Analysis of Dynacorp Case

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Analysis of the Dynacorp Case

The political lens looks at an organization from the perspective of "how power and influence are distributed and wielded, how multiple stakeholders express their different preferences and get involved in or excluded from decisions, and how conflicts can be resolved" (Ancona, Kochan, Scully, Van Maanen and Westney – M2-10) . It is an arena for competition and conflict among individuals, groups and other organizations whose interests and goals differ dramatically. The roots of conflict lie in different and competing interests and disagreements require political action, including negotiation, coalition building and the exercise of power and influence. The steps in using the political lens for an effective analysis of an organization are , mapping of power and interests, getting ‘buy-in' and finding allies and building coalitions. The core concepts of the political lens are power and interests. I will define and use all these concepts to analyze the political perspective of Dynacorp, a "major global information systems and communication company" and to identify which factors have been facilitating and which have been hindering the change process at Dynacorp. (Dynacorp case, 1999: M-2, 85)

Political Lens Analysis


In the political perspective, there are two types of interests, individual interests and collective interests. Individual interest is defined as an "individual acting in his own personal interests, which, however numerous and varied they may be, are reducible to common economic currency that allows that individual to compare the relative value or utility of meeting each interests" (Ancona, Kochan, Scully, Van Maanen and Westney1999 – M2- 34). Collective interest is defined as "those interests shared by others who belong to the same group or category, and center on the welfare and maintenance of the group" (Ancona, Kochan, Scully, Van Maanen and Westney1999 – M2- 34). Collective interests groups are also based on organizational design. Dynacorp is a FRONT/BACK structure. This type of "organization is divided into tow parts, both multifunctional but each with a different grouping dimension. The front end faces the customers and is organized by market. It includes the functions that directly relate with the customer: marketing, sales, distribution, service, and support. The back end is organized by product and takes the form of business units that include technology development, production and logistics" (Ancona, Kochan, Scully, Van Maanen and Westney1999 – M2- 20). A common approach to understanding collective interests is the stakeholder perspective. Stakeholder can be defined as "groups that have a stake, i.e. a set of collective interests, that is affected by what the organization is and how it carries out its activities" (Ancona, Kochan, Scully, Van Maanen and Westney1999 – M2- 35). Each stakeholder has a knowledge and motivation to share those interests so as to further them. There are internal stakeholders (within the organization) and external stakeholders (suppliers, customers, shareholders etc…). The main stakeholders involved in Dynacorp's change are senior managers, such as Carl Greystone and Ben Walker, middle managers, such as Martha Pauly, team members such as Jim Davis, and customers, such as Judy Brown. The relationship between the senior managers and middle managers is not very smooth. There is a conflict of interests. Carl Greystone, EVP U.S Customer Operations, states that, "to support the new plan, we've restructured the US customer operations group into regions and a new customer team structure." He goes on to say, "we are focusing the sales-force on selling customized solutions based on integrating our products rather than on selling fancy hardware." Ben Walker, VP Northeast Region, very categorically states, "Our short tem problem is that we have a new structure, but the same people to fill the slots. There are too many people who know how to...
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