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Massport A The Aftermath of 911 Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1052 2392 Words (7 Pages) Michael A. Roberto, Erika M. Ferlins Harvard Business School : 304081
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During the period of eleven years, The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) had witnessed four different shuffles in the top leadership position. Each Executive Director came in with a different mindset and in most cases was returning favors to the governor of the state. Since the company was performing well during that period; therefore, very little attention was given to the incapabilities of each of the Executive Directors. The fourth director who came in was highly capable, but her tenure was cut short due to the terrorist attacks of September 2001. During her tenure, she carried out several bold changes but couldn’t address the root of the problem i.e. the political affiliation and influence. As the new Chief Executive Officer – Craig Coy – was hired, he formed an informal transition team for the purpose of identifying major problems with the organization. It wasn’t before long that he identified that the political influence on the agency and the culture of returning favors, particularly to the governor was hurting the organization to a great extent. Despite being an independent agency, it was being run as a state department. To counter all the challenges, Craig formulated a new vision where his focus was to ensure the profitability of the firm but at the same time providing high-level security to all customers. He carried out a series of changes based upon his personal philosophy of management and ensured that all employees in the agency were supporting him. Apart from this, he also ensured that the departmental vision is aligned with the organization's vision as the success of the agency would be determined by the individual performances of each department.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Strategic Transformation

  2. Strategic Change in Leadership

  3. Core Competencies of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 

  4. Organizing Agency’s Activities in the Future 

Case Analysis for Massport A The Aftermath of 911

Strategic Change in Leadership

i. Change in Approach

As mentioned earlier that during a period of eleven years, The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) witnessed its top leadership position being acquired by four different executive directors, all of whom had a unique management style. As the top management decided to set a new position as the Chief Executive Officer, it hired a new person who was an industry veteran with extended experience across several fields. A few years into his job, he was able to direct Massport towards success, but he is not the only person entitled to the entire credit of a successful turnaround. The board of directors were the first one to realize based on the recommendations of Carter Commission that political affiliation of Executive Directors has hurt the agency to a great extent, based on which the board of directors decided to appoint a neutral person at the position of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who would be responsible for all affairs of the company. An extended search was carried out to find a neutral person with desired capabilities and experience for turning around the sinking ship of Massport. This strategy of the board of directors not only earned them nation-wide praise, but also vindicated them of several blunders that had taken place from them or other representatives of the industry. So, when Craig Coy stepped in his office for the first time, he had absolutely no pressures from any state office of returning favors, or rely on indirect or direct approvals from his seniors, etc. He possessed all responsibilities from top to bottom and had a clear mind with a straightforward vision.

ii. New Management Style

Craig Coy was a team man and from day one, he decided to involve everyone within the process of decision making. Apart from all the strategic changes, one interesting step that he took, which ultimately affected the entire organization was his new approach towards management. After forming separate business units, he gave all directors open authority to exercise their power and policies, in order to ensure that the agency is again shifted on the track of profitability and sustainability. He sat down with the head of each business unit and formulated some concrete goals. Up till now, all directors of individual business units were responsible for only the operation aspect of the business with absolutely no accountability or responsibility for the revenue side. As Craig came in, he immediately realized that all directors have the desired knowledge for managing both aspects of the department, which is why he gave them the authority to implement their plans and ideas. Now directors were responsible for every single aspect within their department ranging from budget, purchasing, contract negotiation, customer service, revenue generation, etc.

As he gave the authority to each director, he also made sure that they realize their responsibility within the agency. Based on this responsibility, rules were set for term-end accountability so as to evaluate the degree to which organizational goals were achieved. Several scholars and industry experts have identified this particular style of leadership as consultative where a leader takes all major decisions after carrying out a consultation process with key personnel of the firm.

iii. Ensuring Constant Support during Change Management

As Craig joined the agency, he immediately started the process of change, which was apparent from several steps such as reshaping organization, redefining jobs, removing unnecessary hierarchies, etc.  But one thing that he managed in a perfect manner was providing constant support to each business unit. He hired some top management personnel such as Dennis Treece and George Hertz for directly supporting the profit centers or business units. The new addition provided a direct support to business units in managing the change by formulating new strategies, aligning business processes, developing algorithms, etc.

iv. Seizing the Opportunity

Craig, within the case study, defines himself as a risk averse person; however, he also suggests that he is not the type of person who would let go an opportunity of progress. Despite his extended efforts during the first few quarters, he was not able to find a project or the task where all employees are united and are motivated to ensure its completion. However, when the opportunity presented itself, Craig Coy did not hesitate and seized the opportunity. Once the turnaround of Massport was done, and it became known as a success, many people credited the implementation of the new baggage screening system within the airport as one of the key drivers of success. The primary reason behind it was that it served as a perfect platform for uniting all employees and giving them a common goal for striving and investing all their efforts. Not only this, but the project created a sense of pride and optimism among all employees as they were well-aware of the degree of importance of the new task towards ensuring high security of all customers.    

Core Competencies of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) was primarily a public agency responsible for managing all transportation facilities, which include sea, air, and ground transports, in and around the area of Boston. Several facilities were included within the domain of Massport such as Logan Airport, Hasncom aviation facility, Tobin Memorial Bridge, and the Port of Boston. So, the first element of the core competency of Massport was providing all transportation facilities across all three channels. The major edge that Massport had was it was created as a result of the legislature passed by Congress so, the agency had no direct competitor. In addition to this, since it was the only such agency that possessed the authority of managing and enhancing all transportation facilities; therefore, even in the future, no competitor could rise and imitate the offerings of the agency. Now how this core competency was achieved? Since it's early days, Massport was involved in developing infrastructure in order to provide multiple opportunities to people associated with the region for any purpose whatsoever, such as business, tourism, living, etc. The agency used to develop new facilities with time as per the increasing demand of its customers. Though before the hiring of Craig as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm, there was no clear distinction within the firm regarding how the end products were delivered, but Craig Coy brought in new management approach where he formulated three business units; one each for land, air, and sea transportation facilities. Each business unit was now responsible for managing its own facilities with the support of other departments. Each of these business units used to expand its facilities with time by acquiring funding from different sources mainly by the issuance of the bond, or retained earnings of the previous years. 

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