The company is the leader in the production in the crude oil industry, but it experienced an economic downturn and had to lay off 45,000 employees to maintain its profit margins. Nonetheless, despite negative projections of the demand for crude oil and gas, the company decided to perform the layoff, lost significant market share, and could not maintain the profit margins on the desired level due to the lack of the workforce and strategic development. In this instance, action research is a necessity due to the essentiality of establishing a new strategy while discussing the involvement of the employees in the decision-making.
One of the stages of problematizing is the establishment of the employees’ attitudes towards the issue and the necessity of their involvement in the decision-making process. The second step of the problematizing is the assessment of different strategies such as bottom-up and long-term in relation to the relevancy of the application process. In the end, the initial problem was aimed towards understanding and minimizing the consequences of the layoff. However, the current problem evolved and altered its direction towards the establishment of a new strategy to be applied in similar contexts due to the cyclic nature of the economy and price development.
The sources were selected to support the study in terms of the choice of the right modalities and formulation of a new perspective of the problem. It remains evident that the literature review is one of the essential research modalities to understand the problem from the systematic perspective (Levy & Ellis, 2006). In turn, this approach contributes to the understanding of the overall image of the issue (Rowley & Slack, 2004).
Globalization is another trend to be discovered during the formation of the strategy due to the presence of global economic trends (Bertucci & Alberti, 2003).
In turn, dealing with the employee’s emotions after the layoff is critical (Brady, 2012). Nonetheless, the literature review revealed that formulation of the strategy is dependent on the employees’ attitude about the layoff and their desire to modify the current situation (Ramlall, Al-Sabaan, & Magbool, 2014).
Additionally, the literature review revealed that the bottom-up strategy might be beneficial due to the participation of the employees in the process (Danford, 2014). However, this type of tactic tends to be criticized, as it might be a potential reason for misunderstandings while determining a beneficial plan of action (Reitzig & Olav, 2013). Nevertheless, the top-down strategy is reliable while making financial investments and distributing the resources (Lee & Zhong, 2014). Nonetheless, the primary finding is the vitality to integrate the beneficial components of top-down and bottom-up strategies to maintain the market share on the same level during the economic fluctuations (Kim & Loch, 2014)
Furthermore, some of the articles support the idea of using short-term strategy, as it helps adapt to the changing trends (Ezer & Demetis, 2007). Nonetheless, the benefits of the long-term strategy were also evaluated, and the essentiality of projections was emphasized as the vital aspect of future growth (Ginsburg, 2014). It could be said that the integration of the advantages of both features can be considered and assessed as a suitable approach due to the presence of innovation and high risk-taking in the resource distribution in the workplace-based case.
In turn, the collaboration inquiry will contribute to the generation of the right strategy (Cousins, Whitmore, & Shulha, 2013). The literature review revealed that the presence of sufficient interactions would assist in the cultivation of better commitment and motivation in the organization (Malik, Ahmad, Said, & Safman, 2010). These findings help discover new sides of the actions research, as cherishing the relationships with the employees will be a primary value while creating a new strategy.
Lastly, the potential application of the action research modalities such as adaptive leadership and transformative learning was underlined as an important part while dealing with the consequences of the economic downturn (Nicolaides & McCallum, 2013). Action learning can be discovered as one of the relevant approaches due to the ability to generate a suitable strategy, as it is applicable in the health industry (Oliver, 2006). Nonetheless, action learning establishes new possibilities for strategy creation while discovering the situation from dissimilar perspectives (Oliver, 2008). In turn, other research modalities, which are similar to the actions learning, might contribute to the relevant problem reframing (Raelin, 2009). Action science is another aspect, which has to be considered, as it develops a particular framework for the interactions in the organization (Seidman, 2012). In the end, the literature review contributes to the understanding that the organization has to be discovered as a dynamic system while designing a strategy (Stacey, 2011).
In turn, the insights of the workplace-based issue have to be evaluated to determine the details. In this case, the actions and operations of the particular segment could be considered as primary inside information since the issue is related to the inability to formulate a sufficient long-term or short-term strategy to stay profitable on the market. The attitude of the employees is another internal and vital factor, which has to be taken into account, as the level of commitment and involvement is highly influenced due to the significant reduction of the workforce. These aspects will contribute to the relevant and successful reframing of the issue while considering the specifics of the case.
Problems Redefinition and Reframing
Despite having a detailed formation of the issue related to the generation of the strategy, the problem has to be redefined. In this instance, it can be aimed at finding the balance between the perceptions of the representatives of various levels of the hierarchy. In turn, the research questions were also redefined and can be formulated as ‘Can action learning to be a suitable modality to introduce the reliable relationship between the leaders and employees to establish a sufficient strategy?’ and ‘What actions can be taken to underline the importance of a new strategy in the organization?’. Nonetheless, another problem is assessing and developing a method of selecting the right leadership style to function within the self-functioning dynamic system. Lastly, another side of the problem can be reframed as the ability to select the right leadership style to create favorable conditions for the development of the principles of a dynamic system at the workplace.
In the end, the findings from the literature review highly influence the reframing of the problem and formation of the research questions towards the essence of the inquiry actions for subordinates and management during the times of the layoff while forming a new strategy. The essence of action learning was underlined to assess the essentiality of the development of a new strategy. The action learning practices altered my understanding of the workplace-based problem and cultivated the ability to gain better outcomes while establishing cooperation between management and subordinates to solve the problem. In this case, higher attention has to be paid to interaction and usage of the right leadership style while operating in the organization and creating the dynamic system. It could be said that the process implies having complications, as the actions have to be taken to establish innovative aspects in the company.
Reflection on the Case
The primary goal of this section is to discuss the point of view of the colleagues and assess these aspects, as evaluating the workplace-based issue from the inside will assist in the formation of a sufficient and developed understanding of the problem. In this instance, the majority of the employees, who were significantly affected by the layoff, tend to highlight that their participation has to be increased in the decision-making of the management. In turn, the employees have the understanding of the constant changes of the trends and question whether the layoff is the most appropriate solution to this problem. It could be said that the employees have adverse feelings and emotions about the essentiality of the massive layoff application.
Nonetheless, the common themes have a tendency to exist and can be formulated as the necessity of the creation of the long-term strategy and potential solution with the minimized employees reduction during the stages of the economic downturn. In this instance, the involvement of the employees will contribute to finding the solution to the issues, as the scope of the agreement is present. The employees understand the essentiality of the introduction and establishment of a new strategy, which considers the employees’ and management’s perception of the process. Lastly, the accounts for the presence of these views is the desire to improve individual and organizational success in the organization, as the company’s management is not able to provision the consequences of the downturn without the understanding of the insights of the issue.
Lastly, the SSM and other systems methodologies can contribute to the sufficient assessment and evaluation of the workplace-based problem. The SSM will help find and develop a solution, as it is able to discover compromise to the existing problem in the context of my workplace. The SSM will assist in seeking agreement between the employee’s and management’s viewpoints and build concepts based on the framing of the problem. In turn, the SSM can be successfully united with the maintenance of the human resources to establish the sufficient problem to decision-making while cultivating the attitude about the layoff (Scott & Winiecki, 2012). Consequently, the system’s dynamics will generate a balance between the dynamic and static components of the system while finding the solution to the workplace-based issue (Rogriguez-Ulloa & Paucar-Caceres, 2005). Lastly, these aspects define the features and foundations of the action research practice.
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