OB in Action Case Study: Companies Are Trying to Improve Employee Attitudes during the Recession
“Creating an effective and productive workplace takes a firm commitment from management even in the best of times” (Ballard, 2012). When the recession hit full force, many companies had to make some difficult decisions. “In a 2009 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 68 percent of employed Americans reported that their employers had taken steps such as putting a freeze on hiring or wages, laying off staff, reducing work hours, benefits or pay, requiring unpaid days off or increasing work hours because of the weak economy” (Ballard, 2012).
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In other words, values describe what is essentially important to a person and they form a main part of person’s individual’s identity. Knowledge of values will increase one’s “understanding of organizational behavior because they influence our behavior across different settings” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 152)
Shalom Schwartz, a social psychologist, developed a widely accepted value model that consists of 10 human value types. The first value is Power. Power refers to social status, prestige, and the control or dominance over people and resource. The second value is Achievement, which addresses “personal success through demonstrating competence through social standards” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 153). Schwartz’s third value is titled Hedonism. Hedonism is pleasure or happiness in one’s life. His fourth value is Stimulation. This value encompasses excitement, originality, and challenge in a person’s life. The fifth value, Self-direction, refers to independent thought and action through creativity, freedom, and individual choice. The sixth value is Universalism. The motive of this value is “understanding, appreciation, tolerance and protection of the welfare of all people….” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 153). Schwartz’s seventh value, Benevolence, refers to the “preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom on is in frequent personal contact” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 153). His eighth value is tradition. The Tradition value involves acceptance, respect, and commitment to the customs and ideas that a religion or culture presents to a person. The ninth value, Conformity, implies self-discipline in the restraint of actions that will upset or harm those around you. Schwartz’s tenth and final value is known as Security. This value refers to the “safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 153).
At Home Depot, it is evident that Universalism and Benevolence are the two leading values being demonstrated during a period of recession and a collapsing housing market. Despite a workforce reduction, Frank Blake, Chairman and CEO of Home Depot, has strived to remain loyal to his employees. In an attempt to boost staff morale and set realistic objectives, Blake has extended “restricted stock grants to assistant store managers and lowered sales/profit targets that hourly employees have to meet to receive bonuses” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 176). The Universalism and Benevolence of this manager inspired the Home Depot employees to meet their more attainable goals greater than ever before. According to Marvin Ellison, Home Depot’s U.S. executive vice president, Blake’s idea allowed for “the highest percentage ever of in-store employees [getting] bonuses in the first half of the year” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2013, p. 176). The Security value also plays a role in this case as the reciprocation of favors has been demonstrated between the management and...