Read and Analyse the case study provided with the coursework.
Using the learning resources used in class and the lecture notes answer the following questions.
Vignette 1: Fire alarm in Bucharest An engineer from the Bucharest office of a global company describes a recently experienced situation. We were sitting at an extraordinary staff meeting in a windowless office in our
company’s building in Bucharest. Almost all of the Romanian office people were invited to listen to a big boss from Munich. One could clearly see that our local managers were
trying to do everything possible to leave a positive impression with the guest from
headquarters. Our local top brass people were smiling and nodding all the time when the visitor spoke, and the Romanian general manager was even taking notes on his tablet computer, something that he never does. The visitor from Munich was talking about the responsibility each of us had for cutting costs. Suddenly the meeting room went completely dark and a fire alarm sounded. Everyone stayed sitting at their places, waiting for instructions. The visitor from Munich went silent, but our local bosses for some reason were silent too. Finally someone from the audience lost patience and shouted: “For how much longer are we going to sit here? Do you want to burn here? It’s time to get out.” People jumped from their seats and started making their way to the exit. They were stepping on each other’s feet and bumping against the furniture. When we were finally out of the building it became clear that a fire had started in one of office’s electric rooms, and firefighters were already handling it. Luckily, nobody was injured. When the situation cleared, the engineer found himself thinking about the behavior of the managers in this situation:
Vignette 2: “Michael is an excellent analyst. It’s time for him to become a manager” Michael heads a team of analysts in the mergers and acquisitions department of a large company. He joined the company 11 years ago after graduating from university. During those years he has earned a reputation as an intelligent and reliable professional who always completes tasks to the highest quality and whose reports can always be trusted. After becoming the head of the analytic team he continued to strengthen his reputation as a reliable employee. Michael’s team often has urgent and unexpected tasks. When an acquisition target is identified, all the analysis needs to be completed quickly, as competitors often consider the same firms to be acquired and, therefore, support for quick decisions is needed. In such emergency-like situations the analysts, including Michael, often work around the clock. Following the tradition of working to the highest possible standard, Michael always double-checks the calculations made by his team before passing them onto the management. In difficult cases he runs models and calculations himself. Michael has a couple of team members whom he considers to be the most reliable workers, and whom he trusts with the major tasks. Recently one such employee broke her leg and had to stay in hospital. Michael considered passing this colleague’s work on to one of the recently hired
analysts but decided against it. He chose to do the work of the sick colleague himself, as
explaining to the newcomer what he wanted from him would have taken too much time and the result wouldn’t be guaranteed anyway.
Michael recently received the results of a 360-degree assessment mandatory for all managers of his level in his company. Among the qualitative comments that respondents could leave in the process of the assessment he found the following ones:
Michael is an excellent analyst. It’s time for him to become a manager.
Michael is constantly on the run. He is always busy. He never finds time to sit down with me and explain what he wants.
Michael distributes work unevenly. Some people are overloaded while others often sit
It is high time Michael stopped doing what he likes most, namely models and calculations.
Michael’s boss has already told him that he needs to delegate more and find time to participate in cross-functional projects. However, Michael believes that if he does not get personally involved in every task the work quality will suffer.
Vignette 3: Conflicts in Prague Two managers engage in a dialogue over coffee in a conference room minutes before a weekly
management meeting at the London headquarters of a major European company.
A: I often see you coming to the meeting with a suitcase. Are you travelling again?
B: Yeah. I have a car booked for the airport at six. There is a conflict again between our production manager and the commercial manager in Prague. I need to go there to mediate their conflict and help them work together. They are like a cat and a dog with each other.
A: Why not fire both instead, and hire adults who know how to work with other people? It’s
ridiculous that they can’t resolve their issues without involving you. Do you really have
the time and energy to chaperon them and keep them from killing each other?
B: They are good guys. They’ve just been through too much stress recently. The last several months were very tough. We have just started gaining new orders and attracting
competitors’ clients. Unfortunately, one of our key suppliers in the Czech Republic went
bankrupt. As a result, commercial people sell, but production falls behind due to delays
with the supply of components. People work round the clock, and we exercise a lot of
pressure on them from here in London, demanding quick results. Sometimes we put too much pressure on them. I think right now we need to show them some support, as they
can’t take further demands and threats from us.
А: If you don’t threaten them, you’ll get no results from these people.
B: I have analyzed the situation and I understand that they are doing their best, that they know their problems and ways of handling them, and that they are on the right track. They just need a bit of time to get out of the rut. It is important to me to make sure
that they don’t kill each other right now. I have large hopes for the Czech Republic next year. It’s my job to take some time now to help them overcome their low points.
Vignette 4: Training lessons that didn’t work
A husband who returned home from work later than promised, tells his annoyed wife at dinner about his experience at work that day:
Just yesterday I was telling you that they had put all of us through a training session where they taught us that managers needed to use a variety of styles depending on the…….