Organisations & Behaviour
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Case Study: Bechtel
Bechtel is one of the world’s leading construction and civil engineering companies with head office in San Francisco, USA. This is a very old company started in 1898 when company help construct the railroads in Oklahoma territory. Up to now they have completed 25,000 projects in 160 countries.
Immediately after the Gulf war in 1991, Bechtel helped to put out the oil fires of Kuwait and start the cleaning up and rebuilding process for Kuwait’s Oil infrastructure. In 1994 Bechtel started work on the US$20 billion Hong Kong’s new airport core programme. The largest civil engineering project at that time, this included building a new airport and 9 infrastructure projects. More recent projects have been in Eastern Europe e.g. Romanian motorway construction projects. Revenues in 2012 were almost US$3.8 billion.
Bechtel services include: Financing and Equity Investments, Construction, Engineering, Planning, Procurement and Consulting (sustainable solutions, technology and licensing, and start-up operations).
Bechtel strengths lie in areas of Infrastructure construction; Defence and Nuclear Security; Environmental Clean-up & Management; Mining and Metals; Oil, Gas and Chemicals; Power (Electricity Generation and Distribution including nuclear power); Tanks (large chemical and gas storage); Tunnelling; Telecommunications and Water.
Bechtel management demand excellence in performance from their employees, management promotes use of new proven technology and encourages staff to be innovative. It operates a team based structure and instils trust, openness and fairness amongst its team leaders and members.
It relies on an inclusive culture through employment of international workforce. Bechtel management recognise the value of diversity in their project based environment which relies on problem solving skills of its workforce, hence optimising the use of diverse backgrounds, experience and perspectives is very important in the type of work they carry out.
Bechtel projects are in difficult environments hence zero-tolerance to safety is their constant goal, as their employees, and contractors lives depend on this.
It also has a strong value towards sustainability in relation to Bechtel, its customers and the global environment. It values honesty, integrity and fairness.
Bechtel expresses its being as a result of its people: “It is through our people that we express who we are and what we stand for”.
Bechtel also employ volunteers that they send out to all over the world on education programmes:
Bechtel volunteers help young children develop knowledge in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Volunteers support children in building their own robots and model bridges. They introduce teenagers to business and personal finance. Volunteers also work on research vessel in the Aegean Sea alongside youngsters developing their knowledge and interest in oceanography.
London School of Science & Technology
LeadershipBusiness UnitsBusiness Units cont’d.
Chairman and Chief ExecutiveCivil Infrastructure:Engineering, Procurement
Officer (Riley Bechtel)Aviation & Infrastructureand Construction
President and Chief OperatingGovernment Services: Officer (Bill Dudley)
Systems andConstruction functions
Infrastructure Construction Engineering &
Chief Financial Officer (Mike Environmental International Defence Technology Environmental, Safety Adams)
General Counsel (Michael Bailey)
Nuclear Security Procurement US Defence and
US Naval Programme
Mining & Metals:
Asia Pacific Latin America North America
Oil, Gas & Chemicals:
LiquefiedNatural Gas (LNG)
Offshore Onshore Petrochemicals Pipeline
Tanks Power:Communication s, Renewables and Transmission Nuclear Power Thermal Power
Europe,Africa& Middle East
Latin America Oceania
Task 1: Essay (Approximately1000 Words)
As an international company, Bechtel operates through a matrix structure. Compare and contrast two other organisational structures and culture that Bechtel can apply as an international company.
Student should attempt to compare and contrast two organisation structures and culture by considering the following:
Explain how the relationship between structure and culture can impact on the performance of Bechtel.
Students will have to refer to their answer in 1.1 and explain how the relationship between their two chosen structures and cultures can impact on performance in terms of the:
Discuss the factors which influence individual behaviour at Bechtel.
Students should discuss any four from the list below:
Based on your answer provided in 1.3, critically evaluate on how Bechtel can minimise the impact of conflict, stress and change and justify valid conclusions on the importance of minimising conflict, stress and change within its structure.
Students should consider the following:
Compare the effectiveness of different leadership styles in Bechtel and one of its competitors.
Students should compare any two of the following:
Explain how organisational theory underpins the practice of management at Bechtel
Students should explain any two of the following:
Evaluate the different approaches to management used by Bechtel and its competitors. Guidelines: Students should consider two of the following in the context of:
M1 and M3
Based on your analysis provided in 2.1, critically evaluate the most appropriate leadership styles that would help Bechtel to expand globally as compared to its competitors. Your answer needs to be presented using a PowerPoint presentation.
Guidelines: In order to complete the above task, you should:
Discuss the impact that different leadership styles may have on motivation in Bechtel during periods of change.
Students should discuss the impact of any two different leadership styles on motivation.
Compare the application of different motivational theories and their application within Bechtel. Guidelines: Students should compare any two of the following:
Evaluate the usefulness of a motivation theory for managers in Bechtel.
Students should use one motivational theory and evaluate its usefulness in terms of:
Merits and Distinctions M2
Based on your answer provided in 3.2, select the most appropriate motivational theory to empower staff in Bechtel.
Student will have to use their analysis in 3.2 and select one motivational theory that could be applied within Bechtel to empower its staff.
Use reliable academic sources and appropriate Harvard referencing techniques to answer these criteria.
Explain the nature of groups and group behaviour within Bechtel.
Guidelines: Students should explain the following in relation to Bechtel: Formal and informal groups and their respective behaviour
4.2 Discuss the factors that may promote or inhibit the development of effective teamwork at Bechtel.
Students should discuss any three of the following: 1.Group size
Evaluate the impact of technology on team functioning within Bechtel.
Students should evaluate the following:
Using your answer in 4.3, demonstrate lateral thinking in evaluating the impact of virtual team on team functioning within Bechtel.
Students should consider the following:
ORGANISATIONS AND BEHAVIOUR
Within a business organisation, the organisational behaviour includes the process of interaction, communication along with their involvement in the organisational services. In specifically to say, the behaviour of the humans within the organisational environment set the entire aspect regarding the behaviour of that organisation. Therefore, the behaviour of the internal individuals is the most influential determinate of the behaviour of that organisation. In the specific case of Bechtel, it can be observed that this company has been operating as one of the leading construction, engineering and project management organisation based on the U.S. As a result, through the behavioural styles of the internal staffs, the behaviour of this organisation is determined.
The organisations are created with a number of factors, such as, individual people, time, organisational goals and aims with policies and systems along with processes. As Bechtel has been operating through the application of the functional structure there are also the product-based and geographically based structures that this company can follow in order to improve the quality of their services (Sorensen and Stanton, 2013). As this company is based on project management and engineering, the quality of the products produced by the internal staffs is quite necessary. On the other hand, through implementing the features of geographical structure this company can also able to enlarge its activities to a global project. This is no doubt helpful to provide a global platform to promote the functional excellence of this company that is beneficial for their future.
Internal culture of an organisation is able to set the organisational environment in which the employees perform their functional activities for the organisational benefit. As stated by Huhtala et al. (2013), the significance of the organisational culture is embedded in setting the values and believe among the associates. In the case of Bechtel, it can be noticed that this organisation possesses the skilled-craft culture. However, the impact of role culture and power culture is also magnificent for this organisation. This suggests that the individuals in this organisation need to have specific role regarding their performances and therefore through this each of the departments can able to its responsibilities. Similarly, through power culture, the employees within Bechtel can be segregated into specific groups and necessary power can also be imposed upon them. It is the fact that the organisations having ole culture automatic have their own power culture, too.
i) Decision making:
In the context of Bechtel, the implementation of the additional structure and cultures is quite significant in the organisational decision-making processes. Through the impact of geographical and product-based structure, the management of this company can able to monitor the current activities of other similar organisations on a global basis and can develop necessary strategic decision regarding their further improvement (Kuntz et al. 2013). On the other hand, through role and power culture, there may not arise complexity regarding taking a decision due to different opinions.
ii) Task processes:
Product-based organisational structure for Bechtel enables to help this company to focus on the quality of its products and drive functional tasks according to its target. Similarly, geographical structure is able to improve the quality of its usual flow of performances in order to occupy a good position in the international market (Harper, 2015). On the other hand, role and power culture have their impact on Bechtel through creating a clear division among the entire functional processes of this organisation.
Once an organisation focuses on the product-based as well as global structure, the standard of the teamwork automatically develops (Clay-Williams and Braithwaite, 2015). Therefore, through this, the organisation likes Bechtel can able to successfully compete with other existing companies. Besides this, through role and power culture, the unity and connection among the members of each team are enriched that help in continuing a cooperative teamwork within this organisation.
Through global structure with product-based features, Bechtel can able to enlarge its functional communication with international construction companies. on the other hand, an effective as well as healthy communication also develops among the team members of this company through the impact of role and power culture, too.
The pattern of the individual opinions as well as feelings can able to drive the individual behaviour within this organisation. As stated by Henle and Gross (2014), the individual perspective according to their personality towards the functional activities in an construction company has potency to define the organisational function.
Based on the individual personality within Bechtel, it can be stated that they have different types of perspectives regarding their functional contribution for the development of this company. The concept and opinion of each of the members under role and power culture have their influence on creating the entire organisational behaviour.
The attitude of the individuals within Bechtel is also able to determinate the organisational behaviour (bechtel.com, 2016). Through the positive attitude of the employees, the management enables to identify the ways for their future improvement whereas the negative attitude can also create a complicated organisational atmosphere.
4. Conflict, Stress and Change:
It is quite a common fact that due to the existence of a number of employees within this organisation, conflicts may arise frequently regarding any functional activity. Therefore, the individual process of behaviour can able to give birth to organisational stress that can sequentially able to develop necessity to implement several changes within this organisation.
5. Ability and aptitude:
The ability and aptitude of each of the internal staffs of Bechtel have their impact on the determination of individual behaviour of this company. As this is a construction company, the employees are efficient and skilful enough to perform their individual tasks upon which the behavioural aspect of this company is hugely depended (bechtel.com, 2016).
i) Definition of conflict, Stress and change:
Conflict in the organisations denotes the state under which several disorders take place within it regarding taking a decision (Booth, 2015). Due to this, a number of issues develop as organisational stress. Therefore, in order to maintain the smooth organisational flow, necessary changes based on the organisational structure and function is implemented by the management.
ii) Symptoms and causes of conflict, Stress and change:
Organisational conflicts hugely appear due to indifference in the functioning of the employees, unhealthy internal atmosphere along with aggressive and strange behaviour of the employees and management. As a result, a functional pressure occurs within the organisation due to which majority of the associates suffer. Therefore, in order to overcome those issues, the management tries to implement necessary changes for the organisational benefit that can be identified through the changes in the employee functioning as well as service and production.
iii) The process to tackle conflict:
There are some effective steps through which the organisational conflicts can be tackled effectively by the management of Bechtel. According to Hon et al. (2013), it is the responsibility of the management to identify the source of the conflict. After that, it is necessary to observe the reason of the invention of that conflict within the organisation. Based on that, necessary solutions are needed to be developed. However, along with this, it is also important to notice whether those solutions have their sufficient support for the eradication of that conflict. Finally, through the agreement of majority of the associates, the developed strategic solution is needed to be applied.
iv) Importance of minimising conflict, stress and change:
Through minimising the organisational conflict, stress and changes occurred through those, the smooth flow of the organisational performances can be maintained effectively. It is the fact that organisational conflicts and stress occurred due to this enable to decline the confidence level of the internal employees. Due to this, the organisational targets cannot be met. Even, through the implementation of changes, the organisations can also face a huge financial crisis (Moran et al. 2014). Therefore, in order to avoid those, minimise of the conflicts, stress and change within the organisations is quite necessary.
It can be noticed that one of Bechtel’s most influential competitors in the market is Flour Corporation. These two companies are engaged in a quite tough competition regarding the target to occupy a better position than one another. Due to this, both of them have applied effective leadership styles in order to defend one another.
1. Autocratic leadership:
The management of Flour Corporation has been operating following the principles of the autocratic leadership within this company. As per this, the entire power of the organisation including all the decision making process is centralised to the CEO of this company (fluor.com, 2016). The leader takes the ultimate decision in any kind of functional activities. The implementation of the necessary changes within this company along with deriving effective strategies in order to tackle with the conflicts is also under the concern of the CEO.
2. Democratic leadership:
Democratic leadership refers to the process of the spontaneous participation of all the internal employees of an organisation in the company’s decision making process. After listening to their opinions and perceptions, the management takes the ultimate decision regarding something. This similar case can be noticed in the leadership style of Bechtel. Kane and Patapan (2014) have identified that in the organisational decision making process of Bechtel; the internal staffs take active part and can also confess their perspectives and opinions. Each of the employees is provided the equal opportunity without creating any discrimination. Through this, the decision making process of this company is benefitted.
The management of Bechtel possesses a number of organisational practices that help them to create link between the theoretical improvement and organisational behaviours.
1. Scientific management:
Scientific approach is the process that is depended on the pre-developed concept of the organisational practices. It is quite relevant for the management of Bechtel as this is based on engineering and construction industry. Therefore, the technical structure helps the employees to perform their responsibilities effectively. This approach was developed by Taylor that includes the fact that existence of multiple layers in the organisational workforce is helpful for creating an effective direction for the organisational employees (Stock et al. 2013). Through this, the employees can also able to work collaboratively in order to improve the quality of the products.
2. Classical approach:
Classical approach regarding the organisational management is hugely considered as the formal approach. According to Goetsch and Davis (2014), classical approach is helpful for the enhancement in the organisational structure. On the other hand, it is also able to improve the efficiency of the organisational employees. The purpose of Bechtel is given the most importance. Through satisfying the technical requirements, the hierarchy within this organisation is maintained by the management. Therefore, the duties of the employees are performed in the most effective way.
Through the maintenance of different approaches to management used by Bechtel and its competitors, the differences between them can be evaluated.
1. Scientific management:
Taylor has stated that the productivity of an organisation can be enhanced through the application of effective technological procedures. In the case of Bechtel, it can be noticed that this organisation has been operating its business based on UK as a construction and engineering company. Therefore, it is quite prominent that in the production along with the functional activities of this company the necessity of the effective technological applications is huge. The internal employees of this company are from technological background and therefore they are able to move the organisational performances towards beneficial outcome (Harper, 2015). Even, according to this strategy, the processes are money-oriented.
2. Contingency approach:
One of the major competitors of Bechtel, Flour Corporations, has been operating its functional activities through following the principles of Contingency approach. According to this theory, the organisations need to take any kind of decision as per the current situation and associate requirements (Stock et al. 2013). The concept and participation of the individuals within the organisations differ from one another and therefore through the application of this theory, their activities can be moved towards a single way with necessary maintenance.
During going through the complete evaluation of the leadership style used and applied by Bechtel, it has been noticed that this company has been continuing its functional activities through the application of democratic theory (bechtel.com, 2016).
However, as per the aspect and requirements of this company, the application of the Transactional leadership theory may be the most effective for the organisational benefit.
According to Antonakis and House (2014), Transactional theory of leadership aims to motivate the organisational employees to increase the level of their self interests regarding contributing their best effort for the organisational benefit. The management imposes necessary power to the leaders in order to encourage them in their functional activities.
The major concerns of this theory are supervision, performances and their impact on the specific organisation. It is quite obvious that in order to compete with other similar companies in the UK market scenario, it is significant for the management of Bechtel to follow the principles of this theory.
In the application of Transactional leadership theory, there are both the systems of reward and punishment according to the performances of the internal employees. Therefore, through this, the management of Bechtel may able to encourage its employees to improve their performance quality.
However, the drawback of this theory is embedded in the fact that this theory only focuses on the current performance not considering the future.
During the periods of change, the management of Bechtel has followed different leadership approaches and styles as per the situational requirements. Moran et al.(2014) has stated that within any business organisation, the management used to implement the most effective strategy that can able to help them to continue their fluency of working. Similarly, in the case of Bechtel, it has also been identified that the management of this company has applied democratic, autocratic as well as transformational leadership style.
Since the birth, the management of Bechtel has followed the principles of autocratic leadership while going through any organisational crisis. This strategy was helpful for this company to avoid the occurrence of any further organisational issue. In this process, the CEO was the only one who took stern steps regarding the eradication of the issues and conflicts from this company. It can be stated that without this, Bechtel could not flourish in future. On the other hand, when this company faced external market forces to improve the quality of products and services in order to compete successfully with other companies, a high level interaction and communication developed between the management and employees through which the employees were motivated to perforce their best for the benefit of Bechtel. However, Kane and Patapan (2014) has pointed out that in maximum time, the management of Bechtel has followed the principles of democratic leadership styles in order to satisfy the expectations and requirements of its internal employees.
Motivational theories are quite significant for the organisations to apply in order to enhance the current level of the employees’ activities. It can be stated that if the organisational employees are motivated to perform their best, the functional growth of that organisation will be rapid. In the case of Bechtel, the application of Maslow’s hierarchy theory of needs along with McGregor’s theory of X and Y can be mentioned.
1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Maslow’s hierarchy theory of needs has five specific stages, such as, psychological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and finally self-actualisation (Moran et al. 2014). Through these, the behaviour of the individuals within the organisation is controlled. Physiological needs refer to the needs regarding physical for the individuals for their survival within the organisation. Safety needs are related to the physical safety and security of the employees during their working in workplaces.
Figure 1: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
(Source: Moran et al. 2014, p.134)
Similarly, social needs signify the requirement of good treatment from the external environment and surroundings. Esteem is the need for getting respect from others and finally self-actualisation is the self identification in an effective working environment. If the employees enable to fulfil their all of the above needs in the workplaces, they will automatically be motivated to serve their best for the organisational benefit.
2. McGregor’s theory of X and Y:
McGregor’s theory of X and Y is applicable to motivate the human behaviour along with the organisational management. There are two controversial factors in this theory, such as, X and Y that signify pessimism and optimism respectively. Theory X deals with the notion that the organisational employees have no ambition and they are unable to take any functional responsibility.
Figure 2: McGregor’s theory of X and Y
(Source: Booth, 2015, p.254)
However, Booth (2015) has pointed out that theory Y has an optimistic approach to the efficiency of the employees as the concept of this theory believes on the power and skills of the employees that are already among them. Therefore, they are motivated internally to serve their best effort for the organisational benefit. In Bechtel, the management keeps trust and faith on the skills of the employees that reflects the concept of theory Y.
The impact of the motivation theories within Bechtel is majorly significant regarding the enhancement of the employee encouragement. Through the application of these theories, they feel interested and enthusiastic to serve their best quality effort for the organisational benefit. As a result, the level of the employee turnover automatically declines (Pradhan and Jena, 2015). The performance quality of the organisational employees in Bechtel also improves. They also learn to use and locate the organisational resources to the appropriate places. The moral values among the staffs are develops through the application of these motivation theories. Therefore, through all these, a engineering and construction company like Bechtel enables to achieve its organisational benchmark through the efficiency of its employees.
In order to enhance the performance level of the employees within Bechtel, the influence of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is seems to be the most. It can be stated that through the impact of this theory, majority of the needs and expectations of the organisational employees will be satisfied that can able to motivate them to focus on their organisational responsibilities.
In Bechtel, there are some basic differences between the managers and leaders regarding their roles and duties as follow:
Through the impact of formal as well as informal groups, the teamwork and productivity of an organisation is determined. In the case of Bechtel, it can be observed that the group behaviour within this company centres round the people-based quality (bechtel.com, 2016). Due to this, the employees have their own rights to participate activity in the organisational decisions. Due to effective group behaviour, the cultural atmosphere within this organisation is also good and healthy. Even, this is helpful for the enrichment of the quality of products and services of Bechtel.
There are a number of factors that have their strong impact on the inhibition of the development of effective teamwork in any business organisation. In the context of Bechtel, the major factors are group norms, group knowledge and group ability as follow:
1. Group norms:
Individual employee is the base of the organisational performance of Bechtel. Therefore, it is quite a common fact that each of their participation in the organisational activities determines the nature of the teamwork. If they are motivated to serve their best functional effort, Bechtel can automatically able to improve its service quality (Pereira et al. 2015). In Bechtel, there are some organisational norms that are maintained by the group members. Through this, a sense of unity and collaboration develops among the team members and the organisation is hugely benefitted.
2. Group knowledge:
Group knowledge refers to the ability of the team members regarding the understanding of the aims, purposes and intention of an organisation. The team members of Bechtel are well aware of the goals and objectives of this company which has been operating as one of the leading engineering and construction companies in the U.S. Therefore, through this, all the team members collaboratively work for the similar target.
3. Group ability:
The ability of the team members within a business organisation is the determinate of the standard of the organisational functions. According to Almansour (2012), a quality functional ability of the team members can improve the entire standard of the organisational activities and performances. Even, through the skilful performances of the employees, comparatively inferior employees can identify their drawbacks and lacking and can also improve those by fulfilling the functional gaps.
Within Bechtel, it can be identified that the management uses to use some specific technologies for their functional activities. Operating as an engineering company, Bechtel applies the strategies of data-centric execution, 3D, 4D and 5D models, cloud computing as well as websites, to maintain its performances (bechtel.com, 2016). Therefore, these have their string impact on the functioning of this company as well as on staffs.
Through data-centric execution, the management of this company collects necessary information from the external world and analyses those according to the organisational needs. On the other hand, it can also be stated that this process is helpful for the improvement of an advanced functional procedures for Bechtel.
3D, 4D and 5D models:
In order to exhibit the organisational purposes and upcoming strategies, the use of the 3D, 4D and 5D models is quite effective for Bechtel. Through these, the flow of the current workforce of this company can be presented before the target audiences that can influence the consumers effectively.
As Bechtel has been operating as a construction and engineering company, it is quite natural that this company needs to use cloud computing strategy in order to connect itself with the entire global marketing scenario and to collect necessary functional information. The cloud computing system of this company is improved and helpful for the organisational development.
In the team functioning of Bechtel, it can be noticed that the impact of virtual team is huge for several aspects such as saving of the organisational cost, improvement in the quantity and standard of the products, reduction of the manufacturing time, occupying a better position in the global market along with identification of new opportunities (Bellisle and Blundell, 2013). However, it is also a fact that the cost of the implementation of new technology is affecting for this company and this is able to create different kinds of organisational conflicts, stress and lacking in faith, collaboration, teamwork and trust.
Finally, it can be concluded from the above explanation that the structural and cultural differences within the organisations enable to create different functional strategies within the organisations. The behaviour of the business organisations is greatly depended on the individual responses and activities under the application of teamwork. Through this, the communication among the team members improves and the managements of the organisations can able to meet their benchmarks quite easily. Through following the necessary as well as the most helpful team-working and motivation models, the organisations can enrich the quality of their performances and services for the target audiences.