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Individual Behavioral Case Analysis of a furniture store.

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MGTO 523 Individual Behavioral Case Analysis Topic: Phyllis and Barnes Furniture Store April 5, 2003 WONG Chak-Nam, Jeff (02864577) Background Phyllis and Barnes specializes in office furniture and interior furnishings; it has been in the industry for about eighty years and is still expanding amid strong competition. One problem they faced time and time again was the lack of an efficient workflow within a network of 500 dealers. The long traditions, which remained unchallenged and obviously obsolete, required that dealers write up customer orders, most often by hand, and submit them by phone or fax. Some orders were sent using a DOS-based program that was crudely designed back in the 1980's. To make matters worse, the batch processing capability of the program was in lack of consistency and prone to confusion. After orders were entered into a corporate order-management system, they were relayed to a centralized database, which had been poorly managed over the years. Worse still, when customer orders were made incorrectly, someone has to bear the responsibilities or risk an unhappy customer. In one instance, a product line manager omitted a new furniture item while he was updating the central catalogue. As a result, customer representatives throughout the country were unable to place orders for enthusiastic customers in the first week. Employees grew particularly frustrated after Phyllis and Barnes began distributing furniture from a new European furniture wholesaler. The increasing confusion in the ordering process and escalation in workload have gradually deteriorated their morale. ...read more.


Possible Solutions Dissolving the resistance to change is a gradual process. Nevertheless, the senior management team has to be committed to carrying out such a change program for the organization to continue its operations. Several possible solutions are summarised below: * Conduct a comprehensive Organizational Development (OD) program * Form a cross-functional team to collect inputs from managers and employees * Design a reward program to motivate employees to adopt the new changes * Provide organizational behavior training for employees and explain to them the necessity of the new changes. The pros and cons of the four options above are listed below: Alternatives Pros Cons Conduct a comprehensive Organizational Development (OD) program Systematic, thorough, and most likely to succeed Potentially costly and time-consuming. May need to bring in external agents who had previous experience launching a similar OD program but might have little knowledge about the company. Form a cross-functional team to collect inputs from managers and employees Allows collection of inputs from customer representatives who used the ordering system on a daily basis. Reduced any mismatch of expectation between managers and employees. Each functional team will have to participate in the information gathering process, even though their input may not have direct influence toward process improvement. Each team member will also need to sacrifice their time which could be utilized better at their own work. Design a reward program to motivate employees to adopt the new changes Good motivators to encourage employee's immediate participation. Easy to implement and receive group support. ...read more.


Activities used most often in team building include goal setting, development of interpersonal relations among team members, and role analysis to clarify each member's role. This type of exercise can even be extended to inter-group training. * Process consultation - The facilitator in this part of the program would provide on-the-spot counseling to managers and instruct them immediately how to express themselves better. * Organizational confrontation meeting - Managers from different functional teams are brought together to confront a specific issue. This type of cross-functional approach is best at solving problems whose root cause is hard to identify - such as the problem faced by Phyllis in Barnes in this case. # Action Who When Desired Outcome 1. Sensitivity training Senior Managers and change agent Immediately Participants should understand each other's concern in terms of their different professional backgrounds. 2. Team building Change agent Immediately Participants should become more proactive and earnest when communicating with each other. 3. Process consultation Change agent Ongoing Participants should receive specific advice from change agent regarding their effectiveness in workplace communication. 4. Organizational confrontational meeting Managers from different functional teams Ongoing Participants should reach a consensus regarding a common problem that the company faces. Conclusion The drop in sales in Phyllis and Barnes was found to be caused by an outdated business workflow. By following the above recommendations, the Department of Operations can gather a set of comprehensive inputs from the employees and build an ordering system that would be welcomed by all the users. In the long run, the company will also benefit enormously from a restructuring of the organizational culture. 1 ...read more.

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