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Montville Hospital Dietary Departmen

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The dietary department employed approximately 100 employees, 95% were female. The department had two major responsibilities: § The planning, preparation, and serving of three meals a day to every patient § The operation of an employees’ cafeteria The Management § Mr. Thomas Ellis, the food service director, was an older man, a flashy dresser who wore no uniform and spent most of the day in his office. He rarely talked to anyone in the department except the ChiefDietician and the Chief Dietary Supervisor. He communicated to the rest of the employees by means of memos posted on a bulletin board, which usually contained instructions. He also relayed messages down the ranks via supervisors to the workers.

§ Mrs. Johnston, the chief dietician, was doing mainly administrative in nature, acting as consultant to the dieticians and assisting them when the workload was heavy. She helped out in the kitchen once in a while if the kitchen staff was shorthanded. In general, she tended relatively formal and distant from workers, although when she had suggestions, she often went directly to the workers instead of using memos. Her relationship with the four dieticians was informal and friendly, and she was highly respected by them for her technical excellence as a dietician.

§ Mrs. Kelley, the chief dietary supervisor, was in charge of hiring and firing. She also was responsible for making up employee schedules week by week, including the scheduling of the part-time workers. She was generally sympathetic to employee problems, relatively informal with the worker, although not on a first-name basis. The employees respected her, and her authority was rarely questioned or challenged by any of the workers. She seemed to be regarded as the real boss.

The three people constituted the main power structure in the dietary department, who tended to keep themselves socially as well as physically. Any changes, plans, or decisions made by them, and the final say being had by the food service director.

The supervisors were then told of any new policy and expected to inform the workers and implement the change. The chief dietary supervisor acts as a middleman between the director and the workers.

§ The supervisors, whose main responsibilities involved the diet aides and other kitchen workers, assigned jobs, made sure they got done, maintained discipline and order, and helped when needed. There were 3 supervisors; one of them was part time. Most of the time, they worked with the same group, and took turns covering the weekends.

§ The cooks’ job was to prepare the food according to standard recipes and to put it on the serving line at meal times. They did their job efficiently and effectively. They kept to themselves, eating together and not mingling with the diet aides.

§ The dieticians also kept to themselves both physically and socially. They had their own office and ate together. Little was seen of them by the workers; but when approached they seemed quite friendly.

The Kitchen Workers The full-time employees § The kitchen workers consist of diet aides, dishwashers, and porters. 25 % of them were full-time employees, mostly older women (40-65 years old) who had been working in the department for a long time (15-20 years). They worked a morning shift from either 6:30 am to 3:00 pm or 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

§ Each woman had her own assigned task, which she did every day and there was a little shifting around the positions. This specific routine was heavily controlled by the tight time schedule.

§ They have to completely finish their tasks before leaving home; otherwise they have to work overtime, without extra pay.

§ There were equal number of whites, blacks, and Asians and many were immigrants, but malicious gossip due to racial or ethnic differences was uncommon. They helped each other when necessary to finish their jobs on time.

§ The diet aides, who deliver the trays to the patients, responsible for the cold food, something that usually complained by the patients to the supervisor, this temporarily disrupted the informal and friendly working relationship, causing the guilt feelings for the diet aides. As a result, reprimands were seldom necessary among the full-timers.

They also expected to meet certain established standards, such as size of portion, cleanliness of food handling and preparation, which are often overlooked under the pressure of time.

§ Pay raises designated by a set scale base on continuing length of employment. They were allowed a certain number of sick days per year as well as paid vacations (the length was based on the number of years of employment).

§ Work performance was evaluated on the basis of group effort. Supervisors often would compliment on individual, for example on how nice a salad plate looked or how quickly and efficiently a worker delivered the patients’ trays. The aides also recognized that their work could affect a patient’s well being.

§ The individual initiative and creativity was not encouraged. Any recommendations for changes in techniques were approached with caution by management.

The part-time employees § There were 50-60 part-time employees whose level of pay was appreciably less than that of the full-timers.

§ It was a way of avoiding having to pay overtime to anyone, an advice from some efficiency experts.

§ They were divided into two teams, which worked on an alternate days of the week and on alternate weekends.

§ There were two different shifts; 3:30 to 6:30 and 4:00 to 8:00. On average they worked a 16-hour week.

§ Their duties were the same as the full-timers, except that the part-timers served and cleaned up after dinner instead of after breakfast and lunch.

§ The majority of these workers were young, mostly high school age who working for extra money and because friends were working. There were also several older women who had been with the organization for many years.

§ There were no permanent task assignments; each night a part-timer did something different.

§ They was not as unified in spirit or congeniality as the full-timers, tended to form cliques apart from the older women and gossip and poke fun at non-English-speaking workers.

§ Most of the teenagers took their work much less seriously than the full-timers, doing only what was required at the minimal level. They more anxious to get their work done as soon as possible. Once they had finished, they were free to leave no matter what time it was at no loss of pay. It was not uncommon for work areas to become messy, for hands to be left unwashed, and for food to be handled and touched even though it shouldn’t be.

§ They also tended to devise their own ways for doing the job, partially to promote efficiency and decrease the time needed for completion.

§ The supervisor has little control over the teenagers. They ignored her comments or talked back to her and continued doing things their own way. The working atmosphere was informal, at times there was a high pitch excitement among the kids as everyone kidded one another, sang songs, and generally socialized together. This led to mistakes being made, which infuriated the supervisor but didn’t bother the kids, as they had a little respect to her. They seldom took reprimands seriously, saying that they “˜hated their job’ but needed the money.

§ These young diet aides did complete their required tasks in time allotted, although the quality was often substandard. There was not a total lack of concern for quality because they would have lost their jobs, and they knew this; but quality was maintained most strongly only when “˜it didn’t take too long’.

§ There did exist some conflict between the older and younger workers during the night shift. The older women did not approve of the young people’s attitudes; even tough those older women at night did not exhibit as much pride in their work as their daytime counterparts.

THE PROBLEM The Montville Department of Health has just found the dietary department’s sanitary conditions to be substandard. The department recently failed the inspection, conducted by the State Board of Health that makes periodic, unannounced visits to determine whether it meets certain sanitary standards. The departments did pass the re-inspection, but only because a lot of extra pressure was put on workers to do extra cleaning during and after working hours for several days. If the organizations should fail inspection repeatedly, it will be required to shut down indefinitely.

On the other hand, the hospital was operating under severe financial pressure and needed constantly to find ways to reduce costs.

What the hospital would do about the situation and how it might affect the job situation? SYMPTOMS MAJOR SYMPTOMS § The lack of sense belonging of most the part-timers took their work much less seriously than the full-timers, doing only what was required at the minimal level. They more anxious to get their work done as soon as possible. Once they had finished, they were free to leave no matter what time it was at no loss of pay. They also tended to devise their own ways for doing the job, partially to promote efficiency and decrease the time needed for completion.

§ The lack of financial sources at Montville Hospital caused by two main aspects. First, when they made the expansion project, which happened to face the increase of the demand, about 10 years ago. Second, the workers paid very little money for meals eaten at work.

§ The lack of human resources, which it was one of the financial problems, made the management could not hire an old hand employees. Besides that, it also can be seen from the diet aides, who deliver the trays to the patients, responsible for the cold food, also expected to meet certain established standards, such as size of portion, cleanliness of food handling and preparation, which are often overlooked under the pressure of time.

§ Both of the full-timers or the part-timers were put right to work with no formal instructions in standards or procedures; they expected to learn by watching others asking their peers.

§ There was lack of unity among the groups in the dietary department, especially between the management and the kitchen workers. They tended to keep among each group, and never work as a whole team. The management, including the dietician, and the cooks only working on their assigned area and never anxious to look at the difficulties on others.

§ The supervisor has little control over the part-timers. They ignored her comments or talked back to her and continued doing things their own way. The working atmosphere led to mistakes being made, which infuriated the supervisor but didn’t bother the kids, as they had a little respect to her.

MINOR SYMPTOMS § The management, in this case the food service director, communicated to the rest of the employees by means of memos posted on a bulletin board, which usually contained instructions. He also relayed messages down the ranks via supervisors to the workers. He never went directly to the workers, either to give his messages or to get any inputs from the workers.

§ (Lack of creativity) There was a little shifting around the positions for the full-timers who mostly have been working for a long time in the department. They had a little chance to broaden their knowledge for what happened on the other position in order to give the efficient and effective method for the whole team. This situation became worse since the management did not encourage individual initiative and creativity.

§ Any changes, plans, or decisions made by the management, and the final say being had by the food service director. The individual initiative and creativity was not encouraged. Any recommendations for changes were approached with caution by management.

III. PROBLEMS ANALYSIS In analyze the symptoms, we will try to look the problem happened from three common levels of analysis: individual, team and organizational. (ch.1) A. INDIVIDUAL PROCESSES The individual level includes the characteristics and behaviors of employees as well as the thought processes attributed to the team, such as motivation, perceptions, personalities, attitudes, and values.

§ MOTIVATION The striking contrast between full-timers’ behavior and part-timers’ behavior was creating from different motivation and situation among them. The full-timers who mostly have been working in the department for years had a great pride to their job, as they did not need the reprimands for any complaints from the patients or the supervisors. But the less opportunity in changing the job position was creating inefficient and ineffective method in doing the job which have they done for years. On the other hand, the part-timers, who mostly in the young age, had less pride on the job, as they only need the money from the job. This motivation caused they tended to do only what was required at the minimal level. To maximize the employee’s motivation, the management should understand and respond to the diversity of the full-timers and part-timers’ motivation.

§ PERCEPTION The full-timers and the part-timers have different perception about the job. Most of the full-time employees had a high school education, many were married and most were helping to augment the family income. But, the majority of the part-time employees were young, mostly teenagers and working only for extra money or because their friends were working. The perceptions and motivations influenced their personalities in doing their job every day.

§ ATTITUDES Three components of attitudes: feelings, beliefs, and behavioral intensions. The complaint, which relayed to the supervisor, temporarily disrupted the informal and friendly working relationship between the diet aides and their supervisor causing uncomfortable guilt feelings for the diet aides. As a result, reprimands were seldom necessary among the full-timers. The part-timers might feel dissatisfied with their job because they think their worked not for career only for extra money. Because of that, they tended to devise their own ways for doing the job and did not bother the reprimands sometimes.

B. TEAM PROCESSES The team processes looks at the way people interact includes decisions, power, organizational politics, conflict, and leadership.

§ POWER There are five sources of power within organizations: legitimate, reward, expert, and referent. All employees have some legitimate power from their positions. The strength of the powers depends on the levels of one position. At the Montville Hospital organization, the final decisions of any things were made by the food service director and then the supervisors were told of any new policy.

§ LEADERSHIP One major problem in the Food Service Department was the communication. All the communications were one-way direction from the management. The management rarely had the effort to get the inputs or to ask the difficulties or obstacles that have to be faced by the workers. They also never try to get the feedback for all the decisions or instructions that have been made, or for the management behavior.

This problem was led by the leadership style of the food service director, who even considered as the mystery man of the management by the workers as there was obviously nothing they knew about him or his tasks.

As the leaders of the department, the food service director should motivate and satisfy the employees in a particular situation by adopting one or more of the four leadership styles below : Directive “” clarifying behaviors that provide a psychological structure for subordinates, these include performance goals, the means to reach the goals, and the standards against which performance will be judged.

Supportive “” providing psychological support for subordinates to make the work more pleasant, to treat employees with equal respect, and to show concern for the status, needs, and well being of employees.

Participative “” encouraging and facilitating subordinate involvement in decisions beyond their normal work activities. The leader consults with the employees, asks for their suggestions and takes the ideas into serious consideration before making a decision.

Achievement-oriented “” encouraging employees to reach their peak performance, sets challenging goals, continuously seeks improvements in employee performance, and shows a high degree of confidence that employees will assume responsibility and accomplish challenging goals.

The lack of supportive and participative leadership style in the food service department created a big gap between the management and the kitchen workers. This gap led to the less unity among them as one team who had the same commitment to the organization.

IV. RECOMMENDED SOLUTION 1. The management, especially the food service director, should be capable of selecting the most appropriate behavioral styles for the specific situation. The recommended solutions to improve the management style are: § Improve the way they communicate to the employee, the management should be more aggressive to go directly to the workers asking for any suggestions, and listening any difficulties that they have to get the work done and meet the standard.

§ Improve the relationship between the management and the workers, doing some events together as one team.

2. To motivate employees with different motivation, there are some guidelines as follow : § Recognize individual difference; the full-timers and part-timers have different motivation that need to be approached differently. What acts as a reinforcer for one may not work for another? The full-timers who have great pride to the job will be motivated by the opportunity to let them participate in decision making process.

§ Use goals; create goals which are attainable and well within employees’ ability. For example, in the short term, the food dietary department has to be passed the State Board of Health inspection. Get the employees together to have the feedback of that goal, to review the standards that have to be met, and to do a brainstorming session on what their difficulties and how they can improve the service to meet the standards given by the State Board of Health.

§ Link rewards to performance; appreciate the individual based on their performance. Key rewards such as pay increases and promotions should be allocated for the attainment of the employee’s specific goals. Considering the department difficulties related with their financial problem, the management could create some obvious rewards that not involved with money, such as work autonomy, and opportunity to participate in goal setting and decision-making.

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