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Dear all I am sharing a case study with all of you. Request you to give your valuable opinions.

Whose fault is it?



Raman an employee in a company was attending field duty as the other departmental head asked him to on temporary basis. After attending the work for two days he was thanked by the concerned departmental head for his work and said if required in future we will call you again. After updating the matters Raman resumed to his regular duties in his department. Raman has few family responsibilities due to which he was unable to concentrate more on field so his department was changed and was posted in-house in the past. One night suddenly at 11.30 PM he receives a message that he has to attend field duty again next day morning. On the other hand Raman’s family member was not well he was busy in the hospital and left his mobile at home. After returning home at midnight as he was totally tired he slept and got up late in the morning. In the morning when he checked his mobile he was surprised to see that message and thinks that it was already late as the place he should reach is in the outskirts of the city and all the way till he reaches that place there will be heavy traffic. In that confusion and chaos he replies that message typing “Sorry Sir”. The head of the other department assigns that work to some other official.



Later on Raman reaches the office in a confused state while he was worried about the family members health. In the meanwhile weekend arrives and the things will be back to normal at Raman’s house as the family member's health recovers.

On Monday the senior management team calls him bang and bash him left right center for sending an unprofessional message to the superior of other department and warn him from doing so in future. Raman was not given a chance for explaining the things.



Raman a loyal and sincere employee working in that organisation for the past two and half years is disappointed and dejected.
25th August 2010 From India, Hyderabad
If verbal communication is not accepted then:
1. Meet the HR executive and relate the episode
2. GIve a written clarification of the same with good proves of your innocence if required by doctor's certificate of your family member who needed nursing
3. Resign if the job gives ou so much stress
25th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
I feel there is no one's fault bcz if i had on the same place of boss, i would have reacted same.
Here comes the role of HR, as rightly explained by first reply. HR should take care of this issue and prepare all necessary doucments to support him, if he is genuine.
25th August 2010 From India, Pune
This is a perfect case study of communication gap .... One should be precise yet informative while sending text messages ... Raman should have called his supervisor and explained the situation ... this would not have resulted in so much chaos.
Regards,
Kavita
25th August 2010 From India, Calcutta
Text Messages or SMS are not a formal way of communication, though Raman can't confront a senior, he should have called the person concerned immediately and informed him the same.
Moreover, Raman needs to be assertive and should tell his departmental head if he is will to take extra initiative of working with some other department.
P.S. - Shit Happens!!! :p
25th August 2010 From India, Delhi
as per my concern Raman's boss should listen Raman's problem because he was loyal and sincere as well as, even he spend two and half year in this company,so I think Raman's boss fault is here because a boss is like a leader of an organization and as a leader he must be people oriented person,and as a people oriented person understand the others person emotion.
25th August 2010 From India, Delhi
eyelin this was a real communication gap as it has been said earlier ,but informing the immediate boss is the minimum responsibility one can do
25th August 2010 From India, Calcutta
I feel that communication gap between boss and employeee.... the employee should also clearly explain the current position in the message....
25th August 2010 From India, Hyderabad
This is the case of Unprofesssionalism shown by both parties.
Raman can call instead of giving message or he should write the message clearly.
On the other hand, his boss must enquire him first about the situation and indecent reply before taking the matter to Senior management.
At present scenario all managers at manufacturing or shop floor must practice few techniques of HR to solve small problems there itself before handing over to HR.
The department head must learn management tactics and the employee Raman must improve on his presentation skills.
26th August 2010 From Kuwait, Kuwait
Hello!

1Apart from the heirarchy etc one should keep in mind that he was returned by the other Department to his parent department and therefore, the other department head or some one should have again requisitioned his services through his regular department boss.

2.11 PM in the night is an unearthly hour and that's not the way of sending a message/communication by any one about the next day's field work.That too when it is not his regular work.

3.When he failed to reach the Work spot in time, the other boss or some one from his section should have called Raman as to what is his position and if he is likely to come or not.

4.The HR department if thinks that he made a mistake, should caall for an explanation and find out as to ther reasons and

intent behind such a lapse(?) on Raman's part. On finding the truth should treat the whole issue as a trivia.

This will go a long way in instilling confidence in the staff about the support of HR dept for such predicaments which are not in the control of the parties concerned.
26th August 2010 From India, Hyderabad
A classic example of communication gap and ego of the boss. Instead of sending a sorry message, Raman could have rang up to his boss, explain the circumstances and take advice from. Raman’s boss could have asked his explanation before making a show out of it. The issue should be settled within the department amicably without the interference of HR Dept. as procedurally both are at fault.
Harikumar
26th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
Thank you all for your amazing responses. I am glad that I am in CiteHR where knowledge sharing is a learning process. Looking forward for few more views. With Regards Phanindra
26th August 2010 From India, Hyderabad
Raman could have called his supervisor and explained him abt the situation.HR has to support his staff if its a genuine case.This hierarchy problem is common everywhere and the communication Gap.
26th August 2010 From India, Madras
This is a very apt example where HR intervention in resolving the conflict is required.
As stated below it is a very clear case of miscommunication where the same should be properly explained to both parties and the matter resolved.
26th August 2010
HI all
I do agree with eyelin.
If any emp wasn't in condition to perform his/her duties because of any reason, minimum he/she should tried to convey the message to the seniors by proper way.If Raman was not in condition to gone for field work then why should he tried hard to approch the destination and when he realised the non ability for the same and came back to office.Why shouldn't he contact his superior during his travel and tried to realised them the situation he had?
Kindly revert if any
Regards
Ravi
26th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
Case not drafted properly.
An employee is not duty-bound to obey orders of OTHER DEPARTMENT HEAD.
The instruction of the superior (of self, and not other HOD) must be reasonable and lawful for an employee to obey. Instructions given by SMS AT WEE NIGHT HOURS are unreasonable, and hence can be disobeyed.
26th August 2010 From India
This is a case of poor organisation and communication.

The department that assigns Raman field duty should be organised. Ensure that Raman has some advance notice before asking for extra duty, ensure that as Raman is not parmanently based in this department, it knows what his schedule is before assigning someone who has been on night duty work in the morning however urgent.

Raman is not organised him self and has no communication skills. he should be able to communicate that he is on night duty and working in the morning after night duty is a problem, proactively he discusses a favourable time to do the field duty. Family is important, but not at the expense of the job. Many people have families but no jobs so therefore jobs may have an upper advantage when it comes to priority. Raman should have asked someone else to help with the sick person or in the case there is no one to help, he should explain to the supervisor (not HR) that he has a family problem.

Personally i discourage sms as a means of communicating officialy, email or face to face is better. someone will claim your sms did not arrive and you will have no proof of having sent it. sms can only be sent if all other means have been exhausted.

Loyalty is a competence when in the palace with a king or queen, loyalty is not a competence in the organisation of today. Instead proactive organisation and communication, getting results (execution), knowing how to do the job (technical competence), team and self leadership and interpersonal relations are higher competencies. This means that Raman should be sympathised with because he is loyal.

While Raman should have been given a chance to explain, he would have been given a chance to give excuses of his failure to be organised and while these are strong for the individual, they are not strong at all for an organisation that has to compete with tough companies in order to make return on capital and pay workers like Raman.

My advice for us is that always inform the boss before you get into a problem, your explanation should not be excuses. Excuses is when one blames something or someone for ones failure. We are instructed to use our resourcefullness and initiative to overcome challenges....loyalty is not a resource, being able to communicate is a resource.
26th August 2010 From Uganda
This is the case which shows purely communication gap basing on the above i am adding some more points
1)first of all give a chance to raman for explaining the problem so that the head can have a chance to clearly know whether the prblm from the side of employee is genuine or not.
2)The time at which the information has passed to the employee is unearthy time to pass information
26th August 2010 From India, Hyderabad
Hi All,
Greetings for the day,
The above discussed case study is really a good one. Nice to see everyone's response for the same.
According to me,
(i) The other department heads should have informed him through proper channel of communication, sending a text message is not that convincing, also they should have confirmed whether the message had reached to Raman.
(ii) A proper organizational structure needs to be implemented and practiced. If any work needs to be done with the help of other departmental employees, first it needs to be communicated to the head of the department under which Raman falls to.
(iii) The other departmental heads should have listened to the issue and could have took necessary steps for preventing such things happen in future, rather to fire and de-motivate its employee. The best practice is democratic style of approach instead of autocratic style.
26th August 2010 From India, Coimbatore
Raman should have informed his colleagues or senior about his situation, which has to be done.
The Message he sent to his senior was also wrong, he might have stated the reason to,and will explain in detail by person.
In Management side they must have conducted an preliminary enquiry, and asked his points too.
26th August 2010 From India, Madras
Here neither Raman is at fault nor the Management, there is a huge communication gap and there was a confusion between the situation, as Raman was suddenly asked to resume back office duty, where his state of mind got relaxed at the same time his family members got in critical situation due to which he forgot to take his basic responsibility towards the company. And where he missed to inform this to his Sr. authority.
Also, this is a pure example of Human Behavior and Human Psychology, where the company should also keep the counselling sessions on this, which can help these type of employees to manage and keep apart both the family and company duties at their respective places.
26th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
Agree with most of the comments.
(a) SMS is no formal means of communication
(b) Raman had every reason to call and inform the superiors. Things would have not
been so worse for him even if he reached late for the field duty, than just sending a
sorry message
(c) Even if Raman was provided an opportunity to explain his side of the story, the
Management would be seldom interested because the damage was already done.
Sometimes a 2 year loyalty might seem too small when compared to one negative perception the Management develops against the employee. And in this case, I believe Raman created room for such a perception to be developed.
My views only.
26th August 2010 From India, Bangalore
My view is
(a) SMS is no formal means of communication and management should ensure his availability. He is not a army soldier to obey the order ,
(b) Raman sending a sorry message to superior is his major mistake. He should send the message clearly .
(c) Even if Raman was provided an opportunity to explain his side of the story, the Management would be seldom interested because the damage was already done.
d) Atleast raman section head should understand his problem and support positive way .
And in this case,
01. Management made a mistake to use SMS is the official communication and before allotment of work his availability must checked by his department head
02. Raman must explain briefly over phone for his position and reply clearly .But he failed to do so .
03. Lack of leadership and lack of planning in the organisation
04. Clear Policy is not available
26th August 2010 From India, Madras
Hi all,
SMS is not a desired way of coomunication in such a scenario. what if msg didnt reach to the recipient. how u will claim that. and that too when u got to know that its already too late to work according to order.
reaction to such scenario vary from case to case. As rightly said above its a clear cut case of organisational issues and communication gap. how appropriate is to give order through sms. why boss didnt call to Raman? if we are assigning some task on short notice or late night, urgency of work can be feel. boss should not inform thru sms in such a case.
my views only..
comments are welcomed..
26th August 2010 From India, New Delhi
Hi All,

Firstly, the case is not drafted properly as it makes lot of confusion in understanding the concept and job profile as well.

if comes to the case, as it mentioned, the assigned work is on temparary and does not require proper way of communication to the person. oral communication would do for it and it seems more over internal adjustments or mutual understanding or help between the HODs. Other hand, as before he was on the field job and shifted to in house work, due to lacking of manpower to complete the job, the other dept. of HOD might use his exp. to complete the job.

As mentioned,he completed his first assignment for other dept. and came back to his normal duties, again the other dept,head has to take Raman's HOD's permission to assign the job to him. or As soon as he received the SMS about his field job, he could have contacted his HOD or reporting authority about the same.

I do not think so, here the communication throgh SMS of the job would not be a problem as he does not have other mode of communication falicities except the useage of mobile phone. Being the odd timing, the job assigning through SMS is acceptable and the sender might have got the delivery confirmation for his SMS and under te impression that has communicated.

Here problem is that all about the message sent by Raman stating that SORRY Sir, not for neither attending that work lately nor responsiding. If we can see in the case, if i am not worng, though he attended lately, before the same work has assigned to other person based on his SMS.

The problem is with the HOD or senior manager's perception of the message. Raman's intention was to convey massage that he had delayed to attend for the work due to so many reasons (Like his personal family matters or traffic etc). But, the SMS sounds to the senior person as Raman did not obey his senior's instruction or denied to do or might think that how he dared enough to say NO etc,,,.

I can not be able to see any damage here as that work was attended by the other person.

Hence,

1) the problem lies with the senior person, who can not be able to understand the SMS and assumed it in other way inspite of his assosiation with Raman and his nature of personality.

2) Being a senior person, he should allow him to explain about the delay or can ask the explanation on the sms sent openly, before the conclution.

3) His job is into field work, hence, we can understand his education and communication skills. We can not expect more proper way of communication. As per his standards, he is ok and does not have fault with him.

4) The manager has to go under developmental programs as his personalities like attitude, perception, management skills, handling team, communication etc to be changed and he took his power or authorities as granted to humiliate others who is lower cadre to him.

Thanks,

Regards,

Dhananjay
26th August 2010 From India, Bangalore
There should be proper system and process to inform an employee about change in duties and responsibility just by droping in an SMS will not make any sense. Raman reporting manager should have given him a call and dowloaded the entire scenario and explaining him the reasons why he had to go to field for the job. When it's comes to job assisgnment sms communication will not do we need to communicate through email or verbally for the same.
27th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
It is definetely a fault of the his boss who is sending him sms after an office hours, inspite it was not his Resposibility he help the organisation and get the fuss only what if raman has given excuse on very first when he was told to attend the additional responsibilites.
Definetely raman would not have to face this much stress.
27th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
Hi, i’m totally agreed with mbreddy. Both (employee- employer) are in fault. one should had to take initiative to clear the situation.
27th August 2010 From India, Ahmadabad
Leadership is a hotly debated topic and one key charachteristic of leaders is "EMPATHY" which I believe is missing/ lacking in this organization's leadership.
P.S. One of the key actions in EMPATHY is to listen
Cheers!!!
27th August 2010 From India, Thana
Hi,
I think Raman should try to communicate with his boss and tell him the actual scenario. As from boss's perspective it's wrong if anyone sends the sms saying "sorry sir" it means he is denying for the order given by him. so boss's anger is absolutly normal. hence Raman has to communicate with his boss and take him in confidance.
27th August 2010 From India, Thana
This case study, apart from highlighting the gap in the communication process, brings forth other HR and departmental issues such as-
1. lack of sensitivity towards our juniors/colleagues, very typical in the Indian work culture. We like taking a situational view and do not look at the employees past performance.
2. midnight is no time to communicate the coming days schedule. Organizations should encourage a healthy work-life balance for its employees.
3. the departmental heads need to be more mature in analyzing the situation before jumping to conclusions and giving a dressing down
.
27th August 2010 From India, Mumbai
1. Firstly the orders have been incorrectly passed, Raman's permanent department should have issued orders and not the temporary. Raman had already been returned to his permanent department. Is this type of loaning services of employees' between departments, been mentioned in the Standing Orders of the company or in the chater of duties of Raman?

2. Secondly the senior management team should not have directly summoned Raman, displeasure, if at all, should be conveyed through Raman's immediate Boss or the HR/Personnel Deptt.

3. Thirdly, it was very unprofessional of the senior management to have used unparliamentary language or physical force on an Employee rather than calling Raman's reply unprofessional. After all, in todays electronic world/age bravity was used by Raman and the requesting department or organization should have called again to confirm Raman's availability.

4. Fourtly WARNING cannot be given to an Employee without a proper domestic inquiry and charge sheet because WARNING is a legal punishment. Above all the very essence of Natural Justice has been denied to Raman wherein if he moves the Law it will be extremely difficult for the company to win the case. Compensation can be claimed by the individual.

5. The cases of discipline and punishment need to be treated with care or else a wrong message is going out, not only affecting Raman's MORALE but it will also perculate down to other employess.

6. Having read through the posts, there is no end to details and probabily you need a book if you look into the depths of the case.
27th August 2010 From India, Calcutta
[QUOTE=phanindrasai;1248576]Dear all

I am sharing a case study with all of you. Request you to give your valuable opinions.

Whose fault is it?

Raman an employee in a company was attending field duty as the other departmental head asked him to on temporary basis. After attending the work for two days he was thanked by the concerned departmental head for his work and said if required in future we will call you again. After updating the matters Raman resumed to his regular duties in his department. Raman has few family responsibilities due to which he was unable to concentrate more on field so his department was changed and was posted in-house in the past. One night suddenly at 11.30 PM he receives a message that he has to attend field duty again next day morning. On the other hand Raman’s family member was not well he was busy in the hospital and left his mobile at home. After returning home at midnight as he was totally tired he slept and got up late in the morning. In the morning when he checked his mobile he was surprised to see that message and thinks that it was already late as the place he should reach is in the outskirts of the city and all the way till he reaches that place there will be heavy traffic. In that confusion and chaos he replies that message typing “Sorry Sir”. The head of the other department assigns that work to some other official.

Later on Raman reaches the office in a confused state while he was worried about the family members health. In the meanwhile weekend arrives and the things will be back to normal at Raman’s house as the family member's health recovers.

On Monday the senior management team calls him bang and bash him left right center for sending an unprofessional message to the superior of other department and warn him from doing so in future. Raman was not given a chance for explaining the things.

Raman a loyal and sincere employee working in that organisation for the past two and half years is disappointed and dejected.[/ raman was not wrong but he has done his duty by informing you that he is unable to come . seniors might have told him the same thing in proper manner that is in positive way then raman would not might get disappointed as much he is. ]
27th August 2010 From India, Aurangabad
Be polite and professional as wel which will do not effect employee mentality in negative respect
27th August 2010 From India, Aurangabad
In most of the organisations in the private, this is common way of dealings with the employees. Under sucha situation, either, he should look for another jos and push off and so long he is unable to find, he has to tolerate such humiliations.
30th August 2010 From India, Calcutta
Its seem a communication gap between Raman and his boss. As a boss he should know the proper way of communication and also Raman should call the concered department immediately instead of text message. As Raman is working for the last two years and giving his best efforts to the company so HR department should not forget his contribution. HR department should also try that make him Raman feel that he belongs to the workforce and without his efforts they are incomplete.So next time Raman will think twice to do the same situation.
Regards
Davinder
30th August 2010 From India, Patiala
sometimes, a txt msg doesn't even reach on time.
If sms is unprofessional, the mgt is at fault for using it as an official tool and sending it late at night.
'sorry sir', is not unprofessional, specially looking at what the employee has just gone through. the fact that he replied as soon as he noticed it shows that he is not irresponsible.
Managers, having higher authority should also use discretion in their dealings with their staff who are termed as loyal and sincere.
12th September 2010 From India, Bangalore
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