Table of Contents
- Influence on Groups’ Productivity
- Role Conflicts within Groups
- Communication Problems among Group Members
- Lack of Cohesiveness in Groups with Diverse Members
- Excessive Intergroup Conflict
- Recommended Resolution of the Problems
- Suggestions of Training Program for Group Productivity
- Related Management essays
Productivity is an important indicator of the development level of any kind of production, company, industry and community. Group productivity is the key element of any business or any company. Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) performs activities connected with refinery, marketing and transportation of fuel to the Middle East, Northeast and Southern Gulf Coast (“About Marathon,” 2015). Numerous corporate facilities are managed by more than 45,000 employees driven by strong corporate values, diversity and long-term performance. However, conflicts of roles and communication problems among personnel, cohesiveness in the group with diversity members and excessive intergroup conflicts negatively affect group productivity and thus should be resolved in order to achieve business benefits and competitiveness.
Influence on Groups’ Productivity
The issue of efficiency of a group is closely related to group susceptibility and system inclusion of its elements as all employees and processes of MPC provide the efficiency of group activities. Productivity of the group activity is considered as the process inextricably connected with the peculiarities of interpersonal relations and problems in the group.
Role Conflicts within Groups
Role conflicts within MPC occurred due to the distribution of roles among performers in different departments and organizational connections. Group productivity of the company decreased due to the role conflict in the group and the status of its leader.
The social role is always standard because it is a system of expected behavior determined by regulatory obligations and rights (Losh, 2011). Role conflicts occurring in the company are considered as conflicts of the required role demands of an individual caused by simultaneously performed social roles. For example, the project of Delaware facilities was noted by the emergence of a role conflict of the regional manager. It arose because of the gap between the social roles of executing managerial duties and responsibilities to the subordinates of Delaware subsidiary. Conflicting functions determined by the role of a senior leader and the role of a subordinate to the headquarters forced the regional manager to accept conflicting relationships and social expectations. Thus, he should manage the subordinates as it is required by the administration and at the same time, improve their working conditions as it is required by the employees. Therefore, the governance directives that did not meet the interests of the employees in the social protection and promotion of contributive working conditions decreased the productivity of the group. Even though these directives forced the regional manager to comprehend and perform them, the conflict relations between the immediate leader and the employees reduced the group’s productivity.
Performance of the social role involves some degree of freedom. According to his role, the manager does not act based on his personality, but performs the functions in accordance with regulatory requirements imposed by his role (Losh, 2011). Therefore, these contradictions have reduced his influence on the productivity of the group and resulted in their insufficient performance. The issue concerns intrarole conflict of the employee assigned as a subordinate to the headquarters and a leader for his or her own subordinates (Losh, 2011).
Communication Problems among Group Members
Communication problems between the members of any team of MPC’s structure were conditioned by the diversity of professional opinions and experience, cross-cultural peculiarities of communication with foreign suppliers of energy as well as psychological and semantic barriers (Losh, 2011). These problems may reduce the efficiency of group productivity. Diversity of professional views and semantic barriers of communication lead to misunderstanding, loafing and frustration resulting from inadequate and irrelevant exchange of information between the communicators of a single department (Losh, 2011). Consequently, inaccurate data caused task ignorance, loafing and frustration. These phenomena depress group productivity of any MRC department. Relationships with foreign fuel suppliers of MPC are accompanied with a language barrier and cross-cultural peculiarities that cause poor communication and low productivity.
Lack of Cohesiveness in Groups with Diverse Members
The presence of diverse members composing any group of MPC’s structure is characteristic of the U.S.-located company. Diversity of the employees in ethnicity, color of skin, origin, religion, gender and other factors affected the group productivity and in-group solidarity (Losh, 2011). Group productivity decreases if cohesiveness is low within a department or a corporation. For example, the personnel of the company faced with work conflicts and acts of discrimination. Although MPC declared its intention to promote workforce diversification, it was sued by a former employee for discrimination on the ground of his disability (Quist, 2015). The claim attests the lack of comprehension, tolerance to diversity and group cohesiveness.
Despite legal complexities, this large company intends to recruit and promote qualified members as well as enhance diversity at managerial level, which will stimulate group productivity. Moreover, MPC introduces HRM strategies to support scholarships, qualified minority and partnership with professional and educational establishments (“Our workforce,” 2015). Nevertheless, these factors cause the lack of cohesiveness in groups. However, the corporate mission and primary goals of this oil refiner were introduced in compliance with ethical principles and standards that pevailed throughout all manufacturing and marketing operations and contributed to the group’s cohesiveness.
MPC implemented ethics programs that promoted business compliance and integrity of employees. In spite of the developed conceptual framework of the business, groups lack interpersonal sources of cohesion and member similarity (Losh, 2011). Prevalence of pluralistic ignorance and aggression pose a threat to the cohesion of MPC’s personnel. As a result, diverse employees were not able to enhance productivity in groups.
Excessive Intergroup Conflict
Excessive intergroup conflict refers to stable relationships between the employees and the managers of MPC. Intergroup conflict are also connected with factual acts of racial intolerance to the people with another color of skin, level of professionalism, religion or the lack of personnel attractiveness. Conflicts between different groups lead to a reduction in their productivity. Despite the fact that each group as a conflicting party has common groupthink and a high level of intergroup cohesion, overall productivity of the company decreases.
Recommended Resolution of the Problems
The productivity of working teams within MPC should be improved by means of implementation of recommendations to resolve each problem. The applied toolset should correspond to appropriate corporate concerns.
Role conflicts within the working team should be removed by setting clear goals and providing a detailed job description. If regional managers and other employees will be assigned according to their qualifications and abilities, their social roles will be comprehended and accepted. Preceding field research and establishment of causality should be applied in terms of observation of labor productivity, namely in groups (Chaouch, Curlee, McCabe, & Turner, 2008).
Consideration of directives should involve personnel’s participation. If subordinates are engaged in the corporate management, middle-level managers will enhance group productivity and promote cohesion and leadership. Communication problems can be resolved through trainings in cultural peculiarities and cross-cultural tolerance. Moreover, language courses will improve professional competence and qualification of employees. If the company deals with foreign partners, it will be vitally and strategically important to understand each other to sign beneficial contracts.
Expanded network of manufacturing facilities of MPC should remove psychological and semantic barriers. The specifics of MPC’s activity are technological, physical and chemical aspects of information. Therefore, the professionals should apply standardized and common system of symbols or labeling to ease their understanding and perception by other members of the same department or corporate unit. Additional non-material motivation (meeting with CEOs, qualitative feedback) will facilitate minimizing loafing and frustration.
Cohesiveness is recommended to improve through the team building (Dyer, Dyer, & Dyer, 2007). Thus, good and trusting working relationships contribute to successful and effective cooperation. Activities for team building can be conducted within a department. A special reason for their conduct may include an employee’s birthday, the anniversary of the company, successful implementation of a project, or solution of a complicated task. Properly managed meeting is an extremely important issue for the business process, as MPC’s employees from different departments and different specializations learn to defend their point of view. It is important to involve all the employees in expressing their thoughts and views. This measure positively affects cohesion of the team and increases its productivity.
MPC should be aware of each possibility of employee’s complaint. It is crucial to control employees’ satisfaction in order to avoid trial and reputation failure. Declared social policies and ethics principles should be provided through the management performance. Ongoing and strategic verification of the compliance of qualitative outcomes is the next recommendation to resolve the problem of cohesion and low productivity of the MPC’s teams. Group productivity should be also estimated through the psychological climate of the corporate personnel.
Compelled long-term cooperation of conflicting groups or promotion of job design can provoke excessive intergroup conflict. If the employees of regional representatives or subsidiaries depend on managerial decisions, they will be familiar with the difficulties of these positions. Subordinates are expected to demonstrate respective and tolerant attitude. Thus, the governance will foster cohesion and resolve intrarole conflicts if any arise.
Suggestions of Training Program for Group Productivity
Group productivity is directed at motivation of the teams to work more effectively to achieve the goals of MPC in retiring and marketing. Properly qualified workforce with appropriate training creates an opportunity to perform common tasks at the highest level. Such training enhances interaction of employees and facilitates forming a competent professional team in the achievement of corporate goals of the company. Proper equipment will also contribute to better comprehension of training programs.
Group productivity allows business to reach a higher stage of development and implement more effective measures. Educating and providing training for working groups, management can easily increase group productivity. The practice of the training program should be equipped with modern techniques of self-awareness in the training group. Coaches may use psycho games and exercises that are conductted according to specific recommendations on the procedure of conducting and analyzing results.
The best practice of group training programs includes research of group behavior, focus on labor productivity, leadership demonstration, motivation growth, cognitive-behavioral programs, verification of job satisfaction, employee retention, personnel cohesion and other aspects of productivity training. These methods may be employed during the corporate improvement of MPC practitioners. The mentioned goals will be promoted among the participants in order to reduce interpersonal problems.
Group experience opposes alienation and helps solve interpersonal problems. Thus, a person avoids unproductive circuit in her/his own problems, discovers that these problems are not unique and that others are experiencing similar feelings. Such revealing is a powerful technique in psychotherapy. The groups of MPC presents a society in a miniature and makes the hidden factors apparent, like the pressure of colleagues, social influence and conformity. In fact, group training models the system of relationships that are characteristic of the real life of its participants. It gives them an opportunity to see and analyze psychological patterns of communication and behavior of other people and themselves in terms of psychological safety. Therefore, they get a better feedback.
The ability to receive feedback and support from people with similar problems is supported by non-judgmental feedback and ability to ensure personnel cohesion. The ability to look in a “mirror” during the training practice is, apparently, the most important advantage of group psychological work during the training (Proudfoot, Corr, Guest, & Dunn, 2009). Due to the program of group training, an employee obtains new skills and experiments with different styles of relations among equal partners. Such experimentation is always associated with the risk of misunderstanding, rejection and even punishment. Therefore, training groups act like a psychological test, which lets the participants behave differently than usual and learn a new way of treating the surrounding people in the atmosphere of goodwill, support and acceptance.
Training of group productivity should be provided with special measurement and facilities. Therefore, evaluation tests are designed for the individuals trying to improve their communication skills, leadership and productivity. The employees who successfully pass the tests will be offered high managerial positions. The task of the leaders is to motivate team’s dynamics to increase productivity.
Continuation of improvement processes should be supported with the establishment of a proper conceptual background. Maintaining team spirit is a key factor in the achievement of common corporate goals. Thus, MPC's headquarters eliminate negative impact of particular targeted employees. Inspiration of teams facilitates obtaining career opportunities, getting the required knowledge and performing the tasks properly. High group morale of the working groups enables the performers to realize that they need to work harder for the goal, both for themselves and for their colleagues. This feeling brings satisfaction. Successful completion of a project or a task makes the teams proud of the results of group dynamics and performance (Tohidi, 2011).
Training groups will be educated in special approaches to increase personnel cohesion. Group members can identify themselves with others, play the role of other person for a better understanding of this person, and explore new effective ways of behavior applied by someone. This training increases emotional connection, cohesion and empathy. Moreover, this practice contributes to personal growth and self-development and increases group productivity (Colombo & Stanca, 2008). Interaction within a group creates tension, thus clarifying psychological problems of each participant. Due to creation of additional difficulties for the leaders, psychological tension plays a constructive role in the groups of MPC and fills group processes with energy. These methods will contribute to the growth of productivity if the participants will form certain groups (Losh, 2011).
The group training for MPC employees will be directed at the improvement of self-discovery and self-exploration. It will allow the groups to understand themselves and their colleagues and improve self-confidence in case an excessive intergroup conflict arises. Group form is preferred by MPC in economic terms: the participants are more effective in the training work than in individual therapy. This factor is especially important for the corporation because it has a great number of employees throughout the U.S.
The level of labor productivity affects activity of enterprises, industries and the state and the welfare of its citizens. Group productivity represents the level of cohesion and similarity of certain groups of employees and their willingness to cooperate.
Group productivity of MPC is affected by intrarole conflicts, interpersonal conflicts and continuing intergroup conflicts between managers and employees. Factual evidence attests weak organizational performance due to the gap in social roles of employees, communication barriers, promotion of diversity in contrast to slight cohesiveness in groups, discrimination, inequality and the lack of tolerance. Poor performance of groups was the consequence of these manifestations. In order to overcome the problems within groups, MPC may implement training programs. This measure will address the most urgent hindrances to group productivity. Long-term application of the best training practices removes conflicts and the problems of group productivity, improves corporate organization of structural elements and qualitatively increases their productivity.