Traveler Import Cars Case
1. What problems existed at Traveler Import Cars? What are the symptoms?
Randy and Beryl, a married couple, created Traveler Import Cars, a car dealership that begin its operation by selling a brand of Japanese cars. Randy worked for many years in the car dealerships as a partner of Capital Imports, a car dealership that sells expensive European automobiles. Beryl was an MBA graduate with professional experience on car dealership as a consultant. Together they created Traveler Import and they incorporated some employees from Capital imports, including mechanics, salesman and Stuart Graham, who became general manager of the company.
Founders viewed their dealership as a family. They believed that creating a democratic environment will allow all employees to be involved in decision making and to feel important in the dealership. For this reason they decided to create a quality circle, where 5 non-supervisory employees could bring insights and opinions during monthly meetings with the managers. This managerial strategy was successful while the dealership remained small. The company’s growth started with the acquisition of a car leasing company, and later with the acquisition of another car leadership that sold another make of Japanese cars and an expensive European make. While Randy elected to spend most of his time in the car leasing company, Beryl became chief operating officer for the new car dealership.
Problems began for Beryl as these new dealership had a lot of previous problems so it demanded a lot of time from her. Her work load was excessive. At the same time Beryl felt that managers and supervisors at Traveler Imports, with five years of experience at Traveler Import Cars, were not performing as what it should be expected. Decisions taken by managers were not being implemented by lower level employees such as mechanics and salesman. Further employees were coming to work late and taking excessive lunch breaks. As a solution Beryl hired two new managers but problems remained almost the same.
Despite Beryl’s intention to create a family-kind company it has not been useful to maintain managers and employees highly motivated. Absenteeism and reluctance to follow orders are signals of low motivation. From what it could be read on the article it seems that there was a lack of motivator factors at Traveler’s dealership that could promote effort and satisfaction on employees. Physiological, safe and security needs were covered by company’s incentives but they were not enforcing employees to reach higher levels of personal satisfaction.
Bery’ls hired a private consultant that could help to straighten out the quality circle. The consultant, J.P. Muzak refused to work only on the quality circle unless he was permitted to conduct a thorough need analysis for the company. Some of the problems found are the following:
Goals.- Company’s lack of philosophy for setting goals. No connection between manager’s and subordinate’s goals. As a consequence motivation of both managers and employees was very low. Need for achievement could not be created if employees don’t have a clear idea of what are the main objectives of the organization and how these objectives are related to their needs of personal achievement.
Organizational structure.- Some subordinates were reporting to more than one superior, in some cases they were reporting to three different superiors. A lack of a clear structure generates that managers don’t have power of making decisions and this could provoke that managers and supervisors lose motivation. In the same way a poor organizational structure will affect motivation on employees as they might feel that their work and duties at the organization are not valued as they might expect. Finally it seems that at the top of the organization there are no major problems compared to what is occurring on the low levels, and this could be seen with operational...
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