Sweet Music



Few companies have had the staying power of Martin Guitar.SWEET MUSIC For well over a century and a half. Pennsylvania. Even through dramatic changes in product design. quality has played an important role in everything that C. Part of that quality approach encompasses a long-standing ecological policy. distribution systems. F. Martin follows the directives of CITES. . From the very beginning. F. Current CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV—better known as Chris—continues to be committed to the guitar maker's craft. Martin Guitar Company (established in 1833) of Nazareth. Martin Guitar Company does. the C. In addition. Like a Steinway grand piano. The company's steadfast adherence to high standards of musical excellence and providing a product to meet the needs of a demanding customer base permeates everything that happens in the organization. He even travels to Martin dealerships around the world to hold instructional clinics. or a Baccarat crystal vase. it has embraced the judicious and responsible use of traditional natural materials and encouraged the introduction of sustainable-yield alternative wood species. the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.000—is among the best that money can buy. a Buffet clarinet. Since the company depends on natural wood products to manufacture its guitars. has been producing acoustic instruments considered to be among the finest in the world. Based on thorough customer research. the company has remained committed to making quality products. Why? What are the keys to the company's success? A primary one has to be the managerial guidance and skills of a talented leader who has kept organizational members focused on important issues such as quality. This family business has managed to defy the odds and survive through six generations. top to bottom and in all work areas. Martin introduced guitars that utilized structurally sound woods with natural cosmetic defects that were once considered unacceptable. and manufacturing methods. a Rolls Royce automobile. a Martin guitar—which can cost more than $10.

. Building a guitar to meet these standards requires considerable attention and patience. he made the bold decision to start selling guitars in the under-$800 market segment. A good guitar cannot be built for the price of a poor one. Although C. this statement is still an accurate expression of the company's philosophy. Employees describe his management style as friendly and personal. customers claim it has a better sound than most other instruments in that price range. F. Martin Guitar Company continues to spread its wings in new directions. in the late 1990s.C. employees remain true to the principle of high standards of musical excellence. And under Chris's management. Revenues have continued to increase and in 2000 were close to $60 million. Care in selecting the materials. This segment accounts for 65 percent of the acoustic guitar industry's sales. it hasn't lost sight of the commitment to making the absolute finest products it can. there won't be a Martin left to worship. Although it doesn't look. Martin Guitar Company is an interesting blend of old and new." The company is doing well under Chris's management. laying out the proportions. The company's DXM model was introduced in 1998. Although the equipment and tools may have changed over the years. Although the company is firmly rooted in its past. The manufacturing facility in Nazareth was expanded and new guitar models continue to be introduced. For instance. Family member Frank Henry Martin explained to potential customers in the preface to a 1904 catalog. or feel like the company's pricier models. Chris justified his decision by saying that "If Martin just worships its past without trying anything new. but who regrets the extra cost for a good guitar?" Almost one hundred years later. yet firm and direct. smell. It takes care and patience. F. it won't. Patience in giving the necessary time to finish every part. and attending to the details which add to the player's comfort. Chris is not reluctant to take the company in new directions. "How to build a guitar to give this tone is not a secret.

must come for the top of the organization. or technical—do you think would be most important to Chris Martin? Explain your choice. However. so they will all support the plan and bring about organizational success. and therefore. the directional planning and visualizing is needed . For instance Chris Martin… However. Since Chris Martin acts as a top manager. the procurement of supplies is quite different. An organization’s commitment to social responsibility has an immediate impact on the planning managerial function. Because to move C. with no artificial components. If the company takes a particularly strong position of using all natural products. 2) Check out the CITES Web site.QUESTIONS 1) Which management skill—conceptual. this leadership must come from Chris Martin. hiring a person to “see” and develop organizational plans and mission would be difficult. human. in order to communicate this vision and directional plan to the organization’s lower managers and labor. Chris Martin must also have a certain amount of human skills. Because Martin guitars are made from wood the current international trade restrictions and limitations of importing and exporting natural products are quite relevant to daily business dealings at Martin Guitars. Martin Guitar Company forward in the industry. natural environment and flora. F. A company such as Martin Guitars would use a large quantity of natural . What information could a manager find there? How might an organization's commitment to social responsibility affect the way managers perform the managerial functions? Manager can find a lot of information concerning the current laws and regulations and international trade restrictions concerning wildlife. Technical skills are the least needed one for Chris Martin. He should be able to hire employees who have the necessary technical skills to make the outstanding Martin guitars. conceptual skill are the most important for him.

a leader and a monitor. However. Chris is being a monitor when he visits the dealerships. (b) assesses the feasibility of new guitar models. However as an entrepreneur he is on the “cutting edge” of technology. When he visits the dealerships and provides them with a solid. Chris could be a disturbance handler when assessing the feasibility of a new guitar model if he is choosing between multiple designs or if he is making a final decision on whether or not to “go with” a new model. It means. When he simply represents the company around the world. (a) When Chris visits Martin dealerships around the world he is acting as a figurehead. when Chris assesses the feasibility of new guitar models. And. many customers could be influenced positively to buy a natural product. However. The longstand principles of Martin Guitars have been a key factor in guiding the organization . a leader and a resource allocator. Chris could be taking information from corporate headquarters out to the individual dealerships and providing those dealerships with up-to-date company information. 3) What management roles would Chris be playing as he (a) visits Martin dealerships around the world. which could cause some tree preservation groups to watch the organization’s practices quite closely.wood. because he is gathering information from the dealerships that can be taken back to headquarters and utilized for product and service improvements. particularly from a company that practices a “nature-friendly” style of production. he is being a leader and visible person to follow. He is also acting as a disseminator. and (c) keeps employees focused on the company's long-standing principles? Explain your choices. moving the company to a new level. (b) He is acting as an entrepreneur and a disturbance handler. (c) When Chris is keeping employees focused on the company’s longstand principles he is being a negotiator. he is being a figurehead. this socially responsible behavior has a lot of good effects on the planning managerial function.

As he focuses employees on these goals Chris would be a leader. his message is to be innovative and creative in service. Bill Gates would probably be described in this same manner. product. 4) Chris made the statement that "If Martin just worships its past without trying anything new. 5) Chris's management style was described by employees as friendly and personal. For example. this style of management is quite effective in other organizations. all employees had broad .historically. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution." What are the implications for managers throughout the company as they plan. there won't be a Martin left to worship. organizes. and control? Chris is making a very clear statement that Martin Guitars must be progressive and move forward with the future. leads. Therefore. but can really get quite serious and aggressive when the occasion demands. lead. Although he is admired by many. He is the manager of lots of employees. and process. organizes. an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts. a number of industry insiders criticize his business tactics. and controlling. Martin Guitars would decline and even cease to exist. if Martin Guitars managers assume that customer demands and competitors would remain status q. Yes. but also process-oriented. This definite directive for innovation and change should tell managers to be innovative and creative in all managerial functions including planning. and probably in the future. leads. and controls in a friendly manner. organize. It means. currently. Chris plans. What do you think this means as far as the way he plans. During Microsoft's early years. This type of management style would probably be described as very people-oriented. and controls? Do you think this style would work in other organizations or does this style work only because it's a family business and Chris is the sixth generation of the family to run the business? Explain. which they consider anti-competitive. organizing. Chris might also be using these principles as a negotiator and resource allocator to end disputes. leading. yet firm and direct.

which would also tend to require him to be more personal and friendly. but during a difficult time. In the first five years. also.responsibility for the company's business. he personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped. Perhaps Chris must be a bit more friendly and personal because this is a family business. As long as business is going well. and often rewrote parts of it as he saw fit. Many employees may have worked for Chris’ older relatives. Gates oversaw the business details. Many employees could possibly be multigenerational employee families. both gentlemen would probably choose to be less friendly and more decisive and serious. . Bill and Chris are pretty friendly and personal. but continued to write code as well.

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