“‘What About Melissa?'” Reflection Blog (Week 3)

Simmons Insurance Group was lucky to get such a great employee. If Melissa’s managers were Theory X  managers, they would be baffled as to what to do with Melissa; she doesn’t fit any of their molds. But prescribing under the Human Resources Approach as Theory Y managers, they see Melissa is “highly motivated to satisfy achievement and self-actualization needs” and that their job is “to bring out the natural tendencies” (Miller, 41) of Melissa and others like her. So then, they look at her as an employee.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows the managers that as an employee, Melissa is thriving at Simmons.  She is a “star performer”, “well-liked by her co-workers in all departments” and as an intern “was a star performer” (Case Study). Working at Simmons is helping Melissa fulfill her Affiliation Needs, Esteem Needs, and Need for Self-Actualization (Miller, 39).

Furthermore, the managers analyze the work that Melissa wants to do. As the new Director of Internal Support, she wants “to bridge departments to ensure consistent, open communication and excellent customer relations.” (Case Study) This will benefit the company based on the principles of the Human Relations Approach. The managers recall the  Hawthorne Studies which found that “increased attention raises productivity” (Eisenberg, Goodall, Threthewey, p.73) and remember Elton Mayo’s belief “society is comprised of groups, not isolated individuals; that individuals are swayed by group norms” (Eisenberg et al, p.72). Bridging departments supports Mayo’s belief. Also Melissa’s additional responsibilities of supporting all the departments provides the increased attention, that may help increase the productivity at Simmons.

The managers call in Melissa to further explain the potential new position. This is to keep down conflict, or a “lack of shared understanding” (Eisenberg et al, p. 74) and to be open and honest with Melissa about their concerns. Finally, because they believe that she will succeed, and because Melissa is family–after all she’s grown up with them, from intern to senior claims associate–the managers decide to keep her on in the new position for a trial basis, while they work out the rest of the cutbacks. If Melissa keeps performing and producing at her level, she may not have to be on the chopping block.

Miller, K. (2009). Organizational communication: Approaches & processes. (5th ed.). NY: Wadsworth. Chapter 3.

Eisenberg, E.M., Goodall, H.L., Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2010). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (6th Edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

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