Q.s 1 What theories from this chapter are relevant for analyzing the case? Ans 1) Leader Member Exchange theory also known as LMX or Vertical Dyad Linkage theory would be most appropriate in analyzing this case. According to this theory Leaders tend to build special relations with some employees which end up becoming a part of the Leaders inner circle. These employees are implicitly trusted by the leader and usually given high levels of responsibility, decision making power and access to resources. In return the inner circle is expected to work hard and achieve their objectives and display loyalty. The other employees who belong to the out group, on the other hand are given lower levels of responsibility.
It is evident from Eds behavior that he as a leader of the group had already identified his inner circle which comprised of Patt among others. They were not only given more significant projects but were also well appreciated. These inner circle employees were content and hence were good performers and contributors with complete loyalty towards Ed.
On the other hand, Kathie , Sallie and George were a part of the outer group. They were given comparatively less importance and hence felt discriminated against leading to overall job dissatisfaction. Hence LMX theory is definitely in play in this case. Q.s 2 Evaluate Ed’s behavior as a manager, and identify effective and ineffective actions Ans 2) Eds style of management in an effective one, which , if used correctly can not only strengthen his relationship with his subordinates but also motivate the team members to achieve their objectives. Eds strategy of empowering employees and encouraging them to make their own decisions, thereby enabling them to learn new skills, required to perform the job well is an effective way of management. Effective actions by Ed:
He is trying to empower subordinates, make rewards contingent on performance, and give subordinates an equal opportunity. These actions are consistent with currently prescribed management approaches. Ineffective actions by Ed:
He fails to appreciate the significant individual differences among his subordinates, and he does not understand the need to vary his behavior more across subordinates. Besides providing autonomy to the employees, he needs to develop the skills and self-efficacy of the inexperienced employees. This can be done through providing appropriate instruction, coaching and support. Ed should meet subordinates periodically to discuss their work relationship, negotiate the subordinate’s role and plan with the employees about how to achieve improvement of relevant skills. Perhaps the experienced employees could coach or mentor the new employees. This is also one way for the senior employees to learn leadership skills. Q.s 3 What should Dan say or do now?
Ans) Dan should provide suggestions to Ed on how to solve the problem in his marketing unit. Dan could instruct Ed on how to apply the LMX theory to management practices (the need to tailor his relationship to the requirements of each individual employee, recognizing individual differences. More importantly, Dan himself may also have made a mistake similar to Ed’s. Since it is Ed’s first supervisory position, Dan should provide more guidance and coaching to help Ed learn how to carry out leadership practices effectively. Because leadership training will only be effective if accompanied with appropriate follow-up activities such as encouragement, coaching, and support by the boss. For example, Dan could meet with Ed regularly to discuss in a supportive way how to improve his skills and attain leadership effectiveness.