What’s Your Culture Worth?
BBA4 – HRM (D)
University of Technology, Jamaica
April 11, 2011
Summary of Case: TGIF
The case titled ‘TGIF’ speaks to a weekly beer bust held at Quantum’s Seattle Headquarters. The company, which was founded three (3) years ago by Stan Albright and Erin Barber, hosts these beer busts to allow the employees to relax as a reward for their extra efforts.
Quantum has grown to more than 200 employees and $95 million in sales over the past three (3) years. Bill Carter, the company’s corporate attorney, on attending one of the weekly beer busts received good reviews about working at Quantum. After a work day of 16 hours, six (6) days a week, the beer bust held every Friday afternoon seemed to be keeping employee morale at an enthusiastic level.
However, Bill Carter had some reservations or concerns about serving alcohol at a company sponsored party especially after observing a new employee’s behavior at the party after he had lost his balance and fell on the snack table. He believed that the beer bust parties were getting out of hand and could possibly result in an exposure to liability. There is now a dilemma between wanting to keep the team spirit and at the same time reduce Quantum’s liability exposure.
Review of the Case
The case, TGIF, presents an organization, Quantum Software that though it was founded three (3) years ago has managed to set for itself an organizational culture that can majorly be described as fun, relaxed and amicable yet hard-working. Organizational culture, according to Robbins & Barnwell (2002), is the pattern of basic assumptions that a given group has invented, discovered or developed in learning to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, to be taught to new members as the new way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems. Therefore, it can be said that the employees of Quantum Software have adapted to such a relaxed culture to cope with its work pace of 16-hour days and six-day work weeks. The case also points out that the founders, Stan Albright and Erin Barber treats their employees as team members instead of subordinates, especially at these beer busts. According to Brown & Harvey (2006), culture is derived from both management and the organization itself and managers define a culture of how their employees are treated through their actions and words.
It is stated in the case that the company had been able to achieve $95 million in sales with more than 200 employees in three years. Part of accomplishing this goal was to motivate the employees to work the extra hours or to get them to enjoy being a part of the company so much that they were willing to work towards its success. Therefore it can be said that in this instance, the three basic organizational dimensions that affect performance were portrayed, that of managerial effectiveness, managerial efficiency and producing a motivational climate. Any OD Program put in place in this organization would seek to improve and maximize these organizational dimensions.
Organizational change occurs when a company makes a transition from its current state to some desired future state. It can be perceived from the case that the idea some form of organizational change is being entertained by both the corporate attorney, Bill Carter, and the founders. However, because the beer busts have been ingrained into their culture over time, organizational change will be difficult and will meet up on some resistance from the employees. This is supported by Brown & Harvey (2006), where it stated that culture is something that emerges out of the working relationships of organization members that have developed over time and as such, cultural transformation will take time to take effect.
It was also seen in the case where...
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