Organizational Voice

Does an organization have a voice? Recently we visited a new store that sells submarine sandwiches. We interacted with three employees. The first took our order. He never greeted us but simply stared and waited. We gave the order. He clarified one fact and passed the order along. The second person constructed the sandwich. This was done hurriedly and without asking if we had any preferences about the possible trimmings. A third person called our number. As we approached her, she communicated impatience nonverbally, signaling that we were irritations in her day.

We ate the sandwiches. They were comprised of a fresh roll and fresh ingredients. They were acceptable but they were not great. They were thrown together by people doing a required task.

What did the organization have to say to us? The organizations told us that we were engaged in a transaction. In exchange for our money, they were willing to assemble specified ingredients and hand them to us. The organization told us that it did not care about us in any way beyond our money. We left thinking that we probably would not go back. The voice of the organization was instrumental, and it created a short-term profit and a long-term loss.

We also walked away thinking that the owner of the store was a transactional manager and not a transformational leader. If we visited the best store in the chain, would we have had a different experience? The likely answer is yes. The probability is that we would have had a higher quality emotional and physical exchange. We would have benefited from more caring interactions and more caring production of the product. We would have walked away feeling we received more value for our money.

 

Reflection

When have I felt like this?

What does the voice of our organization communicate to our customers?

What is our definition of value?

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