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Merger Challenge: Unite Toothbrush, Toothpaste May 8, 2007

Posted by Brian Mulligan in Merger, Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment.
4 comments

The article that I found in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Merger Challenge: Unite Toothbrush, Toothpaste – P&G and Gillette Find Creating Synergy Can Be Harder Than It Looks directly relates to company culture conflict. Many thought that the merger of the world’s No.1 toothbrush and the world’s No. 2 toothpaste would provde to be a match made in heaven.

The rosy picture painted by most anaylsts turned completely grey once the companies actually tried to merge together. Oral-B employees were forced to move from Boston to Crest’s Cincinnati hom office, while there was a clash of management style. Oral-B favored meeting while Crest liked memos. In contrast, Crest liked deliberated moves while Oral-B liked quick decisions.

“Gillete staffers had to learn to cope with P&G’s famously rigid culture”

In th end, both companies have to deal with all of the problems that they are having with each other. How do you propose a compromise? What is the best solution?

Do we have control of the ‘bubble’? April 10, 2007

Posted by Abby in Business-Society Issues, humor, Organizational Culture.
1 comment so far

Bucknell is often praised to be a liberal institution.  Our professors are from mixed backgrounds, with mixed opinions, orientations and beliefs.  Why then, are our students so often said to be homogenous?

One sarcastic student wrote in the Bucknellian: “Take a look around, diversity is everywhere. Some people prefer J. Crew, while others are all about Abercrombie. Certain fraternities choose to serve Natural Light, and others enjoy Schaefer. Some kids drive BMWs, while some sport Audis. Clearly, it’s your eyes that need to be opened, not mine. ”

The Plan for Bucknell has 5 main aims, one being diversity.  Diversity is not limited to an increase in the international or culturally diverse students, but those from varying backgrounds too.  Even with all these measures, the University’s control of the student-body makeup alone will not change the attitudes immediately – right?

Would you agree that we are a liberal institution (professors, deans, administrators), with a conservative audience/customer base (the students, or student’s families) ?

Secrets of Human Resources April 4, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Decline and Death, Employees, Organizational Culture.
8 comments

In Management 101 Human Resources is often overlooked. In GE, HR is not viewed as a support function and certainly not overlooked. After 40 years with GE, Bill Conaty is retiring from head of HR. His work at the company has been exceptional and in some ways untraditional.

Through HR Conaty has helped in developing a performance driven company culture. In a recent article from Business Week (I used a magazine and can’t find the link to the online article), Conaty stresses continuous leadership development and believes “employees must be constantly judged, ranked, and rewarded or punished for their performance.”

In Management 101 teaches the Porter-Lawler Model of Motivation, Performance and Satisfaction, which in part explains intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. At first I was surprised to read how openly Conaty uses a rewards and punishment system. I would think that the employees would want to do well for the company and be proud of their work. Then, again thinking about MGMT 101, I recognized that at some point most people need extrinsic rewards for motivation. Sometimes extrinsic rewards seem unnecessary and it is seen in negative light for someone to need them, but in the end I know that every so often I need something more than just self-motivation.

Last year in the April 17, 2006, Conaty was quoted in another Business Week article saying the primary motivation for the GE staff remains “challenging jobs and a career path for personal growth.”

What motivates you to work hard? Would you want to work in a performance-driven company culture?

In further research I found that in 2004 Conaty was named HR Executive Of The Year. It seems he must be doing something right. Although not much was explained as the criteria for this award, Conaty seems to be appreciated and valued by all levels of employees. This makes sense, as he purposefully does not socialize or become too close with top executives, even the CEO, as he feels this will jeopardize the trust of other relationships with other employees.

Do you think this is a wise move? Should it be a policy for HR workers to distance themselves from executives like the CEO to remain neutral?

The last thing I found particularly significant was Conaty’s reason for executives failing. He says that most often the reason is when they stop learning and growing. As industries, clients, skills and the entire world changes, workers, in particular the leaders need to adapt to change. This continuous learning process is necessary for business to succeed, those who do not acclimate sooner or later will decline and dissolve.

We have talked in class about how detrimental it is for a business not to adapt. Do you think that professors adapt to change? There is a phrase that teachers are students as well. How receptive to change have you found professor to be?

Religion in the workplace–Why? April 2, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.
2 comments

So after I wrote my last post about Holy Spirit hospital’s “religious” organizational culture, it led to discover the topic for my second writing assignment. I have been pondering the reasoning or motivation for an organization to have a public display of any religious affiliation within their mission statement or business practices. Is religion just being used as a competitive advantage? Or might it be a genuine use of religion because organizations are using their business operations to do God’s will and spread God’s word through their works? More specifically, I am curious to know the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit hospital has, and I surmised that I can’t figure this out unless I know why they have this religious affiliation—competitive advantage or for the purpose of spreading God’s word.

 

So I am going to speculate on how two different hospitals would operate and what kind of culture they would have depending on their purpose for the religious affiliation. So I have written up a few paragraphs but I’m kind of stuck on all the things to consider that would be different. Some of the things that I have thought about are the relationships between co-workers; relationships between co-workers and patients; and decision-making such as euthanasia and types of pills to carry (Plan B and HPV vaccine).

 

Any suggestions on other things to consider within the hospital that would be different between the two organizations? What other situations in the hospital might lead to different decision-making between the two organizations? I know that there are some things that I have just not thought about or considered and hope that your suggestions will help me think further about these differences between the two organizations.

 

Here are my first two paragraphs, any feedback would be appreciated:

 

The organizational culture of an organization is basically the personality that is associated with that organization. The existence of religious beliefs and practices within an organization can have many effects on an organization and its culture. Why might an organization choose to allow a religious affiliation to be a part of their organization? What might be their motives? Is the existence of religion being used solely as a competitive advantage? Or is the existence of religion displayed through an organization’s beliefs and practices a subcomponent of a larger movement such as spreading the word of God? Might the motives for the existence of religion lead to the existence of two totally different organizational cultures? I ask these questions because of my specific interest in hospitals that have a religious affiliation evident through their mission statement and business operations. Determining an answer to this question might shed light on the organizational culture of Holy Spirit Hospital and how they run their business.

 

In order to determine an answer to this question of motivation for displaying a religious affiliation within an organization, I will use an archetype analysis in an attempt to envision two extreme types of hospitals. One hospital will be motivated to use religion in their organization exclusively as a way of spreading the gospel of God’s teachings while the other hospital will be motivated to use religion solely as a competitive advantage. The motivation of the use of religion in their organization will yield two totally different types of organizational culture as well as different business operations.

Holy Spirit Hospital’s “religious” organizational culture March 27, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Consumers, Customer Service, Employees, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.
3 comments

So I happened to go home this weekend (Harrisburg) and found my idea for this week’s blog in the local newspaper, The Patriot News. The article was titled,Better bedside MANNER: Holy Spirit Hospital aims to cure ill will” and showed that since December, Holy Spirit Hospital has been sending walk-in patients directly to a bed instead of having them sit in the waiting area on those terribly uncomfortable benches. This is the first hospital that I have ever known to have such a generous policy. Personally, I am pleased with such a policy. I chose this article because a couple of weeks ago I read Holy Spirit’s mission and vision statement which is as follows:

Our Mission

Holy Spirit Health System is a community Catholic health system sponsored by the Sisters of Christian Charity to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all in need. We provide high quality, cost-effective health services to develop healthy communities in the greater
Harrisburg area and South Central Pennsylvania.

Our Vision

Holy Spirit Health system will exemplify God’s love through our service and Spirit of Caring.

Over the next three years, we will focus on achieving exemplary performance in service to our community, including:

  • Superior clinical outcomes.
  • Outstanding customer satisfaction.
  • Strong financial results.

So after taking a look at Holy Spirit Hospital as an organization, it led me to ponder some questions about their organizational culture. For starters, I wonder if their policy of sending patients straight to a hospital bed has to do with the religious culture that they seem to have instilled in their organization. Or might the policy just be in response to gaining a competitive advantage? Cheri Rinehart of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania said that it is uncommon practice to send patients directly to a bed, but that there is a trend of “looking at patient satisfaction and what the major dissatisfiers are”.

So is it culture or competition that most led Holy Spirit Hospital to act in this manner and treat their customers in this special way? In my opinion, I think that it is naturally part of Holy Spirit Hospital’s culture to act in this way. I honestly think that the culture of their organization is one that is filled with the “Holy Spirit” literally and this drives them to go beyond the call of duty for their patients. Now, I have never really been a patient there but I wonder what it would be like to be one of their patients. Being a Christian myself and having such a strong faith in God, I can imagine the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit Hospital may have. Can you?

In general, do you think that an organization that has a highly religious climate can affect their organizational culture? Does that particular religion then define the culture of the organization? How might a religious culture be bad for an organization? How might it be bad for individual employees or patients?

Mentors March 6, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment, sustainable development.
2 comments

Every so often when listening to the news or reading the paper you hear a story of success or happiness.  While reading the March 12th edition of Business Week, I came across one such article.  The article titled The Holy Cross Fraternity highlights one man’s accomplishments in the late 1960’s when he began recruiting black students to Holy Cross, in Massachusetts, which considering the time and place, was a radical pursuit.  Reverend John E. Brooks took on the challenge of bettering the school and the students by incorporating racial diversity onto the campus.  The African American students Brooks recruited were given full scholarships but many obstacles were still ahead. Between roommate troubles and a general sense of uneasiness around campus, the few black students were not welcomed by all; however “Father Brooks built confidence.  He made you think about your options” (Stanley Grayson).  The article continues about the bonds made among the black students, the troubles they faced and their extreme success after graduation.  Some of the graduates include:

            Edward P. Jones – Puliter Prize winner

            Clarence Thomas – Supreme Court Justice

            Theodore Wells – Attorney

            Stanley Grayson – President and COO of M.R. Beal & Co.

Along with my interest in the Civil Rights Movement and how influential this story is with that respect, I also see this story as a wonderful inspiration of leadership and friendship.  From Management 101 I have learned a lot about the types of leadership roles and what makes an effective leader taking into account the various conditions of the particular situation.  Especially in times of extreme conflict, standing up for what you believe and wholeheartedly upholding those beliefs despite criticism is very difficult and tiring.  Looking at Holy Cross, or any university as an organization, (or a Mgmt 101 company) it can be seen that groupthink, the power of politics, and authority and power are concepts that can easily apply to real, personal situations. 

Who is your role model or mentor?  What makes this person a mentor in your mind?

The Bucknellian – A Student Organization February 28, 2007

Posted by Brian Mulligan in Networks, Organizational Culture, Organizational Design, Workplaces.
6 comments

I decided to take a look at the connections between the different editors at the student-run newspaper, The Bucknellian. I have had direct interactions with all the students on the Bucknellian editorial staff being a Sports Editor in charge of layout. The relationships between all of the students on the paper are very unique and actually fairly interesting.

At the top of the heap is the Editor-in-Chief. He has last say in anything before it heads out to print and is in charge of maintaining the quality of the layout and content in working with associate editors of content and layout. Additionally, he works hand-in-hand with the business arm of the paper that is charge of the ads and finances of the paper.

  1. Editor-in Chief
    1. Associate Editor of Layout
      1. Layout Editors
        1. Sports
        2. News
        3. Features
        4. Opinions
        5. Arts & Entertainment
    2. Associate Editor of Content
      1. Assigning Editors
        1. Sports
        2. News
        3. Features
        4. Opinions
        5. Arts & Entertainment
      2. Chief Copy Editor
        1. Assistant Chief Copy Editor
          1. Copy Editors
    3. Business Manager
      1. Office Managers
      2. Advertising Managers

The Business Manager overseas how ads are placed and seeks out new businesses to place ads in the paper. He overseas all the finances of the paper and where we can and can’t spend money. Underneath him are the office managers who help with the general upkeep of the office and records and the advertising managers who design and size the ads.

The Associate Editor of Layout is the specialist in layout. She has final approval and is the most trained out of all the layout editors. Additionally, she is the resource if you’re in a bind for layout as well. Underneath her are all the section layout editors and section assistant layout editors.

The Associate Editor of Content is responsible for what is written in the paper. He has the last say on what can and can’t be said in the paper and can make changes accordingly. Below him are two different divisions. The assigning editors are responsible for assigning articles to the writers and assist in titles and captions for layout are under the Associate Editor of Content.  Also, the copy editors are below him as well and they correct all the mistakes in the article before publishing.

That’s basically the make-up of the paper’s hierarchy for layout and content.

There are also many connections between the different positions in the paper.  The Editor-in-chief has to work closely with the Chief Copy Editor and the two associate editor to coordinate a smooth paper production.  Also the different layout editors work together to squeeze in article by swapping ads or even pages, so the paper has all of the white space covered.

Another layer to this organization is who gets paid or not?  The business branch are all paid along with the copy editors.  Everybody else is unpaid.  Do think that this makes sense?  Should some of the people who invest more time get paid for their hard-work?

Alcatel-Lucent and MP3 Technology February 27, 2007

Posted by Lady in innovation, Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment, Technology.
1 comment so far

I recently read an article from the Washington Post entitled, MP3 Patent Verdict Harmless To Music Fans — For Now”. Basically this article dealt with the issue of the company Alcatel-Lucent suing Microsoft for infringing on audio patents that they owned. The lawsuit resulted in the jury deciding that Microsoft owes Alcatel-Lucent $1.52 billion in damages. Microsoft is seeking to appeal this ruling because they do not that they infringed on Alcatel-Lucent’s patent. The innovation of using MP3 technology to provide online music has been extremely beneficial to the consumers who use it and very much profitable for the companies who provide it. This use of information technology to increase the value of an organization’s effectiveness is good. This main reason I wanted to mention this article was because of the affect that the verdict (if ruled in favor of Alcatel-Lucent) could have on other companies, small and large that depend on this technology to enhance their organization. Microsoft is not the only company that depends on such technology—MP3 technology is now heavily used in cell phones, car systems, and video games. The article stated that some companies dependent on the use of this technology could be affected if the verdict results in a significant increase in licensing fees.  

In chapter 9, we discussed how technology can affect the structure and effectiveness of an organization. The term “technological imperative” was used to describe the idea that technology determines an organization’s structure. So I was thinking: would this be the case in such companies like Microsoft and other large companies? After thinking about it, I figured it might not be the case because technology is not the only thing that determines an organization’s structure—organizational size and other factors play a role in determining it also. The article mentioned that large companies such as Apple and Aol might be able to withstand these licensing fees and it might not affect the technology that they need to use.

 

But what about the smaller companies that manufacture MP3 players? The article stated that these regulations on the technology that they use could be detrimental to their organization and could even put them out of business. But a solution to this problem could lead to these companies making some changes in their organization in order to still compete. Might they have to change the technology that they use to lower costs, which might affect the quality of the music that they are selling? As their environment changes and their strategy changes, might this lead to some restructuring of their organization’s structure and culture? If this ends up being the case, then it would show how much technology could possibly affect their organizational structure and culture. Ok, I know, my blog was really long-winded. Tell me what you think!

 

How powerful do you think the threat of litigation can be at forcing organizations to change the technology that they use? How significant of an impact can these changes in technology have on an organization’s structure and culture?

A Customer Service Champ February 26, 2007

Posted by Kira in Customer Service, Networks, Organizational Culture, Organizational Design.
1 comment so far

Just after I read Elaine’s post on Jet Blue, I found an article on Southwest’s customer service.  In December, Bob Emig, a frequent Southwest customer, ended up waiting on the runway for 5 hours after the scheduled departure time due to the plane having to be de-iced twice.  This seems like it would be another customer service disaster like Jet Blue, but as it turns out it was the exact opposite of a disaster.  While stuck on the runway, the pilot walked the aisles answering questions and offering updates while the flight attendants kept passengers updated on new connecting flights.  Within a few days of the incident, Southwest sent a letter with two free round-trip ticket vouchers.

This was not unusual customer service for Southwest nor just a rush to fix the dilemma.  “Rather, it was standard procedure for Southwest Airlines, which almost six years ago created a new high-level job that oversees all proactive customer communications with customers.”  It is Fred Taylor’s job at Southwest to coordinate information that is sent to all frontline representatives in the event of a major flight disruption.   He also sends out letters and flight vouchers to customers caught in storms, air traffic, and other travel messes whether or not the situation was in Southwest’s control.  According to Taylor, “it’s not something we had to do.  It’s just something we feel our customers deserve.”  For Southwest, customer service goes beyond the employees directly in contact with customers; “it takes coordination from the top, bringing together people, management, technology, and processes to put customers’ needs first.”

I think this is a great example of providing customer service unlike Jet Blue’s recent blooper.  When travelers are in situations that shake their nerves, they want to know that they will be taken care of.  I think that customer service is one of the best and few ways that a company can truly differentiate itself and remain competitive in today’s business world.  Southwest has recognized that customer service is not just a quick fix apology, but is embedded in their structure and culture starting from the top of the organization.  As I learned in marketing, there are many points of customer service and contact that need to be monitored.   Southwest is very wise to have someone in a high-level position to oversee and coordinate all the points of customer service/contact throughout the organization.  I am curious as to how exactly Taylor goes about getting the company to coordinate in order to put customers’ needs first.  What kind of structure does the company have?  Do they use networks to increase the flow of information?  If so, what kind of network do they have in place?

 

Flashmob- Technology and Org Culture without an Organization? February 23, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Networks, Organizational Culture, Social Networking Sites, Technology.
3 comments

A UC Davis student  using Facebook apparently, organized (or “organized”?  sparked?) a flashmob earlier this month.  What is a flash mob?

Flashmob – Davis Wiki
A [wikipedia]flashmob is a group of people who are quietly organized, usually through the help of the Internet or other digital communications, to perform a public act. The act is usually odd or striking and involves many people who may have never met each other before the gathering. To the public, no explanation is given and the mob disperses after performing the act.

Over 1000 people gathered.  They chanted “ATM! ATM!” and then dispersed.  Why?  I am not sure.  Maybe one of you can figure out.  Flash mobs are also called swarm intelligence or emergent behavior.  Perhaps the same pyschology of stock bubbles or fashion fads is at work on a more localized level?

Here is the video link.

Is this an example of culture in action?  How does the technology of Facebook influence the culture?  Is his an example of organizational culture without an organization?