Woodlands Community Center Corporation Case Analysis

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The Woodland Community Center Cooperation (WCCC) had been established in 1926 by a social worker who thought that Woodland, an East Coast seaport town, would benefit from a variety of social and human services. Alain Yates, the longest serving executive director, was a long standing icon in the organization for many years, and due to a mixture of longevity and assertion, had shaped the organizational culture of the agency during his time of leadership. He had established a culture that didn’t necessarily reward what would be considered the “norm”; such has hard work and excellence. Instead he rewarded seniority and loyalty to the organization, and above all, loyalty to him. Employees advanced through becoming Yates’ “pet” employees, and received perks such as parking and expensive trips to out of state conferences. This preferential behavior created a rift within the organization and its employees. If people complained, then they were slowly trickled out by Yates, and replaced by more loyal employees. After 25 years of service, Yates retired, and while naming his suggestion for a successor, the board quickly and surprisingly undermined his influence and hired Fred Chambers. Fred was a man of substance and experience, and they needed someone to come in and not only change he organizational culture, but improve it. Fred’s wife had advised against taking this appointment, yet Fred took on the challenge, and in this case analysis we meet Fred just as he is beginning to take in the breadth of this challenge. Organization culture at Woodland Community Center Corporation was based on the values imposed by Yates. He believed that “seniority was sacrosanct, and neither creativity nor hard work replaced it” (McShane 539). This created a dominant organizational culture that believed that loyalty to Alan Yates was all that mattered, considering that the employees enjoyed a secure work environment as few employees ere fired for poor work ethic. “The key to employee survival and its attendant rewards was loyalty, not competency. Furthermore, loyalty was the sole way to advance in the agency or to receive pay increases for the agency’s over 100 employees” (McShane 539). As Yates continued his tenure, the organization was becoming more incestuous and a breeding ground for a groupthink mentality. “the agency had one characteristic in common: they swore undying loyalty to Yates” (McShane 539).

Although Yates dominated the organizational culture with his own values, there was still a certain subculture that opposed him. The employees who were not impressed by Yates created the counterculture considering that they directly opposed the dominant values in the organization. They tried to maintain the organization’s standards of performance and ethical behavior as one employee stated “we are committed to working for the betterment of the agency and its clients, and we will stay despite Yates preferential treatment of pet employees” (McShane 539). They tried to maintain the values that kept the firm aligned with the needs of the society and other stakeholders.

The subculture opposed to Yates could have been helpful in changing the dominant culture upon his retirement, but the executive director was able to suppress it over time. Employees that were part of the subculture began to retire of slowly trickle out because they could not longer tolerate “employment injustices” (McShane 540). Each employee that left would then be replaced by a loyal Yates supporter, which made in the more difficult for the New Executive Director Fred Chambers to change contaminated culture. In reading about organizational cultures, our text places images of strong, adaptive cultures. Cultures where the employees strive to improve customer focus and carry on long standing traditions that have carried the success of the companies. However, in this week’s case study, we find a great example of what a weak organizational structure is. Alan Yates has...
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