“Fat Man and Little Boy” starring Paul Newman
Joanne W. Hix
Management 5120 Organizational Design and Change
Professor Warren Watson
1. Draw the organizational design for how Groves and Oppenheimer set up the Project. Describe how would you redesign or modify their organization to be more effective. Show this in a drawing. Be sure to describe how your modification is different from the original organization. Also, describe the basic design characteristics (key business processes, key supporting processes, deliberations, integration mechanisms, and interdependencies) in the atom bomb project, as it existed in the film, and any changes in these factors in your modification. In the movie, there was a merger of two very different types of teams. As these teams grew, management needed to adapt in order to control and coordinate key business processes in order to successfully complete the project. From the very beginning, there was a lack of support functions between General Groves and Oppenheimer. Neither one of these leaders initiated control of relations. General Groves engages Oppenheimer, telling him that he wants to bring all the men together centrally and have a ringleader. Based on this conversation and our observations, it would appear that the organizational design that was initially implemented for the Manhattan Project is a centralized, mechanistic structure. General Groves is the decision making authority, controlling all of the organization’s activities including all communications, procedures, and correspondence up and down the chain of command. Groves also limits the interaction between the groups, stating that he does not want the engineers talking to the theorists, and does not want the theorists talking to the manufacturing teams.
Key things that General Groves and Oppenheimer did to integrate two very diverse organizational types was to develop an organizational structure, establish roles, divide authority and control, as well as outline functional teams. Prior to Groves and Oppenheimer effectively integrating the military world and the free spirited scientist, they first had to decipher the values that motivated these groups in order to adequately plan for successful integration. The interdependence, mechanistic structure set up by General Groves was so rigid that it prohibited the groups from interacting at all, thus we see a decrease in productivity and conflict between the two teams. If they would have integrated the teams, allowing them to work together in an organic cross-functional team, all working for the same purpose, we believe the atomic bomb could have been created sooner.
In the original centralized mechanistic design, everyone answered to Groves, therefore there was no communication between teams. General Groves was the central authority and sole decision maker; meaning key business processes such as coordinating tasks, functions, and groups so they work together was very difficult and time consuming. In our new organic cross-functional structure, each team has a lead and they all work together and correspond with each other to come up with ideas and solutions, meaning that key business processes are easier to implement and organizations are more efficient. [pic]
Organizational structure was accomplished through difficult compromise between Groves and Oppenheimer. Compromise was essential to create a balance of mechanistic and organic structure. Groves was relentless with meeting deadlines, while Oppenheimer asked for more time; Groves wanted centralization while Oppenheimer promoted open discussion; Groves wanted rigorous work environment to increase productivity, while Oppenheimer encouraged leisure time to increase productivity. These examples are the extreme structure issues that ultimately challenged both Groves and Oppenheimer. Balance was...
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