IntroductionLeadershipis the process by which an individual influences followers in order to reach ashared goal. Leaders have to manage, innovate, inspire and motivate the group,whether it be employees or peers, towards a set target (Huczynskiet al., 2013).
Motivation is how much effort a person commits to a task,and can be changed by many influencing factors such as pay, job title, andsatisfaction (Robbins et al., 2018). Team-work isthe idea of operating as a group and working effectively together to create newideas and build relationships. Being in a team means the task can be completedmore effectively and gives individuals a sense of belonging (Robbins et al.
, 2018). Communication is a key componentof an organization as the correct information must be communicated torecipients in order for jobs to be performed accurately.There are several types of communication- from face-to-face to written, butwith these come communication barriers which prevent information beingtransported efficiently (Robbins et al., 2018). ‘TheIntern’ is a film about a self-established company called ‘About the Fit’.
Thefounder is Jules Ostin who created the firm herself around 18 months prior,starting with just a website and now obtains around 220 employees. The filmfollows the journey of a newly employed senior intern Ben Whittaker, andportrays what a real-life business looks like. This essay will identify the keyleadership, motivation, teamwork and communication theories and approaches usedin the film, and a critical analysis of these. Leadership Thereare several leadership theories and approaches that have varied beliefs as towhat is the correct way to lead a team.
Transformational leadership is where leaders tend to be capable ofmanipulating and changing the groups’ desires through inspiration andmotivation (Khan and Ismail, 2017). Contingencyleadership theory states that there is not just one leadership style thatsucceeds but that different situations require different types of leadership (Lussier and Achua, 2015). Path-goaltheory is a contingency approach that insinuates it is the leaders’responsibility to assist followers by using structure, giving support andensuring their task is compatible with the overall organizational goal (Robbins et al., 2018). This approach uses 4 varieties ofleadership behaviour. Directive leadership is used to inform followers of whatis expected of them, supportive leadership is used to show concern towards theindividual, participative leadership is where the leader consults with thegroup to gain opinions before making any major decisions and achievement-orientedleadership is where the leader sets challenging goalsfor the followers to reach (Malik, 2013). Jules’ approach to leading heremployees matches that of path-goal.
Directiveleadership is demonstrated when Jules visits the packaging department after shenotices a problem with the parcels, and instructs employees on exactly how theboxes should be packed up. The employees seemed grateful for this guidance asthey had previously struggled with the job. Participative and supportive leadership are demonstrated where Julesoffers positive feedback on the homepage of the website, listens to theemployees’ ideas and sets him a goal.Leaders tend to display a variety ofbehaviour depending on the situation; therefore it would not be beneficial tolimit them to one style.
This is because leadership is greatly contoured bycontextual factors (Lussier and Achua, 2015), so leaders are inclined to take amore holistic approach by using a mixture of theories most suited for thecircumstances. For instance, with the help of Ben, as well as path-goal theory Julesdemonstrates transformational leadership when she recognizes how much Beckyexerts herself.The use of path-goal theory has apositive correlation with job satisfaction of employees (Malik, 2013). This hasmost likely derived from the fact that employees have a voice in theorganization, and are challenged and supported to reach established goals. As shown in a study on effects of jobsatisfaction, the productivity of employees is greater in businesses with moresatisfied workers (Singh and Jain, 2013); thus it would benefit an organizationto use path-goal theory. Although the path-goal theory isconsidered more holistic, it is reductionist in the sense that it only has fourleadership behavioural categories (Malik, 2013). However, path-goal theory accentuatesthe need to identify leadership behaviour and group attributes as well as thework situation (Northouse,2013), thus extending the limited link between just leader and task.
MotivationContentmotivation theories focus on internal needs- for example Maslow’s Hierarchy ofNeeds, which states that an individual’s psychological, security, social,esteem and self-actualizing needs are a source of motivation for a person, andthese need to be reached in order for the individual to feel inspired(Aanstoos, 2013). Processtheories are more contemporary and state that internal needs and cognitionsboth influence a person’s motivation- using just needs as a theory formotivation is a simple way of explaining a complex behaviour. For example,self-efficacy theory says that motivation derives from an individual’s self-beliefthat they are capable of performing a task (Robbins etal., 2018). Self-belief can arise from esteem needs such as job role,and cognitive ability can be identified through the difficulty of the task. This type of motivation can be increased in anindividual through enactive mastery, vicarious modelling, verbal persuasion andarousal (Robbins et al., 2018).
Theemployees at ‘About the Fit’ seem self-motivated, confident and engaged intheir work. The work environment is clear, fresh and exciting which boostsemployee arousal. Jules offers verbal persuasion when she complements employeeson their work- for example when she says she loves the changes a creative teammember has made to the homepage. In several scenes of the film, Julesdemonstrates vicarious modelling- she is continuously showing how tasks areaccomplished and encourages workers to be efficient at completing them. Theextensive use of self-efficacy in an organization is associated with higher jobsatisfaction and performance (Judge and Bono, 2001), which often leads toemployees being more committed to the company. Workers who are dedicated to theorganization are often found attempting to improve skills and are self-motivatedto perform better (Cherian and Jacob, 2013).
With this comes a lessened fear from employeeswhen approached with a difficult task, but rather a sense confidence. This is amassive advantage for an organization as it requires little involvement ofmanagement for increased productivity, as employees are self-efficient atbecoming more educated in their job role. However, this does mean that itcannot be completely controlled by the organization, suggesting success is notalways guaranteed as motivation is reliant on self-belief.
Anotherweakness of this theory is that enactive mastery affects motivation. Poor performancesand motivational discrepancies are often the result of previous task failure,which reduces confidence when asked to complete again (Brunsteinand Gollwitzer, 1996). This is deficientfor organizations such as ‘About the Fit’, as employees assigned to a specificjob role often have to perform analogous tasks. Aspreviously mentioned, a combination of theories is often the reality of asuccessful business. Self-efficacy motivation is actually complemented by theuse of goal-setting motivation (Robbins et al., 2018).It’s often beneficial to an organization to use both of these theories at thesame time as it reaps productivity and efficiency benefits for task completionsee exhibit 1. Team WorkWorkingin teams often creates a range of benefits for organizations; however,businesses repeatedly forget to recognize individual characteristics withingroups.
There is a significantuniqueness of each person on a team- for example, age, race, gender andcognitive ability (Robbins et al., 2018).Personaldifferences are categorized into surface-level and deep-level diversity.
Surface-level characteristics are obvious differences, such as age and race.Deep-level characteristics differentiate people through personality and values-these are much more complex (Robbins et al., 2018).Teamdiversity can be seen when Jules assigns Ben, Jason, Lewis, and Davis a task ofbreaking into her Mother’s home to delete an email she accidentally sent. Thegroup worked efficiently together by assigning team members tasks fitted toeach individual’s skills- for example, Ben who known for being organized andwell composed, was assigned a leader position and Lewis, who is moretechnologically advanced, worked on the deletion of the email. However, whentask completion was threatened the team did experience some conflict.
Diversityin groups can often lead to discrimination and stereotyping of team members,and this can greatly affect task completion. In a recent survey, 32% ofrespondents admitted they have witnessed discrimination at work (Awang, Shafie, and Pearl, n.d.). Without the correct discrimination managementprejudice at work can be destructive to an organisation, however, if diversityis dealt with properly it produces an array of benefits to a business. For instance, in 2015 managers in the topquartile for ethnic and racial diversity in 366 companies were 35% moreprobable to have financial returns greater than their division average (Rock and Grant, 2016).
This suggests that businessesshould attempt to create contrastive groups within the work environment as itactually conveys economic advantages. Not only this, but diversity brings arange of ideas and skills- unique people are proven to be more innovative and tendto focus more on the processing of facts (Rock andGrant, 2016).With diversity comesdifferences, and often this can result in conflict. Relationship conflict isbased on personal affairs (Robbins et al., 2018),and can cause attention to divert away from the task, resulting in the team workingless effectively and producing a poor quality of work (Griffith et al.
, 2003).This is a huge drawback of using diverse teams as although it can bringbenefits, it can also actively decrease task fulfilment. However, conflict canactually be valuable to team performance. Task conflicts revolve around thetargets assigned to the group (Robbins et al.
, 2018).Due to the task being discussed in depth, teams that face this type of conflictare likely to have increased satisfaction and better intellectual understanding,resulting in improved choices (Simons and Peterson, 2000). 5. Communication In order for tasks to be carried out efficiently, thecommunication process must be accurate. The process begins with a sender, whoencodes the information and converses this to a receiver. This message is sentthrough a communication channel, such as face-to-face or written, and is thendecoded by the recipient (Lunenburg, 2010). Communication is a vital part of an organization, and isthe root of five main functions within a business; management, feedback,emotional sharing, persuasion, and information conversing (Robbins et al., 2018).
It is critical that the correctinformation is received by the reader; however, this is not always the case.Barriers to communication distort and prevent information being communicatedsuccessfully- examples of these are filtering, selective perception andinformation overload (Robbins et al., 2018).
Information overload occurs when the processingcapabilities of an individual are exceeded by the information intake (Robbins et al., 2018). When we are given to too muchinformation to process the brain cannot cope, and this results in confusion,forgetfulness and a loss of concentration (Sadiku,Shadare and Musa, 2016). This barrier can be identified through thecharacter Becky, who is continuously given excessive amounts of tasks, leavingher stressed and unable to process information. For example, when she isspeaking to a client on the phone and gets distracted by another conversation, shestruggles to handle both and forgets her original discussion is stillhappening. IDC conducted a study identifying that workers are oftenparticipating in unproductive tasks for up to 20 hours a week- therefore arecommendation for organizations with workers experiencing information overloadsuch as ‘About the Fit’, would be to improve their information managementskills (Hoq, 2016).
One way to attain this is touse self-management methods such as reminders and flagging emails. This canactively help minimize excessive processing and make work hours more productive(Whittaker et al., 2007).
This would make information and the decoding process of messages moremanageable and therefore prevent information overload distorting communication. A recent study has shown that improvement of informationprocessing stems from workers advancing in their media capabilities, regulatingindividual work flow and expanding email literacy (Soucekand Moser, 2010). So perhaps organizations could prevent information overloaddistorting communication by putting workers on media training courses, ensuringa reasonable distribution of work and advising them on the most efficient wayto use their email. 6. ConclusionLeading,motivating, communicating and working as a team effectively can be the root ofa successful organization. As demonstrated above, in order for tasks to becompleted well and for a business to function efficiently and lucratively,leaders must ensure their employees are content and motivated, rid of anydiscrimination, deal with conflict correctly and ensure that tasks are beingcommunicated accurately. Effectiveleadership is often seen as the biggest contributing factor that determines theeffectiveness of a work environment. Motivation, determination, and efficientcommunication among employees are significantly correlated with effectiveleadership and implementation of change within the organization (Gilley, Gilley and McMillan, 2009).
Therefore, forcommunication, motivation and group work to be successful, there must be high-qualityleadership.