Electra-Quik Case Study
The main problem of this case study lies in the existing corporate culture of the business and the newness of the proposed company revisions. Electra-Quik is an established company that has historically done well until recently, when a host of problems ranging from outside competition to company moral became apparent.It would be nice to know more information concerning the extent of the company’s problems, but since they are not talked about in detail, this case study will assume that they are moderately severe since people are actively seeking other employment.
Martin Griffin, the CEO hired to turn the company’s fortunes, wants to address the corporate culture first and foremost with his new empowermentcampaign. The challenge he faces is multi-faceted, but the root problem lies with the corporation’s culture and its lack of open communication channels and flexibility. It would be nice to know more about Martin’s track record as a CEO, the types of business he worked for in the past, and the other problems he addressed.
From the case study it seems that many employees are thoroughly disenchantedby the current culture (employees are “actively seeking” other employment opportunities), and may see upper management as unbelieving in their abilities (Harry’s statement concerning faith in the employees is an example). As well, change is frowned upon as previous attempts (downsizing, reengineering, restructuring) have all failed. The reasons why these other attempts failed is a mystery, butfrom this case study it can be assumed that among other factors there existed a resistance to change from the employees and department heads. It seems apparent from the case study that employees who believe in Martin’s designs from the beginning, like Barbara Russell, are a minority.
Martin started his campaign on empowerment by having upper management teams meet and devise methods to implementempowerment among the corporation. The goals of these teams were to brainstorm, and indeed, Barbara and her manufacturing team did come up with many interesting ideas. One initial problem here is that these teams were all divided according to departments and were staffed accordingly. Thus, Martin’s campaign suffered a critical blow in its earliest stages in two ways.
First, Martin may notrealize the problems with inter-departmental communication that exist at Elextra-Quik as he may not have been with the company for long enough a period of time or have gotten to know the key personnel in the departments. This could be why he left the second meeting leaderless, with Barbara and every other team manager to fend for him or herself. Had Martin met with each department head inadvance and tried to glean information about the corporate culture and each department head’s opinion of his empowerment campaign, he might have had a better idea as to how he should implement his reforms. By meeting with each department head, Martin could also have asked for their input and possibly gotten them all on the band wagon individually. Thus when his ideas were released to everyone at themeeting, each department head would have a sense of ownership of the idea and would likely be more in favor of the changes Martin wanted to institute.
Second, by having each team membership consist of only one department, each team invariably brought an ethnocentric list of possible company changes that ultimately missed critical issues that related to other departments and that did nothing tocontribute to the poor departmental communication. The people in Barbara’s team, while confident of their proposed changes, failed to look at critical issues to other departments because those issues were simply not important to the manufacturing department. Thus the project proposal her team presented appeared to discount the importance of the other departments and did nothing to nurture...