Case analysis Assignment | College Homework Help

CASE

Helen Bowers was stumped. Sitting in her office at the plant, she pondered the same questions she had been facing for months: how to get her company’s employees to work harder and produce more. No matter what she did, it didn’t seem to help much.

Helen had inherited the business three years ago when her father, Jake Bowers, passed away unexpectedly. Bowers Machine Parts was founded four decades ago by Jake and had grown into a moderate-size corporation. Bowers makes replacement parts for large-scale manufacturing machines such as lathes and mills. The firm is headquartered in Kansas City and has three plants scattered throughout Missouri.

Although Helen grew up in the family business, she never understood her father’s approach. Jake had treated his employees like part of his family. In Helen’s view, however, he paid them more than he had to, asked their advice far more often than he should have, and spent too much time listening to their ideas and complaints. When Helen took over, she vowed to change how things were done. In particular, she resolved to stop handling employees with kid gloves and to treat them like what they were: the hired help.

In addition to changing the way employees were treated, Helen had another goal for Bowers. She wanted to meet the challenge of international competition. Japanese firms had moved aggressively into the market for heavy industrial equipment. She saw this as both a threat and an opportunity. On the one hand, if she could get a toehold as a parts supplier to these firms, Bowers could grow rapidly. On the other, the lucrative parts market was also sure to attract more Japanese competitors. Helen had to make sure that Bowers could compete effectively with highly productive and profitable Japanese firms.

From the day Helen took over, she practiced an altogether different philosophy to achieve her goals. For one thing, she increased production quotas by 20 percent. She instructed her first-line supervisors to crack down on employees and eliminate all idle time. She also decided to shut down the company softball field her father had built. She thought the employees really didn’t use it much, and she wanted the space for future expansion.

Helen also announced that future contributions to the firm’s profit-sharing plan would be phased out. Employees were paid enough, she believed, and all profits were the rightful property of the owner—her. She also had private plans to cut future pay increases to bring average wages down to where she thought they belonged. Finally, Helen changed a number of operational procedures. In particular, she stopped asking other people for their advice. She reasoned that she was the boss and knew what was best. If she asked for advice and then didn’t take it, it would only stir up resentment.

All in all, Helen thought, things should be going much better. Output should be up and costs should be way down. Her strategy should be resulting in much higher levels of productivity and profits.

But that was not happening. Whenever Helen walked through one of the plants, she sensed that people weren’t doing their best. Performance reports indicated that output was only marginally higher than before but scrap rates had soared. Payroll costs were indeed lower, but other personnel costs were up. It seemed that turnover had increased substantially and training costs had gone up as a result.

In desperation, Helen finally had hired a consultant. After carefully researching the history of the organization and Helen’s recent changes, the consultant made some remarkable suggestions. The bottom line, Helen felt, was that the consultant thought she should go back to that “humanistic nonsense” her father had used. No matter how she turned it, though, she just couldn’t see the wisdom in this. People worked to make a buck and didn’t want all that participation stuff.

Suddenly, Helen knew just what to do: She would announce that all employees who failed to increase their productivity by 10 percent would suffer an equal pay cut. She sighed in relief, feeling confident that she had finally figured out the answer.

ASSIGNMENT

INCLUDE 4 SCHOLARLY REFERENCES

To fully complete this case assignment, please read and analyze the assigned case. Be sure to speak in OB language throughout to reflect your knowledge of the terminology and concepts covered this week. Your response must be numbered as outlined below, and provide the following:

  1. Situation

In this section of the case analysis, you will focus on identifying situational aspects that have led to the situation being reported in the case. You are to explain the situation in Organizational Behavior terms specific to this week’s material. These aspects should include relevant context, people-related, and organizational factors that have contributed to the current situation.  Creating this profile relies on your understanding and application of key concepts, frameworks, and theories contained in the text and other course materials. Please note that the focus of this is to highlight the OB related issues; however, it is understood that other management-related issues may also contribute to the situation. This section MUST explain the situation using terminology and related material from this week’s textbook readings. Remember to cite appropriately.

  1. Problem

The situational profile leads to the identification of the major problem in the case. For example, the case may frame the problem as personality and attitude, but the underlying OB problem may relate to organizational structure. Thus, you must analyze the situation deeper to uncover the foundational OB problem. In a case, there may be several problems; however, there is likely only one MAIN problem. All the other factors that appear to be problems are symptoms of the main problem. In this section, you will identify the ONE main problem and explain why it represents that main OB problem in this case. The problem MUST be stated in OB terms. Include specific examples from the case, textbook, and external sources to support your position. Be clear in your statement of the problem.

  1. Case Question(s)

Identify the specific questions that must be addressed in order to solve the central problem identified. Think of what you would need to know in order to make a decision on how to solve the problem you have identified. Please note that these questions MUST be related to the problem that you have identified and you must explain why an answer to each question is necessary to solve the problem. What information do you have to know to solve the problem? Questions unrelated to solving the problem or those that are general and not specific to your problem will not meet these criteria. Consider internal and external factors that may have influenced the current situation, whether mentioned in the case or not. Think about the functional information required in order to accurately address the central problem. List each question and explain individually why each question is pivotal to solving the identified problem. Be clear and specific in your answers.

  1. Alternative “Solutions” (3)

Present three separate and independent courses of action that could be enacted to solve the problem. For EACH alternative, be sure to explain the course of action, the organizational actors and resources required to complete, the benefits and risks of said action, and how/why the action could potentially solve the problem. Each action MUST solve the specific problem identified, and be independent of the others. Make your case with the support of internal and external sources. Number each alternative solution as 4a, 4b, 4c, etc.

  1. Recommend

Identify and recommend the ONE solution out of those identified in item 4 above that is most tenable. You may not offer a combination of the alternatives; only ONE of the alternatives can be selected. Provide evidence to argue in favor of the chosen solution, explaining why this solution is the most tenable compared to the others, and is most appropriate to solve the problem identified. Assume you are presenting your idea to the organizational decision-makers; you want and need their agreement and support. Present a persuasive argument as to why this solution is the best solution for the problem, including support from course material, the field of OB, and other relevant factors as support for your argument. OB language must be used. Thoroughly support your position using internal and external sources.

  1. Prediction

Briefly predict and paint a picture of what the situation looks like AFTER implementation of your recommended solution. How would the situation as outlined in your response to number one (above) change? How does the organizational experience change for the actors involved? Please note this is not a conclusion; it is a prediction of what the outcome will be and how the situation will be different after your recommendation is implemented.

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