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Buddong Systems Case Analysis MGMT2002

Submitted by Jiayu LUO 3219847


25/09/2013

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847

Table of Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................... 2 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 3 2. Communication Issues .......................................................................................................... 3 2.1. Communication Competency......................................................................................... 3 2.2. Organisational Communication ..................................................................................... 4 2.3. Corporate Social Responsibility...................................................................................... 5 2.4. Intercultural Communication ......................................................................................... 5 3. Solutions ................................................................................................................................ 6 3.1. Task-Media Fit Model..................................................................................................... 6 3.2. Communication Clinic .................................................................................................... 6 3.3. External Facilitation of Communication ......................................................................... 6 3.4. Enhancement of Cultural Intelligence............................................................................ 6 4. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 6 5. Recommendations ................................................................................................................ 7 6. Reference List ........................................................................................................................ 8 7. Appendix ................................................................................................................................ 9 Appendix A ............................................................................................................................ 9

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 Executive Summary This report outlines and clarifies the communication problems of Buddong Systems (hereafter referred to as BS). In particular, the CEO Youngs poor choice of communication means and media, as well as his lack of intercultural communication skills is analysed and discussed. Organisational communication in this firm is also quite poor, from the gossip rumours of the new CEO to the poor team communication in Johansens team. Moreover, there is no balance in the direction of communication, as most communication seems to occur in the downward direction with little to no feedback. Upward direction is actively discouraged by Youngs verbal and non-verbal reactions to questions and other feedback. The majority of employees in the firm appear to be quite ethical, with the exception of the new CEO, which meant there was ethical conflict between the different levels of management.

Overall, it is recommended that Young undertake some communication clinic trials, as well as enrich his cultural intelligence through training and cross-cultural experiences such as international travel. Moreover, he should consider hiring external facilitators for communication, such as a secretary for himself, and agents to help the teams learn to communicate better. He also needs to implement the task-media fit model, so that the means used to communicate complements the message he intends to send out, decreasing the possibility of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 1. Introduction BS has clear communication issues, from the competency of the CEO, Ken Young, down to the managers abilities to speak up about their ethical conflicts. These is sues will be examined in detail, starting from the means of communication, as well as the competency of communication. The lack of corporate social responsibility will also be analysed, as the CEO obviously does not care about the ethical dilemmas faced by the employees, and as a result, would lead to lower job satisfaction and hence performance. Moreover, Youngs inability to adapt to the cultural environment at BS has led to poor intercultural communication, which will also be examined in detail as it affects both employee job satisfaction and job performance. Possible solutions will also be discussed, followed by recommendations to prevent further damage from communication problems in the future. This report has been prepared using secondary research of relevant journal articles as well as lecture notes and textbook material.

2. Communication Issues 2.1. Communication Competency 2.1.1. Computer Mediated Communication The new CEO, Young, appears to favour computer mediated communication when outlining his expectations for performance figures. The connotative meaning of these messages can be misconstrued, distorting Youngs intended message, which is not helped by Youngs use of clichd and informal language. Moreover, the asynchronous nature of these emails and texts would add to the distortion of his intended message, as the managers are unable to discern from other verbal and nonverbal cues. In addition, Youngs use of capitals will imply anger and too much force, leading to mistrust and anxiety from the lower management and employees. The lean medium of emails, while sufficient for the delivery of his message (Suh, 1999), is not the best medium in this particular case, especially in part due to the content of the message with the use of capital letters, which suggest a rather threatening tone, adding to the rumours that he was tough, ruthless and not particularly fair. As such, the email messages emphasized the rumours, further increasing the distrust and lowering the confidence of the managers to speak up and add to group discussions involving the CEO.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 2.2.2. Face-to-Face Communication While there is research showing that face-to-face communication leads to a higher degree of trust compared to computer mediated communication (Alge, Weithoff & Klein, 2003), Youngs behaviour and tone at the staff meeting was not conducive to building employees trust in him, which should have been his priority as he is new to the company.

Moreover, his use of tone and body language at the end of the meeting as a response to one of the sales managers question discourages other managers from giving him feedback. This feedback is necessary in this case as the majority of managers have doubts about the new program and this should be cleared up so they are encouraged to implement the program. Moreover, the exclusion of technical workers and other staff at the meeting means that these employees cannot voice their disagreement, resulting in delayed implementation of the programs (Guth & MacMillan, 1986), which, in turn, contributes to the low sales and low morale at the company.

2.2. Organisational Communication 2.2.1. Team Communication In terms of team communication, there is a problem with both the project team Johansen formed and the group of technicians and staff workers. Johansens project team was too hastily formed, leading to a distrustful team, which created hostility between the members, resulting in poor quality decision processes (Mooney, Holahan & Amason, 2007).

Group leaders are in the best position to manage team conflict (Amason, Thompson, Hochwarter & Harrison, 1995); however, the team leader appeared not have taken any action to ensure the team reached a conclusive opinion on the problem. The complaints made by the group of technicians and staff workers were never taken seriously, as Johansen failed to inform upper management of the issues he discussed with that group. Johansen needed to push on the topics he felt were more relevant in the meeting, such as the inclusion of the technical workers or the complaints made by other staff members.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847

2.2.2. Communication Direction A balance in communication direction is needed for effective communication there needs to be have an effective downward direction with an accompanying upward direction of communication (Addison, 1968). BS has no such balance, as communication primarily takes place in the downward direction due to Youngs attitude putting off the upward flow of communication. For example, Youngs reaction to Wangs question is clearly a precursor to all future questions, leading to the managers not speaking up about their doubts in regards to the demands from Young, which will result in lack of implementation of the work necessary to carry out his demands.

2.3. Corporate Social Responsibility Young appears have high egoism as long as the profits are high, he does not care what needs to be done to achieve that profit. A result of this was the resignation of CFO Cheng, who obeyed Youngs demand to pay a bribe but ultimately resigned from the company. This conflict of ethics will continue to affect company performance as the employees disagree with the CEOs decisions. Moreover, should it become public knowledge that BS went to such tactics to achieve higher sales, it would be highly probable to have negative effects on the corporations future and the stakeholders (Frooman, 1997). As such, it would be in the best interests of the firm to focus on getting the new system online rather than telling customers what they want to hear.

2.4. Intercultural Communication Cognitive cultural intelligence combines knowledge attained through learning and new experiences, which represent the cultures and beliefs held in different cultures (Ang and Inkpen 2008). Unfortunately, Young displays low cultural intelligence, restricting himself to generalisations and avoiding communicating with the Asian technical staff, characterizing them as sneaky, and generalizing that they only smile and nod whenever you ask them something. This means that they do not get the information firsthand from the CEO, and consequently may feel discouraged and demotivated, which will negatively impact both technological innovation as well as job satisfaction and performance.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 3. Solutions 3.1. Communication Clinic A communication clinic such as one described in Sexton and Staudt (1957)s article would facilitate improved communication competency in both management and employees. Appendix A tabulates the typical 4 steps in the clinic operation. Application of the clinical approach would lead to more motivation and an increase in morale for the employees of BS, leading to better job performance and future profit.

3.2. External Facilitation of Communication Employment of external agents may encourage more efficient upward communication, as well as improve the quality of downward communication, so misinterpretation is less likely to occur.

3.3. Enhancement of Cultural Intelligence Young needs to consider improving his cultural intelligence so he is able to communicate with the technical staff to clearly state the necessity of the new programs in order to improve job performance and innovation. Cultural intelligence can be improved through formal preparation (such as training) or cross-cultural experiences (such as travelling; Van Dyne et al. 2007).

4. Conclusion As discussed, the communication problems at Buddong Systems lie mainly with Youngs poor communication competence, as well as the lack of upward communication within the firm. Young needs to send his messages through a better medium, as he comes across harsh and arrogant via email and verbal face-to-face. He needs to mediate his tone and body language to avoid discouraging feedback and upward communication. Moreover, Johansen needs to encourage communication within the team as well as be more confident in discussing key issues with Young at the meeting. In addition, Young needs to consider the damage in the long run to the company if he continues to maintain his egoism in terms of social responsibility. Not only is it a source of conflict within the firm, but the negative effects on the future of the firm and its stakeholders is substantial. Overall, the firm needs to undertake the recommended solutions immediately in order to prevent future loss.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 5. Recommendations 5.1. The communication clinic is undertaken by the whole company, such that all employees are able to improve their communication skills. 5.2. Enforced feedback from the employees should be handed in every two months in order to improve team communication. 5.3. Young needs to undertake communication training to control his tone and body language in order to improve his image at the firm and earn the trust of the management and employees. 5.4. Young should undertake an international trip, preferably an Asian country, and employ a local tour guide to familiarise him with the culture and beliefs. 5.5. A rewards system should be implemented to improve morale at the company and boost technological innovation and job performance. 5.6. External agents should be employed for the first year or two to encourage upward communication and mediate downward communication. 5.7. Young should employ an assistant or secretary to assess his messages to minimise the excessive language and tone. 5.8. Young needs to sit down and discuss the ethical conflicts within the firm with management to minimise the damage to the firm in the future. 5.9. Johansen should reform the project team and manage it himself to discover where the problem is with sales figures. 5.10. Weekly meetings with the entire staff need to be conducted for the next few months in order to raise morale and trust, and obtain feedback from the employees. 5.11. The company needs to look into better technological innovation in order to improve future company prospects.

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 6. Reference List Suh, K. S. (1999). Impact of communication medium on task performance and satisfaction: An examination of media richness theory. Information Management, 35(5), 295312. Ang, S., and Inkpen, C. (2008), Cultural Intelligence and Offshore Outsourcing Success: A Framework of Firm-Level Intercultural Capability, Decision Sciences, 29, 3, 337 358. Alge, B. J., Weithoff, C., & Klein, H. J. (2003). When does the medium matter? Knowledgebuilding experiences and opportunities in decision making teams. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 91, 2637. Guth, W. D., & MacMillan, I. C. (1986). Strategy implementation versus middle management self-interest. Strategic Management Journal, 7, 313327. Mooney, A. C., Holahan, P. J., & Amason, A. C. (2007). Don't take it personally: Exploring cognitive conflict as a mediator of affective conflict. Journal of Management Studies, 44(5), 733758. Amason, A. C., Thompson, K. R., Hochwarter, W. A., & Harrison, A. W. (1995). Conflict: An important dimension in successful management teams. Organizational Dynamics, 3(2), 20. Addison C. Bennett (1968) Improving Downward Communication: focus on Management Methods, Hospital Topics, 46:6, 58-60 Frooman, J. (1997). Socially irresponsible and illegal behaviour and shareholder wealth. Business & Society, 36(3), 221249. Hymes, D. (1972). Models of the interaction of language and social life. In J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (Eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics: The ethnography of communication (pp. l72). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., and Nielsen, T.M. (2007), Cultural Intelligence, in International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, eds. S. Clegg and J. Bailey, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 345 350. Sexton, R & Staudt, V (1957) The Clinic Approach to Business Communication, The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 44:1, 109-110

Buddong Systems Case Analysis


Submitted by Jiayu LUO z3219847 7. Appendix Appendix A Typical 4 Steps 1. 2. 3. 4. Each clinic member takes a battery of standardized diagnostic tests of intelligence, reading ability, vocabulary, English usage, and critical thinking. A work sample of his writing is submitted by each individual, and a speech recording is made by each as well. Each participant prepares a self-report of his problems in writing, reading, and speech. In an interview which the clinic director schedules with each participant to analyse his individual problems and objectives in communication, the selfappraisal and the summary profile of test findings together are interpreted and discussed.