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A job change was necessary, even in a recession

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A job change was necessary, even in a recession

Gwen started her career as a recruiter with an 18-month stint at an engineering firm. The work was interesting and challenging, with a lot of variety. Yet she chose to leave in 2009, right in the middle of the recession when jobs were not easy to find. Why?
The atmosphere was poisonous for me. I found people blunt and unsociable. They would give me simple yes/no answers to questions, there was no chat, no interest shown in me as an individual. It was sexist. For example, when a manager asked me to find a summer student for him, he asked me to make sure she had a large bust size. And he wasn’t joking. My manager was so critical that I found it abusive. I was underpaid and underappreciated.

Ironically, the company has been repeatedly named one of Canada’s best managed companies. It makes substantial contributions to charitable organizations and it prides itself on how it treats its staff. The president notes how the company focuses on attracting and retaining the best talent, and on developing staff.

Landing on her feet in a new position at a large child care provider, Gwen is much happier. She works in the headquarters of a not-for-profit community organization that provides childcare and before- and after-school care in many locations in a Canadian metropolitan area. Why is Gwen happier?

This is a friendly, warm atmosphere where everyone cares. They celebrate retirements, they give you personalized thank you notes for good work, they often provide food. A person waiting for a cancer diagnosis was told to go home and was sent a large bouquet of flowers. Employees are offered a lot of training, so workers at the centres are at head office regularly and connect with the organization. The company is proud of its focus and talks about being a place where you want to leave your children. There is an emphasis on treating everyone with respect—children, parents, full-time staff, part-time staff. Also, I’m better paid here. Of course there is a down side to working in this close community. Everyone knows your business. And the low turnover means there is some resistance to change. My position had been empty for some time before I was hired. I went to my manager soon after I started with some plans on how to revamp the position and do things differently, but she rejected it, saying it was too much change for the company. Also, the work here is easier, less challenging than it was at the other company. And I am unclear about a career path here.

* This case is based on a true story with names changed.

1. How would McClelland describe Gwen’s motivational needs?
a. She has a need for socialized power.
b. She has a need for personalized power.
c. She has a need for achievement.
d. She has a need for affiliation.

2. How does Gwen illustrate Herzberg’s ideas on motivation?
a. She was so dissatisfied by a hygiene factor (poor interpersonal relations) that she left a job that had motivating factors.
b. The outcomes related to her work at the engineering firm had low valence for her, leading her to seek another job whose outcomes had higher valence.
c. Her sense of inequity motivated her to leave an unfair situation.
d. Her work is a source of meaning for her rather than an obligation.

3. Gwen is upset at the way she is treated at the engineering firm. What kind of justice has been violated for Gwen?
a. Distributive justice
b. Interactional justice
c. Procedural justice
d. Benevolent justice

4. Maslow would say that Gwen is currently focused on her self-actualization needs.
a. True
b. False

5. At the engineering firm, Gwen felt that she could do her job effectively but how well she did her job was not connected to outcomes like recognition and money. How would expectancy theory explain this?
a. There is a mismatch between Gwen’s expectancy and the company’s expectancy.
b. There is low valence for potential outcomes the engineering firm may offer.
c. There is conflict between expectancy and equity.
d. There is low instrumentality.

6. It is possible that Gwen’s experience in a staff role at the engineering firm is very different from what an employee in an engineering or line role experiences. Which of the following applies expectancy theory to that situation?
a. The engineers have more challenging goals to achieve so find the work more intrinsically satisfying.
b. The company’s greater regard for their engineering employees leads to a greater sensitivity to issues of fair treatment.
c. Because the company values the engineers’ work more highly, it notices and rewards their successful performance, creating instrumentality and valence which is not true of those in Gwen’s position.
d. The firm puts more emphasis on hygiene factors like salary, interpersonal relations, supervision and working conditions for engineering employees than for administrative employees.

7. It appears that the engineering firm gave Gwen little to no feedback regarding her work. Which of McClelland’s needs would this be particularly frustrating for?
a. Need for affiliation.
b. Need for socialized power.
c. Need for personalized power.
d. Need for achievement.

8. How might we apply Alderfer’s regression hypothesis to this situation?
a. Gwen may be emphasizing the relationship opportunities at the child care provider because the growth opportunities are limited.
b. Gwen showed a lack of moral maturity in dealing with the motivational challenges at the engineering firm.
c. Gwen will not be happy on a continuing basis at the child care provider because she is settling for less than she is capable of.
d. Gwen might be less willing to work for the child care provider, a company with an altruistic mission, if the pay was less adequate.

9. If Gwen was described as “equity sensitive”, what would that mean?
a. She is comfortable with an equity ratio less than that of a comparison other.
b. She is comfortable with an equity ratio equal to that of a comparison other.
c. She is comfortable with an equity ratio more than that of a comparison other.

10. Research suggests that goal setting will not work well with Gwen because she is young, female and educated.
a. True
b. False

11. If Gwen came from a culture with a high need to avoid uncertainty, what need is likely to drive much of her behaviour?
a. Need for security
b. Esteem needs
c. Relatedness needs
d. Need for power

  • SubjectBusiness
  • TopicOrganizational Behavior
  • Difficulty LevelCollege/University
  • Answer has attachmentsNo
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Tom Stokes
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