Bratton and Gold (2003) point out that culture and capacities of an organization which develop from the way the organization manages its employees create the organization’s competitive advantages. However, it is not easy to reach such advantages because people’s behavior is affected by their personalities, values and so on thus usually unpredictable. Take the Corporation, the company in the case study, as an example, it fails to manage people. The context of the case is the implementation of a new computer system, which is expected to upgrade the data flow in the whole organization and then reduces administrative cost and creates competitiveness for the company. To accomplish this project, it requires the collaboration and team work among many individuals and departments. However, the lack of political skills, conflict solving skills and attitude toward conflicts as well as ineffectiveness of a group result in the failure of the project. The aim of this paper indicates, analyzes and assesses these issues through three various aspects including politics, conflict management and group management. POLITICS
Robbins and Barnwell (2006) view politics as the attempts made by groups and individuals in a particular organization with the aim of supporting for or opposing rules, policies, objectives or decisions in which the outcomes directly influence on them. Those coalitions and individuals have different interests and hence use political games to achieve their own goals (Bolman & Deal 2008). These battles can cause destructive consequences. Therefore it is crucial to manage politics to keep organizations far from unnecessary struggles. In the case, the change agent, Barbara Mitchell who suggests the installation of new IT system has to cope with many stakeholders with various interests. There were many politics problems and this leads to dysfunctional outcomes of her project. In this paper, model of five stakeholder types and suggestion for managing each type of Block (1991) are mainly used to analyze the political activities from Barbara. Moreover, sources of power (Robbins et al. 2010) are considered as a tool to support for arguments in this part. Firstly, the service manager, Tom Blyth can be considered as Barbara’ adversary who seems to oppose both Barbara and her project as well (Block 1991). For Barbara, Tom calls her “an ego trip” and continues expressing his strong disagreement with her value (“I’m not prepared to be sucked into your empire”). In terms of Barbara’s project, he uses his own personal computer instead of the new system. In response to Tom’s hostility in the meeting, Barbara applies the basic strategy to reduce her losses by describing her project and vision (Block 1991). To be more specific, Barbara asserts her value when expressing her desire to have the most effective sales department in the country and gave clear justifications for implementing her project. However, this strategy just gives her successful result at the first stage, her proposal is accepted at the meeting. To be a good political manager and hence to maintain her success in The Corporation, Barbara could have utilized abilities of understanding others’ perspective as DeJanasz et al. (2008) mentioned. Goleman (2000) also shows his agreement with that when he considers self-awareness and organizational-awareness as the most key skill of a good politician. In other words, Barbara should have tried to understand Tom’s position and expectation to collaborate with him instead of competing at the meeting and ignoring him then. Moreover, Barbara seems to have no “legitimate power” (Robbins et al. 2010) on Tom. She cannot prescribe of Tom’s behavior and actions. Therefore Tom refuses to use new system and has strong argument with Barbara without any concerns. This is one of the reasons why the level of agreement between Barbara and Tom cannot be improved. John Franks can be regarded as Barbara’s fence sitter because he is...
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