So, what is it you would say you do here?

  • Hello readers, in this post I want to share a case study I wrote 5 years ago during my college days in one of Management classes. It’s a case study based of Mike judge’s film Office Space and a fictional pizzeria called “Perfect Pizzeria”. I was to compare and come up with a solution to both businesses ‘ management styles. If you haven’t seen the film I recommend that you do because it’s a funny film. If you have any comments feel free to leave them and add a like if you enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

The film Office Space is a satirical perspective of working in an office and it demonstrates many issues that cause the situation to unfold in a manner that’s funny to the audience, but in all seriousness, it shows how this does exist in certain workplaces. Furthermore, from the beginning the one issue that’s apparent and presented immediately is the dysfunctional communication between peter and two out of the eight bosses shown on screen Lumbergh and Portwood. They ask if he completed the cover sheets for the sacred TPS reports, but the way they ask him about it and the way they talk to him is in a dull, condescending, and uninterested tone. This scene exemplified the barriers that disrupt the communication between Peter and his Bosses. As the film numerous other issues are presented such as poor organizational structure, lack of motivation due to the employees not having a rapport with their bosses which would therefore lead to pervasive demotivation. However, Peter changes the situation to his benefit and eventually influences his coworkers and takes a somewhat of leadership role later on in the film when he comes to a realization that his job isn’t ideal for him, and finds a something that motivates him that can damage initech from the inside.  

Having said that the lack of communication was the first problem, the way things are being communicated is causing the most frustration and confusion in Initech. Not to mention the things the supervisors are communicating with peter eventually become repeated ad nauseum and he never gets the opportunity to explain himself. If management communicated honestly with the employees, and practiced active listening the employees at initech would feel more valued and their motivation will improve since they know what to expect from their supervisors. In addition, there are many communication contexts and barriers in the film that causes Peter and his coworkers to disengaged and annoyed, and after a while become rebellious. First, the one rich channel of communication that’s present is the face-to-face interactions that begins the film between Peter and Lumbergh, but the only way for face-to-face communication to be effective is for the sender and receiver to be in sync. Additionally, the constant interruptions and selective listening from Lumbergh and Portwood causes Peter to lose motivation because he doesn’t have the rapport he would like with his supervisors and since he doesn’t have a direction or know how he can improve to get the cover sheets for the TPS done on time.  In regards to this, Peter experiences relation testing in terms of when Lumbergh asks him to come in on the weekend, and starts then he starts to ignore and neglect his work in spite of him and other bosses. Meanwhile, he discloses his dissatisfaction with his job, and how idiotic management was to Joanna a girl from a restaurant he went to. He tells her doesn’t intend to quit, but not show up anymore. In the following paragraph this situation will explain how Peter took a leadership role by influencing, gaining trust, and motivating his coworkers to ally themselves to achieve common goal. On the other hand, Joanna finds the things Peter says about his job true to her.  

The issue at Initech enters an interesting point in the film when two consultants named Bob are brought in to lay off workers who are meeting the standards. At this point of the film Peter could care less about his job and just showed up to work in casual attire for the interview, and he didn’t withhold anything to the Bob’s. From this scene the audience understands why he lacks the motivation to do his job is simply doesn’t care about the work especially the vague TPS reports his supervisors. He lets them know that his activity measure only last 15 mins a week, and for the rest of the week he pretends he’s working just to not be hassled from his supervisors. Equally important, what’s ironic about this scene is the effective communication between Peter and the Bob’s which is nonexistent with his supervisors. They show active listening without deflecting and give him the utmost respect by offering him a promotion in spite of Peter telling them everything he doesn’t do at work.  

After the meeting with the Bob’s, Peter became motivated to set his sights on planning a scheme by gathering his coworkers Samir and Michael whom jobs were on the line, and infect the company’s accounting system with a virus so they can steal money by taking fractions of the company’s profits by small quantities in this case pennies. At this point Peter plans the scheme while Samir and Michael (followers) agree to be a part of it, so they get back at the supervisors. As the process to bug the accounting systems at Initech gets underway, the leadership style that can be depicted is achievement -orientated leadership and participative leadership. Reason being is that the task required strategic planning since it would be a challenging task, and there would be a high risk if they were caught. One quality that Peter has is charisma since he was the only one out of his coworkers to challenge management. For instance, his ability to charm the Bobs while feeling nonchalant from the beginning of the interview, to attracting Joanna by telling her how he hates his job which lead to him gaining the confidence to do whatever he wanted, really signifies his purpose to grow while feeling in control.  On the other hand, to reiterate a previous point he has the ability to influence Samir and Michael to join his plan, and later with Joanna, who became fed up with her supervisor telling her to wear the mandatory flairs on her uniform. With regards to this, there are two leadership styles that best represents the situation as a whole is Bass transactional leadership. This type of leadership is based on self-interest, and through exchanges both the leaders and followers will get what they want by attaining behaviors and outcomes. In contrast, the transformative style is present. In this construct, the leaders support their followers and set high expectations for them while having them feel that secure about their membership in the team. For example, all three of them support each other to get the best outcome out of the plan, and Peter has high expectations that Michael will get him the floppy disks and know the timetable on how long they’ll have to wait to see the results. Alternatively, a contingent reward (money transferred into their bank accounts) was agreed upon once the plan was materialized. However, not every plan goes according to plan, and this definitely was the case for these three because they did steal all the company’s savings, but Peter and his coworkers were afraid if management found out they would all lose their jobs.  

Given these points, management at Initech is a disaster due to the mediocre ways the supervisor’s communication to their employees. This led confusion, uninterested employees, and demotivation to do any work for their supervisors who cannot express what the objectives are, and the demanding expectations such as having Peter come to work on weekends. Most importantly, communication is such as nuisance for the managers that when the Bob’s interview Lumbergh and Portwood they were asked why Milton was still employed even though, he was laid off five years ago, but still receiving paychecks. This example, demonstrated that the managers didn’t have the decency to inform Milton that he was laid off, and that the Bobs had to correct their negligent behavior by fixing the glitch. The Bobs understand the Lumbergh has legitimate power, but even he doesn’t put the effort into the TPS that he makes his employees do so there is some hypocrisy. He expects Peter to get the cover sheets for the TPS reports done on time, but it’s unknown what his duties are as a manager. This is reminiscent with the manager at perfect pizzeria.  

In closing, even though this a fictional story and company, my recommendation would be for Initech to lose the eight bosses that peter has, and hire one manager that all employees report. Reason being is that all of have the same agenda and it’s an inconvenience for Peter to be reminded that he hasn’t done his work right. Conversely, like in perfect pizzeria management needs training or some type of orientation to improve their communication skills and ways they can gain the trust and commitment from employees. If all those three things are achieved performance and motivation will reflect in their work   

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