Case E – Kerrie’s Challenge: Leading an Unpopular Change
In a narrative format, discuss the key facts and critical issues presented in the case (Case E – Kerrie’s Challenge: Leading an Unpopular Change)
Kerrie is a general manager of a large business division in a company that deals with financial services. She has a record of accomplishment of growing the business exponentially but she now has the challenge of leading an unpopular cost reduction initiative. In the first part of Kerrie’s case, she decides to use a team-player approach in development and selection of strategies to hit a twenty percent cost reduction goal (Lester, 2006). The percentage was set for her business unit. She assembles an effective team but she is well aware of the challenge that her team will experience. She is also aware that strategies selected will directly affect employees, so she asks her human resource manager to provide a strategy in developing a change management plan.
In the second aspect of this case, she describes the implementation of the selected strategies. There is a redesign team formed to develop a design for account management that can be assigned to optimize resource allocations. The redesign team is expected to work on the recommendations but still looks for help from the senior management team to deal with resistance and anger experienced in the account management team. There is also competitive benchmarking that demonstrates other companies’ advantages in their use of the telephone and the internet. This is an avenue for providing a more cost effective approach to management of accounts (McAuley, 2007).
Kerrie has been charged with reducing operating expenses. Explain her solution to this problem. Be specific and discuss both positive and negative factors.
Kerrie’s solution to reducing the operating expenses is using a group of professionals to assemble a team. The essence of the team is to develop and select strategies to beat the twenty percent target of the cost reduction goal. Then implement the strategy or strategies through development and help of account management resources. The team is then to develop recommendations that will keep and maintain the flow of their implemented system to enable the target to be acquired in time. This also triggers the aspect of anger and resistance from the account management team, which is later on suppressed by senior management (Lester, 2006).
The positive factors involved in the event of solving and meeting the required target is an assembly of professionals that will work fervently and zealously. The individuals in the team, work hand-in-hand to achieve maximum result oriented solutions to enable optimum performance to reach the target that was set for Kerrie. The negative factors experienced are the opposition of the accounts management that tends to optimize the allocation of resources. Another aspect that Kerrie experienced was the anger, resistance and deterrence of a progress in acquiring the target set (McAuley, 2007). This makes Kerrie’s staff ask for assistance from senior management to ease the process of acquisition of the goal.
There is a clear violation of Fayol’s unity of direction principle in this case. What is it, and how does Kerrie attempt to overcome it?
Fayol’s unity of direction states that in principle, an employee should receive orders from one superior only. Dual command usually wreaks havoc in all fields of concern; since, authority is undermined, discipline is in jeopardy, order of rule is disturbed and stability of an organization is threatened. Kerrie violates the direct rule of the account management to seek help from the senior management. This disrupts the chain of authority since one authority is accountable for the other. Therefore, nullifying one authority shows an ineligibility concern. The other aspect is almost giving in to the accounts management to run her project, which would have failed incase she became soft and allowed her authority to be trampled by a different department (Kossek, 2005).
She eventually attempts to correct the mistake through seeking help from a higher authority attempting to control and respect her authority over her assigned project. She also attempts to suppress the anger and deterrence by the accounts department through consulting the senior department. This helps her make time to enable her go through files and documents and refers to the internet on how she can eventually improve on accounting systems in the reduction of the twenty percent. The improvement and delivery of the completed project was dependent on how each department would cooperate to ensure on-time delivery of the project.
There are several examples of self-interest in Kerrie’s organization. How would Mary Parker Follett suggest these issues be resolved?
Mary Parker Follett would include the ideology of benefiting both sides in the project. That is, the win-win solution which entails community-based solutions. Community-based solutions always entail a joint force of the societal energy to work towards achieving a common goal. The advocacy of strength in human diversity entails brainstorming and research of a project by a panel before its implementation starts. Situational leadership is an opportunity that gives each one an opportunity to handle a leadership in specific fields. In addition, a focus on the on-going process to view a step-to-step in project processes. These were ideal ways of tackling organizational issues, which hindered any progresses in projects (Kossek, 2005).
In conclusion, the rule of authority according to Fayol’s principles and Mary Parker Follett is not supposed to be tampered with rather communal consultations and assessment of projects should be in one mind. This ensures focus to ease the achievement of goals. Moreover, each person or individual leading a project or part of a project ought to be given leadership in a part of interest to mentor others in handling projects. This will enable continuity of a leadership and nurture of new leaders to head projects just in case the present leaders will not be present.
Kossek, E. E., & Lambert, S. J. (2005). Work and life integration: organizational, cultural, and individual perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.
Lester, D., & Parnell, J. A. (2006). Organizational Theory: A Strategic Perspective. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
McAuley, J., Duberley, J. & Johnson, P. (2007). Organization theory: challenges and perspectives. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.