Managing People and Organisations

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325-101 Managing People and Organisations

Assignment 1

Case Study: Fresh Produce Company Ltd.

Content of Report:

  • Analysis
  • Solution
  • Plan of Action

Due: 6th April, 2005


Travis Perdevski                   104241

Peter Lau                            108854

Mae Lehui Huang            241693

Janine Qi Jin                    210864        

Derek Cheong Hoi Mun  166670


                Whilst Fresh Produce Company Ltd. has been enjoying relative success in the past, symptoms of reduced sales, reduced productivity, supplier complaints and increased costs suggest that the performance of Fresh Produce Company Ltd has declined over recent months.

                The decline in performance coincides with the appointment of Kevin as a team leader of the produce-shelving team six months ago. It appears the team morale has decreased significantly resulting in a decreased level of performance and even in loss of staff. This is vital as the “relationship between employee’s personal satisfaction and the cost of doing business cannot be ignored (Robbins, Donna pg 17. 1993).

                The circumstances leading up to the current state of affairs indicate that there has been a total breakdown of team effectiveness. Team Building Theory proposes that effectiveness of work teams may increased by improving interpersonal processes, goal clarification and role clarification. (Johns G., Saks A., 2005, pg 257)

                The team effectiveness of the produce-shelving team at Fresh Produce Company Ltd. has declined as a result of deficiencies in three primary areas:- team culture, leadership and communication.


Team Culture

Culture can be thought of as the shared values and assumptions of the way things are done within a team (Daft R., Samson D., pg.94, 2005). It defines the expected behaviour and attitudes of the members and helps the manager to understand the different aspects of organisational life.

Kevin’s actions as team leader thus far have created a culture shift at Fresh Produce Company Ltd by implementing his own perception of a healthy team culture. He has not acknowledged the validity of the existing team culture where a balance existed between social interaction and team efficiency, evident in the past performance of the company. The restriction of social interaction in favour of more stringent work practice with comments such as “Shut up!” has eliminated any informal environment for the workers to develop team dynamics. As a result, resentment is now a part of the team culture, which in turn leads to decreased performance of staff. This violates the basic principles of leadership and it is vital “to ensure that words are taken in the proper context”, that all communication is expressed “clearly and objectively” and the effects of a particular problem are being criticised accurately, changes that need to be made are requested appropriately, the positive benefits are mentioned and to reiterate the negative consequences if no change is made (Mitchell, Lea Anne, pg 5. 1993).

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Resentment also stems from Kevin’s decision to allocation of the ‘stamping and writing’ duties to the produce-shelving team. This increase in workload, while intending to increase team efficiency, in fact does the opposite by further adding resentment towards Kevin. The Equity Theory explains that workers expect the ratio between work done and wages received to be consistent amongst all employees (Daft R., et al. pg 533, 2005). The additional task of ‘stamping and writing’ means an increase in work done by the team and decrease in work done by the permanent staff. Assuming wages received will remain unchanged, a perceived ...

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