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BUSI1007H

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GROUP 1:

Chan Yuen On Alice


Wong Jason

Hui Man Kwan Jane

Chau Chun Sing Anson

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Contents

A.

Movie Synopsis

B.

Central Message

C.

Principles of Management
1. Leadership and Motivation
1.1. Transformational Leadership
1.1.1 Mission and Vision

1.1.2 Idealized Influence

1.1.3 Inspirational Motivation

1.1.4 Intellectual Stimulation

1.1.5 Individualized Consideration

1.2. Fiedler Contingency Model Relationship-oriented vs Task-oriented

2. Teamwork and Communication


2.1. Teamwork Goal Alignment
2.1.1 Culture

2.1.2 Conflict Management

2.2. Communication

D.

2.2.1 Feedback

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2.2.2 Concurrent Control

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2.2.3 The Grapevine

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Conclusion

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A. Movie Synopsis

Kinky Boots (2005) is a comedy film about a traditional Northampton shoemaker, Price & Sons Shoes,
which switched its production focus from high quality men shoes to boots for drag queens, in order to save
the failing family business. The sudden death of Harold Price, the company president, left his son Charlie
Price, the apparent heir and manager of Price & Sons Shoes, unexpectedly in charge of the sinking family
business. In a chance encounter, Charlie Price met a sassy drag queen performer Lola and saw the possible
market of shoes for male transvestites. In an attempt to save his family business, Charlie, with Lola as his
fashion advisor, led his company efforts to set out and conquer the new drag queen market niche by
producing women boots which can support the weight of a man. With an extravagant and innovative
showcase of the new boots in the Milan fashion season, Charlie Price managed to revive his family shoe
business and build a strong and cohesive relationship with his employees.

B. Central Message
Quoting Lola, A factory is not about its bricks; its about its people. Managers lead, employees follow;
managers make decisions, employees provide feedback; managers command, employees execute; managers
motivate, employees work more efficiently individually or as a team.

Our central message is: People are the most important assets to the company. Therefore, a good manager is
needed to lead and motivate, so that ultimately, the goal to increase productivity can be attained.

C. Principles of Management
1. Leadership & Motivation
1. 1.

Transformational Leadership

Charlie Price can be seen as a transformational leader throughout. He has a clear vision, idealized influence,
inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.
1.1.1

Mission and Vision

Charlie Prices mission was to revive the dying family business. Price and Sons Shoe Factory was his
fathers blood and sweat and he wanted to continue it against all odds. His vision was to be the pioneering
market leader in the drag queen niche market. He believed that as the drag queen niche was unexplored,
being the market leader would help him fulfill his mission.
1.1.2

Idealized Influence

Idealized Influence, or charisma, is the enthusiasm and passion of a leader which influence people to
behave in a similar way. Charlie Price successfully earned respect from his employees due to his persistent
attempts of designing and manufacturing the perfect pair of kinky boots. He clearly articulated his goal
to go to Milan for a kinky boots showcase; communicated high performance expectations through attending
to the slightest details; and exhibited confidence in his employees to meet those expectations by telling his
employees, You are craftsmen, not shoemakers. By being truly committed to his goal of going to Milan,
he served as a role model to his employees and influenced them to work hard and commit themselves. When
his employees were committed, the ultimate aim of increasing productivity was attained.

1.1.3

Inspirational Motivation

Charlies revitalization of the company can be described as nothing less than inspirational. Following a
strong intrinsic perspective, he implements numerous motivational theories that incite others to follow his
example to work for the betterment of the company.

By the end of the movie, Charlies major focus is on raising a personal sense of achievement at the creation
of the boots as well as giving out recognition as it is due, both being primary intrinsic motivators. A simple
way to explain these motivational effects can be through the classical model of the Herzberg
Motivator-Hygiene theory, where sense of achievement and recognition are the two major motivational
factors, and coupled with the excellent hygiene factors of good work environment, good co-worker relations
and a steady income allow for the transformation at the factory.

But more than the classical interpretations of motivation, more contemporary motivational frameworks can
also be applied to understand the effects of Charlies actions. Applying the Job Characteristics Model,
recognition leads to higher positive feedback, while sense of achievement increased task identity and task
significance. This offers one of the best motivational situations as Skill variety and Autonomy are
necessarily low in any factory setting. Alternatively, applying expectancy theory, recognition increased
expectancy and sense of achievement increased valence (through goal-alignment). This coupled with an
already high instrumentality (good quality boots lead to success at Milan a well understood fact), ticks all
the boxes for this motivational process to occur. In both cases it is clear that the two intrinsic motivational
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factors of raising a personal sense of achievement and providing recognition are the key drivers to allow
effective motivation to occur.

We learn from Charlie that not only are your employees the most important asset, but the act of inspiring
them and ensuring they are motivated enough to work at a consistent and high standard is important as well,
and that the ideal way to achieve this is primarily through intrinsic motivation.
1.1.4

Intellectual Stimulation

Charlie Price stimulated and encouraged creativity in his employees by bringing them to the pub to observe
drag queens and investigating into the drag queens needs for boots which can support their weight. This was
intellectually stimulating to both Charlie and the employees as they could gain first-hand information and
insight into how they could better execute their ideas.
1.1.5

Individualized Consideration

Individualized consideration was most vividly seen in the later part of the movie when Charlie Price
attended to Lolas needs and gave him empathy and support. Initially, due to the conservative culture in
Northampton, Lola was despised by other employees in the Price and Sons Shoe Factory as they couldnt
accept a man dressed up as a woman. Lola wasnt able to fit into the factory; he wanted to be respected as a
person. Charlie empathized with Lolas difficult situation and talked to him. Charlie comforted Lola and
assured him that no matter what, Lola had all the respect and support from him, the top manager. Charlie
instilled value and respect into Lola, attended to his needs and concerns and intrinsically motivated him.
Charlie influenced and inspired Lola and transformed him to turn out extraordinary designs, thereby
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increasing productivity.
1.2.

Fiedler Contingency Model Relationship-Oriented vs Task-Oriented

When Charlie Price first took up the management position after his fathers sudden death, his employees
didnt like him because they thought his management style was very different from his father. The
employees had a strong resistance to change. The leader-member relationship was poor. Task structure was
high because of the nature of the shoe business there was a clear-cut division of labour and production
stages were structured and well-defined. Charlie Prices position power was also strong. The factory was
highly mechanistic in structure. Power was centralized in the top manager Charlie Prices hands. These
characteristics fall into Category V of the Fiedlers model, which call for a relationship-oriented leader.

However, Charlie Price was task-oriented instead. He was only primarily interested in getting the job done at
the expense of his workers resting time. This made the employees hate him more and productivity and team
morale plunged. Clearly, Charlie Price was not managing effectively.

Luckily, he later realized his mistake and decided to improve his relationship with his employees by being
more reasonable in his demands and attend to his employees needs and concern through individualized
consideration. Charlie Prices successful change in leadership style overthrew Fiedlers assumption that
leadership styles cannot be changed.

2. Teamwork and Communication


A good manger should be capable of leading and motivating. However, quoting John Donne, No man is an
island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent. With no people, there is no team. With no team,
the ultimate goal of increasing productivity is greatly limited.
2.1.

Teamwork - Goal Alignment

Originally, the employees in Price & Sons Shoe Factory resisted innovation. Individually, their primary goal
was just to keep their jobs, whereas the group goal was to have a kinky boots showcase in Milan so as to
revive the dying company. At first, individual goals and the group goals were not aligned. Employees didnt
commit themselves to the new product line. Team morale was low, people were not motivated and
productivity plunged. Two major elements: culture and conflict management affected the alignment of the
individual and group goals.
2.1.1

Culture

The culture of an organization affects how team members get along together and whether the group goal can
be efficiently and effectively achieved. There was a conservative culture in the Price and Sons Shoe Factory;
one that resisted change. Employees had been so used to producing traditional high-quality mens shoes that
they were reluctant to venture into the new kinky boots product line. The companys conservative culture
and employees resistance to change hindered the achievement of the group goal. Clearly, the individual goal
and group goal were not aligned.

As a transformational leader, Charlie wanted to influence and inspire his employees so that everyone, as a
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team, can strive for the group goal. Charlie wanted to change the conservative culture in the factory because
it was a hindrance to the factorys development. He brought about the change by delivering inspirational
speeches to his employees, telling them his fathers vision of helping people create value in their identity
through their shoes, regardless of profession or race. He made his employees realize how pressing the
situation the factory was in: business was sinking and Charlie either had to lay off people or sell the factory
if they all did not unite together to revive the business. At this point, the factorys culture started to change
due to the change of mindset of the employees. If their individual goals were to keep their jobs, they had to
put down their conservatism and be bold to try out the new product line. Or else, the business would die and
they would lose their jobs. Employees were also inspired by the great vision of their past employer, Charlies
father, as well as Charlies passion and determination to revive the business despite selling his house to
cover the cost of the Milan fashion show. The employees change of mindset led to a complete change in the
company culture: it was no longer conservative but daring and innovative. This change of culture
successfully boosted team morale and catalyzed the alignment of individual and group goals. It was also
beneficial to the attainment of the group goal to increase productivity, to showcase in the Milan fashion
show and ultimately, to revive the business.
2.1.2

Conflict Management

Conflicts are unavoidable in a team. In the movie, there are examples of process conflicts which refer to how
the work gets done. As mentioned, Charlie Price was over-demanding at the start and over-worked his
workers. Process conflicts arose as he seemed never satisfied with how the kinky boots were designed and
manufactured. Since conflicts could easily turn dysfunctional and hinder productivity, Charlie Price took the
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initiative to solve them through compromising. Charlie Price compromised by giving up being
over-demanding; the employees compromised by giving up their resting time in order to strive and produce
the perfect pair of boots.

These process conflicts were functional because they allowed the manager to articulate his expectations for
his employees and remind them of how pressing the situation was. This facilitated the alignment of
individual and group goals, which thus enhanced teamwork and productivity. Since it was clear to the
employees that the business was dying, to keep their jobs, they only had one choice: To change the product.
Only by changing to a new product line can the factory showcase its kinky boots in Milan to revive the
business. At this point, the individual goal and the group goal were aligned Only by making it to Milan can
people keep their jobs. This resulted in an increase in productivity and a high boost in team morale.
2.2.

Communication

Good communication is important for good teamwork. In the movie, communication, in terms of feedback
and concurrent control, was well-conducted. As a further improvement, the Grapevine can be better
managed.
2.2.1

Feedback

When Charlie Price first became the manager, he was managing behind the office doors. He physically
positioned himself above his employees and used a loudspeaker to communicate with them. He didnt
provide any channels for his employees to voice out their opinions. Clearly, this was a one-way downward
communication which was highly ineffective. He failed to lead and motivate his employees and so
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productivity was low.

Fortunately, he soon realized that ineffective communication undermined productivity. He changed to a


two-way communication by introducing the feedback mechanism into his communication flow. He
introduced upward communication, where feedback was used to minimize noise in a communication flow,.
Here, noise was the selective perception of the employees on only the bad attributes of the kinky boots
product line but not the opportunities this market niche might also bring. With a two-way communication
flow, communication and teamwork were thus enhanced and productivity increased.
2.2.2

Concurrent Control

Control can be seen as a way for the manager to communicate with his employees what was expected from
them. In the movie, concurrent control was done effectively. Charlie Price managed by walking around the
office and required his employees to immediately correct the mistakes in the boot production process. Since
control and the production process took place simultaneously, this increased efficiency and facilitated the
factorys goal to increase productivity.
2.2.3

The Grapevine

A grapevine existed in the Price and Sons Shoe Factory. At the beginning, the employees didnt like Lola
because they couldnt accept having a man dressed up like a woman. Don, one of the employees, later
changed his views towards Lola because Lola deliberately lost to him in a wrestling match. Lola didnt want
Don to lose peoples respect as Don had never lost a match. As Lola said, he knew what it felt like not to be
respected. Don was impressed and felt guilty for not paying Lola the respect he deserved. He communicated
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with the other employees through the grapevine - the happy hours after work that he appreciated Lolas
courage and that he deserved their respect. The communication through the grapevine was effective and very
soon, the employees started to change their views towards Lola.

In fact, in retrospect, the grapevine can be better managed and utilized. Charlie Price should have cultivated
an open, honest and respectful atmosphere for communication in the factory. He should have encouraged
employees to voice out their feedback on each other, mingle and interact with each other more, so as to
increase mutual understanding and eliminate the hard feelings harboured by the employees for each other.
This way, a more harmonious relationship may be fostered. Team morale can thus be boosted.

D. Conclusion
Quoting Lola, A factory is not about its bricks; its about its people. Since people are central in
management, a good manager is one who can lead and motivate his employees. However, since one highly
motivated man alone cannot run a factory, teamwork is paramount. For good teamwork, good
communication is a prerequisite.

Once again, our central message is: People are the most important assets to the company. Therefore, a good
manager is needed to lead and motivate, so that ultimately, the goal to increase productivity can be attained.

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