Medical Supplies. Six months ago, Liz Jakowski, the human
resources director, promoted you to office manager. You
manage two employees: Jack Snyder and Ruth Disselkoen.
Your office provides secretarial support for the four members of the executive team. Two years ago, Liz had assigned Jack
to support Ralph Alane and Jessica Hilo. Ruth was assigned
to Samuel Daley and Frank Daley. The work flow was
You’ve noticed that in the last three months Ruth has cut her breaks short to complete her work, complains of being tired, and at least twice a month requires overtime hours costing
the company an additional $200 a month. In the last three
weeks, Frank Daley has complained to you a few times about
the poor quality of Ruth’s work.
On the other hand, over the last three months, Jack frequently seems to have little to do. He has begun coming in late a
couple times a week and taking more than the allotted break
times. What work he does have, however, is always professionally completed.
Clearly, you must investigate to determine what is causing
this change and how to improve the situation. Since nothing
has changed in the personal lives of either Jack or Ruth, you conclude you must focus on the in-office work situation. You learn the following facts:
• Samuel and Frank Daley share a part-time administrative
assistant who works only 15 hours a week.
• Ralph Alane and Jessica Hilo share a full-time administrative assistant.
• Jessica Hilo has been on medical leave for the last four months, and Liz Jakowski isn’t sure whether Jessica will
be able to return to work.
• Jessica’s duties have been temporarily reassigned to
Ralph and Frank.
Although you don’t have the authority to change who Jack
and Ruth are assigned to work for, you clearly need to
change the work the two do so that both Jack and Ruth
work regularly without requiring overtime.
1. The background explains the primary cause of the workflow problem and the negative effects resulting from it.
Your task is to make up a realistic plan which solves
the uneven productivity between Jack and Ruth. Use
prewriting tools like brainstorming, cluster or webbing
diagrams, and freewriting to outline the cause-effect
situation and to develop a specific solution that best
solves the problem. Also ask yourself the following
questions to expand your prewriting.
• How long has this situation been going on?
• Why did the problems begin when they did?
• Am I able to solve the problem at its root cause or
am I only able to manage the impact of the problem?
• Is this a temporary or permanent problem?
• How has the company been affected?
• How have the employees been affected?
• What’s in my power to change? What must stay the same? • What are two or three ways to improve the efficiency of
• How much work, time, and money would be required to
implement each solution?
• Does each solution stop all the negative effects?
• Are there any benefits to the change beyond stopping
what is occurring?
• How exactly would each change affect Jack, Ruth, and
the executive team?
• What would I have to do to make sure each change goes
through as planned and to monitor the situation once
the solution is in place?
2. From your prewriting, develop the single best solution to the situation described in the background. Obviously, you won’t be able to use everything you’ve prewritten, so your first step is to choose what’s most important for the purpose and
audience. As you outline a solution, you may need to make
up more specific details that define the steps of the plan and describe particular benefits of the plan.
3. Next, sort your details and information about the problem and the plan into one of the two sections given below. Don’t
worry about complete sentences for this sorting stage; merely list the information under the appropriate section. Use
information from both...