Case Analysis of Sunflower Inc.

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My goal in this paper is to analyze Sunflower Incorporated with respect to organizational size and structure, bureaucracy, and control and make recommendations for improvement in communications along with recommendations regarding the potential use of information technology for strategic advantage.

Sunflower Inc. is a large distribution company that purchases and distributes snack foods and liquor to retail stores throughout the United States and Canada. The organization has one head office and twenty-two regions. Each region is encouraged to be autonomous to accommodate local tastes and practices. Competition is very intense in the industry and Sunflower Inc. is unable to respond to market shifts. The organization is characterized as a bureaucracy in the formalization stage of the organizational life cycle. According to the textbook, the formalization stage involves the installation and use of rules, procedures, and control systems. During the current stage of the organization’s life cycle and to improve its technology, increasing profits, and standardizing business tasks, a standardized financial reporting system is implemented that compared sales, costs, and profits across company regions. Each region was a profit center and the system showed that profits varied extensively. Top management decided that standardization was necessary and initiated its pricing and purchasing practices to be formalized. The company faced the challenge of how to restructure to survive the competition and how to do this while functioning as both a large and small company. Joe Steelman, president of Sunflower, Inc., hired Loretta Williams to be the director of pricing and purchase. She reported to Peter Langly, vice president of finance.

Loretta Williams decided to use bureaucratic control by using new procedures. She sent out e-mails to the financial and purchasing executives in each region notifying them of the new procedures. The problem with William’s approach is that...
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