Spencers Case Study

Spencer’s Case Study

Modrow suffered from a variety of managerial problems which hampered the smooth running of the Canadian plant. These problems were as a result of major changes which had been implemented such as a complete overhaul of employee work routines and introduction of new equipment all geared towards improvement and development. Consequently, the operation of the plant was marred by human resource issues, structural issues, procedural and policy issue as well as work-life balance issues on the part of management.

Identification of Issues

Poor Communication Channels

Proper communication is important in management. Proper communication channels will enhance effective sharing of changes and their subsequent implementation within the plant (Bishop 2009). With open communications, Modrow would have had the required understanding of the advantages of the changes being advanced by Dick. It would have facilitated a proper structure through which Dick would have proposed and even further institutionalized the change he had wanted to make. This communication channel would have also played an important role in establishing a forum for Dick and the foreman to discuss the pertinent issues surrounding the proposed change before reaching a sound and unanimously agreed upon decision.

Structural Issues

The plant did not have a clear structure in their organization demarcating who had executive authority over what aspect of the plant operation. This is substantiated by the poor coordination among the people working at the plant and the management (Bishop 2009). The company lacked a clear structure with regards to duties and responsibilities. There was no accountability on the part of the managers who delegated all decision making responsibilities to their junior supervisors and foremen. Therefore, they did not input in the running and most importantly did not take part in critical decision making in the different plant departments.

Lack of Authority

Authority ensures an organization develops an elaborate and stable structure which will stir it towards attainment of its objectives (Bishop 2009). Dick was unable to exercise control over the plant’s activities. This made it difficult for him to institute the changes he deemed appropriate because he was unable to impose his authority over the employees. The junior staff failed to acknowledge his authority as the plant’s overall manager and so paid no heed to his directives.

Lack of a Work-life balance

Dick faced extraordinary demands from his new posting. He was required to run the plant which was going through a major over haul with no help from the former controller. This situation made him spend less time with his family causing him undue stress and in turn may have reduced his productivity and concentration in handling his work responsibilities (State Services Commission 2005).

Literature review

According to Bishop (2009), organization managers are usually more focused on developing cost-cutting measures to increase output while ignoring the benefits of motivating personnel. This approach improves profits but creates an intolerable work environment in the long run. He addressed the problems arising from poor human resource interaction, poor communication and policy and procedural issues. Similarly (Resource for entrepreneurs 2011) suggests that human resource issues such as communication if addressed appropriately go a long way in enhancing proper work relations between management and employees. According to Stoltzfus et. al (2011), organizations experiencing major developments should maintain their focus on the goals by improving their organizational capacities. Management should enhance better communication among their employee to foster better working conditions and improve overall performance by developing general interpersonal skills (Effective Communication 2011). State Services Commission (2005) suggests that there is need to ensure work-life balance in organizations. A balanced work-life will ensure reduced stress and improved concentration on both aspects with no compromise on the value of both to an individual.

Evaluation of alternatives

Communication Issues

The management needs to develop adequate interpersonal skills. The employees should be able to feel comfortable when communicating with the management (Effective Communication 2011). In this case, the line managers, supervisors and foremen should be able to engage Dick in productive conversations with no fear. The strength of this is that by creating a comfortable communication environment valuable information will easily reach top management for response (Effective Communication 2011).

Maintaining focus is another aspect that needs to be adhered to. Management can reduce the barriers to effective communication by focusing the employees on solution based approaches. This ensures active participation throughout the entire process (Effective Communication 2011). The employees are expected to suggest solutions to the problems. Although this may improve communication, it may hinder the same if the management is not receptive to the ideas.

Tasks and responsibilities

Modrow should look to develop clear tasks and responsibilities for its staff. The dynamic nature of tasks and responsibilities should be effectively communicated to improve cooperation and overall performance (Effective Communication 2011).

Organizational Structure

Restructuring should be considered to develop a clear outline of the plant and ensure better understanding of duties and responsibilities of different level employees (Bishop 2009). As a result, the employees will be able to recognize executive authority and know how to go about implementing directives. Undermining of management authority will result into an intolerable work environment. This leads to faltering faith in the organization’s management by the employees and administration. Although management is normally advised not to be too rash, the most effective solution to this problem would be to lay off the employee who persistently questions authority. Another alternative would be to shift the responsibilities with prior discussions with the employee involved. However, this would take more time to implement and may in-turn cause other problems with the rest of the employees (Resource for entrepreneurs 2011).

Work-life balance

Developing a work-life balance policy is imperative to ensure that the employee is able to share their time with both work and family. This goes a long way to improve the workers family interactions and overall work performance (State Services Commission 2005). There are different approaches to address this problem among them would be to develop a wellness policy that enables workers to create time for their personal lives. The organization can encourage managers to develop personal care and training them on how to cope with stress. This comes at extra costs in training but will ensure the pressure levels are regulated and productivity improved (State Services Commission 2005).


To develop proper communication in Modrow, Dick should be able to listen to the employees and communicate his views appropriately. He should maintain focus on the issues being addressed while still maintaining a good communication environment.

The management at Modrow should be able to outline clearly the duties of all the staff including themselves to ensure better coordination. This will consequently improve organization and structure of the plant.

Dick Spencer should be able to exercise his authority within the firm. He needs to assess the workers responsibilities and shift them when necessary to reduce confrontation and prevent employee layoffs.

A work-life policy should be developed to ensure that the employees are able to interact with their families and still perform at work. This policy will work towards reducing stress and maintaining focus on the important issues in both life and work.


Bishop, L. J. (2009). Management Issues for the Growing Business. Retrieved fromhttp://archive.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/serv_pubs_eb_pdf_e3.pdf

Effective Comunication. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.myinterpersonal.com/barriers-toeffective-communication.html

Resources for Entrepreneurs. (2011). Employee Authority Confrontation. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gaebler.com/Employee-Authority-Confrontation-Issues.htm

State Service Commission. (2005). Work-life Balance: A resource for State Services. Retrievedfrom HYPERLINK “http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Work” http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/WorkLife_Balance_main_content_and_Supplement.pdf

Stoltzfus, K., Stohl, C., & Seibold, D. R. (2011). Managing organizational change: paradoxicalproblems, solutions, and consequences. Journal of Organizational Change Management,24 (3), 349 – 367.

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