COMMONWEALTH EXECUTIVE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Name of Learner: GOBONA B. ODIRILE
Leaner Number: 201807983
Course Name: MANAGEMENT IN ORGANISATIONS
Course Code: MO311
Date of Submission: ……
Tutors Name: DR. JAIYEOBA
Note: To be submitted with every assignment
A multigenerational workforce offers unique opportunities for employers especially in the 21st century when the need for pragmatic business approaches is more relevant than ever before. In order for an organization to thrive, there is need to bring the workforce together and ensure cohesion between the various groups.
The above is however not a walk in the park and effort needs to be put in fostering the required level of cohesion to maximize achievement of organizational objectives. This is the big puzzle to be solved by the organization. Barry (2014) stated that, “One method of bridging generational gaps is to understand the unique differences and perspectives of each cohort “(p.1). By cohorts, the author was in this case referring to the different generations i.e. the Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials. Johnson and Anderson (2016) argued that the cohesion can be achieved so long as it forms part of the organizational culture: Any subgroup of people can develop its own subculture, with its own norms and expectations regarding behavior, and even its own values. Within the multigenerational workplace, there can be more than one subculture, resulting in misunderstandings between groups.
While the challenges of fostering cohesion are apparent, the realization and the need to bring about cohesion are recognized as an important factor in ensuring organizational success. Organizations thus need to find the ‘sweet spot’ which offers the less resistance from either of the groups to ensure that each group is not let left out and brings its unique traits to the table to help the organization move forward.
Some of the benefits to be realized from the same include (but not limited) to the following
Improved Technological Orientation – This trait is especially associated with the Millennials. Cekada(2014) submits that , “Technology is one of the biggest dividers. According to a Pew survey, while three-quarters of adults aged 18 to 30 say they use the Internet daily, only 4 in 10 adults age 65 to 74 do so. In the advent of automation, real time information and constant changes, the need for tools that lessen the workload and assist with performing mundane tasks cannot be over emphasized. Banks for instance continually for ways to minimize errors and prevent revenue leakage. Technology assists in ensuring data integrity and reducing the margins of errors. By having a multigenerational team, one group can lay down the processes while the tech savvy one fits technology pieces together and help the organization move forward
Resolving Organization Conflict – a multigenerational workforce means that there are competing priorities and views that will not doubt result in conflict. Wobancher and Felfe (2014) point out that, “Conflicts between teams routinely arise because teams differ in their needs, aims, and orientations “. However not all conflict is destructive, some conflict is constructive and allows differences to come to the surface and for each group to embrace the other; this in the long run builds a culture of tolerance and brings the much-needed cohesion. Johnson and Anderson (2016), make a compelling observation on the same topic: Your organization, like any culture, has an in-group and an out-group. The in-group consists of established employees familiar with your corporate culture, its values, and expectations regarding behavior. New employees constitute an out-group. They bring different behavioral norms learned outside the organization. Many have limited work experience or are unfamiliar with workplace culture in general. Many happen to be Millennials.
Improved communication – The differences between the various groups can also be harnessed to improve communication which will then manifest itself as customer centricity. The improved communication also builds trust which in turn creates a less stressful environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Suh, Harrington and Goodman (2018) remarked that, “with respect to the relationship between communicators, trust is an essential factor that leads to higher employee satisfaction in communication “. It goes without saying that in an environment where there is trust, energies are focused on achieving organizational goals and less on self-preservation. The trust issue usually becomes clear where there are issues such as downsizing where every employee focuses on survival and not doing the best for the organization.
Bringing together Different competencies and experiences. By having groups of different persuasions, the organization benefits from having various perspectives to challenges and problems that the organization encounters on a daily basis. This phenomenon allows the organization to draw from a variety of sources when they are faced with challenges. This also allows for the transfer of skills to ensure continuity and minimize disruptions as and when the veterans and the baby boomers retire. “As Baby Boomers retire, Gen Xers will step into leadership positions and will face the challenge of managing multiple generations” , Cekada (2012)
Attracting the best Talent – as the business environment continues to intensify; organizations are challenged to get the best talent in the market. Having a multigenerational workface offers unique opportunities by being able to attract from fresh graduates to experienced executives. The opportunities a multigenerational office can offer specifically regarding work related learnings, knowledge, mentorships and connections can keep younger workers on the job for many more years. A number of banks in Botswana for instance run graduate programs by which they attract top talent from local institutions and train them to become future bankers and bring new ideas on customer retention and revenue generation. By doing this, the banks are able to retain talent among a group that is notorious for being career loyal rather than organization loyal. Keene and Handrich (2015) made the following observations: According to new data from a global study with over 16,000 respondents, Millennials value personal development and work-life balance over money and status. They are ambitious but would rather have no job than stay in a job they hate. This is a global assessment of this age group, though, and it likely applies less firmly to those who have graduate degrees than those who aren’t career-focused. On the other hand, 41% of Millennials want to lead in the workplace but they also want work that helps them to grow and learn new things (say 45% of them). Millennials want regular feedback from their supervisors at work, but “regular feedback” for 31% of the North American Millennials is feedback on a weekly basis — and some studies say an even higher proportion of the Millennials want weekly feedback.
In conclusion, while there might be a few organizations with traditionalist tendencies, the consensus is that a multigenerational workforce offers more opportunities for both employees and the organization and hence the need to embrace it.
Mao Tse-Tung said of leadership; “”The cardinal responsibility of leadership is to identify the dominant contradiction at each point of the historical process and to work out a central line to resolve it.” He also believed that a leader must “Take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own.” Of course, Chairman Mao was known as the man who galvanized the Communist Party, but he also demonstrated incredible leadership skills and came to define how a strong center of power moves the organization.
While the Chairman proved successful, modern organizations require different leadership styles that are equipped to deal with the changes in political environment, changes in technology, changes in consumer expectations and a plethora of other factors that ultimately define success or failure of an organization.
In the Botswana example, the recent ascendance of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the presidency has brought about a different direction for his party the Botswana Democratic Party and indeed the country. This example goes to show the influence of leadership on the direction and optimizing the performance of an organization.
In the advent of multigenerational and diverse workforces, a leader is required to continuously adjust their position to be able to address various challenges that they are faced with on a daily business. Former South African President P.W Botha once famously remarked ‘adapt or die’ – while the context may differ (vastly) the principle remains the same; change is the only constant. Different types of leaders are suited to various situations in an organization and they will be discussed in the following paragraphs
Transformational Leadership – Transformational leadership is a theory of leadership where a leader works with teams to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. A transformational leader makes use of specialized tools being; motivation, stimulation, consideration in influence. Transformational leaders are believed to have capacity to raise the performance expectations of their followers and seek to transform followers’ personal values and self-concepts and move them to higher level of needs and aspiration (Jamai and Ufodiama, 2017). This type of leadership seeks to inspire individuals to find what is important to them and fit it in the organizational goals to ultimately achieve and produce the required performance. This leadership style is people based and assumes that the entire organization is pulling the same direction and works on the premise of cohesion. Individuals are encouraged to be innovative and come up with the best ways to resolve issues and contribute positively to the organization. In the context of a multigenerational workforce, this might be more favored by the Millennials who want space and the creative control to produce results
Autocratic Leadership – this is the leadership styles where the leader sets the tone and would not take opinions from those who follow. Extremes of this style of leadership can be found mostly in the African Continent where leaders such as Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Biya (Cameroon) and Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) believe that they have the monopoly of truth and that only they can lead. While the above are extremes, there are certain cases where unilateralism enhances performance. Such cases are where there is little cohesion and individuals do not show willingness to compromise. Examples usually given are in the Middle East region where democracy efforts have often resulted in crumbling of states (e.g. Iraq, Syria). Gottfired and Trager (2016) opined that for the arrangement to stand chance it must be based on principles of fairness. Small doses of autocratic leadership can be found in our organizations especially where tough decisions need to be made. When Reinette van der Merwe arrived at the then Barclays Bank Botswana in 2013, she demonstrated grit by removing an ineffective Exco and replaced them with a team that delivered an instant growth in profits shortly after. In a multigenerational organization, this style might be favored by the veterans who are more interested in structure and less interested in bickering and endless brainstorming sessions
Bureaucratic Leadership – this style of leadership refers to the kind that ‘goes by the books’ and will rarely deviate from the company policy. While the employees or members of the organization are not a constrained as the autocratic one, they still will not feel that they have the full creative control and space to express innovativeness. In the Botswana context this is found monthly in companies that operate within a group and the head office might be based outside the country. The CEO of First National Bank Botswana for example might not be able to implement a country strategy without checking first with his South African superiors.
Organizational culture is a set of shared beliefs, technology and structure that are unique to an organization and result in a unique identity. This uniqueness can result in some organizations achieving their goals and result in a propensity for others to try and emulate them. While it would be ideal to benchmark what the competition is doing, it may not be as easy.
It is the opining on the author that it is not always reasonable to expect the culture of one organization to be replicated in the next one
There are factors which may impede one organization from replicating the culture of another; some of these are discussed below
Leadership- leadership concerns itself with providing direction, motivating employees and paving the way forward. By its nature, it is a combination of processes, systems and the people that bring them together. It goes without saying that replicating one organization ‘s culture will mean aligning one’s processes and systems to the model organization; this will be a mountain to climb even for the most determined of change agents. Pretorius, Steyn and Bond-Barnard (2017) observed that there are three leadership structures that influence any project; vertical leadership, horizontal leadership and shared leadership. It therefore follows to say if an organization wishes to emulate the culture of another they will need to re-structure their leadership to match that of the other organization. Such changes by their nature attract pushback and resistance from those who are not prepared to sacrifice their privileges and positions for the change
Employee Adaptation – the make or break of any change is the employees and how quickly they take on the change and operationalize the proposed changes. This adaptation will be defined by several factors; culture of the organization, training programs, budget, management philosophy etc. Peacock (2017), puts it more bluntly “The first barrier to change is most people don’t like change. People stick to what they know and what worked before. However, change is happening: like it or not. Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat” This point also explains why a lot of organizations will choose to bring in new people when they want to introduce a new way of doing things. This plan has also need know to backfire as the new employees find that they don’t necessarily settle well with the culture of their new organizations. A recent example is the former Chief Executive Office of Botswana post who was head hunted by Barclays Bank Botswana to become their Chief Operating Officer. Within a few months he was out of a job and he clashed with the board over key decisions for the company
Knowledge management – more and more organizations are realizing the value of managing knowledge and information resources. Company A would not understand why company B keeps producing results even when they lose staff to competitors. This one of the more important factors that cannot be easily replicated across organizations. Proper knowledge management ensures that processes are documented, escalation procedures are known and there is clarity of policies. It also allows the organization to use their information resources to further its product development, streamline its operations and minimize cost. Some organizations have gone as far as setting Data units with the Chief Data Officer reporting to the Chief Executive. May-Chiun et al (2017) made interesting findings on knowledge management:
The findings of their research showed some important assessment on the relationships that came from the model they used. The result in the study showed that there is no significant relationship between knowledge acquisition and organization effectiveness which challenges Rusly, Sun and Corner’s (2012) claim that the acquisition of knowledge will lead to a more effective organization. They also found that that not everyone dimensions of knowledge management would have a direct impact on organization effectiveness, unless it is coupled with knowledge conversion and application. Additionally, the findings showed that knowledge dissemination is positively related to the organization effectiveness. The research showed that use of knowledge comes down to the softer issues which are entrenched in the culture of the organization and would not be easy to emulate.
Nature of business – the nature of business is another hurdle to replicating the culture of another organization. Important factors such as whether the company is part of public or private sector, whether it is a profit making or NGO, whether it is listed or not, they type of industry it operates within are all factors that need to be considered in the event of emulating another organization. Cottrell (2017) observes that “There is no single ideal ‘culture’ to which every organization should or can aspire. Even within the same business sector, each firm will have its own culture reflecting its past, its people, its size, the environment it operates in (e.g, physical, regulatory) and its purpose”. In the Botswana example government introduced a system of offering senior officials short team contracts replacing the old permanent and pensionable scheme that was used before. This system is used mostly in private companies. Instead of improving productivity, it was in the end used to purge unwanted employees and led to unforeseen resignations and the nation losing walking encyclopedias within the government enclave.
Recognition – recognition and reward systems define a lot of organizations and ultimately the culture of such companies. It is among the most difficult factors to try and emulate because it is based on the business model of each entity and how it balances its books. It is probably the most single inhibiting factor when it comes to one organization trying to copy the culture of another. Reward systems generally have a bearing on morale, employee attitudes and how they treat their customers. Woolworths employees are better at customer service compared to their counter parts at Choppies who have become notorious for lax standards. Milikic (2007) , demonstrates that the correlation between reward and tradition & attitudes can only be measured with the introduction of a third variable . The variable (she called it X) is the then used as a contact to replicate the recognition and reward systems between two entities. From the above it clearly shows that even the theoretical framework is not easy to develop; imagine in practice!
A German scientist Georg C. Lichtenburg once remarked that ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better ‘. The statement was in the 18th Century and one can argue that it is still applicable to this day. One also recognizes that for meaningful progress to occur change is necessary. Some organizations go as far as acknowledging that just because something is not broken does not mean it should not be improved and changed. No matter what form it takes, the change needs to be implemented in a manger that is constructive and builds the organization. Few organizations have gotten away with total obliteration of the existing and built from the ground; the sensible thing remains building incrementally to close gaps in the existing process
It is the contention of the author of this paper that change is most effective when it is sponsored by top management in conjunction with middle management. Of course, one recognizes that a blanket solution is not always applicable, and pragmatism needs to be accommodated as and when the situation demands it.
There are certain factors that influence adoption of change especially when it is driven by top and middle management. Some of these are discussed below
Culture of the organization – The value systems and general behavior of the organization will have a huge bearing on adoption of change. Some organizations for instance are risk averse and prefer small to no changes probably because of history or the kind of leadership at the helm. In order to change to take place at such organizations management have to demonstrate that they are willing to try out new things and abandon their comfort zone in order to steer the ship. It would be incredibly difficult to try and influence the attitudes towards change if management does not put their weight behind the change. Braizer (2014) argued that, “Companies consistently focus on routine, average or peak workload when planning an organizational change” . The routine workload in question refers to the culture of the organization and until and when there is shift in mentality, such thinking is likely to persist
Training and Development – Organizations that invest in training and development are likely to also be better prepared for change. It goes without saying that the decision to invest in the human resource needs to be sponsored financially and otherwise by top management. If top management do not see the need of investing in the human resource, it is likely that such initiatives will fail. Companies that invest training and development like the Standard Bank Group have demonstrated ability to change as and when required and this is largely due to the fact that there is culture of growing people in the organization, In fact ‘growing our people’ is one of the eight pillars of their strategy , Braizer (2014) made further observations on the same: “One of the most vulnerable departments during an organizational change is training. Often seen as a cost with no direct financial benefit, training has probably experienced more peaks and troughs than any other function. Companies often realize the mistake they made in cutting the training department, and then find it difficult to re-establish after such a decline”.
Management Competencies – In order to management to be able to successfully lead the change, they need to have the necessary competencies to make the right decisions and land projects successfully. These cognitive abilities will exist through training, experience or having the right staff to advise the decision makers. When Stanbic Bank changed their core banking system in 2013, executives were double hatting as project managers had to get their hands dirty to see though the change. This was 100 million Pula identified as a strategic tool for the bank and therefore failure was not an option. Some of the Execs where taken through basic project management training to appreciate critical success factors, risk matrices and what when into migrating customer data. ?uriši?-Bojanovi? (2015), opined that “Since organizational and strategic flexibility are important preconditions for sustained development, the cognitive approach and cognitive processes are becoming attractive fields of organizational change”.
Rewards and Recognition – For some organizations, rewards and recognition come first and for employees to get involved they need to understand what is in it for them. For this to work top and middle management need to be willing to sanction such incentives as overtime, acting allowances (where applicable), time offs and other useful tools to motivate staff to get involved in the change taking place. Those who are not willing to be part of the change need to be given options such as exit packages or change of roles so that they do not get dragged into something into that is not part of their career plans. Milikic (2007) found that there was considerable shift in traditions and attitudes when a new reward system was introduced in an organization.
Competitor Strategies – One other factor that is likely to come into play is to observe and react to strategies that are applied by other organizations in the same industry. If the general practice for parastatals is to hire management consultants when there are organizational changes, it is likely that such a strategy will be adopted by the next parastatal. Just as the factors made before such as decision will need to be backed by top management and middle management will then de responsible to cascading the changes down stream and making sure that the change is operationalized. Peakock (2017) opined that in addition to technology, customers and regulation, competitors are the major influencers of change in any organization
In conclusion, there are many more factors that influence change in any company and organization. What they all have in common is that management buy-in will play a big part and is probably the difference between success and failure of a change