Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior


Jim Beam, a producer of bourbon, introduced a new policy regarding the number of times that the frontline workers should visit restrooms per day. The new policy allowed the workers to visit restrooms once before lunch time. Also, they were allowed to visit the restrooms during lunch time and once after lunch time. The workers were also allowed to visit the toilets once during unscheduled break. However, the workers with medical conditions confirmed by health organizations or officers were not restricted from visiting the rest rooms. The workers were disciplined for visiting the restrooms more than four times and would be dismissed it the number of visits exceeded six. As indicated on the case study, 45 workers have already been disciplined. Due to the fear of the disciplinary actions and potential dismissal, some of the workers resorted to wearing protective undergarments. Some of the workers have even urinated on themselves. The issue triggered state citation of the company and negative reaction from Food and Commercial Workers union. In this regard, this paper applies several theories to describe the kind of leadership and its weaknesses at Jim Beam with regard to the facts of the case. In addition, the paper uses theories to describe how the issue in the organization can be solved Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior.

Description of the Type of Organization

Based on the facts from the case, Jim Beam can be described as a closed system. The systems theory describes an organization as encompassing numerous parts, including managers, departments, employees, services, products and materials. The different parts rely on each other to facilitate accomplishment of organizational goals (Mele, Pels & Polese, 2010). For instance, Jim Beam relies on its employees for the production of bourbon, among other services. In turn, the employees rely on the company for compensation and health protection, among others. According to the system theory, a failure on any part of the system affects the performance of the whole system. Sometimes, this can lead to a complete failure by the whole system. The theory also describes the closed system, in which the different parts interact among other. However, the parts do not interact with the environment or are not sensitive to environmental changes. In a closed system, the employees do not communicate effectively with the stakeholders in the other departments (Mele et al., 2010). Consequently, they do not give input to changes made by the management. Thus, Jim Beam is a closed system where the employees were not allowed to make contributions to the change of policy about visiting the restrooms made by the management. Since the employees were affected, the impact was likely to be felt throughout the organization.

The decision made by managers at Jim Beam can be explained using the rational model. The model posits that when making decisions, people select the choices that will maximize their benefits and with minimal costs. People adopting the model do consider factors or issues that cannot be quantified, such value of altruism and ethical concerns (Cabantous & Gond, 2011). At Jim Beam, the managers made the decision without considering the ethical concerns involved. They did not care whether some of the employees will suffer from the decision. The managers cared about preventing distraction of productivity by frequent visits to the restrooms.

As well, Jim Beam expresses flaws associated with the bureaucratic management structures, which were common in the 20th century. In such systems, the managers make and implement strict rules to be followed by the employees Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior. At Jim Beam, the culture is political, inwardly focused, centralized and risk averse. The culture is not empowering and motivating and that is why the employees were taking advantage of the breaks. The firm has a system where performance data in the organization is only distributed among the executives. Also, the managers in the company apply the top-down approach when making changes in organization. When they adopt the approach, they do not consider the views of the employees when making the decisions (Gajanan et al., 2013). At Jim Beam, the managers established strict rules regarding the visits to the restrooms and did not ask for the views of the employees before change of the policy.

Personal Perspectives

In my view, a holistic approach to addressing the issue at Jim Beam should focus on changing the management approaches. To start with, the closed system should be replaced with an open system. In an open system, the different parts of the organization interact closely with the environment and is responsive to changes. As well, the employees communicate effectively with the management and their input is considered when making decisions (Mele et al., 2010). Second, the flaws associated with the bureaucratic system should be addressed. If the organization adopts bureaucratic management style, it should consider replacing it with better approaches that allow for close communication and interaction among the stakeholders, such as the flat structure (Gajanan et al., 2013). In addition, the managers should replace the existing culture with empowering, externally oriented, open, candid and risk-tolerant culture. At the same time, the top-down approach of making changes should be replaced with the bottom-up approach. The performance data should be distributed widely in the organization.


Further, the managers in the organization should replace the rational decision-making model with a better approach that will allow them to consider factors and issues that are not quantifiable, such as ethics. One of the alternative options they can adopt is the recognition primed decision-making model. The model allows the decision-makers to consider all possible negative impacts before making the ultimate choice. Importantly, the organization should embrace organizational ethics. The managers and all other stakeholders should give priority to ethical values such as respect, transparency and integrity. The managers can also learn from biblical teachings how to deal with the employees and to make the right decisions. Philippians 2:3 teaches that everything that a person does, the interests of the other stakeholders should be given more priority than personal interests. In addition, the verse teaches that people should always express value for others when doing things. Thus, the managers at Jim Beam should always consider the ethical issues involved in any of the decisions they make Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior .


Overall, issue described in the case study indicate that the managers at Jim Beam made a poor decision when changing the policy about going to the restrooms. The bad decision was influenced by the firm’s closed system and rational decision-making model adopted by the managers. In addition, flaws of bureaucratic structure contributed to the poor decision-making. As explained, the issue should be addressed through replacing the closed system with an open system and the rational model with a more suitable one, such as the recognition primed decision-making model. The flaws of the bureaucratic model should also be addressed, such as through adopting a bottom-up approach to change implementations. Last, the managers should embrace ethical and morals, including those taught in the bible.


Cabantous, L. & Gond, J. (2011). Rational Decision Making as Performative Praxis:

Explaining Rationality’s Éternel Retour. Organization Science, 22(3), 573-586. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0534

Gajanan, A., Ashok, B., Narendra, M., & Raghuwanshi, S. (2013). A combined bottom-up

and top-down approach for assessment of climate change adaptation options. Journal of Hydrology, 518(A), pp. 150-161

Mele, C., Pels, J. & Polese, F. (2010). A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their

Managerial Applications. Service Science, 2(1-2), 126-135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1287/serv.2.1_2.126

Zsambok, C. E. & Klein, G. (2014). Naturalistic Decision Making. East Sussex: Psychology Press Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior.

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