• a case analysis please read the “consolidated products” case on

Please read the “Consolidated Products” Case on pages 73 and 74 and fully answer the following questions:

  1.  Describe and compare the managerial behavior of Ben and Phil.  To what extent does each manager display specific relations behaviors (supporting, developing, recognizing) and specific task behaviors (clarifying, planning, monitoring)?  To what extent does each manager use participative and inspirational leadership?
  2. Compare Ben and Phil in terms of their influence on employee attitudes, short-term performance, and long-term plant performance, and explain the reasons for the differences.
  3. If you were selected to be the manager of this plant, what would you do to achieve both high employee satisfaction and performance?

 

 

 

CASE

Consolidated Products

Consolidated Products is a medium-sized manufacturer of consumer products with nonunionized

production workers. Ben Samuels was a plant manager for Consolidated Products

for 10 years, and he was well liked by the employees. They were grateful for the fitness center he

built for employees, and they enjoyed the social activities sponsored by the plant several times a

year, including company picnics and holiday parties. He knew most of the workers by name, and

he spent part of each day walking around the plant to visit with them and ask about their families

or hobbies.

Ben believed that it was important to treat employees properly so they would have a sense of

loyalty to the company. He tried to avoid any layoffs when production demand was slack, figuring

that the company could not afford to lose skilled workers who are so difficult to replace. The

workers knew that if they had a special problem, Ben would try to help them. For example, when

someone was injured but wanted to continue working, Ben found another job in the plant that

the person could do despite having a disability. Ben believed that if you treat people right, they

will do a good job for you without close supervision or prodding. Ben applied the same principle

to his supervisors, and he mostly left them alone to run their departments as they saw fit. He did

not set objectives and standards for the plant, and he never asked the supervisors to develop plans

for improving productivity and product quality.

Under Ben, the plant had the lowest turnover among the company’s five plants, but the second

worst record for costs and production levels. When the company was acquired by another

firm, Ben was asked to take early retirement, and Phil Jones was brought in to replace him.

Phil had a growing reputation as a manager who could get things done, and he quickly began

making changes. Costs were cut by trimming a number of activities such as the fitness center at

the plant, company picnics and parties, and the human relations training programs for supervisors.

Phil believed that training supervisors to be supportive was a waste of time. His motto was:

“If employees don’t want to do the work, get rid of them and find somebody else who does.”

Supervisors were instructed to establish high-performance standards for their departments

and insist that people achieve them. A computer monitoring system was introduced so that the

output of each worker could be checked closely against the standards. Phil told his supervisors

to give any worker who had substandard performance one warning, then if performance did not

improve within two weeks, to fire the person. Phil believed that workers don’t respect a supervisor

who is weak and passive. When Phil observed a worker wasting time or making a mistake,

he would reprimand the person right on the spot to set an example. Phil also checked closely on

the performance of his supervisors. Demanding objectives were set for each department, and

weekly meetings were held with each supervisor to review department performance. Finally,

Phil insisted that supervisors check with him first before taking any significant actions that deviated

from established plans and policies.

As another cost-cutting move, Phil reduced the frequency of equipment maintenance,

which required machines to be idled when they could be productive. Because the machines

had a good record of reliable operation, Phil believed that the current maintenance schedule was

excessive and was cutting into production. Finally, when business was slow for one of the product

lines, Phil laid off workers rather than finding something else for them to do.

By the end of Phil’s first year as plant manager, production costs were reduced by 20 percent

and production output was up by 10 percent. However, three of his seven supervisors left totake other jobs, and turnover was also high among the machine operators. Some of the turnover

was due to workers who were fired, but competent machine operators were also quitting, and it

was becoming increasingly difficult to find any replacements for them. Finally, talk of unionizing

was increasing among the workers.

 

 

 

 

 

Questions

1. Describe and compare the managerial behavior of Ben and Phil. To what extent does each

manager display specific relations behaviors (supporting, developing, recognizing) and

specific task behaviors (clarifying, planning, monitoring)? To what extent does each manager

use participative or inspirational leadership?

2. Compare Ben and Phil in terms of their influence on employee attitudes, short-term performance,

and long-term plant performance, and explain the reasons for the differences.

3. If you were selected to be the manager of this plant, what would you do to achieve both

high employee satisfaction and performance?

 

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