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Organisation Behaviour

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Executive summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 02 1. Introduction ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 03 2. Management and Culture in Borthwick Contracting ------------------------------------------ 03 3.1. What Brothwick Contracting used to be --------------------------------------------------- 03 3.2. Restructuring Brothwick Contracting ------------------------------------------------------ 04 3. Recommendations ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 04 4.3. Focusing on the biggest resources ---------------------------------------------------------- 04 4.4. Resolving intergroup conflict --------------------------------------------------------------- 05 4. The Six Thinking Hats ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 05 5.5. Focusing on the biggest resource ------------------------------------------------------------06 5.6. Resolving intergroup conflict --------------------------------------------------------------- 08 5. S.W.O.T --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10 6. Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11 7. References ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12

Executive Summary

Borthwick Contacting is a civil engineering company and Australia’s most successful road and bridge building enterprises. It is a fine organisation that boasted a core workforce of around 400 highly skilled construction staff. The key to Borthwick Contracting’s survival in the industry is through tendering and securing new contracts. Unfortunately, they are currently facing some difficulties in meeting tender deadlines and employees find it hard to cope with managing requests.
Toby Jenkins, an employee who has been with the company for more than 30 years, identified the cause of the unpleasant workplace and raised the issue to Libby Mitchell, Deputy Manager of the company. However, Libby focuses too much on tendering deadlines and neglected her employees’ welfare and difficulties in accomplishing the task set by the company.
Recommendations are focused on their biggest resource which is their people, and resolving intergroup conflict has been chosen to resolve the organisation's current issues. Using the 6 thinking hats and the SWOT model to analyse the recommendations, it is likely to solve the two recommendations concurrently.
Although Borthwick Contracting have been losing contracts and their finance are depleting, the management should implement new strategies and give attention to salvage and sustain.

1. Introduction

Borthwick Contracting has not been successful in securing contracts lately. Other than being in a market that is competitive, Toby Jenkins voiced out the unhappiness of the employees due to the unfavourable circumstances which resulted in them overworking. Employees in all departments were exhausted and unhappy. There are prejudices against the engineers and members of the tendering team, and members of the tendering have decided to leave when their concerns are not being addressed as a matter of concern.

2. Management and Culture in Borthwick Contracting

Management is a process of getting things done through and with people; and in an organisational perspective; it allows managers to segment the entire operation of departments into several phases. This allows the management to better understand the goals and ways to improve their goals effectively. In addition, managers will also be able to respond quickly to factors affecting the company.

Culture is a powerful force in an organisation. It consists of the shared value, belief and behaviour of the members of the organisation. As it guides the individual’s decision and actions at unconscious level, some says that it is the glue that holds everyone together while others feels that it provides direction.

3.1. What Brothwick Contracting used to be

Borthwick Contracting’s effectiveness was key to its success. Despite having an imbalanced number of engineers to the size of human resources department, there were no issues in achieving goals. While employees of Borthwick Contracting are working hard in securing new contracts, things are starting to change. They are losing contracts and had to rely on its long-term maintenance contracts to provide cash flow. Toby Jenkins, who has been with the organisation for almost 30 years, realised these issues after the management was being streamlined and interaction was neglected between the management team and the staff.

3.2. Restructuring Brothwick Contracting

In order to successfully bid and complete tenders on time, Borthwick Contracting needs to regain its effectiveness. The organisation will regain sustainable competitive advantage when their talents are aligned with its business strategies. Restructuring its organisational hierarchy and the welfare of the employees will therefore be needed to be addressed.

3. Recommendations

Small business owners are encouraged to pay attention to the happiness, well-being, and motivation of their staff. Productive and satisfied employees represent more than just good management practices—they are a crucial element to a successful business (“A Happy Staff is a Productive Staff: How to Motivate Employees,” n.d.). Brothwick Construction needs to increase productivity to salvage the finance of the organisation.
With proper care, the worst conflicts could be avoided by proper organisational design, or by proper training of members to hold similar perceptions and goals, or as a last resort to decouple conflicting parties by reducing interdependencies between them (Pondy 1992). Intergroup relations are often necessary to complete work required to run a business. Conflict can occur when groups inter-relate to accomplish an organisation’s goals and objectives. Functional conflict may be positive because it enhances performance and identifies weakness. However, there is a negative type of conflict that is called the dysfunctional conflict. It confronts and interacts between groups that harms the organisation or hinders attainment of goals and objectives.

4.3. Focusing on the biggest resources

The biggest form of resources in Borthwick Contracting is their group of highly skilled employees. As their success was dependent on its ability to secure new contracts, its employees especially the tendering team should be most valued by the organisation. Toby’s resignation is a loss of key appointment holder in the company whom has fruitful years of experience in the field. Failure to understand how the employees feel and giving them an opportunity to voice out their opinion in improving the workplace condition will deteriorate the relationship within the organisation.

4.4. Resolving intergroup conflict

A basic strategy for improving interdepartmental or intergroup relationships is to change the perceptions that the two parties have of each other.

Firstly, Toby who represents the employee and Libby the manager needs to hold a meeting together with the consultant to develop better mutual relationships, explore the perception the group have of each other, and formulate plans for improving the relationship. Both groups will receive questions to stimulate their perception of the opposite party and they will be encouraged to feedback and discuss. Rooms will be assigned to Toby and Libby to answer the questions. An external consultant will help each of them to be more open and develop the list that accurately reflects their perception and image of themselves as well as the other party. The list will then be presented when they come together again. After thorough understanding of the list, they will be separated again to analyse and review the reasons for the discrepancies. When Toby and Libby have worked on the discrepancies and the areas of common agreement, they will meet to share both the identified discrepancies and their solution to those discrepancies. Finally, both Toby and Libby will be asked to develop specific plans of action to solve the problems and improve their relationship.

4. The Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats views things holistically, in different perspectives before achieving an ultimate decision of which recommendation is more effective. This technique allows issues to be viewed from many different points of view. Each colour of the thinking hat represents a different perspective and way of thinking.

Blue hat – The decision-making and the process control hat. Used to organise the process flow and solution after discussion in a meeting

White hat – The objective or information hat. Used to provide facts and details of the subject and trying to extrapolate to the future.

Red hat – The emotional thinking hat. Emotions are used to criticize or support the ideal. Intuitive responses are also applicable here.

Yellow hat – The positive thinking hat. Positive outcome that never fails to surface after the decision have been finalised.

Black hat – The negative or pessimistic hat. The negative outcome that may occur and contingency plans where come in place, should problems arise.

Green hat – The creative thinking hat. All available alternative solutions are introduce to address the issue in a complex way.

5.5. Focusing on the biggest resource

Blue hat

The organisation has to implement effective systems to bring the management and the employees closer. In this way, employees will be given a chance to voice out their opinion and their hard work will be appreciated. Without a proper channel dedicated for the employees, negative emotions may arise which will affect the group performance.

White hat

Borthwick Contracting was once the most successful road and bridge building enterprises in Australia. Its strength was about 400 engineers and highly skilled construction staff. The human resources department that was supporting this group of people was unexpectedly small. When Toby Jenkins, a staff working for 30 years in the company, articulated the existing issue of the organisation he saw to the Deputy Manager, Libby Mitchell, the issue was not being addressed immediately. This caused the organisation to lose three employees, one of whom has an extensive amount of experience.

Red hat

The engineers and construction staff will feel appreciated when Brothwick Construction restructure their management and go through a cultural change. It will create a better environment for the employees. Meanwhile, they will feel secure and taken care of by the organisation. Happy employees will lead to an increase of productivity for the organisation.

Yellow Hat

With the higher management and employees formulating a plan and having staff meetings occasionally, this may develop better mutual agreement among the employees. It will also lead to a more cohesive work environment which will result in a more efficient and productive organisation. Furthermore, the employees will also be more motivated to strive for the best.

Black hat

Employees will constantly expect higher rewards or promotion from the management after each achievement of the organisational goals. The organisation, however, cannot award such monetary rewards regularly. This is to ensure that consistency in work performance is produced even when the organisation stops offering such rewards. This may, however, result in the employees feeling unappreciated and a drop in morale and motivation may happen.

Green hat

Borthwick Contracting faces the issue of shortage of manpower when it comes to completing tender deadlines. Staffs that are on leave are not being replaced, resulting in the completion of the tender deadline becoming a struggle. The management should look into approving leaves on a staggered basis in order to ensure that there is enough manpower to cover the absentees.

In view of the upcoming big projects, Borthwick Contracting can plan a schedule for the casual staffs to ensure that there is enough manpower in place should any staff require to take urgent medical leave. This way, the casual staffs can be arranged for in-house training in order to achieve sufficient manpower which may be beneficial to the organisation.

Blue hat

The blue hat concludes that there is lack of communication between departments, resulting in not having a common understanding. Not having a proper channel to communicate between the management and subordinate will lead to workers being less motivated to work.

5.6. Resolving intergroup conflict

Blue hat

The organisation has to create a cohesive environment. By adopting such benchmark, employees are able to have a better working environment to communicate and understand the difficulties of other departments and share their suggestions and experiences. The aim is to motivate individuals to working towards goals that are set aligned to the company’s objectives.

White hat

Toby Jenkins attempts to raise the situations faced by Borthwick Construction to Libby Mitchell. However, she does not see the importance and therefore did not address to the situation urgently. Toby and two of his team members decided to leave when his concerns are not understood by Libby.

Red hat

The recommendations may pressurize and cause stress to employees in meeting goals and producing results. Unrealistic goals will cause negative effects on the employees.

Yellow hat

There will be a clear understanding of mutual expectation between management and the employees. This will enhance employee performance which helps in securing contracts. Borthwick will therefore have a group-orientated environment. Furthermore, this will add new dimensions and accountability to the workplace, producing excellent results to the organisation.

Black hat

Employees may lose the sense of urgency and find it unnecessary to look for alternative ways of behaving when stress level is low. When conflict is absent, cognitive flexibility and the ability to handle complex information may decrease.

Green hat

Streamlined organisation has turned Borthwick Contracting into various “departments”. Departments are categorized into “Blue Collar” and “White Collar”. In order to resolve intergroup conflict, the management should hold a meeting where these departments will interact with each other. Such interaction whereby it seeks to explore each other’s perspective and gain insights into the causes of the conflict. This interaction is focused at problem-solving instead of a formal meeting, which one party usually takes the blame and points to others, however, this interaction is using the conflict as a shared problem that requires an effort to mutually get a satisfactory solution (Fisher 2006).

Blue hat

In order to have an effective management, managers must not be affected by the subordinates and conclude changes that favours them. Management should make decisions that are beneficial to the organisation but at the same time reward the staff for the effort and contributions.

5. S.W.O.T


Borthwick Contacting is the most successful road and bridge building enterprises and is a fine organisation in Australia. It has a core workforce of around 400 highly skilled construction staff. By having highly skilled and experienced employees, lesser human error is bound to occur and lesser time will be spent on analysing situations and when problems arises.


Borthwick Contracting currently have a weak management system ever since Libby Mitchell, the deputy manager of Borthwick Contracting directed the department. She is only concerned about getting more projects and has neglected her staffs’ welfare. A lack of communication has resulted in failure to understand the difficulties her staffs are going through.


The state government has announced a massive harbour development and would be calling for tenders. This is a good opportunity for Borthwick Contracting to be awarded the tender in order to continue the business and sustain their company. Being in the building industry, it is crucial to come up with new and innovative building structure to create differentiation with competitors and attract more projects. As technology advances, developments in technology can help to develop much more advance tools to make jobs less hazardous and create a better environment to work in.


Due to the large number of building construction companies in the Australian market and limited contracts to be fought among the competitor s, price becomes very competitive. Borthwick Contracting constantly not being able to get any projects will result in financial loss.

6. Summary

There are indeed many factors to retain or improve an organisation. The analysis with the Six Thinking Hats will help the company achieved its desired outcome, by aligning the organisation's culture and using the different process of cultural change. Results are not immediate, but with sufficient effort and work by the employees and management, Borthwick Contracting will definitely be on the road to success again.

Businesses require structure to grow and to be profitable, and flow of information is essential to the success of the organisation. It aligns to ensure individuals and departments coordinate to move towards achieving organisation goals. A good organisation structure will help to facilitate the time frame of the tender completions. With good Human Resource practices, a manager can identify an employee’s capabilities and give the ideal directions of tender. As such, to enable the employee to perform better, it is important to have the talents in place to ensure that operations are done more smoothly.

7. References

"A Happy Staff is a Productive Staff: How to Motivate Employees." Intuit: Small Business.

Dreu C. K. W. D. and Vliert E. 1997. Using Conflict in Organizations. SAGE.

Fisher, R. J. et al. 2006. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice.

Haworth. n.d. The One Page: What is Organizational Culture – and Why Does it Matter?.

Iliev R. n.d. What Is Organizational Development and How It Can Help Our Business. Divine Caroline.

Nikolakopulos A. n. d. The Definition of Organizational Management. Chron: Small Business by Demand Media.

Pondy, L. R. 1992. Journal of organizational behaviour Vol. 13: Reflections on organizational conflict. Wiley Online Library.;jsessionid=D4527FD222147C94C56590597FFBCB74.f03t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

“Today’s Concept of Organizational Management”. Jones and Barlett Learning.

Weber Y. and Tarba S. Y. 2010. Human Resource Management Review: Human resource practices and performance of mergers and acquisitions in Israel. Science Direct.

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