Analysis of the Dynacorp Case Through Political Lens

Topics: Management, Functional group, Product management Pages: 8 (2943 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Analysis of the Dynacorp Case through political lens
Dynacorp is a worldwide information systems and communications business. In 1990 the company started to have fewer earnings than in the past, so the CEO tried to change the design of the company to run better. In this paper, I analyze this organization though the political lenses to better understand how changing the structure can help improve revenue and quality. As discussed in the book, the political lens sees the organization in terms of conflicts of interests, power, and goals among individuals and groups within the organization. The way to understand the dynamics of political conflict is to understand who has power, from where that power comes, the basis of the power and how much power the different parties in the organization have. “In the political perspective, 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 key concerns of players in the political perspective of the organization revolve around who defines the problems and the agenda, and where they get the power to do so; who the parties advocating solutions are, and why they are advocating such solutions; how a particular group is to procure an outcome or outcomes that are favorable to its own interests (Ancona et al., 2009: M-2, 33). Stakeholder, Power, Interests

At the very top of the organizational hierarchy there is the CEO and the functional heads, who are executive vice presidents representing marketing, manufacturing, and engineering. These constitute, individually, four different sets of stakeholders, each with their own interests, as well as power. The CEO has his interests in making Dynacorp more competitive and profitable, as reflected in his listed challenges: costs that are high, product development cycles that were slow, and value creation for customers that needed to be elevated. These are some of his most important motivations for instigating such actions as forming the task force to draft recommendations on the design of the organization. These recommendations are to be presented to senior management. The CEO's power is immense, and covers all of the functions and operations of the firm. The powers of the function heads, on the other hand, are likewise immense, but are capped by the power of the CEO, and are limited directly to their own functional groups, even as they are able to influence company decisions and strategies as members of senior management. Their key interests obviously lie in the areas of advancing the interests of their own functional groups and protecting their own turfs. These are the underlying interests that inform their explicitly-stated interests [(Ancona et al., 2009, pp. M2-28- M2-29)]. Ten groups within the engineering division constitute their own sets of stakeholders, and there is the grouping too, between the technical and the technical/management people on two parallel tracks, that can be construed as forming their own sets of stakeholders. Their obvious underlying interests are in protecting their own turfs too, and advancing their own agenda for the firm. Dynacorp being a company focused on technological innovation, the engineering function and the 10 groups within hold immense power and influence, being the providers of the technological innovation that is at the heart of the company's competitive edge (Ancona et al., 2009, p. M2, 29). The manufacturing function is geographically-based and is also of considerable size, reflecting the fact that Dynacorp has taken on the strategy of intensive in-house manufacturing as opposed to relying on subcontractors to do the manufacturing for them. The manufacturing plant managers are the ground-based members of this large interest group. Their explicitly stated interests are along the lines of making sure that manufactured products meet high standards of quality. The...
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