Organization Behavior: the Case of Julie and Susan

The Case of Julie and Susan Introduction The case of Julie and Susan demonstrates how a breakdown in any component of the MARS Model affects individual behaviour and performance.

The questions facing Dr. Griffiths are; how did this breakdown occur, and is there an effective way to fix it? Using organizational behaviour theories, it is possible to analyze the symptoms, problems, and causes. From this analysis, a recommendation on how best to fix the situation can be developed.

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Given the facts of the case, it is clear that the main problem is that, Julie and Susan do not have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations. Analysis A symptom that has arisen from this problem is that Julie and Susan have engaged in a verbal disagreement. There are various causes that have made this an external issue within the workplace.

Julie finds Susan’s papers much more tedious than that of other faculty members. She also feels receiving proper communication and feedback from Susan difficult and frustrating.

On the other hand, Susan believes that Julie requires too much structure and direction, especially compared to Julie’s co-workers. In order to compensate, Susan provides her research assistant to help guide Julie. However, Julie feels as though the research assistant lacks proper information and knowledge. These are examples of situational factors that affect the behaviour and results of Julie and Susan.

The MARS Model describes that individual behaviour and results are driven by motivation, ability, role perception and situational factors.

If any one of these four factors is relatively low than an individual’s behaviour and results will be negative (CITE TEXT). While it is evident from the case that Julie has the proper motivation, ability and role perception to complete Susan’s work, situational factors are affecting her behaviour and results. The situational factors preventing Julie from successfully completing tasks for Susan include; time, communication, and feedback. Julie feels as though the time she is given by Susan to complete her work is inadequate given its complexity.

Julie feels if she is given the proper amount of time, she will be in a better position to complete Susan’s work.

Julie also feels that the communication channels provided by Susan do not allow for questions to be answered and feedback given in an efficient manner. Following the MARS Model, if time allotted increases and communication between Julie and Susan improves so will Julie’s behaviour and results given her current position. The driver affecting Susan’s behaviour and results is her role perception. Mainly she does not understand what Julie expects from her.

Because Susan does not fully understand Julie’s expectations, coordination between the two employees is severely limited. This lack of coordination leads to conflict and eventually the verbal confrontation between Susan and Julie.

If Susan better understood Julie’s expectations, and made an effort to meet them, the relationship between Julie and Susan would improve and by extension the results would as well. As shown above, the behaviour and results of Julie and Susan can be explained by each of them having at least one low driving factor of the MARS Model.

Examining their descriptions of the problem to Dr. Griffiths, both women fall to Attribution Theory’s self-serving bias which states that people tend to attribute failures to external factors (CITE TEXT). Julie attributes the issue to the lack of time and feedback provided by Susan. While this is true based on the MARS Model, Julie fails to consider that other people in her situation are able to complete the work without issue.

This is an internal factor that she has failed to consider as a result of self-serving bias. Susan essentially places all of the blame on Julie.

Susan fails to consider that Julie may require additional time and feedback to successfully complete her work. Susan, like Julie, has fallen to self-serving bias by placing the blame on external factors and failing to consider internal factors that may have contributed to the situation. Dr.

Griffiths needs to be aware that self-serving bias has played a role in the descriptions given by Julie and Susan. This awareness will allow Dr. Griffiths to differentiate the true cause of the problem from the causes given by Julie and Susan.

The main cause of the issue at hand is that Julie and Susan do not have an understanding of what each person expects of one another. Julie expects Susan to provide her with more time and feedback, while Susan expects Julie to finish her assigned work in the time given, without any additional feedback.

This has led Susan to lack an understanding of her true role perception, given Julie’s expectations. At the same time, Julie has had to deal with external factors for which she was not prepared for, and that Susan feels Julie should be able to cope with, given the fact that Susan has no issue with the other secretaries.

Taking this information as the cause of the conflict between Susan and Julie, Dr. Griffiths should follow the proceeding recommendation. Recommendation Dr. Griffiths should begin by clarifying Susan’s role perception.

It also needs to be made clear to Julie that the nature of Susan’s work requires frequent revision in a short period of time. However, that said, Dr. Griffiths should assure Julie that every effort will be made to improve feedback. Improved feedback will decrease the number of situational factors that have limited Julie’s behaviour and results. These three actions on the part of Dr.

Griffiths should help to improve relations between Julie and Susan.

When clarifying Susan’s role perception Dr. Griffiths must make it clear to Susan that Julie expects quality feedback in a timely manner. By providing timely feedback to Julie it will help facilitate the removal of situational factors that are limiting Julie’s ability to provide the results that Susan is looking for. Also, Dr. Griffiths must ensure that Susan understands the priority of the feedback. Susan needs to be made aware that the feedback she provides Julie is, from Julie’s perspective, essential to completing the task.

Finally Dr. Griffiths must ensure that Susan understands the preferred method of feedback. It has been clear that a combination of electronic communication and the research assistant have been ineffective in providing the proper feedback. Dr. Griffiths must ask Susan to make an effort to speak with Julie directly when they are working on a project together. This direct communication should provide Julie with adequate feedback, and eliminate the lack of Susan’s role perception.

When clarifying Julie’s situational factors Dr.

Griffith must make it clear to Julie that due to the nature of Susan’s work, it would be difficult to provide her with additional time. However, it should be mentioned that Julie must make every reasonable effort to complete the work in the time given, similar to the effort shown by the other secretaries. Dr. Griffiths should inform Julie that going forward Susan will make an effort to provide more adequate and timely feedback.

This will include more face to face communication between Susan and Julie which should help ease the time constraint Julie feels while working on tasks for Susan.

This improved communication will help limit Julie’s situational factors and improve her behaviour and results. Conclusion In summary, the issue at hand was a lack of understanding between Julie and Susan about expectations each woman had for the other. By understanding this was the issue at hand; Dr. Griffiths is better able to resolve the situation. The recommendations given are specific to improving the behavior and results under the MARS Model and should result in a more positive environment for Julie and Susan to work in.