Monday, April 07, 2008

"Ben Samuels vs Phil Jones" Case Study

You might need to read the case study in Gary Yukl's "Leadership in Organizations 6th edition" book (page 80) first before continuing to the following questions and answers. - Antony Gumi, March 2008

1. What does this case illustrate about leadership?

It illustrates about 2 managers, Ben Samuel and Phil Jones, who have very contrast personalities and leadership behaviours. It is clearly described that Ben Samuels is a relations-oriented leader, while Phil Jones is a task-oriented leader. Regarding Ohio State leadership study, we can also say that Ben Samuels is a “consideration” type of leader, while Phil Jones is an “Initiating Structure” one. Throughout the story, the writer tries to describe both leadership behaviours’ effectiveness by stating their weakness and strength implicitly.

2. To what extent does each leader (Ben Samuels and Phil Jones) display the following behaviour?

§ Relations Behaviour (Supporting, Developing, Recognizing)

o Ben Samuels is a relations-oriented leader who is very supportive and very concern for the needs and feelings of his subordinates. He also tried to develop his subordinates’ skills by holding training programs, which later was abandoned by his successor, Phil Jones. He also recognized his subordinates by remembering their names and often communicates or chats with them. He treated people equally.

o Phil Jones is not a relation-oriented leader. He is not supportive and has less concern for the needs and feelings of his subordinates. We can also know from the story that Phil is slightly harsh towards his subordinates (i.e. he reprimanded them on the spot if they made mistakes). He also has no hesitation of sacking any under-performing employees (i.e. he only give 2 weeks for the employee to improve his/her performance, if there are no improvement shown, then he/she will be fired immediately).

§ Specific Task Behaviour (Clarifying, Planning, Monitoring)

o Ben Samuels is not a task-oriented leader. He did less or almost no monitoring to his subordinates’ working progress. He never conducted planning and he also delegates decision making to his subordinates since he believed that his subordinates are trustworthy and capable of doing it.

o Phil Jones is a task-oriented leader. His subordinates must consult with him before any decisions are made. He often conducts planning and closely monitors his subordinates’ performance.

§ What employee attitudes were influenced by each leader’s behaviour?

o Ben Samuels’ subordinates are very loyal to him and love him very much. It results in the company low turnover rate. However, his non-task-oriented behaviour has resulted in low productivity since employees were not encouraged for improvements. The company also spend more cost under his management since he spent more on building facilities, paying “unnecessary” employees, and never conduct any attempts to reduce production cost.

o Phil Jones’ subordinates are not loyal. It can be seen from the company high turnover rate and how employees dislike him. However, his task-oriented behaviour has resulted in high productivity. He also managed to lower the production cost.

3. If you were selected to be the manager of this plant, what would you do to achieve both high employee satisfaction and performance?

According to the story, it would be best if I employ both methods or adapt to both leadership behaviours at the same time. In order to achieve high employee satisfaction, I will be a relations-oriented leader who are supportive and concerns of people’s feelings and needs. At the same time, I will be a task-oriented leader who concerns toward improving company productivity. I believe that Ben Samuels was a good leader. I think what is wrong with his management is that his lack of concern in productivity and his equal treatment towards all subordinates regarding task delegation. Each person is unique; they have different level of skills and distinct personalities. What I mean is that Ben Samuels should have known his subordinates’ skills and personalities well before fully delegates (i.e. trust planning and decision making to subordinates without any monitoring) the task. Some people need to be monitored closely, while some others not. Also, some people can be trusted fully, while some others can’t. Thus, although it may be considered as “being unfair”, I believe that we can’t just treat people equally as Ben Samuels did. I will be selective and adjust my consideration-oriented and task-oriented leadership behaviour based on situation.


adipt said...

ahh.. gumi san..
masih berkutat ama leadership ya lu?

selamat menikmati.. gw dah semester kmarin menikmati 'makanan' yang beginian

muhammad said...

Very intereating topic, From the case, could u please list out what generation alternatives that plant manager should do?
List out of strengths & weaknesses that might being considered.
Also, conclusion and recommendation that can u give to settle this issue.

Many thanks...

Antony Gumi said...

Dear Muhammad, I have done this subject, I can only help u with answers that I have listed above. Please do your assignment accordingly, I'm sorry, I couldnt answer your question cuz it will be considered as cheating:). R u PU student?If so, please say hi to your lecture for me;would that be Ms Jesi? Well, anyway, good luck with your study:)

Miss Wanie said...

hello anthony, i just found your blog...and i find it useful to help me in my assignment...tq! =)