The Metric Division Case - Midterm Case

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The Metric Division Case
Midterm Case

I. Diagnosis

After having carefully read the Metric Division Case, and having well in mind the Open Systems Model exposed by Cummings and Worley in The Essentials of Organization Development and Change, I think that as an OD professional I would choose to examine this case at the Group Level. Throughout the text, it seems pretty clear that the division and the staff encounter some problems that are typically related to the design component of the Open System Model at the group level. If we carefully analyse the Metric Division issues, we can clearly identify that the major issues are located at the group level. - goal clarity , which describes the extent to which group understands its objectives - task structure, which characterizes the way the group’s work is designed - group composition, which details characteristics of group members - team functioning, which affirms the quality of group dynamics among members - Performance Norms, which are the unwritten rules that govern behavior

We will try to describe the various issues Metric Division encountered using the Group Level – Open Systems Model to attempt to diagnose the problems this company seems to face.

Goal Clarity

When asked the question “What are the goals priorities of this staff and how do you feel about them”, the answer is quite straight forward: “What goals? We still don’t have the clear-cut goals I’d like to see”. The goals are unclear per say, people do not have goals as a group but have individual goals. Most of the time when goals are attributed, they do not tell people how to cope with difficulties or resolve problems that staff members encounter.

They main sentiment was that people did not have any goals or priorities in place, which questioned the overall role of the staffs in the division. Most of people in the staffs felt that if there were goals, they should result in “moving staff meetings along in a timely manner” and “establishing a culture of values and norms for the divisions”. Some other staff members also mentioned in the rare moments when goals are in place they are more individual goals or between Joe and marketing and not division wide goals.

The way of communicating goals is also very criticized by staff members. The communication accuracy is often mentioned as something missing when goals are defined. People often regret the fact that strategies and therefore goals are designed for top-management. Not enough time is allocated to discuss these objectives. They are seen as something designed between and for top-managers, something that is kept away from staff members. They are not easy to catch a glimpse of and staff members often complain about having to chase management to have a brief idea of what the goals are.

Even when goals were set, the way to reach them was very unclear. Priorities are rarely mentioned by management. People have to advise themselves how they could reach their objectives “Joe never says exactly what we are going to do”. No exact strategy is clearly defined to achieve the objectives.

This lack of clarity in terms of goals but also in terms of priorities is clearly impacting the division effectiveness “Where we stand on the new generation of products? Is there anyone working on them, and if not, shouldn’t we be?”

Task Structure

Overall, the job seems to get done in a quite reasonable and effective way. However some problems still persist. The main concern about the work structure seemed to refer to the marketing department and its size issue. Staff members were largely complaining about the unjustified importance that Marketing had within the organization, especially in terms of human resources. “Size of staff make forming a team more difficult”, meaning that the effectiveness of the structure might be hindered by a too large staff crew. Ideas sometimes come and go in many directions without sometimes making any...
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