Review the following case, and write a 1500-2000 word analysis of this situation, using the questions to help you focus your discussion. Write the case study as a narrative; don’t just answer the questions.
Assignments should be submitted as Word documents to the Assignment Tool.
You work in the HR Department in a large, global enterprise. The HR organization is centralized, with the compensation/benefits, HRD, labor relations, and HRIS functions all located in the corporate HQ. There is also a corporate staffing department at the corporate HQ, and there are small, regional HR offices located at each 5 regional locations that handle staffing and limited benefits services. The locations of the 5 regional offices are: US – Midwest, US – South, US – Northeast, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.
You have set up and will lead a team to implement a new HRIS system that centralizes the personnel records for the first time, and makes all HR information accessible to all HR reps via the internet. Previously all records were kept in the corporate office and regional reps kept their own, limited files. This new system is scheduled to be “live” in 6 months.
At the two-day kickoff meeting to launch this project team, the purpose of the team was clarified, and specific goals and interim target dates were quickly established.
Here’s some information on the team members:
US – Midwest: Harry Starker: Director of HR for one of the Midwest plants, 20 year veteran with the company, has seen it all, understands the history, was with the company prior to the acquisition of the European operations, is tolerated by peers and perhaps respected, but probably not liked.
US – South: Tanisha Downey: Been with the company for 5 years, previously was VP of HR for a larger organization, currently Director of HR for the Southern operations, probably being groomed for a higher position. Not well known throughout the organization, but presents a generally favorable impression.
US – Northeast: Rachel Cohen: Been with the company for 15 years, known as the gal to see if you want to get something done. Worked her way up through the ranks, perhaps has a bachelors degree but nothing higher. Understands the organization and various players well, has worked in all 3 US facilities. She is the HR Manager for one of the Northeast plants.
Eastern Europe: Sammy Bossanova: Previously in the plant’s operations, he took over as Director of HR about 2 years ago. Very personable. Although he speaks with an accent, his American mannerisms make you forget he’s not an American.
Western Europe: Jacqueline Chirac: A rather arrogant French lady, she does know what she’s talking about. She understands the business, the markets, and the internal players very well. She also is very knowledgeable about various European employment laws. She is an attorney by training, and has been practicing HR for over 20 years. She has been with this company for 7 years. She is the VP of HR for Western European operations.
You: VP of HR for the enterprise. You’ve been with the company for 7 years, serving previously as Director of HR for Midwest operations, and as Manager of HR for one of the Northeastern plants. You are very well-connected throughout the organization, and in fact the reason that you have your current position is because throughout your career you’ve made a point of getting to know a wide variety of individuals throughout the organization. As some of these individuals have risen through the ranks, your relationship with them has helped your career.
- What types of power does each of these individuals, including you, possess on this team?
- How might the various members’ titles/positions impact the team dynamics?
- How would you characterize this group’s development level, according to the Situational Leadership model?
- Which leadership style, according to the Situational Leadership model, do you think would be most appropriate for this team?
As the team got down to the job of making assignments to various team members, two of the members did not want to accept the tasks they were assigned. Each of them stated their workloads (short on people, lots of hiring going on right now, etc.) wouldn’t permit them to do the assignments by the stated target dates. In addition, they said, their situations – they were both from Europe – were different than their American counterparts and therefore whatever they did would not apply to the American operations.
- What are the sources/natures of these conflicts?
- As the team leader, what approach (of the 5 approaches discussed in the week 4 lecture) should you take to resolve these conflicts?
Having successfully resolved this conflict, the team got down to business. They have spent about one month determining the capabilities of the new system. You have maintained a low profile with the team so far, but you’re getting increasingly concerned about the approaching deadline. It doesn’t appear to you that the interim goals the team established will be met. You have a pretty clear picture of how you think the new process should work.
- Considering the team’s Development level (Situational Leadership theory), what specific steps can you take to ensure the team will meet its deadline?
- Should you adjust your leadership style? If so, which style would be better, at this point?