Thomas Motor Co.

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After the closure of Turner Trucks workshop, because of economic downturn, competition and decline in customers, Ralph Turner was jobless. He found a job at Thomas Motor Co. at a low salary as there were no other alternatives available. Robbins, the workshop foreman, perceived that Ralph was happy with this because he felt lucky to have found the job. The major issue in this case is the temperamental behaviour of Ralph. Some examples of his explosive behaviour are; complaining about the workshop being very dirty, shouting at his colleagues to switch off the radio, and complaining about Richards.

The various causes and their consequent effect that has led to this conclusion being; low salary leading to feeling of inequity, always being left out of coffee break although he hurried through his work made him feel estranged. Finally, the strong bond between Robbins and the mechanic team, made it difficult for Ralph to adapt with them. Because of all these causes, his behaviour deteriorated from being unfriendly to being rude. He became inattentive leading to a mistake while repairing one of the trucks. Ralph started spying on the others while at work on his father’s trucks. Things came to a head when he insisted on working on Turner’s trucks by himself and expressed his distrust in the other mechanics. This caused the other mechanics to alienate him. Due to the increased work load, another mistake was committed which could have possibly led to a truck driver meeting with an accident. The behaviour of Ralph affected the morale and cohesiveness of the men. This led Robbins and John Thomas to the dilemma of whether to fire Ralph. Keeping the following theoretical analysis in mind, possible solutions with supporting theories have been suggested to solve this problem.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow human need consists of lower order needs (social, safety and physiological requirements) and higher order needs (self-actualization and esteem). This theory illustrates Ralph’s inability to achieve his social and esteem needs. Social needs consist of a sense of belonging and a need to affiliate. Ralph very often missed the unofficial coffee break (the event for employees to socialize and know each other) due to his lack of speed in finishing his job. As a result of missing the coffee break Ralph’s behaviour began to change. He felt left out and rejected which led him to retaliate. This retaliation came in the form of finding faults with and picking on the most junior member, Richards. Secondly, besides social needs, he is also unable to fulfil his esteem needs. Esteem need is the need for respect, recognition and a personal sense of competence. He tries to hurry through his work not only because he does not want to miss the coffee break but also not to be perceived as the slowest and lacking in competence. The need to regain his lost esteem, due to his father’s company closing and having to take a junior position at Thomas Motor Co., finally led Ralph to become temperamental and careless in his job.

Events that have led to Ralph being in the current emotional turmoil lead him to believe that his Locus of Control is external to him, causing affective instability. Anger at his colleagues for leaving him out of coffee breaks and his inability to speed up led to inattention, damaging the reputation of Thomas Motor Co. Resentment at being given the position of a junior mechanic, despite being experienced, and the lack of alternative avenues of work caused frustration. If Ralph could have controlled his feelings, his behaviour would not have gone out of control.

Secondly, as per Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory, there are motivators and hygiene factors that can lead to job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Working condition, salary, relationship with peers and supervisor, organization culture have lead to job dissatisfaction. Ralph has dismal relation with other mechanics as well as Steve Robbins, the...
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