Sample Management Essay Assignment on MNGT2131 A6

Assignment 6 (10% of your final mark)

Exercise Assessment

In the process of doing the exercises in the workbook, you will have completed the work needed for Assignment 6. It is recommended you review your work before submitting. Make sure you save your final work with the following naming convention: MNGT2131_AF6_firstname_lastname.docx. Use the Assignment Submission Tool to submit to your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Note: As stated in the workbook, Exercise 6-8 is optional. Should you feel that this exercise would be an invasion of your privacy or that it is too manipulative of your friends or co-workers, you will not be penalized if you do not complete this exercise.

 

Exercise 6-1: Communications Survey

The purpose of this exercise is to assess communication practices in your place of employment. It has four parts: Boss-Subordinate, Co-workers, Meetings, and Performance Appraisal.

There are no right or wrong answers. Circle the number representing what you feel is the best answer:

1 =   Strongly Agree

2 =   Agree

3 =   Uncertain

4 =   Disagree

5 =   Strongly Disagree

Part I: Boss-Subordinate Relationships (Don’t answer if you do not have a boss.)

  1. 1 2        3          4          5          I feel that I can be honest and straightforward with my boss.
  2. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss thinks that he or she is always right.
  3. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss is a good listener.
  4. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss criticizes my work without allowing me to explain.
  5. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss treats me with respect.
  6. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss is willing to accept other points of view.
  7. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss is available when I want to discuss work-related issues with him or her.
  8. 1 2        3          4          5          I seldom say what is really on my mind, because it might be twisted and distorted by my boss.
  9. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss doesn’t understand the problems that I encounter in my job.
  10. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss is frequently supportive—emphasizing my strengths and successes rather than criticizing my weaknesses.
  11. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss is good at helping his/her subordinates with their work related problems.
  12. 1 2        3          4          5          My boss respects my feelings and values.

Part II: Relationships with Co-workers (Don’t answer if you have no co-workers)

  1. 1 2        3          4          5          Most of my co-workers are good listeners.
  2. 1 2        3          4          5          I dislike some of my co-workers.
  3. 1 2        3          4          5          I feel that I can be honest and straightforward with most of my co-workers.
  4. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers are not interested in me or the problems I encounter in my job.
  5. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers treat me with respect.
  6. 1 2        3          4          5          As a group, my co-workers are not very good at working through their differences and conflicts of interest.
  7. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers are willing to accept other points of view.
  8. 1 2        3          4          5          There is a fair amount of backstabbing and gossip among members of my co-worker group.
  9. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers are frequently supportive—emphasizing my strengths and successes rather than picking over my weaknesses.
  10. 1 2        3          4          5          I seldom say what is really on my mind, because it might be twisted and distorted by some of my co-workers.
  11. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers respect my feelings and values.
  12. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers respect my feelings and values.
  13. 1 2        3          4          5          Many of my co-workers think that they are always right.
  14. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers listen to my work-related problems with interest.
  15. 1 2        3          4          5          My co-workers sometimes criticize my work without seeking out information from me.

Part III: Communication in Meetings (Don’t answer if you do not attend meetings)

  1. 1 2        3          4          5          In general, we get a lot accomplished in our meetings.
  2. 1 2        3          4          5          People in this organization dislike meetings.
  3. 1 2        3          4          5          In general, I believe that the old adage, “Two heads are better than one” is true.
  4. 1 2        3          4          5          Many people are bored during our meetings.
  5. 1 2        3          4          5          Almost everyone comes well prepared for our meetings.
  6. 1 2        3          4          5          A few people tend to dominate the discussion in our meetings.
  7. 1 2        3          4          5          We need to have more meetings in our organization.
  8. 1 2        3          4          5          I often feel rushed in our meetings. I don’t really have the time I need to think through the issues.
  9. 1 2        3          4          5          Most people are very candid, saying exactly what they think at our meetings.
  10. 1 2        3          4          5          Our typical meeting agenda is very well laid out. We know why we have come and what we are trying to do.
  11. 1 2        3          4          5          Some people talk more than they should in our meetings.
  12. 1 2        3          4          5          Meetings are an important means of tapping peoples’ ideas in this organization.
  13. 1 2        3          4          5          We spend far too much time in meetings.
  14. 1 2        3          4          5          During meetings, I participate an average or below average amount.
  15. 1 2        3          4          5          It is important to me to have a say in what goes on in our department.
  16. 1 2          3          4          5          We generally stay on topic and get through our full agenda in our meetings.
  17. 1 2          3          4          5          We often fail to follow through on the decisions we make at our meetings.

Part IV: Performance Appraisal Practices

(   ) Check this space if your agency does not have a formal appraisal process, and ignore these questions below that relate to the appraisal process.

  1. 1 2          3          4          5          It is important to me to be able to discuss work-related problems and ideas with my supervisor.
  2. 1 2          3          4          5          My boss is available when I want to discuss work-related issues with him or her.
  3. 1 2          3          4          5          I am satisfied with the performance appraisal system in our agency.
  4. 1 2          3          4          5          If done well, performance appraisal is a desirable and necessary procedure for individual improvement and organizational effectiveness.
  5. 1 2          3          4          5          After my last appraisal interview I felt upset for a period of time.
  6. 1 2          3          4          5          My last appraisal interview gave me ideas for improving the way I work.
  7. 1 2          3          4          5          Any praise given in my appraisals seems to be more a way of getting me ready for the criticisms than for genuinely telling me what I have done well.
  8. 1 2          3          4          5          Before an appraisal interview, I feel anxious for a period of time.
  9. 1 2          3          4          5          I look forward to my yearly (semi-annual, quarterly, etc.) appraisal interview.
  10. 1 2          3          4          5          I am usually quite clear as to what behaviours of my own led to the evaluations I received during the appraisal interview.
  11. 1 2          3          4          5          In our appraisal process, we mainly go through the motions. It isn’t a very serious part of our management system.
  12. 1 2          3          4          5          I have regular discussions with my boss as to how I am performing.
  13. 1 2          3          4          5          During performance appraisal interviews my boss listens openly to my concerns and explanations regarding any performance problem.
  14. 1 2          3          4          5          In general, I tend to agree with criticisms of my behaviour and performance that are raised during the appraisal interview.
  15. 1 2          3          4          5          Our appraisals mostly focus on criticisms of behaviour and performance.

 

Exercise 6-2: Writing Responses

In this exercise you are to write responses that would be like the ones you would normally make when talking to another person. Later you will be given an opportunity to evaluate what you write and shown how your responses relate to the guidance process in organizations.

In each of the following situations, you will read a statement made by a person.

Assume the following:

  1. The person initiating the conversation is a friend, relative, or co-worker of yours.
  2. That the response you write is only the first of many things you will say in the conversation. In other words, everything doesn’t have to be said in one response.

Your task is to write responses that you feel are like the ones you might actually make in such a situation. Do not simply write responses that you think are the “best” way to respond in such a situation.

Situation 1:    A person who has been a school teacher for eight years.

Teacher: It never used to be like this. I can remember when it all seemed a lot more worthwhile. I used to feel I was doing something really useful. But nowadays . . . the children don’t listen, they’re rude, they don’t seem to be interested in anything. I spend all my time just keeping the noise down so I can hear myself speak.

Write your response below.

 

Situation 2:        A middle-aged administrator is talking about some aspects of his work.

Administrator: I’m worried about our clerks. In the past, they’ve done a great job–but lately they’ve been sniping at me and the new supervisor. The other day they all came in right on the hour and left exactly at quitting time.

Write your response below.

 

Situation 3:    A high-school student is talking about one of his courses.

Student:  I’m going to drop my English course. You wouldn’t believe how bad the teacher is. Boring isn’t the word. I mean, you can’t even figure out what he’s talking about—that’s if you can stay awake. It’s a real rip-off. They shouldn’t let people like that teach at all, not that you could really call it teaching.

Write your response below.

 

Situation 4:    A 20-year old woman, Sue, is talking about her summer job.

Sue: I’ve accepted an offer for a summer job. I’m lucky, I guess . . . but I’m just a filing clerk. I have to work from 7:30 to 5:00 every day doing really draggy stuff. The pay is lousy and I won’t even get a break during summer.

Write your response below.

 

 

Exercise 6-3: Selecting Preferred Responses

In this exercise you are shown a set of four responses to a person’s statement. Your task is to select those responses that resemble the ones you would actually make in such a situation. This will help you to diagnose your communication style. Later you will be given an opportunity to evaluate your selections and shown how your responses relate to the guidance process in organizations.

In each of the following situations a person initiates a conversation. Immediately after that person’s initial statement are four different responses. Assume the following:

  1. That each of the responses is a response to the initial statement.
  2. That the person initiating the conversation is a friend or relative of yours.
  3. That the responses are only the first of many that will be made in the conversation. In other words, everything doesn’t have to be said in one response.

Your task is to select the responses that feel like you or seem like the ones you might actually make in such a situation. Do not simply select the responses that you think are “best” from a communications perspective.

First, read over the situation and the four responses following it. Then, place a checkmark in the space next to each response that seems like one you might make. If none of the responses seem like you, leave the spaces blank. If more than one seems like you, place a checkmark next to each of them.

Situation 1:    A person who has been a school teacher for eight years

Teacher:  It never used to be like this. I can remember when it all seemed a lot more worthwhile. I used to feel I was doing something really useful. But nowadays . . . the children don’t listen, they’re rude, they don’t seem to be interested in anything. I spend all my time just keeping the noise down so I can hear myself speak.

  1. Kids are always more rambunctious this time of year. Things will be quieter after Christmas break.
  2. You might take that behaviour management course I took last fall. It’s been a great help to me.
  3. What do you do when the kids act out?
  4. You’re pretty disheartened about what’s happening. It’s like you’ve lost your effectiveness as a teacher.

 

Situation 2:        A middle-aged administrator is talking about some aspects of his work.

Administrator: I’m worried about our clerks. In the past, they’ve done a great job—but lately they’ve been sniping at me and the new supervisor. The other day they all came in right on the hour and left exactly at quitting time.

  1. Do you feel it has something to do with the new supervisor?
  2. I’d bring them in for a consultation before it gets out of hand.
  3. Something is wrong, but you’re not sure what.
  4. You worry too much. Give them a little time to adjust to the new supervisor’s style.

Situation 3:    A high-school student is talking about one of his courses.

Student: I’m going to drop my English course. You wouldn’t believe how bad the teacher is. Boring isn’t the word. I mean, you can’t even figure out what he’s talking about–that’s if you can stay awake. It’s a real rip-off. They shouldn’t let people like that teach at all, not that you could really call it teaching.

  1. Have you been keeping up on your reading in the course?
  2. You should pick another course soon if you really plan to drop this one. Otherwise you’ll have to go to summer school to graduate on time.
  3. You’re feeling pretty frustrated because he’s so hard to understand. Is that it?
  4. It won’t do you any good to be mad at him. You have to try to get when you can from every class, no matter how good or bad the teacher is.

Situation 4:    A 20-year-old woman, Sue, is talking about her summer job.

Sue: I’ve accepted an offer for a summer job. I’m lucky, I guess . . . but I’m just a filing clerk. I have to work from 7:30 to 5:00 every day doing really draggy stuff. The pay is lousy and I won’t even get a break during summer.

  1. Why don’t you try the student placement service? I hear there are still some jobs available.
  2. You’re really disappointed in the way things have turned out. Your summer isn’t lining up the way you’d hoped it would.
  3. Look at the positive side of the job. You may find that it offers a greater challenge than you think and you’re sure to gain some valuable experience.
  4. Why did you take this job in the first place? Did you have any other offers?

 

Exercise 6-4: Communication Log

The purpose of this exercise is to get a feel for the extent of time devoted to interpersonal communications in places of employment by keeping a log of the persons with whom you communicate over the next two days at work. If you are like other private and public sector managers, as much as 50 per cent of your day might be spent in meetings, on the telephone, and in face-to-face conversation with your co-workers, politicians, citizens, and your supervisor.

Use the forms on the next pages to record the time you spend communicating with others during your next two full work days.

At the end of each hour, we would like you to put aside your work and summarize who you talked to (if anybody) and for how long. The information will be even more accurate if you record each conversation immediately after it takes place. If you wait until the end of the day, chances are that you will forget some conversations or that your time estimates will be out of line.

Since you will not be able to complete this exercise until you have worked for two full days, you may wish to continue on in the workbook.

Record all verbal conversations with one or more other persons regardless of the content (work or social) and whether you are face-to-face or on the telephone. Thus, if you spend time in a meeting, but you don’t talk much, you should still record the conversation.

For each conversation, record the duration, the type of person with whom you conversed, whether you talked face-to-face or on the telephone, and whether you were attending a formal meeting or not (by formal meeting is meant a scheduled meeting of two or more people, typically following an agenda).

Use the following codes:

WHEN:          time of day (e.g., 9:00 a.m.)

LENGTH:      number of minutes (e.g., 15 minutes)

WHO:             B = boss or supervisor, W = one or more co-workers,
P = politician, C = citizen-using your service, F = friend,
O = other

WHAT:           did you discuss work-related matters, socialize, or both. W = work, S = social

MODE:           F = face-to-face, T = telephone

MEETING:     YES = Formal Meeting          NO = Not a Formal Meeting

 

DAY 1: ORGANIZATION COMMUNICATIONS LOG

When appropriate, circle more than one code. For example, you might be in a meeting with your boss, a politician, and two co-workers. Circle the best choices.

WHEN LENGTH (min.) WHO WHAT MODE MEETING
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
Total Minutes Conversed:
Total Minutes Kept Log:
% Time Conversed:

 

DAY 2: ORGANIZATION COMMUNICATIONS LOG
WHEN LENGTH (min.) WHO WHAT MODE MEETING
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
    B W P C F O W S F T YES NO
Total Minutes Conversed:
Total Minutes Kept Log:
% Time Conversed:

 

Exercise 6-5: Evaluating Guidance Interviews

In this exercise we ask you to read two different transcripts of an appraisal interview. As you progress through the workbook, you will learn how to analyze and evaluate these interviews from the perspective of communications theory. For now, read Interview 1 and answer the questions that follow it.

INTERVIEW 1

(S1) Stanley:   Come on in, Tom. Have a chair. As you know, I’ve invited you in to discuss how your unit is operating. This is a good opportunity to share perspectives and search for ways of improving things.

(B1) Burke:     Yes, thank you.

(S2) Stanley:   Well, first, I want to say that I think you and your group do a fine job of getting the work out. I feel your production is outstanding.

(B2) Burke:     Well, I’m glad your recognize that. It’s something we’ve been working very hard on.

(S3) Stanley:   You’ve been doing a splendid job. You do the work rapidly, it shows a very high quality, and since you’ve had this outfit the improvement has been great.

(B3) Burke:     Well, I have a good unit and I think we all work together pretty well.

(S4) Stanley:   I also have some concerns that I want to discuss with you. As is always the case when a person is growing into a job, there is room for improvement. It’s a matter of your co-operation – your working with people – there’s this business of co-operation in general with the whole crew.

(B4) Burke:     You mean my own crew?

(S5) Stanley:   No, I mean with the other supervisors. There have been at least four or five times in the past couple of months that I have asked other supervisors to get your help and I’ve heard they’re having difficulty doing that. You’ve been a little sarcastic, you’ve turned them away, you don’t have time for them. Now a couple of years ago, before you were a supervisor, we had a real good chance to use this ability of yours in the whole outfit, and it seems that now that we’ve promoted you, this information isn’t available to use any more.

(B5) Burke:     Well, I try to co-operate with these other people. I don’t know where you’ve been getting this information, but we have been working together.

(S6) Stanley:   Frankly, I’ve heard the same story from most of the other supervisors. It is quite clear that there has been a holdup of information, that you’ve been focusing the energy on your own crew and neglecting these others. I think that a little consideration will help a lot. All of us have to work together, and if we have an employee who’s good on inventive ability, as you are, and we send people to him for help, we expect him to give that help graciously, willingly and co-operatively, and that’s the kind of thing I’d like to see you do.

(B6) Burke:     I tried to work that way, but it got to a point where I wasn’t getting anything done at all.

(S7) Stanley:   I don’t want you to neglect your own work, but there’s no reason in the world why you shouldn’t be able to do your work and have these other supervisors get some help from you. Granted you’ve only been on the job about a year now. It’s a new position for you. It’s reasonable that you will be having difficulty getting your own work done and at the same time help others. The point is these are both part of the supervisor’s job. I’d like to see you work out this thing and come up better on it. Now there’s another issue that’s bothering me. Several times in the last two months I’ve asked you to do a routine job and you’ve said “uh-uh.” Now let’s face it. If I turn around to my boss when he tells me to do a routine job, I don’t say “no”.

(B7) Burke:     I didn’t say “no.” I said I think someone else ought to do it.

(S8) Stanley:   Yes, but you didn’t accept the job, did you?

(B8) Burke:     Well, I didn’t refuse it. I just said it would be better if some of the other guys did it.

(S9) Stanley:   It was a refusal no matter how you look at it. I waited for this occasion to let you know how I feel because I thought we’d have time to talk it through. It seems to me, again from the broader view, that everyone’s got to do his share of routine work.

(B9) Burke:    I’m interested very much in the co-operative view, but, I think that the most inventive workers ought to have the most inventive jobs.

(B10) Stanley: I felt that way when I was in your shoes, but in order to maintain things fairly in the crew, to have harmony, to have everyone produce at his best, and to develop everyone as best we can, these assignments ought to be shared. No one ought to squawk about taking his share.

(B10) Burke:   I’m just saying that the whole crew has a certain work standard to meet, and the most inventive people should have the most inventive things and the others the things that are relevant to their level.

(S11) Stanley: My point is that when you have eight people doing the same kind of work you have to be fair to all eight of them, and if these other people like to do the other kinds of jobs, you can’t be unfair and give only one person the interesting work. You’ve got to start getting out of the view of only you and your crew and see how it relates to the broader picture. That’s the same business with aiding others, you see.

(B11) Burke:   I agree these two things go together.

(S12) Stanley: Fine. Then why do you refuse to help out?

(B12) Burke:   What happens is that you give them the interesting jobs and they can’t do them and so they come to me and I end up doing them anyway.

(S13) Stanley: I have a feeling, Tom, that I’m in a better position to judge that situation than you are. I’ve had no complaints about the assignments being too tough for the others and the quality of the work in all our outfits is high.

(B13) Burke:   They don’t have as high quality as my outfit.

(S14) Stanley: The quality of your outfit is higher, that’s true, but in the broader view there is this point that you’ve got to have a team working together. I can’t have one person who is a favourite and the others who are not favourites. Before you turn down an assignment from me, ask yourself, “What does he have in mind? How many employees does he have to deal with?” This co-operation area – these human relations skills that there’s been so much writing about lately – these are things where we want to develop in our supervisors, and in you in particular. Production – we have no complaints.

(B14) Burke:   Are you suggesting that we’re all equal in this group, that each one of these supervisors is as good as I am?

(S15) Stanley: Each person has certain abilities and other people certain other abilities, but the question of fairness is the issue. You’ve got to start thinking of these other issues in order to function on a higher level than just a first-line supervisor.

(B15) Burke:   Well, isn’t production the goal of the department in this case? I mean, if you think of it in terms of your crew or in terms of my crew, the best worker has to get the job.

(S16) Stanley: Don’t you think that good production depends on good acceptance and good human relations among the different departments?

(B16) Burke:   And technical skill.

(S17) Stanley: Of course, but, we have a good skilled bunch up and down the line. This brings me to another point that I think I should bring up to you and it is another serious one. Out of these eight crews that we have, yours is the only one where we find turnover in the draftsmen. My feeling is that you are pushing on these people – you are not developing these draftsmen all around in the same way that these other crews are.

(B17) Burke:   I don’t think that’s a fair criticism. I agree that some of these people have left, but they have left for different reasons.

(S18) Stanley:             So why are they leaving?

(B18) Burke:   Do you know why they are leaving? They’re leaving because they can’t move up in this organization. It’s not because they’re so disappointed that they leave but because they are good and they don’t have any place to go in this organization.

(B19) Stanley: We have seven other units the same size and these seven other units are not losing their people. Now these people seem to be satisfied with the pension plan we have, with the fringe benefits, with the parking situation; the pay is excellent. I don’t see the problem.

(B19) Burke:   For their kind of work, but my unit does better work – obviously, from the production I’ve got.

(S20) Stanley: The fact still remains that they’re moving – and if they’re leaving, it seems to me that there’s dissatisfaction here. Look. let’s summarize this discussion. First, I’d be willing to see the productivity down a little in favour of the overall development of these draftsmen, so we can hold on to them. I also would like to see your inventive ability used for the whole group. It is just a superb ability and it is a real shame that because of this breaking into your job you felt that you couldn’t give the time to these other supervisors. I’m pretty sure that you are going to be able to change that over the next six months. And the other issue is the routine jobs. I think that you should start taking them more graciously and willingly. Think of the problems as if you are me.

(B20) Burke:   Well, I’d like to have you come down to my section and talk to some of the people, because I think that you are making the wrong assumptions about why these things have been happening. I really feel that we ought to get together and check some of these things out.

(S21) Stanley: Yes, I can come down and have a look and we can discuss these things some more if you like. But, I want to be clear that I’m expecting some changes here.

(B21) Burke:   Well, I’d very much appreciate your coming down and talking to my people.

(S22) Stanley: Okay, fine.

(B22) Burke:   Thank you very much.

(S23) Stanley: You’re very welcome.

Answer the following questions about Interview 1

  1. Rate the discussion in terms of its probable impact on the future motivation of Tom Burke, the subordinate.

Very Positive             1         2         3          4         5          Very Negative

  1. How typical was this appraisal of those you’ve received from supervisors in your present organization?

Very Typical              1          2          3          4          5          Not at all Typical

  1. What, if anything, did you like about this discussion? Why?
  2. What, if anything, did you dislike about this discussion? Why?
  3. Evaluate the behaviour of Tom Burke, the Subordinate.

A checkmark on one side of the scale indicates that you think Burke had very much of the characteristic on that side. A checkmark in the middle means that you felt he was in-between or that you really couldn’t tell.

Closed minded          (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Open minded

Team-Spirited            (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Individualistic

Flexible                      (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Rigid

  1. Evaluate the behaviour of George Stanley, the Boss.

Helpful                       (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Obstructive

Autocratic                  (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Democratic

Fair                             (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Biased

Closed minded          (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Open minded

 

 

Now read Interview 2 and answer the questions that follow it.

INTERVIEW 2

(S1) Stanley:   Come on in, Tom. Have a chair. As you know, I’ve invited you in to discuss how your unit is operating. This is a good opportunity to share perspectives and search for ways of improving things.

(B1) Burke:     Yes, thank you.

(S2) Stanley:   Well, first, I want to say that I think you and your group do a fine job of getting the work out. I feel your production is outstanding.

(B2) Burke:     Well, I’m glad you recognize that. It’s something we’ve been working very hard on.

(S3) Stanley:   You’ve been doing a splendid job. You do the work rapidly, it shows a very high quality, and since you’ve had this outfit the past two years the improvement has been great. When I have extra work, as I have in the past six months, I always turn it over to you. It’s a real pleasure to be able to tell you this.

(B3) Burke:     Well, I have a good unit and I think we all work together pretty well.

(S4) Stanley:   I do have several concerns that I want to share with you too. Some of it is admittedly based on discussions I’ve had with others – and I thought about bringing all of you in together for a talk – but, I thought it might be best to explore the issues with you first. There’s this business of co-operation in general with the whole crew.

(B4) Burke:     You mean my own crew?

(S5) Stanley:   No, I mean with the other supervisors. There have been at least four or five times in the past couple of months that I have asked other supervisors to get help from you and I’ve heard they’re having difficulty doing that. They feel that you’ve been a little sarcastic, you’ve turned them away, you don’t have time for them. I know that this may not be the case from your perspective, but since there’s a perception out there that it is the case, it’s getting in the way of cooperation and it’s creating a general morale problem. I’d like to know if you have a fix on what’s going on.

(B5) Burke:     There is one thing that has kind of bothered me. I might as well mention it now as later, because you’ve probably heard of it anyway. I had a little run-in with Jim Drake about two months back. You may remember that we made some changes on these plans and I was supposed to tell him about them. I would have been glad to and I had every intention of doing it, but when I went down to his office he wasn’t there. I went back to my place and Frank had come up with a tremendous idea and we got to talking about that and the first thing I knew the day had slipped by and the next day I forgot about it. It’s my fault; there’s no question about that. I made a mistake. Then when it came to my attention it was too late – things had already started into production. He had to make a lot of changes that he wouldn’t have had to make if I had told him on time. I apologized about it; I told him I was sorry; in fact I even said I would make the changes myself, since I knew it was my fault. I’m afraid he was a little angry; in fact he had a right to be. I apologized and that’s all I could do. I don’t know if he’s still mad or not, but that is one thing that is still kind of bothering me, but I think I did what I could about it. It was an honest mistake.

(S6) Stanley:   You think, then, that maybe this has translated into your being seen as uncooperative?

(B6) Burke:     Well, it’s one thing. And when you don’t spend enough time with the other supervisors they can make assumptions – maybe that you did it kind of on purpose.

(S7) Stanley:   Are there any things that you think make it tough for the supervisors to co-operate here?

(B7) Burke:     It seems to me that there is a tendency sometimes for some of the supervisors to try to get excess help from other units, when these units already have their own work load. That is one thing I have noticed. I’m not pointing to any one person here. It’s a general thing.

(S8) Stanley:   In other words, one section can be called upon to do the work of another section, and nobody knows who did it.

(B8) Burke:     It’s not the know so much, it’s just that it’s not right.

(S9) Stanley:   It isn’t fair?

(B9) Burke:     Well, a person likes to think that his own unit’s work is getting done. Nobody minds helping somebody – when there is some need for it – or even if there seems to be a need for it occasionally – but to have the situation where other supervisors are expecting me, for example, to help them through some of their problems when I have my own work to do, I’m not sure that this is the fair thing all the way around. I wanted to tell you about it anyway – now that you’ve asked.

(S10) Stanley:             Now, how does it happen that these people need help? Does it mean that they haven’t got enough people to do the work? I know we’re speculating here – but, do you have any ideas about it?

(B10) Burke:   Well, maybe they can’t handle all of the kinds of work they’re assigned. Their crews aren’t as well developed either, you know.

(S11) Stanley: You think it might be partly the work assignments and partly their leadership skills. Do you feel that your assignments are too heavy?

(B11) Burke:   I don’t mind doing extra work, if that’s what you mean. When I made a suggestion about a month ago that other units should be given certain routine jobs, I don’t want you to think for a minute that I think everyone else should get all the dirty work. What I really think is that if my unit is doing more extra work than any of the others are – I think that that is probably a fact – then it seems to me that the work we do extra should not always be the routine stuff. It seems to me that if we turn out more work, we should be given the unit more kicks – some special work that keeps interest up.

(S12) Stanley: It’s not the extra work that bothers you, or even being asked to do some dirty jobs. It’s just that you feel that you get more than your fair share of the dirty jobs, is that it?

(B12) Burke:   Yes, in a nutshell. In fact, my people are proud of the fact that they get extra work. I think there would be less concern on their part if the extra work didn’t tend always to be the routine jobs. By making some of the extra jobs special, they would be kind of plums, something worth working for.

(S13) Stanley: This makes me wonder how the other supervisors feel about this. I wonder if they want the extra jobs, too, for their people. Maybe we ought to discuss in a meeting how these extra jobs should be distributed. I wonder if it is possible that they don’t want them?

(B13) Burke:   They may not. I mean, I don’t know if they do. It all depends on how their crews look at it. I know that our group likes unusual jobs and I think a little reward, a little bonus, the good problems, you know, stuff that really takes a little thought and gives you extra satisfaction.

(S14) Stanley: I can see your perspective on this, but there’s also a problem of favouritism. I have to be careful not to be seen as dishing out all the plum jobs to one person. I think this is something we ought to take up together as a group some way of allocating these extra jobs so we don’t get people feeling that they are stuck with something. What do you think?

(B14) Burke:   Right, some equitable way of distributing jobs would be fine with me. If we want to have a general meeting on it – get the supervisors together – good, and get this thing settled. I wasn’t going to bring it up, but I think there have been some hard feelings. I feel that some of the supervisors are down on me because they don’t understand my point of view. I think that this is all there is to it. They know that I helped them in the past—maybe they worry about that.

(S15) Stanley: Okay. We’ve agreed that we should discuss this issue with the whole group in the next meeting. Let me raise another concern— maybe it’s related, maybe not. Your crew is the only one where we find turnover in the draftsmen. In the other groups we don’t have this kind of problem. I’m wondering what’s going on here? Is there something I don’t know?

(B15) Burke:   I don’t see our turnover as a department problem, if that’s what you mean. It’s an opportunity problem. Let me give you an example – I don’t know whether you know Jane Wilson or not, but she has been with us awhile. She had a job offer from another organization. It was a better salary then she is getting here by some appreciable amount and she turned it down in order to stay here, and that pleased me, of course. As far as I’m concerned the people in the unit look happy to me.

(S16) Stanley: Have you had other people like this who were offered more money elsewhere?

(B16) Burke    We have had some of the others who under similar circumstances took outside jobs, but they were people with families to support and they got better job offers, and I think they got them because they are good workers. I think they deserved it.

(S17) Stanley: In other words, they are looking for bigger things to do.

(B17) Burke:   You can’t blame them for that.

(S18) Stanley: You think this poses a problem for us. We’re not keeping these people interested.

(B18) Burke:   I think that the administration would be wise to watch for the better workers and try to make it worth their while to stay. I do think that – because I know I’ve had some people come along through my unit and I like to take special pains in helping them develop. I believe that if you look back over the people I have had in my unit you’d see they came along that way. Those who have ability and really get good, if they get another job offer, I think that we ought to be in a position to try to match that offer if we want to keep them or else we can’t be angry if they leave; that’s my point of view. I’d like to mention Frank Dobbs, my designer; he’s doing a bang-up job. That guy has more ideas than a barrel of monkeys, as the saying goes. He is really coming along and I think that if we don’t do something about him, he is one of the kind that we might lose.

(S19) Stanley: We need to figure out something to keep these people in the organization. What we’re doing isn’t enough.

(B19) Burke:   Yes. I’d like to see the administration do what it could in that respect.

(S20) Stanley: I wonder if there is anything else that we could do? Can we use these superior individuals to develop other people elsewhere in the organization?

(B20) Burke:   I’d hate to lose Frank, but I’d rather see him go out of my unit into another part of the organization than lose him entirely. I think that he is at the point where he could be used in some sort of supervisory position.

(S21) Stanley: I see. You feel that he is ready for a supervisory job?

(B21) Burke:   That’s my feeling, and I’m tickled to have the chance to recommend him, because he’s good.

(S22) Stanley: You say you develop these people. How do you do that; how do you go about it?

(B22) Burke:   I take an interest in them. I think they know I do, and we work together and whenever I can give them any benefit of my experience, such as it is, I do so. I have the feeling that we work together as a team. In that way I am giving them information that they can use, and this plus the general enthusiasm in our unit helps bring them along – keeps them interested in their work – that’s my feeling.

(S23) Stanley: How about this enthusiasm? Where does it come from? Does it come from this personal interest, is that it?

(B23) Burke:   I wouldn’t want to say that it’s just me no; I’d say it’s the feeling of the whole group – you know when you feel proud to be in an outfit. It sort of spreads around through the group. That’s my feeling about it.

(S24) Stanley: Do you feel that, in this way, your group is better than the other groups?

(B24) Burke:   Well, now that you ask about it, yes. I do. I think that we have the hottest group in the bunch. That gives me a chance to say one other thing. Since Jane Wilson, the one I told you about, turned down the outside job—she is doing well, she’s happy here and we’re all happy with her—that may be another case in point. I would like to suggest that she be considered at least for a raise, if such a thing would be possible. She deserves it and she has showed that she is loyal. I think that kind of reward would be well in line for her.

(S25) Stanley: I think that we ought to do two things then. We ought to see personnel about what kinds of raises are possible for Jane – what sort of inequities it might create, if any – and we have to see personnel about what supervisory positions might be opening up. I wouldn’t like to take Frank Dobbs away from you, either. Maybe there is some way we can use him in the section, but I think we should write some action paragraphs on these two people.

(B25) Burke:   That would be fine; I’d be tickled to death with that. But, there’s also the ongoing aspect. If we train and develop our people well, they’re going to want to move or to have different challenges.

(S26) Stanley: You mean we should do more than just fix things up for these two people. Maybe we need to review our job structure and promotion policies?

(S26) Burke:   Yes, I think so— if we’re successful, it will continue to be a problem.

(S27) Stanley: This whole discussion does point out some problems, doesn’t it. We need to operate more as a team. In your view am I doing the things necessary to build the team?

(S27) Burke:   I think you’re doing a good job. But, it has occurred to me that if during certain planning sessions that involve work for all units we should get in the habit of having all the supervisors present. Then people who were concerned could hear it first hand. I think there have been times when inefficiencies, at least, have come about because all the people involved in a particular project weren’t present at our early planning meeting.

(S28) Stanley: You would like us to have 100 per cent attendance when we are planning and scheduling work.

(B28) Burke:   Yes, right, with all the supervisors who will be involved.

 

 

(S29) Stanley: Well, this has been a good discussion for me. I can see that we have a problem to deal with in connection with keeping people interested and getting them the money that they need, in the form of promotion or otherwise. We also have a problem of co-ordination among the supervisors, of agreeing on the distribution of extra jobs. This has affected how the others see you. I can see now that they have made some inaccurate assumptions about why you have refused to help them at times and why you didn’t want additional routine work. My guess is that in discussing these things as a group, some of these issues between you and them will get cleared up. Let’s plan, then, to get together soon. I’ll talk to the other supervisors about it. We should be able to have a meeting in a week or two. Well, I certainly feel that this has been worthwhile. I’ve learned a lot in this session. I’m glad you talked so frankly with me.

(B29) Burke:   I’m glad to have an opportunity to say what’s on my mind.

(S30) Stanley: Thanks a lot, Tom.

(B30) Burke:   Yes, thank you.

Answer the following questions about Interview 2

  1. Rate the discussion in terms of its probably impact on the future motivation of Tom Burke, the subordinate.

Very Positive             5          4          3          2          1          Very Negative

  1. How typical was this appraisal of those you’ve received from supervisors in your present organization?

Very Typical              5          4          3          2          1          Not at all Typical

  1. What, if anything, did you like about this discussion?
  1. What, if anything, did you dislike about this discussion?

 

 

  1. Evaluate the behaviour of Tom Burke, the Subordinate.

Closed minded          (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Open minded

Team-Spirited            (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Individualistic

Flexible                      (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Rigid

  1. Evaluate the behaviour of George Stanley, the Boss.

Helpful                    (  )           (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Obstructive

Autocratic               (  )           (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Democratic

Fair                          (  )           (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Biased

Closed minded       (  )           (  )        (  )        (  )        (  )        Open minded

Summary Ratings

Now that you have read both interviews, which interview style did you like the best? Least? Explain why.

MOST PREFERRED =

 

 

LEAST PREFERRED =

 

 

Explanation

 

 

Exercise 6-6: Evaluating Exercises 6-2

In Exercise 6-2 you wrote responses. In the following exercise, we want you to classify the responses you wrote and selected. This will give you a picture of your personal approach to giving guidance.

Classifying your written responses to Exercise 6-2

Look over each of the five responses you wrote in Exercise 6-2. Then classify them and circle their classification in the spaces below. You may want to circle more than one response type because many responses either seem to overlap or actually contain more than one type.

Statement 1:   Ad       P1        Cr        Bg       Pa        RQ      Other

Statement 2:   Ad       P1        Cr        Bg       Pa        RQ      Other

Statement 3:   Ad       P1        Cr        Bg       Pa        RQ      Other

Statement 4:   Ad       P1        Cr        Bg       Pa        RQ      Other

 

Exercise 6-7: Paraphrasing

Let’s have a look at how you’re doing. Below are some repeats of the initial statements found in Exercise 6-2. Now we would like you to write a good paraphrase in response to these statements and submit them for evaluation by the instructor.

Teacher:                It never used to be like this. I can remember when it all seemed a lot more worthwhile. I used to feel I was doing something really useful. But nowadays . . . the children don’t listen, they’re rude, they don’t seem to be interested in anything. I spend all my time just keeping the noise down so I can hear myself think.

Paraphrase:

 

Administrator:    I’m worried about our clerks. In the past, they’ve done a great job – but lately they’ve been sniping at me and the new supervisor. The other day they all came in right on the hour and left exactly at quitting time.

Paraphrase:

 

Student:    I’m going to drop my English course. You wouldn’t believe how bad the teacher is. Boring isn’t the word. I mean, you can’t even figure out what he’s talking about . . . that is, if you can stay awake. It’s a real rip-off. They shouldn’t let people like that teach at all, not that you could really call it teaching.

Paraphrase:

 

 

 

Exercise 6-8: Three Experiments in Paraphrasing

For this exercise, we would like you to use active listening skills in three different situations at home, with friends, or at work. The idea is to introduce some (don’t overdo it) paraphrasing and clarifying into your conversation and to avoid advising, placating, criticizing, using rhetorical questions, and the like.

Your goal is to discover and report what happens, whether active listening made a difference and what kind (positive or negative). You should do this exercise with the idea that you may experience both positive and negative consequences. For example, some people who have done it report a fear of being found out and, indeed, sometimes they are. For example, one undergraduate student who paraphrased his mother at dinner time was asked (rhetorically) by her “Who are you? Mr. Communications?” He reported this as a negative outcome.

In selecting situations, do not select one in which you are in a fight-mode or major conflict. Active listening is but one skill that can be used to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

If you feel that doing this exercise is invasive of your privacy or is too manipulative with respect to your friends, or co-workers, please treat it as optional.

For many of you this exercise will force you to “step out of character” and you may experience a sense of falseness when you do so. However, acquisition of all new skills requires a step out of character. For example, novice skiers feel self-conscious when they try snowploughs, “stem Christies,” and parallel turns with the class and the instructor looking on.

Report your experience with each of your three experiments. Describe the situation, how you felt as you worked up to paraphrasing, and what happened when you did.

Experiment 1

 

 

Experiment 2

 

 

Experiment 3