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Reflection – Lokesh Ramani

by on November 18, 2007

Organizational Policies and Mechanisms
Last week, the class went through a video case study about an architecture firm which had a highly skillful partner who was at the same time perceived as “abusive” by some of the firm’s employees. This critical issue was brought to light to the other partners after a number of employees resigned who were under the direct supervision of this “abusive” partner and specially after a parent of an employee complained about this abusive behavior to another partner at the firm.
I want to discuss about the policy and mechanisms in place that can deal with such situations before it can make a huge impact to an organization. How can organizational policies be effective in dealing with similar situations, when non-compliances have to be reported and deal with, when it originates from an individual who enjoys a position of considerable power and influence? In the video case study, the non-compliance was brought to light by a parent of an employee after several employees had actually left the firm citing reasons other than the behavior of the partner. I strongly assume that some of these resignations might have been consequences of the “abusive” partner’s behavior. However this was never officially reported to the relevant stakeholders in the organization.
I am going to speculate about reasons why this was never reported and asses the policies in place and their respective effectiveness.
Relationship between HR and Management Executives: The common perception about this relationship is that there is not much transparency between the aforementioned stakeholders and the other employees in the lower levels of an organization. This lack of transparency leads to a perception within the other employees that the HR department may not be dependable when certain issues pertaining to individuals of power have to be reported. This is a challenge to overcome and drive a perception among the workforce that the HR have the power to influence changes and are dependable to safeguard the employee’s concerns.
Exit Interviews: These mechanisms have been designed to implement a feedback loop in an organization’s framework to strategically position the workforce in a state better than its previous status. However, the credibility and the lack of independence in the functioning of the HR department forces a major section of the departing workforce to not to report genuine supervisor related concerns. Resigning employees are more interested in not burning the bridges with their former employer rather than reporting the actual problems because they believe this may hamper their developed relations with the organization, due to the perceived incredibility and lack of influence of the HR to address concerns related to individuals of considerable power and influence in an organization.
There must be a change in the role of the HR department in an organization. It must function as an independent unit, free from the pressures of the executive stakeholders, aim to lessen the impact of organizational politics and increase the transparency among all the levels of the organization to render credibility to them. Further, this change in their stance must be well-communicated to the workforce of an organization to encourage employees at all levels to provide constructive feedback, which can be used a corrective mechanism to address concerns and improve the performance of the relevant stakeholders and thereby the organization as a whole.

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