I’m working on a management writing question and need an explanation to help me understand better.
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The company Art’s Food is an organisation with 28 years of history in the area of services. The company’s headquarters are located in Sabadell, although the services are provided in numerous points of the Catalan territory. The company has three areas (Educational, Hotel and Events), all related to catering.
The company achieves a higher turnover in the educational area, dedicated mainly to serving the catering of a large number of schools (currently more than 150). This area is a great entrance of money for the company, but it also requires a great structure and organisation. The feeling of the worker is that the future and the viability of the company mainly goes through the proper functioning of this area.
However, although in recent months the department has been meeting the objectives set and continues to gain public and private tenders (which means more schools and clients), there is widespread discontent among its workers, since the management does not know not how to handle the situation and that translates into a poor environment.
Raquel Torrà is the director of the educational area, a competent and proactive woman, with more than 10 years in the position. Above her there are only Josep Font, Chief of Operations, and Roger Art, founder and director of the company. They have a way of understanding the business world that is very classic and authoritarian, they do not take their workers into account, and they only move by objectives. In turn, they derive full responsibility from the area directors to communicate the decisions to their workers. They do not usually have direct contact with the workers and, if they do, it is scorched and hostile
Roger is only interested in obtaining good economic results without caring about the personal situation of his workers. An example of this is that, on average, workers in the educational area are having to do 10 extra hours a month to be able to fulfil their tasks. This situation is common in recent months and, far from solving it, their opinion is “they’re supposed to work, that’s what we pay them for”. He has also been heard saying, on more than one occasion, phrases such as “if they are not motivated it’s not my problem, they should come motivated from home” or “they should manage with the resources they have” when asked about strengthening the educational area team. All this situation is generating negative repercussions for the future of the company in general, and in the educational area, in particular, although management doesn’t seem to notice.
The educational area is made up of 19 workers. As has already been mentioned, Raquel is the director of the area and has a very experienced and prepared team, both in the operational and commercial sectors. In turn, she is characterised by having excellent communication skills and a very remarkable ability to lead, which is helping to relieve the bad environment somewhat, but she does not know how long she will endure.
Her team consists of 12 area coordinators who mainly perform the work at a distance during their working day, as they are responsible, in an autonomous manner, to supervise the proper functioning of the service of the schools in each area. The remaining 6 workers are two commercial employees, who are responsible for preparing and managing the active competitions; a personal assistant of Raquel, who offers direct support to her and to the area coordinators; an administrative assistant, responsible for customer service and various tasks; an office clerk responsible for managing routine actions; and a product technician, in charge of negotiating prices and managing incidents with suppliers. In general, there is a good atmosphere among all of them, although the continuous stress and the lack of empathy from the management are beginning to generate problems.
The members of the educational area that are in office are as follows:
- Joan: salesman. He has been with the company for six years and is a severe and responsible person. For him, the most important thing is to do his job well above everything and everyone. He does not have a bad relationship with his peers, but he is selfish. He considers himself well positioned and happy with his situation as he receives bonuses for won tender.
- Enrique: salesman. This is his third year in the company and, unlike Joan, he gets along very well with the other colleagues in the area. He is a very happy and confident person, highlighting his excellent communicative ability. For him, the current situation is neither fair nor sustainable.
- Lorena: She has been in her position for three years (assistant to Raquel) and is a crucial player in the group. She is a very cheerful person and is confident and confident in her work and training. She is the wild card of them all because her position in the Educational area makes it indispensable for the proper functioning of this area. She is dynamic and always takes the initiative and is willing to help anyone who needs it. However, despite her importance in the company, she does not feel valued by management.
- Elisabeth: The most senior employee, she is tasked with managing routine actions. In spite of not having any type of training, she strives to do her job well and has a great ability to be heard and avoid friction with customers. She is a smiling person and always tries to improve the day for her companions.
- Julia: she has only been with the company for 5 months. She is an administrative assistant and deals with customer service (parents), among other administrative tasks. Being the youngest of the group, she does not want to enter into controversies and tries to go unnoticed. She is unsafe on many occasions, as she notices that the work environment is rarefied.
- Anabel: has been working on the product for more than 8 years. Her significant experience makes her a specialist in her field. She is well liked by her peers
Although the area coordinators do not usually work in offices, they have their common work area in them. They are a cohesive group, but the stress and lack of recognition by management are beginning to generate conflicts, resulting in a decline in service quality. In general, most coordinators are open to helping colleagues, which facilitates their work and the resolution of possible arising conflicts.
Finally, Raquel’s personal assistant has informed the company of her decision to accept a work offer, since she considers that she has not been sufficiently valued (when she was admitted, she was offered a salary below what was said in the interview, and they haven’t reviewed it since she’s been in the company). The situation stresses them a lot, since she gets along great with Raquel and with Anabel, Julia, Enrique and Elisabeth, and they form a very competent and cohesive working group, helping each other in everything they need. They have the same opinion about Roger’s management, and they are considering taking similar measures if the situation does not change.
- Analyse the current Art’s Food situation in terms of human capital. Then, from an analytical perspective, answer the following questions:
- What is the position in which the staff of the Educational Area have found themselves?
- Define the causes of how this point has been reached and what consequences can be derived if you do not intervene.
- Draw up the needs that you think the company requires and which Management hasn’t detected.
- Once the situation is analysed:
- Define the stages of evolution in work teams and identify in which stage the Educational Area of the company currently is.
- Identify the formal and informal teams that you detect in the company and justify your response.
- Following the typology of Meredith Belbin, give a role to each of the workers in the educational area who are in the office.
- Tell us now about Roger’s role as boss.
- What type/s of power do you think he has?
- What management functions do you think Roger performs? And what other roles does he lack? Justify your answer.
- From the characteristics of a leader, what specific aspects should Roger work on to be a more complete leader?
- Propose actions to improve those skills in communication, motivation, awards and group cohesion.
- What style of leadership should Roger have to improve the situation?
- Lorena’s leaving has gone down like a ton of bricks for Roger, who did not expect it. He has realised that the situation is extreme, and has decided to take action. He has given orders to hire two administrative staff to deal with the high workload of the educational area, but, as well, he has thought about the need to apply empowerment in the group. It is requested:
- As an advisor, you must develop an empowerment Action Plan for Art’s Food with Roger:
- Indicate the benefits of empowerment and improvements that can be obtained.
- Define one or more goals to achieve with this tool.
- Choose a type of inspiration which Roger should use.
- Propose a series of actions and/or empowerment techniques.
- Plan these actions chronologically
- As an advisor, you must develop an empowerment Action Plan for Art’s Food with Roger: