Case Study: P.F. Chang serves its workers well
It is suggested by various text books and management tutors alike, that the mastering of the four functions of management; Planning, controlling, organising and leading along with developing technical, human and conceptual skills, should go some way to allowing a manager some degree of success in the field of management. Of course, having skills is just part of being an effective manager, these skills and functions must be communicated in a way that fellow managers and workers can understand and act upon. The case study of P.F. Chang, a U.S based chain of ‘Asian Bistros’ and ‘contemporary Chinese diners’ “P.F. Chang serves its workers well”, indicates a number of systems in place by the company that allows its managers to plan, organise and lead their workers and control the final product. The communication process is also aided by processes in individual restaurants. Of course, any individual is responsible for their own behaviour and young managers develop their own ‘style’ over time, but for a P.F. Chang manager certain skills need to be mastered to assimilate themselves with the culture and values of the company. Of the four management functions that a manager at P.F. Chang would require to manage a restaurant effectively, it could be argued that leading is the most important. The ‘Leadership Grid’ of Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (Schermerhorn, et al., p246) illiterates a scale of ‘concern’ for both people and production. The case study of P.F. Chang restaurants shows the company’s concern for its people, (‘P.F. Chang serves it’s people well’). It can, therefore, be assumed that on the Blake and Mouton scale, the concern for people is ‘high’. As both restaurant managers and workers achieving the ‘shared purpose’ of customer satisfaction. A P.F. Chang manager, would according to the Blake and Mouton grid, be required to adopt the management style of a ‘Team Manager’. As noted in the case study, most the workers are ‘typically young’ and that could present challengers. Developing a ‘human’ management skill would be very beneficial for a P.F. Chang manager due to the make up of the most of workers at each restaurant. In a recent study of Generation Y hospitality workers, it was concluded that even though there was a desire by the respondents to work less hours to ensure a positive work/life balance, “employee engagement can mean high commitment in recruitment, retention and performance.” (Axwell, 2010). Further reading into the management of the members of Gen Y (those born after 1980 and the most likely the age group that makes up the staff members at P.F. Chang’s) show that certain styles of leadership are called for. Eisner suggests that “Gen Y workers tend to have unbridled energy, endless enthusiasm, and the skills and experience of those much older [and] they should be managed with a coaching style” (Eisner, 2005). Obviously, not all workers at P.F. Chang will be Gen Y, and of course, not all Gen Y employees will respond to the same style of management. So the effective P.F Chang restaurant manger would need to have an awareness of how different style of management would motivate each worker. Each manager at P.F. Chang’s may bring their own beliefs on what makes them effective as a manager. This could prove to be a hindrance if the individual manager is not open to learning (and putting into practice) a different style of management, subsequently re-evaluateing their approach to how they manage their restaurant to bring themselves in line to P.F. Chang’s corporate values. Emphasising that different generations may require different management strategies, Axwell explains that “Compared with other generations, Gen Y tends to have less respect for rank and more respect for ability and accomplishment. Expectations should be explained to Gen Y from the outset, including the big picture and how they fit into it.” (Axwell, 2010) Along with many other businesses...
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