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Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis

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Organizational Behaviour

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis

Thomas Green:
Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis
"Tom" Green Case Analysis
Team Members:
Sharron Cohan
Lucas Della Mora
Rachael Gerry
Abbey Kachmar
Muhammad Mollah
Not this Tom Green!
Explain how Tom's actions differ from Frank's expectations
Compare the work styles and personalities of Tom Green and his boss Frank Davis
Analyze Tom's actions and job performance and review the mistakes that he has made
Recommend actions Tom Green should take
Mar. 2007
Sept. 2007
First Week
Oct. 8 2007
Oct. 15 2007
Nov. to Jan.
Jan. 28 2008
Jan. 30 2008
Feb. 5 2008
Tom recruited as Account Executive
Tom promoted to Senior Market Specialist
Projection meeting
Informal evaluation with Frank
Frank lays out expectations
Tom working independently
Performance review
Frank sends email to Shannon
Tom receives email from Shannon
Work Styles of Tom and Frank
Work Style:
Values team work
Values good communication - status updates, quick responsiveness
Detailed-oriented – projections, strategies

Leadership Style:
Transactional Leader - sets goals, sales projections, expectations

Frank Davis
Work Style:
Prefers to work independently - values autonomy
Poor communicator with boss, subordinates and team members
Less structured (prefers to speak to clients, yet does not provide data/back-up documentation

Leadership Style:
Poor Leader – lacks management experience

Tom Green
Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership
Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership
Generational Differences
Prefers face-to-face interaction
17 years of experience
Dedicated and loyal- values chain of command
Believes that working hard equates to success
Prefers to communicate via e-mail or text
values independence
very confident in abilities
not overly loyal to employers
willing to challenge current practices

FRANK - Baby Boomer (Born 1946-1964)
TOM – Generation X
(Born: 1965-1980)

Roots of the Conflict
Embrace the benefits of concrete data
Dealing with the issue through Shannon
Truth within reason
Showing public support of Frank to right the wrong
Alienated himself from the team and the task
Tom's own "leadership"
Conflict Management
Kenneth Thomas’ Modes of Managing Conflict
McClelland's Theory of Needs Application
Implications of Personality
“Task-based conflict is productive, while relationship-focused conflict is destructive. When a disagreement becomes heated, keep your focus on the topic and keep the conversation centered on the goal and mission of your organization.
Attacking someone’s education, experience, judgment (… or lack thereof), distracts and dilutes the conversation.”

- Eva Rykrsmith (Organizational Psychologist)

Personalities of Thomas Green and Frank Davis (Using the Big Five Personality Traits)
Emotional Stability
Openness to New Experiences
Positive Affectivity vs Negative Affectivity

Locus of Control (Internal vs External)


Personality Traits and Variables

Analysis of Tom's Actions and Job Performance

The mistakes he has made in the last 5 months
Tom's Job Actions in the Last 5 Months
reviewed the last two year-to-date sales
toured major airline industry clients
visited clients and account execs in major hubs
worked independently and later met with the directors of national sales and software development in order to hash out the development of a new up-selling and cross-selling software program that would allow airline clients to upgrade their travel experience
Frank and the Team
Tom Avoided Interaction with his Team
'Lone wolf' behaviour
Ignored the consultation and direction of Frank
Tom Rejected Group Norms
Which one is not like the others?
Tom did not adhere to industry conventions
Tom violated the norm of subordinate behaviour when he openly challenged Frank.

Tom Rejected his Team at the Critical ‘Storming Stage’ of Group Formation
Size of decision
Decreasing time to reach agreement
Perception is Important!
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change
Actor-Observer Effect
the tendency to attribute our own behavior mainly to situational causes but the behavior of others mainly to dispositional causes.
Tom attributed Frank's disapproval of him to Frank's dislike of him.

Tom discounted the impact of
Low Consensus Behaviour
When Tom openly challenged Frank's projections, he was engaging in
low consensus behaviour
Because Tom did not stand to benefit from openly criticizing Frank's sales projections, Frank attributed this behaviour to reflect Tom's true disposition
Primacy effect: Tom gave Frank a poor first impression of his ability to perform his job effectively by failing to do simple tasks that were assigned to him

Fundamental Attribution Error: Tom knew that Frank had reviewed his performance and considered it poor; he made the mistake of not offering Frank a situational explanation for his behaviour
Tom discounted the importance of the following perception biases:
Plan of Action
Immediate action
In the next 30 days
Long-term maintenance
What Should Tom Do?
Bias toward
central traits
: Tom should emphasize his most attractive qualities by dressing very professionally
Shannon may continue to give him a favorable evaluation due to their similarities in background ('
similar to me effect

Recency Effect:
Tom needs to harness the bias toward overemphasis of recent behaviour by:
Bringing a calendar to the meeting that demonstrates how he has constructively been spending his time over the last few months.
Producing the framework for a marketing proposal

Be calm and persuasive
Build bridges
Solicit buy-in and support
Express commitment
During the Meeting...
Before the Meeting
There is no RESET button
Differentiated approaches
Past vs. Future
Sales Experience vs. performance trends
Cross-functional collaboration
Jacquelyn Smith
First Steps - Getting in the Right Frame of Mind
Tom must reflect on the mistakes that he has made
Increase in conscientiousness of Franks' expectations
Consider where his locus of control is and eventually start to shift it from external to internal
Tom should then respond to Shannon's email and:
Acknowledge her concerns
Be concise
Request a face-to-face meeting
In the Next 30 Days Tom Should ...
Be visibly present in the office
Produce the marketing proposal as directed by Frank.
Spend time with the other Senior Marketing Specialists in order to round out his understanding of the position.

Long Term/Relationship Building
Tom can’t change Frank, he must change himself
Focus on the solution, not the past
Realize Frank’s authority and his own expendability
Show accountability and take responsibility
Don’t seek autonomy, seek mentorship

It is our belief that with the tools we've presented today, Tom will be able to turn this career setback in to a springboard for success.
In Conclusion...
Belbin, R. M. (2010). Team roles at work (2nd ed. ed.). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Marks, M.L., Mirvis, P., & Ashkenas, (October 2014). Rebounding from Career Setbacks. Harvard Business Review, pp. 105-108.

Muhammad, A. B., Mohamed, M. B., Ismail, A. R., & Veera, P. S. (2014). Effects of personality traits (big five) on expatriates adjustment and job performance. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33(1), 73-96.

Rykrsmith, Eva,. (2013). 3 Ways to Tactfully Disagree With Your Boss. Fast Track Work Productivity Online. Retrieved 17 Nov. 2014.

Sirbu, J., Popa, M., & Pipas, M. D. (2014). Professional career planning - practice and results. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 4(7), 350-362.

Smith, Jacquelyn. (2013). How to Approach the Boss When Conflict Arises At Work. Forbes Magazine Online. Retrieved 17 Nov. 2014.

Twenge, J., & Campbell, S. (2012-09-18). Generation Me and the Changing World of Work. Oxford Handbooks Online. Retrieved 26 Oct. 2014.

Vonk, R. (2002). Self-serving interpretations of flattery. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(4), 515-526.

White, Michael. & Bryson, Alex. (2011). HRM and Workplace Motivation:Instrumental and Threshold Effects. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. No 1097.

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