Nogo Railroad Case Study

Topics: Management, Human resource management, Organizational culture Pages: 5 (1578 words) Published: January 1, 2013
Executive Summary
A team of college students were contracted to develop an organizational development plan for NoGo Railroad. The firm was experiencing low performance and low morale, along with a new Communication Manager who was unsure how to address the issues. The new Communication Manager paid for the student's services and expressed apprehension around having leadership "buy-in", which the students recommended as the first obstacle to address. The firm has traditionally recruited family members, rewarded for hours worked, and has archaic policies and an unbalanced union contract that cannot be renegotiated for two years. The team of local college students identified several systems that were adversely affected by the organization's current design and recommended a broad and sweeping initiative with a focus on building a performance-based culture. This work would include more frequent communication, employee satisfaction surveys, a performance management process, realistic career-pathing, training and development, and finally, future implementation of a job analysis and redesign effort. Problems

Macro-analysis is conceptual and strategic in nature. Evaluating the NoGo Railroad case at a macro-level, there are three big issues for Dave to begin important work around. These three issues can also be evaluated at a more granular, micro-level, which often brings clarity to the size and scope of the problem. The three problems include: earning the buy-in of the senior leadership team, addressing important culture work that stems from poor communication and outdated practices, and the union's involvement in the organization's human resource practices.

First, Dave is apprehensive about his new role in the organization and is not confident that his initiatives will earn the much-needed buy-in from Allen. This is critical to address before any set of initiatives can be prescribed by Dave or an OD Specialist. Dave needs to loop Allen in to the plans he has to consult with the group of business students, as this will improve the accuracy of his perception of the problem and his ability to solve it. The same is true of the business students who have been contracted to provide perspective around this case.

Second, NoGo Railroad has a culture that supports outdated practices and rewards employees for undesirable behavior. The organization is Stable Environment and Low Adaptation, which is "a tendency to value tradition, to keep on doing things as they have always been done, to value seniority more than performance, and to be adverse to accepting new ideas" (Brown, 2011, p.35). This culture makes Organizational Development much more difficult.

Third, the organization is unionized, which means that critical human resource work will have to be contractually agreed to in a great many cases. In fact, large-scale changes will be impossible until the contract can be renegotiated, which will not happen for two years. Nonetheless, laying the groundwork for culture work and subsequent job redesign in the short-term is a worthy cause.

At a micro-level, there are more problems, but they are smaller in nature and can often be addressed through practical remedies that are taken in through a more narrow scope, and can generally be resolved in a shorter period of time. There are five main issues at a micro-level and these problems can be addressed quickly, but the work should also carefully align with the future goals in place to address the macro-level problems. The five micro-level problems are as follows:

First, the politics in this organization may leave people with a bad taste in their mouths, which is no small matter when it comes to creating corporate culture. Dave was assigned temporary tasks as a communication manager in order to open up a position for Rex's son-in-law. This may leave the impression that upward mobility is reserved for family members. Second, the organization has areas where people are rewarded for...
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