To be done in pairs through the semester (refer to your study guide for more details on submission)
(b) Find one interesting, peer reviewed journal article linking any aspect of personality to any aspect of organisational behaviour. Briefly describe the aim, method and key findings. Why did you select this article (why it is interesting to you)? Reference the article using APA 6th and also submit the front page of the article (the page with the title and abstract)
Advert Co. Case
Sue Liem and George Hassan were transferred on a two year contract from the Indonesian to the Auckland (NZ) office of Advert Co.; a large graphic design and advertising company. Both Sue and George very were enthusiastic about their new role in Auckland. They anticipated being able to do a much wider variety of tasks than they had the opportunity to engage in while in Indonesia, as the company was much larger and offered design, production, copyediting and marketing services to a wide range of clients. In addition they knew that, in time, they would have the opportunity to manage their own clients, seeing clients through from the very first concept and design meetings to the development of full advertising campaigns. George had already been promised he would be involved with the marketing for Trade Aid; an organisation he strongly supports and which does a lot of good in developing nations, including Indonesia.
Both George and Sue were required to sit a competency, cognitive ability, and verbal reasoning test when they arrived. The tests were administered in English (their second language) and, though they both scored well above average in the numeracy sections, neither scored well overall due to the extra time it took to translate the questions and misunderstanding some of the wording.
Initially they were both happy with the pay increase they would receive, especially in light of their comparatively low test scores. They would continue to get their usual salary, which was equivalent to $260 NZ dollars per week and, in addition, would also get an accommodation allowance of NZ $200 per week, and a one-off relocation bonus of NZ $3000. However it was not long before they found out that the Kiwi employees in the same department, doing the exact same job, were earning nearly $900 per week.
Within a few weeks of realising the difference in the rates of pay, Sue began to post personal items home to Indonesia using the company postal service, she would surf the internet on work time and take long lunch breaks. Sometimes she would delegate part of her workload to her Kiwi colleagues, reasoning that if they were being paid more, then they should also do more work. Occasionally Sue does feel a bit uncomfortable with her behaviour, realising that she was essentially stealing from the organisation by using their internal post, slacking off, and taking more time at lunch. Sue thinks of herself as an honest and hardworking person and these activities are neither honest nor conscientious. She convinces herself it is OK however, telling herself she is just making up for the low salary.
George, on the other hand, was very impressed with the level of relevant qualifications the Kiwis had, most had at least a BBus degree (George and Sue only finished high school in Indonesia). In addition, he is acutely aware of the low score he received on the tests he sat, reasoning that they indicate he is less able than others (who did well on the tests) to do a good job. He was also aware that what his colleagues did in their roles was really helped by the fact that most has English as their first language. George continues to work as hard as he can for Advert Co.
George thinks the pay difference is fair, while Sue believes it is unfair. Sue becomes really focussed on the fact that her work is as good, or better, than her colleagues whereas George often reflects on the fact that they are so much better at speaking English and never make copywriting errors.
Interestingly, there was a local newspaper item focusing on the migrant pay gap in Auckland. The item maintains that employers in NZ are being accused if racism. George and Sue talk about it; Sue is even more outraged and aggrieved about the situation she is in but George lists several reasons why, actually, he is even more satisfied:
• Their own boss is, herself, foreign
• They were recruited and trained and now have opportunities they would never have had in Indonesia
• He did fact do worse on the competency test so it therefore is fair
• It was only a small local newspaper, not the NZ Herald or television
Partially because there is increased awareness of equity issues in the media, more of the employees on Advert Co. become aware that there is a wide pay gap between themselves and their Indonesian colleagues. A staff meeting is scheduled to discuss equity issues. The CEO of Advert Co. defends her decision, and releases the test scores as evidence, along with their lack of higher education, that Sue and George are “less valuable” employees. Sue and George accept the opinion of the CEO; reasoning that “she is the most senior person in the organisation after all… who are they to argue with her?”
The kiwi staff members, on the other hand, are very vocal and continue to debate the inequity of behalf on George and Sue with the CEO who is eventually convinced to re-examine her assumptions and hiring practices.
Sue and George are very keen to buy the latest watch now that they are earning more money. Gary, a senior copyeditor, is surprised to see Sue wearing an expensive Tag Heuer luxury watch which would have cost several times her monthly discretionary income. Gary still wears an old Casio he got as a teenager. It tells they time perfectly which is surely all you need from a watch?!
Sue has been tasked with creating a campaign for an insurance company. She decides to include funny animals, humour, slightly off colour jokes and a popular Lourde song. Most people LOVED the advert and lots of people were talking about it and sharing it on social media. For about a month it went viral on Facebook. Unfortunately a massive survey of customers showed there was no impact of the campaign on consumers’ attitude the company. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnqQehiVcyw)
The survey data indicated absolutely no change in people’s attitudes, yet anecdotally most people seemed to either really HATE or really LOVE the advert.
Sally Jones was hired at the same time as George and Sue, she is the sort of person who gets stressed easily and worries about things. She really wants to make a good impression in her new job and is keen to make the most of this new opportunity. In the first few weeks in her new job she often turns up to work half an hour early and is happy to stay late to make sure she keeps on top of her workload. She and the rest of her team are managed very closely and are not really trusted by management to get their work done without being monitored and Sally hates the lack of autonomy that the organisation offers. She is not surprised that others in her team often seem to complain about their own workload and regularly miss deadlines. Most arrive at work late and, though they seldom leave early, they will take long lunch breaks if they can, chat with each other, talk on the phone to their friends and surf the internet. Although they keep themselves separate from the rest of the organisation, they all get on well together, and there is a pleasant and friendly atmosphere in the team. They will cover for each other if someone is “pulling a sickie” and exaggerate to management about how long tasks really take so that they can work slowly and take plenty of breaks. Sally really wants to be liked by her workmates, she is a naturally shy person and sometimes finds it difficult to make friends. It does not take long for Sally to realise that she has to fit in with the rest of her team if she wants them to like her , She particularly admires Olive, a fun loving, vivacious and popular designer who always seems to be surrounded by friends. So, (although it goes against her nature) soon begins to relax about her own deadlines and go out for extended lunches with her colleagues. She and Olive become firm friends and although she is not happy about not being very productive at work, she decides that she loves working for Advert Co. more than ever.
Two months later
Management begins to notice that Sally’s team is not working very hard. They meet to discuss what might be done to improve performance. They decide to renovate the office in which the team works. They improve the lighting in the office, put in new air-conditioning units and give all the staff new computers. Although Sally’s team works a little more efficiently for a few weeks, the change doesn’t last long and they soon go back to their old ways.
Four months later
Because performance still has not improved significantly in Sally’s team, management decides to initiate a performance-based reward scheme. The goals the team is required to achieve in order to get rewards are not only significantly more challenging than the level at which they are currently performing but also include more ambiguous requirements such as to “improve work quality” and to “try hard”. For example they are expected to not only design new layouts for many of the print advertisements of Advert Co.’s clients, but also to learn how to use the brand new computer software required for the redesign. Although some feedback is given by management and clients about whether the finished product is satisfactory, no proper computer training is given and not a single team member manages to master the new computer software before the first deadline passes.
Although some of Sally’s team really did try hard to learn the new software and meet the targets set be management, the only way that performance is measured is by whether or not the final product arrives to the clients on time. The quality of the work and the time required to complete each job is not taken into account.
Sally becomes increasingly stressed, she feels that the work is too hard and she is unsupported by management. Her peers are also under a lot of pressure so she cannot rely on them to help her either.