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Lisa Benton

Lisa Benton Free Essay

Executive Summary

Lisa Benton had been working in the Houseworld Company for four months. Her boss Deborah and team member Ron had quite a negative opinion about her skills, so they did not give her difficult tasks. The lack of responsibilities as well as bad relationships with team members reduced Lisa’s motivation to work. Therefore, she was even thinking about leaving the company. Lisa Benton did not want to lose her job, so the best decision in this situation was to stay on the team for at least one month more. However, Benton should first talk with Deborah and Ron about her concerns. They had not had Assistant Product Manager before, so they did not know how to build relationships with Lisa properly. Experiencing this situation would help Benton develop her communication skills and raise her self-confidence.

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Person Fit

Apparent Problem

Lisa Benton was very serious about choosing a place of employment after finishing her education at Harvard. She was interested in Houseworld and tried to find more information about this company as well as talked to the company’s employees and managers. However, such an approach to choosing a job has not helped Benton avoid the position that did not fit her. Although she liked the company and had good relationships with colleagues from other departments, she had an apparent problem with motivation. Lisa Benton’s team members did not allow her to create action plans for projects. She was only responsible for analyzing data and some other easy tasks, so Benton could not fully use her knowledge, skills, and abilities. Besides, the team leader did not provide Lisa with opportunities for further professional development. Therefore, the main reasons for low motivation were monotonous job duties, a lack of responsibility, and ineffective relationships with team members.

The main dilemma for the decision-maker of this case study is whether Benton has to stay in Houseworld or apply for a job in Right-Away Stores. One part of the dilemma is that Lisa Benton does not feel happy in Houseworld. However, the company keeps a leading position in the industry market, so working there is very promising and positive for the career (Hill & Weber, 1994). Talking about Right-Away Stores, it does not have a very strong brand name but she felt much happier there. Her boss believed in her and used to give her interesting and stimulating tasks. The main difficulty for Lisa Benton was choosing between stability and uncertain but promising perspectives. Right-Away Stores was stable, whereas Houseworld provided more opportunities for future career success.

Analysis

The experience of Lisa Benton reveals that the company has problems with managing the work of new employees. On the one hand, Houseworld had many effective approaches toward newcomers. For example, new staff members had a one-month long formal orientation where they can meet representatives of other departments and learn more about the company. Besides, Houseworld had regular performance evaluations, so employees had more opportunities for professional development. Overall, there was good communication and cooperation between employees from different departments. For example, Lisa had numerous invitations for lunch from many of her colleagues. She also received support from other people after she argued with Ron Scoville.

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On the other hand, the company did not pay much attention to the motivation of its personnel and their proper training. Although everybody agreed that Deborah Linton did not train her subordinates well, none of the company’s managers have ever tried to address the issue. What is more, many people who work in Houseworld mentioned Ron Scoville’s inability to make good relationships with other people. Another obvious issue was the negative attitude of Ron Scoville and Deborah Linton towards employees with MBA degrees. Lisa Benton suffered from all these negative factors. She was interested in learning, developing, and gaining new experiences and Lintons behavior reduced Lisa’s motivation and deteriorated her psychological well-being. In the beginning, Benton tried to obtain some recommendations from her boss but Linton did not have time for that. Ron Scoville talked to Lisa as he was also her boss and Linton was always only on his side. Moreover, because both Ron and Deborah did not like holders of MBA degrees, Lisa Benton was afraid of being too active. For example, she refused to express her opinion during employee meetings. Finally, good communication with people was important for Benton’s job satisfaction, so she felt depressed because of intense relationships with her team members Deborah Linton and Ron Scoville.

This dilemma involves three significant facts, which help to understand the work of the organization better. First, the typing accident reveals that the managers of the company had various perceptions of what is teamwork. Thus, Group Product Manager Jack Vernon criticized Lisa Benton for editing Word documents because this was not her job responsibility. In Houseworld, secretaries were responsible only for typing documents. However, Lisa Bentons product manager Deborah Linton supported her and told her about the importance of teamwork. Such difference in opinions confused Benton and she did not understand how she should behave next time in a similar situation. Houseworld had to provide its managers with more training connected to the rules of teamwork and the division of labor between different employees.

The second meaningful fact is the coping episode. Rob Scoville wanted Lisa to copy some documents for him. Lisa replied that she could not help him because she was working on another project. However, Rob forced her to do the copying immediately. Deborah Linton also supported Scoville and criticized Benton for not working as a team. This case was confusing for Lisa because it contradicted the guidelines of the Group Product Manager, who told her not to do the work of other people.

The third important fact is work performance evaluation. Lisa Benton’s manager agreed to provide some evaluation only after she request it. In other divisions, managers made performance evaluations with greater enthusiasm.

Therefore, these three facts demonstrate that the team of Deborah Linton had specific perceptions of teamwork, the process of duties division, and work performance evaluation. According to the scenario of the case, other divisions have other attitudes to these aspects.

Real Problem

The real and apparent problems are the same. Lisa Benton had problems with motivation caused by the lack of responsibilities, monotonous tasks, and poor relationships with her team members Ron Scoville and Deborah Linton. These three factors did not allow Lisa to use her talents fully. Besides, it seemed that she was not confident in her abilities because her boss did not give positive feedback about the work she have done and also never increased the level of difficulty of assignments. In Right-Away Stores, the manager believed in her and gradually expanded the list of her responsibilities, so Lisa Benton could feel satisfied with her job. Besides, the team leader explained to her, what can she expect in the nearest future. Therefore, she was motivated by the attitudes of her boss and future perspectives of career growth in Right-Away Stores but felt the lack of motivation in Houseworld due to the absence of these main positive, motivation-provoking factors.

Alternatives

However, it is also possible to analyze the case from another perspective. Despite some obvious issues, Lisa Benton had many development opportunities even under the leadership of Deborah Linton. Other employees at Houseworld mentioned that Linton is a good specialist but Benton is her first Assistant Product Manager. This fact explains why she was not able to train her subordinates well. From her perspective, Benton had to demonstrate more patience and understanding. She could also help Linton enhance her skills in teaching others. As for Ron Scoville, he was probably not a very bad person and wanted to help Lisa but his condescending tone could have been simply misinterpreted. Scoville had more experience than Lisa, and she felt it and treated his tone as something negative. Instead, Benton could have asked Ron to teach her something she did not know. It seems that Benton had a lack of good communication skills and self-confidence. She was constantly saying about the fear of sharing her real opinion about the situation and the projects she worked with.

Alternative # 1: Staying in Houseworld

Lisa stays in the company and continues to work with Debora Linton and Ron Scoville.

Advantages

Opportunities for professional development because both team members have excellent skills and big experience

Good ability to enhance her communication skills, which would be valuable for working with demanding customers

Disadvantages

The necessity to work with her psychological problems, including a lack of self-confidence

This solution will be challenging and energy-consuming

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Alternative # 2: Return to Right-Away Stores

Lisa Benton leaves Houseworld and returns to her previous employer.

Advantages

Full support and understanding from the manager

More interesting assignments there and higher job position

Disadvantages

Working for a company with lower market positions

This solution will be not so effective for Bentons self-development. She has good relationships with her boss and colleagues so the person would have less motivation to improve her skills, especially communication ones

To sum up, Lisa should either stay in Houseworld or return to their previous employer.

Recommendation

Based on the results of the comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each solution, alternative #1, staying in Houseworld, seems to be more suitable for the main actor of the case and is advised. What is more, Lisa Benton has to continue working together with Deborah Linton and Ron Scoville. Although she may have full support and understanding of the manager as well as more interesting tasks and a higher position in Right-Away Stores, Houseworld provides more opportunities for career development. Besides, this solution can help to save Bentons time, because if she chooses another department or another organization, she would have to waste time on adaptation to the new place and people. Benton has already learned the strengths and weaknesses of her team members, so she knows what to expect from them. In addition, she would have to wait for a promotion for less time. She has been working for four months in the company which means that she has to wait a maximum of 14 months for moving up. Apart from that, Lisa would learn how to work with people who do not like her or are indifferent to her. Although work at Houseworld is more stressful, Bentons personality would benefit from this.

Plan of Action

First of all, Lisa Benton should ask Deborah Linton to organize a meeting, where they can discuss the situation. Ron Scoville should be also present there. The main aspect of the meeting is a lack of understanding between the three of them. For example, she can tell about the typing incident and coping episode. Benton needs to emphasize that she wants to work as a part of a team but first, she has to know the rules. Lisa Benton should explain her frustration about the assignments Ron gave her and his disrespectful tone. He probably has his own opinion about these cases and would share it with others. Second, Lisa has to ask for more responsibilities because the previous assignments did not allow her to use her skills and abilities fully. For example, she can ask about participating in the creation of action plans. Finally, Lisa should ask Ron and Deborah to share their perceptions of the situation, because they probably have different opinions.

Lisa Benton should also be more active and confident to gain more respect from her team members. Overall, Lisa should stay on the team for at least one month more. If the situation does not improve, she can ask about moving to another department or leaving the organization at all.

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