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I am employed with Northrop Grumman, as a logistics management specialist. I operate as a program manager working to support a foreign military sales (FMS) customer to safely manage assets procured under an FMS international agreement program. Our International Team, which is composed of eight members, consists of a Program Manager (PM), Deputy Program Manager, Project Officer (PO), Engineer, Administrative Assistant, Financial Manager (FM), and two Spares & Support Equipment Managers (SE).
Over the past five weeks there have been many lessons, readings and instructions on Organizational Behavior that I have found applicable to my own working environment and which could certainly be utilized in an application to improve upon the workplace practices of my organization. To begin with, I would employ the use of a shared-power strategy among team members. A shared-power strategy actively and sincerely involves team members and co-workers who will be affected by a change in planning and making key decisions related to a change. This strategy is sometimes called the normative-reeducative approach. The normative-reeducative approach tries to develop support for change and direction through empowerment. This would greatly enhance the cohesion of our international team by allowing team members to share in the decision-making, planning and implementation of changes which often take place without team member knowledge or buy-in. By implementing a shared-power strategy, this approach could be utilized to improve communications between management and team members, thus fostering improvements of the relationships of each.
Another area which requires considerable improvement within our team is problems caused as a result of communication barriers, to be more specific, communication barrier problems caused by the absence of feedback from management to team members. This absence of feedback seems to go hand-in-hand with the shared-power strategy as it would be impossible to actively practice empowerment without improving the flow of communication. Effectively utilizing and expanding upon the principles of empowerment would require a two-way communication flow. The current norm within our team structure is for communication to be more of as one-way mechanism. This usually results in the one hand not knowing or clearly understanding what the other hand is doing. This is often the case, for example, when the program manager may be working an issue with the financial manager which involves the entire program, however the deputy program manager and the project officer are not informed of the issue nor are they made aware of any final decisions resulting from the action. This type of communication breakdown has resulted in problems when team members may be absent due to illness or travel, requiring other members to handle an urgent matter with an incomplete background of the issue. This absence of feedback between management and amongst team personnel has resulted in conflicts between team members placed in compromising situations for lack of knowledge. As a result, the management is now faced with the challenge of managing conflict amongst the team.
Conflict occurs whenever disagreement exists in a social situation over issues of substance or whenever emotional antagonisms create frictions between individuals or groups. Often our team is faced with issues surrounding problems generated as a result of both intergroup conflicts and interpersonal conflicts. These problems could possibly have been avoided by encouraging the use of feedback and more efficient communication. The management team is now expending time and energy trying to resolve internal conflicts