On the first part of the case analysis it is noted that for new employee hiring the HR team does the interviews and only on “special” cases, the manager director has to be involved in the interview process. Only until the last step of the process the manager is involved on the job offer meeting. This example of a mechanistic structure is usually found in HR departments on companies because the hiring process is very bureaucratic and it “annoys” managers that prefer working on a more organic structure.
The hiring process used to be a highly formalized and centralized process that required high stability, straightforward routine operations and interviews. Some of today’s most successful companies have changed that, for companies like Apple, National Instruments, Microsoft, Google, the hiring process became part of the Matrix Structure of the whole organizations, employees from different departments are usually all involved on the interview and analysis of a potential member of staff before a job offer is even made.
The explanation for this is very simple, only someone that is involved in the company’s projects knows what type of professional and personal characteristic the new employee should have. On the analyzed case, other than the managing director, nobody else out of the HR team had a chance to speak with Jenny, if Jonny or someone from Jonny’s team would have had a chance to meet with Jenny before, they may have noticed maybe some traits in her personality that might have prevented this hiring failure.
One of the first negative things that was noticed was her absentee because of her responsibility with her family, as a single parent it was easy to assume this type of things may happen, possibly if another programmer would have heard this he/she would immediately question Jenny’s availability. Is there something that could have been done to help Jenny before letting her go?
The manager mentioned: “On the professional side her performance was acceptable”, the most troubling reason was her mood and because of the companies policy everyone has to share an open space. The case company had a policy of keeping organic structure within the programmers, this way the work could be done faster, but this doesn’t mean that always there shouldn’t be flexibilities. If communication was better there are a few possible scenarios that could’ve helped Jenny.
For example, talking with Jenny about her attitude and mood, and providing her with Social Support, this could have make her feel more appreciated, giving Jenny an isolated space for a while until she learns to balance her work life and her personal life, sometimes some privacy and time is required. Finally, allowing Jenny to work from home and giving her the freedom she needs to deal with her family and at the same time give her the access to continue her work from home.
Some of today’s best programming performance can be found only by outsourcing to third partied that work alone and from remote, so this could have been a good possibility for Jenny. According to Kenneth Tomas, there are 5 different styles to deal with different conflicts in the organization, it seams like originally the company used an Avoiding style of management, but when the operational management and John spoke with Jenny and change their strategy to an Accommodating style, it was probably to late and nothing seemed to work.
What is it to blame? The structure? The culture? Or the worker? There are some factors that drove this failure, Jenny was looking for a job that where should find her needs satisfy and she could benefit from her new degree on computer science. What she found was a company that because of a very bureaucratic hiring process that did not involved the correct people, starting from this point we can blame the structure of the company, a very mechanistic HR department with very little involvement from the company teams.
Because of this Jenny passed through the hiring process without a problem and she later because of personal issues she was very unhappy. Since the organization’s culture required her to work in an open space, her mood and attitude influenced on others perception of her, this was the major problem and what got her fired. The company’s culture is correct, the team of programmers should be sitting together but the mistake was on the lack of flexibility on the company’s culture.