The ring of the telephone interrupted Mrs. Deen in mid sentence, and she looked apologetically at her banker in her office as she picked up the receiver. "Success Enterprises, GM speaking," she answered pleasantly. It was Mr. Anthony Julien, one of the two supervisors in her medium sized sanitation company. The rest of the conversation went something like this: Mr. Julien: "Another truck breakdown in Area 2B, Mrs. Deen, and guess what? I think the new battery was stolen and replaced by a reject! No one knows how it was switched. Different loaders had different routes and of course that truck has been used by several drivers this week." Mrs. Deen: "I'm not surprised. "Just this morning I spoke to a few drivers who changed oils without checking with the mechanics. One truck is now under repairs because of that. They listened politely as usual but some of them won't heed instructions until you repeat them." Mr. Julien: "Actually one driver told me they checked with Mr. Singh and he said it was okay to change oils." Mr. Julien was referring to Mr. Jai Singh, the second supervisor, who was overseeing work in the company garage and on the route. Mr. Julien: "Something must be done about accountability for these mishaps. Its affecting morale. You have to take a harder line on the offenders." Mrs. Deen: "We'll see, Anthony. I know that performance must improve, but I worry that these men have families." Mr. Julien: The government checkers are becoming nervous about us not making the routes on time. They're wondering if we're operating by Murphy's Law. And apparently an extra truck for trimmings had been requested weeks ago." Mrs. Deen: "I've been caught up. I must have forgotten. Come up and I'll get Jai to discuss this further. These contracts cannot be lost." Mrs. Deen's meeting with her banker to negotiate another overdraft to pay VAT would have to be rescheduled. Having over fifty male workers in her employ, she often questioned, as she did now, her capability, as a woman in a top management position, to give effective instructions. Perhaps Mr. Julien should handle this, she thought to herself… This case was written by Dr. Kwame Charles, Lecturer in Human Resource Management, Department of Management Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
Caribbean Management Cases – Terrence Bruton (1993)
BACKGROUND Mrs. Karen Deen had spent her entire life in business. She vividly remembers herself at the age of nine going to the office of her father who managed an extremely successful cane hauling and heavy equipment company in the 1960s. An ambitious woman, she graduated with honours in Business Administration from a reputable Canadian University, and in 1978, 'Success Enterprises', her brainchild, was created from the ground up, financed by her own savings and family loans. Yearly sanitation contracts had been publicly advertised by government ministries inviting companies to submit tenders. The task: outline an efficient system for the collection and disposal of household refuse and garden trimmings. Purchasing five compactors from her brother who was well established in the business, Mrs. Deen was able to service one area and maintained the contract until 1981, operating with a small staff of 21. By 1984, Success Enterprises had gown considerably, and maintained four contracts with a fleet of six vehicles. It was registered as a limited liability company, and employed 75 persons. The company was profitable, and still maintained the family type orientation which Mrs. Deen wished to preserve. With the overall contraction in the economy in the latter half of the 1980s and the shrinking of government expenditure, the number of areas serviced by Success Enterprises was reduced. Many vehicles remained idle and Mrs. Deen was forced to cut the staff to 60. Tighter controls on access to credit facilities resulted in...