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A learning organization is considered to be one that has the following characteristics: One that remembers and learns; one that esteems public recording; and one that applies learning to modify individual policies and process.
The following are the forces that influence an organization to grow to a learning organization: Power of customers, information power, power of global investors, simplicity power, and organizational power (Cors, 2003).
Ascent was a company run by one person, the managing director who made all the decisions and strategic plans. There was limited contact and interaction between the top management and the employees and also there were no meetings that were held between the management team and the employees of the company. This took place irrespective of the fact that the management team held several meeting without inviting the employees.
The company did not practice delegation of authority, and any decision had to be ratified by the managing director, Raj. All these resulted in a climate of mistrust and lack of commitment and frustration by the employees leading to low productivity. Conflict often arose between the local and the foreign staff as well as between the management and the junior staff. The corporate culture in Ascent was rigid, highly centralized and with a transactional kind of leadership; it lacked regular and proper training plans and programs.
Ascent lacked goals, purpose and cultural base. Culture is considered a part and parcel of an organization since it can influence the attitudes, the behavior and the effectiveness of the employees, and it is a proper organizational culture that was missing at Ascent. Since organizational culture concerns with shared expectations, attitudes and values, it can influence group, individual and organizational process (Gibson & Ivencevich, 2005).
Group and Team Behavior
When Thomas assumed responsibility at Ascent limited, he noticed some serious problems in his consulting team, which led to dismal performance while preventing them from finishing their tasks in time. These problems were witnessed despite the employees being adequately qualified and having the requisite skills.
This was necessitated by the fact that employees hailed from different and diverse backgrounds and expatriates who subscribed to virtually different cultures; this had the net effect of hindering team work. Organizational employees need to think, learn and act as a team. A team behavior is necessary for the employees to share their experiences with other groups within an organization (Champoux, 2010).
Conflict and Negotiations
It is evident that there was no cohesiveness between the management and the employees at Ascent and between the management itself. This was largely due to the autocratic leadership of Raj and the inability of the management to hold meetings. Along that vein, the employees were not to work together as a team.
The employees reacted angrily to the above problems hence there was a conflict brewing between the junior employees and the management team. The prominent form of conflict was the inter group conflict. The main cause of the conflict was due to communication breakdown or rather decreased communication.
There was misunderstanding between the foreign employees who formed the expatriate wing and the local employees, it is imperative that the foreign managers think along global lines to as to enhance team work. The increased globalization and the complexity of global operations demand team work among culturally diverse groups.
With the enhanced communication and information technology instruments, employees are faced with the challenge of infrequent face to face contact with their management staff hence building and maintaining trust while performing tasks may not accomplish organization’s goals and objectives. Any miscommunication between staff from different cultures and of diverse backgrounds may be a road block to nurturing of trust among employees (Akella & Ahmed, n.d.).
Motivation is instrumental in deciphering human behavior. Motivations are very important since a high degree of motivation can lead to exemplary performance. Every employee has some attraction towards particular goals, and the managers should understand something pertaining to the employees’ goals to be able to predict their behaviors.
There are two theories of motivation that expound on the relationship between outcome and the behavior of employees, these theories are: content and process theories. Content theories focus on those factors that are within an individual and serve to energize, sustain, stop and direct employee behavior.
Content theories of motivation define the needs that motivate people. Process theories, on the other hand, tend to describe how an individual behavior is energized or sustained by factors that are external to the employee. Ascent only compensated the staff based on the terms and the conditions stipulated in their contracts, and it offered no incentives. This is an indication that the employees were not motivated and hence could not perform to their full potential (Gibson, Ivencevich, Donnelly & Konopaske, 2011).
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Strategies and Solutions
It was imperative for Thomas to analyze the prevailing conditions inside the firm to have a vivid understanding of the firm. This was only realized by interviewing the employees of all levels in all the departments after assessing the structure of all the departments.
Organizational Culture: Culture is inherent to an organization and therefore, there is a need for Thomas to request for regular meetings with the other management team so as to formulate the values since values form the basis for an organizational culture. The values should be circulated to all the employees and inculcated upon them to form part of their behavior.
Cultures are available in four types, and it is upon Thomas and the management team of Ascent to decide the kind of culture that they would pursue and practice. The four types are: Clan culture, Bureaucratic culture, Market culture and Entrepreneurial culture. Organizational culture influence the behavior, structure, processes and the patterns of employees hence Thomas needs to analyze and develop an organizational culture (Miner, 2007).
With regards to globalization, Thomas should appreciate that there exists a cultural bias that he has to learn about and address along multicultural context. To understand individual behavior, Thomas should undertake an analysis of how each employee behaves and relates this behavior to performance.
The variables to be analyzed in an individual are skills, background, abilities and demographic variables. As a leader, Thomas can reconstruct, modify and mold individual behavior. The behavior of the employees has a direct impact on the performance output. For Thomas to comprehend the behavior of an individual difference among the employees, he should: Observe and recognize the differences as well as study the variables that influence behavior (Miner, 2006).
To softer team and group learning, Thomas should reward any learning activity, and employees should be rewarded for any contribution they make as a group to the organization. Team and group learning should be achieved through the following ways: shared insights and models, building on past knowledge and experience based on institutional mechanism.
In this regard, the management should move from controlling employees to empowering them and from being a commander to be a steward. To ensure the success of a group and team building, the business partners should be included since the business can only succeed when all stakeholders operate as a network (Marquardt, 1996).
In order to solve the problem of motivation, Thomas should develop a motivation scheme that will create some feeling of achievement, meaningful work, recognition and increased responsibility (Miner, 2007).
Regarding group and team learning, it is worth noticing that an effective and a cohesive team always has a strong impact on the performance of the organization. There exists both formal and informal group in an organization. Thomas should appreciate the existence of a formal group in Ascent Company. There are two categories in the formal group namely the command group and the task group. Groups are necessary since they guarantee satisfaction and enhance performance.
To minimize the tension and the conflict that existed in Ascent Company, Thomas could introduce some principles that can help minimize the power distance that existed between the managers and the staff. Some of the techniques include the holding of regular meetings between the management and the employees.
Thomas should introduce realism in all aspects of employment that are practical like promotion, rewards and development opportunities. All aspects relating to motivation, reward structure, behavior patterns, cultural variations and evaluation should be analyzed especially the ones that relate to satisfaction, performance, attendance and ethical behavior.
Akella, D., & Ahmed, I. (n.d.). Ascent: Building Learning Company. Business Cases and Applications. Web.
Champoux, J. (2010). Organizational Behavior: Integrating Individuals, Groups, and Organizations (4th ed). Taylor & Francis.
Cors, R. (2003). What is a learning organization? Scribd. Web.
Gibson, L., & Ivencevich, J. (2005). Organizations: behavior, structure, processes (12th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Gibson, L., Ivencevich, J., Donnelly, J., & Konopaske, K. (2011). Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes (14th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Marquardt, M. (1996). Building the learning organization: A systems Approach to Quantum Improvements. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Miner, J. (2006). Organizational behavior 2: Essential theories of process and structure. New York, NY: M.E.Sharpe.
Miner, J. (2007). Organizational behavior: From theory to practice. New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe.