European Stock Collection - August 08, 2009

1.        The Need

Many businesses and organizations are having problems of employee relations that harm the organizational climate and cause:

  • Delays in production, and sometimes defective products or services
  • Complaints from customers which in some cases lead to the loss of some of the most profitable customers
  • A climate of distrust and doubt that makes the employees be on guard from their neighbours and to feel dissatisfied with the organization
  • Negativism prevails and soon spreads to the younger employees who, seeing what the environment is, gradually adopt similar toxic behaviours

As a consequence of the above undesirable happenings, the organization loses a good deal of its efficiency, and its customer service suffers.

2.       How the problems of employee relations manifest: What Businesses and Organizations said

The problem we are having is that our people don’t talk to each other, don’t communicate with one another. They don’t have good relations and revert to sending emails and memos to each other instead of talking the issues over the phone. They would even sometimes ignore each other’s memos.

I have called them in my office, but my efforts were of little avail. I cannot and don’t want to fire them for each one of them has valuable skills and competencies.

The need for a solution to such problems for many organizations is more than urgent.

3.       What causes the problem

The problems in employee relations and organizational climate are caused and maintained to a great degree by (a) the kind of structure (org. Design), (b) the kind of leadership, and (c) the employees’ attitudes and inclinations.

(a) Vertical Structures

How the problems are caused:

With the passage of time, the company’s functions start to develop self-importance and place own interests above that of the organization; silos and feuds follow. The problems are first seen in the lower level operations where value-to-customer is developed and delivered through cross-functional processes. If high walls separate departments, the processes are inhibited, service to customer deteriorates and ultimately some good customers are lost.

(b) Leadership

How it can cause problems:

The kind of style and particularly that of autocracy can lead to bad employee relations that can even, sometimes, be repressive. The strict centralized approach does not encourage initiatives and negates the requirement for employees to feel responsible and exhibit ownership of work. Some leaders’ reluctance to design and offer a system of incentives and recognition disempowers the employees from exerting their best efforts and discourages initiatives, while the cause of many wrongdoings comes from the unwillingness of some leaders to focus on workplace performance and to secure proper means of production.

(c) Employees

How they cause problems:

An insufficient sense of ownership, unwillingness to work for the organizational good, deficiencies in knowledge and skills, lack of interest in getting new skills and in continuous improvement, not knowing and indifference for the goals of the organization.

Note: If the operation even in one of the above three factors is lacking, it is enough to relegate relations to a less constructive level.

4.       How to remedy the problem
           Cultural Links as a solution

The creation and functioning of Cultural Links can bring drastic changes in the people’s mentalities and will succeed to improve relations significantly provided the right preconditions for Leadership and Personnel are there.

Cultural Links are the actions and expressions of culture that promote the horizontal operations in a vertical organization with the aim to make it more cross-disciplinary and more customer-centric in addition to serving its need for efficiency


They allow us to retain the structure from the vertical organization and combine it with the culture and leadership of the horizontal organization so as to make its lines more flexible. In other words, to operate the existing vertical structure in many instances as horizontal bringing in the team spirit and the transdisciplinary workflow without resolving to hard cross-disciplinary structures (matrix).

Cultural Links have as preconditions some appropriate levels of leadership and personnel; achieving adequacy in those two constitutes a critical factor for any successful application.

Cultural Links modify the vertical structure turning it into a new type of organizational structure. Unlike the horizontal design, this cultural-links augmented structure, for the organization, presents a less onerous change, and it does not run against human nature as is the case of the matrix structure with its dual authority and accountability.

Our workshop helps Businesses and Organizations take further steps on the subject and includes exercises on the necessary actions at each factor’s level

The remaining contents of the workshop in section titles are:

  • Examples of Cultural Links, section 5
  • Roles of the various factors, section 6
  • Difficulties and impediments, section 7
  • Initiatives by each factor to overcome difficulties, section 8
  • Conclusions and commitments for actions after the seminar

The purpose of the workshop

  • To make participants aware of possible solutions to the problems of bad organizational climate and bad employee relations
  • To make people aware of the obligations and responsibilities at each factor level
  • To guide the functional and section heads together with the employees to achieve a big change in attitude and thinking.
  • Through exercises from their own real office life, participants to learn the methods of changing and improving.

Note: The offered suggestions were successfully practised in a number of organizations.

Further Communication

If you are having some of these problems or if the subject is of interest to you and your organization, please communicate with us for a meeting at your premises without any obligation.


Sardos Solutions’ Mission: To help companies achieve great results by sharing freely with them its management knowledge and experience hoping that by so doing it will contribute in their creating increased employment and prosperity for their people and communities.

email: Tel: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, fax +357 24655538