Texana Petroleum Corporation

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Conflict in Organizations
Texana Petroleum Corporation
Background
The Texana Petroleum Corporation is a multi-million dollar company and major producer and marketer of petroleum products located in the southwest United States. Texana has five product divisions: Petroleum Products Division, Polymer and Chemicals Division, Molded Products Division, Packaging Products Division and Building Products Division.

The President and Chief Executive Officer, Roger Holmes retired in 1993 and was replaced with Donald Irwin, brought in from a major chemical company. William Dutton, who had worked for Texana his entire career and reported to Roger Holmes, was appointed chairman of the board. Irwin and Dutton expanded the company’s involvement in processing petroleum for chemical and plastic products by acquisitions and internal development. By 2000 the company was “reshaped so that it was an integrated producer of chemicals and plastic materials in both domestic and foreign markets.” Each of the divisions producing and refining crude oil and the marketing of plastic products to industry were set up similarly whereby their functional lines included manufacturing, sales, research and development. They each had their own controller and engineering activities, but shared a central research laboratory.

As the reshaping of the company was finished it was found that each of the divisions were working independently from each other, which in turn is causing conflict between the divisions. This conflict is creating communication barriers between the divisions. George Prentice, Executive VP of Domestic Operations saw the difficulty was that the division general managers were not working well together.

Problem
There was no communication between the divisions general managers thereby creating conflict and a difficult work environment. Relevant Theories and Models
George Prentice, whose major concern is with making a profit for the domestic operations of the corporation, was concerned with the communication barrier between the divisional general managers. As we will see later the divisions are in conflict and view the other divisions negatively thereby reducing the communication between the divisions.

Donald Irwin stated about management positions that Texana “gives the individual responsibilities which aren’t diluted.” Management apparently does see the value in non-ambiguous responsibility to avoid conflict in that respect. However, it was stated from a Texana Manager that “Texana attracts a particular type of person.” The description of these characteristics is “cold, unfeeling, aggressive, and extremely competitive.” These types of characteristics can also trigger conflicts. This type of personality characteristic leads to ‘what’s in it for me.’ They will not lean toward collaborating in conflict resolution, but more toward a conflict reaction style of competing as they are assertive, self-interested, uncooperative, and the relationship unimportant.

Let’s discuss the issues that the divisions have and the conflicts involved. Polymer and Chemicals Division
George Prentice, executive vice president of domestic operations, was described as “hard-driving, aggressive, and ambitious – an arch type of the self-actuated dynamo Irwin has sought out.” However, Mr. Prentice is aware of the wishes of the corporation to integrate its divisions better and he is in this position because he believes in this vision. Mr. Prentice believes that “there is a time to compete and a time to collaborate” and that the division’s executive suite doesn’t understand that things have changed. Therefore, Mr. Prentice’s beliefs align with the current management needs, but will it be handled in a conflicting manner with the rest of the divisions. Executives from other end-use divisions state that they:

1.Believe they are stuck with Polymer and Chemicals Division and that the division feels they have a monopoly on the end-use...
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