Case Study Answers :Human Resource Management MGMT1010

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Question 1: Do the planning systems and processes need to change or are they adequate
for the future of Readers Digest? If you were to advise Berner on the best planning
systems and processes she should use, what would you recommend. Support your
argument by referring to theory.
The Robbins et al. 2019 have significantly state d that planning enables direction for
action. Adding to that, planning systems also makes sures that goals and objectives are being
properly defined and this help them to act as a guide for determining that the relevant action s
that needs to be taken and the direction in which seriously needs to be considered . The new
planning system and the process implemented by Berner will help the company to foster
growth in the company. Based on the observation that has been made from the case study, it
could be easily realized that Reader Digest needed significant changes in their planning
system as the traditional approach which was relevant in the company was outdated and was
acting as a hindrance to the growth of the company .
Now, the p rimary reason behind Berner being a competent manager is that she has
been able to plan . As the manager of the company, planning establishes coordinated effort .
Adding to that planning reduces uncertainty. Also, planning has been able to reduce
overlapping and wasteful activities (Robbins et al. 2019 ). Therefore, based on this
observation, it could be realized that planning establishes the goals or standards that
facilitate control . However, there are certain criticism regarding planning which has also
been identified in the Robbins et al. 2019 . The two most important criticism that has been
stated are that planning might create rigidity and also formals plans cannot replace intuition
and creativity .
Given the present condition of the company, it could be recommended for Berner that
she should implement Strategic plans (long -range, high -level company goals) . The rationale
behind this recommendation is based on the observation that the changes which wil l be
implemented, require significant focus and time form the employees and also the managers.
In the long -run this strategy has proved to be high beneficial. The transparency that has been
created in the company after the implementation of strategic goals by Berner, will help the
company to grow significantly in the market. Also, Berner needs to give significant
importance to the concept of culture in order to solve the relevant issues found in the
company. Strong cultures could be considered as the aspect s in which the crucial values are
deeply held and also at the same time these values are shared widely (Robbins et al. 2019 ). It
has also been identified that more the employees tend to accept the key values of the
organization, and the superior their comm itment to those ideals , the stronger the culture.
Question 2: Fitting the right people with right jobs, including removing some existing
staff, is central to Berner’s plans to salvage Reader Digest. Are the human resource
management approaches at Readers Digest appropriate strategies for recruitment and
retention? Why or why not?
“Fitting the right people with right jobs, including removing some existing staff, is
central to Berner’s plans to salvage Reader Digest. ” This statement, that has been stated in
the question, is very much relevant based on the performance that the company has been
exhibiting for the last few fiscal years. The case study specifically stated that the employees
were being paid irrespective of the performance that they were able to show. Yes , the
company has been able to implement the right strategies under the leadership of Berner , for
recruitment and retention . This section of the paper will significantly talk about the
appropriate strategies implemented by the human resource management for the purpose of
retention and recruitment.
Multiple changes were implemented by Berner in Readers Digest Association
(RDA) , to bring positive changes in the company. Such relevant changes were also identified
within the strategies implemented by Readers Digest’s human resource team . It has been
specifically identified that t he human resource management function connected with enabling
training, motivating, and keeping competent employees . Adding to that, it has also been
identified that’s s taffing and HRM decisions and actions are extremely crucial in making sure
that the fact that an association hires and keeps the right people (Robbins et al. 2019 ). From
the very beginning, Berner has been clear with their objective that the company should not be
keeping the employees that are not able to perform well. Rather, it has been stated that the
company should significantly focus on hiring new competent employees for the organization
as they will add to the growth of the company .
Employee planning is the first and the most important step of HRM process (Parke et
al. 2018) . Reader Digest Association has planned for eyeing and hiring ne w employees
becomes clear from the claim that has been stated in the case study. In the case study, Berner
has already stated that “moving people around to get new people looking at old ideas is also
an effective way to shake up an organization ”. For the growth of any given company, it gets
significantly important to incorp orate new ideas to the system (Bossle et al. 2016) . However,
it also needs to be mentioned that, in relevance to the recruitment process, Performance –
simulation tests are selection devices based on actual job behaviors (Robbins et al. 2019 ).
This have help ed Reader Digest Association to locate the right person for the job and hire
them according to the need of the customer.
After a talent gets hired or recruited by the company, it is the responsibility of the
manager to significantly retain the employee in relevance to his or her job role. In order to
amplify retention, it gets important for the m anagers to devise a proper compensation system
which will echo the altering nature of work . Also this system gets implemented as on the fact
that in the workplace in order to keep people motivated. Berner has implemented private
equity, in the case study and it has been specifically identified that “private equity has also
meant a clearer focus on pay for performance , something that had been sadly lacking ”. Pay
for performance not help in keeping the employees motivated (Robbins et al. 2019 ), but
simultaneously, it also helps in analyzing and assessing the performance of the employee in
the long run and understand the viability of that employee. Accordingly, the comp any has
been able to implement skill -based pay under the leadership of Berner.
On a concluding note, it could be stated based on the above observation that the
changes that has been introduced by Berner has proved to be significantly beneficial for the
co mpany as they have completely changed the recruitment and retention strategies.
QUESTION 3 : Using Leadership Theory and the bases of power, describe Berner’s
Leadership style or styles. Provide evidence from the case that supports the theories you
have used.
According to Readings et al. 2011 , Leadership theories characteristically describe
leaders depending on their characteristics or depending on their style . Also, the leadership
theories put forth the interpretation that leaders’ behaviors significantly tend to make them
suitable in relevance to their leadership role . In this section , Berner’s leadership style will
be thoroughly analyzed in relevance to the leadership theories.
It has already been highlighted that Leader s are individuals who have the ability to
influence others and also at the same time has managerial authority . Adding to that,
Leadership could be identified as the procedure of leading a group and influencing that
group to achieve its goals . It has also been predicted that, preferably all the managers should
be leaders (Bartunek et al. 2019) . In alignment to this observation, Mary Berner could be
easily identified as a true leader , as from the March 2007, her primary aim was to bring
about positive change in Readers Digest Association (RDA ). Bringing relevant changes to
the organization is one of most important traits of a leader.
Drive and Desire to lead are the two most important trait associated with leadership
(Northouse 2021 ). Based on the case study, it is very much evident that Mary Berner, has
significantly demonstrated the willingness to take responsibility and therefor, the leadership
skills exhibited by Mary Berner is exemplary, and at the same presence of self -confidence
could be easily located. The behaviours that get exhibited by the leader is the implementation
of leadership style in multiple contexts. It has been specifically mentioned in the case study
that, “one of her three BlackBerries is devoted to answering questions from employees as
part of what RDA calls its “dear anonymous” column” . This enable the readers with the
understanding that Mar y Berner could be identified as leader who exhibit democratic style of
leadership . To be specif ic, democratic leader is a leader who includes employees in the
process of decision making . Adding to that, they delegate authority , inspires participation in
deciding work process and finally implements feedback to coach employees (Robbins et al.
2019 ). “Culture” , “Cost” and “Growth” are the three priorities that Berner has officially
scrawled on her office’s whiteboard. The term that has been specifically used by Berner,
“move the needle” , specifically signifies the change in management that gets implemen ted
for the substantial growth of the company.
There are several bases of powers that could be identified in relevance to the
leadership theory. These five types of power are legitimate, referent, reward, coercive, and
expert . Lunenburg (2012 ) has stated that p ower could also be easily manifested through one
or more of these bases . However, in relevance to the case study that. has been presented,
Referent Power gets implemented by Berner while leading Readers Digest Association
(RDA) . Referent power origin ates from that of the employees’ respect for a manager . It has
also been identified that in relevance to the referent power, the manager leads by example .
Referent power rests heavily on trust . Therefore, it could be said that, Denver has showed
immense co nfidence in his decisions which again will help the veterans of the company to
buckle up and perform accordingly, or else they will be replaced with new employees who
are competent with their work.
On a concluding note, it could be mentioned that Mary Ber ner has been able to exhibit
two contemporary views of leadership which are transformational leader and visionary
leadership .
Bartunek, J.M., Crosta , T.E., Dame, R.F. and LeLacheur, D.F., 2019. Managers and project
leaders conducting their own action research interventions. Handbook of Organizational
Consultation, Second Editon, p.76.
Bossle, M.B., de Barcellos, M.D., Vieira, L.M. and Sauvée, L., 2016 . The drivers for
adoption of eco -innovation. Journal of Cleaner production, 113, pp.861 -872.
Lunenburg, F.C., 2012. Power and leadership: An influence process. International journal of
management, business, and administration, 15(1), pp.1 -9.
Northouse, P. G., 2021. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
Parke, M.R., Weinhardt, J.M., Brodsky, A., Tangirala, S. and DeVoe, S.E., 2018. When daily
planning improves employee performance: The importance of planning type, engagement,
and interruptions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(3), p.300.
Readings, R., Robbins, S., DeCenzo, D.A. and Coulter, M., 2011. Fundamentals of
Robbins, S., Coulter, M., DeCenzo, D. and Woods, M., 2019 n.d. Management.


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