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Organizational Design & Change | Assignment 2 Group 1 | Section C

Prashant C (17P156), Muskan Gupta (17P148), AS Anoosha (17P121), K Varun Reddy (17P139), Preetam Shetty (17P164), Arnab Sanyal (17P128)

Q 1. Describe the management style at Rondell Data Corporation (RDC)? How do you describe the
leadership style of Bill Hunt?.

Ans: The management style at Rondell Data Corporation can be described as non-cohesive and devoid
of streamlined process in its operations. Once the firm expanded from a small company to one with
multiple departments, difference of opinion arising from decision making in silos started prevailing over
collaboration and synergy. Infighting and numerous last minute granular changes from numerous
individual departments prevented on-time, seamless delivery of services to clients leading to poor
performance in terms of bottom lines, despite an increasing revenue which implies lack of optimisation
in manufacturing processes. The quest for one-upmanship between departments and employees
resulted in numerous man management issues which resulted in many a dissatisfied mind, where red-
tape prevented the flourishing of creativity and original research. The management style resulted in a
culture where there weren’t well defined roles for many an employee which added to a dissatisfied
workforce. Teamwork and synergy in client commitments were conspicuous by their absence. The above
aspects resulted in an organisation that had people focussing on administration and not on individual
talents. Owing to timely delivery of intra departmental services not being available, the subsequent lack
of cooperation ensured it supremely hard to exercise internal control. The top management itself had a
division or a groupism of departments where the president Bill Hunt himself was accused of providing
special attention to some specific departments. The president sported an authoritative management
style which involved leveraging executive meetings for doling out orders rather than for constructive
and collaborative functioning. Firing department directors devoid of sound reasoning or logic magnified
the conundrum in the company which was a lack of transparency, collaborative spirit and free thinking.
Hunt’s failure to look into the underlying processes and incidents that lead to non-performance
describes a myopic vision, which isn’t the best manifestation of a sound leader and organisational head.

Q 2. Is RDC an organic or mechanistic design? Why do you think so? Justify your answer with
evidences from the case?

Ans: Rondell Data Corporation is a classic example of mechanistic design. Employees are seen working
separately on their assigned tasks. The authority is highly centralized and there is lack of proper
interdepartmental communication. There are specialized functions as shown in the Rondell Data
Corporation 1998 organizational chart. There is no Flatness in either communication or interactions. The
following are some evidences for this conclusion.
a) Len Symmes statement about the formation of formal organizational chart and executive
committee” Doing things collectively and informally just doesn’t work well as it used to. Things have
been getting worse for at least two years now”

b) One of the Forbus’s subordinates view about Doc Reeves working style gives us an idea of how
powerful Doc Reeves was in RDC “If Doc gets a new idea, you can’t argue”.

c) Rick Shea of mechanical design expressed that she is experiencing a lot of pressure which is one of
the reason for her to jeopardize the design.

Q 3: Is the organization effective? Why do you think so?

Ans: The organization, Rondell Data Corporation has been suffering from the problem of
interdepartmental communication. The lack of information transfer between the various departments
has been a major hindrance. The founder of the company, Bob Rondell has inculcated the “family spirit”
among the members. Informal relationships between the veteran employees was also another key
feature. But all of them had deteriorated over the years. Few examples of the ineffectiveness of the
organization are as follows:

a) Len Symmes, the controller of the company had opened up the idea of forming an executive
committee. This would have been a great source for the departmental managers to form a constructive
planning process. But to his dismay, Bill Hunt the president of the company does not find any such need
for it and uses it as a platform to pass on routine information.
b) The head of the production, Dave Schwab thinks that he needs to “protect his people from outside
disturbances”. He feels that the departments must be self-contained and all the important information
should be communicated directly to the department heads by avoiding the underlings. This results in the
lack of information dissemination between the production and other departments. According to one of
Frank Forbus’s sub-ordinate Schwab does not allow people from other departments to meddle with his
affairs. The previous director of Engineering, Jim Kilman was also fired because he meddled in other’s
matters

c) Difficult for new joiners to work in the organization. Phil Klein, head of broadcast of sales under
Potter quoted that the outsiders do not have much of a respect from the other employees. That’s
because the organization generally believes that all the top management jobs should be filled from the
bottom. Fred Rodgers, who left after working a month said that it was difficult for a new comer as
gaining people’s confidence is quite difficult.

d) Throwing of stones among the departments and blowing their own trumpets. All the people from the
top management are reasonably proud of their respective departments and have been foul-mouthing
the other departments. This showed a clear lack of unity among the verticals.

e) People in the engineering department lacks in taking up responsibilities. They spend more of their
time in defending their own ideas rather than doing their actual job. The designers are afraid when
someone tries to help them as they feel that the other person would take over their job. This results in
lack of knowledge and hence under- performance..

Q 4. Is there a need for any intervention? What sort of intervention, do you envisage? Why so?

Ans: As we can see throughout the case, there has been constant interdepartmental skirmishes among
Sales, Production, Engineering and Services. In long run, these things don’t bode well for an
organization. To highlight the gravity of the issue we have quoted few excerpts from the case:

a) Dave Schwab’s comments on Sales Department “You got to recognize, though, that all of our new-
product problems stem from sales making absurd commitments on equipment that hasn’t been fully
developed”.

b) Ron Porter’s comments on other departments “We padded delivery date by six weeks, to allow for
contingencies. Within two months slack had evaporated”. “It is very difficult for us to talk to customers
about technical developments without technical help. The whole engineering is now isolated from
outside world. The morale of ESD is very low. They are in a bad spot- they are not well organized”

c) Frank Forbus’s comments in general “My role in the company has never been well defined really. It is
complicated by Doc’s unique position, of course, and also by the fact that ESD sort of grew by itself over
the years, as the design engineers concentrated more and more on the creative parts of product
development. I wish I could be more involved with the technical side. But, in our setup technical side is
the least necessary for me to be involved in”.
Based on above facts, it is necessary for the top management to intervene in order to bring a smooth
coordination among various departments. For instance, Sales department need to consult with
downstream departments before committing dates to clients. There should be moderation of
responsible departments as well so as to avoid repetitive mistakes in the future which is the primary
contention point between Production and Design department. An overemphasis or reliance on single
person (In this case Mr. Doc Reeves) should be diluted so that it doesn’t conflict with the organizations
interest. More importantly, Mr. Bill Hunt should be impartial in his approach while dealing with the
inter-departmental issues rather than favoring the department to which he belonged in past. A more
realistic and pragmatic approach should be followed by the Department heads and respective engineers
while dealing with any issues rather than playing the blame game. E.g. If the things can be managed at
Production end than these shouldn’t be passed back to Design team. It should be resolved then and
there.