Behavioral Control Techniques
Most organizations endeavor to reshape their operations in order to remain competitive in the market. However, any form of reorganization has numerous implications on the employees’ behavior. The case of Bob Salinger, Tidewater Corporation’s CEO, and Ken Vaughn, his employee, illustrates how employees can change their behavior when an organization reorganizes its operations without proper communication between employees and their leaders. When Ken’s behavior started to change, Bob had to respond fast by referring Ken to Harold Bass, the human resource manager. Bob should have developed various methods to control Ken’s behavior, as well as other subordinates. This study will focus on behavioral control techniques that managers can utilize to guide their subordinates after reorganization.
Allowing employees to enjoy their independence is one of the appropriate methods of controlling employee behavior. Employees need to feel appreciated and free to exercise their skills without being under supervision. In case of reorganization, independent employees would understand the rationality behind change and agree to conform to the new system. To assist employees in managing their own behaviors, managers should never compel their subordinates to consult psychotherapists. Such action is likely to encourage revolt, as the distressed employees may feel that the company has doubts about their commitment. Instead, the company should allow the employee to adapt to change gradually to avoid inflicting pain to their personal being.
Developing proper communication with the subordinates can help the management to understand employees’ problems. Poor communication between the management and employees may have exacerbated Ken’s situation, especially when Bob depicted inability to deal with Ken. Although Bob believe that Ken was valuable to the company’s operations, he did not take time to understand Ken’s predicaments. Most employees experience stress after reorganization because the situation is quite different from the normal and the only way to avoid such situation is to communicate to them occasionally about changes. Employees may feel that their services to the company are not appreciated; hence, they may opt to rebel to express their dissatisfaction.
Terminating an employee who does not fit in the reorganization can save the organization from further crisis. Although terminating the best employee may be hazardous to the organization, the company should focus on long-term implications of retaining misdemeanant employees. Some employees may find it difficult to adapt to change, and the only option for them is to quit, rather than being demoted to a lower level. If an employee, such as Ken, is a liability to the reorganization, the company should terminate his services to enable other employees to adapt to the new system and behavior. A single employee cannot be allowed to incite other employees just because he/she valuable to the company.
The best behavioral control technique that Tidewater Corporation’s CEO should utilize is encouraging independence among employees. Being independent allows employees to perform their duties to their best, in addition to encouraging innovation. Ken opted to revolt against his employers because the new system had interfered with his freedom and independence. Involving employees in decision-making motivate them to work hard even when the organization is undergoing structural change. Ken used to report to Bob, who he had developed trust in, but reporting to Morris Redstone, the reorganization leader, depicted that he would no longer communicate directly to Bob on matter concerning his work. If Bob could have allowed Ken to continue with his freedom, he could have adapted swiftly to reorganization plan without showing signs of misconduct.
Various companies in managing their employees’ behaviors would apply all the above techniques. However, in the case study, Ken is depicted as a valuable individual, whose dismissal could lead to gradual death of the company. This aspect is considered from the two aspects of Ken joining other competitors to help them defeat Tidewater or just leaving the company with all his crewmembers, leaving Tidewater with no personnel to design their products. With this said, it would be better to choose the option of rehabilitating Ken and look for ways in which the company can ensure his independence and freedom. This would solve the human factor, which seems to be the problem and the company would still reorganize while also retaining Ken. This means that it would be more completive than if Ken were fired or if the reorganization is stopped in order to retain Ken. Bob must look for ways to talk Ken into rehabilitation, and assure him of his freedom and independence.