THE OVERWORKED ESTATE MANAGER
Lok Kim Sun is the Manager of one of Malestates (Sdn Bhd) large plantations in Malaysia. It is a very large estate of 28, 500 acres and employs 2500 estate and factory workers and managers. The crops grown are rubber (6, 500 acres), oil palm (20, 000 acres) and cocoa (2, 000 acres).
Mr. Lok is a very domineering individual. However, he is extremely afraid of making a mistake. His experiences as a junior planter, working up to Senior Assistant, and finally Estate Manager over the past 26 years have encouraged a strong one-man approach. His company headquarters in Kuala Lumpur are proud of his flat organizational structure.
Lok reports to Henry Davidson, his Estate Agent. Davidson is a member of the senior management committee in KL and was formerly a planter himself. As he used to be a very successful planter, he has a great deal of faith in his own opinions, rather a low opinion of others, and tends to adopt a very autocratic military attitude (he was, in fact, a major in the British Army at one time).
Davidson visits Lok’s estate about 4 times per year, and makes various presentations, financial requests and progress reports to the management committee personally. He is always thoroughly briefed by Lok before hand. For this reason, Lok feels that he has to know every detail on crop progress, factory operations, road maintenance, transport, staff welfare, etc.
Before he became an Estate Manager, Lok did excellent work as an Assistant for many years. He loved his work and made a number of innovations and contributions to efficiency and progress. Even today, he is much respected for his agricultural and technical ability and shows a great deal of interest in these areas.
It can be seen from the organizational chart that Lok has 19 men reporting directly to him. The work of these men are specialized and varied. The terrain on the estate varies from hilly ground to flat land and even some marshy ground....
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