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Turning a failing organization around is one of the most interesting activities in management. When organizations see themselves in that downward spiral, their managers may feel that they are unable to stop the pace of negative change. That worry and that downward momentum can be very powerful. At the same time, it sometimes takes only a key impetus to deflect that movement and turn things around.
You have recently been hired as a new manager hired into a failing division in a company. The product line is outdated and losing market share, inter-departmental communication is adversarial, and competition for corporate funding is fierce. How are you, a new individual, going to turn things around? As your first job as the new manager at the outdated, adversarial company, write a plan for changing its organizational structure, incorporating the following elements:
Explain how you would address each of the three main problems in the organization: 1) outdated product lines, 2) adversarial communication, and 3) competition for internal resources. Thinking about organizational structures reviewed in the text, which one (or ones) do you think would be most suited to this organization and why.
A failing business is often the result of inefficiencies and poor judgment. This is true of any size company and whether or not the company is privately or publically held (Charam & Useem, 2002). Therefore, my plan to restructure a failing company with a failing product line would focus mainly on eliminating inefficiencies and improving decision making.
In the beginning, I would have a meeting with my managers where we would take a step back, so to speak, and look at the big picture of the industry the company is in and why the product is failing. Often the reason why a product begins to fail is that the company fails to update its product to the consumers’ ever-changing needs (Charam & Useem, 2002). Therefore, we need to look at the product and determine if it is still what consumers want and if not, determine what needs to change. It may be that the product is not being advertised to the right target group or it may be that the product needs new innovative changes or perhaps a completely new product in a new industry is warranted.
Once a new and improved product is agreed on, I will implement steps to realign the rest of the company. It is important to take a look at employees and how they are currently operating. Much inefficiency can be introduced based on too many employees, unhappy employees, and improper delegation of tasks. All managers should lead by example and treat employees with respect so that employees are more likely to enjoy their job. In order to help employees with the transition, there should be at least one full work day dedicated to seminars and product showcasing for all employees so that the employees can see and understand the new product and the reason for the transition. If employees understand what the company is doing and the purpose behind it, they will be more likely to agree with and help facilitate the transition. In addition, during the seminars and the showcasing, it is important to highlight the purpose of each department so that employees can understand how each department is like a piece of a puzzle and each piece is needed for the final product. Perhaps in the evening, a mixer or cocktail hour can be planned to help employees from different departments mingle. Both the seminars and the mixer would help improve the adversarial attitude between departments by helping employees to understand the job of each department and helping the employees meet the faces in each department.
To help eliminate inefficiencies, any task that can be performed with a computer or through the internet should be done so, to eliminate the need for paper and other office supplies. If the product involves manufacturing, the manufacturing process should be critically evaluated for any inefficiencies and ways to improve the speed of manufacturing and the shipping process. If the company is spread out across various cities, then regular meetings between managers can be conducted through video conferencing to cut the travel costs associated with the meetings. It is also important to look at all the activities of the company and decide if it would be more cost effective to outsource some activities, such as advertising or payroll. Finally, any new projects or new equipment that may be pursued should be deferred first to the financing department to determine the net present value. Only projects/equipment with a positive net present value will be pursued.