Work Place Management essay

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Management styles differ from one society to another. Some management styles help in facilitating work flexibility at least in the short term but possibly at the longer term cost of considerable resentment and low trust employment relationships. In most cases it is the lower employee and workgroups who have most acquaintance about their own work organization. Employees who are well knowledgeable and inspired to revolutionize they are better able to come up with the most appropriate structures of job organization. Employees will be most likely to put into practice and enthusiastically maintain job flexibilities to which they feel consigned. When employees are highly committed they are involved in making decisions about changes in duties or job organizations within an atmosphere of relatively high trust employment relationships. The management approach or style is however determined by the culture or the society in which an organization is situated.      Management culture is bound up with management style which deals with values, principles and ideals (Shields, 2007). Management style shapes day to day managerial outlook and action and it exposes the normative essence the heart and soul of management outlook and mentality. Shields (2007) says that management style acts as a touchstone of management ideology that is how managers or at least senior managers  and executives think and act towards their employees on a day to day basis. Shields explorers two management styles which include high trust and low trust approaches of management styles.According to Shields (2007) "low trust culture involves an essentially authoritarian approach to the management of the workforce, demanding employee obedience and punishing non compliance through strict disciplinary codes and the threat of dismissal" (p. 112). He continues to indicate that the approach hinges on the presumed inviolability of management prerogative and a marked hostility to any independent trade union presence (Shields, 2007).On the other hand Shields (2007) says that "in a high trust culture, employees are given greater discretion over job decisions, performance is less strictly monitored and a greater commitment is given to employment security" (p. 112). In this case the employer adopts a softer more consultative approach in an attempt to win over employees and gain their consent and commitment. Shields (2007) further says that at the industrial relations level the high trust approach might involve employer acceptance of trade unions, direct negotiation with unions and possibly the adoption of joint consultative and regulatory procedures with unions or alternatively the use of non union employee representation plans. Greenleaf & Spears (2002) mentioned that one of the fundamental principles in organizational management is the idea of servant leadership. Servant leadership is associated with high trust and one of the things that is driving it is the global economy and the need to allow employees to feel part of the company (Greenleaf & Spears, 2002). High trust management style is associated with the need to produce more for less and with greater speed than organizations have ever done. Greenleaf & Spears (2002) thus says that "the only way to get empowerment is through high trust cultures and an empowerment philosophy that turns bosses into servants and coaches and structures and systems into nurturing institutionalized servant processes" (p. 2).Low trust management style is characterized by high control management, political posturing, protectionism, cynicism and internal competition. According to Greenleaf & Spears (2002) it possible to buy someone's hand and back but not their heart, mind and spirit. In this context we can therefore say that organizations which adopt low trust management style may have some draw backs associated with lack of commitment. Greenleaf & Spears (2002) therefore mentioned that "in the competitive reality of today's global market place, it will be only those organizations whose employees and people not only willingly volunteer their tremendous creative talent, commitment and loyalty but whose organizations align their structures, systems and management style to support the empowerment of their people that will survive and thrive as market leaders" (p. 2). In his studies, Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development (2000) identified two main dimensions of management style which includes individualism and collectivism. Under individualistic approach of management it focuses on the feelings and sentiments of each employee and encourages the capacities of individual employees and their roles at work (Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development, 2000). In the frame of individualistic management style, he also distinguishes high and low degrees of individualistic approach of management style. Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development (2000) notes that "high individualistic approach of management relies on the resource status of employees with employers wanting to develop and nature their employees talents and abilities" (p. 37).

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Employment policies related to high degree of individualistic management style include careful selection, internal labor markets, staff appraisal, merit pay and extensive communication systems. On the other hand Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development (2000) says that "low individualistic management style emphasizes on the commodity status of employees, with employers concentrating on the control of both labor costs and the labor processes" (p. 38). Under low individualistic approach profits are the priority and employment policies include recruiting in secondary labor markets, tight workplace discipline and little security of employment (Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development, 2000). On the other hand Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development (2000) found out that "collectivism is the extent to which the organization recognizes the right of employees to have a say in matters of management decision making which concern them" (p. 38). Collectivistic management style is operated through trade union organization or other forms of employee representative system therefore giving employees a collective voice in organizational decision making. Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development (2000) established that there are two aspects of collectivistic management styles which are high and low levels of employee participation. High level employee participation collectivistic approach entails co-determination, pension fund trustees and employer wide collective bargaining and takes place at the corporate level. Low level employee participation on the other hand takes place at workgroup, departmental or workplace levels (Farnham & Institute of Personnel and Development, 2000). Management tolerance of collectivism ranges from willing co-operation at one extreme to grudging acceptance at the other end. He further says that while some employers have more individualist management styles such as American-owned companies, and some have more collectivistic approaches such as larger UK companies.Gudykunst (2005) indicated that individualistic management style is commonly practiced by companies in northern and western regions of Europe and in North America while collectivistic approach of management style is exercised by companies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America and Pacific Islands. Toyne & Nigh (1999) says that collectivist Japanese management idea has replaced classical U.S as the universal norm in IB; knowledge of a discipline has been supplanted by group motivational skills in management. It has been noted that many business schools in the United States have changed both teaching humanities, foreign languages, emphasizing group learning, team building and consensus forming in order to adapt themselves to the demands of collectivist management.According to Bell & Cohn (2008) low trust business environments encourage leakage of proprietary knowledge in such a way that former employees feel good to share business secrets outside the company. At the same research shows that the loss of trust may lead to resignation or termination of contracts with the implications that they are bound to disclose protected information to competitors (Bell & Cohn, 2008).

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In high trust environments the management does not prevent resignation and termination of employment terms although employees in a work environment with high trust levels are less likely to quit. Bell & Cohn (2008) continues to say that high trust does raise the bar on individual and corporate ethics. They therefore said that literally an employee who has been treated as a trusted partner is less likely to abandon his moral code to sabotage a previous employer by inappropriate disclosure of information. In this context Bell & Cohn mentioned that "if low trust makes disloyalty feel good, high trust makes disloyalty feel bad and hence discourages it" (p. 79).In their research Bell & Cohn (2008) noted that "the legacy of low trust companies stains the resume of employees trying to move beyond the low trust organization in their careers" (p. 80). For example Bell & Cohn (2008) says that it is possible to imagine the chilling effect on new employers of the word Enron or WorldCom in a candidates application form. This implies that new employers are mostly likely to be concerned about bringing new employees from either Enron or WorldCom because of the reputation of the companies (low trust companies) because they will prove to be a contagion of sorts (Bell & Cohn, 2008).The biggest assumption according to Bell & Cohn (2008) is that the employee's habits of low trust interaction may exert a corrupting effect in some areas of high trust management culture in the organization. This means that for merits upcoming managers should avoid low trust business environments if they care about the upward portability of their careers and the future of the organization.  There are the negative implications or costs of low trust and the benefits of high trust management styles as indicated by Healey (2007). The cost of low trust management style include lack of clarity and hidden agendas which may cause project failure while the benefit of high trust is that this style strips away distractions and creates clarity to focus on the right things. Healey (2007) says that low trust work environments results to higher stress and misdirected energy while high trust workplace results to lower stress and higher energy. Low trust management culture causes reduced candor, increased negative politics and high turnover and on the other hand high trust workplace encourages increased candor with higher creativity and fewer negative conflicts and lower turnover because people feel valued (Healey, 2007). Furthermore Healey (2007) indicated that in organization with low trust management style, "younger generations of employees respond to this culture with a weaker work ethic and lack of patience while in high trust all generations improve performance when trust is high and therefore trust is the one true bridge across all generations" (p. 22). Low trust management style translates into a caustic or cold place to work which reduces the company's ability to retain and attract talent while in high trust management approach it permits a more fulfilling workplace and generates warmth that retains and draws talent and at the same time employees are more empowered to take risks and innovate.Healey (2007) continues to say that "low trust fosters a focus on self preservation and creates silos resulting to selfishness which prevents partnership and collaboration within silos and between them" (p. 23). In high trust partnerships and collaborations flourish because the primary catalyst for them is intact hence the walls that create silos have no foundations on which to stand. Healey continues to indicate that in low trust workplaces people dislike being surrounded by people they do not trust and therefore work becomes drudgery and in high trust environments employees always want to be surrounded by people they trust resulting to making work their second home (2007).Moreover, Zalabak, Morreale & Hackman (2010) says that studies from many researchers' link trust and perceptions of integrity to bottom-line companies performances. For example restaurants, sales forces, NCAA teams perform better when trust levels are high. They also indicated that in 2002 Watson Wyatt study showed that high trust organizations outperformed low trust organizations by 286% in total return to shareholders that is stock price andHigh trust management style is associated with the successful habits of visionary companies such as 3M, American Express, Boeing, Disney, Hewlett Packard and Nordstrom. Zalabak, Morreale & Hackman (2010) thus says that high trust in these companies has been the key to employees wanting to identify with the organization over a long period of time. This therefore dictates the need for leaders to establish clear yet ambitious performance goals resulting in superb execution while stimulating creativity and innovation for the future. Companies in some countries in Europe, Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland pay attention to detail aspects of building trust. This has been the key to the success of these companies. On the other hand, Zalabak, Morreale & Hackman (2010) says that low trust management style is expensive. For example most researchers agree that the US Sarbanes-Oxley with its myriad of financial compliance obligations costs more money and is fundamentally related to breaches of trust. Zalabak, Morreale & Hackman (2010) indicated that "monitoring and surveillance systems, highly prescriptive contracts, extensive rules and regulations, low supervisor to employee ratios and a host of other organizational processes requires substantial resources both human and financial" (p. 10).   However, Morden (2004) determines that lean manufacturing as found in the automotive industry as an example of the architecture and relationships of a high trust workplace. This can be contrasted with the classical low trust system of high control operations management identified and developed by F W Taylor and the school of Scientific Management. Lean manufacturing systems require a high level of trust because people are trusted with high levels of responsibility and discretion at all points of the supply and operational process (Morden, 2004).High trust organizations understand the key processes that need to be in place to build trust. The companies that are most successful at mergers and acquisitions appreciate that the process of trust creation is critical to the success of a company (Bibb & Kourdi, 2004). Looking at the characteristics of high trust culture within organizations employees has fun in workplace because of trust and openness. An example of high trust companies is in one of the unlikely place that is the cleaning services industry a Scandinavian company, SOL and the Chicago based company ServiceMaster (Bibb & Kourdi, 2004).Employees in this two companies have a desire to be altruistic and do work that is of higher value to society. Bibb & Kourdi (2004) says that employees share common values relating to customers and pride in their work. On the other hand a good example of a much bigger organization whose leaders have built a high-trust culture is the Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF). Bibb & Kourdi (2004) noted that "people who work for WWF care about the future and the legacy they will leave in the company" (p. 122). This trust has grown from modest beginnings into a global conservation organization that has been instrumental in making the environment a matter of world concern and it is a perfect example of a high trust culture.Organizations whose management revolves around high trust start by trusting and having faith in employees. Bibb & Kourdi (2004) says that being trusted is so psychologically gratifying that people seek to do more things that reinforce other belief in them. They also noted that if employers lack trusts it is more likely that they will find reasons to reinforce that lack of trust. Bibb & Kourdi (2004) indicated that it is not difficult to spot a low trust culture because if for example one pulls apart the elements that make the culture untrusting there are some you can immediately recognize as ones that obviously get in the way.Cohen & Prusak in their studies established that the founder of Buckman Labs made high trust and openness to be of the foundations of his firms operations because he believed that the trust it engenders and the cooperation that resulted were essential to the company performance (2001). Ackroyd & Thompson (1999) indicates that low trust management is conventionally big management, bureaucratized, rule bound, introspective and a slave to its history. Low trust regimes breed a generalized reluctance to cooperate with managements and to exploit any lapses that occur.In conclusion, it is important to note that in low and high trust regulation regime the orientation of management is often matched and reciprocated by the attitude of making out against management opposition. It is important to note that there are possibilities that employees will mistake high regulation for lack of trust hence such regimes tend to degenerate into the low trust management regime. Whether medium, regional or multinational companies their success is highly associated with the level of trust embraced by the employer towards the employees. High trust comes with innovation and flexibility in dissemination of ideas the key factors in the growth of an organization. Managers should understand that high trust and collectivistic management styles have been key contributors to the growth of major companies such as HP while the low trust and individualistic approach of management have contributed to the downfall some companies such as Enron. This means that the management approach should be given an upper hand when making major decisions in an organization.

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