The Great Northern American Case Study

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The Great Northern American Case Study
Patrice Readus
Professor: Dr. Debra Sherrill
Business 520 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
November 25, 2012

Discuss why Joe’s employees need to understand the importance of how people form perceptions and make attributions
Great Northern American is a 35-year old company operated by President, Mr. Joe Salatino. The company is responsible for selling more than $20 million in office/promotional supplies to more than 60,000 businesses nationwide. The company is a sales, telemarketer based operation and focuses on a fun environment, large commissions and bonuses in order to keep the sales team focused, while being in a competitive market (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). The company prides itself on the bonuses and commission that they are allowed to provide as motivation to the top sellers in the company and uses different gimmicks within the company to keep employees motivated. Mr. Salatino believes that when employees establish relationships with their customers, they earn more income than those who do not create and/or maintain those types of relationships with customers. Along with top-performing incentives, Mr. Salatino attempts to be efficient in noting key factors for success (excellent communication skills, self-motivation, and self-starters) when hiring an individual for the telemarketing positions to continue the company’s success. Description and insight will be provided on how employees are responsible for knowing how important the perception that customers have of them can/will impact their performance and the company as a whole and the learning theory that most fits the company’s management and how it can be applied to their business model to motivate employees.
Perception is defined as “the process by which the individual selects, organizes, interprets, and responds to information” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011, p. 104). Attribution “refers to the way in which individuals come to understand the causes of their own and others’ behaviors” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011, p. 119). In order for a sales professional at Great Northern American to be successful, it is imperative that the employee play the role where they are able to convince the customer that they are an authority on the product and that the customer can trust that the product is one that will satisfy their needs. Once the customer grasps this perception and feels comfortable with the sales person, the customer is more than likely to be a repeat customer. An individual is responsible for forming their own perceptions when dealing with a business and making their own attributions. Different people can perceive the same situation differently, both in terms of what they selectively perceive and how they organize and interpret what is perceived, by the employee and their manager (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Management is in turn responsible for making sure that the attributions made concerning the causes of behavior are used to actually understand employee behavior instead of merely issuing punishment for failing performance. For example, a leader who attributes poor performance directly to his subordinates tends to behave more punitively than does a leader who attributes poor performance to circumstances beyond his subordinates’ control. A manager who believes that an employee failed to perform a task correctly because he lacked proper training might be understanding and give the employee better instructions or more training (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). In the case study, Mr. Salatino perceives a direct relationship between an employee’s communication skills with the customer and their sales. If we can understand how a customer perceives a sales person and how it is actually done can be the difference between one of Mr. Salatino’s employees either making the sale or losing the sale. Because a sales professional is almost solely dependent on how the customer perceives them, it is critical that they