Read “A Computer with a Rebel Heart” in Organizing Genius and chapters 1-3 in your text, if you haven’t done so, and thoroughly answer the following questions.
1. Organizational culture is the set of key values, beliefs, and attitudes shared by members of an organization. Describe the organizational culture at PARC. Be specific.
At PARC, people were hired on the basis of their talent. The people who were hired even though were paid handsome; they cared less about the pay and focused on making the first computer. The members at PARC were left alone so they that they could do what they were capable of. This created a good momentum. Money did not matter for the members. Meeting was held every week and everybody was required to attend the meeting till the end where they shared their ideas and accomplishments. There weren’t any fixed set of rules for the employees and everybody knew what their role was. Some members were arrogant but they were left as it is considering their talent.
2.Chester Barnard maintained that managers must find ways to encourage workers to cooperate with each other and management willingly. This can occur through material incentives like rewards or nonmaterial incentives like recognition. Managers should also make clear what needs to be accomplished. Simply put, they must communicate with employees what the organization’s goals and purposes are. Barnard writes that the acceptance of authority also depends on how workers perceive authority. Given this, how would Chester Barnard regard the level of cooperation between PARC and the rest of Xerox?
At PARC, there was no fixed set of rules for the members. They knew what they were doing. Any kind of conflicts were resolved in a good way by Bob taylor who was like a supervisor or manager for the team. Even though PARC was an adjunct of Xerox, there was no intervention. Even after the development of sigma, PARC team decided not to use sigma because it was not compatible which created a heat between PARC and Xerox. But this issue was also solved later when George Pake threatened to quit. Thus even though there were some
ups and downs in the relations between Xerox and PARC, it looks like there was a good cooperation between Xerox and PARC.
3.The text discusses a number of managerial theories that have relevance for balancing managerial authority with employee morale. One concept to consider is bureaucratic management, which is defined as “the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge.” The aim of bureaucracy is not to protect authority but to achieve goals in the most efficient way possible. This like hiring, promotion, and punishment is based completely on experience and achievement. How did Bob Taylor go about creating his Great Group? (Consider how he recruited, whom he recruited, and how he retained his employees.)
AT PARC, the candidates were not only interviewed but they also had to give a little talk before the assembled staff and field probing. To get accepted into PARC was itself a great honor and a feeling that you were one among the brightest. For the existing candidates, a new successful candidate was someone who was going to make it more fun for them. Taylor believed in hiring great people with big talents and passions and turning them loose on projects that reflected their unique talents. He left the members alone. There was no pressure. They were paid well but were more focused on what they were building. He did not burden the team with rules and regulations. There was one single rule everybody had to follow which was to attend a weekly meeting from the beginning till the end. And the reason behind the meeting was to exchange ideas, present the accomplishments and hurdles if any.
4.Mary Parker Follett believed that managers could deal with conflict in three ways: domination, compromise, and integration. Mary Parker Follett believed that managers should pursue integrative conflict resolution. In this process, both parties in the conflict indicate their preferences and then work together to find an alternative that meets the needs of both. How did Bob Taylor deal with conflict in his Great Group? (Hint: go to page 122 in Organizing Genius and read paragraph 2.)
Bob taylor used a phenomenon called theory of cognitive dissonance to resolve
the conflicts between the members. The theory of cognitive dissonance implicates that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. Taylor used this technique to drain the heat between the members in of the group.
5.In your text, it states: “Companies must embrace new technology and find effective ways to use it to improve their products and services or decrease costs. If they don’t they will lose out to those companies that do.” Why didn’t Xerox commercially exploit the Alto?
Lack of vision was the first and the biggest reason and the attitude and behavior of people working for PARC. Employees or members working at PARC were hard headed and would not listen to anybody even to the chief appointed by Xerox.