Messy Situation

For discussions of the Open University's T214 Systems course.

Messy Situation

Postby petrus on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:36 am

Hi all

Not sure whether low morale in the workforce at a company could be classified as a messy/wicked situation. What do you think?

Best regards
Petrus
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby Teiana on Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:43 pm

yes i think it could, but, i wonder about the definition of 'low morale'.

See i think some people have different ideas about what that means. So i think, you probably have to look at it not as 'low morale is the problem let's try and solve it' but as something more like 'exploring and defining workplace expectations - how can we build a process for dealing with morale?' or something better than that, i can't think right now.

in the instance of calling the situation 'low morale is the problem let's try and solve it' there is perhaps a temptation to just end up with a 'list of possible things that make people happier' and then tick off the ones that might work. That's not really deep enough.


you'd maybe need to look at things like 'how morale is communicated' both positive and negative..and look at it on all scales... perhaps even in different environments.. how does the morale of your company compare to the morale of soldiers at war, or children in a school..

i think it could work quite well as a topic especially as these days businesses can't afford to lose valuable staff (recruitment costs) but also can't always afford pay rises either.. improving morale is one way to make staff want to be there..

there was a thing in another thread about motivation and how monetary reward falls down in complex situations and that seems relevant. i think andrea posted it in response to jim but i forget which thread now.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby petrus on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:02 pm

Thanks for your reply to my post. I am about to start working on my TMA and we have been asked to choose a work-based mess and I am having difficulties in trying to find one :( So far I have only encountered problems which are in reality difficulties which can be solved. The only mess I could think of and which is present in the company I work with is the situation of deteriorating worker morale. But then again is it a mess? We were asked to avoid personal situations/issues. I could have chosen the restructuring of a loss-making national airline but had to abandon it as I didn't have enough information about it.
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby jamesWtc on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:14 pm

petrus wrote:Not sure whether low morale in the workforce at a company could be classified as a messy/wicked situation. What do you think?


This is exactly the same topic I wrote for my TMA in T214. I believe there are many factors lead up to low morale, and usually tricky one.

It's very interesting topic especially for block 3, where you can apply almost any metaphors to your company and it reveals many interesting insights!! I giggled and nodding along when I wrote my TMA, and got a happy 91% :lol:
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby petrus on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:20 pm

James, thanks for setting my mind at rest because I was worried whether or not it would be suitable for using as a messy situation ;) The TMA deadline is 15th July and haven't started on it yet :(
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby jamesWtc on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:27 pm

Oh sorry... can't remember which TMA is was, but if it's for the social organisation, then it is the right one. Don't think it's TMA 3 coz it is already July. :)

But you have to justify why is it a messy situation and not difficulty. But generally, I believe anything concerns human situation is messy!
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby petrus on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:43 pm

TMA05 :)
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby Teiana on Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:04 pm

it's a mess if
the problem isn't easily defined
there are several ( ie more than just two, usually!) people involved and they have different ideas and perspectives about it
there are multiple possible 'solutions' which all involve some ongoing process/iteration or, no visible solutions.

if the solution is 'buy them a jukebox' the problem isn't a mess.
if the solution is 'fire all the unhappy people' the problem probably isn't a mess either.

think about the learning cycle and if you can see a way to define your 'solution' in terms of a process rather than an object, you probably have a mess.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby Teiana on Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:06 pm

if you search these forums for 'change' i bet you'd turn up some interesting ideas for research. be careful not to plagiarise anything though.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Messy Situation

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:00 pm

i'd think low morale is probably a symptom of various other factors in a messy situation. As Teiana says, any problem situation involving more than a very small number of people is likely to be messy.
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