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Before Healthcare Plus acquired a much larger company called "Medical One," Colleen Brooks was working as a manager of nursing there. The merger put more responsibilities on Colleen's shoulders to handle a bigger team. Colleen was now in charge of managing the nursing operations in four different states while overseeing a total of 14 managers, 11 of whom belonged to the Medical One group and the remaining three to Healthcare Plus. Colleen will remotely manage these 14 members, who will be simultaneously reporting to regional functional directors. With her 14 members, Colleen scheduled a meeting in Denver because she thought it would be a convenient and neutral site. This was carried out to get to know the team well and establish team cohesion. When Colleen started sharing her suggestions for cutting costs at the hospitals, she realized most of the Medical One managers’ were not open to any suggestions and were countering the Healthcare Plus managers' views. There was an "us vs. them" attitude prevailing, and no team cohesion was visible. I will apply concepts from the courses of leadership, power/conflict, and change management to analyze this case study.
1. Leadership: Colleen should make use of a combination of situational and transformational leadership approaches. Leaders must approach difficult situations positively since that is where the value of situational leadership lies, which encourages leaders to change their leadership style to what is most relevant and considered right for the scenario. Colleen is aware of the employees' resistance to the suggested adjustments in this scenario because they have been placed in a new setting where they must follow new rules. They display a disinterested attitude and fight the changes they are going through. Colleen should show empathy for their feelings and tackle them wisely as per situational leadership theory.
Transformational leaders can pinpoint areas where change is necessary, develop a vision for the future, and lead the team toward that vision. It entails inspiring enthusiasm and motivation in workers. By setting an example for others and encouraging devotion and dedication, Colleen should establish herself as a role model. She needs to empower her subordinates to own their tasks. So, by using this leadership approach, Colleen's team will have a clearer path and a shared goal that is supported by everyone on the team.
2. Power/ Conflict: Colleen needs to exert influence over the members of her squad and bring the team on the same page. She knows that her all managers report to the regional director which can dilute her efforts. Thus, she should focus on offering solutions to those directors well in advance. This will make the directors feel included in the nursing operations. She should establish personal connections with all 14 members so that they remain more connected with her. They should never feel that Colleen is supporting one manager over other. When all members of the team feel that the leader is unbiased, they tend to mix well together with each other.
To get the Medical One managers to be willing to implement cost-effective techniques, Colleen should employ the power tactic of consultation to win their trust and give them a voice in the changes. It is a strategy that emphasizes involving others in decision-making, planning, and encouraging change. She should seek suggestions from them on the said topics and come up with a plan of action. This way the managers will feel important and included in the growth of the organization
It is possible to persuade someone using reason, logic, or realistic facts by using the strategy of rational persuasion. Colleen should apply this strategy to convince the team that a request is reasonable and important to achieving a goal by providing factual information and logical justifications. Colleen needs to demonstrate to the group's participants how Health Plus has employed these cost-cutting strategies without compromising patient care. Colleen ought to provide evidence to back up these claims with numbers. Colleen will have a better chance if she combines these two power moves. The team members will be able to connect with Colleen's viewpoints through the use of soft power strategies like consultations since they will believe that their suggestions are being sought out rather than being imposed. The team will be more convinced by rational persuasion's use of statistics to demonstrate that these changes have historically been successful and would restore their confidence.
3. Change Management: When the employees are unaware of the reason behind the change, they are more likely to oppose it. This results from the organization's failure to explain the change's specifics and business justifications, as well as from a lack of clarity regarding the roles that individual employees will play in its success. When a worker loses authority, prestige, or identity, resistance may also develop. Fear, particularly worries about losing their jobs and receiving less money, is a big factor in employee resistance. As new technologies become more prevalent, employees become more uncertain about their performance and are afraid of organizational culture changes. In this case, the resistance shown by the Medical One managers is justified as they are unsure about the changes that are likely to happen in the future. Colleen should apply Kotter’s 8-step change model to implement the desired changes in the organization. Colleen should create urgency by convincing the organization that certain changes are needed for cost-cutting. Hence, a directing coalition is necessary. This alliance will collaborate as an inclusive group of change agents at all organizational levels. Colleen needs to demonstrate to the team how the future will differ from the past. She should solicit comments from everyone and then create plans for carrying out the vision. Colleen would then communicate the vision regularly and use innovative measures to create everyone’s involvement. To empower employees to advance the change, Colleen should continue to focus on removing barriers like ineffective processes and retaining stakeholders' motivation. Short-term wins will motivate the stakeholders in the change process and they will put more effort towards the larger changes. The bottlenecks are addressed and new behaviors are established.
After mergers, it is difficult for team members of the organizations to adapt to the changes. The leaders should be encouraging, supportive, and visionary in communicating the changes to the members and motivating them to link their personal growth with that of the organization. In this case, Colleen should apply situational and transformational leadership, rational persuasion, consultations, and the Kotter 8-step change management process to bring about the desired changes.