Case Study: Menno Henneveld Leadership Lecture

Case Study: Menno Henneveld Leadership Lecture

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marked. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they know who their tutor is before the due date.
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Human Resource Management Introduction 2008
Assignment 1 – Case Study: Menno Henneveld Leadership Lecture
Menno Henneveld was the Commissioner of Main Roads Western Australia for a 10 year period between 2002 and 2012. Following a long and distinguished career in the Water Corporation he was an external appointment to an organisation that always appointed their CEOs from within the organisation.
Menno came into an organisation that was very traditional, built on history, a respect for authority and a reputation for excellence.  There were high expectations of him as the organisation had undergone considerable change in the preceding years and it was generally believed that he would continue the change and restructure Main Roads, reduce the workforce and introduce a commercial culture with external recruitment from the private sector.  Within the organisation there was a degree of uncertainty and nervousness that there would be more job losses and wage reductions.
For his first 6 months in Main Roads, Menno spent his time moving around the organisation, meeting people, understanding what they did, and listening to their stories, their ideas and their concerns.  The people in Main Roads found him a very friendly, engaging, and supportive person and warmed to him.  But they still did not know what his intentions as a CEO were for Main Roads.
In his sixth month Menno made his first strategic decision as Commissioner.  He organised a workshop of 100 people from across Main Roads.  This included executives, managers, administration officers, professionals, road workers and so on.  There were people who had been in the organisation for 40 years and others who had only been employed 6 months earlier; there were people in their sixties,and some in their twenties.  Over the next 5 days this group worked full-time on identifying the values that formed the culture of Main Roads.  The values and behaviours were finalised over the next 3 months and these became the foundations on which Menno developed his strategy for Main Roads over the next 10 years.  He believed that by understanding the culture of an organisation you can identify its strengths, opportunities and the commitment of its people to achieve the goals and objectives set for it.
Menno always used the catch-phrase in his presentations, “Main Roads are its people, without them there would be no organisation”.  He never referred to them as employees, it was always Main Roads’ people or the Main Roads’ Team.
During his time as Commissioner Menno made every major decision based on Main Roads’ values and its impact on the workforce.  When he left the organisation there was a general sense of loss by the workforce and many employees were very upset at his departure.
Menno came to Main Roads at a time when it was an organisation with a very good reputation and good people.  When he left it was a great organisation, seen as visionary, with an excellent strategy and significant achievements in the area of infrastructure in Western Australia.  He received a number of Western Australian and national awards, and was a national finalist in HR Awards, on a number of occasions, in recognition for his innovative work in human resource management.

Menno recently spoke to Curtin academics and students about his leadership style and the way in which he approached human resource management.  The recording of Menno’s speech is uploaded on under the Assessments tab in Blackboard.  Students are advised to watch the video and write a 2,000 word essay addressing the two questions below:
1.    What workplace diversity issues would Mr Henneveld have encountered at Main Roads Western Australia?
In answering this question, students should:
a)    Define diversity and diversity management

b)    Explain the impact of diversity on HRM

c)    Provide examples from the case study of what various aspects of diversity Mr Henneveld would have had to manage

2.    Provide recommendations on how Mr Henneveld could successfully manage diversity at the individual, group and organisational levels?
In answering this question, students should:
a)    Identify the challenges/issues associated with diversity at the individual, group and organisational level

b)    Provide recommendations (2 recommendations for each level) on HR strategies that could be adopted to overcome the challenges/issues faced at each level.
HINT: Students may want to consider referring to week 9 Lecture on Diversity as a precursor to gaining a preliminary understanding of the topic.

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