Dick Spencer

Topics: Management, Change management, Micromanagement Pages: 9 (3144 words) Published: September 13, 2010

The article of Dick Spencer describes the meeting between Dick Spencer, a successful businessman and a couple of his friends who were university professors. The conversation of their meeting dwelt on Spencer and the “management issues” he encountered at Tri-American Company both as an assistant manager in the company and then a plant manager of the Modrow branch. The management style of Spencer was examined in detail by the article and a number of problems that he encountered were revealed. This paper is based on the information provided in the article and is divided into two sections. The first section discusses four reasons for the difficulties that Dick Spencer encountered. The second section offers suggestions that Dick Spencer could have used to address the Issues he encountered.


The myriad of problems faced by Dick Spencer can be traced to four causes. The issues began with Dick Spencer having a dramatic shift from a sales person position where he had fame and was recognized as an outstanding employee and have carved a name for himself to a position in management. His management style and strategy was often considered too strict coupled with the fact that he developed a habit of walking around his organization; these issues conflicted with the work flow in Tri American Company, producing low morale and a resistance to change among employees. This shift highlighted some shortcomings in his career as a manager and thwarted some of his efforts to produce an immediate positive change around the company.


Structural inertia is another name for resistance to change and is a resistance that is rooted in the size, complexity, and interdependence of an organization’s structures, systems, and formal processes. According Tushman & O’Reilly (1999) this interdependence develops over time as organizations evolve from smaller, simpler entities into larger, more complex entities. In stable environments, structural inertia doesn’t much matter because any changes that are necessary are usually smaller and more manageable. In shifting environments, as in the one confronted by Dick Spencer, structural inertia can lead to failures. Some of the common reasons cited for obstructing changes include factors like Not completely understanding why the change is taking place, Complacency - people resist change because they don't see there's an urgent need to change, Discomfort with the time in which they must transition from one way to another of working, Not feeling as if they are being supported or listened to, Things they place a high value on being threatened, and being taken out of their comfort zone. Resistance to change takes many forms. The more obvious forms consist of active resistance, where people will object, or refuse to cooperate with the change. Other, more subtle forms of resistance, however, are more difficult to deal with. Atkinson, Philip (2005) in his book managing resistance to change, states that most organizations do not have a good track record of managing change and that research shows that 90 per cent of change initiated in organizations fails in achieving their objectives. In the case of Dick Spencer, his success and reputation as a salesperson did not help him as a manager. He was considered amiable as a salesperson but ruthless as manager which often prompted resistance to his idea. After his elevation to management, He was out to prove a point that he achieved what he did in the company by his efforts and not by coincidence of knowing the boss of the company. In his role as a special assistance to the vice president of production, Dick Spencer had all the power to...

Citations: Michael T. & Charles O. (November 1999). Leading Change and Organizational Renewal. Retrieved from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/1156.html
Atkinson, P
Estienne D. B. The Menace of Micromanagement. (2004) Retrieved from
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