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From the article “Your attitude Determines Your Altitude”by Erika Kirby, we learn that all groups are interdependent, from top management to low-level employees. This means that a change in one may produce a change in the others. Managing a media team beyond the normal, ordinary performance requires understanding employees and effective leadership styles for the managers. This paper explores various aspects of the article, including bases of power, potential forms of control, overt and covert resistance, Jack Welton’s leadership style and organizational emotionality.
Question 1: Jack Welton’s Power
As the manager and owner of We-R-Radio, Jack Welton had power to hire and fire his employees as shown by Kalee’s fear not to make it to Colorado for the hike. According to French and Raven’s bases of power, he acts as the social agent who wants to have his employees fit for the job. He seeks to encourage teamwork by organizing such events and engaging in correspondence with affiliate station managers. He remains persistent and enjoys chiding the station managers for their readiness for this event.
What kind of reward power was Welton exercising? He seeks to have his employees in good physical shape and keeps them on the treadmill in readiness for the big day. He keeps reminding the team through the mail to prepare appropriately. This process makes them lose weight and feel good about themselves. The messages went beyond the hiking event to serve as a motivational tool, providing concrete tips to the staff.
Such practices are ethically accepted in most societies. From a deontological perspective of ethics, Welton’s actions are meant to impact positively on the lives of his employees. Keeping fit is everyone’s desire which ensures they remain productive in the workplace. Such practices should be highly encouraged among organizations to develop a healthy workforce. It is better than financial rewards which can lose their effectiveness and become costly in the long run.
Question 2: Evidence of Control
This form of control is widely used in We-R-Radio management. The managers supervise the employees like Lena and Kaleen. The management uses rewards, unspoken threats, and even charisma. Welton and the team have the autonomy to determine what kind of rewards and even threats they can use. The directors like Welton retain the decision-making privilege as to who should be rewarded. They choose to praise certain individuals based on their expected results and impact on the whole team. Look at what Welton does on Friday, July 21st. He steps forward and conducts an award ceremony and hints at the next year’s event.
Participatory, decentralized and democratic system of control offers variable alternatives to any bureaucratic control in an organization confined to rules and regulations. It allows employees of We-R-Radio to enjoy a limited taste of a flat organizational structure, with more participation. They are given options of whether to do the hike or not and provided with alternatives. They display respect they have for the boss, by accepting an invitation to his party. This form of control creates meanings that structure the actual process.
John Weber advanced this form of control as the most dominant in both negative and positive senses. It offers the most efficient form of leadership in such organization. However, its use of rational rules is troublesome for the company. Why cannot Welton meet the employees directly and discuss the progress face-face? Is it imperative that he use emails? It reduces the employees to robots, killing the interaction that the bonding activity has to achieve.
Welton uses much email communication with his subordinates. He sends a waiver form to all members to sign if they take up the challenge, absolving the management from any liability. In his emails, he took time to publicize the weight achievements of his employees.
Question 3: Resistance
Overt resistance is evident when individuals at Wei-R-Radio openly challenge the decision to go for the mountain climb. They feel this is a waste of their time and are unwilling to participate. They should be encouraged to voice the problems they see in the Mountain Madness challenge. There is a group that felt that the whole story was a joke and the management was not serious enough. They had their own safety and health concerns. Kalee was surprised at one manager questioning the necessity of going mountain climbing. They thought it was unethical even if it had not been legally framed as a condition for employment. They felt Welton’s management style was micro-managerial, dictatorial and was affecting their private lives.
Covert resistance involves deliberate resistance to change, but allows employees appear as though they are participating in the change program. It takes form of different kinds of sabotage. Some covert resistance is noticed in Kalee’s conversations with fellow mountaineers. Some felt this was a joke and had not prepared enough, even though they had received emails from Welton.
Question 4: Leadership Style
Welton is a coaching leader who seeks to develop his employees for the future. He wants them to maintain and control their body weight. This has benefits above the organizational job expectations. He wants to help employees and their families build lasting individual strengths and achieve more success in life. It is worrying for the managers who have an indifferent opinion about his leadership style. This style is much more effective in such working environment. As a manager, you have to ensure that every employee is in his or her right mental and physical shape. Some feel it is unethical to handle grown-ups like that. It is important for Welton to get close to those with different opinions, listen to them and explain why he is proposing a hike for team building.
Others may think he is paternalistic. They may be right if they see him as a father figure. In my view, this may not be the case. Welton does not show dorminance and is not interested in receiving complete loyalty and trust from his employees.