Analyse the Case Study Of B.R. Richardson Company.
In the critical analysis of the B.R. Richardson Timber Products Corporation (BRRTPC) is about the changes of interventions the company has applied due to the decreased productivity and shortage of employees. This small lumber company situated in Papoose, Oregon was with low self-esteemed, morale, safety issues and an authoritative manager. The assignment talks about the case study in which, Lawler, a consultant along with his two students tries to gather information about the company. The diagnosis moves from analysis to management of programs (Ravanfar, 2015).
Jack Lawler, the consultant used an operative strategy while signing the contract. Lawler set up few meetings with Bowman and Richardson to understand the kind of service they needed from him. Afterwards, he offered three variety of course of actions depending on which Bowman and Richardson could hire him. The company opted for option three; hence, the investigation was begun independently. Prime aim of the investigation was to find out the issues affecting the company economically and ethically. Two students of Lawler helped to analyze the perception of the issue from employees as well as employers point of view. Consultant’s point of view was also taken into consideration. These data or informations were used to develop this report.
Therefore, in this report, in the light of this Cases study, the change process and management procedures are being used to analyze the business situation in BRRTPC. The McKinsey 7S model has been used to evaluate understand and diagnose the collected information of their work environment and employee behavior (Alshaher, 2013).
Contract and Entering stage
Entry of Consultant and part-time professor Jack Lawler occurred when the Relation Manager of the B.R. industry, Richard Bowman asked him to take a training session for the blue-collar employees of their lamination plant. Lawler asked for more information about the company from Bowman. Hence, Bowman agreed to meet Lawler personally along with the company president Richardson. However, after meeting Lawler decided to conduct an investigation personally to understand the required training topics. In the letter, Lawler has described the three alternatives for Bowman and Richardson. First alternative provided was to contact in their geographic area to motivate the employees. The second alternative was to let Lawler to be engaged in the investigation to identify the non-controlled issues and solutions to address those problems. The final and third option provided to Bowman and Richardson was to enable Lawler involve a team of two students to diagnose the lamination plant and to provide recommendation. These three course of action was with different pricing options. Additional price would have been charged depending on the course of action. The company board did not want to spend a lot of money for investigation purpose, however wanted the expertise advice of Lawler in the issue. Hence, Lawler’s students were allowed to visit the plant and investigate about the problems it was facing.
Analysis of the information gathered (problem identification)
The informations gathered from the investigation can easily be categorized using the McKinsey 7S model. Two consultants of McKinsey, Robert Waterman and Tom peters developed this model in 1980s. This model consists of seven interdependent factors including soft and hard factors. Hard factors are strategy, structure and system of any organization. These factors are easily identifiable. Soft factors includes values, staff and style. These factors are less tangible and influenced by culture. In this critical analysis, this 7S model has been employed to interrogate the BRRTC.
Seven factors of 7S model
Structure of an organization is defined as a framework that clearly divides the work or task among employees, controls administrative machinery and integrates the whole organization in one thread (Scott, 2103). Structure of BRRTC consists of four companies; however, the case study focuses on the Papoose lamination company only. The hierarchy of personnel within the organization was managers, supervisors and after that staff lines. Juanita Yates was the secretary of Richardson, and she helped to manage all the companies together. The first problem identified in the B.R.Richardson was, the companies did not have any shared goal of vision to achieve. Creation of these companies happened with the mission to support each other, however lack of communication and shared values hampered their collaboration. For example, BRRTPC Lamination Company purchased only 30 percent of lumber from Richardson mill however; the complete lumber should be purchased from the Richardson mill. Applying this strategy, the mill could have increase its productivity and the lamination plant could have reduced its cost to purchase raw material.
Strategy and Technology:
Strategy is defined as the action or steps taken by the organization to implement the proposed or anticipated changes in the external environment. These strategies are applied to achieve the advantage in the market (Peppard & Ward, 2016). Strategy implemented by Richardson was primarily centered on the high production at the cost of long-term investments and cost-effective transactions. The main problem identified in the area of strategy was Richardson’s attitude towards employee’s security and turnover rates. The company did not have any long-term plan to achieve success in the market. Authorities were only interested in achieving daily targets and deliverables rather than long-term plans for competitive advantage. This non-impressive strategy containing short-term goals hindered communication between companies and hence the production was hampered and the positive interventions were shut down.
The lamination company was profitable and one of the busy companies of Richardson since its inception. However, Richardson seemed reluctant to upgrade the machinery or to implement any new technology in the production. Technologies to influence good health and safety standards were also ignored.
In a healthy organization, system is defined as a purposeful and organized structure that contains interrelated and interdependent factors. System focuses on the factors that run the organization and controls or monitors the activities. The system of BRRTPC was not only consists of heavy machines and hardworking labours inter-related into a functional system, it was dangerous, antiquated and under functioning as well. According to the employee complaints, the quality of the equipment were dangerous and the manager was reluctant to address their problem (Scott & Davis, 2015). Furthermore, few deaths and accidents inside the production made this point evident that the life of labours were at stake while working in the company. Supervisor at the lamination company mentioned the machinery as “junkiest stuffs”.
Target of a successful company should be proper application of the log supply, more complete order fulfillment to achieve smooth production operations. However, the BRRTPC systems and processes to complete their daily target. These systems put an adverse effect on the employee’s motivation level and affected their safety. Moreover, it limits the ability of the company to produce more products while maintaining the quality.
After reviewing the staff of BRRTPC, it is evident that huge amount of workers are blue-collars versus white collars. The educational qualification of the employees varied minutely and almost everyone has graduation degree. The staff positions available at the BRRTPC Lamination Company was supervisor, scheduler, administrative staff and quality control. a group of 15 skilled frontline labour was also there. However, there were vacancies in the company, which needed to be filled.
The prime problem detected within the staff of the company is, they were not working as a team. This hindered the core values to be shared across the company. In spite of being several vacancies, there was a lack of estimated list of future employees. The human resource system was also very poor in the organization (Nielsen & Randall, 2012). No specific performance measurement scale was present that ultimately resulted in rare appraisals and incentive benefits. Company hired employees in the posts that are not according to their education or experience level. Therefore, the able staff did not get the opportunity to be promoted to higher posts. The plant also lacked the training procedure, due to frequent reassignments. According to the investigation, the secretary, itself, needed to be trained in multi-tasking, general office skills and customer service, whereas the supervisor team needed training in management section (Nielsen & Randall, 2012).
The absence of a mission, vision and core values, which decides the future goals of corporate companies creates a situation of dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction was due to lack of appraisals, frequent job changes, lack of training sessions, overtimes and short lunch breaks and many more (Mowday, Porter & Steers, 2013).
In the BRRTPC organization, there were different skills present along with the skills gaps. there was an unacceptable safety issue and worker had to stake their lives while working in the organization. Few accidents and fatality cases strengthens the statement. According to one of the students, who investigated the organization, workers had to work without any safety glass, saw-bands and helmet. Communication was also compromised for the company and the communication skills needed to be improved (Charness, 2012).
Style is comprised of the leadership style, impact of that leadership and effectiveness of the leader of the company. The leadership is supposed to involve in the front line of workers to enhance the competitiveness and cooperation within the work force (Dickerson, 2012). At BRRTPC, the leadership and management was completely involved and commanding. The supervisors had to work instead of the workers, in the absence of frontline workers. However, tis involvement was negative as the leadership used to threaten the workers. Even after achieving the quotas, the leadership used to assign some of workers with unplanned and mandatory overtime duties. Expectations from the workers were high, accountability was low and the safety was at risk (Goetsch & Davis, 2014).
The work culture of Richardson Company was negative. Most of the supervisors and senior management authorities forced frontline workers to do overtime and stretched the target . Therefore, dissatisfaction, frustration and anger was common among the workers. The workers were forced to perform their work by applying “do or die” situations for them, where die equals to be fired from the job (Michelini & Fiorentino, 2012). The higher authorities ignored the workers with hernia, broken legs or fingers and back pains by saying that the company covers their medical problems that reflects the lack of a proper human resource department. Task structure was also not defines properly within the organization. Employees used to do their daily routine monotonously. The employees were forces to resume work even after witnessing a fatal accident. However, despite of these negative effects, employees used to pull each other to perform their daily work with efficiency (Pfitzer, Bockstette & Stamp, 2013).
Few recommendations that can be used for the betterment of the company are as follows:
- The company needs a proper Human resource management team to address the problems and situations of the workers. There are instances of accidents and deaths inside the company premises that has affected the mentality of every worker. Therefore, to take care of their safety, their humanitarian rights and their employee rights a proper human resource department is needed. The rates will fall from 40 percent to 10 percent within 3 months.
- The employees need different trainings to understand their work role. Supervisor and managers needed training for management issues and frontline workers need training on working with the machines safely. They also needed training to enhance their communication skills. Hence, a training program should be arranged within the company premise to train every individual within 3 months.
- Feedback and appraisal are part of work environment, whereas the BRRTPC Company did not had any specific performance measurement or appraisal schemes to facilitate its workers. Hence, to improve the low-esteemed and morale of the workers, the company need to implement facilitation schemes. 360 degree feedback process should be implemented for 6 months trial and feedback should be collected from the workers.
Hence, it can be concluded that work of an organizational development worker is not simple, however being a third party the practitioner sees the company with different perspective. This perspective allows the person to access areas and opinions that the company leadership cannot access. In the case study provided, Jack Lawler diagnosed the company and his perspective was reflected through McKinsey 7S model that deals with staff, structure, skills, systems, style, shared value, strategy and technology. Close attention was provided to each of this framework and it helped the Richardson Company to align all the issues that were hindering the company to achieve success. Finally, few important recommendations were proposed to fasten the speed of betterment and improve the condition of the workers.
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