Showing posts with label organizational performance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organizational performance. Show all posts

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Managing Teams through Identity-Base and Knowledge-Based Difficulties

What is in a group? Organizations seek to manage the workplace where encampment, us versus them, and self-seeking group formation does not limit the overall functioning of the organization. Such groups can limit the ability to see outside of one’s own perspectives and further encourage poor choice making based upon this limited perspective. Research by Carton & Cummings (2013) discusses the nature of identity-based subgroups and knowledge-based subgroups and how their identities influence the operation of the workplace. 

Work teams are more popular than ever. Over 80% of Fortune 1,000, companies are using work teams to maintain productivity (Garvey, 2002).  In an effort to improve, overall functioning of teams there has been a level of effort to understand how subgroups and group member interaction impact the overall process. When team members function well together, they are more likely to be productive in their approaches.

Subgroups can form based upon fault lines that are based on differing characteristics of the group (Bezrukova, et. al., 2012). Those characteristics could be age, race, ideology, religion or any number of other factors. Each subgroup has their own way of viewing problems and manners of interacting with other groups.

 A team with more fault lines may be better than a group with only two. Two large groups can make decisions ineffective as they protect their turf through in-group and out-group dynamics while a number of different fault lines could improve effectiveness by offering a rounded perspective but ineffective turf protection.  Think of three people making a decision and creating a natural tiebreaker versus two people with completely different vantage points. 

There are two broad categories of sub-groups:

Identity-Based Subgroup:  A group based upon a person’s characteristics or other social defining categorization (Hogg & Terry, 2000). These groups see themselves as similar based on social characteristics and will generally disparage the identities of others.  You may view religion, race or age as a difference that may create a sense of shared identity. 

Knowledge-Base Subgroups:  A group based on how people view and process information (Galbraith, 1974). This group could view and see information through an educational or occupational background and define information based upon this vantage point. For example, engineers and social workers will naturally view information different and therefore break into groups based upon these vantage points. 

The Carton & Cummings (2013) study used teams selected from a multinational firm in the food processing business. Three hundred twenty six teams were formed throughout a number of different locations. Teams were engaged in a tournament that determined how their output met the needs of the organization.  They may work in operational improvement, customer service, or product development. 

The researchers were able to integrate subgroup type with subgroup configuration. Teams should be designed so that identity based teams would be imbalanced and knowledge based teams would be balanced.  Rifts in identity-based groups should be mended by relation development, positive norms, and respect for other subgroups. Knowledge-based rifts can be improved through boundary expanding and finding value in decision-making through acknowledging different perspectives.  Knowledge-based groups outperformed identity based groups in the samples.

The study encourages executives to think about how subgroups are developed and to make better design of group formation. They can encourage imbalance to foster decision-making by not allowing dominance of a single group, encouragement of balanced in-out group mentality, and integrating those who are more identity with those who are more knowledge based. This research seems to indicate that knowledge-base subgroups are ideal performers when compared to identity-based subgroups.

Bezrukova, K., et. al. (2012). The effects of alignments: Examining group faultlines, organizational cultures, and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 77–92.

Carton, A. & Cummings, J. (2013). The impact of subgroup type and subgroup configurational properties on work team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, doi: 10.1037/a0033593

Garvey, C. (2002, May). Steer teams with the right pay: Team-based pay is a success when it fits corporate goals and culture, and rewards the right behavior. HR Magazine, 34 (5), 33–36.

Galbraith, J. R. (1974). Organization design: An information processing view. Interfaces, 4 (3)
Hogg, M. A., & Terry, D. J. (2000). Social identity and self-categorization processes in organizational contexts. Academy of Management Review, 25, 121–140.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Engaged and Satisfied Employees Raise Organizational Performance

Satisfied employees have developed strong social relationships with their leaders and the organization. They understand and communicate well with their supervisors and have a personal connection to them on an interpersonal level. Through these positive relationships employees will feel positive affectivity toward their employer which leads to higher levels of performance. When employees enjoy their work and their working relationships they have developed higher levels of organizational commitment, enhanced motivation, and are less likely to leave an organization.

Relationships between employee satisfaction and communication are often related to how employees feel toward their job and other employees. Job satisfaction is associated with higher levels of commitment and lower turnover intentions (Yucel, 2012). Employees who feel the organization provides significant meaning to their lives and are satisfied with their employment opportunities have more commitment than those who don’t.

Naturally, people want to enjoy the work they engage in and the people they talk to on a daily basis. When they do feel a positive association to the organization and its members they naturally will desire to put forward more effort based in the positive affectivity and a sense of loyalty to their social group members. It is often these social relationships that make all the difference in successful and unsuccessful companies.

Employment satisfaction doesn’t exist in a bottle. It often comes with other concepts that include leadership, engagement, and ethical standards (Munir, et. al., 2013). Engagement can be seen as moving above and beyond the requirements of one’s position to fulfill additional responsibilities. Ethical standards become a medium of activity, leadership prompts the behavior, and engagement determines the pathway for benefits.

It is hard to connect with the organization is there is not some level of ethical medium that applies to all members equally. When employees are unsure of how relationships within the organization impact their employment opportunities because ethical standards are lower they will be more cautious about who they talk to and what they talk about. When employees stop relating to each other or their management team the result will be lower satisfaction, lower motivation, and even lower performance.

Job satisfaction is also influenced by the relationships between leaders and followers. According to Han and Jakel job satisfaction had a mediating relationship between leader-member exchange and turnover (2011). The more leaders and managers talked with and engaged their employees the higher the job satisfaction and the lower the turnover rates. 

Great bosses are not only liked but also respected. They don’t need to be the employee’s best friend but they should have positive relationships that allow for openness of communication. They should also be seen as ethical, fair, and trustworthy. Employees will still engage with bosses that have high standards as long as they trust the judgment of that boss and have a personal connection to him or her. 

Developing employee satisfaction has multiple benefits for an organization that includes reduced costs, higher levels of performance, and a stronger commitment to organizational success. This satisfaction is influenced by the nature of employee’s relationships, perceptions of ethical and fair treatment, engagement with the leadership team and the way in which employees make meaning of their place within the group. 

Tips for Managers:

-Have a positive disposition when talking with employees.
-Develop strong ethical and moral norms within the organization.
-Encourage openness with employees.
-Raise expectations and performance ideals.
-Encourage and praise positive performance that goes beyond requirements.
-Help employees understand the importance of their job.
-Offer opportunities for growth.

Han, G. & Jekel, M. (2011). The mediating role of job satisfaction between leader-member exchange and turnover intentions. Journal of Nursing Management, 19 (1). 

Munir, et. al. (2013). Empirical investigation of ethical leadership, job turnover, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior. Far East Journal of Psychology & Business, 10 (2).  

Yucel, I. (2012). Examining the relationships among job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intention: an empirical study. International Journal of Business & Management, 7 (2).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Learning and Leadership Influence on the Financial Performance of Organizations

Leaders often wonder how they can improve upon organizational effectiveness and encourage higher levels of employee learning and development. A study conducted by Jonathan Michie from Oxford University and Vissanu Zumitzavan from Mahasarakham University sheds further light on how learning styles and leadership abilities influence the entire organizational performance. As organizations try to encourage higher levels of financial and personal development in a global market they may consider these connections as significant contributors

Leadership style can have a significant influence on the overall financial success of the organization (Ulrich and Ulrich, 2010). It is through this implementation of proper management techniques that systematic changes in the organization can be made that create higher levels of performance. It is the leadership style that attracts and pushes appropriate visions for organizational members.

 A second major component of successful influence on the organization is continuous learning by management (Rowley 2011). When managers are able to learn and adapt to the environment they are more able to align their operations to customer needs. The process of learning also opens managers thought processes to new methods and ways of conducting business. 

Learning also influences overall behavior of managers. How people learn has an impact on how they act as a manager (Brown & Posner, 2001). Managers who frequently engage in the four learning styles of action, thinking, feeling and assessing others also engage more frequently in a variety of leadership styles that include challenging, inspiring, enabling, modeling, and encouraging. It is this adaptation of styles to the situation that creates more effective approaches.

Yet knowledge for knowledge sake is worthless. New knowledge must be applied within the workplace before it can be useful.  A learning manger thus becomes the facilitator of learned information as well as the creator of higher expectations within the organization that encourages others to also learn (Handy 1995).  It is through the process of learning and applying, learning and applying, and learning and applying that continually makes incremental change that can add up to bid dollars.

The study was conducted of tyre firms within Thailand to understanding this learning, leadership, and performance connection. The researchers used questionnaires and interviews to assess the success of 140 firms. The results of the study found that the learning styles of pragmatist and reflector with transformational and transactional styles significantly improved upon organizational effectiveness. Such leaders were able to increase teamwork and skill development to create higher levels of organizational and financial performance.

The pragmatist is a person who studies concepts that are associated to specific problems while the reflector learns by pondering the causes and effects of events before implementation. It is through the process of learning about specific problems, thinking about them, and using one’s transformational vision to create positive transactional changes that helps organizations develop. As the global economy becomes more complex it will be such leaders who can encourage their employees to adapt, learn and implement to overcome environmental challenges.

Brown, M. and Posner, Z. (2001). Exploring the relationship between learning and leadership. Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, 22 (5–6), 274–280.

Handy, C., 1995. Managing the dream. In: S. Chawla and J. Renesch eds. Learning organisation. Portland, OR: Productivity Press, 45–55.

Michie, J. & Zumitzavan, V. The impact of ‘learning’ and ‘leadership’ management styles on
organizational outcomes: a study of tyre firms in Thailand. Asia Pacific Business Review, 18 (4).

Rowley, C., 2011. Organisational learning. In: C. Rowley and K. Jackson eds. HRM: the key concepts. London: Routledge, 142–146.

Ulrich, D. and Ulrich, W., (2010). The why of work: how great leaders build abundant organizations that win. New York: McGraw-Hill.