Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Ken Brewer
Last updated: June 14, 2019
Analysingmanagement and organisation through film: A critical discussion ofOrganisational Change and Resistance & Misbehaviour in the film Made inDagenhamThis essay presents a critical exploration of management theories oforganisational change, and resistance and misbehaviour drawingreflections from the film “Made in Dagenham” which was released in 2010.
The film,describes female workers, in a male dominated car manufacturing company (FordDagenham) with over 55,000 men in 1968 and only 187 women working at the Factory,who in their view are unfairly treated by the management. The film exemplifiesthe variations in remuneration between men and women for similar workswitnessed in the traditional working contexts defying the concept of ‘Equal PayAct’1.The “man”2is portrayed as not only possessing the power to make decisions impacting thewomen on household and organisational levels, but also enjoying higher wagesfor equal tasks. The essay commences with an introduction of the reasoningbehind the film and then reviews related studies on the two topics to reconnoitrethe understanding, from diverse perspectives, of the core concepts by use of excerptsfrom the scenes. The essay then draws a conclusion in form of a summary of maininsights and implications.To adopt, integrate and effect changes in an organisation, managersalter a majority of the organisation’s extant features such as the structure,culture, strategies, operational methods and technologies in a process referredto as organisational change, which can either be continuous or befall fordistinctive epochs of time.
Organisational change can be construed based on twocentral viewpoints; an environmental adaptation or a planned innovation (Elyand Meyerson, 2000: 104). The environmental adaptation presents change as a customaryprogression process, while planned innovation portrays it as a deviation fromthe norm. Under the planned innovation approach, features such as strategicchoice, decision making and organisation development may find their collocationwhereas under the environmental adaptation approach, these aspects may followcontingency and chaos theories. Todnem (2005: 373) postulates that standardprocedures, programmes and routines provide and ensure stability in anorganisation and organisational change emanates from the changes made in thesestandards. The planning process discloses the need for strategies, whether newor improved, which are then mirrored in changes to tactical and operationalpolicies. Formulating a new organisational policy or modifying the existingones occasions changes that may affect a single employee or the wholeorganisation depending, of course, on the scope of the change. As such, anyupgrades to processes and control systems will possibly encompass changes toemployees’ assigned responsibilities and performance evaluations, which demandsastute change in management abilities to execute (Battilana et al.
, 2010: 424-426). Battilana’sargument is illustrated in the film where the management refuses to acknowledgethe demands by the female workers (minutes 04:50 “reduce the wage gap betweenour salaries and men’s3…reverse the decision to regrade usunskilled”), which could have culminated to a form of change in remunerationand female workers’ organisational status.W1 There are numerous sources of organisational change (Tidd et al.,2005:6), which can be either internal or external. The external sourcescomprise social, economic, technological, political and legal aspects of anorganisation.
Economically, changes in taxes and tariffs as well as the variationin the operational cost may occasion an organisational change that may cutacross all sectors of a country. Similarly, the legislature in conjunction withthe legal bodies may make and effect regulations governing the operations oforganisations as well as dictate the organisations’ ability to access resources,by for instance amending borrowing and lending regulations, which automaticallynecessitates organisational change as these organisations try to adopt andadapt to the new or amended regulations. W2 Technological advancement compels organisations to alter theiroperations so as to sustain quality of their products and services. All theseaspects may give rise to conditions deemed unfavourable to a section of staffof an organisation such as variation in remuneration, laying-off or evenovertime extension, culminating in the manifestation of internal sources ofchange as exemplified by industrial action,which is termed by Contu (2008:365-367)as resistance to organisationalchange, and as well reflected in the film’s minute 28:35 where the femaleworkers effect an industrial action.W3 The process of managing change steers the minefield of acronyms,slogans, concepts and values associated with change management in addition toexplaining the fundamental concepts and hypothetical methodologies and theirpractical application to organisations. Jaffee (2001: 17-18) asserts thatchange can be effected by the management or pushed for by dissatisfied employeesW4 . In addition, Graetz et al 92006:65) W5 postulates that planned change is procedural and systematicand involves steps like recognising need for change, identifying potentialsources of resistance, setting overall objectives and vision for change,enthusing people and creating their involvement and finally evaluating andsupporting change. Illustratively, the film portrays the female workers asprocedurally following this process to demand for improved working conditionsat Ford’s Dagenham factory.
Led by Rita, the machinists4recognise “being regraded unskilled” and ‘poor wages” as necessitating change,identify industrial action through a vote,(minutes05:10 “You gotta vote……an industrial action”) asthe mechanism, and in their own involvement enthuse other people andinstitutions such as the Workers Union and Labour Organisations. Through their campaign(minute 30: 36 “..all the workers of the world should unite” and minute 42:58″… same rates of pay as the men”), they catch the attention of even the companyowner Mr.
Ford and the state authorities, which ultimately aids the meeting oftheir demands.W6 Change in every context is faced with resistance and misbehaviour asthe primary obstacles.W7 Inan organisation, the call for change can originate from either the management wishingto alter or improve the organisational structure, culture, strategies,operational methods and technologies, or a section of dissatisfied employees onthe basis of poor working conditions or misrepresentation (Cummings andWorley, 2014: 102).
W8 The duo avers that organisations are systems of governance based onrules which are manifested through procedures, ethical codes of conduct,decision making processes, and informal enforcement. In spite of these rulesand the measures erected to enforce them within the organisation, employeessometimes ‘behave in a way that can be labelled as either intentionally deviantor deliberately dysfunctional’ (Harris and Ogbonna, 2008: 78).Thomas and Davies(2005: 714-716) postulate that resistance entails reforming a society or an organisationsin order to achieve gender equality especially in aspects of remuneration and redistributionof responsibilities.
The extensive body of literature on ‘women in organisation’emanates from this viewpoint, focusing on ways in which women can ‘break throughthe glass ceiling’.5 Chreim(2006: 112) avows that practically, organisational behaviour, (seen asfollowing of set rules) typically comprises organisational misbehaviour(breaking rules), is required in order to essentially get the work done. Puttingthe above into consideration, Chreim concludes that resistance and workplacemisbehaviour are present in all organisations as evidenced in the film by theresistance of female workers where they protest the organisation’s status quo (minute42: 33… “That’s how we’ve always done it”) referring to women not going intostrike despite getting paid less than their male counterparts.
The decision bythe machinists not to work overtime and “an immediate 24-hour stoppage” is consideredmisbehaviour by the management (minute 42: 33 …aggressive disregard for the existingcomplaints procedure”.Ackroyd and Thompson (2015: 185) present that the causes ofresistance and misbehaviour in an organisation take various forms, can manifesteither from the managerial or the workers perspective and are evident in allechelons of the organisation and amongst all staff; ordinary employees andmanagement alike. The ordinary employee resists and misbehaves when they feel thatthey have been unfairly treated (remuneration and compensation) ormisrepresented. On the other hand, the management resists when they feel thatthe demands by the workers contradict the organisation’s long-term objectivesand by meeting such demands, the organisation will financially be ‘injured’.
Inmost cases, however, employees remuneration systems are affected at theexpenses of achieving long-term organisational goals as posited by Ackroyd andThompson(2015: 185-186) that professional and managerial misbehaviour is alwaysoverlooked at the expense of ordinary employees; and managerial misbehaviouroften results to costs that undermine what ordinary employees do. In the film,the norm has been that men take precedence over women especially in matterscompensation. Ford’s remuneration structure is based on the assumption that menshould not earn the same as women, expertise notwithstanding, and thesimplicity of this bargain has always been the bedrock of a majority oforganisations in the 20th century. The machinists defy (minute: 20:10 “…the formal grievance procedure already in place…”) this state of affairs which istermed as misbehaviour by the management. W9 The Organisation’s boss, Mr. Ford, is concerned that if they give into the machinists’ demands at Dagenham, the entire workforce in all thecountries that the company has subsidiaries will strike and demand the samewhich will have devastating financial impact on the company (minute 57:31 “ifthese women get what they want, we’ll end up having to do it right across theworld”).W10 For such skirmishes notto escalate and negatively affect the operations of an organisation, it isadvisable to devise ways to overcome organisational resistance and misbehavioursince a loss to the organisation impacts the economic aspects of individualemployees, the society and the entire country. Overcoming resistance and misbehaviourin an organisation requires understanding organisational change as moving fromthe known to the unknown (Cummings and Worley, 2009: 165) and since no matterhow logical meeting the demands of a section of dissatisfied employees may seem,the management rarely effects such a decision, and dialogue may prove to be theonly sure solution to workplace-related grievances.
A majority of stakeholdersin an organisation usually do not support change unless there are compelling reasonsto do so. According to Hon et al. (2014: 921), organisations have heavily invested in the status quo and are resistantto changing it in the face of indeterminate future advantages and hence astrategic issue in planning for action lies in motivating commitment to organisationalchange which involves creating readiness for change as well as overcomingresistance to change. The former entails revealing inconsistencies betweencurrent and desired states and communicating dependable positive expectationsto the change while the latter encompasses empathy and support, participation andinvolvement as well as communication. Since resistance is always evident inpresence of uncertainty in consequences, effective communication reinforces theefforts employed in advocating for change by reducing speculations and unfoundedfears.
Organisational members are currently W11 updated, throughespecially meetings, on the progress of their efforts and contributions. On thesame note, Cummings and Worley (2009: 167) state that among the most effectiveapproaches to overcoming resistance is involving organisation members sharing acommon interest through participation and involvement. This increases thecommitment of individual members to advocate for change since in so doing,their interests and needs are met as evidenced in the film, where collectively,the women attend the convention held by the union for male workers, who after Rita’sshort speech decide to support the women in their course, and later seek anaudience with the Secretary of State Employment and Productivity, Mrs Castle.This has numerous impacts on the organisation and the country alike.Although it is possible to effectchange amidst resistance and misbehaviour by following the formal complaints proceduresthat entail formally finding solutions to employee versus organisationproblems, the impacts emanating from the resistance and misbehaviour affectsthe stakeholders across board whether directly or indirectly (Elving, 2005:129-132). To individual employees, the impacts mainly take the form of loss ofemployment and ultimately loss of income while to the organisation,manifestations of organisational resistance such as walkouts and strikes have adirect impact on its productivity with an eventual effect on profitability. The state experiences such effects throughbalance of payments emanating from a country’s low output, which in turntranslates to low exportation and hence low foreign income. All these impactsare also epitomised in the film where at individual employees level, the maleworkers temporarily lose their jobs.
At organisational level, the FordCompany’s output and profitability were adversely affected while at nationallevel, the ministry of Employment and Productivity reports 26,000 strikes inthe United Kingdom in less than a decade with a resulting loss of 5 millionworking days and, as the management claims, a national massive loss of job(minute 98:14 “…40,000 people …”). The eventual impact, however, is a “…payrise of 92 per cent of the male rate” and a promise of the UK’s governmentadoption of the American Equal Pay Act of 1963.
6Inconclusion, the essay has analysed the film W12 through the managerialoperations in organisational change and resistance and misbehaviour resultingfrom the friction between maintaining the status quo and introducing andadopting new changes by both ordinary workers and the management. By using thefilm to critically analyse the sources, process of and barriers toorganisational change and ascertaining organisational resistance and misbehaviouras the primary obstacle, and then identifying the causes of organisationalresistance and misbehaviour, the essay has highlighted the impacts of suchpractices at individual employees’, organisational and national levelsW13 . The most notable aspectof this essay is the elevation of the women’s social and organisational statusin the last decades of the 20th century supporting the statements by Karl Marxthat “Progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex”. W14 Clearly, although thesetting of the film is primarily a plant in Dagenham in the mid and late 20thcentury, it contextualises important issues around organisational change, andresistance and misbehaviour that are relevant in modern organisations1The EqualPay Act is a United States labour law enacted in 1963to amend the Fair Labour Standards Act,which was aimed at obliterating wage difference based on gender.2 The “man” symbolises the male workers, the management and, theunion and labour commissions that are dominated by men in the film.3 The concept of the ‘Equal payfor similar work’ had not reached the United Kingdom and male workers stillearned more than female workers (see Gender pay gap)4Machinists refer to the female workersspecifically at Dagenham tasked with making car seats. The two terms are inthis essay used interchangeably with women, otherwisereferred to as ‘the girls’ minute 19: 595 See Brewis and Instead, 2004.6 Minute 105:38 W1I can’t quite get the point (how the film corroborates Battilanaassertion) W2Can you also give the example of Equal Pay Act and its implication(briefly).
W3In the film, female workers are championing organisational change,not resisting change. Since you have already talked about external sources ofchange, now talk about internal sources of change. You could list variousinternal sources of change (including industrial action). Then give an examplefrom the film-women workers are seeking to bring about change (equity inremuneration) through industrial action.
W4Say for instance the film illustrates change being driven by womenworkers who are dissatisfied with inequities in remuneration. W5???? W6Excellent! W7You need to bear in mind that the film presents a case whereresistance and misbehaviour is leading to change, not blocking change. So, afterthis first sentence, say:Paradoxically, resistance andmisbehaviour are also sources of change W8To avoid repeating what has already been said in the precedingparagraph, say:As earlier mentioned, the call forchange in an organisation can originate from..
.. W9Firstly, this is repetition of what has already been said in anearlier paragraph. Secondly, this should not be about what the managementthinks. It should be about what this actually is. Rather than saying “which istermed as misbehaviour by the management”, you should say “which amounts tomisbehaviour”.
W10Which means that other than subsystemchange, organisational change can be organisation-wide.I read about this classification inone of the files provided by the customer, under the title “nature of change” W11Delete this word W12The aim of the module is to analyse two topics through film, not thereverse. W13This is not a conclusion.
Rather, it is a summary. There is adifference. A conclusion should highlight the main SPECIFIC findings. W14Do not introduce new ideas in conclusion