Maple Lodge Farms

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Studying the Relevance of Larry Greiner’s Developmental Phases to the Future Stability of Maple Lodge Farms

Maple Lodge Farms, a family-owned business awarded the prestige of being one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies, has attained success by employing a number of strategic organizational practices. Since the inception of Maple Lodge Farms, the founders’ commitment to providing various Canadian households with the highest quality chicken products has allowed it to become one of Canada’s leading poultry companies. Initially, the business owners’ main priority was to launch Maple Lodge Farms as a highly recognizable brand capable of sustaining a loyal customer base. This goal was largely achieved through a variety of measures the founders implemented throughout the organization’s existence. Recently, a few of the methods used to promote Maple Lodge Farms consist of using an integrated organizational structure, ensuring the safety of the products through technological innovations and limiting the company’s environmental imprint on society. In this research paper, I intend to analyze the current transitional stage of Maple Lodge Farms in Larry Greiner’s terms, evaluate the success of the organization’s human resources strategy – relating it to Larry Greiner’s developmental phases – and offer potential suggestions to boost its future growth. For the purpose of this analysis, a discussion of Larry Greiner’s article, Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow: A company’s past has clues for management, is necessary to provide insight into the growth phase Maple Lodge Farms is now in. Larry Greiner, a professor at the Harvard Business School, believes the natural progression of a company from its initial stages to a more sophisticated business model is a consequence of its organizational structure. In other words, an organization’s current managerial framework influences its upcoming management decisions – hence the title of Greiner’s paper. He states that the future health of a business is dependent upon the way it is managed – i.e. its management style – in addition to how it reacts to challenges presented to the established managerial setup. “Companies fail to see that many clues to their future success lie within their own organizations and their evolving states of development. Moreover, the inability of management to understand its organization development problems can result in a company becoming “frozen” in its present stage of evolution or, ultimately, in failure, regardless of market opportunities” (Greiner, 1998). Moreover, Greiner contends that a business undergoes five known developmental phases – each characterized by both an evolutionary and revolutionary stage. “1. The term evolution is used to describe prolonged periods of growth where no major upheaval occurs in organization practices. 2. The term revolution is used to describe those periods of substantial turmoil in organization life. As a company progresses through developmental phases, each evolutionary period creates its own revolution” (Greiner, 1998). Therefore, a specific growth period is defined by a particular management style and a management crisis which results directly from it – i.e. the evolutionary and revolutionary aspects of each transitional phase respectively. Furthermore, the age and size of the organization, in addition to the growth rate of the industry, all play roles in the construction of a progression model that accurately describes a business. Greiner’s assumptions are relevant to Maple Lodge Farms because not only do they enable an understanding of the organization’s present state of development, but they also offer implications for the future stability of the business – essentially by indicating which management style a company should adopt as it grows and changes. Before I investigate the effectiveness of Maple Lodge Farms’ business plan – specifically its human resources approach – and forecast its growth capabilities, I...
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