In order to achieve a new level of service among American luxury hotels, the Portman hotel introduced an innovative concept called 5-star team plan. When the plan was implemented, the hotel started facing many issues. The current paper presents various challenges faced by the Portman Hotel and the possible solutions that can resolve the problems in improving the business. This paper introduces three theories namely Fundamental Attribution Error, Expectancy Theory, Operant Conditional Theory in identifying the problems that fall into one of these categories. . From the Portman Hotel case study, there were many fundamental attribution errors made by groups or type of people.
A few of them are •Firing PVs in the first month by the Management due to their low turnover (16%) •PVs complaint about porters, who were slow to respond to their requests to carry guest bags to and from the room •Supervisors complaint about floaters being responsible for team lost loyalty. •PVs blaming on Scott for continual lack of organization and for his poor planning. tc In all the above examples, the blame is on different groups of people or on the management instead of the structure of the Portman Hotel System, which is the 5-star team plan. I would like to consider the first example to explain how it fits to the fundamental attribution error precisely. The first thing that strikes in my mind is what made the Management to fire PVs after recruiting the best talented 350 after interviewing 9,000 applicants? If the best talented people made 16% turnover, then what would be if it is ordinary employees?
Obviously less than 16%. But the real question is why the best talented people had produced just 16% turnover? Is it their fault or with the system? The Management thought it was PV’s fault for low turnover and fired some PV’s. Even in the extreme condition, let us assume that some PV’s neither worked nor followed Hotel Mission of being showing high level of ultimate service to customers. Even in that case, the question would be what caused the Management to hire such person?
This would lead defect in the system that allowed the wrong person to be hired. So in either of the case, the individuals are blamed rather than the system, leading to fundamental attribution error. If this error had not been made, then the results would have been different in many ways and the reason for such results is as it would create a strong bond between employees and Management as a single family of Portman Hotel.
•Firstly, the PV’s would have felt that the Management still cared about them with our firing inspite of low turnover. Because the Management clearly showed how much it valued or respected the PV’s even in a tough situation. •It would have definitely build the trust and strong relation between PV’s and the Management. In fact, the PV’s would have been more responsible later and enthusiastic to prove themselves to the company in future. •This would also have been an inspiration to all other groups of people showing how the Portman Hotel Management values its employees. •This would also result in an excellent communication between the employees and the management.
Such powerful communication would have created miracles in the Portman Hotel and resolved all kinds of problems In a nutshell, if the fundamental attribution error had not been made, then it would made employees and Management know each other well, enrich their relationships, break the communication barrier and bring togetherness or unity among all groups of people & management as a Portman family. 2. There are many reasons for the PVs be motivated to engage in shrinking.
•The PVs expectations regarding the tips were not met. Instead of $200 per week, the average was closer to $40 •The PVs have not happy about the content of the job as there were many concerns •Although the PVs are crucial for the Portman business strategy, they are demotivated my other groups of people by treating like maids •The hotel was disorganized and PVs found it very difficult to work with other groups of people •The PVs faced frequent tensions with other groups of workers in the hotel and they didn’t like their assignments The Expectancy theory states that PVs motivation is an outcome of how much an individual wants a reward (Valence), the assessment that the likelihood that the effort will lead to expected performance (Expectancy) and the belief that the performance will lead to reward (Instrumentality).
According to this theory, Every PV has his/her own expectation regarding rewards in terms of tips, promotions, content of the job, job satisfaction etc. In many incidents, Valence broke down when the personal valets did not receive the anticipated level of tips from the guests. Expectancy broke down on many occasions like when the hotel was disorganized and when the team lost loyalty etc. Similarly, at one instance Instrumentality broke down when the personal valets spent more time cleaning rather than giving royal service to the guests. Less time serving the guests lowered the potential for building relationships of trust with them and thus lowered the potential for earning good tips. So when the PVs are not able to make it, their behavior changes and hence may result in shrinking.
3. Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which a person changes his behavior because of the results of his behavior. Although the team system was intended to PVs overcame the problems of coordination, there were many other issues the supervisors noticed and Scott couldn’t help them in resolving their problems. Scoot got a blame for his poor planning and communicating to supervisors in time. The supervisors lost the trust and respect in him. Despite the Portman Hotel had a system in place for disciplining poor performers, but they chose not to use it. The Portman hotel believed that discipline was actually contrary to the hotel philosophy.
Instead the management opted to use Positive Reinforcement under the Operant Conditioning Theory as a means to motivate the poor performers. As this theory focuses on learning behaviors by association, in the current case study Scott “tried to persuade” the poor performers to believe “that good performance had many rewards, such as good tips”. This characteristic is Positive Reinforcement, which is one aspect of the Operant Conditioning Theory. It also includes Negative Reinforcement, avoiding an unwanted stimulus; Positive Punishment; Negative Punishment; which results in the change of behavior of by employee actions. Because of all the factors mentioned above, I believe supervisors would mostly choose to avoid using the Portman’s elaborate disciplinary procedures.
4. Since from the beginning, the Portman hotel have been facing several problems that impacted the business. It has failed in building good relation with employees and also with guests. The hotel was disorganized and there was a huge communication gap between PVs and the other groups of people. The management failed to solve the organizational problems. Most of the employees were not satisfied with their job and complain about others. If I were a manager, I would have focused initially on PVs as they were the crucial in Portman business. Recruiting 350 talented people out of 9000 and firing by just considering one month performance was not a wise decision. As manager, I would figure out what went wrong.
I wouldn’t blame on the PVs and fire them. Instead I would encourage and motivate them. By doing so, employees feel more responsible to work and it also shows how well the management values its employees even in tough times. tI would build a trust with my employees. . When the hotel was not able to meet the workers expectations and fulfill their desires, then the workers would obviously be motivated to engage in shrinking which was a bad sign for the business. Hence I would ensure that the Portman hotel will provide the best to its employees in terms of rewards, promotions or job satisfaction etc
I would use equity theory of motivation so that every employee of any group has equal opportunity of receiving the rewards in terms of pay, promotions, benefits etc proportional to their inputs or contribution. I would take an action that result in monitoring the performance of the workers and help them to reach their goals. Soon after the turnover resulted in 16% with the most talented people, I would have implemented the 5-star team plan in just one floor instead of complete hotel so that the progress can be measured and can figure out the problems involved in the new 5-star team plan. Once it is successful in one floor, then we can start implementing the new plan to all other floors.
In this way, the business not only runs smoother but also knows better about the new plan in reality. As Performance of the PVs was the key to Portman’s Hotel success as they had the most contact with the guests, I would implement Gilbert’s Engineering Behavior Model (BEM) to improve the performance of the employees. Soon after the turnover resulted in 16%, I would implement a plan that would determine worthy performance (accomplishment verses behavior) and potential for improving performance (exemplary performance verses typical performance) for employees which would result in improved performance and can also be useful in rating the employees appraisal by the end of the period.
By using BEM, I would also figure out what factors are lagging in influencing behaviors of the employees that could result in bringing up with good strategies in improving performance. Communication is the key for any business success. Such powerful communication can resolve any kind of problems. There has been a huge communication gap among the group of employees. I would ensure proper communication flows among all the groups of people that would result in smooth work flow and friendly environment in the Portman. I would plan frequent meetings with the PVs so as to know their expectations from the hotel and would appreciate the employees, who give solutions to the problems.
As a manager, I would have maintained high standard ethics at the work place. I would ensure that employees have choice and freedom all the time. I would make sure that all groups of employees at the Portman are treated equal and no one is above or below the other. Very importantly, being a member at Portman family, I would make every employee to follow ethical and moral values of service and leadership in the form of respecting, helping, truth telling, promise keeping, being responsible, being emphatic towards others etc. The greatest thing of a man lies in respecting others because it shows the ultimate compassion and concern towards others. Respect is the foundation for any relation.
It breaks all the barriers of conflict and brings peace. It makes us to accept the people of any kind or character. If people really respect others, then there would be living action in helping them rather than their words floating in the air. By this way, employees helps at Portman help each other, understand about others situation etc. The Portman hotel mission is to show high level of service to their guests. If the employees are not able to do service to colleagues or other groups of people, then how could they can give high level of service to their guests. Thus I would maintain strict work ethics in the Portman hotel as they play a crucial role in solving many problems.