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Managing Organizations

MGT701, 2015
Assessment Task 3: Case Study Analysis
Goal:The goal of this assessment is to encourage the student to incorporate multiple course concepts in an applied way.
Product: Report.
Format: Case study analysis.
Length: 3000 words
Due Date: Monday week 14 (2 November) at 5:00 p.m.
This assignment can be completed individually or as part of a group (Max 4 members)
Possible Marks Grade
1. Analysis of behavioural and organisational issues exemplified in the case studies.

2. Application of appropriate conceptual frameworks/models/ theories/examples supported by scholarly references.

3. Quality of argument in support and development of recommendations.

4. Specific and actionable recommendations (minimum six) for changes that address the issues identified.

5. Quality of report presentation including clarity of expression, professionalism of layout and formatting, grammar and spelling.


Case Study Overview
After a recent re-structure three business units that operate in a large government organisation have been merged. The departments previously operated independently and now will report to you (your team) replacing the previous Group Manager. The three areas merged are:
• Facilities Management (30 staff)
• Acquisitions (45 staff), and
• Transport services (22 staff) have been merged.

The new group (FAT) is structured as part of the Corporate Services Area of the organisation. The FAT group collectively has an important role in supporting the entire Organisation to achieve its strategic goals and vision.

You have recently reviewed a consultant’s report that was commissioned due to significant conflict that exists between the department managers. The conflict is particularly negative between the Facilities and Acquisitions managers. The conflict has become so significant these managers no longer speak to each other and both have received counselling and have made complaints about each other to Senior Management and Human Resources. The transport services manager is also challenging and there is no love-loss among this management team.

The Management Team:
The general orientation of the leadership team is to have a tendency to emphasise task outcomes rather than people’s well-being. This can lead to stress and decisions based on status rather than expertise. There was evidence during the interviews that several Managers and Staff presented stress related symptoms and emotional reactions to the interview process. In general the team are described as:
• Dogmatic, rigid and abrupt
• Runs things by themselves instead of collaborating with others
• De-emphasis of team emotion
• Blaming others for mistakes
• Cynical
• Not allowing for mistakes

Also present in the leadership team was a style that described people who subordinate themselves to the organisation but in the process, end up creating stress for themselves and allowing the organisation to stagnate. The cost to the organisation and its teams is often the ability to learn and adapt to change. Specific behaviours that depict this orientation include:
• Evasive and leaving decisions to others
• Conforming; thinking rules are more important than ideas
• Agreeing with everyone
• Avoidance in dealing with difficult situations and conflict

Dave – Group Supervisor you are replacing (reported to Andrew the Area Supervisor who reports to the CEO of the organisation).
Dave is described as a manager known to start things and not follow them through. This manager does not deal with major issues in a timely fashion and he seems to be highly reactive to external clients to maintain “face”. An implication of this is a tendency to accept work and then pile that on to already potentially overworked department Managers.

It appears that this manager had limited “leadership” credibility, except in a few isolated cases, both inside the team and around the Organisation. It appears this has occurred due to a perception of a lack of substantive engagement with staff in the Group and a general politically orientated management style that involves subjectivity and personalities ahead of objectivity and performance. It was a common perception that this style has led to the Group Manager “playing favourites” and operates with “double standards”. It was suggesting that Dave may change his behaviours dependent on who he is working with. It was also a common perception that his decisions may lack objectivity.

Alana – Supervisor Facilities:
Evidence suggests that Alana has a range of positive leadership behaviours/qualities including a consistent focus on high standards. In general, the staff of the area was positive in their orientation towards this manager and felt that she had made significant positive impacts in the section. They described her as “a very focused person”, “very encouraging”, and having an “open door approach”. They said she “provides feedback in a diplomatic way”, “actively supported people” and “challenges people to do their best”. On the other hand, there was evidence to indicate that this Manager can be overly “aggressive” that can lead to an overemphasis on the task at the expense of people issues within the team. It was apparent that this manager has been impacted significantly by the breakdown of communication in the FAT leadership group is displaying high levels of stress.

Diana – Supervisor Acquisitions:
This manager was described as a “micromanager” who was “not consultative enough” on several occasions. It was identified that she has an overly autocratic leadership style and at times could be highly aggressive with staff, colleagues and internal customers. While she has high standards of delivery, it appears that she attempts to control the work flow too closely. It was felt that this manager does “too much firefighting” and there was evidence of a controlling style that may be frustrating for some members of her team. It was also suggested that many tasks given to staff are disjointed leading to a lack of understanding of the “big picture”. It is highly likely that this manager (or section) has too much responsibility or difficulties with delegation and staff motivation. It was suggested she is “extremely busy” and “being pulled in too many directions”. It was also regularly suggested that this manager is “challenging to deal with” and showed an “inflexible” style.

Peter – Supervisor Transport Services:
This manager has been promoted relatively quickly through the organisation and may not have been provided with appropriate training to support his continued promotion. He appears overtly stressed and there was evidence of ongoing emotional outbursts. He was described as “having good days and bad days”, and can “get pretty emotional”. It appears his passion for the role may be communicated inappropriately in some instances and that he experiences significant frustration with many areas of the position. This manager also is known as having an Aggressive Styles described as being in the high to very high range.

It appears as if this manager has few formal skills in managing people and received limited training in areas associated with leadership and performance management. He has received very little support or encouragement for him to do well from the previous group leader and this is likely to be extremely frustrating given that his area has been identified as having pockets of difficult staff behaviours which are non-responsive. It appears, like the other managers he has very limited power to performance manage under-performing staff.

The Culture
It was often suggested that that “the FAT group are heavily constrained by bureaucracy”, “red tape” and “poor group leadership”. Further, there was a general criticism of the area that a “one-size fits all” approach was detrimental to many operating areas. A further theme noted that communication from the group was often convoluted and could be a lot better.
In terms of service delivery the interviewees were highly critical of some areas due to poor processes and high levels of inefficiency. This criticism was directed predominately at Acquisitions. Transport was also criticised but to a lesser degree. Facilities were generally described in very positive terms regarding their service delivery.

While there were relatively few commonalities between the areas of the FAT Group there was an overarching view that this organisation was a “good place to work”, with “good people”. It was suggested that there was appropriate “flexibility” and a generally positive “work life balance”. The participants described the Organisation as a “family aware” environment. It was also regularly noted that “it’s a good environment” that is “mostly flexible in terms of working hours” and there is “appropriate job security”. In general, it was thought that “there are lots of opportunities” and “training available to help you improve at your job”. In general, the members of each area spoke highly of other staff members in the Group and it was thought that most people “are doing the best they can”.

However, many participants suggested they “were under a significant amount of pressure from workload and poor resourcing” and that people were “under the pump”. Many staff indicated that they are “just keeping their heads above water” and they were often “in damage control”. Further, it appeared that many areas felt that they are under staffed and that “while the workload is growing, the manpower is shrinking” and “work just continues to build up”. Finally, it was felt that “things are regularly dropped on staff at the last minute” with no explanation of what is happening. This has led to a situation where staff feels they are “always on the defensive” and creates a “highly stressful environment”.

The apparent “hyper-busy” nature of some areas appears to be having important implications. It was a view of the participants that many problems are amplified because clients of their areas do not do the appropriate diligence or “always want it done now”. The staff of many areas felt that their clients are “too demanding” and “do not take responsibility”. There was also a theme that this is caused to a degree because Management at the Group-Level and above was overly “pampered” and they use their position to drive outcomes outside of the normal processes. This refers to some staff in organisation using their position in their hierarchy and personal connections to receive special treatment. Related to this was the view that the “rules of the game” were consistently changing and staff was not informed.

Other descriptions of the culture in the areas of FAT included “pretty negative”, “has been deteriorating”, “people often sulk”, and there is “no fun at work” from some participants.There are problems of motivation across all sections and a distinct lack of teamwork within and between departments. It was also suggested that many staff are “highly resistant to change”. In general staff appeared very busy and there was evidence of some staff being “highly stressed”, “defensive” and “emotional”. Claims of significant inequity in workloads and concerns about job security in some areas where staff are kept on month-to-month acquisitions for inappropriately long periods of time were also flagged. Finally, there was evidence of high levels of micro-management and a general lack of trust from the staff regarding management intentions.

There was a theme of defensiveness and high levels of caution from some members of the area. Staff appeared to be concerned about being identified in the review and the ramifications of saying the wrong thing. This may be a function of a wider Organisational culture and may not necessarily be specific to the FAT area.Finally, there is generally a relatively weak customer service culture across the FAT group.

Departmental Descriptions:
The following outlines views of external clients who use the services of the different areas of FAT.

Participants had few concerns regarding the service provided by Facilities. There were almost no criticisms of the area and the section received significant consistent praise from the interview participants. They were described as having “great service”, the “beacon of FAT”, “responsive”, “proactive”, and a “dream to deal with”.

Transport Services:
There were a range of views when describing the services provided by the Transport area. There were many positive examples of outstanding customer service in the area of help with car servicing and handling. It was suggested that “Transport Services works really well” and that it has “generally picked up a lot”, and “they are lifting their game”.On the other hand, there were suggestions that there is a “negative” culture in the area and that parts of the area are very frustrating to deal with. There were specific criticisms, from different participants, directed at some staff members in the area who were described as “nasty”, “rude”, “arrogant” and “unresponsive”. Some participants described areas of Transport Services as “terrible” and “highly inefficient”, and they described their experience with Transport Services as being “unwelcome” and a sense of being “attacked” over issues when equipment was returned. There was a view that some key people in the area were highly “defensive” and “avoided responsibility” and this led to a “lot of finger pointing” rather than focusing on fixing the problem.

Acquisitions received a great deal of criticism from internal clients. In general, people described many of their processes as problematic. Interviewees described the group as “pedantic”, “highly risk adverse” and that it was often “exhausting dealing with Acquisitions”. One of the main concerns of the participants was associated with a lack of clarity around operating processes employed by Acquisitions. It was suggested that poor communication about the progress of requests was a significant issue. Claims that Acquisitions were not responsive and that their service is generally very poor were common. Specific comments included “left in the dark”, “the process is long and highly bureaucratic”, “the area is highly ineffective”, “there is a lot of confusion” and they are “too detailed with the documentation”.It was felt that Acquisitions are very poor at communicating with their clients and “they are trying to tell us what to do”. It is felt that clients have to “jump through hoops” and there is very little appreciation for the need (of other areas) to be responsive to the Organisation’s external customers.

The Assignment:
Drawings on concepts (particularly Module 3, 4, and 5) from Managing Organisations (MGT701) develop a report that outlines a strategy to turn the FAT group around in 12 to 18 months. The two KPIs you will be measured against in 12 months are staff engagement and customer satisfaction – currently both are below internal and external benchmarks. To improve the group you will need to address issues of staff motivation, teamwork as well as change management.
Managing Organizations Task 3


1. Background on Case Study– 200 words

2. Analysis of Managerial Team

Alana – Supervisor Facilities–200
Good and bad about each

Organizational Culture– 200
3. Theory

Relate back to the analysis
Provide a theory and then use peter as the example for instance

Team work–approx. 250

Staff engagement – approx. 250
(zone of engagement)

Inter-department communication– approx. 250

4. Recommendations

Alana and Organizational Culture – 2 recommendations each – 200
Reference List

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