Thursday, June 17, 2010

Douglas McGregor’s Theory and its Affective Relevance to Small Quantity Workplace

I’m more inclined to define organization just as I learned it during the time I was taking my Master’s: a group of people working together towards a common goal. There are people who will disagree with me when I say church can also be considered as an organization. Speaking of which, I wanted to make baseline truth or information to establish my post. The basic elements of organization are there: 1) group of people (human resources), 2) money (financial resources), 3) facility (physical resources), 4) common goal, and 5) certain rulebooks. I’ll not write too much about this; there are many resources discussing about the elements of an Organization.

Let us recall briefly Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y. To avoid being too academic and lengthy, let us just summarize the difference between these two Theories. In an employees’ perspective, if he’s a Theory X, He’s lazy. He will work when coerced, pushed, and mandated. He will not go beyond what is demanded by his immediate boss. Unless hugely compensated, he’ll not work. Now, if a manager thinks of his employees as a bunch of Theory Xs, he will not trust them. He thinks that employees will only work if coerced, pushed, and mandated. He thinks that employees only work plainly because of money. An employee or an organization member is a Theory Y if he’s self-motivated, ambitious, and able to control himself. If an organization manager thinks of the organization members as Theory Ys, he thinks that each and every member is a valuable. He trusts his employees and assumes that the employees enjoy their work. Again, I’ll not dig into this so much. I just made baseline information. THIS IS THE VERY REASON WHY PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT IS NOW CALLED HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT. Let’s give credit to Dr. McGregor for that.

Having said this baseline information, let’s move further (not farther). What am I trying to say? HUMAN RESOURCES ARE VALUABLE RESOURCES. Okay, I’m referring to employees and former employees who have sincerely and adequately performed based on clear-headed interpretation of company guidelines (and not the truthfully primaddonas). In small companies, employees must be treated with respect and dignity because whether you like or not, you’ll always cross paths, because the company is quite small. Especially in small companies (let’s say below 120 employees), being courteous enough to contractual employees if their service is no longer needed is a good asset. This means not treating them like commodities. This means doing your best to disregard personal feelings of like or dislike when renewing or not renewing employees (or in case regular employees). Always remember that “feel” factor is never enough. Just because you don’t feel the person doesn’t mean you’ll just throw him or her out. By the way, don’t follow the “I’m just being real” band wagon. Be courteous and professional. Yes, it is the head’s call and prerogative, but the head should always have a heart for employees who did their job well. Give them dignity and respect. Trust in their capacity. Sometimes, giving a certain amount of trust to employees will make wonders to your department. In fact, it will pull down the wall if you give a certain room for trust even to the employee that you don’t like. You don’t have to pretend you like all the employees and your subordinates; all you need is to be professional and courteous enough. Bullying should not have room for a head of department; it will hunt the department, one way or another, no matter how preventive you are.

Yes, Theory Y is just a theory. There are no laws strictly telling you to adhere to this theory (or else it will be called Law Y, not Theory Y). In this day and age when management and administration of various small organizations are marred by complaints and dissatisfaction, it still makes wonders when you treat your employees (be it contractual or regular) with dignity and respect. When you spread that attitude of respect and dignity, respect and dignity will spread very fast. After all, your organization is small.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Organizational Dynamics and its Applicability to Fellowship Settings

In an organization, especially big ones, there is what we call top management. However, most of the times, it doesn’t end there. There are middle management, and, on certain cases, low management. Since I’ve been in three colleges, either as a part time faculty or as a student, let me illustrate this in a tertiary school setting. In a College/University, for example, there is what we call the Board of Regents or Trustees or Directors (depending on the setting of the school). One of the members of the board is the College/University president, and under his/her position is at least 2 Vice Presidents. These are the Top Level management. Then, there goes the Academic Deans and Directors (for non teaching positions. Although there are colleges/universities that use the title “Dean” even in non-academic positions like Student Affairs office). This can be considered as middle level management, depending on what books and references you are reading (and depending on the attitude of people with this position; this is a humor though). Under Academic Deans there are departments. Normally, these departments are programs. For example, there is one Dean of College of Engineering. If the College/University is big, they can have departments like Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Management Engineering, Industrial Engineering, etc. If this is the case, the chairpersons (or heads) assigned in this department are considered Low management. You don’t go directly to the Top Management. For efficiency’s sake, you go to your own department head. If you have problems within your department, it is wise to fix it before it reaches to the next level. This is not cover-up; this is your department chairperson or head DOING HIS JOB WELL.

Sometimes, people go immediately to the top management. To some extent and cases, this is tolerable, especially if what you’ll give to the top management is good news. However, there are people who go straight to the top management as a form of harassment, bullying, and manipulation. I often shook my head when I see and encounter people like this. Honestly, I just hope that this people should never be given any position. If they have one already, I wish they should never have that position in the first place.

Now, let’s move this same principle into another setting: interpersonal relationships inside non-stock, non-profit, non-government organizations. There are problems that can be solved and negotiated internally. No, it’s not compromising. No, it’s not cover up. This is fixing the problems before it can reach the top. It’s sad that there are people who make certain problems soooooo public. Okay, maybe you’ll give Achan as an example. “Achan in the camp” as we put it. Well, Achan’s sin was revealed because God Himself revealed it to Joshua. In addition, the Israelites lost to Ai. No one squealed it.
Recently, I have witnessed a Christian pair broke up their relationship. Guy did something wrong. Guy left the girl. Girl cried. Yes, her unbelieving friends told her to do things like date another guy, get even with the guy, etc. Yes, her unbelieving friends really hate the nerve of the guy. However, girl disagreed. She didn’t do all the things her unbelieving friends strongly advised her to do so. She’s hurt, yet she remained kind. Months later, the guy admitted his faults and asked her forgiveness. No one in her or his circles knows what happened in those previous months. It was fixed. They’re now in each other’s arms again...proverbially.

Yeah, I know. That pair still has a long way to go, but this should still serve as a lesson that we can solve things without going immediately to authority figures. Let’s avoid too much squealing and kissing and telling: if you do just that, you just revealed what character you have as a person. Besides, you’ll just feed the rumor mongers (be it conscious and unconscious rumor mongers) what they wanted; they must never be fed.

We can solve problems without immediately involving authority figures. This is possible only if we have the maturity, the right attitude, and a ready heart to forgive if mistakes were made. Is this cover up? No. This is more of cleaning your house before your neighbors can notice that your house is a mess. Is this bypassing authority figures and not making them “belong”? A big NO! In fact, this is helping authority figures by minimizing their problems by solving your own. Yes, authority figures will be there for you, after all, most of them are fatherly. However, give yourself a sense of dignity and self-respect by trying to solve certain problems yourself first.

Have a good day, my friends and brothers!