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Case Study : Resistance to Change

Read below the case study and let's have an interesting discussion :Sagar Pvt. Ltd. is a small company, which manufactures plastic products such as mugs, buckets,
and other household utility products. This company which is situated in an industrial belt in New
Mumbai has typical labor needs. Since quite a few operations including packing of products are
done manually, the company employs 80 workers on the shop floor. The company supplies its
products to retailers in and around Mumbai. It has a long production run and longer product lifecycles and therefore the management believes that the company is making fewer profits because
of this. As a result, the top-management, which comprises of the members of Maheshwari family,
since this is a family managed business, decided to invest resources on automation to have
shorter production runs & shorter product life-cycles. It has decided to introduce packaging
machines to reduce semi-skilled and unskilled labour.
The company has a bad record in industrial relations since workers in the past have had several
problems pertaining to wages and working conditions. Rajnath Dube, a worker who is often
pampered by management to get their way, dominates the company union. Rajnath is a man who
ranks very low in personal & professional ethics but has a way with people and is good at
politics. He has a substantial clout with the workers who trust him and would act on his advice.
But the management is fully aware that Rajnath may not be able to help much if the company
thinks of retrenching workers. However the management decided to speak to Rajnath regarding
their decision to introduce automatic machines and subsequent lay off of workers. Rajnath
immediately sensed a good opportunity to make a big sum so he pretended that convincing the
workers was a Herculean task and he would need at least 6 months time to do this. The
management was however impatient to introduce automation and told Rajnath to convince
workers within 3 months to help them implement the decision. Of course Rajnath played his
game and asked for a huge sum in reciprocation of his effort. The Maheshwari brothers were
shocked at the price that Rajnath wanted. They however knew that things would only get worse
if they refused Rajnaths proposal.
Case Questions :
1. Was the Maheshwari familys method of introducing change in Sagar Private Limited
appropriate? Please substantiate your response giving suitable reasons.
2. What was the tactic used by top management to overcome resistance to change? What tactic
would you have used to overcome workers resistance to change if you were in the top
managements position?
3. How would you handle Rajnath if you were in place of the Maheshwaris?


Case Study - Convincing Management

I want to share this live case example with you and expect your valuable feedback on the
A medium sized organization (manufacturing) with around 1000+ employees on the
company roll and about the same number as indirect employees employed him a Sr.
Manager HR some two years back. He has more than 13 years of hard core HRD
experience with the known group and was considered as a highly effective HRD man.
The set up of the deptt was total 4 FTEs including him. The major activities were time
keeping and payroll, recruitment, training and development, PMS, separation and MIS.
They do not have HRIS model. His other team members are very very mediocre. Earlier I
thought my friend may not be correct but now after I met them personally on a few
occasions confirmed my friends views.
The company is very good but has lots of internal politics. All of a sudden, other
activities like administration legal issues, guest relations and many such activities have
been passed on to him by the management earlier temporarily and now permanently. The
person who was responsible for these has a influence with the top management and have
done this deliberately. When my friend discussed this with the management, he was told
that this is a temporary arrangement and that and after sometime these responsibilities
will be passed on to someone else. Additionally some more activities like ISO have come
to him. Management expects implementation some OD interventions also. Earlier there
were no legal issues and now with the growth of the organizations these issues are also
cropping up.
My friend, who is not very assertive has taken all the burden on him. Once or twice he
spoke to the management for increasing the manpower in HR which has been forthrightly
rejected by the management.
With this pressure in the work my friend is now tremendously under stress. As he has
already crossed 45, it is relatively difficult for him to get a better change. Now he
requested me to get the expert opinion of HR professionals. How can we help this
Are there any guidelines for the HR set up in a normal manufacturing organization on the
following issues:
Which are the areas covered under HR function? (P & IR, HRD, Administration)

Norms for manning the HR deptt of the size of organization mentioned above.
Specific set up of HR deptt?
How should he go about convincing his management?

3. Case of Misplaced CommunicationI came through this case of 'misplaced communication' from one of my colleagues.
The incident happened few years back when these kids were 9 yrs, 7 yrs and 4
years old.
My friend had been to Mumbai for some work. While at Mumbai, he purchased a toy
gun for his sons. The toy gun used to make sound of firing bullets.
When he returned back from Mumbai, all the three sons came running asking
whether their dad had brought any thing for them. The dad opened his bag and
opened the toy gun. His wife saw the price tag of the gun and asked , " this is merely
a toy gun, made of plastic.Why it is so costly ?" My friend replied "It is costly because
of two reasons. Firstly, it is made of non - toxic plastic and secondly, it is made of unbreakable plastic". The three young boys happily took the toy gun and went to their
room to play with it.
After about one hour, the lady went to kids' room to call them for lunch. She found
that the toy gun was lying broken in two pieces and her three sons were busy with
their studies. She kept on asking as to who had broken it, but none of the three guys
was forthcoming with a reply.
What went wrong in this case ?
------------------------------------------------My friend had made mistake of his life by telling in front of his sons that the gun was
made of unbreakable plastic
What is the learning from this story ?
--------------------------------------------------------It is essential to be watchful while talking anything. As is known in hindi, it is
necessary to examine - STHAAN, KAAL and PATRA around us,before we talk out
anything. Translated to english, these are called :STHAAN = Place

KAAL = Time
PATRA = Person


Case Study - Employee participation in Org ChangeI am sharing a case for brainstorming on
The company manufactured wooden toys of various kinds; wooden animals, pull
toys, and the like. One part of the manufacturing process involved spraying paint on
the partially assembled toys. This operation was staffed entirely by women. The toys
were cut, sanded and partially assembled in the wood room. Then they were dipped
into shellac, following which they were painted. The toys were predominantly two
coloured; a few were made in more than two colours. Each colour required an
additional trip through the paint room.
For a number of years, production of these toys had been entirely and work.
However, to meet the tremendously increase in demand, the painting operation had
recently been re-engineered so that the eight operators (all women) who did the
painting sat in a line by an endless chain of hooks. Those hooks were in continuous
motion, past the line of operators and into a long horizontal oven. Each woman sat at
her own painting booth so designed as to carry away fumes and to backstop excess
paint. The operator would take a toy from the tray beside her, position it in a jig inside
the painting cubicle, spray on the colour according to a pattern, then release the toy
and hand it to the hook passing by. The rate at which the hooks moved has been
calculated by the engineers so that each hook before it passed beyond her reach.
The operators working in the pain room were on a group bonus plan. Since the
operation was new to them, they were, receiving a learning bonus, which decreased
by regular amounts each month. The learning bonus was scheduled to vanish in six
months, by which time it was expected that they would be on their own, that is, able
to meet the standard and to earn a group bonus when they exceeded it.
By the second month of the training period. Trouble had developed. The employees
learned more slowly than had been anticipated, and it began to look as though their
production would stabilize far below what was planned for. Many of the hooks were
going by empty. The women complained that they were going by too fast, and that
the time study man had set the rates wrong. A few women quit and had to be
replaced with new operators, which further aggravated the learning problem. The
team spirit that the management had expected to develop automatically through the
group bonus was not in evidence except as an expression of what the engineers
called resistance". One woman whom the group regarded as its -leader (and the

management regarded as the ring-leader) was outspoken by voicing the various

complaints of the group before the foreman; the job was messy one, the hooks
moved too fast, the incentive pay was not being correctly calculated, and it was too
hot working so close to the drying oven.
A consultant who was brought into this picture worked entirely with and through the
foreman. After many conversations with him, the foreman felt that the first step
should be to get the employees together for a general discussion of the working
conditions. He took this step with some hesitation, but he took on his own volition.
The first meeting, held immediately after the shift was over at four o'clock in the
afternoon was attended by all the eight operators. They voiced the same complaints
again: the hook sent by too fast, the job was too dirty, the room was hot and poorly
ventilated. For some reason, it was this last item that they complained of most. The
foreman promised to discuss the problem of ventilation and temperature with the
engineers, and he scheduled a second meeting to report back to the employees. In
the next few days the foreman had several talks with the engineers. They and the
superintendent felt that this was really a trumped-up complaint, and that expense of
any effective corrective measure would be prohibitively high.
The foreman came to the second meeting with some apprehensions. The operators,
however, did not seem to be much put out, perhaps because they had a proposal of
their own to make. They felt that if several large fans were set up so as to circulate
the air around their feet, they would be much more comfortable. After some
discussion, the foreman agreed that the idea might be tried out. The foreman and the
consultant discussed the question of the fans with the superintendent, and three
large propeller-type fans were purchased.
The fans were brought in. The women were jubilant. For several days the fans were
moved about in various positions until they were placed to the satisfaction of the
group. The operators seemed completely satisfied with the results, and the relations
between them and the foreman improved visibly.
The foreman, after this encouraging episode; decided that further meetings might
also be profitable. He asked the operators if they would like to meet and discuss
other aspect of the work situation. They were eager to do this. The meeting was
held, and the discussion quickly centered on the speed of the hooks.
The operators maintained that the time study man had them at an unreasonably fast
speed and that they would never be able to reach the goal of filling enough of them
to make a bonus. The turning point of the discussion came when the group's leader
frankly explained that the point wasn't that they couldn't work fast enough to keep up
with the hooks, but they couldn't work at that pace all the day long.

The foreman explored the point. The employees were unanimous in their opinion
that they could keep up with the belt for short periods if they wanted to. But they
didn't want because if they showed they could do this for short periods they would be
expected to do it all day long. The meeting ended with an unprecedented request:
"Let us adjust the speed of the belt faster or slower depending on how we feel". The
foreman agreed to discuss this with the superintendent and the engineers.
The reaction of the engineers to the suggestion was negative. However, after several
meetings it was granted that there was some latitude within which variations in the
speed of the hooks would not affect the finished product. After considerable
argument with the engineers, it was agreed to tryout the operators' idea. With
misgiving~, the foreman had a control with a dial marked 'low, medium, fast' installed
at the booth of the group leader; she could now adjust the speed of the belt
anywhere between the lower and upper limits that the engineers had set.
The operators were delighted and spent many lunch hours deciding how the speed
of the belt should be varied from hour to hour throughout the day. Within a week the
pattern had settle down to one which the first half-hour of the shift was run on what
the operators called a 'medium' speed (a dial setting slightly above the point marked
'medium'). The next two-and-a-half hours were run at 'high' speed the half-hour
before lunch and half hour after lunch were run at 'low' speed. The rest of the
afternoon was run at 'high speed' with the exception of the last 45 minutes of the
shift, which was run at 'medium'.
In view of the operators' reports of satisfaction and ease in work, it is interesting to
note that the constant speed at which ,the engineers has originally set the belt was
slightly below medium on the dial of the contro that had been given to the women.
The average speed at which they were running the belt was on the high side of the
dial. Few, if any empty hooks entered the oven, and inspection showed no increase
of rejects from the paint room.
Production increased, and within 2 weeks (some 2 months before the scheduled
ending of the learning bonus) the operators were operating at 30 to 50 per cent
above the level that had been expected under the original arrangement. Naturally
their earnings were correspondingly higher than anticipated. They were collecting
their base pay, a considerable piece-rate bonus, and the learning bonus which, it will
be remembered, had been set to decrease with time and not as a function of current
productivity. The operators were earning more than many skilled workers in other
parts of the plant.

1. From the angle of job Enrichment, which core job dimension or job characteristic
was most influenced by new system of group regulated speed? Evaluate the
reported success of the case against the principles of Job Enrichment.
2. Comment on the method of payment to the operators. How good do you think
such a system is?
3. Would you consider the initial discontent of the operators as a ~grievance/?Why
or why not?
4. How would you characterize the involvement of the operators after the introduction
of group-regulated speed?
5. Review your understanding of the characteristics of effective workers; participation
against the backdrop of the case.

compensation and reward management

You have been asked to give advice to a friend of the family about her business. The
employs thirty people in three teams in a workshop, which manufactures selfassembly furniture.
These packs are sold to a larger manufacturer, which supplies to retail and trade
outlets. The
business is growing rapidly and the main limit to what it can sell is how much product
it can
make. The basic rate of pay for all of the staff is the Minimum Wage, but each person
can earn a
team-based bonus, based on the productivity improvement for the team as a whole
compared to
that of last year. This bonus is shared out, taking into account the amount of product
individual makes and his or her level of attendance. The bonus has worked so well in
the panel
assembly department that production has increased by 50 per cent and members of
the team now
earn, on average, an extra 50 per cent of their basic pay on top. They have asked if
some of this
can be converted into an increase in basic pay. The extra volume has meant that the
department has more work to do, but has had to take an extra staff as well as
undertaking as lot of
overtime, because its productivity has only increased by 10 per cent. The parts
department, which
has experienced no significant increase in productivity mainly due to the layout of the

and poor supervision, is worried that its wages will fall behind. To complicate matters,
department employs mostly women, while the other two departments employ mostly
1. Which wage theory is highlighted in the case?
2. What factors should the owner take into consideration when deciding what new
schemes to put into place?
3. What are the pros and cons associated with the owners option?
4. Considering all variables, what advice you would give to the family friend?
5. How should the owner handle the change?
6. Can a uniform compensation policy suffice in the present scenario? Justify your
quoting relevant concepts.

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