Case: Doing Management (100 Points)
Based upon your reading of the assigned text for this class (the OB book by Bauer and Erdogan) and the case that was provided to you under the “Course Materials” content tab in D2L, identify as many organizational behavior (OB) related issues/topics as you can in the case. Label this section “Identification of Critical Issues”. Present them in list or bulleted or numbered format on the first page of your assignment. Your list should correspond with chapter titles from the book and/or topics within those chapters. In the next section of your assignment labeled “Analysis/Discussion of Critical Issues”, analyze and discuss each of the OB-related issues/topics that you identified (i.e., example of the issue in the case, why the way the COB and management department carried out these OB issues/topics was good or bad, how the issue could have been approached better, etc.). Also, make sure that you include reference support in order to back up your discussion of each issue. Include the full citations for all of the references that you cited within your paper on your “Reference” page at the end of your analysis, following the APA Guidelines that I provided you in “Course Materials”. You will be evaluated in accordance with the grading rubric provided at the end of this document. Submit this assignment to the Case “Assignment Submission Folder”. A grading rubric for the case can be found on the next page and in the syllabus.
NOTE: Cases require a substantial amount of work, especially with respect to finding reference support, and you will get frustrated at times. Just put in the effort and it will pay off in the end. Always try to work ahead so that you don’t get into a bind at the last minute. Case analyses always take longer than you think.
CASE: IF YOU CAN’T ‘DO’ MANAGEMENT RIGHT, BY ALL MEANS TEACH IT
Perched in an ivory tower, far above the common people muddling through their workdays in the “real world”, was a department of management nestled within an imploding College of Business (COB) at a small, regional university. The professors knew of all of the problematic issues plaguing organizations today because they had read a multitude of recent scholarly journal articles, diligently perused dozens of print and online news outlets, and regularly watched reports and shows on television that covered the myriad of related topics.
The scholarly academics in the aforementioned management department were experts in different areas of the management field—legitimized by the diplomas hanging on their walls and the letters P, h, and D that follow their names. They had been conducting research and teaching students how to “do management right” semester after semester. Many of them also had extensive industry experience to complement their advanced education. So how could it be that a group of experts in the management field seemed to in actuality, be doing it rather poorly?
The College of Business
A little over a decade ago, the College of Business at this small, regional university was a “happy” place to work and the atmosphere always seemed relaxed and positive. The dean at the time, while sometimes a little too lax in his attention to detail, was focused on employees having fun while getting the job done. Faculty enjoyed the freedoms of teaching how they wanted, researching what they wanted, and setting a schedule that they wanted. They truly enjoyed complete academic freedom. Accreditation visits were not stressful, as the dean bore the brunt of the effort and coordination needed to ensure a successful outcome of reaccreditation. As long as faculty taught their classes well, did research, and published articles, the COB passed the visits and were reaccredited for the next five years. Once that dean left, reaccreditation and many other things within the college became more challenging for the faculty across all of the departments.
A few of the more senior faculty members from the different departments assumed the role of dean on an interim basis to help the college stay the course until a permanent dean could be hired. The “permanent” dean that was hired in the wake of the “fun-loving” leader’s departure reorganized committees and held faculty accountable for their service work on these committees. He tried to build more of a structure and create processes for doing things, but seemed to continuously seek advice and run most decisions by a few of the more senior COB departmental faculty. He persisted in the role for about one year before he departed and the college was forced into another “interim” dean situation which was again temporarily filled by current senior faculty. The next person to “permanently” fill the position lasted twice as long as her predecessor. She was energetic, ambitious, not afraid to take charge or make tough decisions, and she facilitated a successful AACSB reaccreditation visit. She restructured the college-level committees, dividing the three created by her predecessor into six, with fewer members on each committee but assigned more tasks to each of those six committees. She also required faculty to be on the main campus at least three days a week, even if they taught 100% online or at the remote campuses. Her abilities and methods of doing things were soon questioned by some, personalities clashed, and faculty infighting, conflict, and incivility raged. There were a lot of service work and non-teaching and non-research related activities that were required, but not all faculty members engaged and this generated frustration among those who were picking up the slack. Several faculty members from various departments within the COB left and the college teetered toward dysfunctional under her reign. Increased competition from other institutions of higher learning, political legislation that negatively affected foreign students, a lack of marketing by the university, and other factors contributed to a decrease in student enrollment…which did not make the dean’s job any easier nor the perceptions of her performance any more positive. After just two and a half years, and in the middle of the spring semester, the COB was forced back into an “interim” dean situation.
At the Department Level
With all of the instability in the dean’s office, department head roles expanded to include much more than just scheduling classes and dealing with student complaints. The strategic initiatives and extra work roles that department heads started promoting were not always welcomed by department members, especially as class sizes were continuously increasing and course overloads were becoming more common. Many of the things that they were required to do seemed to fall outside of what a professor’s job duties typically are, several of the little projects did not come to successful fruition, and valuable time was wasted. While enrollment was down, class sizes were made larger by combining sections and while the number of sections offered were reduced, the departure of faculty who were never replaced resulted in too many courses/sections to be taught with limited faculty and forced several overload situations each semester. During the handful of years that the COB experienced the departure of three deans, the department of management had gone through just as many department heads. Over the years of revolving leadership at the college and department levels, a push for different colleges and departments across the entire university to work more closely with each other and collaborate on research and other projects came down from university administration and this added new management challenges and opportunities for college and departmental leaders. The four departments within the College of Business had rarely reached across departmental lines to collaborate on research and the personalities, cultures, and dynamics within each of the four were vastly different.
The Management Department, More Specifically
The management department had been a close-knit group, watching out for each other like family. It was the highest functioning department in the COB for years, but forging working and personal relationships outside of its happy silo soon led to some tensions not only across the college, but also within the department itself. The tensions that ran through the department and the COB as a whole reduced satisfaction and caused some faculty and staff to feel unmotivated to come to campus and face any uncomfortable situations.
Increasing teaching loads and service work forced many faculty to put research on the back burner, even though the last few AACSB visits signaled a need to increase the quality standards regarding research and publication. The time diverted from the research that inspired and excited many faculty left them frustrated and increased the degree of stress associated with finding the time to publish enough to maintain their faculty qualification status while still providing a quality education to their students…and completing their required service work. The most recent department head had created departmental committees fashioned after the six committees at the college-level, with additional tasks that expanded beyond what members were doing for the college and sometimes conflicted with the duties for the corresponding college-level committee. Not only were faculty concerned about the diversion away from the research they enjoyed (intrinsically) and needed (for accreditation) to do, but the increased class sizes and course loads meant that it was much more difficult to provide the necessary amount of individualized attention and feedback to each student to ensure a quality education. Teaching students was important to all of the faculty in the management department. The university administration was responsible for continuously increasing class sizes and enlarging the caps and the COB often lacked the resources to replace the faculty who left so departments had a hard time getting approval for new faculty lines. Department heads were forced to do more with less and the faculty had to figure out how to effectively manage more students per class and extra classes. The compromises faculty were forced to make with respect to teaching was disheartening to many. For those who refused to compromise and instead devoted the extra hours to make sure everything was done in accordance with the high standards they had always kept, at the expense of time with family and friends or doing something relaxing or recreational, satisfaction suffered and becoming “burnt out” loomed in the near future. Seeking a position at another university or leaving the profession altogether, as some of their colleagues had recently done, were options that they began to entertain.
The COB and its departments were diverse, comprised of male and female faculty from a variety of different countries and backgrounds. With respect to gender however, some of the female members of the COB and the management department specifically, often felt that they were not valued as highly as their male counterparts and that sentiment was not only limited to those with children and family obligations outside of work. While it was sometimes tough for the female faculty to gain the respect they felt they deserved from certain faculty members, several of them were good at banding together, fighting for each other, and making their voices heard. Several of their male counterparts also joined in support of equality. Situations of inequality were typically rectified because COB and departmental members made a genuine effort to hold each other accountable and address problems before they escalated, but some official complaints were still filed.
With respect to racial and cultural diversity, the past decade included new searches and hires that further increased the diversity of the college and the department of management as well. Most members seemed to respect and embrace the different backgrounds and cultures of their colleagues and diversity was something that the COB and the department seemed to do right. That doesn’t mean that communication was always clear and cultural differences did not interfere with certain perceptions, but most misunderstandings could usually be worked out with some discussion and explanation. However, there did seem to be some communication problems on and between some of the committees and between some of the committees and the executive committee (consisting of the dean, associate dean, and department heads). Each committee was diverse in terms of having equal representation from each of the departments and from the different demographic categories. Some of the groups got along very well. When these committees sent proposals up to the executive committee and they were told to revise them, they did so and either compromised with or accommodated the executive committee to get the required service task done so they could move onto the next item on the agenda. On the other end of the spectrum, other committees held meetings that erupted into arguments among the members and a tug-of-war with the executive committee. However, when the respective committee members came back to the department and reported their committees’ progress (or lack thereof), they always found support from their management colleagues. While some fractures had surfaced over the years for some of the reasons addressed above, the management department still found ways to pull together when members needed the support…but could they manage their way back to the happy family they once were? Was that even a goal they should strive for? Were they perhaps “too” happy before?
1. After reading the case, identify as many organizational behavior (OB) issues as you can. The issues you list should correspond with the topics covered in the text (Bauer & Erdogen) and throughout this course. Each item should be listed simply…in just one to three words. Present your topics in a numbered list (1., 2., 3., etc.). (50 Points)
2. In essay format, discuss some or all of the topics that you listed. You can choose to focus on just some (at least 3) of the topics in extensive detail or you can discuss all of the topics that you listed with a little less detail. In your discussion of each topic, discuss what exactly you think the COB and/or the management department is doing right or wrong with respect to that topic (successes or problems), what are the possible causes of the successes or problems, and what they should do to keep the successes going or to fix the problems. (50 Points)
3. Use reference support from scholarly books (in addition to the text for this class) and scholarly journal articles to support why you think the things the COB and management department are doing have been successful or have been problematic. The suggestions and recommendations that you make to fix any problems should also be supported by the scholarly literature. The more references that you use, the better your score on this criterion will be. I will also consider the quality of your support (Journal of Management-A+ journal versus Bob’s Refrigerator News-Not on any sort of journal quality list anywhere). You can use some websites as references, but you must make sure that you have a lot of scholarly literature support to complement it. (50 Points)
Case: Doing Management (100 Points)