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Sample Case Study Paper on who’s in Charge?

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Sample Case Study Paper on who’s in Charge?


            This case is about Jim Davis, an employee at Hereford National Bank, who has the responsibility to enforce policies of the bank on managers who are not directly under him in the chain of command. Even on the partial organizational chart of the organization provided in the case, it seems Jim has no immediate subordinates requiring him to rely on the workers that report to Allen, the branch manager coordinator. Jim is faced by many challenges as he carries out his duties in this firm. He has no juniors to whom he may delegate his duties, and his young age makes him be viewed with disdain by some of the more seasoned employees of the firm. His conflict with Patty Matthews is most probably caused by her resentment of him having been young and yet getting promoted to a senior post in the organization. His boss, Mr. Johnson, seems to have hands off approach to issues in the bank, burdening Jim with the details. The only reprieve that Jim has in this organization is his friendship with Allen who happens to hold a position with substantial authority in the bank.

Issues in the Firm

            The first issue that faces Jim is the inadequate induction process that Johnson takes him through. This is made apparent by the informal nature of the orientation and training session. Having been placed in the retirement division, he is unaware of the policy of the bank regarding zero balances in the accounts of the clients, resulting in alarm after he transfers the balances of their accounts to their IRAs. The concerned calls that the banks receives from the customers upsets him, and makes him realize that his training was not adequate, as he is not fully familiar with the operations policies of the bank. Doubling up as the business development manager and the retirement accounts coordinator led into Jim having too much work to do resulting in an overload. His request for assistance from his boss leads to him being directed to the clerks whom he has no jurisdiction over. The supervisor of these clerks rejects Jim’s request to have them help him with his work. Even the interventions of Mr. Johnson yield no fruit for that day, proving that the supervisor does not recognize either Jim or Johnson as his superiors.

            Another issue that is most sore in this case is the apparent lack of authority that Jim has over the junior employees of the bank in addition to the managers. This is despite holding a post in the organization that should be deemed higher in ranking. This is because of the structure of the organizational chart, which leaves Jim and his boss hanging without subordinates. The reason for this might be because the bank pays more attention to the operations segment compared to the marketing one. This is despite the policies of the bank requiring Jim to achieve the business development objectives through the staff under operations. Lack of authority on Johnson’s part is observed after he promises to get Jim the required help in his business development docket only for it not to happen. It only happens the following day, probably after Johnson has consulted with Allen. Johnson therefore has no authority according to the organization chart to give directives to clerks despite his senior position in the firm. Allen is the branch manager coordinator in the operations segment of the firm. He is the person whom all the branch managers report to. In essence, he is their boss and wields much authority according to the organization chart. The problem, however, is his admittance to not being in a position to control the manager. His age is a drawback, as most of the managers are older than him. He also has not worked with the bank for long (3 years) while some of the managers have been in the bank for more than 25 years. This makes it difficult for him to exert his authority on them in the fear of having bad blood between him and them, as that would make his job more difficult. This becomes clear as Allen shares his work concerns with Jim during their recreation time.

            Furthermore, there is a problem of non-cooperation in the firm. The first instance is when Jim requests to have clerks assist him after getting work overload, and the supervisor denies that request. This happens even after Johnson intervenes. The second and persisting instance of non-cooperation is from Patty Mathews, one of the managers of the bank. She is skeptical of the plans that Jim and Allen have rolled out to have the managers trained on how to promote the bank to new clients. Her questions reflect her defiance during the informal meeting. She tops it up by not attending the training session after calling in sick. The turn of events leads one to suspect that Patty was not sick, but was just trying to test the limits of the authority held by Jim and Allen in the firm. She might be resentful that they hold more prestigious positions in the firm, and yet have lesser experience than hers. Her working experience in the firm leads her to ask the two questions about executive expense accounts. She ignores their responses because she feels she knows better.

            In addition, there is a problem of preconceived notions guiding Jim and Allen in their making of decisions in the firm. Jim is cautious in introducing the marketing handbook to the managers because he feels that they might not take it kindly. Allen confirms them, and that is why they decide to approach the managers together in order to give Jim’s marketing suggestions more weight. It seems most of the managers have no problems with the business development policies developed by Jim, apart from Patty. Their encounter with the hostility of Patty causes them to assume that all the other managers hold the same hostilities. Jim is over-relying on formal authority too much, he likes leaning on the authority wielded by both Allen and Johnson to have his directives effected at the firm. Jim does a mistake by not wanting Patty to go free of blame after ignoring the training session that they had scheduled. He wants to find a way of reprimanding her for her absence, and is seeking the advice of Allen and Johnson to assist in coming up with ways of getting back at her. This is a counterproductive action intention that Jim has, and it has the potential of making his relations with Patty and the rest of the managers unproductive. It is therefore a dire issue, and one only hopes that Allen and Johnson are going to convince him otherwise.

Recommendation and Implementation

            Jim should stop relying on formal powers too much, as even the support from Allen and Johnson has its limitations. He should instead recognize the real sources of power that are at his disposal and use them to get things done in his favor at the firm. The first alternative source of power that he might put to use would be to remind the managers on the benefits they are bound to reap after gaining new marketing skills. This is especially in terms of their performance in the workplace and the associated bonuses and benefits. He should strive to view issues from their perspective and learn the different things that make each of the managers interested. The managers seem to have formed a group where the most influential person is Patty Matthews. She is the one that is not afraid of voicing out her opinions and thoughts. Most probably, the rest of the managers are in support of her views even without externally showing it. Jim could therefore strive to have a warm relationship with her. She considers him too young to give her directives, and the fact that she does not report to him makes the matters worse. He should develop friendship with her, and instead of giving directives, offer them as suggestions. Once he wins her favor, he will be in a position to influence the rest of the managers easily.

            Jim can also tailor his directives in a manner that suggests they are from either Allen or Johnson, as these are more likely to get heard by the staff compared to him. He should at the same time use the marketing expertise that he has accumulated over time to make friends at the workplace. He might do this by knowing the rest of the employees by name and getting to know their interests. He can also strive to socialize with them in non-formal situations in order to ensure that he gains their trust. That way, it will be easier for them to respond positively to his requests more because of friendly obligation as opposed to obedience to his directives. The recognized authorities in the firm can reward the managers for following through the suggestions given by Jim. This might be in form of praise or more tangible forms of reward.

            About the issue of Patty not attending the training session, it would be an error on Jim’s part to try to discipline her. He should instead strive to enquire about her health; act concerned and refer her to Allen in order to get updated on the events that took place during the training session. There is no way of ascertaining whether she lied about being sick or not, and trying to do that would make their already strained relationship worse. Jim can also try to make her see the benefits that will result in her career as a result of the new developments. Having done this, he will have disarmed her and made her more agreeable. Lastly, the organizational structure of Hereford national bank should be reviewed such that Jim gets subordinates or have new employees hired to work under Jim. The tribulations of Jim in his two positions are majorly as a result of an organization structure that is skewed against him.

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