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Organizational Behaviour Case Study on Helen Ramsay: A Mediation Attempt


Various cognitive biases can trigger or develop a negative dynamic at the workplace as clearly demonstrated in the case. Using relevant behavioral concepts analyze the reasons for poor interpersonal relations between Brian and Steve. Discuss why the meeting facilitated by Helen Ramsay failed and provide recommendations to solve the current stalemate. Present the organizational behaviour case study analysis as a report.


The purpose of this report is to analyse the “Helen Ramsay: A Mediation Attempt” organizational behaviour case study on the basis of the behavioural concepts. The cognitive biases can be described as the systematic patterns of deviation from rationality or norm judgement. In simple words, it can be stated as the systematic error in thinking, which influences the judgements and decisions that people make. These can be related to memory, attention, and social. The approach will be to apply the behavioural concepts and critically analyse the above case for understanding the decisions made by Helen. This report will present the concepts related to the poor interpersonal behaviour between Steve and Brian and the reasons of the meeting failure.

Behavioural Concepts in Cognitive Biases
Crichton and Thorogood(2018) highlighted different cognitive behavioural biases concepts those could be related in the ongoing situation of the case. Following are the biases that can be observed analysing the case study:

Brian is showing “availability bias” behaviour as he can be observed to be making decisions based on the immediate information of the customer complaints despite giving Steve time to take decisions to resolve them or process them. As Steve said, “Brian is giving two cents on every case,” it can be seen that he making decisions of questioning or suggesting Steve based on the examples that come into his mind. Brian seem to be jumping on Steve for the occurring situations those can be minor or major (Swaim et al. 2016). This is making the situation tough for Steve and not giving him space or time to make own decisions rather coming up with own decision that could be a better approach according to him.

“Herd Mentality” can also be observed in Brian as he is countering Steve based on the belief that many other follows in the sales industry. Brian past reports shows positive statements for the tasks he can handle however, taking new approaches for solving them or presenting them. Brian wants him to do what others do and so, this behaviour can be highlighted. This is making the situation tough for Steve and not giving him space or time to make own decisions rather coming up with own decision that could be a better approach according to him.

Choice Supportive Biasing can also be observed in the decision of Brian as he is imposing own ideas over Steve and his respective team members. Brian wants everyone to follow the same decision taken by him rather than listening what Steve has to say on a particular scenario. Brian also discussed the scenario where Steve was against him in front of his bosses. This could be the time for Brian to be open about the scenario and talk to executives about the situations where the decisions are being imposed on him. No doubt, Brian is there for the support Steve and other team however, Steve is not like others who wants to follow the footsteps of his manager (Xiao et al. 2020). He could be given chance to show his capability and decision-making. Brian should be listening to him and discussing the matter so that they could reach at a same conclusion. On the contrary, Steve could have made agreement with Brian however, he fall back from the statement when the final outcome was not good.

Fundamental attribution error and confirmation biasing is also observed in the case where Brian is overemphasizing the various factors and under-estimating the situational factors while he was describing the behaviour of Steve. Steve can be given some independence on making the decisions and choices that best suits his situation. Thus, for Steve situation can be stated as rigid or it can be said that Brian is not giving him space or time to make own decisions rather coming up with own decision that could be a better approach according to him.

Ostrich effect can also be discussed in this scenario where Brian can be seen ignoring the negative data of the decisions he made. The same can be seen in Steve too. He is also willing to move on in his own path and decisions rather looking into the sales figures those are going down. Thus, it can be said that both the parties are having same behavioural issues those are leading to the interpersonal issues in this workplace. Both should try to talk figure-wise and be specific on the outcomes and the results of the scenario.

Brian wants to follow the Zero-risk Bias where he wants Steve to be specific towards preferring the choices those have zero risks and even could possibly result in smaller benefits (Langerud and Jordan 2020). He is not willing to go with the approaches and the decisions made by Steve those are of greater risks but could have potentially high benefits for the sales and reputation of the company.

Reasons of Meeting Failure
When Helen discussed the matter individually with both the parties, it was clear that both of them do not agree with each other. This meeting where they could discuss the matter in front of Helen, gave Steve an opportunity to take everything out about Brian. Brian was already frustrated with Steve and it was all obvious with the notes, that he clearly does not want to cooperate and feels bossy. On the other hand, Steve shows behaviour that he is not being allowed to speak or encounter Brian and so, he wanted a chance to discuss all the matter. Things get ugly, as Helen should have given them centric topic for the discussion despite allowing them to start with their grudges (Khalid, Gulzar, and Khan 2019). The notes shows the past bad behaviour between the two individuals and so, if they have been given chance they would start quarrelling with each other.

Helen persuaded both of them to agree on the terms those were already denied by both the parties.
This was the major problem. Since, the situation was already very ugly and Helen should have highlighted the objectives and concerns like “there is always certain issue in the business and no one is perfect, Brian what is your thought on this?” Steve could have been asked “why is that only you are getting reviews and constant audit or monitoring from Brian?” Brian could have been introduced with the existing reality is that we will have issues, and diminished production that does not give you option to go over the employees. The approach that was made at the end of the meeting should have been taken earlier. Both the parties should have been consulted formally and individually (Liu, He and Zhu 2020). It was obvious that no one was wrong and Brian was over possessive with his Social bias nature of his position. Leadership biasing can be seen in Steve too, who was worried about his team rather than small details that was not very efficient for his team. So, making things clear between both the individual could have helped in making the meeting successful.

Recommendation to Solve Current Stalemate
Helen should first discuss individually with both the parties. Steve should be informed that he is right but he cannot keep information hoarding to himself when it is meant for the team. If he is not agree on any arrangement, he could talk to other executive members about it. Suggestions should always be welcomed. Rest approaches, he is making is well enough that is contributing in making the workplace environment better. Brian could be informed about his biasing nature where he imposes his decision on employee. Clearly, his expectations are very high from Steve and so, he is unintentionally pushing him very hard or smothering him. He should be contacting the team via him, as it is always considerable the head of the team is informed about the scenarios, discussions, information, and arrangement being made for everyone. Brian could be checked with his responsibilities (Biggane et al. 2016). His responsibility is not to find problems rather empowering the team, and same is being done by Steve, when he keeps some of the information to him. Brian should not be imposing personal decisions on Steve, rather he should be given chance to show himself and if it does not work discuss with him about the situation. This could have made both the parties correct and wrong at the same time and they would start thinking what went wrong. Thereafter, there could be the possibility that both could make changes in their behaviour and take the necessary steps for improving the situation automatically. Steve is a good leader and he is not being given chance to show himself or apply his ideas. So, removing him from his position or looking for another job is not an option here. Brian is already executive and so, maturity will help in highlighting and understanding the wrong decisions.

It can be concluded that both the parties are of better capabilities and good asset for the company and hence, both could do better and contribute in the growth of the company. However, it is necessary that both the individuals agree on same terms and make the necessary decisions those suits the workplace better environment and its working. The above analysis suggested many concepts that proves the existence of the behavioural biases at the workplace and necessary approaches are required for handling and managing the organizational development. The approaches being made should be focused on the collaboration with each other to make sure that the environment of the workplace can be balanced. For better results and meeting to be successful, Helen should be discussing the matters individually with both the parties and then allowing them to be open and understand the scenario. It could help in getting better results and outcomes for the individuals. The situation of Steve is tough in the scenario and Brian can be seen overemphasizing that is also resulting in making the environment more complex for both the parties. It can be recommended that realization of the mistakes of both the parties can be highlighted individually and the better contributions can be shown when both are in same meeting. This could also help in making the situation positive and resolving the issues in the existing environment. ?

Biggane, J.E., Allen, D.G. and Albert, L.S., 2016. The role of positive illusions in employment relationships. Human Resource Management Review, 26(3), pp.270-281.

Crichton, M.T. and Thorogood, J.L., 2018, June. Confirmation Bias in a Routine Drilling Operation: A Case Study. In Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2015: Proceedings of the International Conference on Ergonomics & Human Factors 2015, Daventry, Northamptonshire, UK, 13-16 April 2015 (p. 143). CRC Press.

Khalid, M., Gulzar, A. and Khan, A.K., 2019. When and how the psychologically entitled employees hide more knowledge?. International Journal of Hospitality Management, p.102413.

Langerud, D.H. and Jordan, P.J., 2020. Entitlement at work: Linking positive behaviors to employee entitlement. Journal of Management & Organization, 26(1), pp.75-94. Liu, Y., He, H. and Zhu, W., 2020. Motivational analyses of the relationship between negative affectivity and workplace helping behaviors: A Conservation of Resources perspective. Journal of Business Research, 108, pp.362-374.

Swaim, J.A., Maloni, M.J., Henley, A. and Campbell, S., 2016. Motivational influences on supply manager environmental sustainability behavior. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal.

Xiao, S., Warkentin, M., Walden, E. and Johnston, A.C., 2020. Do We Protect What We Own?: A Proposed Neurophysiological Exploration of Workplace Information Protection Motivation. In Information Systems and Neuroscience (pp. 101-109). Springer, Cham.

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