Delegation; Employee Problems and Problem Employees; Methods Improvement

iN a rUt

Primary Topic—Change Management

Additional Topics—Delegation; Employee Problems and Problem Employees; Methods Improvement

“Sometimes I’m not sure you did me a favor by promoting me,” said Sue Allen, the human resource department’s newest employee and the newly appointed employ- ment manager. “Maybe it’s because I’m so new—to the rest of the folks in the office I’m still an outsider—that I don’t seem to have any effect on the people in my little group.”

“What do you mean?” asked human resource director Andy Miller. “Well, I was under the impression that you put me in charge of the employment

office so I could streamline things and bring a lot of our practices up to date.” “That’s right.” “It doesn’t seem to be working at all,” said Sue. “I have all sorts of ideas about

what we ought to be doing, and you seem to agree with everything I suggest. But I can’t get this bunch to go along with anything. I took a great deal of time—my own time, I might add—to work out a plan of short-range and long-range goals and objec- tives for them, but I can’t get them to do anything differently.”

“Remember,” said Miller, “most of them have been here lots longer than you and I. You’ve been here just a few months, and I came here barely a year ago.”

“They act like they’ve been here forever,” said Sue. “And I guess they have. They range from 7 to 15 years of service, with the average just over 10 years.” She shook her head sharply and said, “Talk about people being set in their ways!”

Miller asked, “What do they seem to think about the changes you’ve wanted to make?”

“I don’t know,” said Sue. “They just listen quietly and then go about their busi- ness in the same old way as though I weren’t here. It’s really a frustrating situation, and I guess what I really want you to tell me is: How can I possibly go about setting new goals for a bunch of disinterested and inflexible people who’ve been doing the same thing in the same old way for years?”

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1. Identify an apparent major error in Sue Allen’s approach to the situation in her group and suggest how she might have proceeded differently.

2. Outline the kind of approach you believe human resource director Andy Miller should be advising the employment manager to follow.

58 Case 15: In a Rut

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