Leading and Managing in Organizations Robert Bontempo
Handout ‘Chris Cunningham and Stover Industries’ was given out for the students to read. They were asked, “What would you do as a manager to fix the problem?”. Bontempo stressed ‘do’ rather than rephrase the problem.
The problem is a sales manager called Chris who is taking it upon himself to instruct production to fill his orders regardless of their other tasks.
A discussion followed in which students suggested various actions that a consultant might suggest the company takes:
1. Keep Chris, but constrain his undesirable activities. He has good qualities. This could be done by refusing him new clients, giving him a performance review, making public high level disapproval of his tactics. Tie production to consumption. Make it clear to Chris that his income will be affected if he continues.
Following this point, Bontempo urged consideration of why Chris finds it so easy to influence production. He has close personal ties to Mrs. Stover. Staff are probably gossiping about favoritism, adding to resentment.
2. Mention a possible career path to sales director, and the need to change his behavior if he wants such promotion.
Some students perceived this as apparently rewarding undesirable behavior. Bontempo pointed out that, as Chris works on commission, his behavior is already rewarding him.
3. In tackling this herself Mrs. Stover is undermining the sales director. There’s a problem with the organisational structure. 360 degree feedback should be employed to get other people’s perceptions of Chris’s behavior. We want Chris to honor lines of authority.
4. Focus on head of production. Give him more prestige, perhaps Chris should report to him.
5. Problem with production - maybe not enough, so build up inventory, and production capacity, outsource.
6. Problem with sales director, only a figure head. Give him the power to solve problem.
7. Fire Chris.
Bontempo made the...
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