Analysing Organisations Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Leadership, Management, Behaviour, Company, Employee, Workplace, Development, Organization

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/01/02

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Introduction

Working within an organization implies respecting rules and regulations, following guidelines and adhering to various working processes. Adjusting individual behaviour to the organizational environment is set to generate changes in one’s behaviour. These changes define an organizational behaviour, distinct than the individual behaviour. This essay investigates the organizational behaviour as the organization theory, from a management/leadership perspective, investigating how the managerial or leadership style influences the organizational behaviour (Thompson & Pozner, 2007).
Information about the managerial and leadership style that influence the organizational behaviour will be applied on Ubisoft Montreal, the chosen organization for investigating this organization theory. The organization theory will be investigated using the interpretivist paradigm throughout the process of analysing Ubisoft Montreal’s managerial and leadership style that influence its organizational behaviour.
For researching and collecting data on Ubisoft Montreal’s management and leadership that shape its organizational perspective, there will be utilized an subjective data gathering method, which implies browsing the internet for articles related to the Canadian studio’s OB, as prescribed by its management and leadership.

Brief Background

Activating in the gaming sector, Ubisoft is one of the leaders of this market, leveraging on its experience in this market that stretches back to 1986, when Yves Guillemot, the founding father, put the basis of this company in France. Nowadays, the company is a top 3 gaming producer, globally known for brands such as Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, Far Cry, Raving Rabbids or Let’s Dance to name just a few. Ubisoft’s organizational behaviour is shaped around a global vision, adjusted to various subsidiaries and local cultures to fit the employee – employer profile. The company’s greatest and most significant production studio is located in Montreal, Canada, wherein Ubisoft concentrates more than half of its production force, employing 2700 people and developing the top Ubi games (Ubisoft Montreal official website). The current organizational behaviour in the Montreal studio has shaped across time, through managerial and leadership approaches to the company’s activity.

Analysis

The interpretivist paradigm proposes developing a research based on interpreting the collected information, from the process of data gathering, and creating a meaningful reality (“The Interpretivist Paradigm”, n.d.). Burton and Bartlett (2005) state that the interpretivist paradigm is focused on how actors or participants perceive their social situation in the interaction process, developing their own reality, which can suffer different interpretations. By applying the interpretivist perspective, the researcher of this paper focuses on analysing the symbols, biographies, articles and any collected data, in order to understand the organization’s actions.
The roles, functionality and organizational approaches of management and leadership are often considered to be the same, but in reality there are significant differences between the two (Martin, 2005; Darling & Nurmi, 2009). Within Ubisoft Montreal the difference between management and leadership has led to the formation of the current organizational behaviour, wherein the company pursues a visionary, cutting edge strategy, while sticking to the imposed managerial guidelines and structures.
Management and leadership have different functions, yet, they complement each other on their functionalities and responsibilities within organizations (Wu, 2013; Darling & Nurmi, 2009). There are, however, multiple views or paradigms regarding management and leadership, which depend on the way of perceiving the reality and in this case, on how the organizational behaviour is approached.
Looking at Ubisoft Montreal’s managerial and leadership style, the organizational behaviour shapes around the figure of the company’s CEO, Yannis Mallat, who took on his current role in 2006 (Ubisoft Montreal official website).While Mallat incorporates both managerial and leadership attributes, having a creative vision and exerting control and command, he has an entire team that structures, emphasizes and implements them, which starts from the internal organizations and stretches to Ubisoft’s Top Management. Being part of a global business, Ubisoft’s studio from Montreal shares the values, missions, visions and objectives of the parent – company. At the beginning of each financial year, Ubisoft outlines strategic directions that the company strives to attain through its studios on a specific, determined period. The strategic directions are further transmitted to all Ubisoft subsidiaries, where they suffer minor modifications for adjusting to the local culture. Therefore, the managerial and leadership style within Ubisoft Montreal is a matter of corporate culture, imposed by the headquarter, with few local adjustments. From this perspective, a managerial direction is set, to which all the other subsidiaries need to adhere. The key figures of the corporate management and leadership within Ubisoft centres around Yves Guillemot, the visionary CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft, Alain Corre (EMEA Executive Director), Christine Burges – Qemard (Worldwide Studios Executive Director), Laurent Detoc (NCSA executive Director) and Serge Hascoet (Chief Creative Officer) (Ubisoft official website).
Along with their teams of experts, they are the minds of Ubisoft management, the ones who translate objectives into “to do” lists, develop organizational arrangements and coordinate through the established organizational structure (Mintzberg, 1990). There are multiple theories on describing management and leadership, which will contribute to defining the management and leadership within Ubisoft Montreal and implicitly the organizational behaviour that they shape.
The classical perspective on management indicates that the managers’ functions are associated with executive responsibilities, such as planning, organizing, coordinating, commanding or controlling (Mintzberg, 1990). This interpretivist paradigm on management focuses on bureaucratic working processes, meant to create rules and procedures for fairly treating the employees, but also for “parcelling out the souls of workers” (Weber, 1964 in Gill, Levine & Pitt, 1998, p. 48; Lussier, 2015).
Comparatively, the classical paradigm on leadership suggests that leaders gain the followers respect, which help them to achieve dominance and exert power, determining employees to follow by imposing rewards and punishments (Avery, 2004).
The classical management and classical leadership paradigms reflect an antique organizational model, wherein managers and leaders are formal authorities, focused on commanding, controlling and punishing or rewarding employees, depending on their evolution. The classical paradigm does not describe the organizational behaviour within Ubisoft Montreal, although several aspects of the classical management and classical leadership perspectives are visible within the organization. As such, there are bureaucratic processes and procedures developed for linking the activities within the studio in a logical manner. Like in most gaming organizations, these bureaucratic processes refer to the games’ implementation stages:
pre-alpha (research, requirements, technological and program or software development),
alpha (developing and completing the game, passing through quality assurance reviews)
beta (mainly fixing the bugs and preparing the release of the game) (Sergio and Bustamante, 2010).
The classical leadership paradigm is only partially applied within Ubisoft Montreal, for awarding the teams for the games’ performances through parties and other internal activities or bonuses. For punishments or penalties for Montreal’s employees, there are only known two common practices: overtime and letting off the employees (ubifree2, n.d.).
Contrary to the classical paradigm on management, wherein managers exert functions such as controlling, coordinating, planning, organizing and commanding, the modern perspectives on management, founded on the technological revolutions, propose other, quite distinctive managerial qualities. Carayannis (2000, pp. 20-21) indicates that nowadays the management is scientific and strategic, focusing on developing “consumer trust, brand image, control of distribution, corporate culture, management skills [and] the ability to learn and adapt”.
This managerial paradigm is closer to the daily organizational behaviour within Ubisoft Montreal. Managers are focused on making Ubisoft a strong brand, and succeed in doing so through a mix of the top industry talents, deploying positive and strong media relationships, promoting Ubisoft through industry events (E3, GamesCom, etc.) or by associating Ubi’s name with famous movies and stars (Ubisoft official website). These strategic approaches also reflect the company’s corporate culture and its focus on competitors, as the company’s management invests in the brand and the games developed while considering the industry’s standards and the competitors’ announced games releases. The talent acquisition is also directed at enhancing the organization’s competitiveness, while providing the highest video gaming experiences for consumers. In addition, the company is committed to continuous learning, as it develops internal processes and tools, such as u-Learn, e-learning platforms meant to keep employees and organization flexible to the new changes (Ubisoft official website). Regarding the concern towards controlling the distribution, which is a component of the scientific management, as outlined above, Ubisoft employs specific distribution strategies, partnering with retailers for selling its brands (Ubisoft official website).
In the leadership arena, another incipient theory that contours the organizational behaviour within companies is the trait theory, which holds that leaders are born rather than nurtured with emotional intelligence, self – reliance, persuasive power, dominance, high energy or aggressiveness (Lussier & Achua, 2015). Avery (2004) argues that it is difficult to associate leadership with specific human traits because there could be many individuals with the set of traits propelled by the trait theory, yet still not find themselves in leadership roles. However, Lussier and Achua (2015) remind that the trait theory used to be employed when deciding on naming or promoting candidates to leadership roles.
Within Ubisoft Montreal, the traits identified as prerequisite for leaders, namely aggressiveness, high energy, persuasiveness or dominance can all be identified in Yannis Mallat’s personality. Working in a highly competitive industry requires aggressiveness, high energy and a tendency to dominate, by imposing one’s point of view. He imposes his dominance by reminding his team of more than 2000 people that they are in the game of creative vision and he exerts high energy by giving equal attention and consideration to all games developed in Montreal studio, regardless if it is Ubi’s number 1 brand of all times, “Assassin’s Creed” or a new casual game (Nutt, “Building believable”). However, Mallat’s set of traits is more complex, including many other characteristics besides those mentioned in the trait theory as prerequisite for leadership roles.
The information gathered on the top management of Ubisoft Montreal, who also serve as leaders, indicate that the Canadian gaming studio is a professional company with a creative vision on project development but also bureaucratic processes that define its organizational behaviour. As the interpretivist paradigm focuses on identifying the different realities, formed as a result of the symbolic interaction process (Burton & Bartlett, 2005), there are other significant perspectives that need to be considered. There must be the followers’ realities regarding Ubisoft Montreal’s management and leadership that shape the OB.
The employees’ opinions, gathered from formal and informal sources, describe different organizational behaviours, based on their individual interaction with the management and leadership of the organization. Opinions gathered from employees or former employees from Glassdoor, Indeed or Ubifree2, popular websites for reviewing employers, are varied. A former employee states that within Ubisfot Montreal there is “the management on projects is redundant and typically leads are placed in positions by friends than abilities” while another indicates that “you’ll have to think outside the box on many projects” (Glassdoor, “Ubisoft Reviews”). Opinions are also multifaceted on ubifree2 blog, which shares opinions of current and former Ubisoft employees. Statements regarding the termination of the contracts criticize the management as unable and not interested to handle human relationships, treating employees like numbers that can be replaced; other views emphasize the working challenges, “doing great technology, letting your art talking by itself, no limit to your creativity” (ubifree2, “Why Working for Ubisoft Montreal”, 2010). Other employees’ reviews heavily criticize the management as harassing, with massive work politics and the leadership as un-collaborative (Glassdoor, “Ubisoft”), or on the contrary, view the company as having an efficient management with a friendly working environment (Indeed, “Ubisoft Canada Employee Reviews”).
There are bureaucratic processes, that both the managers/leaders and the employees acknowledge, but while the first category sees them as necessary for the working discipline and organizational structures, the other (the employees) perceives them as frustrating, generating a tensed and unproductive work atmosphere. In the same time, the management promotes creativity as the main working process within Ubisoft, an organizational behaviour feature that some of the employees share within their reviews.
In terms of leadership, some employees or former employees perceive Ubisoft Montreal’s leadership as opaque, non-communicative and not involved in the employees’ further advancement within the organization (Glassdorr, “Ubisoft Reviews”). These features, wherein the leader is self-conscious, while not focused on the followers’ opinions and only emphasizes his or her own value system, are representative for the trait leadership, as leaders aggressively pursue their intentions (Lussier & Achua, 2015).
On the other hand, other internal actors within Ubisoft (former or current employees) consider that Ubisoft Montreal’s studio is creative, innovative, pushing the limits of thinking out of the box (Glassdoor, “Ubisoft Reviews”; Indeed, “Ubisoft Canada Employee Reviews”). These later features suggest the values of the visionary leadership. Visionary leadership is the expression of an envisioned future from which the organization as a whole will benefit, wherein visionary leaders persuade others to buy in their vision and contribute to its realization (Day, 2014). Giving this definition and considering the fact that several employees interpret Ubisoft Montreal as holding the values of the visionary leadership, a concern arises on whether the organizational behaviour within this company is based or not on visionary leadership. Some of the main values of the visionary leadership are its focus on empowering others, on developing cutting edge products and being a trend setter (Lussier & Achua, 2015; Wildermuth & Wildermuth, 2006). When discussing about visionary leadership, an immediate mental association is created between this leadership theory and Steve Jobs, the creative force, innovative mind and trend-setting engine of Apple (Bernistas, 2011). Apple is a trendsetter within industry, because it developed and marketed various products, such as iPhone, iPad, iTunes, and many more that other companies copied. Ubisoft, on the other hand, has created but a few technologies, which have been received with a negative publicity and word of mouth, insufficient to declare this company a trendsetter, but rather an imitator. On the contrary, Ubisoft is and always has been a trend follower, which is a value encrypted also in its organizational culture. The company is committed to adhere to cutting edge technologies, to implement all the innovations and breakthrough technologies within its game development practices. Based on this interpretation of the reality, there can be stated that Ubisoft Montreal does not have a visionary leadership.
However, there are specific values of the visionary leadership entrenched in its organizational culture, such as seeking to permanently improve the work and the games created by being open to continuous learning and development (Ubisoft, official website). These are features of transformational leadership, which are nevertheless describing the visionary leadership, according to Day (2014). While there is a connection between the visionary and the transformational leadership, the later encompasses slightly different characteristics.
Transformational leadership is a leadership theory developed in 1973 by Downton and further conceptualized by Burns and Bass, as the leadership style wherein the leader helps he followers to transcend their self – interests, develop a broader understanding of their goals and reach the self – actualization (Bass in Gill, Levine & Pitt, 1998).
However, the transformational leadership has additional perspectives other than the individual consideration for developing the employees’ self – awareness: the idealized influence, inspirational motivation or intellectual stimulation (Kussier & Achua, 2015). The intellectual stimulation feature of the transformational leadership implies pushing the innovation, driving the creativity in a fast- moving environment, taking risks and experiencing (Kussiner & Achua, 2015). Ubisoft is an innovative company, one that pushes its employees to think out-of –the-box (Glassdoor, “Ubisoft Reviews”) and enhances new technological development. As such, in 2010 the company developed a new technology, the DRM software, aimed at preventing piracy and engaging players in an on-going reality (Kalla, 2010). This bold move was a sign of creativity, innovation, pushing the limits and high risks, as it required the gamers’ internet connection availability 24/7, which naturally generated negative criticism (Kalla, 2010). The negative criticism, however, does not impede in any way Ubisoft’ Montreal’s transformational leadership approach on business.

Analysis of the fit

The subjective research methods, such as documents or electronic reviews, are considered suitable for underpinning an analysis on the interpretivist paradigm. However, other subjective research methods would have been required for analysing Ubisoft Montreal’s organizational behaviour through its approaches to management/leadership practices, for an enhanced accuracy. Interviews or participative observation would have represented reliable additional research methods for increasing the accuracy of this report, through sensing the work environment and interacting directly with the internal actors for defining a clearer image on the company’s organizational behaviour.

Conclusion

This essay has applied the interpretivist paradigm for investigating the organizational behaviour within Ubisoft Montreal, through depicting its managerial and leadership style. Through a subjective qualitative design research method, based on browsing electronic sources for identifying different perceptions and interpretations on the chosen company’s management and leadership style, the writer of this paper reached specific knowledge on Ubisoft Montreal’s organizational behaviour.
Ubisoft Montreal employs bureaucratic practices for keeping its production line organized, but its practices are beyond the classical managerial style, demonstrating modern, scientific management applications;
The leadership style within Ubisoft Montreal is transformational, as the organization pursues innovation and embraces continuous learning, aiming to permanently adjust the organizational culture and leadership style to the new industry development;
Consistent with the interpretivist paradigm, there are various perceptions and feelings about Ubisoft Montreal’s managerial and leadership style. While some consider them as hindering career development, constraining communication and limiting creativity, others, on the contrary, perceive management and leadership as innovative drivers.
The organizational behaviour within Ubisoft is also a subject of interpretations. Those who perceive the management and leadership as stringent and bureaucratic consider the OB within the company as oppressive and burdensome, while those who feel that the management and leadership are focused on pushing the limits of creativity perceive the OB as friendly, safe, focused on innovation and quality.
The paper also states that although management and leadership are different concepts, they complete each other and within Ubisoft Montreal, leadership is a necessary quality of top managers like Yannis Mallat.

Recommendations

As the interpretivist paradigm pointed various perspectives on Ubisoft Montreal’s organizational behaviour, the company’s management and leadership needs to thoroughly analyse the pro and con views and investigate whether the negative views can be bettered through OB processes. The bureaucratic nature of the planning sometimes hinders the creative process and a recommendation, from the interpretivist paradigm perspective, would be to create more flexibility on the working processes. Moreover, as there are voices that sustain that the followers’ initiatives are hindered, the company’s top management should carefully analyse this matter and erase such behaviour, considering that initiative is one of the main organizational values that it promotes within its organizational behaviour.

References

Avery, G.C. (2004) Understanding leadership. Paradigms and cases. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Bernistas, M. (2011) Steve Jobs: the businessman, the visionary, the leader. Retrieved from http://marinosb.com/files/MarinosBernitsasOnSteveJobs.pdf.
Burton, D. Bartlett, S. (2005) Practitioner research for teachers. London: Sage Publications, Inc.
Carayanis, E. (2001) Strategic management of technological learning. Florida: CRC Press LLC.
Cohen, D.S. & Bustamante, S.A. (2010) Producing games: from business and budgets to creativity and design. Mason: Elsevier, Inc.
Darling, J.R. & Nurmi, R.W. (2009) “Key contemporary paradigms of management and leadership: A linguistic exploration and cases for managerial leadership”, European Business Review, Vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 201-214.
Day, D. (2014) The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Glassdoor (n.d.) Ubisoft reviews. Retrieved from http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Ubisoft-Montreal-Reviews-EI_IE12717.0,7_IL.8,16_IM990.htm.
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Kalla, R. (2010) Ubisoft’s new Draconin DRM kills gaming all weekend. Retrieved from http://www.thebuzzmedia.com/ubisofts-new-draconian-drm-kills-gaming-all-weekend/.
Lussier, R. & Achua, C. (2015) Leadership: theory, application & skill development. Boston: Cengage Learning.
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Mintzberg, H. (1990) Mintzberg on management. London: Free Press.
Nutt, C. (n.d.) Building believable worlds: Yannis Mallat on production at Ubisoft. Retrieved from http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3763/building_believable_worlds_yannis_.php?print=1.
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Wu, B. (2013) New theory on leadership management science. Oxford: Cartridge Books Oxford.

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