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Feeney 1

Michael C. Feeney
Professor Thomas Ingram
MBA 517
07/11/2019

Module 1: Case 1

1.What does this case suggest about the application of organizational-behavior knowledge by a first-level
supervisor?

This case suggests that knowledge of organizational-behavior is a powerful tool within a manager’s
toolkit. Danielle had limited ability to incentivize the custodial workers with raises or promotions so she
had to develop a sense of duty within the workers. It appears that Danielle’s meeting with the staff created
a morale boost due to the recognition of the importance of custodial work. When Danielle asked her staff
to speak in front of the group, the other group members took notice of the reasons why others thought
their work was important. As the discussion continued the workers began to build upon previous
responses and produced a sort of momentum. This concept is similar to what Jeffrey Pfeffer describes as
peer-pressure from teammates leading to increased worker production (Fundamentals of Organizational
Behavior 6th Edition, Page 9).The workers left the discussion empowered and Danielle’s strategy
appeared to work exceptionally well.

2.To what extent does it appear that Danielle is just playing “mind games” with her custodial staff to
keep them working harder and not quitting?

In this example I believe it would be off base to say that Danielle is simply playing “mind games” with
her staff. It appears that she is effectively using knowledge of organizational behavior and implementing
a plan to improve worker productivity. By acknowledging the position and the roles that custodians play
in the hierarchy of the hospital at the end of the worker’s speeches Danielle connects with the custodians
and attempts to motivate them. Danielle tries to establish an awareness that custodians do actually play a
role in keeping patients safe. Showing the custodians that they play a role in keeping the patients safe
fosters a sense of duty and pride in the workers. Therefore, I believe Danielle isn’t simply trying to con
the workers into working harder and not quitting but instead she’s trying to build a foundational
understanding of how custodians impact the hospital. By building a foundational understanding with the
custodians Danielle is planting a seed of pride and duty in the workers which appears to be an excellent
solution given the situation and its constraints (minimal financial incentives/promotions). Danielle
embodies a manager who’s trained in organizational behavior when she applied concepts which
“coordinate the activities of others toward the accomplishment of common goals” by organizing the
workers and showing them the importance of keeping the hospital clean (My Two Cents, Professor
Ingram).

3.If time permits, speak with a custodial worker and get the worker’s opinion of the purpose and
importance of his or her work. How does the information you uncover fit with what you read about in this
case?

While I was not able to get in contact with any custodial workers directly I searched the internet and used
a video as a reference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSKIV6mAPeU).

The custodial workers in the video all a sense of pride in their jobs. They all demonstrate that they enjoy
keeping the workplace clean for everyone and are adamant that their work is important to the overall
system. This information about how the custodial workers take great pride in their work is mirrored
exactly in the case study. When Danielle asks the workers to explain why they think their jobs are
Feeney 2

important all the custodians share a sense of pride. The workers recognize that they are an important cog
in the overall machine. I believe this is a great example of workers recognizing their roles and as a result
the overall system (the hospital in the case or the school in the video) operates more efficiently.