Management Study Set 36

Business

Quiz 3 :

The Environment and Corporate Culture

Quiz 3 :

The Environment and Corporate Culture

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Competitive intelligence Predicament 80 Miquel Vasquez was proud of his job as a new product manager for a biotechnology start-up, and he loved the high stakes and tough decisions that went along with the job. But as he sat in his den after a long day, he was troubled, struggling over what had happened earlier that day and the information that he now possessed. Just before lunch, Miquel's boss had handed him a stack of private strategic documents from their closest competitor. It was a competitive intelligence gold mine- product plans, pricing strategies, partnership agreements, and other documents, most of them clearly marked "proprietary and confidential." When Miquel asked where the documents came from, his boss told him with a touch of pride that he had taken them right off the competing firm's server. "I got into a private section of their intranet and downloaded everything that looked interesting," he said. Later, realizing Miquel was suspicious, the boss would say only that he had obtained "electronic access" via a colleague and had not personally broken any passwords. Maybe not, Miquel thought to himself, but this situation wouldn't pass the 60 Minutes test. If word of this acquisition of a competitor's confidential data ever got out to the press, the company's reputation would be ruined. Miquel didn't feel good about using these materials. He spent the afternoon searching for answers to his dilemma, but found no clear company policies or regulations that offered any guidance. His sense of fair play told him that using the information was unethical, if not downright illegal. What bothered him even more was the knowledge that this kind of thing might happen again. Using this confidential information would certainly give him and his company a competitive advantage, but Miquel wasn't sure that he wanted to work for a firm that would stoop to such tactics. What Would You Do? 1. Go ahead and use the documents to the company's benefit, but make clear to your boss that you don't want him passing confidential information to you in the future. If he threatens to fire you, threaten to leak the news to the press. 2. Confront your boss privately and let him know you're uncomfortable with how the documents were obtained and what possession of them says about the company's culture. In addition to the question of the legality of using the information, point out that it is a public relations nightmare waiting to happen. 3. Talk to the company's legal counsel and contact the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals for guidance. Then, with their opinions and facts to back you up, go to your boss.
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Obtaining a competitive firm's confidential information without permission and using that information to gain advantage is unethical. The boss might not have realized how much damage it could cause to the reputation of the company, if leaked. Going to the Company's legal counsel or the SCIP will only raise doubt for the company. Therefore, the best option is to talk to the boss in private. Make him understand how the unethical use of these documents can pose legal and public relation problems for the company. But if the boss tries to ignore these facts and still push to use these documents, proper authorities should be notified.

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Rio Grande Supply Company Jasper Hennings, president of Rio Grande Supply Company, knew full well than a company's top executives were largely responsible for determining a firm's corporate culture. That's why he Look such personal pride in the culture of his Texas- based wholesale plumbing supply company. It didn't just pay lip service to the values it espoused: integrity, honesty, and a respect for each individual employee. His management team set a good example by living those principles- At least that's what he'd believed until the other day. The importance Jasper attached to respecting each individual was apparent in the company's Internet use policy It was abundantly clear that employees weren't to use Rio Grande's computers for anything but business-related activities. However Jasper himself had vetoed the inclusion of what was becoming a standard provision in such policies that management had the right to access and review anything employees created stored, sent, or received on company equipment. He cut short any talk of installing software filters that would prevent abuse of the corporate computer system. Still, the company reserved the right to take disciplinary action, including possible termination, and to press criminal charges if an employee was found to have violated the policy. So how was he to square his cherished assumptions about his management team with what he'd just discovered? Henry Darger, his hard-working chief of operations and a member of his church, had summarily fired a female employee for having accessed another worker's e-mail surreptitiously. She hadn't taken her dismissal well. "Just ask Darger what he's up to when he shuts his office door," she snarled as she stormed out of Jaspers office. She made what Jasper hoped was an idle threat to hire a lawyer. When Jasper asked Henry what the fired employee could possibly have meant, tears began to roll down the operations chief s face. He admitted that ever since a young nephew had committed suicide the year before and a business he'd helped his wife start had failed, he'd increasingly been seeking escape from his troubles by logging onto adult pornography sites. At first, he'd indulged at home, but of late he'd found himself spending hours at work visiting pornographic sites, the more explicit the better. Jasper was stunned. After a few speechless minutes, he told Henry to take the rest of the day off, go home, and think things over. The president himself needed the afternoon to gather his wits. How should he handle this turn of events? On the one hand, Henry's immediate dismissal of the woman who'd tapped into another employee's e-mail when the operations chief was violating the Internet policy himself was hypocritical, to say the least. The person charged with enforcing that policy needed to be held to the highest standards. On the other hand, Jasper knew that Rio Grande employees routinely used computers at their desks to check personal e-mail, do banking transactions, check the weather, or make vacation arrangements. The company had turned a blind eye because it didn't seem worth the effort of enforcing the hard-and-fast policy for such minor infractions. Besides, Henry was a valued, if clearly troubled, employee. Replacing him would be costly and difficult. If Jasper decided to keep him on, the president clearly had no choice but to cross the line and get involved in Henry's private life, and he would be treating Darger differently from the treatment the female employee received. When he met with Henry again first thing in the morning, he needed to have a plan of action. Assume you are Jasper. What are the first two action steps you would take to handle the Henry Darger situation? How would your role as a cultural leader influence your decision? What message will your solution send to the other managers and rank-and-file employees?
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The steps to be taken to handle the situation:
• Clearly make the operation head understand that his action is entirely wrong and not acceptable. Site the cultural conflict he is in and what trouble he had created.
• The next step is to scrutinize the similar departments and inform every employee about the cultural change the company is about to brought. Clearly inform that nobody should use the internet for personal purposes.
As a leader, the decision that is made would have to reflect the values of the company but also manage the business in a positive manner.
The message that should be sent across must be one of understanding and tolerance as well as one that shows how important the company's culture is. The message should also enforce the role of the upper management for setting up ideal behavior to expect the same from the lower level employees.

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Rio Grande Supply Company Jasper Hennings, president of Rio Grande Supply Company, knew full well than a company's top executives were largely responsible for determining a firm's corporate culture. That's why he Look such personal pride in the culture of his Texas- based wholesale plumbing supply company. It didn't just pay lip service to the values it espoused: integrity, honesty, and a respect for each individual employee. His management team set a good example by living those principles- At least that's what he'd believed until the other day. The importance Jasper attached to respecting each individual was apparent in the company's Internet use policy It was abundantly clear that employees weren't to use Rio Grande's computers for anything but business-related activities. However Jasper himself had vetoed the inclusion of what was becoming a standard provision in such policies that management had the right to access and review anything employees created stored, sent, or received on company equipment. He cut short any talk of installing software filters that would prevent abuse of the corporate computer system. Still, the company reserved the right to take disciplinary action, including possible termination, and to press criminal charges if an employee was found to have violated the policy. So how was he to square his cherished assumptions about his management team with what he'd just discovered? Henry Darger, his hard-working chief of operations and a member of his church, had summarily fired a female employee for having accessed another worker's e-mail surreptitiously. She hadn't taken her dismissal well. "Just ask Darger what he's up to when he shuts his office door," she snarled as she stormed out of Jaspers office. She made what Jasper hoped was an idle threat to hire a lawyer. When Jasper asked Henry what the fired employee could possibly have meant, tears began to roll down the operations chief s face. He admitted that ever since a young nephew had committed suicide the year before and a business he'd helped his wife start had failed, he'd increasingly been seeking escape from his troubles by logging onto adult pornography sites. At first, he'd indulged at home, but of late he'd found himself spending hours at work visiting pornographic sites, the more explicit the better. Jasper was stunned. After a few speechless minutes, he told Henry to take the rest of the day off, go home, and think things over. The president himself needed the afternoon to gather his wits. How should he handle this turn of events? On the one hand, Henry's immediate dismissal of the woman who'd tapped into another employee's e-mail when the operations chief was violating the Internet policy himself was hypocritical, to say the least. The person charged with enforcing that policy needed to be held to the highest standards. On the other hand, Jasper knew that Rio Grande employees routinely used computers at their desks to check personal e-mail, do banking transactions, check the weather, or make vacation arrangements. The company had turned a blind eye because it didn't seem worth the effort of enforcing the hard-and-fast policy for such minor infractions. Besides, Henry was a valued, if clearly troubled, employee. Replacing him would be costly and difficult. If Jasper decided to keep him on, the president clearly had no choice but to cross the line and get involved in Henry's private life, and he would be treating Darger differently from the treatment the female employee received. When he met with Henry again first thing in the morning, he needed to have a plan of action. Analyze Rio Grande's culture. In addition to the expressed cultural values and beliefs, what other subconscious values and beliefs do you detect? Are conflicting values present? When values are in conflict, how would you decide which ones take precedence?
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In analyzing Rio Grande's culture it can be seen there is a culture of "Do as I say, not as I do". With the situation at hand it is apparent that it has been going on for some time and it is even possible that the problem is larger than what is currently being evaluated.
This "Do as I say, not as I do" culture is definitely a conflict in itself. To put policies in writing without enforcement and engagement from the top to bottom can create serious morale problem as well as legal issues.
When values conflict with each other, it is important to identify which ones take precedence. The values that affect the most employees or poses serious problems should take precedence.

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Why do you think many managers are surprised by environmental changes and hence are less able to help their organizations adapt?
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How can you prepare yourself to become an effective manager in an increasingly uncertain global business environment?
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Would the task environment for a cellular phone provider contain the same elements as that for a government welfare agency? Discuss.
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General Electric is famous for firing the lowest-performing 10 percent of managers each year. With its strict no-layoff policy, Valero Energy believes people need to feel secure in their jobs to perform their best. Yet both are high-performing companies. How do you account for the success of such opposite philosophies?
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Students, to access the On the Job and BizFlix video cases for this and all chapters, visit the CourseMate web site or, if you do not have access to CourseMate, ask your instructor for a copy of the cases. Instructors, to access the On the Job and BizFlix video cases for this and all chapters, visit www.cengagebrain.com. At the CengageBrain.com home page, search for the ISBN of your title (from the back cover of your book) using the search box at the top of the page. This will take you to the product page where free companion resources can be found. Please feel free to share the cases with your students for use in classroom discussion.
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Many companies are "going green" or adopting environmentally friendly business strategies. Clorox, for example, now offers an eco-friendly household cleaner called Green Works. How do companies benefit from going green?
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Contemporary best-selling management books often argue that customers are the most important element in the external environment. Do you agree? In what company situations might this statement be untrue?
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Rio Grande Supply Company Jasper Hennings, president of Rio Grande Supply Company, knew full well than a company's top executives were largely responsible for determining a firm's corporate culture. That's why he Look such personal pride in the culture of his Texas- based wholesale plumbing supply company. It didn't just pay lip service to the values it espoused: integrity, honesty, and a respect for each individual employee. His management team set a good example by living those principles- At least that's what he'd believed until the other day. The importance Jasper attached to respecting each individual was apparent in the company's Internet use policy It was abundantly clear that employees weren't to use Rio Grande's computers for anything but business-related activities. However Jasper himself had vetoed the inclusion of what was becoming a standard provision in such policies that management had the right to access and review anything employees created stored, sent, or received on company equipment. He cut short any talk of installing software filters that would prevent abuse of the corporate computer system. Still, the company reserved the right to take disciplinary action, including possible termination, and to press criminal charges if an employee was found to have violated the policy. So how was he to square his cherished assumptions about his management team with what he'd just discovered? Henry Darger, his hard-working chief of operations and a member of his church, had summarily fired a female employee for having accessed another worker's e-mail surreptitiously. She hadn't taken her dismissal well. "Just ask Darger what he's up to when he shuts his office door," she snarled as she stormed out of Jaspers office. She made what Jasper hoped was an idle threat to hire a lawyer. When Jasper asked Henry what the fired employee could possibly have meant, tears began to roll down the operations chief s face. He admitted that ever since a young nephew had committed suicide the year before and a business he'd helped his wife start had failed, he'd increasingly been seeking escape from his troubles by logging onto adult pornography sites. At first, he'd indulged at home, but of late he'd found himself spending hours at work visiting pornographic sites, the more explicit the better. Jasper was stunned. After a few speechless minutes, he told Henry to take the rest of the day off, go home, and think things over. The president himself needed the afternoon to gather his wits. How should he handle this turn of events? On the one hand, Henry's immediate dismissal of the woman who'd tapped into another employee's e-mail when the operations chief was violating the Internet policy himself was hypocritical, to say the least. The person charged with enforcing that policy needed to be held to the highest standards. On the other hand, Jasper knew that Rio Grande employees routinely used computers at their desks to check personal e-mail, do banking transactions, check the weather, or make vacation arrangements. The company had turned a blind eye because it didn't seem worth the effort of enforcing the hard-and-fast policy for such minor infractions. Besides, Henry was a valued, if clearly troubled, employee. Replacing him would be costly and difficult. If Jasper decided to keep him on, the president clearly had no choice but to cross the line and get involved in Henry's private life, and he would be treating Darger differently from the treatment the female employee received. When he met with Henry again first thing in the morning, he needed to have a plan of action. What environmental factors have helped to create the situation Jasper Hennings faces? What factors does Jasper need to consider when deciding on his course of action?
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Both China and India are rising economic powers. How might your approach to doing business with China, a communist country, be different from your approach to doing business with India, the world's most populous democracy? In which country would you expect to encounter the most rules? The most bureaucracy?
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What do you think are the most important forces in the external environment creating uncertainty for organizations today? Do the forces you identified typically arise in the task environment or the general environment?
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Why are interorganizational partnerships so important for today's companies? What elements in the current environment might contribute to either an increase or a decrease in interorganizational collaboration? Discuss.
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Cultural symbols are usually noticed through sight, sound, couch, and smell. For example, Abercrombie retail stores use music, attractive models, and fragrance to communicate elements of its retail store culture. Why are symbols important to a corporate culture?
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