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The Film "The Internship" Analysis

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The Film “The Internship” Analysis

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The InternshipIn the film “The Internship,” Billy and Nick, whom are middle-aged wrist watch salesmen, find themselves in a challenging situation when they learn that they’ve been made redundant from the only job they know – selling. With a bit of luck and a lot of sweet talk Billy and Nick manage to land themselves an internship at Google Head Office. This feel good story defies all the odds and allows the interns to show their personal strengths and capabilities, thereby contributing to a winning team.The program requires that the interns team up and compete against other interns in a number of challenges which expose both Billy and Nicks’ inadequacies. The winners of the challenges are offered permanent positions at Google. Throughout the nostalgic film both Billy and Nick with their blatant lack of technology knowledge get to mentor their fellow younger interns. The enthusiasm and teamwork coming from Billy and Nick’s group make them secure the jobs at Google.

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“The Internship” shows the “old-school “ way of working versus the modern millennial way of earning a living. Billy and Nick are socially competent leaders with positive attitudes and are exceptional team players whom are resilient as they have a strong ability to adapt and overcome challenges and rejection that they get faced with. Both men are most effective at negotiating and managing conflict as well as developing strong bonds and achieving personal goals while maintaining positive attitudes and relationships with others. “The Internship” illustrates how everyone, no matter what age, has something to offer and that teamwork is an important aspect of productivity. This can be seen when the team decide to take a break from brainstorming for a night out on the town. “The Internship” illustrates how it is never too late to try and that leaders allow others to take the spotlight. As the team develops, the team leader Lyle, is often in the background observing and occasionally interjecting, which is an example of true leadership. He does not tell the team of interns what to do but rather enables them to reach their full potential. Throughout the film, there are a few mishaps but teamwork and some light hearted fun are what gets Billy and Nick through the setbacks.Management & Leadership (General Management)In the movie, “The Internship”, we are made acutely aware of how various types of leadership and management styles within the teams of interns result in different outcomes. Depending on how a group of people are managed, this will produce either a positive or negative team. In my opinion, I felt that the type of management shown in the movie, “The Internship” was that of a Transformational style. With this type of management style the leader is charismatic by nature and they place a lot of emphasis on teamwork. This in turn builds confidence and trust between employees and management. With the staff being motivated and inspired to such an extent they will surpass their own expectations. Lyle in the Internship team not only managed his team but he empowered his team members to achieve their full potential therefore enabling them to beat the other teams and get offered positions at Google.

This team overcame all odds based on the fact that they were all slightly weird, not of the same age and the two main characters, Nick and Billy, were very “old school” in their way of thinking. A slightly more aggressive and demanding style would be the Autocratic style. Here a leader would enforce a certain strategy which is not popular with all employees and creates a low morale and negative work environment such as the team managed by Stuart. He dictated to his team what needed to be done and did not allow them to contribute to decisions he made. The team ended up being quite demotivated and suppressed by Stuart which in the end could see them turning against him. There are a few motivational factors which motivate the work force whether they be monetary or non-monetary factors. What may motivate one employee may not motivate another, however, the one common motivational factor in the movie was the prospect of getting a job to work at Google. This created a competitive, driven and very focussed group of interns who would push themselves to the limit to gain this acknowledgement. There are a few other Management styles covered in the Business Studies Grade 12 Learner’s Book, these being, the Democratic leadership style – this ensures buy in and commitment from people in the process but also leads to slower decision making. Laissez-faire, is a style that believes the employee should carry out the task without interference but can only work with a highly skilled labour force.

Then Transactional leadership is an approach of “give and take” but can easily lead to unrest (as seen by many examples of forces striking in South Africa) when the employees become disillusioned about compensation they deem to be insufficient. The last style would be the Situational leadership style which is a combination of the styles mentioned in order to be applied to a specific work situation.Professionalism and EthicsEach profession has its own set of codes by which they are governed and need to abide by in order to maintain control and discipline. These guidelines support accountability, professionalism and effective business practices. If an employee does not belong to such a code, the boundaries of what is right and wrong are blurred and there will be no recourse against what could be classified as unethical behaviour. Ethical behaviour is also part of an individuals’ values and morals so does not only pertain to the work environment.In “The Internship” we are faced with the ethical work examples when the interns are asked to hold up a paddle with a green or red side in order to respond to questions asked by the recruiting manager, Roger Chetty. He asks, “are you allowed to take the free canteen food home” and each one responds with the red side (meaning NO) excepting for Billy and Nick who show the green side (meaning YES).

Another question he asks, “is it acceptable to date a fellow intern”, which is also frowned upon and against work policies and ethics in many companies and especially at Google Headquarters.Other issues that may be seen as unethical behaviour includes the following:Conflict of interest – “this describes a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.”Bribes and corruption – this pertains to a reward (usually monetary) offered to a third party in order to secure business which they may not have got normally without the compensation. Many corporates have now implemented Corporate Governance which is “the system of rules, practices and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled in order to avoid unethical behaviour” such as bribery and corruption.Inappropriate gifts – even though these are given as a “no strings attached” gift, it can also be seen as a form of bribery. I was wondering whether the handing out of pizza by Lyles’ team at the end of the movie could be seen as a form of bribery ? They were announced the winners shortly thereafter.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is an offence which is taken very seriously and can lead to prosecution or termination. This could mean unwelcome physical contact, verbal sexual advances or non-verbal conduct such as sexual gestures or indecent exposure. Employment/ labour issues which include abusing sick leave, employees visiting porn sites, employees who make confidential information available to other people or employees wasting time on personal emails and Social media platforms such as Facebook. In the movie, Stuart oversteps the boundary by snooping around confidential information and announcing that Billy doesn’t have the qualifications or the tertiary background that he said he had which puts him in a very sensitive situation with his internship position. Other issues include Pricing of goods (known as price fixing) but the Consumer Protection Act makes this illegal to charge more in rural areas than urban areas without good reasoning. Piracy and Insider trading, counterfeiting, taxation and whistle-blowing (someone who exposes unethical behaviour, or fraud etc) are all part of unethical behaviour in the workplace.Conflict ManagementThere are various scenarios within “The Internship” that handles conflict. The Cambridge Dictionary describes conflict as “an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles”. There are two types of conflict, we have functional conflict and dysfunctional conflict. I identified examples of both within the movie which will discussed in the following paragraph.The internal conflict between the Internship team with Billy and Nick was initially likely due to differences in backgrounds, age and intellectual ability and because it had a positive outcome, I saw this as a Functional conflict situation. This conflict type leads to more creativity, innovation and higher productivity. It was important that the various individuals listened to others point of view and made a compromise in resolving their differences which lead to a win-win situation.Possible outcomes of functional conflict:

  • Create awareness that there is a problem which can be resolved.
  • Better clarity of individuals views and cooperation ensues.
  • Perceptions that may not be accurate are discussed and misconceptions cleared.

Team members may start to consider a wider range of ideas. An example of dysfunctional conflict could be observed in Stuarts’ team. Stuart lead the team but allowed his ego and ambition to get in the way where he was unwilling to compromise and created unhappiness within the team so they eventually ended up with low morale and backstabbing and gossip and losing to the better team.Possible outcomes of dysfunctional conflict:

  • Blaming, back stabbing and gossip
  • Low staff morale and increased staff turn over
  • Waste of time and resources
  • A feeling of mistrust which has a negative impact on the team
  • Time wasting and other resources

There are various reasons for conflict in the workplace, poor communication leads to misunderstandings, change brings uncertainty, limited resources and competition between team members, previously unresolved issues and differences in backgrounds, values and cultures can lead to irritation and unhappiness. Relevance of The Internship vs content outlined in the SAG documentIn conclusion, I would say that there are numerous factors that are touched on within “The Internship” versus what we cover in the Subject Assessment Guidelines document that we deal with in grade 11 & 12. Aspects that are highlighted would be Corporate Social Responsibility i.e. Corporate Governance, Conflict Management both functional and dysfunctional, Professional codes and ethics within a business, the types and effects of business roles within a corporation, the Human Capital Function which touches on Recruitment; Training and Skills development; Manpower and Planning. Even Investment opportunities and Insurance where touched on when Nick and Billy tried selling the expensive wrist watch as an investment opportunity to their client.A few aspects not touched on would be Performance Management within a business i.e. Performance appraisals, score cards etc and Industrial Relations issues such as strikes, unfair dismissals; roles of trade unions etc.

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