Departmental Problems in a Case Study

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Individual case study assignment: Departmental problems


This case study is about departmental problems at Baxton Inc company experienced by the employees and Laura Wheeler, their departmental head. Laura Wheeler had recently been appointed as their acting department head after her former head resigned. Initially, after completing college, she was employed at the accounting department for two years and later transferred to the training and development department where she became the department head, she has high hopes of becoming the permanent department head. She heads experienced, skilled as well as specialized 10 professional members of staff. Upon becoming the acting head, Laura never found the need of changing their working strategy after she was appointed.Instead, she decided to be their coordinator alongside doing other administrative functions such as preparing budgets, scheduling courses, attending corporate committee meetings, which discussed training and development issues and generally completing all of the paperwork associated with running a small department.

Initially, she experienced no difficulties with her staff but with time as the number of staff grew, she started having problems. The First problem was with budget allocation, the staff complained that funds were not shared equally among the Training & Development Department units in her department. Functional area heads also complained they were given less money; hence they could not travel for training and development in other companies and areas. She also started to perform poorly in her administrative functions as she was always late on her deadline, did her work hurriedly and never followed the correct procedure in her staff performance assessment. The staff also complained that their concerns were not listened to; hence they were not addressed leading to loss of motivation and dissatisfaction. In order to solve this, employees tried to talk to her during lunches but she refused to listen to them. Ultimately, they asked her to step down and go back to her less demanding job which refused later five of her function heads chose to resign.

Symptoms of the problems

Operational symptoms

These symptoms demonstrate loss of productivity as well as mistakes in the firms operations. Some of these symptoms at Baxton included: insufficient resources, such as, basic office supplies, laptops, Iphones and so on. This is because of a stringent budget that was not sufficient for the organizational purchases. IT equipments are necessary for quick communication, lessening workflow as well as for convenience which leads to improved company productivity. Another operation symptom was Laura incompetency and lack of skills in running her department as well as performing her administrative tasks. This was demonstrated by her lack of meeting deadlines, not following proper protocols in staff assessment and inappropriate allocation of funds leading to loss of funds and reduced motivation of employees as they could not do their operation to their maximum, for instance, functional heads could not travel for training and development in other companies due to stringent budget.

Behavioral symptoms

There was lack of employee motivation because Laura refused to listen to their problems, hence they felt that the company did not appreciate the contribution. Lack of employee motivation leads to reduced employee performance and reduced productivity for the whole company (Cameron& Quinn, 2011). Another symptom was demonstrated by Laura’s anger, especially when her subordinates urged her to step down and she walked out of the meeting enraged and did not want to listen to them at all. This led her to become very directive leading to dissatisfaction of employee and loss of morale causing five of her functional heads to resign. It also appears there was a breakdown of communication between Laura and her subordinates, which is shown by lack of consensus portrayed by both Laura and her subordinates. Communication is a serious management problem which can leads poor employee performance and loss of coordination (Cameron& Quinn, 2011).

Main issue

At Baxton Inc, harmony and teamwork spirit are work is weak. When in crises, staff’s grievances are easily paid no attention to and the the inter-supervisory disagreement occupies much of the departmental heads’ time due to disagreement over budgets allocation between the staff and the head among other things. This impacts on the staff morale and easily causes less valuable work, while highly motivated as well as successful teams are today’s successful organizations’ benchmarks (Schein, 2010). Organizational culture has a strong influence on organizational success and morale, organizational dedication, productivity, health as well as emotional well-being (Schein, 2010).

In addition, there lacks well-organized and efficiency in process management as well as lack of effective coordination and communication across different units. Laura has a less risk taking spirit, while genuine leaders ought to have the nerve to take action on their beliefs regardless of what the situation (Naranjo-Valencia et al, 2011). Laura at times pushes the speed of work to an unworkable level and pays no attention to her staff’s concerns. Ultimately they end up abrogating accountability when things went in the wrong, which causes the trust loss from the staff as well as communication barriers within the organization.

Possible solutions

Establishing a strategic human resource strategy is one alternative solution to this problem. A visionary leader is vital, particularly in inspiring and developing a team. In the organization, management team and leaders play a powerful role in the innovation and productivity. Hence, individual as well as group organizational citizenship behaviors are considered to be strongly linked to leadership. Laura should first and foremost be trained on how to be a visionary leader having a passion about her duties, and improve her qualifications by observing and learning in the process of constant professional development. She should then consciously assume her responsibilities for risks in accordance with the organization, support open communication lines, communicate change agenda down to every level of employee, and successfully empower as well as delegate subordinates to assist her when she has a lot of work. Organizational culture is defined as the pattern of basic assumptions, values, norms and artifacts shared by organization members. In practice, organizational culture can be a powerful key that the effective leaders hold to improving performance and organizational development. More precisely, a strong, positive organization culture poses influential effects on organizational effectiveness, and can improve the organization’s ability to perform (Naranjo-Valencia et al, 2011).

A second alternative is to implement novel business strategies and to attain high performance. In respect to Baxton Inc, the ‘blame climate’ ought to be done away with and a powerful harmonious culture is badly needed. Laura and her subordinates should learn to communicate efficiently with one another, to share joy and sorrow within organization as well as to take individual accountability at work. For the time being, the fairness of opportunities for workers, equal budget allocation and involvement of employees in decision-making should be supported. Therefore effective teamwork is attained. So as to avoid that strong culture in the organization becomes obstacle to change, Laura needs to clearly demonstrate reasons as well as procedures of change and keep staff up to date organization-wide. As a result, the employees’ attitudes, behavior, perceptions, as well as expectations will be aligned with the goal of the organization(Cameron& Quinn, 2011).

Thirdly, Baxton needs to adapt to changing situations; therefore there exists a necessity among staff and managers to be continually developed and trained so as to be able to continue to carry out duties effectively. High-performance organizations team members require training in administrative skills, technical skills, interpersonal skills decision-making and problem-solving skills. Employees Training and development is one of the key aspects of the learning organization, and is as well the single most important human resource management department functions. Various functions must combine horizontally and vertically throughout the organization. For that reason, a good human resource system may assist the Baxton work coordinately (Cameron& Quinn, 2011).

Best solution

Handling conflicts in the workplace requires first is to determine if one can communicate honestly with the individual or people you are conflicting with. Many times conflict occurs due to a misunderstanding as well as making guesses as to why something is occurring without any effort from the other side. Honest communication between disagreeing employees at their head at Baxton may be all that is required to come to an agreement and stop the crisis at the outset before it has time to develop and fester. Baxton Inc can benefit by developing conflict resolution policies. These are a series of measures that an employer will advise that a member of staff take when handling problems they are facing at the workplace (Schein, 2010).

Action plan

After careful evaluation of the self-assessments of the employees at Baxton, the motivation action plan that follows details the approaches suggested for every employee in respect to their individual characteristics in an effort to maintain or augment their levels of motivation.

In regard to functional heads, I chose a motivational strategy and action plan favorable to the self-determination theory which suggests that people desire to feel they are in charge of over their actions, so something that makes an earlier enjoyed duty feel more like an compulsion than a freely selected activity will weaken motivation” (Cameron & Quinn, 2011). Functional heads and positive plans for motivational approach should focus on sustaining their interest while allowing them additional autonomy to make decisions. Encouraging both their growth and development in the organization may permit functional heads to advance into a management position if they desire.

The overall performance rating of Laura is low but changes to job duties or additional training and development may change some disappointment in specific areas. Even though Laura assessment results shows a high level of fulfillment with her job, she displays unhappiness with her relationship with subordinates and other employees as well as confidence in management. Laura is unable to cope well with the requirements of her job, and due to her positive emotions is extremely deliberate when making resolutions. Laura has the traits of a leader. She possesses the general attitude to attain job satisfaction. Laura needs to uphold open communication with her staff, give her staff room operating to offer their own idea and then utilize several of them openly in providing employees with a sense of responsibility. Laura needs to enhance her leadership through continuous learning and development such as taking managerial causes or observing other successful managers (Cameron& Quinn, 2011).


Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework. United States: John Wiley & Sons.

Naranjo-Valencia, J. C., Jimenez, D., & Sanz-Valle, R. (2011). Innovation or imitation? The role of organizational culture. Management Decision, 49(1), 55-72.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership (Vol. 2). John Wiley & Sons publishers.

Yang, F. Y., & Song, Z. (2012). A Summary of Characteristics and Trends for Each Stage of Managerial Communication Theories. Logistics Science-Tech, 2, 032.