INSTRUCTIONS: Read the following case study and answer the questions given at the end of the case.
Professor Suzanne Baxter was grading papers semester when Shaun, a former student in her organizational behavior class, dropped by. Shaun had decided to work in the oil industry for couple of years before returning to school to complete his diploma.
“Hi, how’s work,” asked Baxter.
“Well, Professor,” Shaun began, “I am with LINK650. It’s that new WestOil drilling rig. The LINK650 was built by LINK, Inc., in Texas. A standard practice in this industry is for the rig manufacturer to manage its day-to-day operations, so employees on the LINK650 are managed completely by LINK managers with no involvement from WestOil.”
“In the beginning every employee was happy with the work conditions. The recruiters came from a consulting firm that specializes in hiring people. Come to think of it, we didn’t meet a single LINK manager during that process. Maybe things would have been different if some of those LINK supervisors had interviewed us.”
“Later we found the LINK650 supervisor’s to be mean taskmasters. I’d say that none of the 50 non-technical people hired was quite prepared for the brutal jobs on the oil rig. We did the dirtiest jobs in the biting cold winds of the North Sea. A couple of the new workers quit within a few weeks, but most of the people hired with me really got along well – you know, just like the ideas you mentioned in class. We formed a special bond that helped us through the bad weather and grueling work.”
“The supervisors pushed us to get jobs done more quickly without regard to safety procedures. I almost lost my job one day just because my boss thought I was deliberately working slowly. Several people started finding ways to avoid the supervisors and get a little work done as possible.”
Then Bob Mackenzie was killed due to an improperly secured hoist and several employees unionized the rig during the government inquiry. That really shocked LINK’s management. Several managers were sent to seminars on how to manage and even break a unionized workforce.
“So you see, Professor, I joined LINK as an enthusiastic employee and quit last month with no desire to lift a finger for them. It really bothers me, because I was always told to do my best, no matter how tough the situation. It’s been quite an experience.”
Answer Scheme – Part C
1. Case Synopsis
Shaun O’Neill describes to his former professor his experience on the LINK650, a drilling rig in the North Sea. O’Neill had taken two years off from school to work on the rig. He started the job with strong loyalty, but left with no loyalty and very low job dissatisfaction. The work was more difficult than expected, and the supervisors treated employees badly. Employees received little information about the rig’s future and were exposed to unnecessary safety risks. The employees unionized after one mate died in an accident. O’Neill eventually quit his job. [ 4 marks ]
2. Identify the various ways that employees expressed their job dissatisfaction on the LINK650.
Employees expressed their dissatisfaction through:
Voluntary turnover. Some people quit because they were dissatisfied with working conditions. Other people quit because they couldn’t tolerate the supervisors. [ 2 marks ]
Reduced work effort. Some employees tried to find ways to get as little work done as possible. [ 2 marks ]
Absenteeism. Several employees developed fake back problems, known as the “rigger’s backache.” [ 2 marks ]
Unionization. Employees signed labor union cards when safety problems resulted in the death of one crew member. [ 2 marks ]
Total : 2 X 4 marks = 8 marks
3. Shaun O’Neill’s commitment to the LINK organization dwindled over his two years of employment. Discuss the factors that affected his organizational commitment.
This case provides a rich example of the factors influencing organizational commitment. O’Neill’s loyalty (as well as the loyalty of other employees on the LINK650) fell dramatically over the two years for several reasons.
Trust. Employees did not trust the company or its supervisors. The company tried to overthrow a labor union that employees had formed to resolve safety problems. The company also put pressure on supervisors to push employees to work harder. Employees did not trust the supervisors because of their harsh behavior and unfair practices. [ 2 marks ]
Job security. Job security was very low, because supervisors routinely fired people for seemingly minor infractions. The rig’s uncertain future also created job insecurity. [ 2 marks ]
Organizational comprehension. The case describes how employees were left in the dark about problems on the rig. [ 2 marks ]
Employee involvement. Employees were not involved in decisions on the LINK650. They did not feel involved in the rig’s future, and they did not feel that management had much respect for them. [ 2 marks ]
Total : 2 X 4 marks = 8 marks