Week 02 Application Assignment – Case Study 2

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Read the case study “Consolidated Products” at the end of Chapter 3 and answer the questions at the end of the reading.

 

 

 

Consolidated Products is a medium-sized manu-

facturer of consumer products with nonunion-

ized production workers. Ben Samuels was a

plant manager for Consolidated Products for

10 years,and he was well liked by the employ-

ees.They were grateful for the fitness center he

built for employees, and they enjoyed the so-

cial 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 walk-

ing 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 that

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 peo-

ple 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 prod-

uct quality.• high-high leader

• initiating structure

• Leader Behavior Description

Questionnaire (LBDQ)

• monitoring• Multifactor Leadership

Questionnaire (MLQ)

• participative leadership

• peer leadership

• planning• recognizing

• relations-oriented behavior

• supportive leadership

• task-oriented behavior

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 man-

ager 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 depart-

ments 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 supervi-

sors.Demanding objectives were set for each Consolidated Products

Consolidated Products is a medium-sized manu-

facturer of consumer products with nonunion-

ized production workers. Ben Samuels was a

plant manager for Consolidated Products for

10 years,and he was well liked by the employ-

ees.They were grateful for the fitness center he

built for employees, and they enjoyed the so-

cial 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 walk-

ing 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 that

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 peo-

ple 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 prod-

uct quality.• high-high leader

• initiating structure

• Leader Behavior Description

Questionnaire (LBDQ)

• monitoring• Multifactor Leadership

Questionnaire (MLQ)

• participative leadership

• peer leadership

• planning• recognizing

• relations-oriented behavior

• supportive leadership

• task-oriented behavior

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 man-

ager 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 depart-

ments 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 supervi-

sors.Demanding objectives were set for each Consolidated Products

Consolidated Products is a medium-sized manu-

facturer of consumer products with nonunion-

ized production workers. Ben Samuels was a

plant manager for Consolidated Products for

10 years,and he was well liked by the employ-

ees.They were grateful for the fitness center he

built for employees, and they enjoyed the so-

cial 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 walk-

ing 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 that

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 peo-

ple 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 prod-

uct quality.• high-high leader

• initiating structure

• Leader Behavior Description

Questionnaire (LBDQ)

• monitoring• Multifactor Leadership

Questionnaire (MLQ)

• participative leadership

• peer leadership

• planning• recognizing

• relations-oriented behavior

• supportive leadership

• task-oriented behavior

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 man-

ager 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 depart-

ments 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 supervi-

sors.Demanding objectives were set for each department, and weekly meetings were held

with each supervisor to review department

performance. Finally, Phil insisted that su-

pervisors check with him first before taking

any significant actions that deviated from es-

tablished plans and policies.

As another cost-cutting move, Phil re-

duced the frequency of equipment mainte-

nance, which required machines to be idled

when they could be productive. Because the

machines had a good record of reliable oper-

ation, Phil believed that the current mainte-

nance 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 to take 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,recogniz-

ing) 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 per-

formance,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?