Different Sources of Power in Production and Advertisement
You have just been hired as a brand manager of toothpaste for a large consumer products company. Your job mainly involves encouraging the advertising and production groups to promote and manufacture your product more effectively. These departments aren’t under your direct authority, although company procedures indicate that they must complete certain tasks requested by brand managers. Using what you learned from both Chapter 9 and Cialdini’s video on “Secrets from the Science of Persuasion”, describe the sources of power and influence you can use to ensure that the advertising and production departments will help you make and sell toothpaste more effectively.”
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As a brand manager, the challenge would be having the departments follow the goals being set to sell toothpaste more effectively. First, to break down some barriers, the use of coalition formation would be a good way to slowly build respect and credibility in the office. As the book states, a coalition influences people in three ways: “pools the power and resources of many people”, “the coalition’s mere existence can be a source of power by symbolizing the legitimacy of the issue”, and “coalitions tap into the power of the social identity process” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2019, p. 223). I would first find people with similar ideas and goals to build the coalition with. Once a good group of people is established we would meet to brainstorm ideas and let the members of this coalition know to invite any other coworkers to the next meeting. I think it would be best to not try and manage every employee but rather slowly win over all of the employees with time and continued effort showing them I believe in the work being done.
I would show the employees the video on the six rules of persuasion. Once they have all seen the video I would ask questions to see which path the employees want to go down first. Personally, the best option to start with in my opinion is rule number one, reciprocity. The company could give away samples in hopes the customers would want to gift back by purchasing the product after trying it. People always love free samples and it is an easy way to get the word out. The second rule to try in my opinion would be rule number 3, authority, having dentists spread the word about our toothpaste. No one is more credible and qualified to speak about toothpaste than a dentist. That way the employees have some of the say in what is done and feel like they are important to the company. Those would be examples I would use to show employees ideas and get their gears turning. Also, I would start by using reward power. I would reward any employee that was helping grow and better the brand of the company with a brainstorming day to just focus on brainstorming ideas or developing their idea. From personal experience, I have found people will respect someone faster if they are positive.
The chief operating officer (COO) has noticed that production employees in the company’s manufacturing operations in Mexico are unhappy with some of the production engineering decisions made by engineers in the company’s headquarters in Chicago. At the same time, the engineers complain that production employees aren’t applying their engineering specifications correctly and don’t understand why those specifications were put in place. The COO believes that the best way to resolve this conflict is to have a frank and open discussion between some of the engineers in Chicago and employees representing the production crew in Mexico. This open dialogue approach worked well recently among managers in the company’s Chicago headquarters, so the COO believes that it should work equally well between the engineers and production staff. Based on your knowledge of communication and mutual understanding as a way to resolve conflict, discuss the COO’s proposal and your recommendations.
In chapter ten of the book, conflict “is a process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2019, p. 234). Conflict while mostly viewed as a negative effect can have positive results as well. When conflict occurs it makes people evaluate and think about the issues which then leads to growth and change. The conflict occurring for this company is a task conflict. Task conflicts are based solely on the task that needs to be done. It focuses on doing the task correctly and efficiently. Engineers in the company want the task done a certain way and now the manufacturing employees are not doing it the right way in the eyes of the engineers and are unhappy with the engineers.
In this situation, it is viewed to be a miscommunication problem. Personally, I would have the two team representatives meet and problem solve the conflict. Check to see if it was a miscommunication or a misunderstanding. If it is a disagreement in the way the engineers want it done and how the manufacturers think is best then that can be resolved with problem-solving as well. Both parties can bring their ideas together to present a way that works for both interests. If it goes down to the wire and time is an issue both parties will then have to compromise on a new way to make the project work. I agree with the COO and believe an open discussion would fix a lot of the problem his company is facing. If the open discussion goes south the plans would have to be reevaluated.
the book “M: Organizational Behavior. McShane & Von Glinow, 4th ed”
Chapter 9 and 10