Outline and analyse the problems confronting CCC in the short and long term and offer recommendations for their resolution.
Cox’s Container Company (CCC) is going through a phase of reduced profitability due to a number of factors that include, but are not limited to; evolution of the business environment and increased competition, growth in the size of the business with no changes in organisational structure. The current job design/operations seem to be cost inefficient because although revenue is ‘buoyant’, margins are decreasing. An internal change agent, Erica Wilson has been appointed to drive change within an organisation with a culture of employing and promoting ethnic minorities that have served the organisation for a long time. According to Greiner’s Organisational Growth Model, organisations have ‘life cycles’. In his analysis the first stage of growth in the life cycle is ‘growth through creativity’ which is centred on the entrepreneur and as the business grows results in a ‘crisis of leadership’. It is very possible that CCC is going through such a crisis as the business has grown over the years but up to now little happens’ without’ the ‘knowledge’ of Harold Cox. This could probably lead to sluggish decision making created by a ‘power’ culture at the strategic decision making level of the organisation as Harold Cox continues to hold on to the reins at the top. However the fact that CCC employees enjoy some ‘autonomy’ may suggest that this is not the case at production level. It is possible that as a charismatic leader highly regarded for his good work towards ethnic communities in the society Harold Cox may be focusing on the employees as opposed to efficiently ensuring that there is a balance between happy employees and a productive company. It is perhaps a wise decision at this point for Cox to look to Erica Wilson to resolve this crisis of leadership. ‘Lawrence and Lorsch argue that the level of uncertainty in the environment that a firm has to cope with will determine the organisation structure that is appropriate for it.’ Increased competition and reduced margins against increased sales could be evidence of growing uncertainty in CCC’s industry. Although operational decision-making has been delegated, strategic decision making is still lies with Harold Cox. The company seems to be differentiated, but as the company has grown it seems no integration between the departments has taken place. This could probably be why Erica Wilson sees the need to carry out her survey on the review of the company’s operations in secret without input from the other managers. Her attempts to put in place systems that integrate the operations so that they run more efficiently without involvement from other departments and managers will face resistance in the short term as she may not have buy in from her fellow managers who may not see the bigger picture. In addressing the required changes, Erica Wilson is an internal appointed change agent. This may pose a problem for CCC as her objectivity may be questioned. The choice of change agent in the short term seems not to be a wise one given the fact that Abdul Aziz seems to have the support and loyalty of the ‘large majority’ of workers. According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a change agent should be willing to work independently without management power. Currently Erica has been appointed by Mr. Cox and therefore her independence is questionable. A change agent should be an effective collaborator...enhance co-operation. She has failed to get buy in from Aziz and the workers. She also has failed to develop ‘trust relationships’ and has chosen to delegate the change process to new employees. This has resulted in anger and resistance from Aziz in the short term. However this could be a deliberate strategy of Erica Wilson’s of ‘explicit and implicit coercion’. According to Kotter and Schlesinger such a strategy is used when the initiator has power and wants to...
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