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HRM11011 | Management | Identification of HR Problems in Organizations

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You will be required to use the three case studies listed below to apply what you have learnt in this course and to construct a report which:

  1. identifies the HRM problems that are present in these organisations.
  2. analyses the effects of these problems on the employees, managers and organisational performance.
  3. recommends strategic solutions for both the immediate and long term in each organisation.

The Three Case Studies

Details of each case studies are accessible below. You may need to research these organisations further. 

Case study 1:  7-Eleven

 7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd, Australia’s is a private company owned by the Withers and Barlow family.  The company has a license to operate and franchise 7-Eleven stores in Australia from the US based 7-Eleven Inc.  The 7-Eleven Stores Franchise operates more than 670 stores in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, and Western Australia.

Article - How 7-Eleven is ripping off its workers 

Read through this article here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Article - 7-Eleven: The Price of Convenience:

As 7-Eleven goes into damage control, this article exposes the wage scam at the heart of the multimillion dollar convenience store empire.

Read through this article here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Case Study 2: The Country Fire Authority (CFA)

The CFA (Country Fire Authority) is a volunteer and community based fire and emergency services organisation.The CFA provides firefighting and emergency services to rural areas and regional towns in Victoria, and to some of the outer suburban areas of Melbourne, not covered by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. .At 1 July 2017, CFA personnel included 35,263 volunteer firefighters, 1120 career firefighters and some 1400 administrative, instructional and supporting paid staff.

Article - Leadership failure to blame for multiple assaults at Eaglehawk CFA: report 

Read the article from the AGE newspaper here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


Article - Sexual harassment, bullying, endemic for women in Country Fire Authority

Read another article from the Age newspaper here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Article - CFA captain at centre of teenage girl hazing video scandal says there are 'two sides to every story'

Read the ABC report here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Case study 3 - The Australian Banks

The recent Royal Commission into the banks has been exposing deep problems in Australia's banking system. 

Article - After years of bank scandals, the people have been heard 

Read the Sydney Morning Herald article here

Video - There’s no evidence behind the strategies banks are using to police behaviour and pay 

To access this video, please click here (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site. and login using your RMIT identifiers.

Video - Money For Nothing: Which bank cheats some of its most vulnerable customers in their hour of need? 

To access this video, please click here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and login using your RMIT identifiers.

Answer:

Introduction

Human resource management is the most imperative in today’s challenging corporate environment. While corporate performance is trying for keeping away off challenges by expert moves and corporate strategies, challenges often come in the way of better implementation of management strategies. In support of human resource management better and effective corporate performance can be ensured on condition that people management is better ensured and organizational culture is followed through the hierarchy and every people in organizations (Armstrong & Taylor 2014). Clear knowledge about organizational culture and vision if could be permeated into the thought pattern of human resources of organizations then sensible and conscientious manners are expected from everyone in organizations. Organizational leaders with help of effective human resource management steer through a challenging environment for leading business towards profitability backed by operational excellence. Any deviation from organizational cultures result into errant behaviours of employees and if are left uncontrolled the organizational excellence can never achieve its full potential and the working atmosphere becomes less productive and ruins the organizational performance (Evans 2010). This report is based on three case studies which are 7-eleven, The Country Fire Authority, The Australian Banks and the case studies reflect major loopholes in leadership roles and organizational cultures as well. The effect thereof and related supportive measures have been also discussed in this report which is a salient part of this report related to human resource management in light of the case study.

1. Identification of HR Problems in organizations

Case study #01: 7-Eleven

7-Eleven stores private limited is a privately managed firm in Australia. This company is owned by Withers and Barlow family. The firms have huge numbers of stores operational in Queensland. The firm has faced a problem which has caused the reputation plummeted to nadir due to a wage-related scam that broke out. This was a major violation of workplace-related regulations. Most employees are underpaid and exploited badly and they are deprived of their proper wages for their service in the organization (Boxall & Purcell 2011). Franchisees were in collusion with each other and experienced among them were found training the new and non-experienced to master in the role of falsification of payroll and manipulation of records. The gravity of the concern was hugely impactful and position of HRM and its role in relation to manpower management is largely tarnished. The major problem in the HRM identified with this role is non-compliance of wage rules and workplace policies. This may be an inadvertent or unwilling act on their part but the problem appears largely due to the ineffective contribution of the department in managing a balance of organizational culture and required statutory performance within the firm (Guest 2011). Additionally, the HRM is unsuccessful in implementing a better and secured working culture as people are intimidated to work and do not open their mouth fearing termination of a job about other forms of punishment. The poor cultural display, poor working atmosphere and least consideration of statutory compliance were the cruxes of the HRM problems and the reputation of the company dipped.

Case study #02: The Country Fire Authority (CFA)

The company is a fire and emergency service organization with numerous volunteer firefighters, supporting and administrative personnel to support the organizational functions. The main problem with the HRM of the company is leadership inefficiency. This has manifested in several forms of unprofessional and detrimental activities aimed at women and other employees in the company. Poor organizational culture, lack of diversity, the poor relationship between management and workforce are problems in the firm (Bratton & Gold 2017 ). The brutal assault of the 17-year-old woman mirrors the picture of authoritative management or leadership which does not consider being reactive to the issues brought by the women. Many other women were also subjected to the bullying, intimidation and physical as well as sexual assault. Gender discrimination and lack of empathy and apathetic management were the main unproductive aspects of human resource management in the company. This firm has also failed to adhere to the workplace guidelines and apparently has not adopted zero tolerance to the issues discovered in the spate of the assaults and ill-treatment of female employees. The leadership of the firm is largely lackadaisical (Aswathappa 2013). Poor consideration about workplace culture as well as women’s low security have largely affected the working relationship in the company and eventually, the firm is crippled with a problem such as poor workplace and lack of integrity, organizational underperformance, lack of faith among stakeholders. A tarnished image of a firm cannot be mended in one go and only strategic management coupled with better HRM with the cooperation of management itself could be of large help to rid the firm of this situation. HRM inability of the company is also clear from the poor show of diversity in the firm. Diversity could have improved the working culture, working kinship among the employees and their talent demonstration.   

Therefore the HRM function of the company is identified as inadequate in the implementation of proper working culture, discrimination-free working atmosphere, gender neutrality, and better working relationship and proper coordination among management and working people. Therefore the main area of the inability of the company and its HRM part were lack of focus on complain area such as unsafe working atmosphere within the firm and irresponsive and irresponsible attitudes of managers to the issue, the victimized women voiced of. Therefore the core problem of the HRM of Country Fire Authority is lack of leadership reflected through inadequate organizational capability. These problems have compounded the problems of lack of cooperation among employees and lack of respect to female employees and the physical and sexual harassments were the most aggressive forms of indiscipline in and across the organization.

Case study #03: The Australian Banks

As pointed out by the royal commission, the Australian banking system is plagued with deep-seated problems which came down heavily on performance measurement, customers’ satisfaction and operational efficiencies of the company. Poor controls of management are highly apparent from the case study given here and if HR perspectives are taken into thought in relation to the problems some of these are attributable to them. The findings from the case study sum up the following in the Australian banking system.

Poor performance measurement of employees, underdeveloped behavioural aspects of employees, lack of adoption of measures to increase the satisfaction level of customers are some major aspects of inadequate performance of human resource management of the bank. HRMs of the banks are skeptical of balanced scorecards and this is often viewed by them as less credible in setting and tracking organizational objectives. This method of performance tracking often includes offers of bonuses to employees and as a result, they become short-term goal oriented while long-term objectives are ignored. Moreover, even employees are motivated their behavioural aspects do not improve and customers feel largely ignored. Therefore the banking organizations find difficulties to balance out the performance delivery and behavioural features of employees. HRM therefore within the banking system is unable to improve behaviours and attitudes of staffs towards customers even their performance level is improved. In addition to this, the largest existing problem is the inadequate performance management since performance measurement is not sufficient under the circumstance of inability to track performance. Therefore in relation to the given case study, HRM inability is conspicuous in the failure of people management.

2. Effects of HR problems on organizational performance, managers, and employees

7-Eleven Stores

The problems and effects related to a case study of 7-Eleven stores are influential on managers, employees, and performance of the firm.

Employees are less productive because they are intimidated and feel less safe within the organization due to their complaints are unheard of by their seniors and they are exposed to threats from their authority. Lack of motivation, less engagement of them and less feeling of attachment with the firm are big problems. Their hard works are not paid off by the authority and this is the reason the employer-employee relationship is not apparently visible in the company because the relationship is poor among them. Moreover, employees have a very poor perception about their company and are less considerate about the long-term association with the firm (Nankervis et al.2016)

Managers are the spokesperson of the company and after the scam came under broad daylight, their reliability among their juniors is highly affected. They are exposed to the wrath of employees and legal authorities for showing apathy to the problems stated by the victims of under wages. They are not only subjected to legal scrutiny but also severe actions could be initiated against them. At the same time, this is also obvious that all of them are not guilty but their career aspiration is unfulfilled (Anderson, 2013).

Organizational performance of the company is deeply affected. Being a company that has been hit by a scam, the trust level of employees and other stakeholders is gone and operational stability of business is low in all measures. Business is grilled under numerous investigations and even the operation of the business is allowed for the sake of employees, organizational performance is open to several challenges such as low productivity, lack of talented employees, interrupted and unbalanced organizational objectives (Brewster, Chung & Sparrow 2016).

The Country Fire Authority (CFA)

Employees are the direct victims of anarchy in the organization. They are physically and sexually assaulted. Needless to say that they are least motivated and are traumatized for several attacks carried on female colleagues. Fear out of unsafe working conditions, lack of faith in management loom higher in them. Thus they are not motivated to work properly even if they have requisite knowledge and talent (Marchington et al. 2016). Employees or high ranking officials who are less cooperative are unable to understand the cultural direction of the company given the fact that there is no cultural practice to introduce an amicable working practice in the firm. lack of diversity practices and autocratic form of leadership have affected their performance level. According to the case study, the employer-employee relationship is poor and lack of discipline along with gender discrimination in the workplace are adversely influential to productivity (Buller & McEvoy, 2012).

Managers of country Fire authority are expected to invoke rules and regulations related to safe working cultures. Failure in the implementation of an effective organizational culture and lack of attention on the problems of female colleagues make them responsible for the overall working conditions and assault on female employees. They are therefore subject to several scrutinies and their ignorance of the existing problem cannot stand chances of impunity within the legal frameworks supported by several legislations and authorities controlling the respective legislation. Managers who are even supportive of better working conditions and congenial working conditions within the company are skeptical about their future and the magnitude of the problem has a negative impact on their motivation level leading to the unsatisfactory performance delivered by them (Chuang & Liao, 2010).

Organizational performance of Country Fire Authority is seriously affected due to prevailing conditions in the firm. The overall performance of the firm is dependent on the performance of employees and the attitude of management. Hence the case study scenario indicates the poor organizational performance of the company in the industry.

The Australian Banks

Behavioural pattern of pattern of employees is not satisfactory although they are trained by their managers. They are less focused on long-term objectives and are satisfied with the accomplishment of short-term goals. However, their customer service approach is not effective and this is the reason a large contingent of customers are dissatisfied as they feel their service requirement is not fulfilled. Self-actualization of employees is not actually fulfilled due to the inadequate performance management by the banks. Lack of effective performance tracking keeps employee performance unchecked and this causes dissatisfaction among performance-oriented staffs of the banks (Harzing & Pinnington 2010).

Managers are not enabled to adopt and implement performance measurement tools as their banks are not completely certain of the effectiveness of balanced scorecard and other effective tools to analyze employees’ performances. If managers’ performance is viewed on basis of soft skill and customer services then this can be said that they are not achievers of performance standards set by their banks as well as perceptions among customers in the Australian banking industry.

Organizational performance of the banks are largely dependent on overall operational excellence which includes service approach of employees and the performance measurement and volume of customers satisfaction is the indication of organizational performance. In this respect, the organizational performance of the Australian banks are not high and improvement is required (Lengnick-Hall et al. 2011, pp.243-255).

3. Recommendation of long-term and short-term strategic solutions

From the case study analysis, some recommendations are important for the organizations to ensure immediate and long-term improvement.

Compliance related to wages and workplace is must for the firms. Therefore there is a need for setting up of compliance committee who will be responsible for immediately to taking measures for addressing compliance issues. Official assistance requires to be taken from Fair work ombudsmen and others statutory authorities and periodical report of progress to be submitted (Scullion and Collings, 2011). Australian banks must take advice from a royal commission to increase the quality of customer’s service by minimizing chances of fraud (Chelladurai & Kerwin, 2017). Country fire authority must adopt fair working policies and accordingly needs to comply with all existing legal requirements under several acts. All the firms in the case study must consult with the relevant legal authorities to fulfill the immediate requirement for gaining back trusts from stakeholders and employees as well as customers. Similarly, these must address the requirement of immediate statutory compliance.

For consolidating HRM and its functions the firms could think of adopting AHRI model of excellence which offers better insights for HR practitioners. As per this model, there are seven capabilities and ten behaviours that make for better HR practices. The case study organizations with help of this model can ensure better HR practices (Alfes et al.2013, pp.330-351)

AHRI Model of Excellence

The important dimensions of the recommended HR model are mentioned below.

Behaviours –I am’

In this segment, HRM of the companies must practice the quality of critical and enquiring thinking, solutions driven, future orientation by accepting new concepts and innovations. They must play the role of influencers for making better and effective relationship, courageous to accept the challenge, must show intelligence and caring attitude. Alongside they need to be credible, collaborative, issue resolvers (Scullion and Collings, 2013).

These are business driven qualities. These include knowledge about organizational context and purposes. Knowledge of products and operations, business environment, the capacity to respond to external and internal influential factors, knowledge about stakeholders are also important elements (Briscoe, Tarique, I & Schuler, 2012).

Expert practitioner

In this category application of knowledge, the ability of challenge acceptance, knowledge about problem solutions, skill display regarding pragmatism and problem-solving skill is important to improve the performance of overall HM function (Wright &McMahan, 2011).

Strategic architect

In this category firms’ strategies are converted to strategies of HRM. HR functions could be managed to implement HR strategies. The organizations can design and implement solutions to HR issues and adapt to most suitable and effective HR practices for improvement of overall conditions.

Ethical and credible activist

Through ethical insights, the effectiveness of HR practices could be maximized. HRM of the companies must show organizational values, leadership with maximum integrity. This will help HRM to manage people and improper and violent behaviours can be completely avoided (Jiang et al. 2012, pp.1264-1294)

Competencies-‘I Do’

Workforce and workplace designing need to be practiced by HR people. By implementing this, the workforce could be kept ready to meet the needs of organizations. The organizations need to utilize workforce analytics to understand the requirement of the strategic and operational workforce and satisfaction among employees gets maximized. People are enabled to serve the future requirement.

Stakeholder Mentor and Coach

By practicing this role HR practitioners of the companies build and maintain a relationship with stakeholders. On this basis, organizational capabilities can be achieved.

Culture and change leader

By practicing this, sustainable and productive organizational culture could be ensured. The change could be initiated and implemented with frequent monitoring of change process and progress.

Conclusion

Human resource management based on effective strategy can shape organizational performance. The above case studies indicate organizational problems that have been analyzed and some recommendations herein have been mentioned to strengthen HRM aspects of the case study organizations. Statutory compliance and people management are key concepts of organizational success. Statutory compliance is a broad term which necessitates the organizations to implement better working practices, safe and healthy working atmosphere to enable female employees to work within safe and friendly working settings.

References

Alfes, K., Shantz, A.D., Truss, C. & Soane, E.C., 2013. The link between perceived human resource management practices, engagement and employee behaviour: a moderated mediation model. The international journal of human resource management, Vol. 24 no.2, pp.330-351.

Anderson, V., 2013. Research methods in human resource management: investigating a business issue. Kogan Page Publishers.

Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S., 2014. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Aswathappa, K.E.M.A.L., 2013. Human resource management: Text and cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Boxall, P. & Purcell, J., 2011. Strategy and human resource management. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Bratton, J. & Gold, J., 2017. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave.

Brewster, C., Chung, C. & Sparrow, P., 2016. Globalizing human resource management. Routledge.

Briscoe, D., Tarique, I. & Schuler, R., 2012. International human resource management: Policies and practices for multinational enterprises. Routledge.

Buller, P.F. & McEvoy, G.M., 2012. Strategy, human resource management and performance: Sharpening line of sight. Human resource management review,  vol.22, no.1, pp.43-56.

Chelladurai, P. & Kerwin, S., 2017. Human resource management in sport and recreation. Human Kinetics.

Chuang, C.H. & Liao, H.U.I., 2010. Strategic human resource management in service context: Taking care of business by taking care of employees and customers. Personnel psychology,  vol.63, no.1, pp.153-196.

Evans, P., 2010. The global challenge: International human resource management. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Guest, D.E., 2011. Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human resource management journal, vol.21, no.1, pp.3-13.

Harzing, A.W. & Pinnington, A. eds., 2010. International human resource management. Sage.

Jiang, K., Lepak, D.P., Hu, J. & Baer, J.C., 2012. How does human resource management influence organizational outcomes? A meta-analytic investigation of mediating mechanisms. Academy of management Journal, vol.55, no.6, pp.1264-1294.

Lengnick-Hall, C.A., Beck, T.E. & Lengnick-Hall, M.L., 2011. Developing a capacity for organizational resilience through strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Review, vol.21,no. 3, pp.243-255.

Marchington, M., Wilkinson, A., Donnelly, R. & Kynighou, A., 2016. Human resource management at work. Kogan Page Publishers.

Nankervis, A.R., Baird, M., Coffey, J. and Shields, J., 2016. Human resource management: strategy and practice. Cengage AU.

Scullion, H. and Collings, D., 2011. Global talent management. Routledge.

Wright, P.M. &McMahan, G.C ., 2011. Exploring human capital: putting ‘human’back into strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 21, no.2, pp.93-104.

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