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Those logging in to BBC Radio 4 on 18 February expecting to hear the Today Programme were instead treated to a series of repeats. Similar disruption was seen on TV where BBC1 viewers were presented with Escape to the Country rather than the usual breakfast fare. Other programmes on BBC radio and television were also affected as journalists walked out for 24 hours in protest at redundancies.
Without taking sides, it is interesting to note some of the arguments put forward by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in support of the strike. As well as mentioning levels of stress experienced by staff, NUJ General Secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, says that journalists “are angry and frustrated at the poor decisions being taken at the top of the BBC” and the effect on quality journalism and programming.
Anger and frustration, concerns about quality; these are phrases which are indicative of a breakdown between the organisational vision and its translation into employee engagement and action. No matter whether we are talking about the BBC, the ongoing NHS whistleblower saga or any other organisation; when anger and frustration creep in, it is time for the organisational culture and processes to be reviewed.
Whether the trigger point is a strike, rising absenteeism, decreased efficiency, a failing reputation or just a “niggling feeling that something is wrong” doesn’t matter. For any organisation, the swifter the culture and employee engagement is realigned with a strong vision the better.