Corporation is one of the largest full-service family restaurant chains in the United States. And it operates over 2,500 restaurants around the world. Denny’s is known for its 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year operations, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock. During the early 1990s, Denny’s was involved in a series of discrimination lawsuits involving several cases of servers denying or providing inferior service to minorities, especially African American customers (Adamson, 2000).
According to newspaper reports the following are some of the most notable incidents involving racial discrimination at Denny’s: 1. In San Jose, California, several black teenagers were refused service unless they agreed to pay in advance. This was the first recorded incident of such events (Labaton, 1994). 2. Then, Six Asian-American students of Syracuse University visited a local Denny’s restaurant late at night. They waited over 30 minutes as their white patrons were regularly served, seated, and offered more helpings.
Denny’s Restaurant Essay Example
They began to complain to management and to their server regarding the situation. They were then forced to leave the establishment by two security guards (called upon by Denny’s management). Then, according to the students, a group of white men came out of Denny’s and attacked the group, shouting racial epithets. Several of the students were beaten. (“Denny’s Franchise Faces Suit Over Discriminatory Action,” 1997) 3. Six African-American Secret Service agents visited a Denny’s restaurant in Annapolis, Maryland.
They were forced to wait an hour for service while their white companions were seated immediately upon entering (Guillermo, 1997). 4. One African-American Denny’s customer was told that he and his friends had to pay up front at the counter upon ordering their meals. When he questioned the waitress about it and she said some black guys had been in earlier who made a scene and walked out without paying their bill. So the manager now wanted all blacks to pay up front (Ferraro, 1995).
In 1994, Denny’s settled a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of black customers who had been refused service, forced to wait longer, or pay more than white customers. The $54. 4 million settlement was the largest and broadest under Federal public-accommodations laws established to end segregation in restaurants and public spaces. After the $54. 4 million settlement, Denny’s rolled out a racial sensitivity training program for all of its employees (Adamson, 2000). Discrimination: A Crises The failures in managing discrimination and the lawsuits that follow reflect failures in learning by firms.
Discrimination management can be defined as the prevention of discrimination and by extension the prevention of discrimination lawsuits. Discrimination is an extraordinarily complex issue, as evidenced by the theoretical attempts to explain why a diverse workforce poses a challenge for organizational managers and employees. For example, discrimination has been examined at the individual level of analysis, focusing on such factors as stereotypes (Sartore & Cunningham, 2006) and prejudice (James, Brief, Dietz, & Cohen, 2001).
By referencing institutional procedures during an image-threatening event, firms attempt to decouple the organization from the situation (Elsbach, 1994; Oliver, 1991), however by doing so the organization fails to look inward and critically reflect on the work environment that inadvertently contributed to the discrimination problem. A Communication Dilemma Communication serves four major functions within a group or organization: control, motivation, emotional expression, and information (Robbins, 2007). Arguably, one of the most difficult situations a company can find itself in involves crisis and reputation management. In the best situations, crises can be averted through a combination of strategic planning and proactive behavior…
Unfortunately, many organizations find themselves responding to crises rather than preventing them” (Baker, 2001, p. 513). In the midst of the rubble of what was once an organization’s reputation, those without a specified crisis communication strategy will be left to struggle to recover from the grievous blow. Often, organizations spend an inordinate amount of time and money on reputation damage control because they failed to practice effective issue and reputation management before disaster struck.
Crises are often the result of insufficient planning for potential issues and poor monitoring of the early warning signs of impending danger. These indicators then were not identified and accordingly prepared for. It is important that managers to pay attention to their environment by monitoring what their publics are saying. In the area of racial crises, Baker noted, (2001) that one must be cognizant of the social and political climates that may determine audience perceptions.
Such awareness can go (could have gone, in Denny’s case) a long way toward skirting an all-out crisis situation. Organizational Behavior (OB): A Brief History and Development The field of organizational behavior is related with identification and management of the attitudes and actions of individuals and groups, looking mainly at how people can be inspired to join and remain in the organization, how to get people to perform successful teamwork, how people can accomplish their jobs more efficiently, and how employees can be encouraged to be more flexible and pioneering.
Attention is brought to these approaches and actions so as to help managers discover problems, find out how to correct them, and change behavior so that individual performance and eventually organization efficiency increase (Robbins, 2007). As a field of study, organizational behavior is created on a sequence of approaches or ways of thinking about people. Since the early 1900s those who studied behavior in organizations have tried to lay down ways to successfully manage employees to achieve the organization’s objectives.
The early approaches, referred to as the traditional view, promoted improved management coordination of tasks, strict specialization and consistency of work tasks, a strict chain of command, and centralized decision making at the manager level. During the 1920s and 1930s the next new school of thought began to appear, which was referred to as the human relations movement. Generally this movement began with the well-known Hawthorne studies at the Western Electric plant that showed how psychological and social processes could influence efficiency and work behavior.
This new way of philosophy observed organizational behavior by supporting a more people-oriented style of management that was more participative and geared toward employee requirements (Robbins, 2007). Modern organizational thought has moved to a more integrative systems approach, which includes the issues of external influences; the association of the organization with managers and employees; and organizational processes, which are the activities through which work gets done. In other words, the optimum solution for the situation depends on many factors.
The organization is represented as many interrelated, interdependent, and interacting subsystems that are constantly changing. Those who administer the classical approach stressed the significant role of control and coordination in helping organizations to attain objectives. Those who managed by the human relations approach considered the risks of high levels of control and coordination, focusing instead on the need for flexibility. A modern approach to management recognizes that there is no one best way to manage; management approaches need to be modified to adjust with the situation (Robbins, 2007).
The manager’s role is to successfully envisage, explain, and manage behavior that takes place in organizations. Specifically, managers are interested in finding out why people are more or less inspired or satisfied. Managers must have a capacity to see and understand the behavior patterns of individuals, groups, and organizations; to forecast what responses will be drawn out by managerial actions; and eventually to use this perception and ultimate predictions to successfully manage employees.
Behavior can be studied on three levels — the individual, the group, and the organization all together (Johnson, 2004) Managers search to learn more about what causes people — individually or collectively — to act as they do in organizational settings. Despite the fact that it may be said that the responsibility for studying organizational behavior rests with researchers, evaluating and increasing organizational efficiency is a main responsibility of managers.
They need to collect data about the situation in which people work and describe events, behaviors, and attitudes so as to develop plans for changing and improving behavior and approaches. Managers can begin to understand organizational behavior by correctly describing events, behaviors, and attitudes. Data as a consequent can be gathered by observing situations, surveying and interviewing employees, and looking at written documents. These methods help to objectively describe events, behaviors, and attitudes — a first step in determining their causes and then acting on them.
By direct observation, for instance, managers can attend meetings and then describe what is happening, such as who talks most often, what issues are discussed, or how often those attending the meeting ask for the managers’ point of view on the topic. Besides, survey questionnaires could be sent to employees; these might provide solid data about the situation, proving more helpful than relying exclusively on personal observation of events. Sending the same questionnaire to employees each year could provide some discernment into changes in behavior and thoughts in due course.
Employees could also be interviewed to examine outlooks in greater depth. Some important information about thoughts and opinions may also be gathered by talking casually with employees. As Barsade & Gibson (2007) point out, “employees are not emotional islands. Rather, they bring all of themselves to work, including their traits, moods, and emotions, and their affective experiences and expressions influence others. ” Lastly, data could be collected from organizational documents, including annual reports, department assessments, memos, and other non-confidential personnel files.
An examination of these documents might provide some insight into the opinions of employees, the quality of management, group relationships, or other possible aims behind the problems or circumstances. Organizational Behavior: An Analysis Organizational Behavior is the analysis of human behavior within an organizational environment. Organizational behavior can be considered as a function of three areas namely Organizational characteristics and contingencies, job characteristics and contingencies, and the larger set of individual characteristics and history brought to bear on the work situation.
The aim of organizational behavior is to achieve and/or apply knowledge of these different types of characteristics, with the aim of making an organization more efficient (Robbins, 2007). The broad field of organizational behavior has always laid emphasis on the significance of individual characteristics to organizational efficiency; however they have generally approached these measures mentalistically. In the 1940s, Wilfred Bion and colleagues used psychodynamic theories of instinctive processes to suggest structural and procedural characteristics that might put up with organizational efficiency (see De Board, 1978).
Because of their early start and recognition, psychodynamic theories became fundamental in developing organizational behavior theory and, therefore, the design of organizational development (OD) interventions that are still extensively used today. Consistent with a psychodynamic standpoint, a major purpose of these interventions was to make people’s unconscious behaviors, feelings, and observations conscious (De Board, 1978). For example, training groups were one of the original OD interventions rooted in psychodynamic theory.
Their aim is to make participants more skillful in identifying and performing the behaviors required doing their job, by increasing participants’ awareness of how they react to others and how their reactions affect other people. Many of the famous OD interventions even today are founded on the concept of helping workers to bring their internal processes into consciousness: be they observation, outlooks, the interpersonal effects of behavior, or the impact of place of work events.
The psychodynamic principles that produced these interventions may no longer be mentioned in most organizational behavior textbooks, however the techniques that they motivated still remain strongly fixed (e. g. , Moorhead & Griffin, 2001; Robbins, 2007). These intervention techniques are difficult to interpret from the point of view of direct contingency management, which is the basis of Organizational Behavior Management (Daniels, 2000; Rummler & Brache, 1995).
Relational Frame Theory (RFT), as is noted in Hayes, Barnes-Holmes & Roche (2001) makes OBM better able to address such techniques and furthermore specifies manipulable events that can be used to alter the functions of these verbal processes. In doing so, RFT is not suggesting that cognition, emotion, or other private actions are causal (Hayes & Brownstein, 1986), rather, it is maintaining that the past and present background events that standardize verbal behavior need to be considered, so as to understand and influence explicit human action.
Such an outlook leads to unpredicted and empirically testable predictions, which in turn open pathways for organizational behavior management to expand its influence in organizational behavior and OD. The early research, suggests that by efficiently manipulating these past and background processes, people may be more acquiescent to the contingency management applications that organizational behavior management has identified, which could serve to improve the successes of those strategies.