1. What’s the Problem at WBCA? To most people, giving amateur students the opportunity to work at a college campus radio station does not sound like much of a risk, but to the contrary, it is. Eagerness to learn and willingness to work is not all that is needed to run a business successfully. Ann Caldera is the program director at the college campus radio station WBCA. Ann doesn’t have a problem getting the students to do work at the station. The students who work at WBCA are motivated and eager to gain media experience. The problem at WBCA is the FCC regulations violations.
To familiarize the students, she provides the students with handouts on the policies and procedures of WBCA, which hasn’t garnered any improvements. In Case 5. 3 “Getting the Message Across”, it mentioned a rumor about a first years student disc-jockey announced that a new band in town was performing. The student provided pertinent information and encouraged everyone to go and hear the group. Most likely this student was unaware that this was in direct violation of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sponsorship identification rules, Sec. 73. 1212. Rule section 743. 212 states: (a) When a broadcast station transmits any matter for which money, service, or other valuable consideration is either directly or indirectly paid or promised to, or charged or accepted by such station, the station, at the time of the broadcast, shall announce:
(1) That such matter is sponsored, paid for, or furnished, either in whole or in part, and (2) By whom or on whose behalf such consideration was supplied: Provided, however, That “service or other valuable consideration” shall not include any service or property furnished either without or at a nominal charge for use on, or in connection with, a broadcast unless it is so furnished in consideration for an identification of any person, product, service, trademark, or brand name beyond an identification reasonably related to the use of such service or property on the broadcast. (fcc. gov 2010) Infractions such as these seem to occur every semester; the students disregard the magnitude of violating FCC regulations. Ann finds herself getting increasingly frustrated by this. It appears evident in this case that the problem does not lay with the students, but more so on Ann’s leadership. 2. Using SLII as a basis, what would you advise Ann to do differently at the station?
According to the Situational Leadership II model, Ann can opt to use one of the four situational leadership styles created by K. Blanchard. The SLII model is used to measure two components; leadership and development levels of subordinates. SLII is categorized into four directive and supportive behaviors. Directive behavior is a usually one-way communication used to give instruction, set time lines, establish goals, define and assign roles. Supportive behaviors are geared towards emotions rather than logistics. Some examples of supportive behavior would be problem solving, listening, and sharing information. Unlike directive behaviors, support behaviors involve two-way communications between the leader and the subordinate.
The four styles in Blanchard’s Situational Model II are: (S1) high directive-low supportive style, (S2) high directive-high supportive, (S3) high supportive-low directive and lastly, (S4) low supportive-high directive. Each style in the Situational Leadership models has specific variations. S1 is the high directive-low supportive style also known as directive style. When using this approach the leader closely supervises its subordinates, instructing them on specific goals and on how to achieve them. S2 is a high directive-high supportive style; this is called coaching. The leader practicing this approach focuses on meeting goals as well as meeting the emotional needs of their subordinates.
The high supportive-low directive approach, known as supporting is S3. The S3 style uses behaviors that bring out the subordinate’s skill set that will best suit the requirements to complete a specific task. Within S3 leaderships, subordinates have more control of daily operations as the leader’s role is mainly limited to problem solving. Delegating is the low supportive-low directive approach used in style S4. The leader using the S4 style has less control, little to no involvement in planning goal achievement. The bulk of responsibility is in the hands of the subordinates. In case 5. 3 “Getting the Message Across” it appears that Ann is using the S3 style.
The case study states “In addition, she [Ann] tries to get to know each of the new students personally. Because she wants everybody to be happy and WBCA, she tries very hard to build a relational climate at the station. ” (Northhouse, 2010) This is style of leadership is an example of supportive behavior. In her attempts to build relational climates, providing social and emotional support Ann seems to be overlooking her employees’ developmental levels. Because Ann wants everyone to be happy at WBCA, professionalism is compromised. Applying a more directive approach could possibly reduce insubordination in the station. Ann needs to assess the developmental levels of her employees.
According to Blanchard, “the development level is the degree to which subordinates have the competence and commitment necessary to accomplish a given task or activity. ” (Northhouse, 2010) Similar to supportive styles, Blanchard classifies development in four levels. D1 being the lowest stage of development to D4 being the highest. Typically D1 subordinates have low competency due to their lack of experience, but their commitment level is high because of their eagerness to learn. D2 subordinates have more competence, but their commitment level is lower due to their familiarity with the tasks, causing their eagerness to wane. D3 subordinates have moderate to high competency but may lack commitment entirely.
D3 subordinates have acquired the skills to do the job, but don’t have the confidence to accomplish a task alone. D4 subordinates have both a high degree of competence and commitment. Once Ann identifies each of her employees development levels, she can begin to adopt one or more of the four situational leadership styles. The student’s development levels in the 5. 3 case seem to range from D1 to D2. The WBCA employees have little to no guidelines. This low directive style is counterproductive to subordinates at levels D1 and D2. If Ann applies the directing style she will be able to focus on giving instruction and achieving goals, through closer supervision.
Ann’s dilemma is in her wanting to keep everyone happy while still maintaining leadership. It appears Ann doesn’t want to be a stringent supervisor. Ann may find the coaching style easier to adapt to. This approach will allow her to instruct and supervise closely, while still being highly supportive thus, allowing her to maintain her camaraderie with her student employees. Ann will need to be aware of her employees’ development growth and adjust her leadership style accordingly. If Ann applies a high directive style she may incur less FCC infractions. 3. Based on situational leadership, what creative schemes could Ann use to reduce FCC infractions at WCBA? Ann’s student employees don’t take into account the severity of iolating FCC rules and regulations. This disregard could possibly be due to Ann’s liberalness as a leader. Working for the WBCA is one of the campuses most sought-after jobs. This can work to the advantage of the employer, by making the application process more rigorous and competitive. Harder competition will give the employer an opportunity to hire an employee with higher development and commitment levels. A creative scheme Ann could use to reduce further FCC infractions is testing. Before hiring a student employee, in her application process she could stipulate that prospective applicants must know the handbook on policies and procedures.
Requiring the students to know the policies, procedures, and FCC regulations beforehand will give Ann an idea of the applicant’s commitment level. She can assess their knowledge of these rules and regulations by administering a test. The scores on the test would determine their eligibility for the position. By doing this Ann can gauge their development level, allowing Ann to adjust her leadership style accordingly. Once an applicant is hired, if any FCC regulations are infracted, she can implement a course of disciplinary action to help the student’s realize the severity of these violations. This will increase her directive approach and still foster a supportive atmosphere.