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Case Analysis: Peter Browning and Continental White Cap

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Midterm Case Analysis: Peter Browning and Continental White Cap. 1. The Case: What are the critical issues facing Peter Browning and Continental White Cap? His goals? The organization's goals? 2. The Analysis: What are White Cap's strengths and weaknesses in light of its goals and the objectives for the proposed change? What type of change strategy is indicated? 3. The Action Plan: What steps do you recommend in implementing the planned change? Be specific with regards to processes for gaining support, implementing new practices and procedures and institutionalizing the change. What contingency plans might be needed to manage change effectively? Dick Hoffman couldn't have been more right when he declared that Peter Browning was 'smack dab between a rock and a hard place.' Under the management umbrella, Peter Browning was faced with several issues. The majority of White Cap's employees were resistant to change. Many of the employees were older and had been with the firm for quite some time. They had become accustomed to a culture not only of little change but one groomed over the years by the White family. Employees came to expect unquestioned job security, liberal benefits, and a management structure built on personal relationships rather than job performance. The strength of these expectations was employee loyalty. Many of the White Cap employees have been with the company for over thirty years, bringing both their friends and family aboard. ...read more.


Continental's management did not believe that White Cap was aware of the speed at which the competition was beginning to steal White Cap's business, and that White Cap's management was blind to it by an arrogance of being number one for such a long period of time. White Caps's management team was accustomed to a management style consisting of little if any friction between managers and a formal structure of superior dominance. Although changes were necessary at White Cap, Continental itself was making serious reforms. Since the acquisition by Peter Kiewit and sons in 1984 they had sold off $1.6 billion worth of businesses and cut corporate staffing tenfold. Change was happening throughout the company and management would expect nothing less from Peter Browning. Peter Browning's first step in beginning to implement change was to create a vision that White Cap's employees would understand and buy into. A vision that combined the traditions of White Cap while focusing on regaining a competitive edge in the marketplace was needed. It required a vision of both conceptual framework with an emotional element. Such s vision would guide the behavior of both employees and management to see a future state for the White Cap division. Along with the vision, a modern mission statement was required, one that clearly set out specific and measurable end goals while keeping them realistic and attainable within a specific time frame. ...read more.


The goal being that other employees will recognize the recognition these employees are receiving and strive to perform at their level. Although I foresee White Cap's employees initially meeting such programs with bitterness, over time a task alignment will take place. Through the recurring change programs the employees will be part of; their altitudes will begin to follow the actions management has set in motion. By changing the cognitive component of the employee's functions, the affective component will soon change from one of contentment, to one of excitement, with an encouragement to become proactive with change leading to a change in behavior and eventually a change in attitude. Browning and White Cap as a whole must also keep in mind the possibility that they have already fallen too far behind their competition and their customers may enter into contracts with others before White Cap can meet there needs. An option could be the acquisition of a firm already utilizing the plastic technology. If an acquisition is financially unattainable a merger could feasible. White Cap has a strong brand name and a long standing tradition of success. Smaller, lesser known yet more technologically advanced firms would find these qualities attractive. As a contingency Continental must consider its last resort options of merger or even a sell-off of White Cap. This type of transformational change should be considered a last resort for Continental because of the disastrous effect this would have on its employees. ...read more.

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