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Peter Browning and Continental White Cap (A) Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1241 1204 Words (4 Pages) Todd D. Jick, Mary Gentile Harvard Business School : 486090
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

The company White Cap was faced with a major issue of competition rising. The company was not prepared at all to deal with the severe price cuts by its competitors. Its culture was such that employees faced a lifetime employment benefit apart from other monetary benefits. Other than that there was no investment in R&D that did not make the company fit or competing with others. It was recommended that to implement the change in the organization; the starting should be communicating the need for the change and creating urgency for it. It also included restructuring the company and letting go of employees that were not beneficial to the company. These change efforts were paid off by the company maintaining a good position and the employees being trained for efficiency and increased productivity and quality.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. What are the critical issues facing Peter Browning and Continental White Cap, his goals, the organization's goals?

  2. What are White Cap's strengths and weaknesses in light of its goals and the objectives for the proposed change? What type of change strategy is indicated?

  3. What steps do you recommend in implementing the planned change? Be specific with regards to processes for gaining support, implementing new practices and procedures and institutionalizing the change. What contingency plans might be needed to manage change effectively?

  4. What were positive effects of change in the Peter Browning and Continental White Cap?

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

1. What are the critical issues facing Peter Browning and Continental White Cap, his goals, the organization's goals?

There were two major critical issues faced by Peter Browning and the company. The company Whitecap had been a market leader for the past several years. It had succeeded in its organizational culture of employee loyalty, high level of employee benefits and the concept of lifetime employment. These benefits included high salaries, free lunch and incentives on the basis of needs. This had inculcated a family-like culture in the organization. Even though it was beneficial for the company on certain levels, the organization had had developed relationships; it was disadvantageous for the current business scenario. With other companies emerging locally as well as internationally, the competition had become tough.

The second major issue was that the employees felt that because the company had been successful over the years, it did not require any change. Because of this, the company did not invest in R&D that posed a huge threat because of the rapidly emerging competition. The company’s high overheads did not allow it to cut costs like its competitors. Other critical issues included the inefficiency of the HR department. The HR head did not take any initiative in the past years to train the employees. Furthermore, the marketing was ineffective, and its head did not implement marketing strategies successfully. His and the organizational goals were to reduce the costs, increase the productivity, preserve the culture (family-style), make the company such that keeping up with the technological advancements is inculcated. One other goal was to maintain the performance of the company in terms of sales.

2. What are White Cap's strengths and weaknesses in light of its goals and the objectives for the proposed change? What type of change strategy is indicated?

There are several forces driving the change in the company and several others resisting the change. Those driving the change in the company can be regarded as strengths to the proposed change and those resisting the change can be regarded as weaknesses. The driving forces are first, Browning’s vision and his past experiences making him strength for the change process. His assessment of the need for change makes him a very important aspect of the proposed change. Furthermore, the competition is a positive force for the change since it can make the employees realize about the threats that the company faces. Third, the new technology and the opportunity to invest and exploit new technology make it strength.

The weaknesses are closely related to the strengths mentioned. The first weakness or resistance to change is the company focus on employee loyalty. This means a high overhead for the company in terms of employee expenses. Also, the lack of investment in R&D and the unfamiliarity with new technology is a weakness that can be overcome through a high level of training. The change strategy should be such that the company is renewed. There is an investment in R&D increasing the productivity. The culture of lifetime employment should be changed, and the focus should be on performance management.

3. What steps do you recommend in implementing the planned change? Be specific with regards to processes for gaining support, implementing new practices and procedures and institutionalizing the change. What contingency plans might be needed to manage change effectively?

The steps that are recommended for the change are:

Step 1: Assessing the organization and analyzing if the change is needed. Assessing the proximity of the change needed.

Step 2: Communicate the need for change and the vision. Set a common direction for the employees.

Step 3: Communicate that the past culture has to be changed.

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