Analysis of Employee Behaviours in Night Shift

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Locale is a retail organization that is based in the United Kingdom The organization has more than 1,200 large and medium supermarkets and approximately 470 smaller convenience stores. The stores have 6 major departments namely; Grocery, Checkout, Homeware and Entertainment, Administration and Warehouse. A majority of the employees in the branch are attached to the checkouts department. The major focus of the organization is food retailing. However, it also deals with various household merchandise, entertainment products, and clothing. The business is driven by a mission of providing outstanding customer services and supply of quality products. One of the outstanding branches of the organization is the Portsmouth branch which has a total of 550 staff and 35 managers. The branch registers an estimated turnover of £ 1.3 Million on a weekly basis.

Having noticed discrepancies within the store in the last 9-12 months that led to a decrease in sales, the store manager instructed the human resource manager to observe and carry out a research on employee and report the findings for appropriate managerial action. According to the results of the observation and research that was carried out by the human resource manager among the employees, the checkouts, grocery and nightshift teams were the primary contributors to the problems that were facing the branch. The staff attached to the checkouts department are reluctant to change their shifts and they register a high absence rate of 5% compared to the 3.2% of the store's average absence rate. This statistic can be attributed to their lack of satisfaction with the assigned duties. The staff attached to the grocery department are not putting enough effort to reduce the number of products that go to wastage after the expiration dates. This problem can be attributed to the improper organization of the work-flow at the department. Lastly, an observation of the night shift team reveals that the staff does not complete their duties in time, thus, affecting operations in the morning hours. This problem can be linked to the style of supervision and lack of employee appraisal within the department, especially among the part-time employees. This report will focus on the evaluation of the behaviours of the employees in two dimensions namely, management and motivation of employees. The analysis will be based on various theories that are related to human resource management. The tenets of the report are based on various literature that speak to human resource management and organization as well as other bordering issues.

I.    Factors influencing employee behaviour in the Night Shift

A delve into the highlighted problems of the night shift team reveals that there are various factors that cause the employees to behave in the way they do. Boxall and Purcell (2011 p.3) report that the human resource management strategies that are applied in an organization have a significant impact on the productivity of employees. The authors imply that staff behaviours are dependent on various factors that are unique to the organization. These factors can be analysed from two dimensions namely; managerial and motivational perspective. The major issue within the department is incompetency or rather neglect of duty. The human resource observed that the team leader had adopted a friendly and laid back approach towards managing the staff.

Fayol’s Approach

According to Fayol’s principles of management, the problem of incompetence and failure to complete work in due time is as a result of the administrative and managerial style adopted by the team leader. Godwin et al. (2017 p.2) point out that managers should adopt the principle of authority which stipulates that managers need to have the authority to command his or her subordinates to carry out an assigned duty. Certainly, this principle can only be applied if the manager is friendly and reluctant to issue commands. As such, the night shift team fail to perform their duties as required because are not under pressure from their supervisor.

Managerial Functions or Activities

Also, it is notable that the problems observed within the team are as a result of the managers’ incompetence with respect to discharging his roles. His incompetence is portrayed majorly when he abandons his responsibility monitoring and supervising the team and joins the rest of the staff in their duties. The manager interferes with the flow of work by neglecting his monitoring responsibilities in the sense that the team members lack leadership and guidance on how to go about their roles. Also, the team members work under less pressure because they are not under supervision. A perfect example of the result of neglect of duty by the team manager is the situation where the part-time idle around and wait for the manager to give them instructions on what they ought to do.

Managerial Roles

As mentioned above, the issues highlighted within the night shift team can partly be linked to poor managerial skills. For instance, Goetsch and Davis (2014 p.1) note that managers play a key role in all spheres of an organization, as such, the success of the business is dependent on their competence in performing their roles especially with respect to monitoring and overseeing the operations. Given this insight, someone may argue that the failure of a unit or department within a business organization can be attributed to the inability of the managers to perform their assigned roles effectively. As the team leader, the night shift manager is required to oversee the operational activities within the store and ensure that everything is in order before 7.00 AM when the daytime time take over the operations. However, he failed to perform his duties which are necessary for the efficient and effective performance of duties by the other staff. As result, it led to the interruption of the workflow within the department.

Leadership Traits

Outstanding leadership skills are undoubtedly a necessity for the successful operation of activities within an organization. Germain highlight that the outcome of a group’s actions is influenced by the leadership skills and traits of the team leader (2012, p 32). Indeed, the traits or skills of a leader largely affects the behaviours and productivity of team members in the sense that people are often accustomed to following instructions and relying on a central figure to behave in a way that is acceptable in their sight. Notably, the night ship manager did not portray good leadership traits that would ensure timely completion of duties by the employees. The idea of being hands-on is generally acceptable and commendable among leaders.

 However, the trait might not be effective in the event that the leader goes out of his way to perform the duties of his or her subordinates. Such an action undermines the authority of the leader, and as a result, the employees take his or her instructions for granted. Moreover, leaders are required to treat all the subordinates with uttermost equity and not display any form of bias. Given this insight, it can be concluded that the poor leadership traits of the night shift manager were a major contributor to the behaviours of the staff. The latter were working reluctantly and in some instances failed to complete their duties because they felt that they were not compelled by any authority to perform their duties are required.

Style of Leadership (Laissez-faire)

The style of leadership is one of the most important factors that influence production in any business set up. An analysis of the behaviours of the night shift team reveals that the manager’s approach to managing the operations contributed largely to their actions. It is evident that the manager was using the laissez-faire style of leadership which entails allowing the subordinates to perform their duties at their own free will. This leadership style is often one of the best approaches to encourage active participation and to motivate the employees. According to Chaudhry and Javed (2012 p.4), the style of leadership that an individual adopts determines how the subordinates carry out their activities and that it should be applied only in situations where the employees are well trained and have good knowledge of their duties and responsibilities. Also, Baldegger, and Rauthmann comment that this method of leadership is one of the most ideal because it enhances employee appraisal (2013, p.437). The process of delegating duties to subordinate certainly builds the confidence of the workers and it gives them a sense of teamwork.

However, the application of this style of leadership is arguably not appropriate for the store’s context given that the team is composed of permanent staff who well versed with their duties and temporary staff who require constant supervision in order to complete their assigned roles. The difference can be observed in the response from the permanent staff when the HR manager inquired about their appraisal. They responded that the inexperience and reluctance of the temporary staff was a major setback in the operations. Further, the HR manager notices that the said group has to be given instructions by the team leader for them to get into action, otherwise they just idle around. These observations prove that the style of leadership that the night shift manager adopted was not appropriate for the context, thus, leading to the problems that were witnessed. 


Motivation is critical in the process of human resource management as it gives employees a feeling that they are valued, thus, they work hard to achieve the objective of the organization. In their view, Cadwallader et al. (2010, p. 219) emphasize that every employee need be motivated potently as it enhances their morale to perform their duties effectively and stay focused to the collective objective of the organization. The authors imply that one of the key strategies for improving productivity among workers is by motivating them through various ways such as providing them with conducive working conditions among other incentives. In the case of the night shift team, an individual may argue that the employees (especially the temporary staff) were reluctant to complete their duties in time because they were not motivated by the management. The fact that they were idling around and waiting for instructions from the team manager is a clear indication that they were not satisfied with their working condition or maybe they were feeling less valued because of their employment status.

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation entails the process of changing employees’ behaviours positively through rewards and targeted gains. Gerhart and Fang (2015, p.489) point out that many organizations often overlook the impact of external rewards and compensation for outstanding workmanship on employee morale despite the fact that the strategy is effective in motivating the workers. Also, Tremblay et al. (2009 p. 2013) mention that the use of external motivation is inherently satisfying for the employees and that the application of this strategy to motivate people can gain the organization a competitive advantage. Given the insight from the authors, it can be derived that success of business operations is highly dependent on how well the employees are motivated extrinsically or rather if they are given an additional advantage to carry perform their duties. In light of this explanation, someone can conclude that the temporary employees are reluctant to carry out their duties because they are provided with the necessary external motivation that they would look forward to and improve their effort.

McGregor’s Theory (x and y)

            McGregor’s theory of x and y proposes there are two categories of works in any organisational context- those who do not like to work and those that have a passion for their duties (Lawter, Kopelman, & Prottas, 2015 p. 84). As such, managers require to use appropriate approaches based on the category that the workers fall. The existence of the two categories is evident in the nightshift team. The permanent team are pro-active and carry out their duties diligently as required while the temporary staffs wait for the manager to instruct them. In view of this analysis, it can be concluded that the undesirable behaviours displayed by the team are a result of inappropriate management style. The manager failed to observe the difference in characters between the two groups but instead assumed that all the staff would perform their duties as required.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory

            According to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, employees’ job satisfaction and lack of satisfaction are caused by two different sets of factors (Dartey-Baah, & Amoako, 2008 p.1). In view of the theory, an individual can deduce that the temporary employees were reluctant and unproductive because they are not paid as well as their permanent counterparts. Their behaviour can also be attributed to the lack of job security. On the other hand, the permanent staffs are working hard to complete their duties in order to enhance their appraisals and to secure their employment.

Adam’s Equity theory

            Adam’s equity theory befits the case better than the other process theories. According to Bell and Martin (2012 p.1) the theory proposes that workers motivation is often dependent on their perception of whether their effort and rewards are equal to their colleagues’. If an individual feels that they put more effort and earn less compared to other colleagues who getter rewards for less effort, he or she can either reduce the amount of effort they put at work or demand for an appraisal (Al-Zawahreh & Al-Madi, 2012 p.159). This concept explains why the temporary workers are reluctant compared to the permanent workers. Arguably, they feel that they should do less work because of their employment status compared to the staff who are employed permanently and enjoy more benefits.

Sources of power

            According to Twalh et al. (2016 p.46), the major sources of power include the position that an individual holds, knowledge or expertise, personality, coercion, and the authority to reward. Leaders are required to have the power in order to influence the behaviour of their subordinates. In the case of the night shift team, the manager has the duty to use his position as the team leader to command the staff to complete their duties in time without fail. However, the workers are reluctant because the manager is friendly to them thus rendering him less powerful. Power can be rewarded through delegation and appointment (Bolman and Deal, 2017 p.3). For instance, if the manager appoints one of the staffs from both divides (permanent and temporary employees) to oversee the competition of the assigned duties.

II.     Factors influencing Employee behaviour on Grocery Department

According to the HR manager’s observation, the major problem that characterises the department is the alarming amount of products that are thrown out as wastage because the team was not keeping track of their expiry dates. Similarly, the behaviours of the staff can be analysed from the managerial and organisational culture perspective.

Fayol’s Approach

            Fayol identified five basic functions of a manager including planning, organising, controlling, coordinating and commanding (Rahman, 2012 p.32). In his view, a team leader in a business set up has to acquaint themselves with the five skills in order to ensure maximum productivity of the employees. In the case of the grocery department, it can be noted that the employees improved their performance and as a result reduced the amount of products wastage because the manager applied his planning and organisation skills. The buzz groups discussion and consultations certainly gave the staff an opportunity to come up with better ideas of operations under the manager’s leadership.

Managerial functions

            McDonnell et al. (2010 p.150) observe that output of staff is largely dependent on the competence of the manager. The authors imply that if the manager performs his functions properly, then there is a high chance of positive outcomes with respect to the production process. In this case, the behaviour of the employees can be attributed to the manager’s failure to complete their appraisals in time, thus, interfering with the former’s morale to perform their duties.

Managerial roles (Mintzburg’s theory)

            According to Mintzburg’s theory, managers have the mandate to carry out certain duties that motivate the subordinates to put more effort towards achieving the organisational objective. Such roles as monitoring and handling of disputes offer the subordinates a sense of direction on what is required of them within the organisation (Matheson, 2009 p.1150). In view of this information, it can be concluded that the change of behaviour among the grocery department’s staff was as a result of the manager’s initiative to consult the former on how best to handle the problem.

Leadership traits

            There is no doubt that the characters of a leader have a significant impact on the behaviours of the subordinates. Angus-Leppan, Metcalf, and Benn, (2010 p.189) note that leaders have to display outstanding traits in order to influence others positively and earn the due respect and authority that are necessary for discharging their duties. Therefore, the problems witnessed within the department can be linked to the character of the manager. The staffs were reluctant to discharge their duties because they felt that the manager was also lazy as he did not fill the appraisal forms in due time as expected.

Leadership style (Laissez Faire)

            Similarly to leadership traits, the methods used by managers to oversee business operations have a significant impact on the employees’ productivity. Wong and Giessner (2016 p.1) highlight that the laissez-faire leadership approach involves delegating major duties to the subordinates. The authors argue that this form of leadership could result in low productivity of the employees because of various reasons such as incompetence and lack of proper motivation among others. Given this insight, an individual can conclude that the employee’s reluctance to change shift and check for products’ expiry dates was largely caused by the managers decision to sit back and delegate duties without any practical engagement. 

Sources of power

According to Lunenburg (2012 p.1) power is a useful tool that leaders can use to influence other people’s behavior. The author implies that possession of power gives an individual the ability to make desirable changes within a given context. It can be rewarded through delegation and appointments. The process of rewarding power may entail giving a junior employee the ability to make and implement a decision within the organization (Mushtaq et al. 2014 p.291). In the case of grocery department, the manager used his authority to convene the staff and come up with changes to the operational strategy. 

Element of culture

             Organisational culture undoubtedly influences employees’ behaviour and their productivity (Ofori, 2009 p.553). The HR manager’s observation portrays that the department has a culture of holding consultation among themselves to improve their service delivery. The manager’s idea of calling for buzz groups certainly helps the team to identify their mistakes and come up with appropriate solutions to the existing problems.  As such, someone may argue that the culture of consultation has a significant impact on employee motivation to change their behaviour positively because they feel valued.

Characteristics of the culture

            As mentioned above, the departmental culture of holding buzz groups to consult on the ways of improving their productivity is commendable. A strong culture is that which contributes positively to the desired changes within an organisation (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2010 p. 357). As such, someone can deduct that the strong culture collective consultation that is maintained within the team has a significant impact on their behaviour.

Typologies of culture

            Culture can be divided into two categories namely the high and the low context. The high-context cultures entail implicit information and rules while the latter entails explicit information and rules. The culture of the grocery department team can be categorised under the low-context. Trivellas and Dargenidou (2009 p.382) argue that the behaviours of employees are shaped by the cultures of the organisation to a large extent. The positive impact of the culture on the team’s behaviour is evident in the reduction of the number of products that go to waste.

How culture is formed and maintained

            Organisational culture is often formed by different factors which include the values of the business, the demands of the industry, expectations of the customers, and preferences by the owners among others (Gregory et al., 2009 p.673). It is then maintained through various aspects such as the orientation of new employees, systems of the organisation and leadership. In light of this information, it can be concluded that the grocery department staffs were behaving in that manner because the organisational system of operation gave them room to put less effort in their duties.

iii.    Suggestions for managing behaviour

            In view of the above analysis of the factors that influence employee behaviours within the two departments, the following are some of the ways that managers can use to manage behaviour; first, the managers need to identify the characters of their team members and apply the appropriate style of leadership. For instance, it is okay for a manager to take a hands-free approach in the event that the employees have a high morale for their work. This strategy is viable because the manager shall have developed a good relationship with the staff or offered the necessary direction for the employees to follow.

Secondly, it is imperative for the managers to initiate regular motivational strategies in order to enhance their productivity. Dobre (2013 p. 1) highlights that motivated employees often register better performance compared to those that are not motivated because they feel valued and that their efforts are appreciated among other reasons. As such, managers should often motivate their subordinates by rewarding them and recognising their hard work on a regular basis. According to Sareen (2018 p. 1230), this strategy is commendable because individuals work best when their interests are served and their psycho-social and economic needs are met.

Thirdly, managers can influence the behaviours of staff by displaying admirable leadership traits. According to Martín Cruz, Martín Pérez, and Trevilla (2009 p. 478), the character of a leader can either accord him the power to change other people’s behaviour or render his position insignificant. As such, managers need to maintain exemplary traits that be emulated by the employees. Last but not least, it is vital for a manager to involve their subordinates in the decision-making process in order to encourage the ownership of the proposed changes. Karadal, Adiguzel, and Artar point out that one of the best approaches of changing employee behaviour is by involving them in an inclusive forum where they can identify the undesirable behaviours and propose the necessary changes unanimously (2018 p.77). As such it is important for managers to hold regular consultations with the employees to come up with solutions whenever he identifies a problem.


            An analysis of the problems at the Locale reveals that employees’ behaviours are influenced by various factors. Such aspects include; poor leadership styles, incompetency of the managers, lack of employee motivation, and the organisational culture. A delve into the problems facing specific departments such as the night shift department portrays that the behaviours adopted by staffs are a result of the manager’s approach towards overseeing their performance.  On the other hand, the grocery department manager adopts a more appropriate approach of indulging the staff in evaluating the problems and finding the solutions. Moreover, it is evident that employees lack motivation and that is why they do not put up a commendable performance.

Some of the ways that these behaviours can be managed effectively include; first, changing the leadership style in case it does not register any improvements of the situation. The strategy also involves the transformation of the manager’s character in order for him to gain the power to influence the other staff positively. Secondly, there is a need for implementation of initiatives that motivate the employees to change their behaviour. It is also important to involve the staff in the management process by asking them to identify the problems facing the organisation and propose ways of changing their behaviours.


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November 13, 2023

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