A Case Study Report on Organisational Culture

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Last updated: June 18, 2019

It goes further on to analyze leadership and communications as two problematic behavioral aspects at TPAF that could be addressed to improve organizational performance and concludes by detailing recommendations that can be undertaken to bring about these improvements. Information for the report was gathered from the organization’s website and published reports, personal observation and reference materials available through the USC online library.The report establishes that TPAF’s organization structure is what is typically referred to as a bureaucracy with functional departmentalization and high levels of standardization. Although TPAF has its own set of values that it would like its employees to practice, in reality a different work culture exists which is reluctant to adoption of changes. Leadership and communication issues have been identified as problematic areas that TPAF can address in order to improve it organizational performance.

Streamlining of the decision making processes, adoption of transformational leadership traits by TPAF managers, interdepartmental meetings and better vertical and horizontal communications are some of the recommendations that TPAF can adopt in order to improve its performance. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Executive Summaryii Introduction 1 Part I:TPAF’s Behavioral Characteristics The Organization Structure2 The Organization Culture6 Part II:Analysis of Problematic Behavioral Dimensions Behavioral Dimension 1: Leadership Issues at TPAF9 Behavioral Dimension 1: Communication Issues at TPAF11Conclusions13 Part III:Recommendations Strategies for Organizational Improvement at TPAF14 References 17 Introduction The Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji (TPAF) is a statutory organization established by the Parliament of the Republic of the Fiji Islands under the Training & Productivity Authority of Fiji Act of 2002 and succeeds the former Fiji National Training Council (FNTC); (, March, 2007). The latter was established in 1973 through the Fiji National Training Act, Cap 93 with a view towards addressing skill shortages in the country through provision of vocational training.In this report we will be outlining TPAF’s key behavioral characteristics with strong emphasis on the organization structure and the work culture.

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We will then go further and conduct a systematic analysis of two behavioral dimensions that are causing problems at TPAF and finally we will make detailed recommendations on strategies that TPAF can employ to bring about changes to address these behavioral issues for the betterment of the organization. The first part of the report is mainly a descriptive analysis of the present situation at TPAF and the information presented has been gathered from TPAF ebsite, annual reports and personal observation. The second and third parts are more systematized analysis and the assessments are backed up by research on published literature in the organizational behavior field. The overall aim of the report is to portray the existing situation at TPAF, analyze problematic issues that are impeding organizational development and make recommendations on strategies that can be implemented to address the problems.

PART I:TPAF’s Behavioral Characteristics The Organization StructureOverall TPAF’s organization structure is what German Sociologist Max Weber labeled a bureaucracy; an organization that relied on legal authority, logic and order and was characterized by division of labor, hierarchical control, promotion by merit with career opportunities for employees and administration by rule (Wood et al. 2004). An illustration of TPAF’s formal structure’s (see exhibits 1& 2) would reveal some of these characteristics. Exhibit 1: TPAF Organization Structure by Division Exhibit 2: TPAF Organization Structure by Position pic] As seen from these exhibits, TPAF clearly defined divisions to carry out its enacted responsibilities; there are clear lines of authority and reporting channels for each individual to follow and career paths are well mapped out in each division which are strong indicators of the bureaucratic structure. An analysis of the six key elements (Robbins & Judge 2007) in design of organization structure relates other aspects of TPAF’s organization structure as follows: 1. Work Specialization There are high levels of work specialization at TPAF.

This is clearly evident in the Accounts Section of the Corporate Services Department where individual clerical officers only deal with one aspect of the accounts services such as debtors, creditors, payroll, cashier and so on. Their recruitment is based on their experience in handling these specific areas and the tasks that they perform are clearly outlined in their position descriptions. 2. Departmentalization TPAF has created departments based on the functional areas of the overall responsibilities it has been tasked with through the Fiji National Training (FNT) Act.The Corporate Services Department is responsible for overall administration and accounting functions.

The departments responsible for providing training have also been grouped based on the type and area of training their outputs are concentrated on. For example, the Technical Training Department is responsible for providing training for the mechanical, electrical, construction and marine sectors whilst the Management, IT & Manufacturing Training Department is responsible for providing training for Information Technology, Garment Manufacturing, Footwear Manufacturing sectors. 3. Chain of CommandExhibit 2 clearly depicts the chain of command that exists at TPAF.

The chain of command extends right from the trainees (lowest level) to the Director General who is the chief executive of the organization and is answerable to the TPAF Board. Every position has some authority allocated to it which facilitates passing on instructions and responsibilities to subordinates based on the level of authority relevant to the position. For example a training officer can approve the leave of his/her clerical officer but he/she cannot approve another training officer’s leave because that authority lies with the training manager.Individual employees report to only one superior which maintains the unity of command principle. 4. Span of Control The number of employees a manager can have direct control over at TPAF is small; a range of five to eight employees.

Because of this TPAF’s organizational structure has led to as many as six levels of occupational groupings between the director general and the trainees. Whilst in Fiji terms, TPAF is a fairly large organization, there are numerous delays in decision making and communication problems because of the number of levels that a decision process has to go through before being finalized. 5.

Centralization and Decentralization As mentioned earlier each of the position at TPAF comes with its own level of allocated authority. Decision making is fairly decentralized when it comes to TPAF divisional officers because the general managers at the different centers are responsible for the overall running of the centre and therefore have the authority to make decisions on matters directly related to the activities of the respective centers. At the headquarters, however, decision making is quite centralized as all major decisions have to go through he various levels in the decision making process which can become quite lengthy at times.In terms of procurement decisions the director general, general managers and managers can make purchases at their own discretion to a certain level of financial commitment.

Any procurement activity that exceeds the director generals financial limits have to be referred to the TPAF Board for approval. 6. Formalization TPAF is a highly standardized organization.

Being ISO 9000:2001 certified, all of TPAF’s activities are reflected as procedures which have to be followed by every employee.Monthly internal audits and bi-annual external audits ensure adherence to procedures which are vital towards maintaining the certification. Every position also has fairly detailed position descriptions which outline an employee’s responsibility at the various positions that exist in the organization.

As procedures dictate how even routine tasks are to be handled, employee discretion at handling tasks is very minimal. The Organization Culture Organizational culture is the set of values, norms and shared meanings that significantly influence the behavior of organizational members (Lussier & Poulos 2001).Linked to its vision and mission TPAF has a set of values which all employees are expected to practice. They are: • Customers first and foremost • Information sharing & communication • Teamwork • Job satisfaction • Empowerment Through observation one should be able to conclude that most TPAF employees adhere to the first value and recent customer satisfaction survey (part of industry training needs survey of 2006) have also indicated that in general most customers are very satisfied with the services provided to them by TPAF.

Information sharing, communication and teamwork within individual departments is very open and fluent but when it comes to interdepartmental issues these values are not maintained as staff in individual department are quite reluctant to share information or work with members of other departments. The issue of job satisfaction is difficult to comment on because to date there has not been any survey to verify the satisfaction levels amongst TPAF employees.With the bureaucratic form of organization structure that TPAF has adopted, the practice of empowerment is limited due to the authority being already allocated to individual positions. Whilst on the face of it the above mentioned five values would seem to be the hallmarks of TPAF’s work culture, an analysis of the seven primary characteristics that, according to Robbins and Judge, capture the essence of an organization’s culture may well reveal the true work culture being practiced at TPAF . Innovation and Risk Taking All major decisions that carry an element of risk are made by the Senior Management Team (SMT) comprising of the director general and general managers. Whilst management is always encouraging innovation, in reality the high levels of standardization due to ISO certification leaves little room for innovation. 2. Attention to Detail TPAF would rate high on this characteristic as detailed information is highly valued by management.

Furthermore specific requirements are included in the ISO procedures for individual tasks and every department is required to prepare detailed monthly, quarterly, half yearly and yearly activities reports outlining their achievements. 3. Outcome Orientation Whilst TPAF management would like to give more emphasis to outcomes, in reality techniques and processes used to achieve the outcome are often as important as the outcomes themselves, again due to the ISO issues and the fact that such adherence is part of every manager’s performance plan. 4.

People OrientationTPAF is regarded as one of the more prestigious organizations to be associated with in Fiji. Part of the reason for this is that it puts high value on its employees as the most important resource of the organization. All decisions are made with due consideration of its impact on the employees. A very strong staff union could also be contributing towards TPAF’s high people orientation. 5. Team Orientation In individual departments, especially in the training department, you would find teams working effectively to meet their key performance indicators (KPI’s).

For Example all the training officers in the management and quality training department would plan their training for the year as a team, utilizing the teaching facilities such as classrooms and equipment available to the department, scheduling their programs to avoid clashes with a vision towards achieving the departments training targets for the year. This same type of teamwork and understanding is not evident when it comes to interdepartmental events such as the TPAF Graduation where petty issues always seem to create disharmony. . Aggressiveness Generally most of TPAF’s employees are easygoing and highly sociable during and beyond working hours. Some departments experience some internal competition amongst staff towards achievement of their targets but such conflicts are generally isolated incidents. 7. Stability In the tenure of the current leadership at TPAF the emphasis has always been on growth, development of bigger and better training facilities, procurement of latest training equipment, recruitment of the best training officers, etc.Even the political instability in the country has not diminished the organizations appetite for growth and it has implemented a ten year master plan for the growth of the institution.

PART II:Analysis of Problematic Behavioral Dimension Behavioral Dimension 1:Leadership Issues at TPAF In any organization, the success or its failure in terms of aligning the whole organization to its vision and mission statements can be accredited as being the responsibility of the organizations leaders.In fact researchers have identified leadership as being one of the biggest factors contributing to employee perceptions in the workplace and workplace engagement (Bass, Avolio, Jung & Benson, 2003; Buckingham & Coffman, 1999 in Wang & Walumbwa, 2007). This is due to the fact that leaders are the focal point of the whole teams’ effort in achieving its organizational goals – a simpler illustration of this concept would be that the team leader would need to walk the talk in order for the whole organization or team to follow suit and work towards its goals. This is, therefore, the basis of this analysis of leadership within TPAF – he apparent lack of ability of its leaders to entice or influence TPAF staff in its organizational goals. The charismatic leader or transformational leadership theory indicates leaders who have this ability to influence its members in changes to the team goals or entice members to follow new strategies so as to attain team leader’s new perception of its organizational goals. This leadership trait is not present in TPAF as an organization especially when new concepts or strategies brought about by its leader have not been accepted wholeheartedly by TPAF employees.This can be illustrated in TPAF’s recent alignment with ISO 9000:2001 certification in its efforts to be product oriented and therefore be benchmarked according to ISO standards. Employees at TPAF have been disillusioned by the concept of ISO 9000:2001 due to the bulldozing or fast tracking of these procedures and process towards ISO certification.

Henceforth all procedures and processes pertaining to ISO certification are being regarded as merely paper exercises and not essential practices which would lead towards an enhanced product quality.A transformational leader in this instance would have provided meaning; thereby making followers identify with respective goals and problems (Shamir, House & Arthur, 1993 in Boerner, Eisenbeiss & Griesser, 2007) associated with the ISO 9000:2001 standardization quality systems. With a charismatic leader at its helm, TPAF members, we believe, would have endorsed this concept and would have refocused on its new set of aims and targets without any fuss due to the influence the leader has on its members.

This therefore leads us to the question as to why is TPAF’s leaders not being recognized as being a charismatic leaders.In Robbins definition of a charismatic leader, the leadership traits of being a visionary and sensitive leader can be viewed in TPAF however the trait of taking risks and exhibiting unconventional behavior in terms of leading TPAF is being deemed as not present in TPAF. This can be illustrated by the many departmental proposals for increases to its training resources being turned down due to TPAF board pressure and proposals being considered as risky in terms of financial issues.

This is even with TPAF’s training departments currently producing financial surpluses annually for the last few years, training epartments have been indicated to make do with what is available and await TPAF’s Master Plan. In addition to this leadership problem, TPAF also exhibits a hierarchal structure whereby the General Managers who are leaders of individual divisions report to the Director General who then reports to the TPAF board. This bureaucracy inhibits the individual departments in the sense that all Capital Expenses and operational costs which have been proposed by the training departments are at the whim of board members and ,therefore, are inhibited in the core function which is on training.Henceforth, decisions are made by the TPAF board of which are not involved directly with training and therefore may only consider costs as the main criteria.

This falls in line with the theory that with a bureaucratic organizational structure, leadership and its decision making policies become entangled within the bureaucracy and organizations can become stifled in their operations. The probability of communication being distorted and filtered by the time proposals reach the higher levels of the organization becomes more inherent and therefore needs to be analyzed thoroughly by the management board.Behavioral Dimension 2:Communication Issues at TPAF An effective communication culture will ensure the proactive exchange of knowledge, opinions and ideas by everyone in the organization. The effect should include faster decision making, increased productivity and allow that old buzzword empowerment to actually happen (Schonfelder, 1998). Communication in any organization is essential as all functions or strategies mapped out for an organization need to be transferred and understood by all its members for the betterment of the organization.

TPAF communication channels have been set out clearly however there is still some failure within the organization as not communicating well in both the vertical and horizontal communication channel. This can be illustrated in the TPAF’s ISO 9000:2001 and Integrated Student Management System (ISMS) saga whereby the apparent lack of communication with all parties involved with these two systems that led to the failure of the ISMS and also the current reluctance or lack of interest in buying into these ISO standards and procedures.Communication in terms of making organization aware of the pros and cons of all new strategies can ensure a more thorough debate and therefore ownership by all involved. The above Student Information System ISMS incorporated by TPAF in 2006 is an excellent illustration of lack of vertical communication whereby only the Information Technology and Accounts departments were involved in the initial stages and the actual uses of the ISMS systems the training departments were only brought into the picture after system had been developed.On implementation of system, training departments found out a huge mismatch in terms of training information relevant to participants in its training and the system designed to keep track of all student data. This therefore eventually led to the board decision in 2007 disregarding the current ISMS and TPAF management being tasked with sourcing out a new Student Information System software program. In this ISMS saga there was some form of communication between departments however the complete understanding of the whole student information data required by all involved was not made clear hence mismatch in the later stages.

This henceforth indicates the importance of the total communication process – communicating to recipient and ensuring that the communique is understood by the intended recipient. TPAF also has problems within its inter-departmental communication in the sense that information sharing, communication and teamwork within individual departments is very open and fluent but when it comes to interdepartmental issues these values are not maintained as staff in individual department are quite reluctant to share information or work with members of other departments.This lack of communication can be best illustrated by individual departments conducting its own marketing strategies even though there is a department responsible for the marketing of TPAF products – Marketing and Research. This apparent lack of lateral or horizontal communication is detrimental to TPAF as an organization even though individual departments are producing surpluses annually in the sense that proper or better communication with departments can lead to time savings and eventually financial costs.The amount of marketing strategies developed and conducted by individual departments if communicated well and conducted by only the Marketing department would save TPAF a huge sum of money and time. This, therefore, would hold the Research and Marketing department responsible for marketing of all training departmental products and would release all training staff to concentrate solely on the training aspect.

Conclusions The organizational structure of the Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji can best be descried as a bureaucracy with clear lines of authority and reporting channels.The organization is departmentalized based on the functions and services that TPAF has been enacted to provide under the Training & Productivity Authority of Fiji Act of 2002. TPAF is a highly standardized organization due in part to the adoption of the ISO 9000:2001 quality framework. Whilst TPAF has identified five key values that the organization expects its employees to adhere to; they may not be the best indicators of the true organization culture that exists at TPAF.Whilst there has always been an emphasis on growth at TPAF, all major decisions are made by the senior management with little or not input from other employees and high levels of standardization encourages innovation.

Teamwork within departments is quite successful but interdepartmental teams do not seem to function as per expectations. Leadership and communications are two issues that TPAF can work upon to improve its organizational performance. There is a lack of transformational or charismatic leadership traits being demonstrated from the top brass which has made acceptance of change quite difficult among the other employees in general.Lack of consultation and communication across departmental levels could also be contributing factors towards this problem in the lack of confidence with leadership style and management. PART III:Recommendations – Strategies for Organizational Improvement at TPAF Employees are among those groups that are crucial to an organization and depending on their perception of organizational performance they will communicate positive or negative messages to other important publics who could have an impact on organizational performance (Daly, Teague & Kitchen, 2003).This perception both internally and externally therefore clearly emphasizes the importance of leadership within any organization. TPAF leaders therefore in order to fall along the charismatic and transformational leadership styles need to work more closely with all departments in TPAF. The trait theory of leadership states that personal qualities and characteristics define a leader hence good leaders are born.

This can be challenged by leaders becoming more involved with the core function of an organization hence attains all necessary knowledge and therefore makes better decision in relation to the core function.This is therefore our basis for more involvement by TPAF leaders with the ground work or its core functions in training. The more the involvement with all departments, the more the appreciation from members and hence the more effective the leadership style with respect to the ability by leader to change or modify organizational aims and visions. In the definition of a charismatic leader the characteristic of risk taking and unconventional thinking or behavior is built into this theory and therefore is a requirement for TPAF’s leaders.

This abnormality in the sense of “thinking outside the box” will surely motivate members to also be original in its ideas and thinking so as to attain the required targets. As opposed to leaders worrying only about the bottom line, leaders should also look at the main core function of the organization and appraise situations based on this training function aspect. This would indicate that leader and organization are both looking at all opportunities to attain the organizational vision, mission statements and aims which have been set out.Due to the bureaucratic nature of TPAF’s organizational structure, the problem on decisions being made by people not directly involved with core function of organization becomes more real.

This therefore leads us to the recommendation to remove this bureaucracy and restructuring of organizational structure so as to have the decision making process at the General Manager and Director level. This therefore ensures that the decision policy is made at levels directly in touch with the actual departments.The removal of this bureaucracy or specialization within TPAF structure will remove the subunit conflicts currently underlying within TPAF departments.

The increase in innovative ideas will be a result of removing the bureaucratic channels since decisions can be dealt with leaders who are in close contact with members on operational matters. This also brings into context the importance of communication within organizations and the effect on both its members and also its operations as a whole. Recommendation is for increased communication within the organization in both the lateral and vertical direction.Improvement in communication vertically, that is, from leader to members, increases members’ awareness of leader being more involved with day to day operations and therefore produces a more receptive work culture to changes and modifications to the organization. Improved lateral communication in TPAF amongst General Managers and also individual managers of departments can fast track changes to operational systems and in the long run saves time and money for the organization. Interdepartmental communication can be developed for TPAF whereby all departments can have monthly meetings on its activities and best practices.

All managers have the chance to inform other departments on their current operations and problems identified in their individual departments. The combining of all departments into brainstorming each others problems can lead to a more thorough working solution and departments can utilize solutions for similar problematic areas within their departments. This forum can increase the awareness of all departments on the roles and operations of each department and, therefore, a better understanding of all processes hence a more streamlined organization in terms of customer service and basically increased dollar value for products.As indicated in the organizational communication theory on small group networks which is recommended for TPAF interdepartmental communication amongst managers, the speed of communication between managers and the satisfaction with the level of communication is high and therefore will benefit TPAF as a whole.


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