W. H. Walton established Walton International in 1958; the company specializes in electronic devices for the U.S. military (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). By 1978, the company had grown to $300 million in annual revenues and had diversified into supplying a variety of specialized electronic instruments and components to both industrial and military markets (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). Walton’s company grew to become a leader in many technological markets mostly due to its philosophy and focus on R&D (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). In 1975, Walton International acquired Optical Wavelength Specialists (OWS) whose expertise is in fiber optics (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). The purpose of the acquisition was to gain a foothold in what was thought to be a rapidly growing and potentially lucrative business (Huntington & Maidique, 1979).
Since its acquisition, however, the division had not lived up to expectations (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). Walton’s leader position over the past three years had diminished and sales had remained relatively flat (Huntington & Maidique, 1979). There were several concerns by the division managers. The production manager was having a difficult time with the constant changes coming from the R&D department, causing production to never maintain control of its operations. From the perspective of the production manager, there appears to be no control over R&D and it is creating confusion, disorganization, and complicating production. The marketing manager is concerned with staying on top of the competition with new technology. If the components are good then the company can make money but down the road it may be necessary to change the entire system in order to stay competitive. The R&D manager and acting division manager are concerned because there is no clear strategy for R&D. They have the necessary talent, but without a concise strategy it is being wasted in addition to valuable time.
The underlying issue with the... [continues]
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