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CASE STUDY ON GROUP BEHAVIOUR

Hindustan Lever Research Centre (HLRC) was set up in the year 1967 at
Mumbai. At that time the primary challenge was to find suitable alternatives
to the edible oils and fats that were being used as raw materials for soaps.
Later, import substitution and export obligations directed the focus towards
non-edible oil seeds, infant foods, perfumery chemicals, fine chemicals,
polymers and nickel catalyst. This facilitated creation of new brands which
helped build new businesses.

HUL believes in meritocracy and has a comprehensive performance


management system, which ensures that people are rewarded according to
their performance and abilities. Almost 47% of the entire managerial cadres
are people who have joined us through lateral recruitment.

Over the years many break through innovations have taken place.
Hindustan Lever Research gained eminence within Unilever Global R&D
and became recognized as one of the six global R&D Centers of Unilever
with the creation of Unilever Research India in Bangalore in 1997.

At Bangalore R&d center , a team of 10 scientists were appointed for a


project on ‘shampoo’ line.Suranjan sircar heading the team as Principal
Research scientist with the support of Vikas Pawar, Aparna Damle ,
Jaideep Chatterjee , Amitava Pramanik as Research scientists. Suresh
jayaraman & Punam Bandyopadhyay were Research Associates.

Vikas Pawar came up with an idea of pet shampoos during brainstorming


with the team.“Hey, why don’t we target the pet care segment because in
India, pet industry is being seriously looked at as a growing industry. I had
been working on this concept for a few weeks & have done some initial
research as well”, said Vikas. “I think we should just focus on the dog
segment & bring out a range of shampoos that are breed specific”,
contributed by Aparna Damle, who was a new unmarried scientist in the
company. “Oh that’s a really great idea, a breakthrough” said Jaideep &
Amitava appreciating Aparna.The idea given by Aparna got support from
both colleagues & head.
Vikas was although not comfortable with his credit being taken away. He
also felt that creating brand specific shampoos would not be a profitable
innovation thus, no point concentrating efforts on that. With this in mind he
put his point forward but couldn’t gather consensus.

After the discussion, Jaideep & Amitava being friends to Vikas, consoled
him & showed confidence in his plan & thoughts. “We understand what you
are going through. The idea Was yours & Aparna took all your credit.Don’t
worry we are with you & be careful from next time.”
Nevertheless, in the meeting Aparna presented her proposal for the idea
mentioning requirements & chemical details. The meeting began with
motivational speech & plan ofaction by the head of the team. A lot was
discussed in detail & tasks were allotted along with deadlines.
Immediately after the presentation Jaideep & Amitava approached Aparna
& eulogized her research & proposal reiterating the importance of breed
specific range of shampoos.

Vikas lay aside his ego & went ahead with full dedication & commitment,
however during the tenure of the research he noticed poor attitude of team
members. Punam was not regular with deadlines; she submitted her
research on breeds four days after deadline. Suresh was asked to
coordinate with members looking into chemical research but Vikas
observed him most of the times in the recreation room, so he asked him
“Hi, so what’s the progress in chemical research so far?” Suresh replied
that he had done whatever he was asked to do by senior scientist.

He reported this lack of commitment & proactive attitude to Suranjan Sircir


& asked for an action against them. “Hmm… I know what’s happening in
the team. I have worked for 20 years in this industry & from my experience
I know what to do & when to dretorded back.
Q.1 Analyze group behavior of the team. Study the informal & formal groups

In this case.
Q.2 Point out flaws in the group & recommend solutions to overcome them.
The general picture that emerges out of the aforementioned case is that of
confusion, a clear lack of leadership and one that is filled with group
politics. It is worsened by the general negative attitude among the
members and on a whole a lack of clear cut camaraderie among the whole
members that really takes away a good bit of performance among the
members.
Some observations:

• With the given information, vikas as a person deserves special mention


for he is the one who seems to have a holistic personality and a right kind
of employee to guide the organization to the next level of success. He is
the one employee who in my opinion seems to have the kind of
constructive thinking for the sake of the organization as well as doing full
justice to his job. He is honest, hardworking and apparently one who is on
the lookout for new ideas as he was the one who came up with one during
the brainstorming session and also he had done some research on his own
behalf regarding the same.

• Aparna as a new member of the team appears to be a very ambitious,


intelligent girl who is also a very opportunist. It is evident from the fact that
when vikas presented before the group one idea that was at the best a path
or a general view of what is to be done it was aparna who was quick to
grab the opportunity and narrow the broad idea into a more narrow and
specific direction .thus she seems to convey a very positive and a strong
urge to perform on the job. Yet it is also clear that she doesn’t seem to be
having a regard for her colleagues as it was apparent that almost ‘stole’ the
vikas’s idea and took the full credit to her name even without sharing the
honors with vikas.She seems to be a very high on the Mach scale.

• Jaideep and amitava appears to share good relationship between them as


a good clique. they are very positive minded people, it is clear from the fact
that they really appreciated aparna, a newcomer to the organization and
realizing well before that she was a very ambitious employee wasted no
time in extolling her work as this will appease her desire for support and
recognition among fellow workers, something that is very important.
Among the formal groups: it is very clear that there is a proper structure in
the organization with Suranjan Sircar heading the team as Principal
Research Scientist with the support of Vikas Pawar, Aparna Damle,
Jaideep Chatterjee, and Amitava Pramanik as Research Scientists. Suresh
Jayaraman & Punam Bandyopadhyay are Research Associates.

The formal group of research scientists appears to be a very able team as


they are able to resolve and step aside their personal differences and
professional competitiveness to work for the benefit of the organization.

• In the formal group, the group members seem to be working pretty


lethargically; as is seen by the fact that Punam didn’t meet her
deadlines and Suresh spent most of his time in recreation.
• Moreover, the group leader/ head Suranjan Circar is too haughty to
accept any suggestions from his subordinates.
• In the informal group, there is the dissatisfaction among Vikas and his
friends for Vikas’ credit being snatched away by Aparna.
• However, it is highly appreciable of Vikas that he lays aside his ego
and works with full dedication for the better of the group.
• The team of research associates of punam and Suresh seems to lack
the urge and capabilities to work at the acceptable standards

Thus, though there clearly exists an informal group having a grudge against
the formal group, it is observed that the two never really clash. As a result,
the delay in the group’s task completion could not attributed to the
existence of an informal group working against it but is fully because of the
wrong attitude of the group members towards their work.

In a job like this where the team effort is more important and people
concentrate on synergies of the team effort it is very important for the
leaderof the group to make sure that there is enough camaraderie among
the members. Here aparna appears to be too self centered to think about
her coworkers which can in the long run lead to difficulties. Thus it is job of
the leader to council aparna and make sure that she understands and
appreciates the advantages of being a good team member.
It is a rarity that there are loyal and hardworking employees like vikas who
have a very good attitude and mindset to do the job. He is being treated
rather shabbily by the management. For employees like vikas the non
monetary incentives are as important as monetary benefits. Therefore
recognizing the talent the management should really appreciate and keep
him happy so that they can get the optimum contribution from him.

FLAWS IN THE TEAM AND THEIR SOLUTIONS


Lack of seriousness -- The first flaw that one can clearly see in the group is
that its members are some what casual towards their work. Although the
work of the team started on a very serious and determined note, it lost out
on them soon after; as could well be seen in the cases of Punam and
Suresh. This can be rectified by having strong authority and controlling
measures in the team and make it the norm to follow.

Lack of commitment -- The members do not seem to be committed enough


towards their work. There could be two reasons for it: either the members
are not adequately motivated or they are not serious enough, i.e., the first
point itself. Here is very important that the leader follow the appropriate
motivational concepts and methods to get his team to perform at their level
best. May be the job at hand may not be challenging enough for some. In
that case the job profile has to be divided with close care and matched with
the ability and needs of the employees.

There is a clear lack of able leadership skills in the team. It is apparent that
the team leader Mr. Suranjan circar doesn’t seem to have the same
commitment level or he is having a big ego problem. It is evident from the
fact that when vikas pointed out the flaws in the team and sought an action
against them, the leader circar instead got miffed and retorted angrily. This
clearly was a communication to vikas that as a leader he is aware of what
isto be done and he doesn’t need a lesson in that. Clearly in a marketing
research agency you need to have a flexible and participative form of
leadership and Mr. circar needs to change his approach quickly otherwise
the group results will continue to be bad.