This essay will focus on individual level diagnosis and interventions for Jamie Turner, VP, MLI Inc. The main issues addressed in the essay are: challenges in Jamies professional career, the effect of these challenges in his working relationships and organizational performance, the leadership skills that would enhance individual and company performance and an intervention as a solution for the development needs identified.
Jamie Turner, the protagonist of the case study, is a graduate from Notre Dame and hails from Pennsylvania. He worked at Globalbank in North Carolina for 2 years in new-customer development before earning his MBA degree from a top B-School. Although he had opportunities back at Globalbank, he chose to work at Wolf River Paper, Ohio in the marketing division. Within two years of joining, he became Product Manager and within the next year, he got promoted to Senior Product Manager. A world-class manufacturer and marketer of consumer products such as tissues, paper towels, napkins, Wolf River Paper was a thriving business until they made an acquisition which proved to be a major downfall. This in turn restricted advancement opportunities in the firm in the near future, and so Jamie decided to move on.
The second company that Jamie found interest in was Lambowland.com, an internet-based start-up sports marketing company based in Milwaukee. Here, Jamie enjoyed the autonomy and challenge of his new role as VP for planning and marketing. But soon enough, Lambowland fell into a serious cash flow bind, which made Jamie job hunt in less than 18 months. Jamie felt there were a few reasons that might have contributed to the fall in companys performance co-workers not being graduates, foul language used by them, and late working hours. He, then, joined MLI as VP of marketing and sales.
Jamie Turner: Challenges in Career
There are numerous challenges that Jamie faced in his professional career. One of his foremost concerns was that he did not want to be known as a job hopper as he was in his third job within a span of 6 years post completion of his MBA degree. Next, he had developed some animosities purely through his judgment of other employees in Lambowland firm, which may have affected his individual performance as well as the company at large. Third, Jamie had shifted to industrial marketing, which he believed lacked the excitement of surveys, mass advertising, packaging and other tasks which he enjoyed in his previous job. Fourth, Jamie was promised autonomy and was promised an executive potential beyond running MLI. In the initial days, Cardullo portrayed to have immense trust on Turners potential and that boosted Turners confidence in being able to deliver what is required of him. Eventually, the situation changed and there were unresolved conflicts and agitation that kept building on. Within the first few weeks, Turner was asked to take over sales, which was against the initial agreement. Perhaps, this was a move by Cardullo to set himself free as he found them to be time consuming. Turner was hesitant to take decisions relating to sales force as he felt that he needed a better understanding of people and sales activities. During such efforts, he concluded that the sales force was hesitant but responded to his ideas and requests.
After few weeks, during a meeting mid of May, Jamie caught his attention on what seemed like an impending cash flow at MLI. When Chin and Cardullo were informed about this, they dismissed it as an insignificant issue. This is when Jamie reconsidered his decision of joining MLI. He left his previous company in search of autonomy, but the independence at MLI seemed a bit overwhelming. He was also unsure of what was expected of him and that made him worry more. Through such series of events, the relationship between Cardullo and Jamie only kept getting worse. These were the challenges that Jamie faced in his professional career.
Throughout the case study, it is understood that Jamie tried maximum to give his best given any tough situation that arose at MLI. On certain days, he felt the need to resign the job and look for other opportunities. His main problem was that he had jumped too many companies in too little time. This was the main reason why he continued working at MLI.
Effects of Challenges
Soon after Jamie joined MLI, Cardullo acted differently towards him. He was being distant and critical, and often intervened marketing decisions, undermining or sometimes overturning Jamies decisions. This resulted in decline of sales. It affected not only the performance of the company but also strained Jamies relationship with Cardullo. Jamie, as an individual, is one who gets stressed when things do not go as planned at his workplace. He tends to worry about his work and more about the perception of other employees/peers about him. He seeks for organizational support which has been proven to produce a series of positive affective perceptions and experiences in the workplace (Riggle et al., 2009).
Herzbergs theory of motivation talks about the factors that affect peoples attitude towards work. According to this theory, factors such as company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations, working conditions and salary are hygiene factors rather than motivators (Herzberg, 1959). Hence, going by this theory, Jamie is not necessarily demotivated. Rather, he is affected by basic hygiene factors such as intervention by his superior and weak interpersonal relations that causes dissatisfaction. These are factors which are extrinsic in nature and are considered to be basic needs that should to be fulfilled in order for employees to be happy in a workplace. Hygiene factors are not necessarily motivators; the absence of this will be considered as dissatisfaction (Herzberg, 1959).
Throughout his professional career, there are various reasons why Jamie chose the organization that he worked for. To begin with, his first job post his Masters degree at Wolf River Paper was considered as the workplace he enjoyed the most. His growth was tremendous and he enjoyed working there. Per Allen and Meyers organizational commitment theory, Jamies phase at Wolf River Paper is considered to be affective commitment. In essence, it explains that employees with strong affective commitment remain because they want to. He grew as much as possible in his five year tenure in this company and eventually felt the need to move on, to test himself more.
Next, he joined MLI but there were a lot of issues that came up that were unexpected. He felt he ought to continue working there because this was his second job in less than 18 months. This is explained as normative commitment by Meyer and Allen which seems almost like a moral obligation. In addition to this, though there were times he wanted to resign, he realized that few of his MBA classmates were in between jobs and found it hard to settle into a good job. He was also, to an extent, financially dependent on this job as he had moved to Chicago and locked a good accommodation to live in. For these reasons, his commitment to the job can be termed continuous commitment. He needed to continue working for MLI based on the cost associated with it.
An interesting observation about Jamie Turner can be related to the dark trait theory developed by Robert and Joyce Hogan in 2015. We usually consider innate strengths like interpersonal skills, intelligence and motivation or ambition that an individual has, to ascertain the success in an organization. This theory suggests that these characteristics coexist with some weaknesses, which, in the long run, could prove to be disastrous. The Dark Side Traits, created by these psychologists, suggest that there are 11 qualities, ranging from excitable to dutiful, that when taken to the extreme, resemble the most common personality disorders. (Harvard Business Review September October 2017 Could your personality derail your career?) The findings of this theory were that most employees display at least 3 of these dark traits and about 40% scored high enough on one or two to put them at a risk for disruption in their careers even if theyre currently successful and effective. The result is pervasive dysfunctional behaviour at work. Jamie, who is usually seen as passionate and enthusiastic at work, sometimes can be volatile and have outbursts too. This can be related to excitable trait in this theory as he is often moody and unsure of how to deal with certain situations.
Leadership Development Needs
According to Daft (2000), Organizational Performance is the organizations ability to attain its goals by using resources in an efficient and effective manner. Leadership competencies can be developed in a number of ways, including formal training, developmental activities, and self?help activities. A number of activities can be used to facilitate learning of relevant skills from experience on the job.(Gary Yukl, ) Six of such developmental activities include multisource feedback programs, developmental assignments, mentoring, executive coaching, simulations, and personal growth programs. (Gary Yukl, )
Through the case study, we know that Jamie has acquired an MBA degree from a top business school. Although one would assume that this degree would provide all the knowledge and competencies required for an individual to have a successful career, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons to evaluate how it has helped Jamie. MBA degrees help with personal development, networking opportunities and the required theoretical knowledge to lead and manage. On the other hand, career progression, managerial and entrepreneurial skills are questionable as obtaining a degree does not guarantee mastering of these skills. It is also notable that Jamie and Cardullo have different management styles which do not necessarily sync with one another ..
Table 1: Issues and solutions Jamie Turner
Inability to delegate work Better understanding of the job and importance of delegation
Unclear job description Better communication with Cardullo
Lack of peer support Emotional intelligence
Poor Communication skills Soft skills training
An Intervention: Leadership Development Framework
The Northern Ireland Senior Civil Service Competency framework covers 8 key competencies which can be useful for Jamie as an aid to his development needs. The competencies most useful for Jamie would be: Conceptual and strategic thinking and planning, managing and developing staff, managing relationships and partners and personal effectiveness (Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, A., and Dennison, P, June 2003, A Review of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks).
Strategic thinking and planning skills could be improved as Jamie could have analysed and extended his research on the companies such as Lambowland and MLI before joining them. Though he saw much scope in both these companies for growth and significant contribution, he realized he took the wrong decision only with passing time. The companies were suffering and the senior leadership did not direct these companies in the right decision. Second, it is important that Jamie develop managing and developing staff in the company. This is because, he saw Tim Kelly as an employee to be of tremendous help while dealing with the sales force and he considered Kelly to be loyal and dependable. Cardullo insisted that Kelly be fired as he found him to be incompetent. But Kelly was a 25-year company veteran with excellent relationships with sales force. In organizations, it is important to develop existing employees as they understand the culture and values better than any new employee would. The knowledge that Kelly could bring in should be highly valued, and for this reason Jamie can improve developing the staff in the company to improve organizational performance. Third, Jamie realizes that during his stint at Lambowland, he developed personal animosities. He understands that, perhaps, he was harsh in his assessment of his co-workers. A recent experiment conducted on exploring employee growth based on interpersonal environment factors has shown that classmate relation and people quality in interpersonal environment are critical for the growth of employee. (Liu, Jiamin., Li, Jiting., Wang, Tao., He, Renjie 2019 IEEE Fifth International Conference on Big Data Computing Service and Applications).