BST720 Leadership, Work and Organization Assignment Sample
You will provide a critical evaluation of organisational culture in Uber; identify the problems and provide a set of recommendations for consideration by the Senior Executive Team (SET).
Overall Comments On The Written Part:
This part of the assignment provides you with the opportunity to interpret organisational culture in a number of ways but try not to be too broad in your discussion.
You may wish to consider some of the following in relation to Uber:
Leadership and consequences as well as impact/influence on organisation culture
• The relationship between leadership and followership in organisations in perpetuating organisation culture. You may also want to critically consider the different ways in which these roles are recognised, rewarded and developed in organisations
• You may decide to look at gender diversity as well as organisational practice to ensure the answer is grounded in terms of a critical organisational analysis
• The role of HR in leadership, organisation culture and change
Important to any discussion would be a clear structure and ‘line of logic/analysis’ which leads you to some recommendations that will be practical to the organisation. It must be noted that this is an academic paper with a practical application.
Work culture and organizational behaviour is something which is one of the most important concerns that is needed to be in any organization. Leadership is one of the crucial jobs of HR practice upon which the whole organizational culture depends. This assignment is an essay on work, leadership and organization of Uber. This essay will critically analyze this service based company on the basis of an case study named “Uber: #WhatDoYouDo”. Susan Fowler, a former Uber employee had posted a blog in 2017 revealing sexual discrimination, sexism and sexual harassment within that organization. This essay will critically discuss the role of leadership, HR practice, and organizational culture with consideration of this incident.
Company background: Uber is a globally renowned cab service company which was founded by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, and runs its operations in more than 900 metropolitan areas throughout the world. This company was formerly started up to offer cab services but now it provides services like rentals, couriers, food delivery, bike or scooter riding, package delivery and many more like these. Uber only offers riding services, they do not own any car, they only share a 25% commission from every ride or booking. This company had managed to earn approximately 14.1 billion USD in 2019 from rides and food delivery services (statista, 2022). They have been able to raise their profit from food delivery services to 3.9 billion USD during the lockdown period last year. Uber technologies run its functional operations with more than 22800 employees globally.
Leadership has a tremendous impact on organizational culture as leaders act like the pillars in a workforce of any organization. Leaders not only guide a team, but also they conduct the actual functional operation in any business. Leaders are the ones who manage their whole team and make an organization perpetuate. Efficient leaders need to display a positive vibe in them so that other team members can follow them. It is found that employees in an organization are very much influenced by their leaders in terms of motivation to perform well. A good leader makes his subordinate employees feel themselves as important parts of an organization, which leads those employees to try harder in terms of good performance. Leaders are those ones who help their team members to understand their job roles clearly and achieve success in short goals (Hauff et al. 2018). These short goals in various tasks lead to the overall progress of a business. Managers or team leaders help a team to prioritize among several activities which not only saves time but also saves energy as well as resources. In this modern and digital era, international companies such as Uber can implement a contemporary leadership style instead of an autocratic one. Leaders as well as management need to make decisions on applying different strategies according to requirements of different situations.
There are several negative impacts of improper leadership as an inefficient leader can lead to a mess in the whole functional operation in a business. A manager or team leader needs to maintain adequate communication with other team members. Strong words or rude attitude of a leader can demotivate their subordinate employees and it can break their confidence as well. Managers or team leaders have to play a vital role in an organization as only they can control a healthy atmosphere inside an office or any kind of workplace. Proper communication only can help employees to understand the instructions given by their manager or supervisor. A leader needs to convey messages or instructions in clear as well as firm language, otherwise the team members can be misguided (Hauff et al. 2018). In this case, Susan had received an unethical indication from her boss which is strictly against effective leadership. Unprofessional as well as emotional words need to be avoided by a leader while giving instructions; otherwise a misunderstanding can take place, which can disrupt a healthy atmosphere in a workplace.
Organisational Culture and HRM Roles
Members of a HRM team always try to retain their most efficient workforce as much as possible as it lies under their job roles on behalf of a business firm or organization. This is a quite common tendency of HR professionals but this incident reveals something else that is more like ignoring a serious complaint coming from a newcomer is not at all acceptable at any cost. Susan was also a part of the workforce in this business and there was a huge probability of getting her as another star to the workforce in Uber technologies. Moreover, HR professionals are there to solve any kinds of issues raised from their employees for the sake of a good and healthy work culture in an organization (Yang et al. 2021). They can at least create an investigating team to verify complaints if there are any, coming from their employees. This tendency of the HR management team can be considered as not only an issue of negligence but also a case of biases towards older employees. Any of the employees, whether he or she is one of the most committed or efficient towards a job, should not be allowed to conduct any sort of unethical behavior to other employees within an office. These kinds of behavior are huge barriers for creating an efficient organizational culture.
Employees remain motivated towards their work when they get appreciation as well as positive reinforcements from their team leaders. As per Susan’s blog, she did not get the desired transfer even after proving herself in several jobs and scoring perfect in terms of performance. Rather than she got a negative review from her manager for personal issues. No manager is supposed to target any employee and rate her negatively without any documented reason (Van Mierlo et al. 2018). This is strictly against an efficient leadership practice in an organization. A potential employee can expect appreciation instead of wrong as well as illegal indications from her colleagues or managers. A healthy atmosphere and competent work culture should not support or entertain these kinds of incidents in their office.
Equality and Gender Diversity in Organisational Culture
According to her blog, Uber technologies was full of sexism as well as sexual discrimination, as female engineers were accounted only 6 among 150 engineers of the workforce in this company. She had mentioned in her post that female engineers even after scoring well in terms of performance did not get leather jackets that were given to all male engineers as the company was getting a huge discount for a bulk order of male jackets. They were not ready to buy jackets with fewer discounts for only six women at the office. This is clear racism! Employees regardless of their gender are supposed to be treated equally and deserve to be rewarded according to their performance. Female employees, in a good organizational culture, deserve to get equal appraisal or consideration from the supervisors as men.
According to Forbes report, there is at least a 7% of discrimination in the payment process between male and female employees in this company, that is male engineers are paid 7% more than female ones for equivalent designation (Forbes, 2022). Even it is clear from their report that chances of getting a promotion is totally ‘gender blind’ here! This tendency among any workforce is strictly against the work policy of the HR professionals. HR management members are supposed to display a behaviour of complete equality irrespective of gender, skin colour, or cultural as well as religious belief. The management of Uber technologies is to be terribly criticized. Uber management claims to pose fourteen moral values and meritocracy are one of them, but this tendency of them is completely contradictory to their claimed values (uber, 2022). It is clear that they do not always support meritocracy in reality and let people get what they actually deserve according to their merit and performance. Another significant value that this cab service company claims to pose is toe-stepping or sharing ideas regardless of their post or seniority during a meeting. The fact is, employees as well as senior managers in this organization use this idiom for being rude and behave badly to others inside their office. Often newcomers have to face this kind of behaviour from their seniors. Job roles of the HRM is not only creating business strategies and executing action plans, but also they are supposed to show respect to every employee as a human and consider the moral values and ethics of each of them.
Role of HR in Leadership, Organisation Culture and Change
Leaders have the power to control or defuse any scopes of gossiping inside an office. In addition to that, leaders or managers are the one who can deal with any complaints coming from one of their employee bases. Fowler met other female engineers in her office and got to know their stories of getting the same indications from that very same person. She decided to escalate this to the higher authority, but was not entertained again. She was even threatened for talking to other girls or gossiping at office premises. Here, the HR professional is quite right as defusing or at least discouraging gossip inside office premises are duly expected from management, but in this case, they could have listened to her as her problem was more serious than gossiping.
It has been also found out that a nasty booze culture was common in the Friday night party arranged at Uber office premises. These parties were full of sex, drugs, Marijuana and many like this and they call it “Bro culture”. This is not an example of a healthy office culture as not all employees are supposed to be comfortable with these kinds of party culture, and if they do not, their decision should be respected by other employees. Fowler could not fit herself into this culture and decided to change her job though she was not the only one who wanted to quit job at Uber. This company had at least 25% of female engineers by 2015 and the number had reduced to only 3% by 2017 (susanjfowler, 2022). However, Uber management claims to have now somehow changed their policies and work culture and has been able to raise their female employee number to 40% by the year 2021. A rich organisational culture not only maintains stability in the workplace but also increase the employee retention that also helps to minimise the overhead cost. Hence HRM plays an important role in organisational culture. The culture is not a healthy culture in Uber and there should be limitations. Such cultures also degrade the goodwill of the company as well. Uber HR must consider such aspects and try to maintain a healthier approach towards organisational cultural aspects. Human resource leaders are vital to corporate growth. They help achieve strategic goals and objectives by providing complex and innovative leadership strategies. HR leaders mediate between senior management and employees and defend matters on behalf of employees. They promote awareness and guide all levels of the organization through change and transformation. They train both managers and employees on company culture and best practices for living and working together (Zhao et al., 2020). In addition, HR leaders develop metrics and other performance indicators and continually make changes based on overall performance. When an organization has at least one person overseeing these activities, it ensures that the strategies remain effective and bring return on investment (ROI) for change. Personal empathy reinforces leadership qualities in HR activities because it helps HR professionals assist employees with personal problems. These problems can occur when an employee is facing a death in their family or is in a difficult work environment like Uber where bad culture impacted the organisational growth aspect.
Whether change is needed, needed, right or all three, respect is an important part of it. And human resources have an important role to play in ensuring that change is defined, developed and implemented respectfully. The behavioural skills required by HR professionals allow employees to participate in necessary change in their own hands through things like relationship management, critical evaluation, and leadership mentoring and roaming. Change is important for HR as human resource work will keep on changing along with it and in this case, Uber desperately in need of cultural change. Changes in HR are long-term structural changes. Therefore, although many HR principles are still the same, the way HR is run will and will continue to change. These changes will require organizational leadership, but for change to occur, change must occur from the bottom to up. Therefore, for it to be truly successful, the focus must be on change in human resources at all levels (Cohen, 2016). Importantly, the human resources department of Uber should be encouraged to seek potential contributors to convert and encourage other employees to join the program. Since there are people in the human resources department with organizational and personal competencies, getting their help to sustain change is an important factor in the change management process.
These kinds of incidents are harmful for the reputation of an organization and can impact on their sales rate as well. Chances of these kinds of events can be reduced or avoided through proper actions taken by the governing bodies and managing directors in an organization. Managers of this company can be given training on leadership practice as some of them are found to misuse the power of a leader. They need to understand the concept of an efficient leadership so that they can implicate that knowledge in their daily activities for the sake of this organization. All employees including team leaders and managers need to participate in gender equality awareness programs arranged within the office premises. Employees can be given activity tasks such as role playing activities that can make them feel things from a woman’s perspective. Strong HR policies can be created as well as activated in the work culture as soon as possible and tough penalties can be declared in case of violation of those policies. More female employees can be hired in the HR management team so that they can deal with these matters with empathy. ‘Green HRM’ practice can be introduced within the work culture of this company so that a healthy work atmosphere can be retained and an efficient organizational behavior can be ensured (Peng et al. 2020). Safety and security of female employees can be ensured thus more female candidates can be encouraged to join this company.
Leadership and work culture are inevitable parts of an organization for which an efficient leadership practice and a healthy work culture is necessary for a good reputation of a company. This essay has discussed critical evaluation of the case study of Susan Fowler who worked as an engineer in Uber technologies. This essay has critically discussed the role of leadership, HR practice, and organizational culture with consideration of this incident. It has analyzed and criticized this cab service provider company on the basis of a blog posted by Susan in 2017. This essay has also recommended some potential strategies that can be suitable for this organization to regain their reputation.
Cohen, D. (2016). What is HR’s Role in Managing Change? [online] SHRM. Available at: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/special-reports-and-expert-views/pages/deb-cohen.aspx [Accessed 13 Jan. 2022].
Forbes (2022) Uber's Gender Pay Gap Study May Show The Opposite Of What Researchers Were Trying To Prove Available at; https://www.forbes.com/sites/avivahwittenbergcox/2018/09/23/gender-paygap-uber-case-study/?sh=650a3f9eb555 [Accessed on 12.1.22]
Hauff, S., Guerci, M., Dul, J. and van Rhee, H., 2021. Exploring necessary conditions in HRM research: Fundamental issues and methodological implications. Human Resource Management Journal, 31(1), pp.18-36.
Peng, J., Yin, K., Hou, N., Zou, Y. and Nie, Q., 2020. How to facilitate employee green behavior: The joint role of green transformational leadership and green human resource management practice. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 52(9), p.1105.
Susanjfowler (2022) Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Available at; Uberhttps://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber [Accessed on 12.1.22]
Uber (2022) About Us Available at; https://www.uber.com/in/en/about/?utm_campaign=CM2058205-search-google-brand_77_-99_IN-National_driver_web_acq_cpc_en_Generic_Exact_uber_kwd- 169801042_496400217099_122940583368_e_c&utm_source=AdWords_Brand [Accessed on 12.1.22]
Van Mierlo, J., Bondarouk, T. and Sanders, K., 2018. The dynamic nature of HRM implementation: a structuration perspective. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(22), pp.3026-3045.
Yang, F., Huang, X., Tang, D., Yang, J. and Wu, L., 2021. How guanxi HRM practice relates to emotional exhaustion and job performance: the moderating role of individual pay for performance. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(11), pp.2493-2518.
Zhao, S., Liu, M., Zhu, C.J. and Liu, H. (2020). The role of leadership in human resource management: perspectives and evidence from Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific Business Review, [online] pp.1–5. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13602381.2020.1779496.