Abstract We chose to look at a military case that was exposed by the media last year in which Brigadier General (BG) James BG Botchie of the United States Air Force was accused of conduct that was unbecoming of an officer. By examining the roots of classical organizational theory as well as the systems theory approach to management, we will be able to see what aspects and principles should be better utilized and enforced in order to prevent such incidences from reoccurring. ? Organizational Behavior Case Study Using
Classical Organization Theory and Systems Theory In order to see where Brigadier General James Botchie’s management went wrong, we will use the classical organization theory and systems theory to evaluate his action and decisions. To provide support to our conclusion, Tommy will share a personal encounter he had with BG Botchie. Quotes from various texts will also offer support to our position that BG Botchie’s approach to management was not only ineffective, but also inappropriate for an officer in the United States Air Force.
Classical Organization Theory While some aspects of classical organizational theory can be considered out of date, it has been constantly progressing over the past century to better suit current workplace environments. From Taylor’s scientific management theory to Weber’s bureaucratic theory all the way to Mooney and Reiley’s administrative theory, classical organizational theory has developed some of the most fundamental principles to help better manage people in the workplace.
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In order to effectively understand how classical organization theory could help a situation, such as the one regarding Brigadier General James Botchie as reported by the Air Force Times, one must first look at the basic principles behind the theory. One of the four central points in Frederick Taylor’s scientific management theory is to, “closely supervise workers, and use reward and punishment as motivators” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009). In BG Botchie’s situation, he provided little to no supervision to his subordinates and was described as “hands-off, uninformed and at times uncaring” (Fontaine 2). This lack of upervision caused the military equal opportunity office (MEO) to be an unorganized and nonproductive environment that allowed discrimination and intimidation to go undisciplined and undocumented in many cases. Another “Taylorism” stated that “the task of management is planning and control” (Walonick, 1993). From what the Air Force Times showed, BG Botchie did not follow either of these guidelines. Military organizations require all parties to abide by strict codes of conduct in order to function as a well-oiled machine. BG Botchie’s actions not only reflect poorly on his work ethics, but also his moral ethics.
He did not act as is expected of a United States serviceman; “…Personnel are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of personal and professional integrity and ethics. At a minimum, all personnel shall comply with directives issued by the Secretary of Defense… regarding the Standards of Conduct and Government Ethics. ” (Dalton, 1997). Much like the rank levels involved in military organizations, Max Weber’s bureaucratic theory “emphasized the need for a hierarchical structure of power” (Walonick, 1993).
In order to continue maintaining control among soldiers or workers alike, there is a need for definite rules and a “clear line of authority and control” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009). BG Botchie allowed this line to become blurred when he developed friendships with his subordinates. Not only did this lead to unprofessional conduct in the form of creating an inner “boys only” clique that harassed female coworkers, it also raised an ethical dilemma in that BG Botchie engaged in business deals with subordinates and possibly used government resources to further his profits (Fontaine 4).
There is a reason for positions of authority and that is to maintain control and productivity in the office. BG Botchie instead used his authority to foster sexual harassment and gender discrimination, build unprofessional relationships and misappropriate government resources for his own benefit (Fontaine 1). Mooney and Reilly’s administrative theory proved to be the most rigid out of the classical organization theories. This theory put the emphasis on “establishing a universal set of management principles that could be applied to all organizations” (Walonick, 1993).
It is now realized that this is not possible with the fast paced changing of times; however, this method could be used to help remedy the inconsistencies that occurred in BG Botchie’s wing. For example, if there was a uniform set of rules and procedures set in place and enforced regularly, people like BG Botchie would not have a chance to abuse their power. Throughout examining the classical organizational approach to resolving Brigadier General James Botchie’s erroneous behaviors, the key solution is enforcement of hierarchy.
None of this would have occurred if BG Botchie’s superiors had paid closer attention to his actions. While people in positions of authority should not have to instill fear in order to get results, they should be treated with the respect they deserve. That respect facilitates efficiency and respect for fellow coworkers as well. By maintaining the proper order of ranks, work is accomplished as a result of a sense of pride in work and duty to one’s job. In addition to an increase in productivity, the level of discrimination and harassment would decline for fear of punishment.
When the rules are enforced and there are positive and negative repercussions for behaviors, people are more inclined to follow the regulations set forth. Simply put, to avoid negative situations, such as BG Botchie’s, enforce the rules and regulations that are set forth. Systems Approach This situation could have also benefited from the systems approach to the Ohio Air National Guard Organization. The United States Air Force maintains a strict code of conduct as an entire organization and also employs separate, more detailed rules and regulations for those enlisted and those who are officers.
The enlisted ranks are seen as the workers or followers to the officer ranks. The officer ranks are seen as the leaders of the organization and they are expected to set the tones for how those that follow them are to conduct themselves. Rules are established to help keep the distinction between the appointed leaders and those who are the followers and to prevent any bias from effecting promotions or allowing preferential treatment from the leaders of the organization. Brigadier General James Botchie was fortunate to experience both the leader and follower sides of the Air Force.
BG Botchie started out in the enlisted ranks before he was commissioned to the officer ranks. I had the opportunity to work for BG Botchie after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001. He was the flight commander and highest ranking officer for the mission. As a unit, the 121st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) was assigned to support Operation Enduring Freedom at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. My job as an enlisted worker was for various electronic functions of our airplane.
My ultimate goal was to make sure that the pilots could complete their mission, which required all of the aircraft to be operational. We accomplished this mission and pleased BG Botchie. He attempted to reward us (the enlisted workers) with alcoholic beverages in an enlisted only establishment. I tell you this story to give yet another example of the rules being established and BG Botchie acting as though he was above them and as if there would be no ramifications for breaking them. Systems theory can be described as having all components of an organization interrelated.
By changing one variable, many others may also be effected (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2009). Modern day management has to understand that the decisions imposed on one part of an organization can have a great impact on other members of the organization, even if they are not directly related to the initial decision. BG Botchie’s decisions were not thoroughly thought out and he did not consider the impact that they would have across the organization. The decisions he made for his immediate group not only affected the morale, behavior, and work ethics, but it also reached throughout the entire Air National Guard.
The 121st ARW is always partnered with other units from all across the United States. This behavior is observed by others who may have had a different managerial style and expectation. This is also evident in the following quotes: “The organizational systems theory also infuses a culture that is transformed to a learning environment. A creative learning environment will also help the organization and its members realize that the small decisions made today may affect a global impact tomorrow” (Smith & Taylor, 2000). The Central premise behind holding a vision is that somehow I can shape my future, systems’ thinking helps us see how our own actions have shaped our current reality, thereby giving us confidence that we can create a different reality in the future” (Smith & Taylor, 2000). BG Botchie did not infuse the culture with the set of values and morals that the USAF instilled in his appointment as commanding general. If Brigadier General James Botchie analyzed his decisions using the systems approach for his managerial and decision based processes, his career may have had a different outcome.
Conclusion In conclusion, it is generally in everyone’s best interest to abide by the rules and regulations of an organization since they are set forth as a way to maintain order and protection for the employees. The classical organization theory and systems theory have clear cut principles that help to build a strong organization, when the policies are followed correctly. Having employees that respect the hierarchy of the organization is also essential to a successful workplace.
Brigadier General James Botchie did not follow these guidelines and it cost him the respect of his peers and nearly cost him his job.? Bibliography Dalton, J. H. (1997). General Regulations: Administration of Discipline. U. S. Navy Regulations, 1990 Interim Change, 101-102. Fontaine, S. (2012, May 23). Report Details 1-star's Inappropriate Conduct. Retrieved from Air Force Time Mobile: http://www. airforcetimes. com/mobile/index. php? storyUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww. airforcetimes. com%2Fnews%2F2011%2F04%2Fair-force-ig-details-conduct-BG Botchie-041811w%2F Kinicki, A. & Kreitner, R. (2009). Organizational Dynamics and Human Behavior. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Smith, K. D. , & Taylor, W. G. (2000). The learning organisation ideal in Civil Service organisations: deriving a measure. The Learning Organization, 194-205. University, C. M. (2008). In Administration, Globalization and Multiculturalism (pp. 25, 30, 79, 360). McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. Walonick, D. S. (1993). Organizational Theory and Behavior. Retrieved from http://statpac. org/walonick/organizational-theory. htm
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