1. Executive summary
2. Company background
3. Situation analysis
4. Cause analysis
Chock Management Consultants Pte Ltd. is a consultancy company in Singapore. Mr. Chockalingam, who is qualified as a chartered accountant in England, heads the company. He had worked in an international firm and is now practicing as an auditor in Singapore. He has about 14 years of experience in accounting and consultancy profession.
Chock Management Consultants Pte Ltd. has been established in Singapore since year 1995. When it was starting its business, Chock Management Consultants Pte Ltd. focused on local companies. After several years' successful and healthy management, Chock has become a specialty in full and partial outsourcing of accounting functions, consultancy, human resources & payrolls, taxation and corporate secretarial services for local companies. In year 2000, Chock became a Member of MGI (Midsnell Group International) of United Kingdom. In order to expand its business globally, Mr. Chockalingam recruited some high talented consultants from other countries by a desirable salary in 2003, and set up a consultancy team that specifically focused on the planning and implement of global marketplace entry.
The major staff of the consultancy group is: Susan, who is from America, Kent, from UK, Mark, from America, and Pierre, from France, is a group coordinator. The consultancy group is formal because it serves a specific organizational purpose and performs a specific task. And it is also a temporary group specially created to solve a task appointed by Chock Company. Its members will be disbanded after the completion of the task.
During this project, all of analyses and recommendations our group applies are based on the theory of OB and OD. Especially, There are four basic elements presented in our project:
1. Organization changing
3. Cultural & organizational behavior
4. Team and group
After a half of a year's development, the objective of penetrating into global market is not achieved in the way that Mr.Chock had expected. Mr. Chockalingam even has not gained any integrated feasible project from the consultancy group. Mr. Chockalingam felt very upset and did not want his plan to be a failure. He finally found the main problem after he processed a particular observation. Now the consultancy group is facing serious cohesiveness problems. There are a lot of conflict and diversity among the employees.
We do know that in order for a group to succeed cohesiveness among its members, it should fulfill some very important preconditions:
a) Similarities among its members,
b) Smaller groups tend to be more cohesive than larger groups,
c) Members need to be interact,
d) Group success, because cohesiveness increases when the group is successful in what is doing. Failure is logical to cause conflicts and fragmentation among its members.
Most of these preconditions are not satisfied in the consultancy. The number of the group comes from four different countries, something that is normal to cause problems because of the differentiation of cultures. There are many differences among its members, especially perception differences.
Moreover, in order for a group to be effective, members need to work together and separate the responsibilities, so as to complex different tasks. It is also important the task to have an intensity, which is the case here because our team has a specific and known to every member task to complete. Moreover, the task needs to be significant in order to provoke group's interest and enthusiasm. Again in our case study, ISRG team is dealing with a task of a great significance. Moreover, the composition of the team is very important for its effectiveness.
In order to perform effectively a team requires members with three major abilities.
ÃÂ· Technical abilities,
ÃÂ· Problem solving abilities
ÃÂ· Decision making skills.
The combination of these 3 abilities helps the team to deal with the problem presented, find alternative solutions, evaluate and select the right solution. Furthermore, team members need to be good listeners, open-minded persons that accept different aspects and have the ability to prevent any kind of conflicts. In the consultancy group has not achieved this kind of composition.
1. Little communication among group members.
For an organization to function, individuals and groups must carefully coordinate their efforts and activities. Clearly, communication is the key to these attempts at coordination. Without it, people would not know what to do, and organizations would not be able to operate effectively. As we know, the communication has been referred to as "the social glue that continues to keep the organization tied together". There is a problem in communicating among the members because they are from different cultural environment. Basic needs are unfulfilled as a result of unjust structures. And the language also is the big issue made communication fail and the group work difficult. It is both a biological and a cultural phenomenon. The major staffs at Chock Management Consultants at present, they have a total of five employees. They are from the different country and have the different religion, race, language, and values. All these difference between each other made a lack of understanding or appreciation that impacts the good job performance. There is a disagreement among its members and especially among French, American and British. Instead of working together they create great conflicts, which leads them to lack of cohesiveness and corporation. Pierre, who is the French coordinator and, therefore, responsible for improving the coordination among the group members, is opposed to any of the ideas coming from American or British members. For the consultancy group, the member of the group focuses on individual performance. This is a result not only of the extensive number of members but also of the cross-cultural differences that exist among them.
2. The conflicts between the group members.
There are many members who want to have the lead as far as the decision process is concerned. In some meetings there was not a single member that had the ability of solving the problems that occurred and reduce the conflict. Moreover, the consultancy team has not good listeners and there is not a satisfactory feedback, which is very important for the process of the work and the cooperation among the members.
Very important factor is also the personality of the team members, which is extended to their behavior. In the consultancy team there are members who are fully conscious and other who are not. This of course reduces the performance of the team. For example Susan had great enthusiasm and conscience at the beginning of the work and she was complying her role more than satisfactory. But during the process of the teamwork she faced with less enthusiasm and cooperation from the other.
3. The absence of flexibility during the working process.
This absence creates difficulties in team's adaptability and makes it less reliant on any single member. Taking into consideration all the aggressiveness and competitiveness that is observed during the meetings we can justify the fact that the members will be unable to do each other job, if this is necessary or rely to one another. Along with the lack of flexibility we can also observe that some members prefer to work alone and they select themselves out of the team participation. This leads to the separation of the group and the creation of inter-groups, something that threats its existence, because it is opposed to the rules and team's module. Through all meetings Chock found only the participation of French, British and Americans. The rest of the members prefer to work alone and not to participate in any kind of discussion and conflict that is created between them. An important result of this is the creation of social loafing, which means that members work less had when they are in the team that they would individually. This usually happens when individual's contribution is not noticeable and recognized from the other members Susan works very hard and she very prompt and co-operative, but her work and effort are ignored and not recognized. Teams behavior makes her work less hard and she finally loses her enthusiasm and willingness.
1. No disciplinary policy to supervise the performance of team member.
As far as the size of the group is concerned, is rather big. According to theory, big groups have the advantage of accomplishing the task easier due to the fact that is many members and so they can divide up the work. However, the consultancy group does not reflect the advantage of large group. The main reason is that the group have no a disciplinary policy to supervise their performance. At the beginning of the group setting up, Mr. Chock considered that all group members is high educated and have a rich working experience. He thought there is no need to establish the group standard and role for their performance, and just appointed Mr. Pierre as the coordinator of the consultancy group and he have no right to assign task and monitor the process of daily work.
For a successful teamwork members should have roles that fulfill their preferences and their needs in order to complete them with success. In the group there is a danger of controversy among team members because they feel that they do not have the role they deserve. And most of its members feel dissatisfied with their role and some of them seems that they don't have definite task to complete. Again Susan's example is very characteristic. She feels totally lost in the team because they don't give her a definite task and they try to ignore her.
2. Main conflicts come form the Cross-culture behavior and different perception.
In the case of Chock Consultants company business environment. The culture will be the main cause of conflict in the company, and that cultural differences are less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic matters, especially when religion is involved. The different ideas argue that, unless basic needs are unfulfilled as a result of unjust structures, different cultures have no reason to conflict. While this may be true at the civilization level, their next point, that conflicts based primarily on cultural differences alone are easier to settle than structural conflicts, because the parties involved seek goods such as identity and mutual recognition which are not in short supply, is debatable. In predicting that domestic and ethnic conflicts are becoming the most important threat to international security, for example, stresses that the economically weak, dependent regions in Africa and the Middle East are particularly affected. Gurr points out that the greater the competition and inequalities between groups in heterogeneous societies, the greater will be both the salience of ethnic identities, and the prospect of overt violence. In other words, cultural distinctions add an extra sharper dimension that increases divisiveness and the intensity of conflict. That is the main cause of the conflict of Chock Consultants Company.
In this case according to the appendix, France is a (F) society and U.S. and Br. (M) societies. Obviously, is rather difficult for a co-operation to take place since the values from both of the two sides differ. The important point in this case is that according to Hofsted, women in (M) societies, Susan in this case, are not as assertive and competitive as men are. This is the reason why Susan faces the dilemma of living the group, whereas Kent has not even thought this possibility despite the conflicts. Susan had to cope with the demands of the team; she is very punctual and hard working. But, on the other hand, she is influenced by her caring and modest values and she is feeling week and unable to handle the conflict and the hostility from Pierre towards her.
Firstly, Chock should develop a mission so that all members of the company are involved and communicated with. It is very critical for Chock. A high level of goal understanding and acceptance that each member at Chock will be aware of. It is very important for all members to know that there is a goal that should be achieved in a specific time. To develop a shared vision, several stages are involved. P433 OD book
In order for this goal to be completed, all members of the company should participate equally. This can be accomplished when each member has a specific and clearly stated task to complete according to its level of expertise. It can be as wasteful to give a specific work to members who are unable to do that particular task, as it is to ignore the most expert member. In Chock in order for the staff to work smoothly and effectively, they will have to find which member is more appropriate and expert for the completion of each task.
(Cohen ?Fink ?Gordon ?Willis 7th edition: Effective behavior organization).
Secondly, it will be helpful if they create a friendly and informal climate, in order to be able to work more effectively and cooperatively. Creating a climate where everyone involved in the change program fells free and not threatened to communicate with others can minimize resistance in the long run. Attitudes of respect, understanding, and communication will help to break a cycle of reciprocal threat and aggressiveness on the part of the resisters and the advocates of the change program. A climate that insures that parties do not sit in judgment of each other, but instead focuses attention on the basic issues and the relevant facts, will more likely be productive. Especially in this group, due to the fact that it is very diversified and therefore its members are not related between them in common value. (Cohen-Fink-Gordon-Willis, 7th edition: Effective behavior organization). Moreover, it is of high importance, for the effectiveness of the teamwork, to share all information and important updates. Otherwise, there will be no cohesiveness among the members and they will not be able to finish their tasks since they will lack information and cooperation. We should not forget that this is the meaning of the group existence. (Cohen-Fink-Gordon-Willis, 7th edition: Effective behavior organization).
Furthermore, they should try to discuss their disagreements and try to resolve them instead of setting them aside. Especially Susan, who is thinking of leaving the group, should discuss with the French about their attitude towards her. It is important to discuss her thoughts, feelings and complaints with the other members and see if she can find the reason of the negative attitude towards her. This will help her find the best possible solution for her and for the team.
Criticism of performance is also very significant and should be open and direct among all group members. In that way they will be able to spot their mistakes and try to correct them. Members should express their feelings and opinion about a task that has been completed by one member. Chock group and especially French and U.S. are more concentrated to the leadership instead of working for the success of the team.
In order to improve communication in Chock team, they should create firstly a supportive climate for effective problem solving. This can be achieved in the following specific ways:
Firstly, they will have to collaborate during the process of problem solving instead of trying to control other persons. For example, Pierre should be less bossy and authoritarian and try to listen to his colleagues and be more co-operative and open-minded. (Judith R. Gordon, 7th edition: A diagnostic approach).
Furthermore, honesty is very important. All members should reveal their goals rather than trying to manipulate others. There is no honesty in Chock group. French, American, and Englishman should try to be more open and honest between each other. This will improve their relations and will reduce conflicts and arguments. It is also very significant to convey empathy for the feelings and problems of their listener, rather than appearing unconcerned or neutral about the listener welfare. Especially in the case of Susan, Pierre seems to feel unconcerned towards her feelings. This is a wrong attitude, since it creates serious problems within the team. Pierre will have to put himself in Susan's position. He has to be aware of her values, expertise and frames of reference, before he sends his negative message. He has to try and see Susan as the person that really by putting aside his prejudice. It will be very good if he was trying to find out about her previous expertise, her education, upbringing and background, because this information will give him added insight.
The problem with Pierre and with French, generally, in the group, is that they have the feeling of superiority. He should try to indicate that he feels equal rather than superior from his fellow members.
From Susan's point of view, she doesn't handle the situation properly. She has to delay her judgment until she has a sufficient time to observe and interpret the situation from the differing perspectives of all the cultures involved. Whether living the group is a good idea or the best possible solution is a matter, whereas a hasty decision will damage her career and will be a failure for her as an individual. As we already mentioned, it would be a very good idea to try and discuss her feelings and her thoughts with French members, since they are the ones that make her feel the way she is. Moreover, she should try to make an effort to approach the other members as well so that she will have their support. Running away and ignoring the problem is not a solution. She has to face it and try to solve it in the best possible way for her and for the group.
It is also very important to accept criticism and different points of view instead of being dogmatic and obstinate. This will reduce conflicts among members since different solutions will be accepted as possible and will be discussed. In that way members will feel that they do contribute in the teamwork, especially during the meetings. Of course this will have a great impact on their performance.
i) Regular department and team briefings to facilitate two-way interaction. Such face-to-face meetings also display human emotion and sense of personal touch. It is the breeding ground for motivation as compared to communication via emails and memos.
ii) Open door communication to all levels of the organization. Thus providing opportunities for coordinator to meet regularly with employees, represent and discuss club's activities, provide feedback, exchange new ideals, recognizing outstanding individuals and other department's events.
iii) Management by Wandering Around (MBWA). Management is now spending more time in operating areas instead of in the offices. This promotes management visibility, thus reducing the perceived "gap" between managers and subordinates.
iv) It has started the so-called "payroll communication". The management in every pay envelopes that asks for feedback in four areas: the employees' happiness and unhappiness about their job, their needs for developing, and what the company can do for them. Upon receipt this the return slip, the management guarantees a real time feedback to employees through tapping their opinions and needs.