The Case Study

Aquarius Advertising Agency
Adapted from a case in Daft, J. (2004) Organizational Theory. Thompson/ South Western Press, p. 126)

The Aquarius Advertising Agency is a middle-sized firm that offers two basic services to its clients:
1) customised plans for the content of advertising campaigns (e.g. slogans and layouts),
2) Complete plans for media (such as radio, TV newspapers, billboards, and magazines).

Its activities are current organised in a traditional way. The organisational chart below illustrates this:

Each client account is coordinated by a Client Account Executive who acted as a liaison between the client and the various specialists in the marketing and operations divisions. However, although these Client Account Executives were designated to be the liaison between the client and the specialists, communication between the client and the specialists often by-passes the Client Account Executives. The types of direct communication include things like artists in the large client organisation contacting their counterparts in the agency directly and the researchers in the client organisation contacting the research department at Aquarius directly.

This process of communication sometimes leads to the Client Account Executives feeling like they don’t have enough influence. For example, one commented:
Creativity and art; that’s all I hear about around here. Its really hard to manage 4 or 5 colleagues who work on the creative side without having them telling their ideas directly to the client. Often I don’t know what they have said until the client tells me a week later and I find it difficult to keep an oversight over what is happening. If I had my way things would change around here.

More recently the need for restructuring has been made more clear by changes in the socio-economic environment which mean that agencies like Aquarius have rapidly changing clients bases. Senior management now appreciates

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