Arctic Mining Case Study
Tom Parker, 43, is now a field technician and coordinator for Arctic Mining Consultants. In the past he’s held various positions in non-technical aspects of mineral exploration. His past experiences include claim staking, line cutting, grid installation, soil sampling, prospecting, and trenching. For this project Parker will be acting as project manger though this is not his normal role. His responsibilities include hiring, training, and supervising a team of field assistants. Tom has hired 3 gentlemen who have worked for him on a past project at Eagle Lake, John Talbot, Greg Boyce, and Brian Millar. The project stipulates that within a seven day window the team stakes 15 claims, 60 miles in total, which would be an average of 7.5 lengths per day between the four team members. These stipulations also include mobilization and demobilization. Mr. Parker also informed the team members that each man would receive a $300 bonus, in addition to their wages, should the project be completed on time. Mr. Parker was angry with two of the team members, Millar and Boyce, who only completed six lengths a piece on the first day, while Parker and Talbot completed 7 lengths each. One the evening of the first day verbally expressed his anger and disappointment with Millar and Boyce. As the days went on the verbal abuse continued as Millar and Boyce continued to under produce compared to Parker and Talbot. Boyce improved his performance and Parker focused his anger on Millar. Millar continued to produce less than the rest of the team throughout the project. This often left Millar feeling mistreated and undervalued and that, no matter how hard he tried, Parker always seemed to focus on him as the bad employee. Millar often went in early, stayed at work as long as possible, and skipped meals in hopes of producing more. In the eyes of Parker this meant nothing, as Millar’s performance was still far less than the rest of the team’s. Parker often questioned Millar's level of dedication and work ethic. Regardless of the reasoning Millar gave on why he produced less Parker was always displaying disappointment with his performance. This type of behavior by Parker seemed to be motivated by the potential end result and the $300 bonus. Parker’s treatment of Millar by singling him out fosters an unhealthy, mismanaged, and a hostile work environment for the team as a whole.
There are several organizational problems with this case. Parker is displaying four behaviors towards Millar: self-fulfilling prophecy, selective attention, confirmation bias, and halo-effect. In turn, this is causing Millar to have low job satisfaction/dissatisfaction and EVLN. Lastly, Arctic Mining and Parker use goal setting as an incentive to have the project completed in a timely manner, which proves devastating to the team’s overall success in the end.
A self-fulfilling prophecy 1 is “the perceptual process in which our expectations about another person cause that person to act more consistently with those expectations.” This behavior can be damaging in a workplace environment where management may treat employees who perform better with more autonomy. Workers believed to not meet the standard may be treated with more scrutiny, criticism, or micromanagement of their work. Parker, from the first day when Millar missed his quota, began to form a negative expectation of Millar’s performance. This expectation continued on day three when Parker starts feeling that Millar has a poor work ethic and voices his opinion by saying, “I thought I told you I wanted 7.5 lengths a day.“ Finally, on day seven after being continually harassed, Millar gave into his frustration and lack of job satisfaction and gave up on his job duties all together. Millar’s behavior confirms Parker’s self-fulfilling prophecy that Millar had a poor work ethic. These types of behavior in the workplace have detrimental effects to both the productivity of the persons involved and...
Cited: McShane, Steven Lattimore., and Von Glinow Mary Ann Young.Organizational Behavior: Emerging Knowledge, Global Reality. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2013. Print.
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