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Operational Motivation Plan: The Soft Firm.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Operational Motivation Plan: The Soft Firm David P. Nicolette ORG 502 Organizational Behavior Nancy Riveiro Messer July 8, 2001 Abstract The operational motivation plan for the hypothetical company, The Soft Firm, is described. Rather than attempting to overlay a theoretical motivation plan on top of a traditional organizational structure, The Soft Firm seeks to create an organizational structure and culture that is specifically designed to facilitate the motivational factors relevant to the types of employees needed to support the company's business objectives. For that reason, the motivational plan cannot be discussed in isolation from the company's structure and operation. This paper focuses on motivational issues and avoids going into detail about other aspects of the organization's structure and culture, except to illustrate their relevance to employee motivation. Operational Motivation Plan: The Soft Firm The Soft Firm has a clear business focus: To provide information technology consulting services to clients in a broad range of industry sectors. Our business philosophy is that the most effective way to satisfy customers is to motivate the workers who are best able to provide for those customers' needs. Since the core business activity is information technology consulting services, the most important employees are those who provide such services directly. The relative importance of other roles in the company is inversely proportional to their distance from the core business activity. Therefore, we did not establish a conventional organizational structure and then attempt to overlay a separate motivation plan on top. Instead, we seek continuously to create an organizational structure and culture based on the fundamental philosophy that the needs and preferences of the core employees must be satisfied. The motivation "plan," as such, is interwoven with all aspects of the company's operation. Company Background The Soft Firm came in to existence as the result of a merger between Andrews Brothers Consulting (ABC) and Visionary Concepts Unlimited (VCU)1. ABC was the larger of the two, and acquired VCU outright. ...read more.

Middle

Other Visionary-Realist roles are played by individuals who share the balanced qualities of vision and realism and who possess a particular interest in dealing with specific issues important to the firm. These interests might include financial planning, directing professional development of employees, procurement, facilities management, advertising and promotion, coordinating external relationships, or infrastructure management for the virtual office environment. The scope of a Visionary-Realist's activities is company-wide. Evangelist. In this role, an individual seeks, establishes, and nurtures business relationships and explains the mission and capabilities of the firm to the outside world. In a conventional company, the activities would span the job descriptions of marketing and sales executives and representatives. The scope of activity spans multiple customer relationships. Storyteller. Individuals in this role work directly with customers and with project teams to liaise between the business culture and the technical culture. They assist customers in understanding and quantifying their needs, and translate those requirements into terms understandable by the professional staff. They also communicate project progress and setbacks to customers. In some conventional organizations, this role is played by a "business analyst" or "systems analyst." Coach. A Coach is a specialist in mentoring work teams toward the goal of full self-management, and continuing to reinforce good practices in mature teams. A coach may also become involved in dispute resolution among team members. A single coach may mentor multiple teams, or may focus on just one team, depending on the level of maturity of the teams in question. Less mature teams require more mentoring than more mature teams. This role has no direct analogue in most conventional organizations. Apprentice. These are junior-level IT professionals who are learning on the job under the guidance of more senior team members and coaches. They correspond generally to university interns and to entry-level hires in conventional organizations. The Soft Firm applies an apprenticeship program to all new hires, in keeping with the firm's philosophical belief that an apprenticeship system is generally good for the IT profession. ...read more.

Conclusion

The open book management approach enables most or all employees to understand the financial status of the organization well enough to participate in financial decisions, and to understand their own stake in such decisions. In financial matters, we use participatory decision-making but not full employee involvement. Not all issues are decided strictly by one method or the other. For example, a combination of participation and involvement would be applied to a question about expanding the business to encompass a new technical area or market segment. Another motivational function of open book management is to tie work team performance to company revenue. A formula is applied daily to each team that computes the revenue per labor hour for the team (Case, 2001). Stealth Motivation Not all aspects of the firm's motivation plan are explicit. Many are built into the organizational structure and culture, and the management style. For example, team operation and development are integrated into normal everyday work practices. There are no special presentations or team-building exercises as such (Team Building in Secret, 2001, July 8). Similarly, Quality Circles do not meet as a separate activity; their functionality is part and parcel of everyday team operation. Summary The key elements of The Soft Firm's motivational plan are: * Hire the right kind of people to achieve the company's business objectives; * Stay abreast of the values, priorities, and motivational factors important to employees; * Establish an organizational structure and culture that promote and facilitate the kinds of motivational factors that are effective with information technology professionals; * Incorporate motivators seamlessly into all aspects of company operations and procedures; and * Continuously reinforce the culture in everyday operations, rather than making special presentations or engaging in team-building exercises outside the context of work. We do not expect employee motivation to be automatic merely as a result of the organizational structure and culture, but by creating a non-traditional structure and explicitly building a culture around the needs of the key set of employees, The Soft Firm facilitates and simplifies motivational efforts. ...read more.

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