TMA2 Peter Turner Smith

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Using two of the four forms of control (Knights and Wilmott, 2012) as a framework, use any of the material in Unit 2 to discuss the benefits and challenges of these methods of management. You should also explore the implications these managerial issues provoke in relation to your practice as a manager or as an employee.

In answering this question you are expected to use relevant theories, models and ideas from Unit 2 as well as the stipulated forms of control framework, and pay particular attention to assembling both a coherent and critical argument.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, like most large organizations, uses all four forms of control identified by Knights and Willmott (2012); Direct control of behaviour, control through rules and processes, control through culture and control through performance. Each is used to varying degree and different functional departments also vary on the control mechanisms they use depending both on the nature of their work as well as the management practices of the various department heads. I will be analysing in more detail the implications of the company’s use of culture to set controls through the shaping of attitudes and values across the organization as well specifically how within the sales function how motivational techniques are used to drive results and how teams are managed through performance and the measurement of outcomes.

An organization’s culture is initially formed as a result of early experiences and values of its founding fathers (George & Jayan, 2011), to help understand the culture within Carlson it is important to understand its history. Carlson was founded in 1938 by Curtis L. Carlson, the company has remained since its inception family owned, his granddaughter is the current chairman of the board having taken over from her mother, family members sit on the board and take an active role in setting the company’s strategic direction as well as the day to day running of the company. The families’ wants, needs and desires are ingrained within the company DNA to such an extent that within the organization today the terms ‘family’ and ‘company’ are often interchanged.

To help articulate the company culture there is a defined purpose (appendix 1) to help all stake holders understand the values held by the company. The purpose is further supported by list of behaviour that all employees should abide. Within the company this is referred to as the Carlson Credo (appendix 2) as it is displayed in offices and hotels around the world, in corporate collateral and brochures as well as given to each employee on induction as a pocket card.

Trice and Beyer (1984) studied the symbols through which its culture is exhibited. They suggested that these can be divided into four categories: practices, communications, physical forms and common language. Carlson’s culture can be seen to be managed this way, for example its naming of employees as ‘Carlsonians’, through the repeated telling of the company history and annual meetings, the reverence of family members when they visit the corporate offices and the awarding of ‘Carlsonian of the quarter’ to the employee that has upheld the companies values, its credo. It is interesting to note that not only does the company use religious connotations, a credo, to refer to these values but they are also frequently chanted as part of company training programs or management presentations as a show of collective unity.

Deal & Kennedy (1982) stated that ‘a strong culture is a powerful lever in guiding behaviour’ and whilst the company culture is very strong at its centre; at the corporate head office in the USA, the further the operations are removed for the centre the harder it is to keep the culture alive. This may be due to the shift from predominately planning activities that take place at head office vs the commercial activity of the operations at the hotels.

Carlson’s use of its culture to shape...