Read the Rick’s New Job case analysis at the end of Chapter 3 of the Blanchard and Thacker (2013) text. In an 800 to 1,000 word paper (excluding the title and reference pages), respond to the following case questions:
- Explain why Rick was let go and how reinforcement theory applies to this situation.
- Explain Rosie and Walter’s reaction to Rick’s computer in terms of resistance to change. Use the concepts in this chapter to explain how Rick might have approached the computer situation so as to gain acceptance.
- Explain Rick’s inability to “fit in” using social learning theory. Identify where breakdowns occurred.
- If Val hired you to develop a management training program for the senior managers at PPP, explain how you would go about designing the program. Provide appropriate theoretical rationale to support your position.
Rick’s New Job case Analysis Sample Answers
New job offers typically represent new frontiers with a set of new circumstances confronting individuals. This particular case study investigates Rick’s experience as an employee interning with PPP, in addition to his history working with one manager within the organization. Rick had initially strived to become cognizant with company requirements and developed new ideas with the aim of introducing positive change. Social learning is at the crux of this study, with the primary aim of this review being its underbelly.
Rick was a new entrant to the PPP upper management team and was eager to share new ideas with fellow employees. It was soon clear that this objective would be an uphill task. He was soon regarded as an “outsider” and his ideas met with resistance. However, the outcome would have been different had he employed a different strategy such as the introduction of the reinforcement theory. This concept is a constituent of the law of effect by E.L Thorndike. It is based on the notion that individuals are likely to ape and repeat a behavior if it proves to have positive outcomes (Daniels, 2015). Conversely, undesirable outcomes lead individuals to a situation where they out rightly avoid a particular behavior. This principle was further elucidated by B.F Skinner through his operant conditioning model based on the idea that individuals typically respond to a stimulus within their environment. The resulting consequence, either good or bad, will then inform the behavior that will be adopted from that point moving forward.
Skinner was also aware of the consequences of adopting new behaviors. He identified four principle types; positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment and extinction (Blanchard & Thacker, 2013). Rick was, thus, fired, for his progressive thinking which put him at odds with the upper management team at PPP. The changes he desired were not readily accepted by his colleagues, with Val being the only executive who seemed pliable and ready for change. The decision to fire Rick was a punitive measure and a warning to other employees who intended to go against company policy. Rick’s intentions may have been noble, but it was clear that perspectives were dissimilar.
Resistance to Change
The resistance to change observed within the organization seemed to originate from the ties shared by top executives within PPP. For instance, Walter Ball and Val Peterson were longtime business partners who had worked together to create a workable framework for the company. Ball was an information technology (IT) specialist who endeavored to computerize every single aspect of the company’s operation. The widening rift between specific employees can be traced to the difference in academic qualification among key members. Rosie Peterson, for instance, was not college-trained and insisted on employing analogue techniques when completing her accounting tasks. Rick was aware of the negative effects of such a technique and proposed the introduction of computerized sales spreadsheets. However, Walter was quick to dismiss this suggestion since he did not want to upset his relationship with the Petersons.
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Although resistance to change was an obvious challenge from the onset, appropriate strategies would have supported a smooth transition. Having the support of upper management and creating an appropriate environment for the implementation of new ideas would have promoted change. Val was supportive of Rick’s suggestion but was not ready to go against Rosie. It was clear that the changes suggested by Rick were not viewed as being worthwhile and part of the reason why it was difficult to introduce a new training regimen. Furthermore, since Val had not suggested the introduction of novel approaches to the organization, changes were immediately deemed unnecessary. Peer support is also an important aspect of change that was nonexistent within the entire organization.
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Social Learning Theory
The social learning theory is one of the most renowned and foremost behavioral theories. It posits that that observation is an integral part of learning in humans. From this case study, Rick made an initial observation of the situation within the company with the intention of changing the prevailing mode of operation while introducing positive changes. His desire was to aid the company in reclaiming its lost glory by improving its failing sales numbers. Pursuant to this objective, he developed a plan of action which was eventually not approved by upper management. This negative response demoralized Rick who had been working hard to ensure that the company benefited from the application of a new operational paradigm. Nevertheless, company executives can benefit from the introduction of new ideas which promote aspects of social learning (Kalkstein, Kleiman, Wakslak, Liberman, & Trope, 2016). Drawing upon personal experience is ideal for companies struggling to introduce positive strategies within the organization.
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Designing a Management Training Program
Company executives should always remain aware of a company’s inherent requirements before adopting a management training program. This permits the completion of a needs assessment test to determine specific areas that require additional focus and training. Its completion paves the way for the adoption of a new and fresh training format to ensure that an appropriate program is adopted to serve the organization’s needs. It is clear that a majority of the upper management team at PPP require immediate IT training to transform their management approach within the organization. The best alternative in this case would involve training in change management and how to adopt new positive suggestions.
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Moreover, addressing upper management’s reservations regarding new technology would be an ideal starting point. They would learn about aspects of the social learning theory which would then allow them to gain a comprehensive understanding of the enormity of the situation at hand. The creation of a vibrant instructional strategy would ultimately enable them to achieve company objectives by setting practical goals. The implementation phase will now involve the adoption of IT into company operations with staff members who are acutely aware of its importance in daily operations.
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