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Industrial/Organizational Psychology Project Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 16th, 2019

Introduction

IOPP is a research organization, which deals with researching the problems that face different companies. The organization’s aim is to improve the general working environment of employers and employees, by identifying problems, and giving possible solutions to the problems (Kelley, 1992).

As members of the organization, we have been working with the retail chain, UNO Company, which approached us to identify the sources of several reported problems. The history of this company shows that it started with one store in Toronto, Canada, and up to date, the chain has expanded extremely, and has many outlets throughout the US and Canada.

The company has grown rapidly from a small retail to a large company with a board of directors and a multi-layered management structure. The company owns many employees, who belong to different levels of work. There are those employees who work at the corporate offices, and tend to stay a long time in offices, unlike the employees at the retail outlets who tend to have a short period of time in the work place.

The company is generally profitable and successful and intends to stay in the market for a long time, just as, it is the aim of many other business organizations. UNO retail chain has a website through which, a great deal of the company’s sales is conducted.

Although it also conducts its sales through actual stores, the company is focusing on expanding online offerings, and making the process of online shopping easy, and reliable to customers. Just like many other business organizations, UNO retail chain has different kinds of people for its management, and as employees.

Problems are bound to occur in business, since it involves actions of human beings. It has been reported that, the company exhibits male dominated working environment, gender and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment in different offices. The company has also received complains about poor management at the retail locations.

As members of Industrial Organizational Psychology program, we have researched on these problems, identified their causes and proposed possible solutions to the company. We used different reliable methods during our research, and the solutions that we have given are viable, and reliable. If the company will follow the recommendations of our research, the general working environment and management of the company will surely improve.

Problem one

UNO had received reports regarding male dominated working environment, gender and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment. All this has been reported to have been taking place in the corporate offices and at the retail locations. The management authority of the company approached us to find the causes of these problems and try to find solutions to them.

Problem source identification

During our research, we used several methods to find the causes of the above problems. The first method that we used was analysis of the available reports. Several written reports had been presented to the management authority of UNO Company, by different employees. Most of these reports were not titled, as to who particularly wrote them.

They had been collected from the suggestion boxes around the company’s premise. It was then deemed necessary to analyze the data collected. The following chart shows the percentage of reports received on each problem mentioned above.

A chart showing the percentages of problems in the corporate offices as well as in the retail locations

Chart shows the percentages of problems in the corporate offices as well as in the retail locations.

From the above chart, it was evident that, the reports received about male dominated work environment were more in the corporate offices (60%), than in the retail locations (40%). This was also the case with the reports on the racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Considering the corporate offices alone, the percentage of reports on racial discrimination was highest with a percentage of 75%. In the retail locations, the percentage of male dominated work environment was highest.

The presence of these reports showed that it was true that, these problems existed. From the information contained in these reports, we concluded that, sexual harassment was done mostly to women, since many of the reports on sexual harassment were written by female works.

From the explanation they gave in the reports, many of them had acquired their jobs, with the help of those who had harassed them. Again, it was also evident that, black colored workers were being discriminated by the white workers. This is because; all the reports of racial discrimination were received from black workers. They complained about unfair distribution of facilities, and bad relationships with white workers. Women also complained on unequal distribution of job, with regards to promotions.

In order to verify this information, we talked to the management authorities. Each manager that we talked to, defended themselves against having harassed any of the workers sexually, but they would occasionally mention one another in connection to such actions. As we were surveying the managers, we found that most of them were male.

This was clear evidence that most of the top seats were reserved for men. This gave us a clue that, there existed male dominated environment and that there was gender imbalance in terms of promotions and employment. The information that they gave on this was that, female workers did not have enough education to earn them promotions to high seats.

They also said that, whenever jobs were advertised, only few women show up for interviews. About racial discrimination, only the managers at the retail locations gave some reliable information. They said that, blacks were insignificant creatures and would never be compared with whites. They also said that, their performance in work was not up to the expected standards, they were slow and dirty.

During our investigations we also visited the human resource department and analyzed the documented information on matters regarding employment and promotions. From the information that we obtained, it was true that more male workers were being employed every year as compared to women workers.

It was also evident that, few black workers were being employed each year. The number of those who had been sucked showed that, most of them were women and mostly the blacks. We also obtained records of top officials who had been charged in court of law, due to sexually harassing junior female workers. We talked to two of the male senior managers, one from the corporate offices and the other one from the retail locations, who had cases of sexually harassing female junior workers.

The two gave similar information. They said that, most of the female workers seduce the male managers, in order to get promotions, or for money, and when their intentions are not met, they forward the cases, as rape cases to the authorities.

Recommended Solutions

Considering this problem, it was found that, male dominated work environment, gender and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment existed in the company. To respond to this problem, we recommended two possible solutions to the UNO retail chain company. First, it would be beneficial if the company conducted cultural awareness days.

During these occasions, all the employees as well as the employers, would assemble together and have someone talk to them on the effects of the above issues to a company. It is during those days that men would be taught the effects that can befall them due to sexually harassing women at work. Information would also be passed across, that all workers at the same level are equal and should be treated equally.

Men would also get to know the value of women and would reduce their thoughts of them being superior to women. With all this information many would change their behavior towards others. This is because, most of the times human beings go astray due to lack of the proper information (Gatewood, Feild & Barrick, 2011).

Another possible solution that was recommended was evaluation of the company’s constitution. This would involve incorporating new rules to the constitution regarding all the workers. Rules should be set to safeguard the wellbeing of all workers, such that, anyone who violates them, receives an equivalent punishment such as being fired from job.

The punishments to every rule should also be outlined well. All this information should be made public to all the workers. This would shape the general altitude of all workers towards one another (Kelley, 1992).

Problem two

UNO retail chain had also identified another problem. Employees were constantly complaining about poor management by retail locations managers. They exhibited favoritism, had anger issues, and that, they were poor supervisors. This problem was also presented to us and we also did our research on it. This time round we concentrated our research to the retail locations since the problem had risen from there.

Problem source identification

The first method that we used to identify the validity of these complains was employee survey. We visited the retail locations and engaged ourselves in an interactive conversation with several employees. During the interaction, we asked questions to the employees who were very much willing to offer their information to us.

Every employee that we talked to, supported the issue of managers being favoritisms and high tempered. Male workers said that, the female workers were being favored in terms of job allocation. The managers would issue the easy tasks to the female workers, as well as less amount of work to them, unlike to the male workers under the same category.

During supervision of how work was being performed, the managers were always strict to the male workers, more than to the female workers. Unfinished job by female workers would always be given to the male workers, with no increment to their salaries. Some of the cooperative women workers whom we interviewed gave similar information too.

Several of them said that, it was true that the managers were favoring them in matters work. On the issue of anger, we were able to talk to three employees, who had personally been slapped by different managers due to some mistakes they had committed.

We also used the method of direct observation in order to verify the words of the employees. As we moved around the retail location, we heard one of the managers shout from the far end of the building. He was calling one of the employees and asking why he had not finished the assignment that he had given to him.

We observed the employee who seemed to be much terrified, presenting a bunch of clothes to the manager. The manager took the clothes and threw then on to the employee’s face, asking him whether he had ever been taught how to fold clothes. All this time, the manager was shouting to the top of his voice.

Although the clothes were not perfectly folded, the employee had not done a shoddy job. According to us they still looked presentable. This incidence gave us a concrete evidence of managers being, high tempered and exhibiting characteristics of anger towards their juniors.

Regarding the training of managers, we visited the document department and obtained records on the criteria that had been used by the company, in employing managers at the retail locations. We found that, most of the managers were previous workers, who had received promotions to the managerial seats. We also assessed the academic level of all the managers in the retail locations and the information we obtained was as illustrated by the pie chart below.

Academic level of managers - pie chart.

From the pie chart above, it is true that the academic level of managers was not being considered much during employment. This is because, the percentage of those with a doctorate level of education constituted a very small percentage, as well as those with a master’s degree.

Depending on the amount of experience one had, in order to acquire a promotion, records showed no tread. This is because, some managers had an experience of even less than three years, whereas the constitution of the company showed that, one had to have an experience of not less than four years.

Recommended solutions

When we look at the second problem, it was evident that retail location managers had poor management skills, poor supervision, showed favoritism and exhibited adverse anger especially when dealing with the employees. In order to curb this problem, we also suggested two possible solutions.

First, the hiring procedures for managers had to be changed. In the change, a training period would be incorporated before a person is given the post of a manager. The training period would be long enough to assess the creditability of new managers. The period would be long enough so that, the real characteristics of new managers would be known.

When one is found to possess some of the shortcomings mentioned above, the company would reconsider their selection and chose someone else for the post. This would also be incorporated with, selecting people with quality education, and enough work experience as outlined by the company’s constitution (Cooper & Locke, 2000).

Another possible solution to the problem would be installation of CCTV cameras, all round the retail locations. Human beings work best under controlled conditions, whereby, someone is fully aware of the implication of their actions. The cameras would track down all the movements and actions of all managers, as well as the employees.

With this in place, most of the managers would learn to control their anger and improve their supervision strategies, and also minimize the level of favoritism, lest they lost their jobs due to poor working tack ticks. When all this has been done, it would be to the benefit of all employers, as well as employees.

Conclusion

To sum up everything, our IOPP organization helps different business organization to know the causes of different problems affecting their employees. After identifying the sources of the problems, recommendations are give to ease the situation.

While working with the UNO retail chain company, we visited the different outlets, and the information that we have provided is based on the entire company. Many challenges were met on the way, but owing to the quality training that we receive from our organization, we were able to cope with them and complete our research.

UNO retail Chain Company has been experiencing problems out of the general conduct of workers towards their work, and also towards other workers. Just as we know, human beings are social beings and should relate to one another with care and concern. All the managers, as well as all the employees, should each perform the duties allocated to them, to the best of their ability, bearing in mind that, doing good does not cost anybody anything, but it always rewards greatly.

All people, regardless of color or gender are important and should be treated with respect. Manipulation of employees leads to low output of the employees in the long run (Aamodt, 2012). To avoid this, it is good for UNO retail Chain Company, and all other companies, to realize the problems affecting their employees, and seek help to rectify situations early in advance.

If UNO retail Chain Company follow the recommended solutions that we gave; the well being of many employees would generally be improved. There would be no fear or even hard feelings. All workers would also be comfortable with their work and perform even better, to the advantage of the entire company.

Reference List

Aamodt, M. G. (2012). Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Pub Co.

Cooper, C. L., & Locke, E. A. (2000). Industrial and organizational psychology: Linking theory with practice. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

Gatewood, R. D., Feild, H. S., & Barrick, M. R. (2011). Human resource selection. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Kelley, K. (1992). Issues, theory, and research in industrial organizational psychology. Amsterdam, North Holland: Elsevier.

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