'Just what is going on in this corporation?' shouted Veronica Tsang, managing director of Pluto Communications. Her question - aimed at no particular individual seated around the boardroom table - was provoked by the presentation which had just been given by management consultant, Andrew Wensley.
'Let me get this straight,' Veronica continued. 'Sales, Customer Services and Marketing are not only not talking to each other, on occasions they are actually working against each other. As a result of this, Pluto is losing new orders and getting an increasing number of complaints from existing customers. It's a disaster!'
'That is something of an over-statement, Ms Tsang, but essentially correct,' Andrew admitted.
'Thank you Mr Wensley. Please be so good as to wait outside while I sort this mess out.'
To the three directors sitting round the table, Veronica's request to Andrew sounded more like a threat directed at them. Certainly it was true that integration between their respective departments had become rather loose as Pluto Telecommunications had grown in size quite dramatically during the past year. The company's most recent new products had been launched to customers by Marketing without any advance notice or training being given either to Sales or Customer Services. For example, one customer account manager had been asked by a customer about Pluto's new combined email, fax, telephone and answering machine. The manager knew nothing about the product and subsequently it took her nearly 3 weeks to locate the relevant information and brochures from the Marketing department.
'Right then, gentlemen,' Veronica announced to the three departmental heads. 'Why is it that Service aren't passing leads they pick up at a customer's premises to Sales? Why do Sales staff promise the installation of a new system to a customer in a non-standard lead time without any consultation with Customer Services?'
'We seem to have three distinct groups within the company,' suggested Matthew Craven, director of Marketing. 'Now, whilst management theorists suggest such differentiation may be indeed be appropriate for the turbulent and uncertain telecommunications environment, they also stress the need for integration.’
'Oh, I see, Mr MBA,' interrupted Veronica, sarcastically. 'So it's not a departmental problem, but a failing of top management. How convenient!'
'You misunderstand me,' Matthew replied. 'I don't know what goes on in other departments because (a) it isn't my job, and (b) I don't have the time to find out. Isn't it possible that personnel in the three departments are motivated by different things, work to different time-scales, virtually work within different organisations?'
In truth, Matthew Craven had hit upon the major problem confronting Pluto Telecommunications. This was conceded, somewhat grudgingly, by the managing director, and over the next hour and a half she sat down with the three men in order to identify and analyse the differences between the three departments - differences which made something of a mockery of Veronica's widely-touted notion of a unitary Pluto culture.
The differences centred on three dimensions - work motivation, time orientation, and work culture. The deliberations of the four executives centred on a comparison of the three departments along these' dimensions.
Pluto's salesforce comprises account managers who are responsible for dealing with customers on a face-to-face basis and who have a portfolio of between 5 and 50 accounts, depending on the size of the customer.
According to Tim Boddy, head of Sales, his staff are motivated primarily by money - the more they sell, the higher the bonuses they receive. Their time orientation is short as they are anxious to boost their income every month. Also, staff have short time horizons, in that once having made a sale they are eager to see it is installed as soon as possible so...
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