Management styles can vary between organisations. The case study of Thomas Green provided a view into the use and miss-use of power, and how engaging in office politics can dreadfully affect one’s own career and the organisation.
In this study, Mr Green is a young white-collar with a baccalaureate degree in Economics from the University of Georgia and has a few years of account executive experience under his belt before he was recruited to Dynamic Displays. Green garnered success with his new company within four months, by being promoted from an account executive to a senior market specialist and got himself a seat at the corporate headquarters. He was sought out by the Vice President, Shannon McDonald, who promoted Green partially due to the fact that they graduated from the same college, although he lacked managerial experience, marketing analysis experience and formality in business dealings.
During the first week, McDonald warned Green about potential difficulties, since his promotion was without the knowledge of his supervisor, Frank Davis, the marketing director who expected Green to be able to identify industry trends, evaluate business opportunities and provide sales goals. Davis also values quick responsiveness and good communication with a status update, hence, was aggravated when Green didn’t make use of his Outlook calendar. Additionally, Davis likes to make decisions based on facts, where recommendations and strategies should be justified using hard data, rather than relying on the verbal conversation, in which Green would prefer because he was not interested in the detailed planning. The fact that Green publicly questioned Davis’ forecasts, made him even more unlikeable. Consequently, Davis used his power to lure Green into situations where he will be considered for termination. It is clear that Davis is unsettled about his new replacement and feels that Green is too inexperienced.
Several observations were made as to how Dynamic Display could attempt solving these problems.
- Firstly, although McDonald’s position to Davis was superior, she needs to know her place and should be well aware of the hierarchy system that is in place in the organisation management.
- Secondly, McDonald should set up a face-to-face meeting with Davis and Green to formally set the expectations for Green’s position and have them look beyond their own personal perspectives to align their individual goals with the organization’s. A personal and physical discussion of the problem would avoid the possibility of being misunderstood. This meeting could also offer Green the chance to prove what he considers to be a more realistic target (given his background as an economics major), at the same time demonstrates his willingness to meet some of Davis’s demands.
- Next, Green should prepare evidence of what he has accomplished since his promotion, in which will allow him an opportunity to develop a stronger political position and of course needs to be careful not to offend Davis any more than he has. McDonald and Davis could also monitor Green’s performance with a 3 month, 6 months, and 1-year review before making a decision to dismiss.
- Besides that, Green should be given training so that he could understand the managerial skills needed for his position and should have been provided with suggestions on how to improve his work ethic by his superiors. Green has to throw away the reluctant behaviour by following the rules before trying something different.
- Finally, Davis should not take his seniority overboard. He must have faith in the newly promoted subordinate and learn how to help disgruntled employees fill into their new roles without any personal feelings get in the way. Subordinates are less encouraged to offer suggestions when superiors are resistant in having their decisions challenged. It seems, what frustrates the superiors the most is Green’s hesitation to play politics. Thus, Green needs to do a better job of managing his relationships.
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