Obstacles to Effective Organizational Performance

Over the past decade there is an abundance of evidence, which could be produced to say that successful organizations are managed by efficient managers. Success in the long run can be ensured only through effective management. Successful managers foster sustainable growth through their skills, attributes and personal qualities. There is a distinction between common sense and common knowledge. Knowing things is different from doing things. Being able to analyze a case, identify a problem, and suggest a correct solution makes a manager more effective. Out of all the characteristics that make an effective organization, the most important factor is the quality and alignment of the human resources. The main obstacles to effective organizational performance are discussed below.

Obstacles to Effective Organizational Performance

1. Working Conditions

Ergonomics does matter for job performance. Not only the furniture and fixtures but also the colors of the rooms and the objects with which people work influence people’s attitudes and performance, but the general appearance of the places where people work has its impact as well. In the classic studies by Maslow and Mintz, a “beautiful” room with beige walls, indirect lighting, and pictures and other attractive furnishings was tested against an “average” room (a professor’s office with typical furniture and battleship-gray walls) and an “unattractive” room with only an exposed light bulb and ill-fitting furnishings in much cluttered condition. The first study revealed that work performed by individuals in the beautiful room was much more positive than the work done by participants in the average and the ugly rooms.

2. Qualities of the Human Resource

The success of an organization depends on the nature of the human resource. The most important personal qualities essential for a manager are the awareness of one’s own self and ability to solve problems analytically and creatively. A manager should be able to think beyond the traditional boundaries of thought. If the manager has the ability to do so, he can create alternative solutions which are far beyond the traditional options available.

3. Communication Gap

Human resource in an organization are supposed to have a range of interpersonal skills like coaching, counseling, offering supportive communication, exercising influence, motivating others and managing conflicts. Of all these interpersonal skills the ability to offer supportive communication is very essential. The most important barriers to communication are the semantic barriers such as the symbols with different meanings, badly expressing the message, faulty translations, unqualified assumptions and the use of highly technical language loaded with technical jargons. There can be some psychological barriers also which include, premature evaluation which is caused by premature judgments made without proper analysis, lack of attention when the message is sent across, loss in the transmission of message and poor retention by the audience, undue reliance on the written word and ignoring the value of face to face interactions and distrust of the communicator. The organizational barriers include policies, rules and regulations of the management, relationships within the organization and the complexity of the structure of the organization. The personal barriers to communication include, attitude of superiors, fear of challenge to authority, red tapism and insistence of proper channel, lack of trust on the subordinates, lack of awareness of the individual and lack of time. The barriers to communication that are very difficult to eliminate are the factors that are inherent to the psychology of the employees. The factors such as the attitude of the workers and the lack of trust on the communicator are very difficult barriers to overcome. The attitude of the workers cannot be changed overnight but can be altered only through long term confidence on the management which holds good for improving the trust on the communicator.

4. Lack of Leadership Skill

The leader should have passion for the people which means that the leader regards the people more than himself. A leader of any group or management is like the leader of a mission; people are trusting in his guidance because they believe that his expertise is the result of him having already made the journey. As a result of having experienced the journey, the leader’s motivation should be to expose the followers to the benefits he has already derived. The leader is, therefore, completely committed to the well being of his followers and their safe arrival at the intended destination.

5. Group Skills

The next set of skills that enhance the effectiveness of an organization is the degree to which the members are able to delegate and organize, building effective teams and leading positive change. In an ever changing business environment the organization has to redefine itself constantly according to the changes. For the easy adaptability of the company in times of change, the management should be able to motivate and lead others towards positive change and he should be able to build good teams to carry out the changes. In times of rapid change, it is far more challenging to prepare the members of the organization to accept the need for change, to help understand the new approach, to obtain their commitment to implement the proposal, to manage the transition period effectively and to institutionalize the new idea by “hard wiring” it into the organization’s communication, evaluation and reward systems. Good ideas are not in scarce supply, what is rare is the ability to translate a good idea into accepted practice.

6. Lack of Empowerment

Lack of empowerment to management or employees is one of the most accepted phrases for the obstacle in success of management. By empowering the team members to set their own goals, sort their own issues and set their own targets, the layers of the management has been reduced. Without empowerment, the traditional organizational structure cannot create the environment needed for the working of the teams which will make the teams very ineffective. Because of the empowerment of the team members, the traditional boundaries within the organization have been broken. This creates room for betterment of the tasks and improves efficiency. By presenting the employees with the information about the needs of the organization and allowing the team members to design strategies that are to be adopted and the level of commitment needed, the interest on the job is increased as the workers feel empowered. Empowerment is a very effective tool to increase the skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback which are the major sources of job satisfaction. Hence, at each and every level of formation of teams such as the forming, norming, storming and controlling empowerment of the members of the team to plan and execute is essential for the success of this program.

7. Discouragement and Aimlessness

An organization should be able to encourage the employees to overcome the obstacles that are faced in the achievement of the goals. To increase the encouragement of the team members and to maintain the morale at positive levels, the management has to check the core dimensions of the job. Some experts point out that the core job dimensions include the skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. The more the variety of skills the job requires, the more is the relative importance of the job and this increases the significance of the job which creates a sense of pride for the person who does the job. The person who is on the job should be given autonomy to make decisions, flexible work schedules, removing formalized controls and freedom to set their work targets. Also, the person should be given accurate and timely feedback about the job performance. The employees knowledge about their performance on the job helps to increase the client satisfaction directly and help to increase the effectiveness of the overall performance of the management.

8. Conflicts

A conflict over issues is not likely within management but is also valuable. Many conflicts provide the management members the range of information, a deeper understanding of the issues and richer set of possible solutions. In the era of globalization, successful strategic decisions are made by management that can identify conflicts over issues without sacrificing speed of accomplishment of the task. But many times conflicts can also contribute to the slowing down of the management and can decrease the effectiveness of the strategy adopted. The main reasons for conflicts may be personal differences with respect to perceptions and expectations, informational deficiency like misinformation or misrepresentation, role incompatibility and environmental stress from resource scarcity or uncertainty. The company should force a response or have an accommodative approach or have a compromising approach or can avoid giving response to reduce the adverse effects of a conflict.

9. Power and Politics

The term power means the ability to control the environment around. Power gives the ability to a person to decide and act. If an employee is empowered, he can decide on issues and can proceed without being given directions at every stage of operations. When organizations are becoming leaner, the empowerment of employees becomes very vital. Also worth the emergence of information technology the boundaries of traditional office does not exist. In this situation, power does not only denote the authority but also denotes the opportunities embedded in a job. When the organization is facing uncertainty it can create confusion about roles played and the relative importance of the roles played by people. For example, when an organization is going to be taken over by a Multinational Company, there is a high uncertainty about the jobs of people. In such a situation employees tend to use their power and influence to gain information and to favor people.

10. Other Obstacles

Like explained earlier in this essay, an organization needs a wide range of skills but even when the people in an organization have these skills it does not work in the way it is supposed to. Under many circumstances, the management is not sensitive and creative enough to put the skills of the employees to the maximum use. The major obstacle that prevents a firm from using its resources to the maximum is its lack of vision. An ability to envision itself providing positive solutions to the customer is the best strength any organization can have. If a management does not have the ability to look into the current business environment and is unable to identify the kind of opportunities that will be created, then it creates barrier to growth. The challenges and solutions have to be identified from the environment of the organization. If a management is not able to recognize, define and offer creative solutions to the requirements of the market then it will be counting the missed opportunities in the long run. Another major obstacle to growth in an organization is the ability of the firm to cope with changes that occurs unpredictably fast. Every member in an organization promotes certain values and norms that are guarded by theses members. Any intended change by the management which poses a threat to the values and norms of the members of the organization is strongly resisted. Though people welcome the concept of change individually, often they show anxiety and stress when there is a need for change. When the business is faced with continuous change, the company should be toned well enough to accommodate the necessary changes in its working systems.