contrasting styles case

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Organizational Behavior Case:Contrasting Styles By: Zaheer Aslam 1531-110005

Case History:

Henry has been a production supervisor for eight years. He came up through the ranks and is known as a tough but hardworking supervisor. Jane has been a production supervisor for about the same length of time and also came up through the ranks. Jane is known as a nice, hardworking boss. Over the past several years these two supervisors sections have been head and shoulders above the other six sections on hard measures of performance (Number of units produced). This is true despite the almost opposite approaches two have taken in handling their workers.

Henry explained his approach as follows:

The only way to handle workers is to come down hard on them whenever they make a mistake. In fact, I call them together every once in a while and give them heck whether they deserve it or not, just to keep them on their toes. If they are doing a good job, I tell them thats what theyre getting paid for. By taking this approach, all I have to do is walk through my area and people start working like mad.

Jane explained his approach as follows:

I dont believe in that human relations stuff of being nice to workers. But I do believe that a worker deserves some recognition and attention from me if he or she does a good job. If people make a mistake, I dont jump on them. I feel that are all entitled to make some errors. On the other hand, I always do point out what the mistake was and what they should have done, and as soon as they do it right, I let them know it. Obviously, I dont have time to give attention to everyone doing thing right, but deliberately try to get around to people doing a good job every once in a while.


Although Henrys section is still right at the top along with Janes section in units produced, personnel records show that there has been three times more turnover in Henrys section than in Janes section, and the quality control records show that Henrys section has met quality standards only twice in the last six years, while Janes has missed attaining quality standards only once in the last six years.

Q1. Both these supervisors have similar back ground. On the basis of learning theory , how can you explain their opposite approaches to handling people?



Close Supervision

Light Supervision

No believes in human motivational needs and personal recognition.

Believes in human motivational needs and personal recognition.


No Punishment

Identification of mistake but no solution provided

Identification of mistake and solution provided

Q2. What are some of the examples of punishment, positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement found in this case? If Jane is using reinforcement approach, How do you explain this statement: I dont believe in that human relations stuff of being nice to workers?

1.2. 3. 4.

Examples of punishment include: Bad mouthing Cancellations of some once leave period Salary deduction Unpaid overtime

Positive Reinforcement

As far as positive reinforcement is concern it is reward and praise given to a worker. Examples include: Relaxed working hours Bonuses Appreciations Awards

1. 2. 3. 4.

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement actually is the punishment coupled with positive experience for the correction of human behavior. Example include: Misbehavior conducted by supervisor to correct the mistake of a worker.


I dont believe in that human relations stuff of being nice to workers

The meaning of above statement in accordance with the above statement is being nice to the workers only is not enough or sufficient input for their motivation but it is also mandatory to understand and fulfill their psychological and physical needs.

Q3. How do you explain the performance, turnover and quality results in these two sections of the production department?

As far as performance is concerned Henrys section produces more units then Janes section but turnover rate is three times high in Henrys section due to strict supervision and negative reinforcement. Quality standard are achieve only twice in last six years by Henrys section, but on other hand Jane missed to achieve quality standard only once in last six years.

Above results show that Janes approach has been more effective then Henrys. Henry practices theory X. Jane Practices theory Y.


Workers always deserve some Attention and Recognition from their supervisors. Always motivate and appreciate workers who perform good job. There is a deference between machines and humans. Human, treated as machines may perform highest but may not survive under a high pressure and failed to achieve quality.

Thank you