Managing People and Productivity in a Plant

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The New Plant Manager
Toby Butterfield worked his way upward in the Montclair Company until he became assistant plant manager in the Illinois plant. Finally, his opportunity for a promotion came. The Houston plant was having difficulty meeting its budget and production quotas, so he was promoted to plant manager and transferred to the Houston plant with instruction to “straighten it out”.

Butterfield was ambitious and somewhat power-oriented. He believed that the best way to solve problems was to take control, make decisions, and use his authority to carry out his decisions. After preliminary study, he issued orders for each department to cut out its budget 5 percent. A week later he instructed all departments to increase production 10 percent by the following month. He required several new reports and kept a close watch on operations. At the end of the second month he dismissed three supervisors who failed to meet their production quotas. Five other supervisors resigned. Butterfield insisted that all rules and budgets should be followed, and no exceptions.

Butterfield’s effort produced remarkable results. Productivity quickly exceeded standard by 7 percent, and within five months the plant was within budget. His record was so outstanding that he was promoted to the New York home office near the end of his second year. Within a month after he left, productivity in the Houston plant collapsed to 15 percent below standard, and the budget again was in trouble.

Questions
1. Discuss the models of organization behavior Butterfield used and the kind of organizational climate he created. 2. Discuss why productivity dropped when Butterfield left the Houston plant. 3. If you were Butterfield’s New York manager, what would you tell him about his approach? How might he respond?

Answers
1. Toby used the Autocratic Model of Organizational Behavior where he used his authority to carry out his plans and decisions. He put some rules and...
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