Case Analysis of Sunflower Incorporated

Topics: Implementation, Policy, Management Pages: 5 (1691 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Case Analysis of Sunflower Incorporated

Sunflower Incorporated is a large distribution company that purchases and distributes salty snack foods and liquors throughout the United States and Canada. The company employs over 5,000 employees and has gross sales of over $700 million. The head office has encouraged each of its regions to operate separately in order to accommodate different tastes and preferences. When studied, it was determined that the profits across the regions varied widely and the decision was made that the process needed to be standardized in order to increase profits, capture market share and ensure quality remained at an acceptable level so not to tarnish the image of Sunflower. This decision created the need to hire Agnes Albanese as Director of Pricing and Purchasing to implement the planned change throughout the organization.

The Four-step General Model of Planned Change was not properly followed in the proposed changes in the organization although portions of it were used. Mr. Steelman, the President of Sunflower, did engage in entering and contracting when he hired Agnes Albanese as Director of Pricing and Purchasing to implement the planned change throughout the organization. Steelman felt that such standardization was necessary in order to avoid market loss and a decrease in quality-control due to the practice being employed in some regions to purchase lower-quality items including seconds in order to boost the profit margins. However, Steelman failed to carry out the next step in entering and contracting and while he defined the problem, he did not establish a collaborative environment and instead simply fired off memos and notified parties involved through a company newsletter. In addition, Steelman as well as Mr. Mobley, whom Albanese reported to, gave Albanese great latitude and encouraged her to establish whatever rules were necessary to carry out the changes. In this environment, neither Steelman nor Mobley established specific responsibilities that Albanese was to carry out other than the goal of standardization. They failed to become involved in the strategy set up by Albanese. Albanese was encouraged to gather as much information from each region as possible so that she could understand the problems facing the organization, and she appeared to do so but on a very rushed timeline. Diagnosing, the second step in the Four-step General Model of Planned Change, was attempted by Albanese as she was encouraged to gather as much information from each region as possible so that she could understand the problems facing the organization. Unfortunately, this task took place on such a rushed timeline that there was no way for Albanese to take all of the factors into account for each region. The change program that Albanese wanted to implement may have been a step in the right direction toward standardization, but it did not accurately take into account several of the issues that the organization was also concerned about including low quality products. Albanese only focused on increasing the profit margins. After only three weeks on the job, Albanese decided to institute a policy that pricing and purchasing decisions become standardized and to begin this step that she be notified of any change in local prices that exceeded a threshold of 3% or any purchases exceeding $5,000. Mobley agreed to the new policy and worked with Albanese to submit a formal policy to the president and board of directors who ultimately approved the plan. One of Albanese’s critical errors in the model of change was her decision to implement the new procedures right away which meant they would be go into effect prior to the peak holiday season for Sunflower. In diagnosing what needed to happen, Albanese should have realized that it would be impossible for the regions to undergo such standardization during a time when decisions and orders needed to be filled rapidly and without interruption. Also, the...
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