The current case concerns an organization called Martin Manufacturing Company and its former employee Mike Bossart who produced a document describing the internal culture of the enterprise. The primary problem of the case is the negative organizational culture which manifests itself in a rigid hierarchy, informal rules of conduct, dysfunctional corporate programs, and encouragement of conformity. As Mr. Bossart’s writing shows that there is a number of obstacles which bar people working for Martin from advancing their careers. First of all, the company’s dominant position on the market discourages it from reforming its strict hierarchal organization, which provides supervisors with too much power. According to Mr. Bossart, a supervisor is the only person who can ultimately influence any employee’s career. As a result, supervisors engage in favoritism and choose to promote workers based not on their performance but their personal relationship with them. Such corporate culture gives way to informal rules, which become pervasive and affect every aspect of people’s work. One of the examples of such rules is the necessity to ask supervisors in the Accounting Department about their work to build relationships with them.
There are also formal rules which employees at Martin must follow, such as the dress code. Even the personnel director, when assessing Mr. Bossart, first of all, begins talking about his sloppy look. Additionally, the company has dysfunctional programs for employees which do not work properly, preventing workers from utilizing them. For instance, there is a pension plan which, nevertheless, does not guarantee any substantial financial support to workers once they retire. Formally, employees can get sick leave, but in order to do it, they must become infected with polio, and a broken leg is not a reason to be absent from work. Finally, the negative corporate culture at Martin promotes complete conformity among workers through various policies, which employees are forced to observe since otherwise, they risk losing any career prospects. For example, all workers of Martin wanting to get a better position must attend as many training-program classes as possible. Such a requirement not only makes training a burden for employees but also discourages them from thoroughly learning new concepts and ideas because of the focus on quantity and not quality.
The internal culture is directly related to the level of customer service its employees deliver. In the case of Martin Manufacturing Company, employees are forced to be passive and simply follow the rules established by the company. The company encourages conformity which is likely to translate into mediocre customer service because the employees are not incentivized to deliver a performance better than that needed from them. Moreover, given the fact that there is favoritism in the workplace, it can negatively impact customer service in two ways. Since higher positions are given based on the person’s personal relationship with superiors and not their expertise, there is a considerable chance that such people will not be able to serve clients professionally. Moreover, people actually possessing superior skills but not being able to advance due to poor relationships with supervisors might feel frustrated, which undermines their performance and their communication with clients. Finally, a company where generally all employees are able to communicate with one another, clients’ issues are much easier to solve.
When hired by the HR department, my first decision would be inviting Mr. Bossart back to the company as an advisor and asking him to share a more in-depth outlook on the situation. Then I would conduct a survey among all employees of Martin Manufacturing Company to assess their opinions on the company’s corporate culture and general atmosphere. If the results of the survey showed that the workers do express a view that the organization’s culture is imperfect, I would begin reforming the company’s policies. The ultimate solution to the issue of a negative corporate culture would be increasing employee satisfaction and removing unnecessary barriers to their advancement and work. I would introduce impartial performance assessments by setting clear monthly goals for employees and analyzing whether they manage to attain them. Such an arrangement will help the company reduce the role of favoritism and ensure that only the most effective people keep their job.
The final solution to the case would involve an effort on the part of the company’s top-managers who will have to adopt new governance policies. Namely, the choice of supervisors must be conducted more thoroughly in order to eradicate instances of favoritism. The company’s hierarchy also must be reformed, and the organizational structure has to become more horizontal. Supervisors and employees should have the ability to communicate directly on a regular basis and share insights, concerns, and ideas. Additionally, I would improve the quality of corporate programs such as pensions plans and sick leave policies in order to provide workers with a sense of safety and support. Moreover, I will abandon all practices such as dress code and mandatory training classes to establish a more welcoming atmosphere in the workplace. Thus, after introducing all the aforementioned changes, Martin Manufacturing Company must become a place with a positive corporate culture where employees can build their careers by showing excellent performance.