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Tucker: A Case Analysis

Essay by review  •  November 4, 2010  •  Case Study  •  1,789 Words (8 Pages)  •  3,441 Views

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I. Background

In 1993, Tucker company underwent an extensive reorganization in the company that divided it into 3 major divisions, which represented Tuckers 3 major product lines. These were commercial jet engines, military jet engines and utility turbines. Each of these divisions is to be headed by VP's who will directly report to the company's president, Mr. Harnett. Each of these divisions will have their own engineering, manufacturing, accounting departments etc. Also, it will sometimes be necessary for divisions to utilize the services of other divisions or departments so that no additional staffing and facilities costs would be realized.

One example of a shared department is the laboratory. The manager of the laboratory directly reports to the manager of the military jet engine division.

In 1999, Mr. Garfield, the laboratory manager retired, and during his service, little interdepartmental conflict was experienced. Ms. Hodge replaced Mr. Garfield, and Ms. Hodge was eager to gain the attention of management. Most of her colleagues perceived her as someone who was more interested in her own advancement than in the company's. In the 6 months that Ms. Hodge was with Tucker, she was involved in several interdepartmental conflicts.

In the past, the engineering departments used the laboratory as a testing facility to determine properties of materials selected by design engineers. Ms. Hodge felt that the laboratory should be more involved in the selection of these materials and the design of experiments and subsequent evaluations of experimental data.

Ms. Hodge discussed this matter with Mr. Franklin of the engineering department of the utility turbine division. Mr. Franklin offered to consult with Ms. Hodge but said that the final responsibility for selection was charged to his department. Following this confrontation, other conflicts arose over the implementation of the results. Mr. Franklin told Ms. Hodge that, because of her position at the testing lab, she was unable to appreciate the detailed design considerations that affected the final decision on materials selection. Ms. Hodge claimed that Mr. Franklin lacked the materials expertise she, as a metallurgist, had. Franklin also noticed that his requests took longer under Ms. Hodge's management, compared to that of Mr. Garfield's. Ms. Hodge explained that military jet engine problems had to be assigned first priority because of the administrative structure. She also said that if she were more involved in Mr. Franklin's problems, she would be able to appreciate his sense of urgency, and revise priorities in the process. The tension between the two peaked when a critical project of Mr. Franklin failed to receive the scheduling that he considered necessary. Mr. Franklin requested for a schedule change. Ms. Hodge suggested that they meet to review the need for the work. Mr. Franklin said that her only concern was to merely perform the tests as requested. He also mentioned that he wasn't satisfied with the low-priority that his department was receiving. Upon hearing this, Ms. Hodge reminded Mr. Franklin that when she suggested that they meet to resolve this problem, Mr. Franklin was not open to this idea. As soon as she said that, Mr. Franklin lost his temper and as a result, hung up on Ms. Hodge.

II. Problem

The conflicts and tension arising between Mr. Franklin of the engineering department of the utility turbine division, and Ms. Hodge the laboratory manager.

III. Alternatives

a. Require that a group of employees from various functional departments meet as a team to resolve mutual problems.

b. Re-organize the company in such a way that the laboratory would provide equal services to all divisions.

c. Mr. Harnett will sit Ms. Hodge and Mr. Franklin down so the three of them can resolve this problem and discuss future concerns.

d. Do nothing and leave things as they are.

IV. Analyzing each alternative

a. Require that a group of employees from various functional departments meet as a team to resolve mutual problems:

This is also known as a cross-functional team. A cross-functional team "consists of employees from various functional departments who are responsible to meet as a team as resolve problems" (Daft, p. 330). These team members would still report to their functional departments, but they also report to the team, one member of whom may be the leader. Nowadays, a lot of companies assemble a cross-functional team. One example would be Coca-Cola, who used cross-functional teams to work on policies for vacation and compensation. Hallmark also employs a cross-functional team. It gathered artists, writers, lithographers, designers and photographers to develop new greeting cards for a particular holiday or season. This team approach reduced the time in half to get new greeting cards to market. With this kind of team, horizontal coordination is provided, to complement an existing divisional structure.

With this proposed solution, Tucker can get a number of workers from each department that can meet as a team to work out a problem that arises. An equal number of people from would be chosen from the commercial jet engines division, the military jet engines division and utility turbines division. These chosen people would form a team to discuss the problems that they encounter in the workplace, the problems in scheduling and other issue they would want to raise. From this, the people would be able to resolve the scheduling conflict that arose from Mr. Franklin and Ms. Hodge. With this kind of structure, the organization will be able to retain economies of scale and in depth training, while gaining the benefits of a team relationship. This team concept would breakdown barriers between departments. These departments will know one another's problems and would compromise rather than pursue their own interests. There are numerous advantages, but there are quite a number of disadvantages as well. One of them would be having dual loyalties. A cross-functional team may make different demands on members than do their department managers, and members who participate in more than one team must resolve these conflicts (Daft, p.331). Another disadvantage is that implementation of a cross-functional team may cause too much decentralization. Senior department managers may feel left out when the team goes ahead and moves on its own

b. Re-organize the company in such a way that the laboratory would provide equal services to all divisions:

Tucker can



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