200719 Industrial Relations And Workplace Change: Take Home Examination Assessment Answer

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Question :


Unit Number: 200719


Answer any 2 (TWO) questions from this Part. All questions are of equal value. Part A is worth 30 marks.

Question 2

Kotter and Schlesinger (2008), unit Supplementary Readings Topic 3, argue there are four “most common” reasons why people resist workplace change: (1) parochial self-interest; (2) misunderstanding and lack of trust; (3) different assessments; and (4) a low tolerance for change. Which of these four reasons is most likely to shape the reaction of the RHO and CLIC employees to the “Draft Organisational Change Proposal” (Topic 5 class activity, discussed in Week 6 class) at Business Information Solutions?

(reasons and recommendations how employees should respond)

Question 3

Bray, Waring, Cooper and Macneil (2018, p. 348) discuss the concept of “managerial prerogative”. Does this concept help explain the outcome in the workplace change attempt outlined in the “Introduction of new technology at FoxMeyer Drugs” (Topic 3 class activity, discussed in Week 4 class) case study? If not, why not?ployers and employees ought to share interests’ but rather ‘employees ought to share their employer’s interests’.” By discussing a workplace change example, assess the merits of the Greenwood and Van Buren assertion.


Question 5

Please read the Australia Post case study below: (Topic 4&5)

The Australian Medical Association has accused Australia Post of tampering with doctors’ honesty and ethics by seeking second opinions when workers produce medical certificates for sick leave. The postal workers’ union has also banned Australia Post’s new Attendance Improvement Management System, which the union described as “a management tool to bully sick and injured workers”.

Australia Post says the system is aimed at a “small minority” of its 35,000 workforce who abuse leave entitlements and inflate the company’s sickies bill of about $35 million a year. The system, which began last month, targets workers who take 10 days’ sick leave a year or six days’ leave in a month – taken on Mondays, Fridays, pay days or days before and after public holidays.

The performances of those targeted are reviewed twice in eight months, then workers involved are sent to a company doctor. Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal yesterday labelled the system as “disrespectful and questionable”. He challenged the role and motive of Australia Post-designated doctors. “It’s really a question of who’s paying the piper and who is best placed to make a decision regarding the health of the patient”, he said. Dr Haikerwal said the duplication of medical resources was wasteful to the company and to Medicare. “But it is also disrespectful to doctors and provides a lack of continuity of care”, he said.

Communication Workers Union secretary Joan Doyle said the system had been banned because it discriminated against workers and doctors and abused privacy laws. “What they are really saying is the worker's family doctor is a liar”, she said. “Often Australia Post will send you to more than one doctor until they get the right answer. It’s not just bullying workers, it’s an abuse of the health system.” Ms Doyle said some company doctors were notorious. One was nicknamed “Dr Voltaren”, after an anti-inflammatory drug. Ms Doyle said the doctor once prescribed the drug to a man whose family doctor later diagnosed a fractured elbow.

Australia Post spokesman Matt Pollard said the new system was about counselling workers who appeared to have taken an unusual amount of sick leave, and managing cases to improve their health or family situations. 

The Australia Post Collective Agreement has a “Managing Change” clause. The clause contains the following paragraph:

“The managing change process described in this clause applies to changes in work activities or services, hours of operation or working hours, organisational structure and work processes, technological change or the redeployment of staff members.”

Are the changes introduced by Australia Post management covered by the “Managing Change” clause?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

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Answer :

Part A:

Question 2:

For achieving sustainability in this highly competitive market, businesses must evolve continuously. Various reasons that cause changes in an organisation are the changes in the governments, face competition from the new competitors, technological advancements in the market and new opportunities in front of the organisations. It is not easy for an organisation in implementing change. In most of the cases, employees resist organisational change. When employees are informed about an organisational change, then they become shocked. Employees cannot understand whether the change can benefit them or not or whether they will be able to work in the changing environment or not. Due to these facts, employees become confused about the change implementation in their organisation. This fact ultimately carets employee resistance in applying the change in the organisation.

From the case study, it is observed that BIS wants to upgrades its technology from the CARDS to NATCON for achieving market sustainability.  They have found that the accommodation, travel and the tourism industry is facing severe sustainability challenges. This situation has created an unwanted situation for BIS that has decreased its revenue and increased the costs of operation. For these purposes, the organisation has decided to upgrade its technology to NATCON from CARDS so that they can reduce the operating costs and improve its revenue. During the implementation of the change, the employees have observed that BIS has decided to develop staffs to enhance the staff efficiencies. However, the organisation has also agreed to reduce the operating income by cutting their human resources. Therefore, due to the implemented change in BIS, the employees can lose their jobs. As the change brings disadvantage for the employees, therefore, there are vast possibilities that the employees can restrict the change. Kotter and Schlesinger have stated that there are mainly four different common reasons for which employees resist changes that are lower tolerance to the change, parochial self-interests, varied assessments by employees and the lack of trusts. Therefore, by considering the author’s perspectives, the main reason for which the employees of BIS can restrict the change is parochial self-interests.

According to parochial self-interest, people mainly resist changes when they feel that they are going to lose some values When employees become informed about the change, then they become more interested in identifying how change can impact them. During implementing any change, employees do not consider the impact of change on the success of their organisation. Employees are only interested in the facilities that they can achieve due to the implemented change. If employees observed that they are going to face any issues in their organisation due to the implemented change, then they become de-motivated about the change. According to the case, employees have observed that they might lose their jobs due to implemented change so that they have started to restrict change. This is because they want to ensure that the implemented change cannot create any subtle issues for them. Therefore, by considering the case mentioned above study and the theory, it can be said that the employees have restricted the change due to the parochial self-interest. Employees might limit the change by reducing their interests towards performing their role, or they could leave BIS by identifying a new career development opportunity. Moreover, employees might involve them in organisational politics, which might create sabotage in the organisation.

For the implementation of a successful change, employees should respond to the change in that so that it can motivate the organisation in implementing change with betterment. Successful change can be implemented in BIS if employees could positively accept the change and participate in the change. 

Question 3:

This question is intended to shed light on the managerial prerogative for explaining the outcome of the organisational change that was initiated at the Foxmeyer Drugs. Managerial prerogatives refer to the natural rights of the managers in managing their employees. Every possible legal action that is performed by the managers is done by virtue of the prerogatives. Managerial prerogatives restrict the activities of the employees in negotiating with the managers about the terms and conditions. Due to this reason, trade union works to help the employees so that they can regulate this prerogative. Therefore, managerial prerogatives are the decision-making capabilities of the managers where the managers are associated with making decisions by them without considering the opinion of the employees.

Foxmeyer drugs have applied the concept of the managerial prerogatives in applying the new technology in their organisation. From the case study, it has been observed that the organisation has not considered the concerns of the employees before using the latest technology. The only thing that they have considered is the individual gain that they would achieve by applying the new technology in their organisation. For the implementation of the technology, Foxmeyer has conducted market research and evaluation of products after which they have purchase SAP R/3. They have also purchased warehouse automation technology from Pinnacle, which is one of their vendors. During the implementation of the technology, Foxmeyer did not have any necessary skills in implementing the SAP technology and integrating the technology in the automated warehouse. There were 50 consultants in the Foxmeyer, most of which did not have any practical knowledge about the technology that had created a higher employee turnover rate. For the implementation of the technology in Foxmeyer, the management did not take the permission of the consultant so that they can receive better advice from them.

Along with that, they did not inform their employees about the organisational change for which they had faced a higher level of employee resistance in applying the transformation. From this fact, it can be said that Foxmeyer has mainly considered the manager prerogative by which the only took decisions, but they did not inform employees about the change. For this reason, a higher level of employee resistance had created that has made the change unsuccessful for the company.

The organisation was highly confident about the result of the technology implementation, but they did not consider any other conditions that might arise after the implementation of the technology. The implementation of the automated warehouse technology made the employees highly dissatisfied because it could create difficulties for them in saving their jobs. For this reason, their employees began leaving their jobs from their three warehouses at Ohio, where they had decided to apply the technology. The reason behind the higher level of staff turnover is manager prerogatives. This is because it offers the opportunity to the managers in taking decisions about the organisational, economic efficiencies as well as property rights where employees do not have rights to interfere. By considering the prerogatives, the managers of Foxmeyer did not inform the employees about the change. Moreover, they did not offer any training for the employees to work in the changing environment. Additionally, they did not arrange any consultation session for the employee that could create a higher level of staff dissatisfaction. 

From the discussion, it can be said that for applying a change, manager prerogatives is not one of the effective strategies. This is because it does not offer any hassle-free changes in organisation and develops higher employee resistance during the change implementation.

Part B:

Question 5: 

Sick leaves are the paid off day from work that an organisation offers its employees as one of the benefits. Employees use sick leaves when they become temporarily sick. Therefore, sick leaves benefit employees who are unable to perform their work with efficiencies because of their sicknesses. Sick leaves are necessary for the employees in taking self-care. The case study has revealed that Australia post has blamed the medical practitioners for providing false sick leave application to their employees. There are 35000 numbers of staffs who are working in the organisation among which some of the employees take medical leaves for more than ten days in a year or six days in a month. By identifying the fact, Australia post has perceived that their employees have submitted them a false medical certificate for their sicknesses. After that, the organisation has decided to review the performance of the employees twice every eight months. Along with that, Australia post has also decided to re-examine the medical condition of employees by the doctor of their organisation. The medical association of Australia has not perceived this situation as of right because it questions the ethics and honesty of the qualified doctors.

Australian post has one of the managing change clauses in their organisation. According to the organisation, their change management strategies are applicable in that scenario where changes have been occurred in the services or work activities, processes of work and structure of an organisation, working hours or application of the technological change. From the case study, it can be clearly observed that the Australian post wanted to apply a change in their organisation due to the sick leaves taken by their employees. They think that their employees are taken leaves from their organisation without proper reasons. Australian post has observed that the employee-sickness bill amounted to $35 billion in every year. Though the approach of the Australian post has been identified as unethical and rude, their approach cannot be considered wrong. This is because; they have faced huge loss due to the sick leaves of the employees. Therefore, it is highly essential for them in reducing the number of sick leaves of the employees so that they can minimise their loss.

For this reason, they have decided to apply the change in the process to take sick leaves. As per the policies of the organisation, the Australian post can implement any change management strategies. This is because this reason falls under the reason that has been enlisted under the “managing change” clause of the organisation.

Offering sick leaves to the workers are highly important in creating a sense of trust among the employees and employers. If employers would not offer sick leaves to the employees then the employees may perceive the fact as the distrust of the employers on them. Due to this reason, a relationship of distrust can be developed among employers and employees if employers will not offer sick leaves to the employees. A sick worker always creates an error in performing their roles. Moreover, a sick worker always has lesser productivity as the ability of the workers reduced. Therefore, a tight sick policy can reduce organisational productivity. Moreover, if normal employees would work with the sick employees, then they would be infected from the sick employees that are also one of the reasons behind lesser organisational productivity. 

This fact ultimately creates some losses for their organisation. Therefore, offering sick leaves to employees is always important for an organisation. Australian post also offers sick leaves to their employees, but they have observed that some of their employees are using these opportunities unethically. They have identified that their employees are submitting the duplicate certificate for their sickness so that they can get their sick leaves. Due to this reason, Australian post has blamed the doctor for their unethical practices to offer false sickness certificates to the employees of Australian posts. For resolving this issue, Australian posts have decided to apply the change in the attendance system in their organisation. They can apply their organisation’s change management strategy in managing this change because it is one of the listed changes in their “managing change” clause. This is because; decided change has been agreed to apply to the work activities of the employees. In that case, the performance of the employee has been determined to check in a particular gap. Along with that, the medical condition of the employees has been determined to initiate by the doctor of the organisation. This change has been agreed to apply to the Australian posts to reduce the abuse of the sickness leaves. 

From the facts mentioned above, it is clear that for increasing employee morale and organisational productivity, Australian posts must trust their employees.