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JUNE 2011


Working with case study material is an essential tool in postgraduate management learning as it
provides the vehicle for practising the application of skills, knowledge and techniques to quasi-real
situations. It also allows you to digest information and make decisions, and to follow these through
to meet your task objectives.

The case revolves around Cal-Tek, who are a major player in the call centre industry. They are
renowned as a fast-moving organisation and have recently appointed Sam Smith as the new
Marketing Development Manager.

One of Sam’s first tasks is a meeting with Jane King who will be Sam’s new boss. Jane has arranged
a meeting with Sam to sort out a large contract for a customer called JPK Associates. The JPK
contract is due for renewal and things have gone badly over the past two months. Sam has been
brought in to sort things out and secure the contract, which is important to Cal-Tek.

Sam feels that it is important to meet as many of the team responsible for the JPK contract as
possible before he meets Jane King. Having spent most of the day talking to people Sam grabs
some coffee to consider what he has learnt from his discussions with the staff.
These are:
• People tend not to stay long at Cal-Tek.
• Jane King seems only to be interested in giving robust speeches and then disappears. She also
has a high profile in this industry.
• Little time has been given over to training, and trying to persuade Jane that training is
important is going to be a real challenge.

Sam goes back to his office and sees an e-mail from Jane King:

From: Jane King
To: Sam Smith
Subject: JPK contract


I’ve left the JPK complaints file in your tray. Basically, we’ve handled the calls for JPK for the past
two years since they outsourced the contract to us. JPK carry out on-site maintenance on
computers, both business and home-based contracts. We take the calls for their maintenance staff
and then pass them on.

I’ll let you have the call figures, but JPK are concerned about the number of complaints they have
handled about our service. Have a look at the file and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Jane King

Before the meeting with Jane King, Sam has arranged a brief meeting with Sue Wright who runs the
JPK contract at Cal-Tek. Sam wants to know what the problems are with this contract. Sue outlines
the problems:
1. High rate of sick leave
2. Jane King puts pressure on call staff, which has not gone down well with the staff.
3. We have good staff who lack the necessary training, which has resulted in poor morale
amongst call staff.
4. Fixation with cost reduction.
5. Senior staff don’t want to know and won’t let us organise work in the right way.
6. Problems in pleasing both customers and management – we cannot do both at the moment.

Sam leaves Sue’s office and tries to reflect on what is wrong and writes a report for Jane to discuss
at their meeting, which he e-mails.

continued overleaf
The next day in Jane’s office

Jane has read Sam’s report.

Jane: “All I want to do is to solve the JPK problem and keep the contract.”
Sam: “There are many problems, not just one. The whole system is wrong – costs, morale, staff
turnover – they are all part of the equation.”
Jane: “This doesn’t seem a complicated problem, and I brought you in to Cal-Tek to solve problems
such as these quickly. I want answers not analyses. Your report does not provide a ‘quick fix’ to the
Sam: “If you look at my recommendations you will see that there is a need for new strategies for
Jane: “You know my view that if we don’t have the right people, we need to get rid of those that
cannot keep up and bring in people who can. We need to solve the problem fast.”

Over the weekend Sam works on how to save the contract and to put in place new systems. He
makes a list of things that need to be done:
1. Talk to JPK.
2. Set up a meeting with call centre teams.
3. Look to teams for some of the solutions.
4. Discuss the implementation of self-managed teams.
5. Draw up a plan for change.

Sam meets with the call centre teams and the result of this meeting is:
1. Better monitoring of calls.
2. Reducing waiting times.
3. Throw away the scripts for call centre staff.

Sam calls for another meeting with Jane who is impressed with what Sam has achieved. “It seems
we have the JPK contract given my reassurances that we will put these changes in place as soon as
possible.” Sam feels there will be a great deal to achieve, but what has been promised should
mean the contract is safe. Sam, however, warns Jane about being too complacent and the problem
of recruiting, retaining and training staff is of key importance. Plus, Sam feels they have still a long
way to go with the idea of self-managed teams.

1. What are the external and internal forces driving change at Cal-Tek?
2. Given the short time scale and necessary speed of change, what sorts of change strategy
should Sam think about adopting?
3. As your change programme is rolled out at Cal-Tek, what can go wrong, and how would you
deal with these problems?