This project was designed to have you demonstrate an understanding of how the role organizational theory applies to management. Furthermore, the student will demonstrate this understanding by explaining the evolution of management theory and how it relates to the business environment through the use of a case scenario.
Read critically and analyze the following scenario:
Geraldine Barney Garrett, the granddaughter of Wilford Barney took over the reins of the R&D department of Biotech Health and Life Products (Biotech) in 1965. She had trained at the hands of her grandmother Wilford’s mother, Maria. Geraldine was a strong manager and developed the Research and Development (R&D) lab from the advanced kitchen of her grandmother to the scientific lab of her peers. Geraldine’s management philosophy evolved over the years but she had several basic ideas that kept her grounded. Geraldine knew she had to answer to the family in every decision she made. Her grandmother stressed this point and she eventually came to agree. Therefore, Geraldine had final say on decisions. She also realized that her employees had good ideas and talent but they did not bear the responsibility she did. So, although she consulted with the employees often, she never gave them the power to make important decisions.
Geraldine was charismatic in a motherly way and employees liked working for Geraldine. Some employees had worked under Geraldine for most of their career. Like Geraldine several of the team members are retiring leaving few left in the company.
When it comes to leading the entire R&D Division, Geraldine is very controlled in defining goals, setting tasks, and is outstanding at dividing the work among the employees, organizing the product materials and coordinating and communicating activities between the different departments. However, those employees who work with Geraldine know that her approach depends on the task at hand. Several years ago when Geraldine overheard two or three workers talking about wanting a break from the monotony of doing the same job day in and day out, Geraldine set up a plan to rotate workers so they were exposed to different facets of the R&D process. Geraldine’s decision always appear to be dependent on the current circumstances and context of the decision. She is often heard instructing the newer workers, stating, “Always ask yourself which method will work best. Remember, you are always looking to find the simplest and most effective solution. Due to Geraldine’s savvy way of managing, the lab has shown an increase in morale, lower turnover and a significant decrease in R&D costs.
Geraldine could see the need for changes in the lab, the most important of which was retaining younger employees. Since she was retiring at the end of the year, Geraldine knew the new department head would have to deal with the problem. Her immediate concern was who the new department head should be. Her own granddaughter, Valerie Malone, was now working in the company and she knew Valerie was expecting the job.
Valerie was qualified for the job. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Maryland College Park with a double major in Botany and Food Science. She minored in Business Management. She had worked in the plant in Chicago every summer since High School and had reproduced and revised all her grandmother’s and great-great grandmother’s recipes. Starting full-time at 22 years of age Valerie got along with everyone in the department but at 27 Geraldine thought she may be too young to assume the position. Geraldine had hoped that she might mentor Valerie for a few more years and turn the reins over when she was 30, but health concerns made Geraldine shorten the plan.
Valerie was confident and competent in her work. She was passionate about keeping the business focused on its all-natural product line and developing ecofriendly packaging. She was detail oriented and the people on her team seemed to work well together. Geraldine noted that Valerie appeared to create functional teams well suited for the various types of tasks or projects. The teams invariably were always on time and productive. Although the group may change in terms of members depending on the task, the group was comprised of the longest standing members of R&D and also included Geraldine’s team from time to time.
Geraldine knew that Valerie feels strongly that the lab has to be updated to include the use of more sophisticated machinery and computers that would enhance the efficiency of the products being developed. Valerie also believes the update to technology will make the company more competitive. Valerie often tried to get Geraldine to agree to the revisions bringing in literature from various business journals to prove her point. “The business world is dynamic and requires people to adjust to the competition in a vigorous and active way. The lab needed the tools to make that happen.” Valerie argued. Valerie also told her grandmother that she had a lot of new ideas for oils and essences that only the new equipment would be able to test. Valerie was adamant that Biotech would lag behind the competitors especially in the new beauty line products if the company did not modernize.