Thursday, July 26, 2012

Webisodes are the New Startups to Watch

Organizational structure and behavior are pretty well mapped out in corporate America. Employees are split into departments,assigned specialized functions, and manage the pretty much the same tasks day in and day out. From the Chief Financial Officer to the lowly office assistant, everyone knows their place and purpose. At a start-up, however, this hierarchy structure gets tossed aside for something more malleable. The CEO is just as likely to bring in coffee and bagels or lock-up the office at night as the rookie intern out of college intern is.

In this blog we like to take a look at different shows like The Office and Undercover Boss to examine organizational behavior, and mentoring and success strategies as they relate to the entertainment industry. Television shows produced by the top networks are almost an exact microcosm of the companies that spawned them. They have all the aforementioned hierarchies and structures in place. Every employee involved, from the director to the key grip is a specialist in their niche.

This, however, is definitely not the case in the emerging webisode industry. Like any other start-up company, webisodes ask employees to be more varied and excel in multiple functions. The director is also a producer, show runner and production assistant. Check out the links to the two very different webisodes below. The first is from a show called Epic Meal Time. The show has an enormous following, but a format structured specifically for ten minute web videos. The is taken from Live from Daryl’s House. In this show Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame invites musicians to his country house to hangout and perform. The success of this show has led to it being picked up for network television.

My question to you is this: How do you think mentoring and success strategies play a role in Epic Meal Time where hierarchy and specialization have yet to take root? And do you think a more corporate approach as seen in Live from Daryl’s House improves or diminishes the webisodes authenticity?

Looking forward to hearing your take on this!

Epic Meal Time: Ultimate Pizza Sandwich

Live from Daryl’s House: Episode 54 – Butch Walker

Image Credit:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Organizational Behavior and Casual Friday

Way before I decided that my dream was to teach organizational behavior, mentoring and success strategies, I worked in a mid size corporate office for a time. The CEO introduced a new rule one day that allowed employees to bring their pets, mostly dogs, to work on Friday’s. He didn't realized, however, that this little fringe benefit didn't account for equity theory, or "fairness" in the work place. While some of the employees loved bringing their pets to work and showing them off, others turned their noses up at the "pet shop environment" the office had become. I'm not sure if the CEO ever caught on to the inequity but what they did notice was that productivity was steadily decreasing with all distractions these furry little critters caused. As a result, Bring Your Pet Friday was put on a permanent hiatus.

Today, most employees are too smart to fall for this sort of 'Casual Dress Friday' trickery, and companies are much more cautious about handing out fringe benefits that damage productivity. Nowadays employers are mainly focused on the bottom line. So by now you're probably asking, how does this change/addition affect me?

In May of 2011 I wrote a blog entry entitled: Undercover Boss: CEO or Santa Claus. I found the comment below particularly impressive. It provides a link to a clip regarding the different fringe benefits that employees of Google are receiving. Google's success strategy has been to release several programs that in my opinion are a giant leap forward in fringe benefits. The programs provide needed resources with an attached financial/bottom line value for both the employer and employee.

One great example is that Google provides its employees with free breakfast and lunch- every day! By providing complimentary meals to employees Google keeps them on site, interacting and brainstorming with each other. This not only keeps them happy but all but guarantees an increase in productivity. Additionally, employees can do the math to figure out that these extra meals are essentially a pay increase.

So here is my challenge to you. Read Nicole’s response and watch the video clip, then in the comments section tell me what additional benefits some companies could offer that would meet fulfill the needs of equity theory and help bottom line of the company.

Get creative with your responses! :)

Nicole Uy says:
April 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Personally, I love watching Undercover Boss too. I’ve watched different episodes featuring the CEOs of Hooters, 7-Eleven, Choice Hotels Int’l, Great Wolf Lodge and etc. While I believe that these CEOs who have volunteered to go undercover have good and honest intentions, I think that the “temporary/ one-time rewards” they offer to some employees are not necessarily beneficial. Aside from the fact that these rewards are only given to a select few, I don’t think the CEOs can really improve the condition of their companies unless they truly address the main issue: treat employees/ human capital better by offering more benefits and perks. Although it may be costly for companies, we have learned in class that the benefits definitely outweigh the burdens. When employees are being treated well and when they are satisfied, there is higher productivity, better customer service, and generally, a happy and warm atmosphere.

Aside from companies like SAS and Zappos that we have discussed in class, Google also treats its employees well. The video clip I found talks about just some of the numerous perks of working at Google, which is currently the 4th best company to work for. As you can see from the video, Google definitely spoils its employees. Not only does Google provide gourmet food, free laundry services, free massages, and gym facilities, it also provides free bus services to the office! Therefore, I think that by truly focusing on the wellness and happiness of employees, Google is able to utilize them to their full potential, as well as benefit from their various skills and knowledge. Additionally, unlike the ones offered in Undercover Boss, these benefits are long-term and permanent. Also, they are available to every single employee, from the lower levels to the highest levels.

Thus, by offering these types of benefits to employees, they can become fully motivated and eager to work. Additionally, all of people’s needs are being fully satisfied according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Organizational Behavior and Television MashUps

In September of last year my post What Do You Need From Work touched a nerve with readers generating more than 200 responses! You showed that you are as passionate about pop-culture as you are about office dynamics and organizational behavior.

I thought it would be fun to apply Maslow’s Hierarchy to a mashup TV world. Two of the television shows sited in reader responses were HBO’s Entourage and NBC’s The Office. Let’s imagine a world where Ari Gold and Michael Scott switch places. How would that switch effect the individual work environments?

Start with a level from Maslow’s Hierarchy and imagine how it would be manifested in this mashup. Here is an example:

Love and Belonging
Michael Scott would try too hard to become friends with Lloyd, putting his clients aside in an effort to woo his assistant. Freaked out his new employer’s affection, Lloyd would reluctantly agree to take Michael clubbing leading to more awkwardness than acceptance.

Use your imagination and have fun with this. If you are not familiar with these shows then tell me what other mashups would make for an interesting shift in work place dynamics. I can’t wait to read your responses!

I would like to offer special thanks to Jonathan and Rachel Horrigan for their Entourage and The Office specific comments in response to What Do You Need From Work.