OB Case Study 1

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Topics: Problem solving
1. Read the following case study and answer the questions given at the end.
Kingston Company

The Kingston Company, located in Ontario, was a medium sized manufacturing firm, which made a line of machine parts and marketed them to plants in the southeastern section of the province. Harold Kingston, the president and majority share holder in the company, held a master of business administration degree from an American university and was a vigorous supporter of the usefulness and value of a graduate business education. As a result, he had on his staff a group of four young MBAs, to whom he referred as the “think group” or “troubleshooters”.

The four members of the group ranged in age from the youngest at 23 to the oldest at 35, with the two intermediate members being 27. They were all from different universities and had different academic backgrounds. Their areas of interest were marketing, organizational behaviour, operations research, and finance. All had been hired simultaneously and placed together in the think group by Mr. Kingston because, as he put it, “With their diverse knowledge and intelligence, they ought to be able to solve any of this company problems”.

For their first month on the job, the “Big Four”, as they became known in the firm, familiarized themselves with the company’s operations and employees. They spent half day every week in conference with Mr. Kingston and his executive committee, discussing the goals and objectives of the company and going over the history of the major policy decisions made by the firm over the years. While the process of familiarization was a continuing one, the group decided after four weeks that it had uncovered some of the firm’s problems and that it would begin to set out recommendations for the solution of these problems.

From the beginning the members of the group had worked long hours and could usually be found in the office, well after the plant had closed, discussing their findings and trading opinions

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