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Consolidated Life

Essay by   •  May 21, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,174 Words (5 Pages)  •  789 Views

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PROBLEM

Consolidated Life, an insurance company, suffered from a disconnection between the upper-level management team and its lower level management and workforce. These two groups can into conflict with one another, and this caused negative energy, bad feelings and low employee morale. Upper level managers, Jack Greely and Rick Belkner, took a more controlling approach to management. They set certain rigid rules and guidelines and expected their employees to follow them without question. Mike Wilson, a lower-level manager, had a leadership style that encouraged employee input and growth and allowed employees to do their work without being micro-managed. Other problems facing the company were a disgruntled work atmosphere, a high turnover rate and poor work quality.

Both the upper-level management team and the lower-level team viewed the disconnection from a different perspective. Upper level managers Belkner and Greely felt that the lower-level managers where being insubordinate and greedy, which they felt may have been detrimental to the company. This was shown by their reaction to Supervisors' memo requesting certain kinds of support. Instead of using that opportunity as a way to consider a different viewpoint, they took it as an attack on them and the organization. Not only were the suggested measures not put into effect, the reaction of the upper-level managers bred a more hostile atmosphere that continued well beyond the memo.

On the other hand, Mike Wilson and the other lower-level managers felt that they were not being supported and trained in an appropriate way. Their suggestions were not implemented, and this caused their jobs to be even harder. Although they understood their place in the organizational structure as being below the upper-level managers, they felt that their contributions were unimportant and their unique individual performances were discouraged.

The introduction of Jack Greely into the organization changed the atmosphere in the organization in a radical way. Greely's leadership style appeared to be more about power and control, and this caused some of his decisions to be motivated by personal vendettas, rather than the motivation of determining what would be in the best interest of the company and its workforce. Examples of this are Mike Wilson's denial of promotion ("....we just don't like you."), the campaign to target the authors of the Supervisors' memo, and the refusal to consider any of the Supervisors' requests.

CONFLICTING MANAGEMENT STYLES IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL ENVIRONMENT

At first, Mike Wilson was able to socialize well within the organization. His immediate boss at the time, Rick Belkner, allowed him the flexibility to run his department as he saw fit. Wilson's loose management style was a good match for the organization, because, at the time, it was open to individualistic management approaches. This good person-organization fit led to increased productivity and high morale for Mike Wilson's department.

When Mike Wilson returned to Consolidated Life, the new senior upper-level manager, Jack Greely, had created a new organizational culture in which upper management set strict guidelines and expected the workforce to follow them without question. This was an organizational culture into which Mike Wilson was unable to socialize. Wilson's loose management style, once accepted, was now criticized and created conflict between him and the upper level management team. One of Wilson's values was the duty of the organization to provide training and support to allow new employees to socialize into the company well. However, he was discouraged from doing this. In

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