Leadership and Organizational Behavior in Action



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Course Project: Leadership and Organizational Behavior in Action GM-591: Leadership and Organizational Behavior Overview of Organization The organization that will be the topic of discussion in my final project paper is Devry University Inc. Established in 1931, Devry University is a subsidiary of Devry Inc, which is a publicly traded and private higher education institution. Devry has provided a quality education to hundreds of thousands of consumers over the years.

Devry offers a vast array of degree programs ranging from the undergraduate level to graduate degrees and professional certificates. The University primarily targets adults who are looking to advance in their current career position, or seeking a career change. With education delivery methods such as classroom and online learning, which are highly appealing to working professionals, Devry has been able to expand its consumer even beyond the U. S. territories. After the recent Economic meltdown, Devry University has experienced tremendous growth along with most other higher education institutions.

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More than ever, people have returned to school to brush up on skill sets, and or gain new career based knowledge all in hopes in increasing their chances of gaining employment in a more competitive atmosphere. Devry University has capitalized on the recent influx of potential students, and has seen profits soar as a result. The company has developed innovative marketing techniques and materials that have helped them capture the attention of a younger demographic. These individuals were once only attracted to traditional universities. Now more than ever Devry has been able to compete for the younger student base at traditional universities.

Although there have been some major strides in Devry’s growth, recent activities in the higher education industry has called for more stringent regulations on the industry. In 2010, the Federal Government announced new legislation that would fall upon all higher education institutions by July of 2011. This legislation set new parameters for colleges and universities to operate in, which ultimately has a negative effect on enrollment. One of the main reasons for this legislation is that many for profit universities like Devry compensate their recruiters and enrollment staff according to the number of their enrollments.

The Federal Government no longer wants to allow the federal dollars issued to students for their education to be used toward compensating an enrollment staff that is “numbers’ (number of students enrolled) driven. This practice, which had been going on for over a century, lead to predatory recruiting by colleges and universities. Institutions have been coercing, and promising unrealistic career and financial outcomes to the students enrolled in their programs. It has been said that the industry has resembled a lot of what caused the current economic crisis (predatory lending).

Preliminary Problem Statement Devry has completely changed its process for recruiting students, the enrollment goals, and the compensation model for the entire department of enrollment management. The compnay has sought to capitalize on the ability to gain the customer base that once belonged to its competitors before many of them ran into financial problems and had to shut their doors. At the current state, employees feel they aren’t able to achieve goals set before them, become eligible for promotions, or even experience the feeling of being appreciated.

What accompanies the issue of reaching unrealistic goals is the fact that the advisors are expected to remain student focused, high in moral, and willing to contribute to changing students lives through education through out the recruiting process. This issue alone has caused a huge disconnection between the Admissions Representatives and management on all levels. The trust factor has been tarnished, and there is a strong presence of animosity towards the company’s leadership and the department’s new structure. Moral has also decreased significantly amongst the admissions advisors.

Through the changes implemented, employees feel they are not heard, and are pressured to conform to the new structure with minimal feedback about their concerns. If this continues, Devry will begin to see a significance increase in turnover, a decrease in productivity, and declining profits and market share. Changes need to be made to the organizations recruitment expectations, structure, and management behaviors during this planned changed. With that being said, “How can management promote productivity and manage resistance to changes in organizational structure and goals? ”

Literature Review The “ Five levees for improving Ethical Performance” by Dennis Collins, explains the important steps toward driving an ethical performance, which in turn will increase employee performance long term. His article explains the necessary truths behind ethical behaviors and the impact they have on employees and the organization. A brief breakdown of the five levels for ethical performance and behavior were as follows: 1. Hiring Employees with Ethical Values a. Employees must be willing and able to perform ethically, and have a history of ethical performance. 2.

Code of Ethics a. There needs to be a clear model of what the Ethical standards are within and organization 3. Managers as moral role models a. Management must set the example of ethical behaviors. They are the leaders within the organizations and set the tome for how each employee should behave and perform. 4. Attainable work Goals and holistic performance appraisals a. Without a set of attainable goals and holistic performance appraisals, employees are more prone to act unethically to keep their jobs and or receive bonuses and promotions. 5. Ethical compliance audit . All unethical behaviors must be addressed. Ethical risks can have a significant negative impact on growth for the employees and the future of the organization as a whole. All of the five levees play an important role in deriving an environment that is conducive to high performance and long-term success for an employee and the organization. Two areas in particular have a significant impact in an employee’s ability to perform and have understanding of the organizations standpoint in what they expect from employees. For one, Managers as role models is extremely important.

How can a manager expect the employees to perform and behave ethically if the are not portraying that image themselves. This leads to a major issue in the employees ability to have a clear image of what’s expected of them as well has how to implement the actions necessary to drive results The another are is attainable work goals and holistic performance. This levee has a major impact on the employee’s motives, their willingness to do what’s right, and their overall ability to perform. Each employee represents the organization, and managers have an even greater influence on how the organization is portrayed.

Secondly, by setting attainable goals in an organization, this will encourage a high level of ethical behavior, as well as cultivate an environment where employees feel they are of high value to the organization, and perceived as humane individuals, not machines. Each Levee has its significance in performance, and in employee growth with an organization. The also drive the moral and ethical culture, and there needs to be consistency throughout each of the ethical components of an organization for long-term success. Ethics provide the framework by which employees can actively practice independent decision-making skills.

Having the flexibility to act, speak or assist students through the admissions process is critical to the role of an Admissions Representative. Their success is based upon their ability to gain the trust of the prospective student. Often the student will only act at the direction of the Representative based on the perception of the Representative as Expert. The goal of DeVry Admissions, as with all institutions of higher education, still is to generate student enrollments. However, due to the new regulations, closer attention as to how that goal is achieved will be more closely monitored and regulated.

Having a clear, ethical foundation is even more critical than ever before. The lack of ethical restraint and discretion has created the current environment. In the past, some schools have engaged in fraud, misrepresentation of course outcomes, and actual costs of attendance. Representatives/Advisors have forged student documents, specifically consents related to government funding. DeVry was quick to respond and by October of 2010, had implemented pilot programs that explored the student-recruiting environment as if the rules had already gone into effect.

The pilot allowed DeVry to develop standards for which Admissions Representatives/Advisors would be measured for compensation, promotion, or termination. It also spelled out clearly the types of behavior that would be tolerated in relation to doing business. Any unethical behaviors must be addressed in order to fully move forward in a positive direction. Setting unrealistic or unattainable goals can play a very negative role in an organization. The Article “ Goals Gone Wild” by Stephanie Overby, explores how narrow or high goal setting can have a negative effect on employee morale, as well as individual and organizations success.

This article explains that it is not always good to set high goals. Although much success has come from high benchmarks for organizations to reach, there can also lie major complications ahead with high goals. Setting goals too high can lead to unethical behaviors, a decrease in employee’s performance, quality results, and an overall failure for an organization. In many instances of high goal setting, quality or quantity will suffer. The research in the article uses GM as an example of how setting narrow goals can play a negative role in the organizations success.

GM once held 28. 2 percent of the light truck and car industry in the U. S. Once they sought out to increase that market share to 29 percent, GM began practices that overall became very costly to the organization. Another prime example of negative effects from narrow goal-setting involves Qwest Communications CEO, Joe Nacchio. During a January 2000 gathering of Qwest employees, it is reported that Joe Nacchio conveyed the message as to what was important to their organization. Not customers, products, or employees, he told them. Numbers-money-was what mattered at Qwest. It’s more important that any individual product, it’s more important than any individual philosophy, it’s more important than any individual, cultural change. We stop everything else when we don’t make the numbers. ” Employee actions, under direction from their CEO, caused them to sacrifice ethics in an attempt to reach this narrow goal. They likened their environment to being in a “pressure-cooker,” with management’s attempt to always maximize profits. This lead to illegal behavior and ultimately Joe Nacchio was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison for insider trading and corruption.

Setting goals is not an all-corrupt action, but they should be well thought out have clear direction of how to attain them. According to Overby (2009), “ avoid overly specific goals or those within appropriate time lines and monitor the process, not just the progress”. By including the employees in the goal setting process for tan organization, it can help in over expecting in performance. It will also help the employees work toward a goals they have set themselves, which tends to gain more interest than just the organizations goals alone.

By finding out what the employees would like to achieve, it will help in deriving goals that are more measurable and realistic. Building moral is probably the most important aspect to get employees engaged enough to follow an organizations vision and goal structure. The article “Building Moral: The Key to Firm Growth” by Sandra Wiley, goes into depth to explain why employee moral is a major factor in terms of productivity and the ability and willingness to perform. Organizational goals and structure can create a stressful work environment for employees, especial when the goals are not in align with the ability of the employees.

A stressful work environment causes employee to moral to decrease, and in return productivity and profitability decrease. By increasing employee moral, even in the toughest economic climates, employees are more prone to be enthusiastic, and motivate them to go the extra mile for the organization. A failure to support high moral will only have detrimental effects on an organization in the good or bad times. Wiley (2011) found “Unlocking the moral issue is critical because it leads to lower attrition, it leads to less in-fighting, and it leads to proper hiring” (pg. 2); This implies that in order for an organization to move forward with any new structure or set of goals successfully, IT must understand what’s necessary for survival of the organization, which is employee involvement. Wiley suggested 10 ways to increase employee moral. Some of the suggestions were: ? Remember to reward and recognize: Recognize success even in the small things. For some employees this means more to them than an annual pay increases. ? Ask for and use ideas: Get the employees involved in the goals setting process and structure of the organization.

Employees are more willing to perform if they feel they have had a hand in the creation process. ? Create Collaboration: Employees respond well when the feel they are apart the whole. Adhere to their desire to be heard and play a role in the organization. ? Focus on feedback: Give timely, accurate, and candid feedback. This shows employees that you are paying attention are concerned with their growth. ? Focus on consistency: if you can only do a few things to improve moral, do those things often. In summary, this article shows a great correlation on what moral does to production and gaining employee engagement.

Employees must be willing to participate and follow the vision of an organization. Without strong moral, its almost impossible to expect employees to embrace any changes, and the affects will certainly have negative impacts on every aspect of the organization and ultimately the ability to perform as a high performance organization. Most organizations continue to struggle with change even with the developments of new technologies and business practices. This is greatly attributed to the fact that the change has more to do with the individuals involved and not the actual change itself.

The article “ Managing Resistance to Change” by Philip Atkinson, explains some of reasons for change resistance and how to manage it. According to Philip (2005) “organizations need to develop an attitude and a methodology to master and drive change. A failure to do so will result in poorer performance and a declining morale and motivation in its people – and disappointment for its customers” (p. 15). The article explains shoes that change in an organizations and managing the resistance to change typical depends n the change agent.

The harder and more committed the change agent is to overcoming resistance to change to more likely it is to happen in a timely fashion. This statement doesn’t imply that the walls or resistance can be knocked down over night. Managing through change takes time, years even. Resistance to a change in any aspect of an organization is inevitable, and can even be viewed as a healthy opportunity to overcome issues and insure success through the changes. As for managing through the resistance, Philip (2005) “Consider ‘resistance’ as a form for positive change.

If you can predict ‘how’ people will resist the flow of your good ideas from theory to practice, then you may be in the process of formulating a blueprint for change and learning for the future” (p. 15). The article states that resistance to change is typically covert, and not displayed at surface level. With that in mind, overcoming the resistance takes a logical and creative approach and should be well prepared for. As the structure of an organizations goals or compensation is changed, management should be prepared to approach the resistance and take note of each concern.

Persuasion is usually the best tool to overcome resistance by influencing each participant to see beyond the negative aspects of change. Failure in approaching the situation allows for further speculation, assumptions and fear, which promote resistance. Initially, resistance to change can be viewed as an out of control issue, but as the organizational changes experience resistance, management should be aware that the resistance is based upon personal views of the changed. These personal views may be the result of past experiences. With that being said, change management should be somewhat personalized toward each individual involved.

This may be time and resource utilizing, but overall a solid approach to managing resistance. Along with this, communication is one, if not the most important aspect of dealing with change. According to Philip (2005) “ communication is what is received – not what is being sent. We need to communicate the same message to various constituencies who have different needs and concerns, in a consistent manner ” (p. 17). This simply states that any changes to the organization structure and goals should be communicated effectively though out the organization, and any concerns should be met and addressed one by one.

In conclusion, there is a clear method-to-the madness in resistance to change. By approaching the resistance as an opportunity for growth and promotion of strong cultural dynamics, resistance can be a good thing in within an organization. When you focus on change as learning new ways of behaving and encouraging others to expand their learning to take thoughtful risks, change initiatives would flourish and change would be valued and cherished rather than feared (Philip, 2005, p. 17). Devry has experienced quite a bit of resistance with the organizations new structure and goals for their admissions advisors.

Meeting the resistance with strategy, and understanding what, why, and who is affected by the change opens the opportunity to minimize resistance. Analysis Productivity has decrease significantly for Devry universities admissions advisors. This factor is a result of unstructured planning and impulsive decision-making within the management team. In the past scope there was a foundation of management that involved evaluation of the departments’ issues and concerns, which were addressed immediately at that point in time.

Areas of weakness within that department were tackled and resolved on a consistent basis to produce a greater outcome dealing with production. Within the last year, the foundation of management has shifted and individuals have taken on higher authority without proper teachings and insight regarding how to be an efficient leader and manage employees dealing with organizational issues. In turn, these changes have affected the culture of the admissions department and have placed an era of instability, and low productivity.

Because of these changes employees are finding themselves uneasy and unclear about the true path and goal of the company. In order to reach a successful peak, a clear outline needs to be structured and implemented. If concerns re not address, and employees are given effective feedback, failure in productivity is on the rise. The forum of suggestions and concerns has been addressed on multiple occasions by the admissions advisors, but no changes are being enforced.

The faith and resurrection of this department is seemingly dying because the base foundation is no longer solid, the goals are deemed out of reach, and issues and concerns are no longer being addressed as they were in the past. Solution Devry should promote and environment that employees feel humane, valued, and overall key components to the organizations success. Through effective communication and feedback from employees, the resistance to organizational changes will decrease. Feedback is key to understanding what each individuals concern is.

Making sure the line of communication never falters is also good for the employee moral. It assures them that they are heard. Along with being heard, employees need to feel a sense of ownership. By empowering them to take part in the decision making process, the yare now involved in deriving the new goals, and how to attain them. This will promote goals to be set at an attainable level. As a result productivity and moral will begin to improve. Here are a few keys to managing resistance and promoting productivity during and after the changes to Devry’s organizational structure: . Make sure the vision is clear: employees should know where the organization is headed, and how to get there. 2. Set attainable goals (Take the holistic approach): By setting attainable goals, employees feel they are working toward something. It minimizes unethical behaviors, an increases employee moral. Employees never want to feel they are “spinning their wheels’. They want the feeling of accomplishment. 3. Empower your employees: Include the employees in the decision making process. It creates ownership and value in their responsibilities, and increases productivity.

Involve them in the goal setting process. The employee input would help set goals that are attainable. 4. Walk the talk: management should always set the tone and exemplify ethical behaviors. Their attitude can make or break Devry’s organizational structure and environment. 5. Manage resistance effectively: Don’t be afraid to let go of employees who don’t want to follow the new vision. Give positive feedback to those who have concerns and coach them through their areas development during the changes to the organizational structure.

Phillip ( 2005) “Consider resistance as a form of positive change” (p. 15). Reflection This assignment has enabled me to look at how organizations deal with change issues and has shown me new approaches to dealing with changes to an organizations structure. The scholarly concepts and practices I have adopted by doing this assignment will enable me to deal with organizational changes as technological advancements, new government regulations, and changes in the economic climates continue to alter the current and future of my organization.

Uncovering the issues and solutions I have found for this organization has helped me apply and gather a deeper understanding of the TCO’s in this course. I have developed a better understanding of management strategies dealing with organizational structure, culture, and resistance to change. The knowledge I have gained will help me progress in my leadership and management abilities, as well as understand how situations can affect my employees and their output. Managing resistance can be a daunting task, and dealing with changes to an organizations structure and goals can be tough for everyone in the company.

By taking a strategic approach to matters, providing effective communication and employee feedback, and setting realistic requirements for my employees, management can drastically minimize the affects of resistance to organizational structure and its goals. I look forward to sharing the knowledge I have acquired with my leadership team, and assisting my organization as we continue to evolve and change with the times. References Atkinson, P. (2005). Managing resistance to change. Management Services, 49(1), 14-19. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Brecher, N. (2006). Feedback forward: Coaching and commending employees by offering continuous feedback helps them move forward. (cover story). Journal of Property Management, 71(5), 16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Collins, D. (2006). Five Levees for Improving Ethical Performance. Strategic Finance, 88(1), 19-61. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Overby, S. (2009). Goals Gone Wild. CIO, 22(18), 38-39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Wiley, S. (2011). Building Morale: The Key to Firm Growth. CPA Practice Management Forum, 7(2), 12-19. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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