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L.E.S. Inc. Case Study

Emily Belchyk

L.E.S. Inc. Problem

There are many problems seen within the L.E.S. Inc. case.  With high scrap rate, over worked departments, and quality problems, managers need to work together to come up with a solution to decrease each of these problems; however managers will need to overcome some major intergroup conflicts.  The meeting coordinated by Martin Collins gave managers the opportunity to come up with new ways to correct the problems threatening the organization.  The most prominent problem visible in this case lies with its managers.  Groups only function as well as their leaders and these leaders are dysfunctional as a group.  The dysfunctional conflict of the group needs to be resolved in order to help create a cohesive work environment.  According to the text there are a number of changes that can occur between groups as a result of dysfunctional intergroup conflict (Ivancevich p. 309).  Before deciding on a solution to the conflict, the changes that are the reasoning behind all the animosity must be determined.

Production manager, John Drummond, has the least education of all the managers, however he does have four years supervisory experience and eleven years managerial experience at L.E.S. Inc.  There are two hundred and thirty six employees at L.E.S. Inc. and John is the manager of one hundred and seventy six employees.  During the meet other managers suggest that operators should be cross trained creating flexibility and the maintenance department should become more formalized.  John purely focuses on his departments tasks, as he says, “We are here to get the product out” (L.E.S. p. 6).  The pressure to increase productivity makes John unwilling to make changes; so when Chris suggests the formalization of maintenance John’s perception gets distorted and results in him becoming disgruntled and argumentative (Ivancevich p. 310).  John agrees that cross training and training in general can fix the problems but only if more operators are hired.  The magnitude of his responsibility and his unwillingness to restructure his department resulted in more stress and led to his unprofessional behavior.  The rise of John’s leadership during the meeting really hinders finding a solution to the problem.

Engineering manager, Chris Brooks, has a degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in business administration.  With Chris’s MBA not only does she have the knowledge to manage people effectively, but she also has the understanding on how to make changes within an organization when demand becomes too high. Demand has increased at L.E.S. Inc. and some of the classes she has taken has prepared her these types of situations.  Prior to the meeting held, many mangers began discussing ways to solve the production problems without including John.  With support from other managers she felt confident going into the meeting.  During the meeting Chris was so focused on how to fix John’s problems that she never focused on what her department could do to help solve the problems.  The idea about training was accepted and will be looked into by Martin, the manufacturing manager.  However, when her idea of formalizing maintenance arose, John shot her down immediately resulting in a downward spiral of her supporters.  With no backing from other managers, Chris’s frustration amplified.  

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