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Unit 3 Organisations and Behaviour Assignment – KBR
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Unit 3 Organisations and Behaviour Assignment Solution – KBR Copy
LO1 Understand the relationship between organisational structure and culture
1.1 Compare and contrast KBR’sorganisational structure and culture to that of a similar organisation.
KBR has its roots in the US, with its headquarters in Houston, Texas. It caters mainly to engineering and construction activities especially to the armed forces. It was formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton, which went on to acquire Dresser Industries in 1998 of which the M.W. Kellogg Co., was a subsidiary. This merged with a division of Halliburton, Brown and Root to form KBR as known today.
KBR uses a flat organisation and behaviour structure with very few layers between the top management and the line workers. The structure involves a senior management team that is willing to get to the bottom of the smallest problem. It is the only non-union company in the US.
The organizational and cultural impact can make a huge difference to the fortunes of a company. According to a survey conducted by Kotter and Haskett, on 207 large US companies in 22 different industries over an 11 year period, observed that companies that managed their cultures witnessed an increase of 682 % over 166% of companies that did not manage their cultures well. The stock price increased 701% versus 74% and the net income grew 756% versus 1% in the other case.
One of the main competitors to KBR is Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., who have interests across the world and in many similar countries that KBR also operates in. The main difference in their business profile is that they use the matrix type of structure as compared to the flat module applied by KBR. The organizational structure encourages the different operating groups to work cohesively, while simultaneously reducing costs and promote an efficient delivery system.
The foundation of the culture is based on a deep commitment to the health and safety of their workers along with encouraging the workers to build an honest bond between themselves based on mutual respect. The company maintains an extremely high level of code of ethics in the areas of accountability and financial responsibility by providing a transparent business management that is conducted with the highest levels of integrity.
In a matrix structure, groups of workers from within the organization are created that possess similar skills, and employed without the need for the intervention of the senior management.
1.2 Explain how KBR’sorganisational structure and culture affects the performance of the business.
The organisations behaviour structure and culture at KBR has a deep impact on the decision making process by the management. It is the culture that is instrumental in determining the leadership styles and the approach, whether a top down approach or a bottom up style would be more beneficial. In the top down mode, all decisions are taken by the senior management and merely passed down in an autocratic fashion. In the bottom up approach, many decisions are actually taken at the shop floor level, resulting in innovative ideas being generated which help the company. Generally, this form of approach is preferred.
In the case of KBR, a flat structure system is in place which enables the company to quickly bring about changes in the fast changing dynamic markets. The management does not rely on the hierarchal practices to get things done. They depend on conveying leadership decisions down a vertical. The senior management gets involved in the smallest of functions to be dynamic enough to control costs and bring about necessary changes wherever required.
Employees in the company can come from diverse cultures and backgrounds. This can have its pros and cons. People can have different views and opinions in the manner of approaching the solution to a task. On the positive front, diverse successful ideas and techniques can be incorporated to enhance procedures and practices instead of the conventional ones already practiced.
1.3 Give examples and discuss factors that influence individual behaviour at work.
Most companies require that their employees perform to the best of their abilities and deliver high quality services. However, most employees are impacted in some form or the other on account of their inability to adjust to the company’s requirement, because of behavioural issues. It is important that the senior management steps in to make suitable amendments wherever required.
The major factors that affect behaviour at work are briefly listed here:
- Demographic: This factor is socio economic in nature and depends on the individual’s background, education, sex, age and nationality. Most organizations would naturally prefer employees from good backgrounds and who are well educated, as it is believed that they will perform better and would also have better communication skills.
- Individual attitude: This defines the tendency of a person’s response to certain situations, objects and other people. It is important for the management to create a positive attitude at the work place to obtain better participation from its employees.
- Perception: Every individual in their personal capacity can perceive a situation or event (external stimuli) in a unique manner based on previous experiences. Their reactions to these situations can either be beneficial or detrimental to an organization.
- Abilities and Skills: The physical ability of an individual to perform a task is the ability factor and the skill factor is how well the task is done and the time taken to do it. It is important that the abilities and skills of an employee are matched to the job to achieve greater productivity at work.
LO2: Understand different approaches to management and leadership
2.1 Using the case study provided, identify which leadership style is used by KBR and compare the effectiveness of KBR’s leadership style to a similar organisation.
The leadership styles used by KBR is carefully planned and designed. It is this style that can play a significant role of the performance of the company. And is one of the most essential management traits.
“Effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals” (Ogbonnia, 2007).
It is the style of leadership and the decision making behaviour, which can demonstrate the philosophy, experience and personality of the leader. This can have a huge baring on the company’s prospects. Leadership styles may be classified as follows:
- Dictator: Leader uses fear and threats to impose his decisions. This can be applicable to smaller companies, but, may not be beneficial in the long run.
- Autocratic:Centralised decision making. This is similar to a dictator lead administration and will not be able to stand the test of time.
- Democratic: Participative decision making. This is the mode that KBR uses presently, although the matrix system is being employed in all its projects.
- Free Rein: Maximum liberty allowed to individuals.
KBR practices the democratic type of leadership in most of its endeavours. This ensures greater participation from the employees and most concerned departments. Besides, every employee enjoys a limited autonomy where they can apply their own inputs to obtain better results. However, it appears that the company is more inclined to employ the matrix structure and is gradually moving in that direction, which will provide the management a quick and better approach in accessing inputs from the cross functional teams.
Jacobs Engineering an important competitor of KBR uses a matrix style of leadership, and employs a boundary less approach to service their clients, and the different operating groups within the company do not compete with one another to acquire new projects. In fact the leadership style encourages different departments of the company to work cohesively and offer support wherever needed. This also helps in reducing costs and maintaining a better delivery schedule.
A matrix structure is a preferred system as it involves that each product or service launched has its own inbuilt system of service and accounting procedures in place. This is one of the finest business structures accepted world-wide. KBR is soon integrating its management policies in this direction, and will be employed eventually.
2.2 Explain how organisational theory including the work of F.W. Taylor underpins management practice.
F.W. Taylor was a pioneer in developing scientific management practices and was the first known consultant in the business (Taylor, 1997). The important idea behind his management techniques was to reduce waste and inefficiency in the place of work through scientific analysis of the labour processes in place.
Taylor’s management principles consisted mainly of the following:
- It is important to remove established practices of work for more scientifically researched methods.
- Every employee must be trained scientifically rather than leaving them to learn on their own.
- Each worker must be assigned a definite task with clear instructions and appropriate supervision must follow.
- The work must be equally divided between the managers and workers. The managers must employ the scientific techniques in planning and assigning work, which the workers must comply with.
It was essential for the business management to have detailed plans in place, specifying the job, and how it was to be done and communicated to the workers (Rinehart and Faber, 1975). Taylor strongly believed that transferring control from the workers to the management was necessary.
Taylor also stressed on the fact that companies that employed scientific management principles would never see strikes induced by labour unions.
Taylor’s principal ideology was employed by many countries during that Period (early 1900), like France, the Soviet Union, and Canada among others.
Organizational Theory involves the need for people to come together to achieve some tasks which are not possible at an individual level. Every system in place today is dependent on another for support. As an example, the travel and tourism sector is heavily dependent on connectivity provided by the broadband providers and other IT services.
“Organizations are social arrangements for controlled performance for common goals”.
It is in this context that organizational theory is used effectively. This can entail that many employees may have to change their attitude and personal views to progress and succeed in their present job.
It is practical to integrate the principals of Taylor and the ones of the Organizational theories to keep abreast with the fast changing times.
2.3 Evaluate different approaches to management used by KBR and one of its competitors.
The different management approaches of KBR and its competitor – Jacobs Engg.
One of the important management practices of KBR are the different procedures in place, the motivational factor being an important component. Most employees are satisfied at the company’s growth and feel secure about their future growth as well, even in times of recession.
Stephen P. Robbins defines motivation as “The processes that accounts for an individual's intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.” It is motivation that drives an individual to perform to the highest level of one’s potential.
Different scholarly theories have been put forward in the understanding of motivation and its effects on organizational efficiency. The most recognized of these are the Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory, Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, Frederick Herzberg's Two Factor Theory.
Many of these theories are also adapted by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., but the basic difference lies in the fact that KBR at present relies more on a democratic management system as against the matrix style of management employed by the Jacobs Group.
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