Ben Whittaker a 70 year old widow who is finding retirement tedious, who previously worked at a phone book company. Wanting to get back into work Ben stumbled across an internship at youthful fashion company, owned by a young entrepreneur from the millennial era Jules Osten. Ben joined the community program which the fashion company works with to employ senior interns. Upon joining the company Ben is told he is to report to Jules as he is her intern, Ben is dedicated in his work in order to complete the tasks set by his boss Jules. Throughout the film Ben consistently demonstrations his reliability and admiration for Jules as he considers she merits more than what she’s getting in return.
Ben ensured that he made Jules please with him. As a result Jules returns the favour by helping Ben the senior intern by mentoring him. Jules also updates Ben about any errands and to make sure that he gets hired by the fashion company after as he’s only an intern. As a result Ben was given a job at the company due to his hard work and commitment that he showed to Jules. The two of them traded their skills which allowed them to develop as people because of the difference in personalities.
Identify the leadership approach that ‘Jules Ostin’ adopts in the film (i.e. using leadership theory), and offer an analysis of this leadership approach using theory and relevant academic research (400 words).
Within the film it’s obvious that Jules shows a very hands on approach to work, she doesn’t adopt the typical role of a CEO who tells people what to do. But rather works alongside them, this is apparent during the film as the first scene we see her in she’s taking a customer service call. Jules’ leadership approach is similar to the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory. There are 4 leadership styles within this theory, “Telling, Selling, Participating, and Delegating”. (Free-Management-eBooks, 2015a) But her leadership style specifically falls into the second style, selling. This style focuses more on teamwork. Whilst the group remain engaged with their manager, the manager will be inclining to participate with the team. (Free-Management-eBooks, 2015b). The reason for having ‘Selling’ as the name is that the manager may possibly need to guide their group in the right direction. During the film Jules doesn’t tell people how to do things but she demonstrates so people can follow after her. This is done so her team can adopt her approach and utilise it within their job.
The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory has benefits regarding how straightforward it is to implement. The theory identifies the requirement for adaptiveness for managers and its significance of the followers as determinants of leader behaviour. It also has intuitive appeal (Lydamore, 2017a).
However there are drawbacks to this leadership model as there are dissimilarities between male and female managers; there is evidence to suggest that female managers tend to have a nurturing style (Lydamore, 2017b). Compared to the male manager who is more driven by a task based job. Critics have pointed out that it’s not possible to define and explain what maturity is as it’s very subjective. According to the Hersey and Blanchard they define job maturity as “ability to take responsibility” (Lydamore, 2017c). However this opinion clashes with alternative leadership models. Within alternate theory’s having connections amongst employees and their managers allow teams to have a better dynamic, though Hersey and Blanchard’s model shadows this factor. Subsequently the Hersey and Blanchard’s model disregards pre-existing relationships inside a team which can have an adverse consequence on the team’s execution of a task.
Use a motivation theory to explain why employees at the fashion company ‘About The Fit’ appear motivated (or demotivated) in the film, and then provide a critical analysis of this theory (you should use academic literature to substantiate your points) (400 words).
From the get-go, you can see that the company ‘About the Fit’ has a youthful range of employees. Within the film the employees all seem particularly motivated; this is from a variety of ways such as another person’s influence on them or from their own personal motivation. The significance of motivation in business can’t be exaggerated enough. Motivation is essential to control the company and staff towards improving the company. It’s how you positively influence people to do better which results in better cohesion around the company.
When Ben is told that he is to be moved closer to Jules’ office Becky is quick to revoke that decision. Then Jules suggests that Ben takes over some of Becky’s work to lift some weight off her shoulders, Jules says to Becky “don’t worry back up is good”. This is reassurance since Becky is so motivated to be the ideal assistant she forgets about the job at hand. This interlinks with Herzberg two-factor theory of motivation, applying this within a company is what Jules does to keep her employees at ‘About the Fit’ motivated throughout the day. The reasoning for Herzberg’s theory was to “identify through hypothesis testing how Herzberg’s theory of job satisfaction applied to two different working populations using a questionnaire based on Herzberg’s classification scheme” (Maidani, 1991). Jules ensures that her employees are acknowledged for their work and appreciated for it. Jules uses the Herzberg theory to challenge Ben by taking work off Becky’s desk to go over. This ensures job enrichment as it means that Ben’s not doing the same work continuously, therefore, he will feel an importance to the company.
Research states that “The motivational factors have a positive effect on job satisfaction and often result in an increase in total output” (Sinha, A). This means that having factors to motivate your staff will increase their satisfaction with the company.
Herzberg’s hypothesis is widely used to this day, it gives an understanding in terms of how it highlights factors within a job which are typically ignored. However, Herzberg study only surveyed engineers and accountants. This limits other major workplaces since their job differs from other workplaces employees value the challenge and the responsibility that comes with the job. (Sinha, B). Specific hygiene factors and motivation factors could be motivators to certain people. Take salary which is a hygiene factor in the Herzberg theory. This could be a motivator for different employees as it motivates them to earn more money. (Yew and Monap, 2012). To apply this theory to the modern day, companies need to understand that each employee’s motivator will differ and not everyone is motivated by the same factors.
Identify a scene in the film where the issue of group or team diversity is apparent, and then provide an analysis of some of the benefits and challenges associated with diversity in groups or teams more generally (again, use academic literature to substantiate your points) (400).
It is apparent that there’s diversity between Ben and the other employees on work attire. In Ben’s video interview, his wore a suit, and continued to wear a suit every day as a senior intern. When Ben is first introduced to Jules she that it wasn’t required for him to wear a suit every day. Ben sticks to his guns, “claiming there is comfort in the corporate uniform he wore for so many years”. (Dishman, 2015). This is very different to the rest of the employees who wear casual clothes. This demonstrates diversity as in Bens corporate life the suit was the work dress and with millennials they don’t share this view.
Diversity in the workforce is crucial, as it allows different viewpoints to be discussed to tackle a common issue and allows everyone to learn from each other. This was very apparent within the film as throughout Ben life and work experiences allowed him to provide different insight into solutions. This allowed Ben to become a confidant to many of the employees.
Diversity has a misconception that it means culturally different, which it can be but it also means people of different ages and skill sets. Having a diverse team will ensure better productivity and “can breed healthy competition”. (Hult, 2017). This allows the team to become more proficient and dynamic.
However, within a business, its inevitable that having team diversity is a challenge as conflict will occur as some people cannot accept change and use the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality (Greenberg, 2004). There can be cultural stereotypes which can be detrimental to a company as they may be sued as a result. Having this prejudice between a team or a group will make it more difficult for them to have a good cohesion and for them to be productive and efficient.
Therefore communication is key within a diverse team, as there will be lots of different ideas voiced. Everyone must be reminded that they are working towards a common goal and it is important to let everyone voice their opinion and that there are no wrong ideas.
Discuss the barriers to communication experienced by one of the main characters in the film (in the context of the business), and then offer evidenced-based recommendations for how to overcome those barriers (400 words).
In the film Jules gets informed by her colleague that the board of her company ‘About the Fit’ are looking to bring in a more experienced CEO as the company is growing too quick. The board thinks that Jules won’t be able to cope so having the experienced CEO should lift pressure off Jules to prevent the company from plummeting slowly. This a form of a communication barrier, the board see Jules as young and naïve in the business sense even though she’s actually guided the company to achieving long term goals in a matter of months which wasn’t forecasted to be this quick.
Jules has an issue with the board because they think that Jules won’t be able to steer the company since the company is growing bigger. The board has a different perception/view to her, this is a barrier. (Freeman, 1994) There has been acceptation and prejudice which has led to false assumption/stereotyping. This is because she’s young. Jules needs to overcome these barriers that have been labelled to her. A way that Jules can do this is to mention that she steered the company to where it is now and how successful it is to date. Although Jules is young it shouldn’t matter that she’s not experienced since she built the company from her living room to where it is now which is a successful fashion website.
Since Jules didn’t not meet face to face with the board in the film it would have been better because there was a barrier to effective communication as “not being able to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language can make communication less effective. Phone calls, text messages and other communication methods that rely on technology are often less effective than face-to-face communication.” (SkillsYouNeed, 2017) Having a face to face meeting with the board would of allowed Jules to show how passionate she was about the company.
People in organisational are aware on how to converse with their colleagues, but being aware of barriers so you can overcome them before they’re created will make it conflict free
To conclude the analysis on The Intern it is important to note the roles of leadership, motivation, teamwork and communication and how these are present within an organisation. If there wasn’t a diverse mixture of skills, most companies wouldn’t function efficiently.