Month: July 2009

The Top 5 Prince Philip verbal Gaffs – more from the Prince of Cockups

My Top 5 Prince Philip verbal Gaffs – more from the Prince of Cockups

1.0 “If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”

(at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)

2.0 “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”

(in 1999, to young deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school’s steel band)

3.0 “If you see a man opening a car door for a woman, it means one of two things: it’s either a new woman or a new car!”

4.0 Edinburgh: And what exotic part of the world do you come from? Lord Taylor: I’m from Birmingham.

(1999 An exchange with Lord Taylor of Warwick, who is black).

5.0 “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”

(in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)

Honourable Mentions

“If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed”.

During a state visit to China in 1986 to a group of British students

“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”

To a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, he asked:

Still throwing spears?

(Question put to an Australian Aborigine during a visit in March 2002)

“British women can’t cook.” (1966)

“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”

(during the 1981 recession)

“We didn’t have counselors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking ‘Are you all right? Are you sure you don’t have a ghastly problem?’ You just got on with it.”

(commenting in 1995 on modern stress counseling for servicemen)

“If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?”

(in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting)

“Bloody silly fool!”

(in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him)

“They must be out of their minds.”

(in 1982, in the Solomon Islands, after being told that the annual population growth was only 5%)

“You are a woman, aren’t you?”

(in 1984, in Kenya, to a native woman who had presented him with a small gift)

“Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world.”

(in 1991, in Thailand, after accepting a conservation award)

“Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.”

(in 1992 in Australia, when asked to stroke a Koala bear)

“You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.”

(in 1993, to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary)

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

(in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands)

“You managed not to get eaten, then?”

(in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)

“You look like you’re ready for bed! “

Said to the President of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional robes.

“Where did you get that hat? “

(1953 To her Madge the Queen, immediately after her coronation)

“The only active sport I will follow is polo – and most of the work is done by the pony.”

“The bastards murdered half my family.”

(1967 When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union)

“I’m one of those stupid bums who never went to university, and a fat lot of harm it’s done me.”

What do you gargle with – pebbles?”

(1968 said to Tom Jones after the The Royal Variety Performance

“Oh! You are the people ruining the rivers and the environment.”

(1999 Said when he met three young employees of a Scottish fish farm)

“Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car – we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.”

(2001 Talking to Elton John after he told Prince Philip that he had sold his gold Aston Martin

“You were playing your instruments, weren’t you? Or do you have tape recorders under your seats?”

(2002 Said to a children’s band in Australia)

“If you travel as much as we do you appreciate how much more comfortable aircraft have become. Unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”

“French cooking’s all very well, but they can’t do a decent English breakfast.”

(2002 Aboard the floating restaurant ‘Il Punto’ on the river Orwell in Ipswich, after thoroughly enjoying an excellent full English breakfast (Il Punto is owned by Frenchman Regis Crepy)

“It doesn’t look like much work goes on at this University.”

(2005 Overheard at Bristol University’s BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamic Engineering) facility, which had been closed in order that he and the Queen could officially open it

“Never pass up a chance to go to the loo or to take a poo.”

When asked his secret for dealing with public appearances.

“Do we need ear plugs? “

At the Royal Premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day on being told that Madonna sung the theme song.

Priceless – its almost worth keeping them for this alone



Marketing Focus on customers – slide show lecture series from the University of London

This is the first in a series of lectures given at London University – the title of this one is focus on customers and looks at the psychology of buying behaviour and demographics. This is a particularly good lecture and many of the ideas included are valuable in the context of emarketing and on-line business.

Should we include service credits when we design a service level agreement?

Service Credits in a SLA good or bad idea?

In terms of a general principle it is not recommended to build into an SLA a so-called ‘service credit’ process. In such schemes, when the service measure falls below the agreed levels, a form of credit to the buyer is given.

As an example, a payment schedule is defined for, say, a 98 per cent service level and, should service be 95 per cent, a lower price band becomes applicable – I have also seen SLAs with performance credits, with increased revenue for a supplier should the ‘standard’ performance be exceeded. There are several reasons why this is old-fashioned and bad practice.

* First, the point of a service level is to define the required levels needed to support the business and no more. Improvement levels over time can be defined but the service needed is what the business should pay for – if it is exceeded you may have to increase your targets, but certainly not pay more for just doing the job.
* Second, with a service credit clause you have no leverage over the supplier to fix the problem. The focus should be to restore the service to the agreed levels as soon as possible.

Rather than a service credit clause, it is far better to put in place governance that forces the supplier to act to fix the issue, perhaps to the extent of the customer being able to call in independent consulting advice at the supplier’s expense to support service resolution. This use of an ‘independent’ adviser can be useful in monitoring the overall value of the outsource deal as it matures through its stages. It is important to include this in the SLA and agree the principles and ground rules for such an ‘independent’ with the outsource partner.

Your staff will often see the problems much later down the line if you get it wrong, as one of our research participants said:

“Because the company have these people, they’ve got professionals who only write contracts, and they know how to work them, and the client haven’t got a clue, eventually they tried using some outside firm of solicitors, to read through the contract, but it’s too late then, and even they might not have been professional contract people. And they still got screwed in the end, and they still don’t understand, nobody, I haven’t met anybody who understands what the hell outsourcing is all about, has it saved them a lot of money, no it’s cost them more, have they got an improved service, no it’s much worse, why? Why have they done it? They say ‘oh well we are saving money on pensions’, you are not, you’ve transferred the pension money over, ‘we’re saving money on accommodation’ well you’re not really, ‘we’re saving money on pay’ well you might be saving money on some aspects of pay but look at how much money you are paying the outsourced companies to run these things, and of course the classic mistake they made is, they’re paying for a fixed sum of money, millions of pounds a year, for maintenance of the existing system, nobody mentioned, changes to the system, like, I don’t want the machine here any more I want it in the room next door or in the new building, ah that’s a change to the contract, it will cost you an extra x hundred thousand pounds, and I think the contract in the first six months was something like thirty million over the estimate because they are moving things all the time, closing buildings, building new ones, every time you get a change of hierarchy, it’s new broom, right we will change all this we’ll have the (Dept.) over here and that group over there, we’ll swap those two over, and they do it regularly and it all gets charged!”


The Human side of outsourcing – managing people change

In an earlier article I discussed my research into managing the transition of people in an outsourcing situation. I highlighted the problems people experience, anxiety, lack of control, resistance and reduced performance. Many also found it very difficult to treat their previous employer as a client, and were not able to feel a part of the new company to which they had been transferred.

An outsourcing transfer can be viewed as a form of transition. This change process involves involuntary movement from one company to another, with possible similarities, from the staff point of view, to mergers and acquisitions. The transfer may also include staff reductions or ‘downsizing’, and the new organization will make some effort to develop a relationship with their new staff in the form of organizational socialization. All of these transition processes are likely to impact upon perceptions of justice – in other words, whether people feel they have been treated fairly or not. These perceptions are important as there is substantial evidence that if people feel they have been treated unfairly they are far less likely to perform well. However, of specific interest here is the repeated finding that good attention to procedural justice concerns can increase perceptions of fairness even if the outcomes are unfavourable. If we assume that, at least initially, staff will view the likely outcome of being forcibly transferred to another organization as unfair, it may be possible that procedural justice will reduce their perceptions of unfairness.

What do we mean by Justice? Distributive justice considers perceptions of fairness of outcomes (equity, equality, and needs). Procedural justice emphasises the importance of fairness of the methods or procedures used (decision criteria, voice, control of the process), and Interactional justice is based on the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment received, whether those involved are treated wish sensitivity, dignity and respect, and also the nature of the explanations given.

I have had some people ask me why they should bother about how people feel if they are no longer working in their organisation.

For most companies who outsource, the staff will still be required to carry out work for them, albeit under the management of the outsourcing company. It is also possible that at some stage the organization will wish to back-source (bring people back in house). My ongoing research indicates that organizations will experience problems if they do not attend to the needs of their staff during the transfer process. To manage justice perceptions it is important to ensure you do communicate and that the process is viewed as fair.

Some of the practical considerations for the transfer itself therefore include; effective and ongoing communication of the business rationale, a focus on procedural and distributive justice, training of managers to ensure open two-way communication and interactional justice is enabled, and accepting and working with the emotional aspects of the transfer rather than pretending it does not exist.

An aspect not often considered at all by organizations is after the transfer. It will be important to ensure remaining staff receive clear communications regarding the changing roles (their own and their ex-colleagues). A balance will need to be made between letting go, so that transferred staff do not feel they cannot move on, and creating barriers to communication. Most importantly, consider how the contract influences your relationship with them. In the UK for example if the tupe agreement includes a mapping-on of salary increases or other awards it is vital that a process is put in place to ensure this happens, rather than forcing the transferred staff to continually monitor the situation.

So do think about the people side of the transfer if you are outsourcing, and remember that you need them to be motivated and to continue to perform. Achieving this will be difficult and should not just be left to the company you have chosen to outsource to.

Which kind of tie do you think might be of greater benefit to your career?

Hello, everyone:

The part of the U.S. where I live was roused from its collective sleep in the wee hours of Friday’s pre-dawn morning by an earthquake that measured 5.2 on the Richter scale The Richter Magnitude Scale and lasted for more than 30 seconds. What was so different from this one and previous others was the intensity — and the fact that there was time to wonder whether it was going to stop, get worse or maybe even escalate into the “big one” that is long overdue here in the Midwest.

It was a little unsettling. But amazingly, there were no personal injuries, though some people narrowly escaped harm at the epicenter, a small community that is about an hour north of where I live.

As one of our local TV stations was already doing its morning news run, coverage was immediate – and calls and e-mails from throughout the region quickly pored in to the media. All had a common theme. People were reporting that their loved ones from nearby or far away had felt and heard it, too. Aside from the realization that a single phenomenon could be experienced simultaneously hundreds of miles away, such events are unique in other ways. Instantaneously, they capture and define a moment in time. They also evoke an immediate and unchallenged awareness of whom you need to call, whose well-being you hold dearest, and whose voice and frame-of-reference you most need and want at that moment.

These are “strong” ties.

You might wonder what this has to do with careers or career theory — and you would be justified in asking. Strong and weak ties are concepts that have been defined and studied — and proposed for further study to help us understand how careers unfold and advance. They are particularly meaningful in considering networking and job-finding.

Emotionally, you and I might think of strong ties as those that we hold with the people who are most important to us – families, best friends, even pets. But in the career world, we can think of strong ties as the connections we have with the people who are most like us, who are part of our world day-in and day-out. An example of a strong tie might be the editorial staff of a newspaper. Reporters and editors work late into the night under pressure to get the facts right and out there on time, night after night, week after week, year after year. At the end of the evening, they meet at a local pub to chill and recount a post mortem on what it took to get the job done.

On the other hand, weak ties are different.

An example of a weak tie might be someone you worked with 10 years ago and now e-mail once a year just to stay in touch. Both of you now work in different occupational sectors than the one that you once had in common. Another example could be two people who serve on the board of directors of a local not-for-profit organization. One is a banker, the other a hospital administrator. Except for regular board meetings, the two have little outside contact; but they’re well-enough acquainted to stop and chat if they meet by chance in public.

Which kind of tie do you think might be of greater benefit to your career?

Think of “strong” ties as “redundant” ties, and you can see where an argument for the diversity suggested by “weak” ties comes from. Ibarra & Deshpande (2007; in Gunz & Peiperl, 2007) write, “weak ties are argued to be more valuable since they act as bridges among diverse networks and bring new information not available through redundant ties in close objective networks.”

They go on to report that the empirical support for the value of weak career ties is strongest for “finding a job” versus “other outcomes such as promotion and salary. (e.g. Boxman, et al., 1991; in Ibarra & Deshpande, 2007; in Gunz & Peiperl, 2007).”

Notice the mention of “networks.”

Ibarra & Deshpande say that “networks of relationships” are the “social resources as well as social contexts in which careers take shape.” So let’s think about this for a minute… You’ve just been downsized and need to find new employment. Your first thought might be to query the people you work with every day (strong ties) about possible opportunities elsewhere. But the “weak ties” argument mentioned above suggests that you might get better results by mobilizing your weak-tie network — if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can ask your strong ties to approach their strong and weak ties on your behalf, but that can get tricky… because it requests third parties to spend their social capital on people whose skills and work ethic they can’t actually vouch for. (We need to talk about this in a future column).

But I digress… so back to the point.

Job seekers: Get your own network – and make sure it includes plenty of weak ties. If you don’t have a network, you can start building one through short-term volunteer projects that involve team work and meeting groups of people — people whose jobs, interests and abilities are very different from yours. There are also organized networking opportunities; but I have to wonder how much good it really does, for example, when women go to a networking group luncheon and sit at the same table with people they already know.

Yes, I know, we are talking about moving beyond one’s comfort zone here — but will a little anxiety really be all that bad? And don’t take your best friend with you because it will be too easy to cling to him in retreat. The idea is to forge new acquaintances, so get out there and dance.

A couple of other points need to be brought in here:

One is a term – “homophily” – that I was unfamiliar with until reading about it earlier this week – before the earthquake, actually. “Homophily” refers to the degree of demographic and identity similarity of individuals who regularly interact with one another. (Ibarra, 1993; in Gunz & Peiperl, 2007). Mayrhofer, Meyer & Steyrer (2007; in Gunz & Peiperl, 2007) report that “homophilic reproduction” and “reduction of opportunities” have a tendency to be linked. In other words, if we continue to associate only with people we know, people who are like ourselves, people we feel comfortable with… then we are reducing the possibilities (career and otherwise) that may be open to us in the future.

The second point comes from Weick (1996; Thomas & Inkson, 2007; in Gunz & Peiperl, 2007), and it has to do with context. Think of “context” as the circumstances you begin to explain when starting an answer with, “Well, it depends.” Weick describes strong and weak “situations,” rather than strong and weak “ties;” but there may be a caveat for us here. A “strong” situation is one that is highly constrained. The careerist doesn’t perceive a great deal of freedom to choose her actions. A “weak” situation has few constraints. The “actor” is free to move about at will. An example: You work for a rigidly bureaucratic organization in which it would likely be a career-ending move to bypass your supervisor and request an appointment with the company president to tell him about a great idea that you have for a new product. However, if both you and the president of the company get downsized, the constraints are off. You can approach her without fear of anything more than embarrassing yourself. This is a “weak” situation.

Thomas & Inkson interpret Weick as stating that “career outcomes can be powerfully enacted by their career holders in an environment relatively free of constraints…” but in strong situations, “perspectives encouraging individual enactment may be limited.”

So the lessons put forth for your consideration today are:
1) If you don’t have a network of weak ties, please get busy and start building one.
2) Before you start using those ties, pay attention to the degree of constraint in your environment – i.e. whether you are acting in a weak or strong situation.

And, I guess, if there’s a third piece of advice this week, it is this: Get under a doorway or a desk if there’s an earthquake.

Till next week… All my best,


Primary ReferencesGunz, H, Peiperl, M. (2007). Handbook of Career Studies. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.

Ibarra, H, Deshpande. (2007). Networks and identities. H. Gunz & M. Peiperl (Eds.) Handbook of Career Studies: Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.

Mayrhofer, W, Meyer, M, Steyrer, J. (2007). Handbook of Career Studies. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.

Secondary References
Boxman, E, De Graaf, P, & Flap, H. (1991) The impact of social and human capital on the income attainment of Dutch managers. Social Networks, 13: 51-73.

Ibarra, H. (1993). Personal networks of women and minorities in management. A conceptual framework. Academy of Management Review, 18 (1), 57-87.

U.S. Geological Survey. (Accessed April 20, 2008). The Richter Magnitude Scale. U.S. Government Printing Office. Abridged from The Severity of an Earthquake, a U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication.
The Richter Magnitude Scale

Weick, K. (1996). Enactment and the boundaryless career: Organizing as we work. In M.B. Arthur & D.M. Rousseau (Eds.), The boundaryless career: A new employment principle of a new organizational era (pp. 40-77). New York: Oxford University P

Quality assurance policy – this is a high level statement of aims and objectives

An assurance policy is a high level statement of objectives and approaches that are further worked out in the Quality Plan – shown here in this post is an example of the main clauses in the policy statement typically signed off by senior management.

AnyCo’s Management Ltd.’s quality assurance policy is based on principles and values provided for in the Company Mission, strategy and goals.
Quality Management System (QMS) creation is a major strategic direction of the business activities. The QMS is regarded as a useful tool for creation and management of effective business processes. The system formation will result in provision of services of consistently high quality, fully meeting customers’ expectations.

The company pursues the following goals in the field of quality assurance:
1. Strict compliance of the company’s services with international, national, and corporate standards and requirements.
2. Professional and technical level of the services must correspond to or exceed that of the leading enterprises and companies operating in the UK market.
3. Responsibility to customers for the quality of the services rendered.
4. Cost efficiency of the services as compared with other companies operating in the market.
5. Development and implementation of new services that fully satisfy our customers’ needs.
6. Continuous monitoring of complaints and claims from customers, and aim to maintain these at zero.
7. Positioning of the company as employing professional staff educated to at least Masters level, and providing services of high quality.

The strategy for achieving the goals is the following:
1. Focus on the process management model and continuous improvement of the company services (in accordance with the market requirements).
2. The QMS development, implementation, and maintenance in conformity with ISO 9001 international standards. Certification to 9001 will be applied for by 2008.
3. Satisfaction of customers’ requirements to all services. Fulfilment of the customers’ requirements within the shortest periods of time, ensuring highest quality. The services can be provided under Service Level Agreements (SLA).
4. Understanding of the customer needs, their present and future specific requirements.
5. Continuous cooperation with customers in order to understand their needs.
6. Transparency – customers obtain access to information on the quality of the services.
7. Priority of quality issues in “personnel – technology – organization” chain.
8. Strict quality assurance procedures at all stages of the services life cycle, well-defined personnel responsibility for quality assurance.
9. Primary focus on prevention of a possible decrease in quality rather than on measures to restore the quality level.
10. Consistent training of all personnel in the sphere of quality, each employee’s participation in services improvement, rewards for quality improvement.

What is the relationship between leadership and Motivation?

Leadership and motivation?

Research on motivation and leadership continued for many years with little interaction between the two areas, although more recently motivational concepts have been drawn upon to understand leadership processes. Many motivational theories were posited to have direct implications for leader behaviour, however the evidence for motivational impact is unclear. As motivation is an abstract construct, motives can only be inferred from reports or performance outcomes, not directly measured. Making these inferences are difficult because of the complex, dynamic and multi-causal nature of the concept, and wide variations in expression, furthermore there is considerable debate concerning the nature of the Leadership construct, which we shall discuss elsewhere on the forum. These issues make an assessment of the impact (effect or influence) of leadership on motivation at work, a difficult task. So, do leaders motivate?

Firstly, we need to unpack a little what we mean by ‘motivation’. Definitions concern influences on the direction, vigour and persistence of action. Work contexts are broad and varied, however in most cases organizations need people to be attracted to their organization and stay, perform tasks in a dependable manner and to do so in creative and innovative ways. Whilst one could argue that the latter requirement is not always present in work situations, motivation is of increasing interest as a potential explanation for workers productivity, effort and attendance. How can we assess and measure what impact leadership has upon this process?

In many cases the impact of leadership on motivation tends to be inferred by outcomes, particularly focusing on group or company performance, although work has been carried out on absenteeism (see Porter, Bigley & Steers, 2003). However it is possible that a leader can motivate subordinates without this making any difference to effort or outcomes, conversely there are many other things a leader can do to improve performance that are not linked to motivation, therefore such studies are limited.

Other research uses multiple levels (e.g. follower, leader, leaders’ supervisor) often of performance ratings or constructs such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Although it has been suggested that more satisfied workers have a greater chance to perceive their jobs as motivating and take advantage of motivational interventions, the link between these concepts and motivation is unclear. Furthermore, research on attributional biases suggests individuals often view leaders as making a difference only in retrospect, therefore such ratings are prone to error (see e.g. Chemers 1997). Indeed such a broad range of measurement have been used, that this makes comparisons difficult, increasing the potential for confounding. Much research is correlational, making causal direction impossible to assess, and many other variables which cannot be controlled for are likely to influence findings. These issues of measurement have considerable implications for evaluation of research and theories, but firstly we should consider in what ways theories may inform us of a leadership-motivation link.

Theoretical Basis for a link

Steers et al., (1996) suggest ‘one of the most important impacts of organizational leadership, whether it be effective or ineffective, is on the motivation of organizational members’ (p618), but the links between leadership and motivation are often implicit. A great variety of theories of motivation exist, and a correspondingly great number of leadership theories have been developed, some we can discuss elsewhere on this forum). Theories of motivation can be classified on a continuum from proximal to distal (distance from actual behaviour), and content (dispositional/choice focus) or process (perception/volition focus). It is most likely that leadership behaviour will affect more proximal and processual aspects of motivation, making these theories more likely to inform. Motivational theories such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are still used to help understanding, but as little research supports the ideas these have been taken over by goal setting and exchange based theories of motivation. In terms of leadership, path-goal theory, and theories of transformation versus transactional leadership, have taken over from some of the earlier ideas. However, I will leave the theory for another day, and concentrate right now on two types of leadership – those at the top of the organization, and those in charge of teams:

a) Organizational Leaders
Much research assumes a link between CEO leadership, motivation and performance, but there is controversy over leadership impact on organizational performance. De Vries (1996) argues for links between top leaders and high performing organizations, although little robust empirical work is cited. Some suggest these outcomes are partly due to Transformational forms of Leadership, although the links are unclear, and even the more academic research has serious weaknesses. It is possible the outcomes considered are too far removed from the construct of motivation, perhaps the results will be clearer if we consider teams?

b) Team Leaders
Some evidence indicates that if a Leader is missing, member motivation may be low, implying that simply having a leader can increase motivation. Others argue that substitutes for leadership can make a leaders role unnecessary, however research indicates that leader effects are not neutralised, suggesting an emotional bond with a leader cannot be replaced (in Chemers 1997). Furthermore much of the ‘substitutes’ research replaces aspects that many would define as Management rather than Leadership.

Some suggest the presence of well-defined leaders may reduce a group’s ability to experiment, this view is supported by evidence that Charismatic leaders may deny empowerment – for some individuals this may result in de-motivation, although again, little systematic research has been carried out on this. It has also been shown that in routine reliable performance areas, charismatic leadership effects are neutralised (see Howell & Costley, 2006).

Research from a Social Exchange perspective suggests particular forms of team leadership can empower subordinates, which leads to increased satisfaction and fairness perceptions, and improved performance. There is also evidence of a significant relationship between delegation and subordinate performance and satisfaction. Deci (1990) argues that social influence strategies can attenuate intrinsic motivation; if one accepts a definition of leadership as a social influence process this suggests a positive influence for leadership. Yet there is evidence that non-contingent rewards and punishment are ineffective and may demotivate

The above evidence, although mixed, does suggest potential negative and positive effects of leadership on follower motivation, however, most of the cited research is correlational, therefore no causal direction can be proven, constructs are often ambiguous, and many studies are weakened by attributional biases. Perhaps difficulties with finding evidence are due to there being no leadership impact on motivation at all?

No Leadership Impact?

Some argue that leadership is purely an explanatory category, used after the event, due to attributional and prototype processes and a need for causal and controlling principles. It is suggested that leadership, in reality, has no direct impact. Others suggests this argument is misplaced, as it is just as likely attributions of outcomes to leadership is widespread because of direct experience of leadership effects. However, the evidence suggests leadership is often attributed after the event, (Steers et al. 1996) lending weight to constructionist arguments.

Others argue that much employee motivation is actually out of a leaders control (Shamir et. al 1996), due to the multitude of meanings that originate outside the organization, however it is acknowledged that these meanings can be influenced through the leadership function, influencing organizational culture, perhaps this is a key to motivation? The next article will consider this aspect.

Chemers, M.M. (1997) An Integrative Theory of Leadership, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M., (1990) ‘A motivational approach to self: integration in personality’ in R.A. Dienstbier (ed) Perspectives on motivation, Nebraska Symposium on Motivation,
De Vries, M.K., (1996) ‘Leaders Who Make a Difference’, European Management Journal vol. 14, no. 5, p.486-493
Howell, J.P. & Costley, D.L. (2006) Understanding behaviors for effective leadership. 2nd edition. Pearson.
Porter, L.W., Bigley, G.A. & Steers, R.M. (2003) Motivation and work behaviour, 7th edition, McGraw-Hill.
Shamir, B., House, R.J. & Aarthur, M.B. (1996) ‘The Motivational Effects of Charismatic Leadership: A Self-Concept Based Theory’, in Steers, R.M., Porter, L.W., & Bigley, G.A., Motivation and Leadership at Work, 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill International.

Main Content for a Training and Development Policy

Training and Development Policy

‘Your company name’ believes in the importance of lifelong learning for all directors, staff and associates, and in the need for continued professional development (CPD). Crosslight works towards continual ‘reflexive practitioner’ processes, to enhance the learning environment for all involved in our projects.
The company will employ and contract from a pool of highly qualified, experienced and well-respected professionals who already have high levels of education (to at least Masters level with the exception of administrative staff). In particular, staff and associates are selected for their highly developed and practiced skills of written and oral communication, professional and ethical conduct, analysis and synthesis of a wide variety of information, and research and evaluation leading to sound practical advice for our clients. Professional development seeks to build on these skills to assist team members and individual researchers or consultants to apply these skills to satisfy our clients needs.
The training and development policy is as follows.
The training will be designed to enable associates and staff, where appropriate, to:

  • participate in accessible and relevant training and development which is economical in the use of their time;
  • experience learning methods which take account of individual learning styles;
  • participate in training which takes due account of prevailing legislation;
  • participate fully in training activities that will be relevant to all participants irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity or disability;
  • hone and apply core skills essential for all of the company’s methods.
  • What can staff and associates expect of the company?

All staff and associates can expect the company to:

  • provide induction to the work of Crosslight, its mission, standards and values;
  • train him/her in specialist skills needed to carry out or facilitate research or consultancy work; this includes effective use of the electronic communications system set up to support projects;
  • assist him/her to develop sufficient confidence to undertake or facilitate their projects;
  • hold regular reflexive practitioner meetings, coaching sessions and lead-researcher/consultant observations and follow-up reflection discussions.
  • work together in teams whenever possible and have regular team meetings focusing on development of skills;
  • provide training reference material to use after completion of their training;
  • provide the company’s documents they need to conduct the project to which they are assigned;
  • add them to Crosslight’s mailing list for receipt of relevant new publications and information about the company’s work;
  • provide them with opportunities to contribute to the evaluation of the methods which they use on Crosslight projects.

Benefits for clients and other organisations include
Adherence to this policy should provide the following benefits:

  • confidence that Crosslight team researchers and consultants are properly trained to undertake research and consultancy work professionally, and confidently;
  • consistent application of chosen method;
  • consistency in quality, ethical processes and benefit realisation.

Related documents: Quality Policy, Health & Safety Policy, Diversity Policy.

Guidelines for Intranet Best Practice

Intranet Best Practice

Determinants of self-service take-up

Substantial funds have been invested by companies on implementing internal web sites, and more recently on developing HR competencies for the intranet to facilitate employee and management ‘self-service’. The aim is often to increase employee understanding of company goals and procedures and reduce workload on key personnel, enabling them to become more strategic. Furthermore intranets can provide a greater degree of flexibility for individuals and groups as well as assist in the creation of a ‘learning organization’ where change becomes easier. However, despite the potential benefits to both the individual and the organization, utilisation of these systems is generally low. This brief offers an overview of best practice in ensuring employees are motivated to use company intranets on an ongoing basis.

Best Practice Advice:

  • Ensure each business area or department that is being represented on the intranet are involved in the design, implementation, evolution and diffusion of their web sections. Better still, ensure they plan and define their expectations and use of the web to ensure goal attainment. The system is far more likely to be effective if it is business needs driven.
  • Ensure the end users are monitored and asked for feedback on the web sections and any later changes.
  • Ensure the intranet has enthusiastic support from the very top – and that this is disseminated in a controlled manner.
  • Ensure all information on the web is important, relevant to users jobs and of benefit to them in their work. It should also be up to date. If you can include aspects of work that they have to use, or will be motivated to use because it is simpler (such as forms of ‘self-service’), that will help increase usage.
  • Do make available a searchable, easy to navigate, repository of information. Whilst care should be taken not to overload people with too much information, research shows staff can become more productive if they do have easy access on the intranet to a range of company documentation.
  • Do ensure people are given recognition for any work published or pages developed on the web, this not only increases motivation but ensures changes can be communicated to the right person, increasing accuracy and reliability.

Technically the system must be fast, reliable, and easy to use. If staff have to invest time finding information and/or struggling with the system, they will give up. There are detailed best practice guidelines for the technical development of websites available, which include best use of colour, format and content presentation, identifying new items, ensuring no broken links, and reducing the number of clicks/ease of navigation. These should be adhered to.

Things to Avoid:

  • Do not leave it all to the IT department to organise. They can only take responsibility for the technical aspects, not motivating individuals or selling business practices. The strategic effectiveness of intranets can also be adversely affected if content and structure is left solely to IT.
  • Do not assume that staff will start to use it in time, or after a short initial training course. They will need good reasons for using the system as well as ease of use.
  • Do not use as a general data repository or an uncontrolled mass-communication device. People suffering from information overload actually reduce the time and effort spent on the system and can miss the information that is valuable.

Developing these areas of best practice should enable companies to ensure that investment in intranets is not wasted.