Case Studies from Gareth Jone - Ob

8052 Words Oct 29th, 2012 33 Pages
Case 14 “Ramrod” Stockwell Teaching Notes Copyright © Gareth R. Jones, 1994

Synopsis This case considers conflict and politics in organizational settings. Ramsey “‘Ramrod” Stockwell, vice president for Production at Benson Metals, is becoming very uncooperative and difficult. Ramrod is having frequent run-ins with sales, who are exasperated with his uncooperativeness and refusal to supply them with reliable information concerning delivery dates, and production scheduling. Most students feel the problems stem from Ramrod, his obstinacy and “rough diamond” personality. They favor firing to reducing conflict and getting Benson Metals back on track. The problem is due to the internal power structure, unchanged in a changed
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Sales wants a rapid response to unexpected customer requests or tries to discover production’s plans or when the finished product will be ready. Morale is falling as the effects of these conflicts spread. Managers in different functions are taking sides, usually siding with sales against Ramrod and production. Communication and decision-making have slowed as a result of uncooperative attitudes. Integration between functions is falling. This is dangerous for non routine technology that requires a high level of differentiation and integration to be effective.

3.What is causing these problems in Benson Metals?

The sources of the conflict can be isolated. Keep the discussion focused on the people, principally Ramrod, and examine what he is doing wrong; this approach makes the later analysis of power more dramatic. The attitudes and behavior of Ramrod Stock well cause the problem. Although he is competent, he causes conflict within his own function and other functions. In his own function he fails to delegate authority and keeps the reins of power in his own hands. He has a centralized management style and does not share information, which makes it impossible for subordinates to provide salespeople with the information they need. He does not follow the chain of command; he goes to people only when he needs them. Violating lines of authority reduces the authority of his

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