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Peter Browning and Continental White Cap (A) Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1240 1135 Words (5 Pages) Todd D. Jick, Mary Gentile Harvard Business School : 486090
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Peter Browning was assigned a change assessment of the Whitecap Company. The company had a culture of long-term employment, high level of employee benefits, and employee loyalty. Employee loyalty was a highly valued asset within the company by its top management. However, there were certain employees that did not contribute a lot to the company. The company was faced with a high level of threat from its competitors who were investing heavily in R&D and were cutting costs to a great extent. It was predicted that without change, the company would lose its customers. Also, the company had been a market leader for the past fifty years. Therefore, the employees did not realize the need for change.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. What was Browning predicament at Whitecap?

  2. What should his change objectives and time frame be?

  3. What should he do specifically in dealing with White and Lawson; Stark and Green?

  4. What qualities are most needed to become a successful change agent?

Case Analysis for Peter Browning and Continental White Cap (A) Case Solution

1. What was Browning predicament at Whitecap?

Browning realized from the start that there were two obstacles that had to be addressed majorly apart from smaller issues. The fist was that the need for change in the company could not be understood easily. The reason was that the company had been giving outstanding results from the past fifty years. The company had faced some falls and crashes in the past, but they had been viewed as normal to a business’ operations. The second major obstacle was the family culture prevalent in the organization. This culture had resulted in employees being loyal to the company. The management was also very involved in the employees, and the relationship was more like family. However, this also meant giving benefits to workers liberally and high levels of job security even if performances were low. It also meant that the company could not compete with highly professional firms.

Browning thought that an attempt to change the organizational culture would not be welcome. However, it was a requirement to achieve his aim of revitalizing and repositioning the company in order to maintain its position as the market leader that it had been in the past. Other competitors were cutting their prices drastically making it difficult for White cap to keep up. The eventual outcome would be declining customers if the company did not change. Also, there had been no significant investments in R&D which presented threats to the company from the competition.

2. What should his change objectives and time frame be?

Browning had been recognized as the person who could bring in a fresh perspective at White Cap. He was a charismatic leader, and he had previously been effective in implementing new strategies. At Whitecap, he had the challenge to change a culture that its people were proud of. The business history had been successful working in the same organizational culture. His change objectives should include identifying a leader who is respected among the employees. This would mean developing a change team consisting of people who are capable of making the change and have strong relationships with the employees. These strong relationships would be required to communicate the change needs and objectives to the employees.

Secondly, an assessment should be done on the impact that the changes might have on the organization’s environment. The people’s concerns must be taken into account to assess the obstacles and grievances the people might face in this change exercise. This process should take up to one month in order to make it easy to determine the change process and strategies for the future. There should be formal workshops and briefing sessions to the employees about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the company faces. This would create a better understanding among the employees, and they would realize the need for change. In these workshops, new technical knowledge should be imparted to make the employees familiar with new technologies. This should go about for six months after the initial assessment of 3-4 months mentioned before.

3. What should he do specifically in dealing with White and Lawson; Stark and Green?

White and Lawson

White and Lawson are very influential managers at Whitecap, who consider employee loyalty as an important and biggest asset to the organization. Browning should develop a relationship of trust with these two otherwise, the organization’s change process will be greatly hindered. Browning should consider Lawson’s proposals and communicate the need for change effectively. Also, since Lawson is at a lower position, he should act as a mediator for White and Browning.

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