is riddled with anxiety as he awaits his evaluation, knowing he has been less than fully responsible at his job, and this goes to an intrinsic flaw in CanGo’s “friendly” HR structure. CanGo is clearly a non-intimidating company, and one with a loose hierarchy permitting casual relations between management and subordinates, yet Nick is very frightened about his upcoming evaluation. This reveals a substantial flaw in overly casual employee relations, in that employees typically anticipate severe consequences for poor performance, and regardless of how easy-going a work environment may be.

Generally speaking, people know quite well when they have not done well at work, and the expectation of a reprimand or disciplinary action is actually desired to some extent, because it follows the logical trajectory of how these things must go in the employee’s mind. When, however, the work atmosphere overtly promotes a non-judgmental philosophy, the employee is not relieved, or less apprehensive; he is confused. The ordinary consequences of inadequate job performance are not manifested, and this creates an unease of its own in the employee, and one marked by suspicion. It is, simply, too good to be true, and the good manager must know that he is obligated to the employee to not permit a friendly relationship to dictate that employee’s job parameters. Historically, and with good reason, managers have held to the rule that some personal distance is absolutely essential in the business arena, to preserve the integrity of all concerned.

In CanGo’s defense, an excessive leaning towards affability is understandable, particularly in today’s commerce. “The shift from a manufacturing to a service economy in the U.S. has strong implications for performers and performance management initiatives” (Neider, Schriesheim, 2003, p. 2). Employees themselves are increasingly a form of “product”, and bolstering their senses of esteem would appear to be an effective policy. It is, but it must be tempered by standards of which everyone is aware.

Further repercussions of such policies can be seen in the third video, in which an across-the-board level of excellence in employee evaluations leaves CanGo with the dilemma of then properly compensating employees the company clearly feels have exceeded expectations. In this instance, two issues are at play, both of which CanGo has not properly addressed.

The first is that the company’s HR staff, as represented in the video, has been allowed to conduct itself as a team with no real corporate foundation beneath it. More precisely, these people appear to share no identified set of evaluation criteria, either individually or departmentally. They have been empowered to render decisions based upon their own perceptions and opinions, and, while HR professionals must certainly be relied upon to make these calls, a lack of an established platform can only result in the problem facing CanGo, in one form or another; they have individually brought to the table determinations made in a vacuum, as it were, arrived at with no consideration of how their peers were operating. Under other circumstances, the discussion might well have been of the issue of a company-wide failure in employee performance. The problem is the same, essentially, because HR went about its business unmindful of its other components.

The second issue is how the egalitarian atmosphere of CanGo produces disruption, rather than harmony and achievements. In this discussion, everyone feels free to express personal viewpoints, and to a highly unprofessional extent. In seeking to promote self-regard, CanGo has in fact empowered discourtesy. Most interesting is that the best suggestion gets lost in the discord, when Warren advises a one-through-ten evaluation system and is ignored. His suggestion goes to the heart of the problem facing CanGo:  “Managers differ in rating style – some rate harshly whereas others are quite lenient. This can be reduced by precise definition on the appraisal form” (Pattanayak, 2005, p. 123). Unfortunately, the video indicates that it is disregarded.

Week 6 Issues

Equally disturbing as the HR issues are is how CanGo is contemplating its Initial Public Offerings (IPO) position, and strategy for the future. These videos clearly indicate that the company is ready to expand; they are, in fact, eager to do so. Nonetheless, basic problems are demonstrated in their approach, and it is not coincidental that these problems are appearing in these earliest stages of expansion.

The distinct impression received from watching these CanGo managers in action is not favorable. There is, first and foremost, no professionalism evident. A sense of ease and relaxation in the business discussion is a fine thing, yet the CanGo roundtable persistently defeats its own purposes, as random ideas are tossed around and never followed up on in a rational, conversational manner. The actual business matters aside, this way of conducting a company discussion is adolescent and unproductive. However it is arrived at, a leader for the meeting needs to be identified, to maintain direction, purpose, and decorum.

Then, another distressing issue in this team’s approach is that virtually no sensible and necessary consideration of the needs of what they are proposing is being done. Pleased with their success and eager to expand, CanGo here is indulging in an exercise of brainstorming. This in itself is a valuable activity, and it can produce unexpectedly promising ideas. It is, however, an utter waste of the company’s time if no monitoring and suitable follow-through is conducted.

Clark and Andrew completely undermine their own objectives, even assuming that only a general, open-ended discussion was the goal. Warren, Ethel, and Elizabeth seem more grounded but, again, there is no leader evident. Such a person would keep the conversations on track, and moving toward some sort of satisfactory conclusion. There would also be a very necessary insistence on holding to each idea as expressed before moving onto another. Brainstorming may be immensely beneficial, but only when conducted in a professional manner: “Once brainstorming yields a large number of potential solutions, the latter are classified, and solutions in each class are voted upon…” (Khandwalla, 2003, p. 121).

Additionally, it may be presumed that a leader would note how no one is taking cost factors into account as they spin suggestions on expansion. Thankfully, Warren and Ethel are serving to remind the others that the expansions they are contemplating will require dramatic shifts in resources, as well as income not yet available. Interestingly, as Warren was a rare voice of reason in the earlier discussion, he takes the lead in approaching an employee as to a tangible expansion plan. There is a sense that Warren, with perhaps Ethel, could take CanGo where it needs to go without input from the others. More exactly, it seems that the early group conversation exists primarily to be discarded by those with the clearer vision and more realistic approaches. As before in the HR scenarios, the single most troubling aspect in how CanGo operates is a lack of distinct, business-oriented leadership.

References

Khandwalla, P. N. (2003.) Corporate Creativity: The Winning Edge. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pattanayak, B. (2005.) Human Resource Management: Third Edition. New Delhi, India: Prentice-Hall of India.

Neider, L. L., and Schriesheim, C. (2003.) New Directions in Human Resource Management. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

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