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Micromanagement at Modrow Plant

Micromanagement refers to close observation and control of a subordinate’s work by a manager (Mathieu & Marynard, 2008). This explanation is mainly derived from the Greek word “micro” which refers to small (Podsakoff & Organ, 2006). Thus micromanagement entails the practice of managers overemphasizing the small details of employees’ work as opposed to the focus on bigger details. This paper seeks to review a case study on micromanagement and identify the relevant facts, the critical issues, and problems, determine what models and theories apply and whether there are inconsistencies, generate an alternative solution and finally select the best solution and develop a plan of action.

Managers are often found in tricky situations; their roles in a company often require them to produce positive results for the company and most of them use every possible means to achieve this. In the case study reviewed, the relevant facts identified were that in all the instances there was a problem that needed to be solved. Dick’s first role as a troubleshooter required a hands-on type of management and this earned him a bad reputation in the departments he worked. His second role was to turn around the fortunes of a subsidiary and this also required him to work closely with others to achieve the set goals. Lastly, when he was appointed as the manager at the Modrow plant there were several pending improvement activities that he inherited. The president expected results from him and thus Dick was under pressure to deliver.

The managerial tasks that Dick was called upon to perform were critical to his success and that of the company. His work as a troubleshooter required him to turn around the fortunes of faltering departments. He managed to achieve good results and pleased his seniors but his efforts did not go well with the staff in the departments he worked. When Dick was moved to the English branch as an assistant manager he encountered problems in implementing directives from the headquarters because of less power than his superiors at the plant. When he was moved to the old British company that had been purchased by the Tri American firm and he carried out massive changes which included sacking and retraining of supervisors. This was a critical task that required a proper modern management style to change the fortunes of the plant. During his tenure at the plant, Dick established a strong control that was critical in cutting costs and bringing the firm back to profitability.

When Dick was transferred to the Canadian plant as a manager he was faced with many challenges. The critical issue here was to complete the restructuring program and return the plant to profitability. This made Dick explore different ways through which this could be achieved. The issue was to cut costs and return the company to profitability. This made Dick start emphasizing his interests. Thus he spent a lot of time with accountants to try and understand the accounts so that he could formulate a cost-cutting solution on his own. While at the Modrow, Dick developed a habit of wandering about in the premise crisscrossing different departments. His constant presence did not go down well with the supervisors, managers, and foremen who felt like they were being micro-managed. However, a typical case of micromanagement comes up when Dick orders the bending of the scrap metals instead of cutting them. Dick didn’t understand the requirements and safety practices of the process. He focused on cost-cutting and there was he did not listen to the explanations and excuses from the foreman of the scrap division.

Several methods and theories of management can be identified in the above case study. First, the scientific theory is seen to be applied. For instance, when a retraining program is undertaken to increase the skills of the workers. It can be seen in delegating technical tasks to qualified individuals at different Tri American plants. Inconsistency is seen when Dick tries to implement a new method while at Modrow when he clearly does not accurately understand the science and correct method for the job. Henri Fayol’s principals of management are also applied in the case study (Mathieu & Marynard, 2008). There is a division of work, authority, scale chain, and others that have not been clearly shown in the case study. There are several instances of inconsistencies which include; the lack of unity of command, lack of unity of direction. This is mainly revealed when Dick was serving as a manager at the Modrow plant. In this case study, the management roles by Henry Mintzberg are also applied (Mathieu & Marynard, 2008). Dick as a manager acts as a representative of the organization by attending meetings. He also sacks and selects individuals to be trained to improve the company’s performance. He also acts as a disseminator by transmitting both factual and varied information to subordinates (Podsakoff & Organ, 2006).

The challenges seen above can be overcome by developing alternative styles of management that will ensure proper management and working relationships among different workers. The different approaches that can be used include; A democratic style of management whereby the workers are allowed to take part in the decision-making process (Mathieu & Marynard, 2008). For instance, when complex decisions need to be made the employees in that particular department should be allowed to contribute their views. In the case study, Dick unilaterally decided to impose the concept of bending the scrap metals without success. A more consultative approach could have led to a better understanding of how the method can be applied. Another style in which the leader is less involved in the “Laissez-faire leadership style” (Mathieu & Marynard, 2008, pp. 430). In this style, the manager assumes a peripheral management role and leaves tasks to be performed by the employees. The advantage of “this style is that it brings out the best from the highly professional employees” (Podsakoff & Organ, 2006, pp. 535). However, it may lead to a lack of direction due to little communication from the management. “A paternalistic approach can also be employed whereby the manager may be a bit dictatorial but must make decisions in the best interest of the employees and the organization” (Podsakoff & Organ, 2006, pp.537). This style can lead to increased loyalty from the employees.

The best approach to management, in this case, can be done through the democratic style. To implement such a style. The top leaders or Tri American organizations need to carry out training activities for their current managers. This should ensure that they learn the importance of the democratic approach. All the employees of the firm should be involved in the process to include it in the culture of the organization (Podsakoff & Organ, 2006).

Reference list

Mathieu, J., & Marynard, M. (2008). Team Effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future. Journal of Managemet , 34:410-476.

Podsakoff, P., & Organ, D. (2006). Self-reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of management , 12:531-544.


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