Structure is an essential factor within BFGym which enables
an efficient and organised workforce. This essay will display how a lack of
structure leads to an unfocused group of staff. Firstly, I will look at the
topic of bureaucracy, focusing in depth on the principles of division of labour.
I will secondly address the issue of individual differences, mainly evaluating Philip,
Jane and Robin using the Big Five personality factors. Thirdly I will examine
the problem of motivation within the gym, referring to ‘Adam’s Equity theory’
and ‘Lock and Lathem goal setting theory’. Finally, I will concentrate on the
different leadership styles shown in the case study, by studying how Kate and
Philip manage other staff in the gym.
“Bureaucracy refers to the formal structures and procedures
that facilitate the management of an organization, in particular as a solution
to the problem of diminishing control as an organization outgrows personal,
face-to-face management.” (King & Lawley, 2016)
There are some advantages to BFGym due to its bureaucratic
structure: “BFGym has a clear operating structure… customers seem to enjoy
coming to the gym primarily because of the professional services that it
provides.” This shows that due to repetitive tasks and specialisation, it is
relatively easy for Kate to manage her staff; producing an efficient workforce.
On the other hand, a disadvantage of the BFGym bureaucratic structure is that ‘division
of labour’ leads to boredom: “Philip is a spinning instructor… he reported
being very bored and ‘un-inspired’ for having been assigned the same spinning
class for the past year.” This therefore means that the bureaucratic system may
be damaging the working environment for both the staff and members of the gym.
This could heavily decrease the employee performance, translating into a bad
relationship between the staff and customers of the gym. The case study further
supports this: “He also complained that the attrition rate in the classes is
quite high which deters him from forming effective instructor-trainee
In order to investigate how various variables affect
bureaucratic structure, the University of Chicago conducted a study involving
one hundred and fifty-six American agencies, investigating the effect of six
variables on their bureaucratic structure (Blau, Heydebrand & Stauffer,
1966). One of these variables was the division of labour: they found that if
the staff were professional, there was a smaller chance of centralisation. Centralisation
is where all the power for decisions lies at the top of the hierarchy, whereas
professionalisation is when an occupation or group of people have professional
qualities. Jane is the only member of staff who has recently enrolled to work
at the gym, and thus the majority of the staff are professional with a lot of
experience. This study by Blau, Heydebrand and Stauffer (1966) therefore
predicts that the division of labour will not promote centralisation in the gym,
as due to the level of professionalism, a person at the top of the hierarchy
making all the decisions is unnecessary.
However, a limitation of this study by (Blau, Heydebrand and
Stauffer, 1966) is that structural characteristics of the bureaucracies were
studied, rather than the behaviour of people within the bureaucracy. Furthermore,
contrary to the findings of the study, the case study suggests that there is
centralisation, as Kate holds all the important decision making power. Additionally,
Kate’s sole decision making power also means that unity of command is
implemented within the gym, as all of the personal trainers are answering to
only one manager; removing conflict.
Although unity of command removes conflict within the gym,
individual differences amongst the trainers may cause hostility. Philip, one of
the most experienced trainers in the gym, is considered to be an extrovert: “he
enjoys teaching and interacting with others”. Extraversion refers to a
personality trait in which an individual derives energy when they start to
communicate with others. Not only this, but due to extroverts’ high levels of
confidence, they are heavily linked to leadership roles. This is also supported
by the case study: “Philip instantly assumes the leadership position to
organise the task in hand”.
DeYoung, et al. (2010) examined the relationship between the
different personality traits and various regions of the brain. The results from
this experiment showed that extraversion was related to the increased medial orbitofrontal
cortex volume, which is the region of the brain that triggers the
susceptibility to reward. Another study by Nichols & Newman (1986) backed
this experiment. They examined one hundred and eighty-six male undergraduates
from the University of Wisconsin. They measured these individuals’ extraversion
scores and then these individuals participated in a task in which they received
extra credits towards their grade and a dime for every time they were correct.
The results of this experiment showed that those who were high in extraversion
responded faster on average than those who were low in extraversion. Therefore,
we would predict that Philip’s performance rates at the gym would increase if a
reward was presented by Kate. The presence of highly-extraverted staff within
the gym can be a huge advantage, as Philip is more likely to engage in social
interaction and aid members of the gym who are looking for help or advice.
Nevertheless, Philip may have lower performance rates in the
gym due to his extraversion, as extroverts enjoy creating relationships with
people they haven’t spoken to before. Philip is bored of the same spinning
class which is making him ‘un-inspired’ to do his job. As well as this, the
removal of the breakout room has hugely decreased the quantity of social
interaction he gets with others, which is yet another factor that may lower his
mood and thus performance rates within the gym.
One of the least experienced trainers amongst the gym, Jane,
is considered to be an open individual. “When expressing her desire to change
some of the exercises, management did not approve.” An individual who is
classed as ‘open to experience’ is typically drawn towards learning new things.
This may explain Jane’s low performance rates, as management did not approve
her desire to change some exercises, which may have left her feeling
unmotivated. On top of this, Rutger & van der Flier (2010) found that
levels of ‘openness to experience’ were unrelated to teamwork. This could
explain why Jane was keen to undergo jobs which did not require teamwork, such
as personal trainer sessions.
On the other hand, Robin appears to be a conscientious
individual within the gym. The case study provides evidence for this: “he makes
ends meet with his current role and that is what matters most”. One trait of conscientious
people is that they do everything possible to stay fixed on their plan to
achieve their goal and thus are very efficient workers. This is further backed
by the findings of Rutger & van der Flier (2010): on average conscientious
individuals are much more determined to carry out the task in hand. Robin’s
high conscientiousness would therefore increase his performance rates in the
gym. However, these findings are not very representative of Robin’s situation
in the gym, as they are findings from undergraduate students.
Despite Robin’s determination to carry out the task in hand,
there is some staff within the gym that are putting in more effort than others,
thus creating inequity. Adam’s Equity theory states that effort and reward are
perceived in relative terms, and it compares how individuals are treated
compared to other individuals. The case study states: “Nick, an experienced
trainer… started feeling that he is being unfairly treated and that probably
his colleagues are taking advantage that he is new in town.” He is also quite
lonely and worried about voicing his opinion: “he refrained from voicing his
opinion. Nick felt that he did not belong to the group… and felt left out.”
These are all traits typically found in individuals with high levels of
neuroticism. Adam’s Equity theory proposes that Nick’s personality trait would
lower his performance rates within the gym, as he feels involved in an unfair
environment and thus will be more demotivated than the other staff. Champagne
(1989, as cited in Ramlall, 2004, p.55) further backed this: “The consequences
of employees perceiving they are not being treated fairly create a variety of
options for the employees. These options include the employees reducing their
input through directly restricting their work output.” This feeling of inequity
can explain Nick’s lack of motivation towards increasing his performance rates.
Similarly to Nick, Jane also feels very demotivated in the
gym, mainly due to the fixed goals that hamper her passion to vary exercises
and be more creative: “When expressing her desire to change some of the
exercises, management did not approve… Jane felt stagnated.” The Lock and Lathem
goal setting theory states that there are different types of goals that are
effective in producing different levels of motivation and performance. A study
taken by Locke (1996) supports the argument that fixed goals in BFGym could be
a reason behind the lack of motivation. In the study, the findings showed that
a large amount of engagement towards goals is produced when a person believes
that the goal they are undertaking is significant. In the case study, Jane may
feel like the task in hand is not as important as it would be if the management
team had allowed her to make some of her requested changes, leading to
However, another finding in this study proposes that the
challenging set goals are the ones that lead to the biggest performance rates;
which may be the reasoning behind Kate’s set goals in the gym.
Demotivation in the gym doesn’t only arise from Kate’s set
goals, but also from her leadership style. Bass & Avolio (1990, as cited in
Skogstad, Einarsen, Torsheim, Aasland, & Hetland, 2007, p.81) defined
laissez-faire leadership as the following: “the absence of leadership, the
avoidance of intervention, or both… Decisions are often delayed; feedback,
rewards, and involvement are absent; and there is no attempt to motivate
followers or to recognize and satisfy their needs.” Kate is an example of an
individual who shows transactional leadership in the gym, in the form of
laissez-faire leadership. This is as she leaves the decision making to the
group, which means that all group members have full autonomy: “One of the ways
in which she set out doing so was asking her staff members to come up with
solutions to their problems.” Kate should have been more transformational as it
would have allowed her relationship with staff to improve. This is further
supported by the quote: “transformational leadership has communal aspects…
whereby leaders focus on the mentoring and development of the subordinates and
pay attention to their individual needs” (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001).
As shown in the case study, many of her staff such as Jo, feel completely
drained, as she doesn’t observe or satisfy their individual needs.
Similarly to Kate, Philip also adopts transactional
leadership as opposed to transformational leadership. However, dissimilarly to
Kate, Philip exhibits passive management by exception. This is where leaders
wait until problems have been caused before they decide to take any action. In
the case study, Philip doesn’t decide to take action with Robin and Jo, who
constantly agree with his ideas to try and leave the meeting early, until they
start to show signs of agitation. Philip should have been more transactional, in
particular exhibiting active management by exception. This would mean that he
could anticipate problems and solve them before they worsened, leading to a
more productive group. This therefore
differs hugely from Kate, who avoids intervention and leaves staff to solve
their own problems.
A study was undertaken by Eagly and
Johannesen-Schmidt (2001) and the results showed that: “men exceeded women on
the transactional scales of active management-by-exception and passive
management-by-exception and on laissez-faire leadership.” This gender
difference in management style can explain some of the reasoning behind
Philip’s, but not Kate’s, leadership style.
To conclude, there are problems at every organisational level
of BFGym. There are problems with the division of labour which lead to boredom
within the firm. Poor leadership styles are also displayed by Kate and Philip
which cause staff to show a lack of enthusiasm towards their work. Finally,
there are also issues at an individual level as management are unable to work
with different personality types which can cause staff to feel anxious, lonely
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