Subject: Human Resource Management
Topic: Compare and Contrast two organisations
This assignment requires you to compare and contrast two
People, Organizations and Management 2015/16
Compare and contrast two organisations – (Biogenia and Sleepeasy) (1400 words)
This assignment requires you to compare and contrast two organisations, based on the case studies provided at the end of this document. You are expected to use academic concepts, theories and the reading you have done for the module to do this. In particular you should look at them in terms of
1. Organizational Culture
2. Organizational structure
3. Motivation and job design
From reading the case studies, you should notice straight away that the two organizations are very different in the way that they operate and in the way that the members of the organization experience their work. You need to explain these differences, but also note any similarities.
Your answer should be in essay format. There is no need for subheadings but there should be an introduction (one paragraph is enough). The body of the essay which should be clearly structured in three sections each of which compares and contrast the two organizations – one dealing with organizational culture, one organizational structure and one dealing with motivation and job design. There should also be a brief conclusion and a references list, listing all the sources referred to in the body of the essay. This must be in the required ‘Harvard’ style.
Exceeding the word count by more than 10% will result in a penalty of 10% of your marks for your work. If your work is significantly shorter, then you will probably have failed to provide the level of detail required.
The document should be formatted as:
Font size 12
1.5 line spacing
Margins at both sides of the page of at least 2.5 cm
Pages should be numbered
Your name should not appear anywhere on the paper to ensure anonymous marking.
Assessment criteria for the Assignment
Knowledge (level of academic knowledge relevant to the module)
(i) Knowledge and understanding of academic concepts and models (40%)
(ii) Application of academic concepts and models to the analysis of cases and group assessment (30%)
(iii) Presentation including language and grammar (10%)
(iv) Referencing (20%)
Appendix Case studies
Case study: Biogenia plc
Biogenia is a world-leading business, producing crop-protection products (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides). It currently employs 15,000 employees in over 80 countries and has manufacturing facilities in 10 countries. It is organised into four major functional areas: Research and Development, Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing and, finally, Support (covering financial services, human resources and legal services).
Biogenia is committed to innovation and sees this as a major strength. It has a strong focus on recruiting extremely able and highly motivated employees. It is also committed to investing heavily in their development. As well as recruiting highly educated staff, many of whom are educated to doctorate level, the company offers numerous in-house training course covering both technical and personal development issues.
As a global organisation Biogenia wants to recruit the brightest and the best from all over the world. In Cambridge, alone, one of its four research and development ‘hubs’, it employs people of 20 different nationalities. It offers generous support to employees who want to further their education and training by paying fees and giving time off to attend courses. It also offers generous perks, such as opportunities for sabbaticals or gap years and subsidising gym membership. Office environments and even factories are designed to be light, pleasant places to work, with the company sponsoring a large amount of art work and landscaping to enhance the environment. It is also a major sponsor of a number of exhibitions and museums around the world with a ‘biological science’ theme. Staff are encouraged to contribute to community work, and the company sponsors a number of projects working with schools in a number of countries on biological science projects.
Although almost all employees work in one of the four functional areas mentioned above, the organization also promotes cross-functional working in project teams. This it sees as essential to achieving constant product improvement and innovation. These teams can be large or small, short term or fairly long in duration. It recognizes that getting people from different functions to work effectively together can be a challenge and it has a number of ways of trying to minimise these. Many of the support staff have at least undergraduate degrees in science subjects. For example Jacqueline Baryomunsi works in the marketing team but she has a degree in Biology, although she was later sponsored by Biogenia to do an MBA. Although originally based in Cambridge, she was recently posted to a nine month international assignment in South Africa where she worked on a project to develop a new herbicide, working with a team of 4 others. This included Jonathan Etherington, who has a PhD in chemistry from the USA and has been working on production in one of Biogenia’s manufacturing bases in Italy until recently. The other team members included two people from Biogenia’s research and development function (both based in South Africa) and the team was led by Kathryn Tate, originally from Australia, who has a PhD in molecular biology and is based within Biogenia’s support function as an IT specialist. This project involved long working hours but Kathryn Tate also made sure the team had time for some fun: team members spent quite a lot of time together outside work, even, on one occasion managing to go shark-fishing as regularly sampling the night life of Durban.
Author: John Chandler, January 2011.
Case Study 2: Sleepeasy Hotels
Sleepeasy is a mid-market hotel chain aimed at the business traveller and city-break tourist. Like any other hotel chain, Sleepeasy has to compete on price in a highly competitive market. Within each hotel staff are employed to fulfil certain functions: reception, bar tending, cooking (although only breakfast and a snack service is provided) and room-cleaning. Each hotel has a hotel manager who has day to day responsibility for operating the hotel and managing its staff. The chain has established standard operating procedure in all these areas, to ensure common standards across the chain.
Unlike some hotel chains Sleepeasy does not employ subcontractors to supply any of the above functions, except in exceptional circumstances – all staff are employed directly. A major role of the hotel manager is staff recruitment, selection and management, although this is with the assistance of a central Human Resources function that has established many procedures, and can organize things as recruitment advertising.
In selecting staff the hotel wants to attract conscientious people who are committed to providing a high level of customer service. All staff are expected to be smart and clean in appearance, and uniforms or strict dress codes apply to all staff.
Those cleaning rooms (‘housekeepers’), while generally expected to work around guests – almost to the point of invisibility – are given a demanding schedule of 4 rooms an hour – 32 rooms in an eight hour shift. Cleaning is done to exacting standards, and staff are expected to follow a set routine. Most housekeepers are employed on part-time contracts and do fewer rooms. Recruitment of such staff is often informal, based on word-of-mouth. Most housekeepers are under 30 with about half being women. In many cities housekeepers are mainly members of particular ethnic groups, with staff securing work for friends and family members as opportunities arise. Few have qualifications, although some students do seek such work on a seasonal basis. The company complies with minimum wage and other labour regulations of the countries it operates in, but seeks to stay competitive by keeping wage costs to a minimum and does not recognize trades unions. Turnover of housekeepers in most cities is high. Little training is provided and there are few opportunities for promotion. Housekeepers work on their own but their supervisor is expected closely to monitor their work as well as to train staff in the ‘Sleepeasy’ way.
Other staff in the hotel may be recruited in more conventional and formal ways, and have very different working conditions and career prospects. Receptionists are often highly educated staff, pursuing a career in hospitality. The chain offers good experience and training for such ambitious people, who are often graduates and may aspire to become hotel managers, or occupy other managerial roles. It also has a policy of encouraging the appointment of students on sandwich placements and short term seasonal contracts, while they are studying.
All staff in the hotel are subject to regular performance monitoring and review. There is a formal review meeting, conducted by the manager for all staff every 4 months. A major source of information used to inform this review is the customer satisfaction survey. Since questionnaires are room-coded and collected at the end of each customer’s stay it is usually possible to trace any complaint or positive comments to individual staff responsible. Any complaints are treated seriously and the manager is expected to talk to the staff member responsible as soon as possible to discuss the feedback. Unsatisfactory performance is not tolerated and the chain has a very clear disciplinary procedure that managers are expected to use. Managers (but not other staff) may also earn an annual bonus worth up to 20% of salary, based on achieving demanding occupancy and customer satisfaction targets set individually for each hotel.
Author: John Chandler, 2011
(Sleepeasy is a fictitious company but the case is based on knowledge of similar organizations)