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Case 2Dick Spencer

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Case Study # 2 - Integrative Case 6.0 - Dick Spencer - pages 569 - 573 Answer the following questions in essay format: 1. What is the main source of conflict in this case? Spencer was a plant manager of Modrow Company, a Canadian Branch of the Tri-American Corporation. Tri-American was a major producer of primary aluminum with integrated operations ranging from mining of bauxite through the processing to fabrication of aluminum into variety of products. The company had also made and sold refractories and industrial chemicals. The parent company had wholly owned subsidiaries in five separate United States locations and had foreign affiliates in fifteen different countries. Tri-American employed approximately 22,000 employees in the total organization. The company was governed by a board of directors. The board set general policy, which was then interpreted and applied by the various plant managers. This decentralization in organizational structure increased the freedom and authority of the plant managers, but increases the pressure for profitability. Spencer started his career in Tri-American Corporation as salesman and he succeeded. After two years of successful work as a salesman, he became the symbol of what salesman have to be. In his career in Tri-American, he had worked as salesman, troubleshooter, assistant plant manager in English branch in London UK, plant manager in Birmingham in UK and his last position was plant manager of Modrow company in Canada. It was another challenging position in his career and he had faced few problems regarding management, organization culture, and organization conflict and organization innovation. The main source of conflict is cultural differences and he wanted to prove himself as a manager. 2. Does Dick Spencer have power or authority? There is the difference between American and British philosophy and performance within the plant. At this plant, Spencer found that his power and authority were less than those of his superiors, so he constantly found himself in the position of having to soft pedal or withhold suggestions that he would have liked to make, or innovations that he would have liked to introduce. After a frustrating year and a half, Dick was suddenly made plant manager of an old British company which had just been purchased by Tri-American. He left his first English assignments with mixed feelings and moved from London to Birmingham. In Birmingham, he become a plant manager and operated much as he had in his troubleshooting job for the first couple of years of his change from sales to administration. He made some changes in Birmingham. Training and reduction programs were instituted for all supervisors and managers who survive the initial purge. He tried to focus/ control on relationship between production and the needs from sales by simplifying and redesign in order to increase

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Case 2Dick Spencer


[Type the document subtitle] [Type the author name] profit. Later the company showed a small profit for the first time in many years. Due to this successfulness, he requested to be transferred back to United States.

Not only did Spencer power and authority, he started to lose his leadership skills. Spencer tried to be Mr. All in every department. He tried to do everything by himself and he felt that everything required his immediate attention. As a leader, he did not understand that the staff was able to assist him in the daily workings of the operations. We can see Spencers thought process based on the following statement As he worked through his first year as plant manager, Dick developed the habit of strolling around the organization. This created the conflict between him and workers. Also this created dis-approval from workers. We can see it from this sentence also: Supervisors, managers and foreman, however didnt feel as comfortable when they saw him in the area 3. What challenges did Dick Spencer face as an international manager? For Spencer, It was a different corporate culture in Canada, even though Canada is located in same geopolitical areas, geographically and nationally Canada is different country and corporate culture is bit different from USA. Furthermore, Dick Spencer is an American manager who started his career in the United States. As we can see from the case, Dick Spencer is basically unable to adapt to the different corporate culture in different countries such as UK and Canada during his career. An example of this is when Spencer mentioned In recalling his first year at Modrow, Dick had felt constantly pressured and badgered. He always sensed that the Canadians he worked with resented his presence since he was brought in over the heads of the operating staff. At the same time he felt this subtle resistance from his Canadian work force

4. What political tactics would have helped Dick Spencer? Spencer could have developed plans to overcome resistance to change. As a manager, Dick Spencers main concern was cost and he failed to appreciate the importance of motivating the employees.If Spencer would have worked with his employees in changing the employees attitude he would have been successful in running the plant. Spencer could have also used Communication and training as another political tactic. Communication could have assisted Spencer in informing the employees about the need for change, the consequences of the proposed changes, prevented rumors, misunderstanding, and alleviated resentment.

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Case 2Dick Spencer


[Type the document subtitle] [Type the author name] Last but not least, Dick Spencer should change his perspective in order to solve the culture problem. He could have: Define business problems and goals in terms of his culture. Define business problems and goals in terms of Canadians culture without value or judgment of Spencer being an American.

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