Running head: L. J. Summers Company – Case Study
Case Study: L. J. Summers Company
Case Study Analysis: L. J. Summers Company
The problem in this case is L. J. Summers Company’s recently implemented cost reduction plan is causing degradation in the organization’s laissez-faire culture and has put the company at risk while challenging their competitive advantage. Furthermore, the inexperienced production manager (owner’s son, Blaine) is using his unearned power as an authoritarian leader to drive change. However, due to poor leader-follower relations, his management style is negatively influencing the synergies ultimately causing a decrease in group productivity and member satisfaction. In addition to causing turbulence between management and the employees, the cost reduction plan resulted in increasing waste and costs while putting productivity behind schedule. In order for L. J. Summers Company to increase efficiencies and reduce production costs, management should develop a plan that will lead to a re-organization of the company’s culture and create a new competitive advantage over their competition. L. J. Summers Company has remained in existence primarily due to one major customer driving 90% of their revenue. Although the informal standards and norms the company is founded on seemed to work, it had many deficiencies that were either not recognized by management or simply overlooked. The perception owned by the employees indicates that it is acceptable to assume a lax work ethic, which includes stealing company property in lieu of below standard wage earnings and causing a hostile work environment. The deficiencies were exposed once management attempted to drive cultural change to increase efficiency and cut production costs. The inexperienced manager’s (Blaine) methodology of driving change caused many issues among the employees, some that put the company at risk. With process consultation intervention, the L. J. Summers Company needs to manage their organizational culture, re-define the roles of their leadership team, and collaboratively work with their employees to establish goals that will drive productivity and reduce waste.
The solution to the problem in this case is to develop a strategic plan that will modify the employee behavior, redefine the roles and responsibilities of management, and manage the organizational culture while reducing production costs and gaining a competitive advantage. The solution will require management to examine and modify the current leadership style. In addition, management should address the issue of valence within the motivation equation and establish well-defined goals that will enhance the employee’s perception of their role within the organization. Reformation to the overall morale and culture is critical in order to terminate the work stoppage, reduce costs, and get the shipments back on schedule.
The first step in driving the necessary change within the organization is to secure an outside consultant to serve as a change agent. The change agent will facilitate and guide the organizational development (OD) through process consultation intervention. In this process, it will be necessary to identify sources of resistance through Force field analysis. Once the sources are identified, one-on-one meetings and group meetings will be conducted to educate the employees on the changes and the reasons why change is necessary. This step will find the management team working to re-define the vision of the organization. As part of motivating the employees, management will conduct a wage analysis to determine the correct pay scale – this may result in immediate wage increases based on the analysis outcome. The next step will require the production manager, Blaine Summers, to successfully complete formal leadership training. In addition to this training, it will be important for Blaine to develop compassion for others...
References: Wagner III, John A. & Hollenbeck, John R. (2003). Organizational behavior securing competitive advantage. New York: Routledge.
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