Sexual harassment is an important example of power abuse that generates negative conflict and it is a highly destructive workplace process. (Shockley-Zalabak, pg. 309) Not knowing how to communicate about such a highly sensitive situation can ruin a person’s life and can ruin the credibility of an organization. It can even affect the job status and reputation of a good employee. Overview of the Organization and Case Study
The Village of Bellport is a local government entity with approximately 150 employees that are spread out through out five different departments. The Village of Bellport has had a sexual harassment case between two employees; one is an office employee and one is a highway employee who is also the husband of the office employee’s supervisor. This sensitive situation that has happened is due to the lack of communication between the Mayor, the Board of Trustees and the rest of the staff and has affected the relationships and the morale of the employees. Without going into too many details; the office employee stated that the highway worker sexually harassed her while her boss (his wife) was away in training. The highway worker denied all accusations but was convicted by the board without even hearing his side of the story. The board also didn’t ask anyone that worked that day what they saw or heard or they never asked about the characters of either employee. The outcome was that the highway worker was forced to resign after 13 years of service. Since the office employee didn't get the money she was after from the start, she went after the Village for harassment, saying that all the employees were harassing her because of the situation, which wasn’t true. When the Village attorney and the board found out about her character and what type of person she really was they were mortified and they felt dumb but of course it was too late.
Identify and Describe the Situation or Problem
The major problem with this situation was the lack of communication. This was because of the lack of skills and knowledge that the board had with this kind of situation. With the lack of communication came ruined relationships, plummeting employee morale and the job statuses of certain employees were changed . By the board not communicating to the employees and to each other, the rumors were started and down went the reputations of everyone involved. There was so much information missing due to the lack of communication between each board member; like, what really happened? What was the two employees saying that happened? This was because of the lack of skills that the board had on how to deal with this. The board only found out one side of the story and never bothered to find out the other employees side. The board assumed that the male employee did wrong just because the office employee said he did and they never listened to a word he said or what his wife was saying or anyone else that had his best interest. The rumors were started and all because of management never told the staff not to speak of this very sensitive subject to the public. This situation had a combination between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Motivation-Hygiene theory applied. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was applied because the employees lost a lot of their peer’s respect and relationships and they did not feel safe in their jobs as a result of the lack of communication. (Shockley-Zalabak, pg. 141) Motivation-Hygiene theory was applied because this situation was an influence from both internal and external factors. (Shockley-Zalabak, pg. 143) Communication competency (which is composed of knowledge, sensitivity, skills and values) and sensitivity competency (which is the ability to sense organizational meanings and feelings accurately) are lacking in the Village. (Shockley-Zalabak, pg. 5-8) It is because with the Village's communication competency, no one has comfort with conflict so they will not contribute...
References: Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2012). Fundamentals of Organizational Communication. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Robinson, L., Segal J., Segal R., (January 2013) Effective Communication; Improving Communication Skills in Business and Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/effective_communication_skills.htm on February 22, 2013
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