Geraldine, the head of the R&D department of Biotech is faced with a dilemma of who to pick as her replacement when she retires. She has two candidates in mind. First is her granddaughter, Valerie, who is an epitome of a modern-day manager. The other is Melanie, whose management style is similar to that of Geraldine. A closer look at the dynamics among management style, employee behavior, innovation, and performance will help Geraldine make the right decision.
The Woman Who Best Represents the Classical Organizational School of Thought
The Classical Organizational School of Thought changed the overall treatment of the employees, who, prior to its advent were regarded as mere properties of the companies they worked for (Lumen Learning, 2018a). The theory places emphasis on efficiency, specialization, and work quality. It was from this school of thought that business owners learned that productivity can be improved by understanding the behavior and skills of their people. Strategies to manipulate employee behavior and improve their skills should be implemented.
The role of the manager is enunciated, making it clear that whereas contributions from the employees are encouraged, the manager still gets to make the final say during decision making (Lumen Learning, 2018a). The Classical Organizational School of Thought, however, focused less on people and creativity. There are rules to follow, and hierarchies to adhere to, which cannot be compromised for the sake of initiative.
Of the three women described in the case study, it is Melanie who appears to best represent the Classical Organizational School of Thought. She was controlling of her people. Discipline is very important to her. During a conversation with Geraldine, Melanie says that she does not like it when her people take the other direction to prove a point. She want her people to have to be creative at work but she wanted them to stop when they reach a point where they will have to disobey what they are ordered to do. For example, when she assigned a project to Joe, Melanie did not disapprove of his intention to get the best flavor from the oils that he worked on. Yet, Melanie did not like the fact that, in his effort to do so, Joe made changes to the ingredients in the list and extended the duration of his experimentation. In other words, Joe did not follow what he was specifically ordered to do.
Classical School Theorist that Best Reflects Melanie
Melanie said that she tried to listen to Joe’s reasoning, but according to her, he is making the others feel like they are wasting their time. Melanie did not accept his reasons most probably because it was not based on facts or truth, but merely on a hunch. A hunch is not always wrong though. Note that Geraldine thinks of Joe as the best in processing essential oils. It is his specialty. Joe must be naturally good at it. Yet, Melanie would not be satisfied with that. It is obvious that she wanted verifiable facts. She must have assumed that the team felt that they were wasting their time listening to Joe simply because it was what she felt at the time. That does not mean however, that the team felt the same way about Joe’s stand on the matter.
Melanie seems to be a lot like Frederick Winslow Taylor. Widely known as the father of scientific management, Taylor advocated standardization and job simplification as a way to achieve efficiency (Lumen, 2018a). He thought that procedures should be established, and that the employees should follow them, strictly. He did not believe in common sense, but in scientific method to study work and determine the most efficient way to do a specific task. Further, Taylor said that workers should be assigned to the job that best matched their capability. Melanie assigned Joe to the job because he was the best at it. The employees should be allowed their own space in order to perform their tasks the way they should. However, the manager should monitor the work and supervise the employees to make sure that they are doing rightly they are asked to do.
Management Theory that Best Fit Geraldine’s Criteria of an Ideal Successor
Geraldine has four key areas of concern in terms of who will be the best candidate to replace her. These are 1) updating the technology in the lab, 2) retaining young employees, 3) providing teams with strong leadership, and 4) encouraging new ideas. First of all, Geraldine was uncertain about the need to update the equipment in the lab. Biotech have not had any problem in terms of productivity or quality so far. Yet, she is not setting aside the idea that the new technologies might actually make things far better for the department than they are today.
Further, Geraldine sees a need to retain young employees as many of their team members are also planning to retire. The younger the employees are, the longer their services to the company will be, but that is, provided that they remain happy with their jobs at Biotech. Geraldine also wishes that she would be replaced by someone who could lead the department in the right direction. Strong leadership is what Geraldine seems to see as the rationale behind team success, collaboration, motivation, and work morale (Lumen Learning, 2018). Finally, Geraldine would want someone who values ideas not only of her own but also of the others who work for and with her. She liked the lab to be managed the same way she did, but Geraldine is also open to the possibility that change might actually be good for the department.
It appears that Geraldine is looking for that someone who would take on the Modern Dynamic Engagement approach to management. The theory posits that managers cannot accurately predict the future, but they can build organizations that will thrive regardless of what awaits in the future (Lumen Learning, 2018a). It is about reducing paralysis, keeping the organization on the move for something, and learning from doing. There will always be problems to encounter along the way, but that should not stop the organization from moving forward.
The Modern Dynamic Engagement approach also prefers long-term benefits over immediate, temporary ones. Managers empower, orient, and engage the members of their team. They acknowledge the fact that members from diverse backgrounds often interpret team goals differently. Managers coordinate with their teams, give them information about the goals of the team, their role in the process, and how they should be attained, while allowing room for creativity.
The Woman that Geraldine would Most Likely Select to be Her Successor
Geraldine would most likely choose Valerie to be her successor. Aside from the fact that she is her granddaughter, Valerie has more of the qualities that are consistent with the Modern Dynamic Engagement approach to management than the other candidate, Melanie does. Valerie is willing to embrace changes, both minor and major, if she has valid reasons to believe that it will be for the benefit of the organization. She thinks that by updating the technology used in the lab, the products produced by Biotech will take a step further. Melanie, on the other hand, thinks that if it is not broken, it needs no fixing. Hers is a mindset that could deter creativity and progression. Meanwhile, Valerie has been able to also look at the situation from another angle. She sees the possibility of their competitors getting an upgrade and leaving Biotech behind in terms of innovation.
Valerie has often been keen at offering new suggestions or new ways of doing things to Geraldine. Whereas she does not claim to know for sure what will happen in the future, she backs up her proposals with literature from various business journals. Melanie, on the other hand, would most gladly retain the status quo unless a problem arises.
Moreover, Valerie leads her team in a manner that empowers, orient, and engages the members. She does not dominate the team discussion, but listens to the opinions of her members with an open mind. If the ideas presented by any of her members contradict with that of her own, she will deliberate on the facts and figures to determine which is better. She is also about unleashing the potentials of the people. Melanie, on the other hand, prefers to be in full control of things. She likes her power to follow the order rather than try to do things on their own accord. Her staff has a greater turnover than that of Valerie.
How Biotech Would Potentially Benefit if the Three Women Studied Organizational Theory
Organizational Theory concerns the relationship between and among people in organizations (Lumen Learning, 2018a). It is about the formal and informal structures that develop, as well as the way those structures impact the views that the employees have towards their job, colleagues, managers, and the organization in which they belong. The study of organizational theory incorporates different fields such as sociology, psychology, communication, and management.
If the three women, Geraldine, Valerie, and Melanie will study organizational theory, they might realize the importance of collaboration, of combining their knowledge and expertise for the betterment of the department. Organizational theory recognizes the fact that the members come from different backgrounds, and from that reason, have different skills, knowledge, and understanding of how something should be done (Lumen Learning, 2018a). The three women have their own strengths and weaknesses. Rather than proving who the best is, the three women should instead leverage on their differences (McCrimmon, 2010). If that happens, Biotech will have a stronger, more dynamic management.
Geraldine should select Valerie to replace her as head of the R&D department of Biotech. It is not only appropriate, on account of the fact that she is her granddaughter, but also rational because Valerie has qualities that are aligned with the modern dynamic engagement approach to management. Yet, Geraldine does not have to regret not giving Melanie, who has a management style that is almost similar to hers, the chance to head the department. She can work alongside Valerie in making things better for the department as her deputy. Valerie has lots of new ideas in mind, but having Melanie by her side will allow her to be more careful about her decisions.
The article was written by CyberPaperBoy writer.