The organizational and managerial problems at the Trade Commission
There are several organizational and managerial problems at the Trade Commission. First, Mr Clark is poor in establishing priorities as a manager (Rees & Porter, 2008). The Trade Commissioner is mainly focusing on his studies and other personal matters at the expense of seeking to build trade relations between the two countries. For instance, he decides to cancel a meeting with the Consul-General merely to attend the Economists’ Association meeting. Second, the manager is poor in the delegation. Instead of personally helping Mr Briggs to settle down, he delegates the work to Mr Allen, who already has enough work to handle. The Trade Commissioner cannot see that Mr Allen is overwhelmed with work, yet other employees could equally assist. Consequently, Mr Allen is usually unable to submit the needed reports in time.
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Third, the Trade Commission lacks a well-developed work-life balance policy to address the challenges that come with relocation. Mr Briggs takes too long to settle down as he seeks to get accommodation and school for his children. Yet, this is something which the home country should have addressed adequately even before his transfer. Fourth, Mr Clark does not consult. Lack of consultation is a big managerial challenge (Rees & Porter, 2008). He tends to make unilateral decisions without thinking of the consequences of such decisions. For instance, he revises the list of guests from 50 to 30 and includes some of his colleagues from the Economists’ Association without informing his assistants in advance. This later places the two assistants in an embarrassing situation.
Fifth, Mr Clark is very unprofessional. This is evidenced in the manner in which he mishandles the relocation to the new commercial building. Not only does he not consult his assistants in matters of interior design, but he also goes ahead and occupies more than half of the office space, leaving the rest to share the remaining. According to Rees & Porter (2008), he is a selfish manager who does not care about the interest or opinion of others. He goes for a holiday when the work of interior design is ongoing, without informing the assistants to make follow-ups, leading to delay of the work. The fact that he is unprofessional is also manifested in how he handles the official car. This incident demonstrates that Mr Clark is unreasonable, uncooperative, and a poor time manager. He does not realize the extent to which he inconveniences his assistants whenever they have to wait for him or have to find their means to reach the office. Yet, this is an official vehicle they all need to share. Furthermore, the habit of staying at the office past the official working hours causes unnecessary stress to the secretary and the drivers. Customers also find it difficult to see him in the mornings because he comes to the office late.
Sixth, employees at the Trade Commission are very demoralized. The organization cannot seem to attract and retain employees for long because of Mr Clarks’ unprofessional conduct (Rees & Porter, 2008). As a manager, he should not entertain his friends using the Trade Commissions’ finances. This action is not only fraudulent, but it is also unprofessional. Mr Clark prefers that all communication be handled by his secretary only. This creates bureaucracy leading to communication delays. Finally, Mr Clack wants to take credit for all organizational success. He insists on signing all the reports even in cases where it is the assistants who should sign. This means he does not appreciate the efforts of his juniors.
The solutions I would recommend to address these problems
The problem-solving cycle involves seven steps: identifying the problem, exploring the problem, setting goals, examining alternatives, selecting an appropriate solution, implementing the solution, and evaluating the solution. From the facts of this case, the problems facing the Trade Commission all emanate from Mr Clark as the manager. Hence, the solutions to be implemented will equally revolve around his management style (Rees & Porter, 2008). The first solution I would recommend to address these problems is management skills training. Mr Clark should undergo some skills training on personal discipline, time management, delegation, empowerment, and work ethics.
The goal of this training would be to equip the Trade Commissioner with professional skills and help repair the bad relationship between him and all his junior employees. By learning about personal discipline, Mr Clark will be able to separate his engagements from his work. Time management skills would help Mr Clark stop the habit of inconveniencing and delaying everyone else. By learning about delegation, Mr Clark will learn to delegate effectively based on the employees’ existing workloads (Rees & Porter, 2008). Mr Clark is bound to learn that delegation should not be done arbitrarily but should be done professionally with the manager retaining responsibility for results reasonably foreseeable. As things stand right now, the Trade Commissioner has given so much work to Mr Allen that he cannot handle effectively. Yet, the other employees are under-utilized.
The Trade Commissioner should empower the employees. Mr Clark is not keen on empowering his assistants. He wants to take credit for organizational success even in cases where it is glaringly evident that it is the assistants who should take the credit. As an organization, the Trade Commission must make deliberate efforts to motivate its employees in order to curb turnover (Rees & Porter, 2008). Right now, morale is so low that employees can hardly stay. Bureaucracies within the Trade Commission must be reduced, job evaluations are done, and effective appraisal systems implemented. Finally, there is a need for an appropriate work-life balance policy, especially for employees going on international assignments. These should be coordinated jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their home country and the concerned officials in their host country. A policy to take care of the interests of relocating employees will help the employees in settling down whenever they relocate outside their country. This will minimize the time they take in settling down, as seen in the case of Mr Briggs. All these solutions are appropriate and if fully implemented, will solve the above problems.
Rees, W.D., & Porter, C. 2008, Skills of Management, 6th ed. Cengage Learning, London.