Organizational Behavior: Green Haven Case Analysis Essay Example

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Organizational Behavior: Green Haven Case Analysis

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The Green Haven case involves organizational behavior issues that have been sparked by the change of the business’s top leadership, following the retirement of its founding CEO Adam Cooper and his succession by Philip Cooper. Adam had fostered a nurturing organizational environment and culture favorable for both the employees and customers, driven by his passion for gardening. Adam provided effective leadership at the business and acted as a role model for his employees. It is evident that the motivation of gardening drove Adam and his staff and providing high-quality plants and excellent customer service while keeping profit margins low and this was possibly the self-actualization stage described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

However, upon taking the role of CEO, Philip introduced organizational change at Green Haven since he was dissatisfied with many things which were happening at the organization. The change affected the entire business and thus disturbed the equilibrium that Adam had achieved in the organization for 30 years. Philip had a different motivation from that of his predecessor as was driven by the passion for high profits evident from the actions he took to reduce operational costs. Philip’s leadership was more power and achievement centered and it consequently affected employee motivation and attitudes and staff unrest and resignations showed it. Lack of employee engagement and commitment contributed to the decline of organizational performance. This paper discusses organizational behavior at Green Haven in the context of organizational change, leadership, motivation and job attitudes.

Unplanned organizational change

When Philip assumed office, he turned a myriad of things to the business in a bid to cut down its operational costs. He abolished the monthly day-long staff meetings and replaced them with formal meetings with the managers. Also, the reduced average time that the staff spent with customers and instead introduced computers to provide customer self-service. Philip believed that giving free plants to customers did not bring any sense to the business and he, therefore, directed the employees to stop the trend.

Organizational change refers to the alteration of the work environment in an organization and consequently disturbing the old equilibrium (Pinder, 2014). Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis asserts that there exists to forces in organization change: driving forces and restraining forces (Burke, 2017). In the Green Haven case, the driving force for organizational change was originated by Philip in his quest to reduce costs and increase the profitability of the business. The employees exerted the restraining force and it was manifested by the resignation of five employees and one long-serving manager, the decline in the overall organizational morale and commitment and the ultimate decline in the profitability of the business.

In order to thwart employee resistance to organizational change, Philip could have thoughtfully planned the desired change and ensure thorough consultation with the employees and the customers as well since they would all be affected by the change. When Philip directed the operational changes to the employees at the meeting, he did not receive any feedback from them and he falsely believed they had agreed with him. Effective organizational change requires prior planning and stakeholder consultation since change must involve people and should rather not be imposed on people otherwise they will resist it (Education & Robbins, 2011). Although change management and planning might be costly and time-consuming, it is essential because it avoids the problems associated with imposed change such employee turnover and poor performance witnessed at Green Haven.

Ineffective Leadership

Adam had incorporated the supportive and participative leadership approaches of the path-goal leadership theory (Champoux, 2016). He had developed an organizational culture that embraced holding day-long monthly all-inclusive staff member meeting. Through these meetings, he would exchange ideas with the employees, providing an avenue for them to air their views and ideas. He also acted as their role model as an effective leader, giving them motivation and satisfaction of their work. Philip, however, introduced changes that demoralized the employees. The path-goal theory of leadership states that the approach and behavior of a leader has a significant impact on the motivation, satisfaction and performance of the followers.

According to Colquitt et al. (2011), subordinates tend to see the behavior of a leader as acceptable to the extent that the see such behavior as their immediate or future source of satisfaction. Adam was an effective leader because his approach was the source of motivation and satisfaction of his employees, which was translated to the profitability of the business. On the other hand, Philip adopted the directive and achievement-oriented leadership (Champoux, 2016). He issued specific instructions to the employees without their participation and he was fundamentally dedicated to the profitability of the business and took actions that he believed could reduce the operational costs of the business.

The leadership problem at Green Haven could be addressed by an effective and transformational leadership to initiate the change he desired for the business. According to the transformational leadership theory advanced by James McGregor Burns (Luthans, 2010), a transformational leader is a source of inspiration for subordinates through effective communication of purpose and ideas and giving individual attention and treatment to every employee and thus motivate the employees. Philip could also have used Theory Y of leadership developed by Douglas McGregor in the 1960s, which promotes the participation of employees in decision making and enhancing their motivation to accomplish their goals (Colquitt et al., 2011).

Lack of employee motivation

The success of Green Haven under the management of Adam was attributed to his passion for gardening that he also shared with his employees. The employees received their motivation from their shared passion and the desire they had for providing high-quality plants and excellent customer service. According to (Elango et al., 2010), motivation is a process arising from the physiological or psychological need of an individual that activates a behavior directed to a particular goal. Motivation is an essential factor that determines the behavior of employees and affects other factors like learning, perception and the overall performance of an organization.

When Philip assumed office, he initiated change in the business geared towards profit maximization through cost reduction. This consequently led to the demoralization of the employees, considering the fact they were motivated by Adam through his emphasis on quality of gardening services and plants given to the customers. The employees had also been motivated by spending guiding employees and even giving the customers free trees, which was no longer the case in Philip’s tenor of leadership. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Jones, 2010), the employees of Green Haven got motivation at the level of self-actualization as perpetuated by their form CEO, Adams. The business performance was linked to the satisfaction that they got from interacting with their work and interacting with customers. It is in accordance with the Porter- Lawler theory of motivation that stipulates that motivation impacts the satisfaction and performance of employees in an organization (Luthans, 2010).

An alternative that Philip could use to foster employee motivation in the organization is to identify the needs of the employees before initiating change in the business. It could be done by the application of McGregor’s Theory Y that values the motivation of employees through their active participation in decision-making and making suggestions for process improvement (Pinder, 2014). The advantage of this alternative is that it will improve employee motivation increase organizational profitability. The disadvantage is that it is costly for the business as it would involve giving organizing monthly staff meetings, giving free trees and spending more time with customers.

Negative job attitudes

In the field of organizational behavior, job attitude is defined as a cluster of beliefs, feelings and behavioral judgment by an individual towards their job. One of the main types of job attitudes that affect employee performance in an organization is job satisfaction. According to McShane and Von (2011), job satisfaction is pleasurable or positive emotional feeling resulting from an employee’s perception of how effectively a job provides things that are regarded as important.

From the Green Haven Case, the employees a positive affective attitude towards their former CEO, Adams, and also the work itself as it provided learning opportunities. They enjoyed the social meetings that they held each month as they would share and learn from another. They also got satisfaction from their work through assisting customers and spending time with them as well as giving new customers free plants, in accordance with the value theory of satisfaction. The performance problems resulted from negative job attitudes by the employee following the changes that he introduced.

The problem of negative job attitude in Green Haven could be solved by the application of Herzberg’s two-factor theory of job satisfaction that states there are no specific factors that define satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work (Luthans. 2010). However these factors can be understood by asking the employees what satisfies and what dissatisfies them at work. Positive job attitude could lead to more job satisfaction and be manifested through improved performance and low employee turnover.

Conclusion and recommendation

An examination of the Green Haven case reveals that organizational behavior issues that arose from the organization result from management shift that occurred after the retirement of Adam Cooper. Philip Cooper initiated an unplanned organizational change that adversely affected the business performance and negatively impacted employee satisfaction. It has been established that Adam Copper had worked hard to create an organizational culture that satisfied the management, staff and the customers both in the short term and in the long term. The changes in organizational processes that Philip introduced were unplanned and unexpected and thus restraining forces developed among the employees.

The leadership model applied by Philip was different from that of his predecessor, Adam. Adam had adopted a supportive and participative approach to leadership through incorporating his staff in decision-making through consensus. On the other hand, Philip initiated a directive and achievement-oriented approach to leadership that culminated to the demoralization of the employees and subsequent decline in productivity. The ineffective leadership led to a lack of employee motivation at work. The new leader failed to understand the intrinsic values that sparked employee motivation. He emphasized on profit maximization through cost reduction, yet the employees were motivated by the passion of gardening that Adam had captivated in them. The employees developed negative affective job attitudes citing the organizational changes that had been introduced and the lack of motivation. They lost satisfaction in their work and was manifested through resignations and decline in the organization’s profits in the first six weeks after Philip succeeded Adam.

In order to restore Green Haven to its original profit-making state and even achieve more, it is recommended that Philip initiates a planned organizational change, this is because organizational change is a sensitive issue that should be planned carefully. He should plan the change through consultation with the employees to determine whether the change is needed and how it should be implemented without affecting the employee performance negatively and without undue restraining forces.

Philip should also provide supportive and participative leadership to the employees by enabling them to maximize their full potential towards the achievement of organizational goals. It is prudent to adopt the transformational leadership model in order to drive the desired organizational change by being an inspiration and role model to the employees and treating each of them individually according to their needs. Effective leadership will enhance active participation of all the members of the organization in decision making and encourage group cohesion.

The CEO should also identify the factors that motivate the employees and maximize on them to achieve better organizational performance, for example by restoring the previous trends of client relationship building and organizing monthly day-long staff meetings. This because the employees are driven the self-actualization needs that are satisfied through socialization and provision of customer service, unlike the CEO’s orientation to profit maximization. As a result, the employees will develop positive affective job attitudes that will indeed lead to more job satisfaction and improve the overall performance of the organization.


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Ethical considerations

Organizational ethics refers to the principles and values that govern decision making within an organization in the determination of what is right or wrong about the stakeholders affected by the decisions (Burke, 2017). In the Green Haven case, several ethical issues are arising from the changes brought by Philip that has impacted the business negatively. One of the ethical issues is the decision to abolish the monthly meetings that the employees were used to holding monthly with their former CEO, Adams.

According to (Luthans, 2010), managers in organizations usually face ethical dilemmas when making organizational decisions that affect several members of the organization. Such dilemmas sprout from the fact that the definition of right or wrong is ambiguous to different parties, and what may be considered right by one party may be considered wrong by another. In this case, Philips believes that it right to cut down the operations costs associated with staff meetings and thereby boost the profitability of the business. On the other hand, the employees not only view the staff meetings as an avenue to share gardening ideas and learn from each other but also as an opportunity for socializing with each other.

Another ethical consideration is the reduction introduction of computers to act as customer guides and reduce the time that employees spend with customers. The ethical dilemma arises from the point of view that Philip holds for increasing organizational efficiency and profitability while disregarding the satisfaction that customers get from the services offered by the employees. A similar ethical concern arises from his decision to abolish the giving of free plants to new customers, and he is also not satisfied by the free newsletters given to customers quarterly. Although his decisions are intended to boost the organizational performance, they instead result in a decline of the profits and staff walk-outs because of the adverse effects caused to the stakeholders.

The ethical issues in Green Haven can be solved by utilizing the Antecedent-behavior-Analysis (ABC) model that analyzes the context and circumstances of organizational behavior to enable decision makers to make morally responsible decisions (Elango et al., 2010). The tool is based on the belief that analysis of the behavior of individuals in an organization will reveal the surrounding variables that determine it. It is therefore important for Philip to understand the norms and values held by the stakeholders of the business because they cause the behavior and eventually affect the business’ performance. It is these norms, values and environmental factors that determine the morality of the decisions made by the management, and thereby the outcome of the decisions affects the whole organization (Jones, 2010). An antecedent causes behavior which then causes the consequences.

In order to understand the antecedents that prompt the behavior of employees in Green Haven, it is important to undertake a stakeholder analysis to know the people affected by the decisions made (Burke, 2017). In this case, it would involve employee and customer consultation to see how the proposed organizational changes would impact their behavior.