Poor Communication: Outcomes

It is clear that Cheetham and Wynne's company encountered resistance from the workforce when implementing an open plan workplace design as a result of ineffective communication and awareness to all the stakeholders. Mark and Cathy send an email to the workforce while defending the reasons for variation rather than convening an impartial caucus with all of the attorneys and the rest of the staff. The Kotter's 8-Step model encourages organizations that claim to have novel modifications to have regular discussions about the proposal while also having practical solutions for any issues that may arise and anxieties of the workers (Hornstein 2015, p. 291). Therefore, it required the founders and the top executive to hold face to face communication to spearhead the issue of open plan office, an instance that was lacking.

Lack of Consultation

Eminently, the thought to shift to open plan office was done without consulting the entire staff apart from the top officials. As it appears, Mark and Cathy persuaded the founders of Cheetham and Wynne law firm to adopt an open plan office without considering the input of the whole staff (Roy 2016, p. 2). Later, the two sent an email to the workforce when they had already agreed. Notably, the purpose of the email was to inform the employees on what was already passed rather than inquiring their suggestion (Roy 2016, p. 2). Opposite to what was done by Mark and Cathy, Cummings and Worley (2014, p. 345) reiterate that organizations planning to embrace new modification should conduct exclusive campaign and awareness that are meant to every individual in the establishment, executive or junior is kept in light of the new events and variations.

Misunderstanding about the Need for an Open Plan Office Design

While the adoption of the new open-plan office was proposed with the belief that it could create a 'team atmosphere when people are working side by side,' the notion was partially perceived by the entire workers (Roy 2016, p. 2). For instance, some lawyers regarded the new design as a barrier that was creating inconveniencing platform that hindered their ability to discuss private issues with the clients while in the office (Roy 2016, p. 4). On the other hand, some complaints emanated from other workers who insisted on the lack of confidentiality. Similarly, Kim and de Dear (2013, p. 18) added that open plan office setups are fond of depriving the staff their secrecy while at job place.

Change in the Status Quo

One of the reasons why some employees were resisting changes were due to variation in the status quo (Roy 2016, p. 3). For instance, at the upmarket restaurant, Jack reported that some senior associates had been allegedly complaining of losing their status (Roy 2016, p.3). As a result of lacking their offices, they considered themselves underrated; an instance that had also caused hindered the proper functioning of online booking of the firm's services. On the same note, Cummings and Worley (2014, p. 346) appeal for the establishments that are embracing new modifications to maintain the position and privileges of the existing workforce without making an unnecessary compromise.

1b. What the Partners Might Have Done

Proper communication With the Staff

Before sending emails to inform the staff about open plan office design, the partners and the founders were to hold regular meetings with the workers to make them develop the sense and become part of the idea. Hornstein (2015, p. 292) suggested that firms should form a strong team comprising of charismatic leaders to support change. Additionally, Cummings and Worley (2014, p. 348) affirm that regular reminder and valuing of workers concerns are vital in minimizing complaints.

Comprehensive Explanation of the Reasons for Moving to a new Plan Office

As opposed to mailing the staff reasons for migration to an open office design, the founders of Cheetham and Wynne firm was supposed to hold some face to face meetings with the staff to explain the driving factors for the new change. Through the caucus, they would brainstorm and deliberate over misunderstandings and grievances that would be proposed by the staff. In support Parmenter (2015, p. 413) maintains that businesses that successfully manage modifications are proficient in explaining the purported variations to the entire team.

Engaging the Entire Staff in the Whole Process and Proper Solution to the Anticipated issues

For new changes to be effective, it calls for complete inclusion and consultation of the staff from scratch till completion time (Hornstein 2015, p. 294). In this regard, the input from the workforce was paramount. On the other hand, it would be necessary for the senior personnel and lawyers to be convinced to adhere to the new working conditions as further attempts are being made to construct for them fixed walls that would enhance their comfortability someday.

Question Two

2a. Barriers to Communication in the Law Firm (Noise)

Psychological Noise

The mental state of individuals would influence the manner of sending, receiving, and perceiving the message (Voinea et al., 2017, p. 172). In Cheetham and Wynne law firm, the psychological barrier is witnessed in various aspects. Driven by anger, several employees express their feelings of dissatisfaction with the establishment. For instance, Hanna Ivanova, a paralegal staff says after the meeting that she was promised a salary increment upon joining the company based on her performance, an example that is not yet accomplished despite achieving the terms of the agreement (Roy 2016, p. 5). As exclaimed by Gut, Wilczewski, and Gorbaniuk (2017, p. 253), anger, whenever occurs, would impair the dissemination of the info from the sender to the receiver. Therefore, under this instance, it would be hard for Hanna and her colleagues with a similar challenge to comply and internalize all the directions given by the firm's founders and the top executives. Likewise, Anand appeared 'angry and embarrassed,' as reported by Anna, hence conversation was hindered in the instance.


Stereotype connotes the thoughts that are developed about certain individuals or behaviors Gut, Wilczewski, and Gorbaniuk 2017, p. 254). From the Cheetham and Wynne law firm, Mai reacts to Candy's case by exclaiming that "she thinks she is special just because she is a sexy redhead" (Roy 2016, p. 5). With the presumption which extends to place Candy to be having an affair with Mark, several peers develop a negative attitude towards her. The setups with stereotypes and negative perception hinder the effectiveness of the communication. In this scenario, it would be hectic for Candy to pass information to the rest of employees on behalf of the administrators.

Physical Noise

Being an open plan office, Cheetham and Wynne's firm is prone to various kinds of physical noise. Because all the offices are located at one place, it is possible to get various kind of disturbances from different personnel (Kim and de Dear 2013, p. 19). Some lawyers, for instance, reported issues of comfortability when they are about to interact with clients, a case that deprived them not only privacy but also unconducive environment due to conversation and talks from the rest of the workers.

The other aspects of physical noise emanated from a large informal kitchen area that was located near the establishment as well as the lacking walls separating the different offices (Roy 2016, p. 2). Possibly, the sounds of kitchen equipment could distract conversation within the offices as well as the noise from operating computers that could unnecessarily thwart the internal communication (Kim and de Dear 2013, p. 22). Additionally, some workers including secretaries walk out to make some calls due to both privacy reasons as well as the desire to go to a peaceful area.

Systematic Barrier of Communication

Notably, this kind of communication barrier occurs when there is an inappropriate communication system put in place to reach different parties (Gut, Wilczewski, and Gorbaniuk 2017, p. 256). For instance, Mai reports that Mr. Wynne complained that she is too slow in making contracts, hence was vulnerable to making many mistakes (Roy 2016, p. 5). However, when she asked him of the wrongs, he finally kept quiet having corrected the issues by himself. Henceforth, Mai got furtherly confused and unable to identify what was expected of her.

How the Barriers would be Overcome

2b. Maintaining the Promises Made to Employees

In order to curb the instances of anger amongst the workforce, the top management must remain truthful to fulfill the promises made to the worker (Drew 2014, p. 402). The administration of the firm should act honestly to the clients like Hanna Ivanova and John Carlton amongst others. By fulfilling their promises, the attitude of the workers would be ever positive so that in case of any information being passed, they would readily receive it without further whining.

Establishing Charismatic Leaders to Mentor the Juniors and the New Workers

To overcome systematic communication barrier, Cheetham and Wynne law firm was to reinstate sociable front-runners with the capability of explaining to the workers what is expected of them. According to Drew (2014, p. 404), a proper conversation system would lead to a uniform internalization of concepts, thus minimizing mistakes or poor job outcomes. Through the approach, the complaints of insufficient info as raised by Mai would be eradicated.

Using Sound Absorbers and Reconsidering the New Location of the Kitchen

To avoid vulnerability from the sound produced especially in the offices using computers and printers, it would be vital to fix more efficient sound absorbers on the walls to replace the modern paintings of the company. On the other hand, the founders of the firm would consider relocating the large informal kitchen to other premises to avoid distractions. In support, Darbyshire and Young (2013, p. 187) subscribe to the same thought by suggesting that offices should be free from certain structures such as hotels places with operating machinery to improve the working condition.

Question Three

3a. Sources of Power for the Partners and Others and the Impacts to the Rest of Employees

Reward Power

Reward power arises when an individual can affect the allocation of incentives such as salary increment and positive appraisals amongst others (Fleming and Spicer 2014, p 237). In Cheetham and Wynne firm, Pauline reports that Mark and Cathy assisted her in settling her student loan by the time she began working in the establishment, an instance that made her refer to herself as a 'token representative.' Notably giving motivations to some employees would inspire the rest to work harder to obtain merit standard. Conversely, the approach would lead to unnecessary hatred and grudge amongst the staff.

Referent Power

Referent supremacy is obtained from the interpersonal relationship developed by individuals to other people within an organization (Fleming and Spicer 2014, p 237). Purportedly, people with such type of power usually earn respect due to their charismatic nature that warrant then respect (Fleming and Spicer 2014, p 238). In Cheetham and Wynne law firm, there is an element of referent power as reported by Anand. He refers Mark and Cathy to have been very supportive, an approach that has made the career appear fantastic and enthusiastic (Roy 2016, p. 3). Furtherly, Anand recalls how the two have been giving her unrelenting assistance, for instance, the Hamilton court case over the toxic fertilizer that they won. Apparently, charismatic leaders nurture the juniors to become renowned experts while increasing their interest in their field of profession.

Expert Power

Expert supremacy is obtained when someone is showing superiority in specific areas (Fleming and Spicer 2014, p 238). Such individuals perform critical tasks that would be hardly completed by the rest. For instance, Anand Moodley was excellent on environmental issues. On the other hand, both Mark and Cathy were specialized and aggressive of patent protection and other intellectual properties (Roy 2016, p. 3). In the entire law firm, nobody could handle their duties as they the tasks required a high level of proficiency. As a result of the existence of the skilled authority, the rest of workers would be motivated to attain merit due to the influence of their perceived role models.

Legitimate Power

The legitimate power refers to the position being held by an individual in the organization (Fleming and Spicer 2014, p 239). In Cheetham and Wynne law firm, workers were occupying different posts. For instance, Owen Cheetham and Jack Wynne were the founders and were acting as the topmost management (Roy 2016, p. 1). Also, the partners were managing lawyers while accountants substantially showed authority over the rest of staff. The leadership setup would lay a systematic means of passing information and giving direction through a formal channel.

3b. Influence Tactics by Some Employees


Reasoning approach directs leaders to be logical as well as giving factual evidence to show practicality and feasibility of new changes (Wadsworth and Blanchard 2015, p. 386). Similarly, Cathy mark persuaded two founders of the firm to agree on the open plan office while citing various merits that were attached to the proposal (Roy 2016, p. 2). Finally, the idea was unanimously agreed upon by the top partners. Notably, the method would build trust and certainty on the key stakeholders before indulging in changes.

Legitimacy Tactic

Whenever someone is holding a top position, he or she has the chances of influencing the juniors (Wadsworth and Blanchard 2015, p. 387). For instance, the supremacy of Jack and Owen as the founders of Cheetham and Wynne law firm purported to have an enclosed corner office rather than being in an open plan set up like the rest of the staff (Roy 2016, p. 2). Because they were the employers, they wanted to appear dissimilar with the entire team. Through the method, the junior staff would learn to respect those who are above them including following their directions and commands.

Inspirational Appeal

Inspirational tactic comes when a leader arouses the enthusiasm of the peers and juniors by promising for some rewards in the end (Wadsworth and Blanchard 2015, p. 388). In the firm, Both Cathy and Mark appear inspiring, for instance, paying student loan for Pauline upon joining the establishment (Roy 2016, p. 4). On the other hand, Jack had also agreed to sponsor the MBA program for John; however, he finally refused upon realizing that it was very costly. Gratifying workers would make them strive for excellence in the establishment, hence maintaining the positive outcomes.

Rational Persuasion

The rational persuasion approach is where an expert in a given field who is using logic and evidence to influence others (Wadsworth and Blanchard 2015, p. 389). In Cheetham and Wynne law firm, have been proficient and winning several cases, an instance that has significantly fascinated Anand to respect them as his mentors (Roy 2016, p. 3). The practice has nurtured Anand to be a highly professional lawyer while still anticipating to improve further.


Cummings, T.G. and Worley, C.G., 2014. Organization development and change. Cengage learning.

Darbyshire, J.L. and Young, J.D., 2013. An investigation of sound levels on intensive care units with reference to the WHO guidelines. Critical Care, 17(5), p.R187.

Drew, H., 2014. Overcoming Barriers: Qualitative Interviews With German Elites. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 12(2).

Fleming, P. and Spicer, A., 2014. Power in management and organization science. Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), pp.237-298.

Gut, A., Wilczewski, M. and Gorbaniuk, O., 2017. Cultural Differences, Stereotypes and Communication Needs in Intercultural Communication in a Global Multicultural Environment. Journal of Intercultural Communication, (43).

Hornstein, H.A., 2015. The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2), pp.291-298.

Kim, J. and de Dear, R., 2013. Workspace satisfaction: The privacy-communication trade-off in open-plan offices. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, pp.18-26.

Parmenter, D., 2015. Key performance indicators: developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs. John Wiley & Sons.

Roy, S., 2016. Open Plan. McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Voinea, D.V., Busu, O.V., Opran, E.R. and Vladutescu, S., 2015. Embarrassments in managerial communication. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 11(2).

Wadsworth, M.B. and Blanchard, A.L., 2015. Influence tactics in virtual teams. Computers in Human Behavior, 44, pp.386-393.

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