Essays on Management Challenges Presented in SlickOil Case Study

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The paper 'Management Challenges Presented in SlickOil" is a good example of a management case study. The problems in the manufacturing department of SlickOil Pty Ltd seem to be anchored in the management approaches being used by the general manager (GM) of the company. As indicated by the case study’ s author, Sheridan (2016, p. 1-2), the GM was relocated from the Hong Kong office and does not have a clear understanding of the Australian workers’ context. In theory, it is indicated that managers can have an ethnocentric, polycentric, or geocentric attitude (Principles of Management 2008, p.

13). The latter attitude is better suited for managers in a global environment, while managers with polycentric attitudes understand the best work approaches to use in different countries and cultures. In SlickOil’ s case, GM seems to have an ethnocentric attitude, which considers the practices of her home country as more superior to the practices in Australia. However, considering that GM is leading a global organization, she should embrace a geocentric attitude. Her inability to understand the Australian workers’ context can, therefore, be interpreted to mean that the restructuring that she ordered in the company was based on her perception of what was appropriate for the global organization, and was therefore not based on a proper understanding of the Australian work culture. The second management problem that is evident from the case study is that the GM is always trying to pass the blame to the end consumers rather than accepting responsibility and finding the right solutions to a problem (Sheridan 2016, p.

2). While her buck-passing habits are inspired by the need to protect SlickOil from costly litigation, they may injure the company’ s reputation and reduce the trust that customers have in the company’ s products in the long-term.

According to Fast (2010, para. 2), passing the blame by people in leadership positions makes them “ lose status, learn less and perform worse relative to those who own up to their mistakes” . Moreover, the blame-shifting tendencies by managers and organizational leaders lead to a loss in productive risk-taking, learning, creativity, and innovation (Fast 2010, para. 2; Manzoni & Barsoux 1998, para. 3). The third management problem that is evident at SlickOil is related to the proper management, planning, and controlling of the firm’ s human resource.

From Sheridan’ s (2016, p. 2) account, there seems to be mistrust among factory floor workers. Moreover, it appears that the engineers feel that their input, skills, and knowledge is not recognized by the management. Even more critical to SlickOil’ s future is that work processes (e. g. quality control) are being overlooked as some factory floor workers try to earn more bonuses by getting volumes of uninspected products to the market. Combined, all the aforementioned factors indicate a failure by the management to create work processes and habits that will guarantee that the organization has an internal culture that enhances the value of the manufactured products. Based on ideas from Clegg, Kornberger, and Pitsis (2016, p.

175), it appears that the problem at SlickOil is the absence of skill differentiation, authority differentiation, and temporal stability. Through skills differentiation, the management would understand the specialized knowledge that exists in the factory shop floor (e. g. among engineers), and would thus be in a position to appreciate their input and concerns about botched quality assurance processes.

According to Clegg et al. (2016, p. 175), authority differentiation refers to the decision-making responsibility that individuals have. In SlickOil’ s context, authority differentiation would thus ensure that every person in the factory floor understands what their decision-making responsibilities are. For instance, the responsibility to allow products to be released to the consumer market should only be vested on one person or two people, who then would have to ensure that all products pass the quality assurance test before dispatch to the distributors. The inability of Slick-Oil’ s GM to establish temporal stability among the manufacturing floor workers is also another cause of the conflict that exists in the organization.

According to Clegg et al. (2016, p. 175), temporal stability occurs when team members have worked together historically, and are thus considered to have the ability to work together in the coming days. Evidently, the case where unskilled employees are given the mandate to lead the skilled employees (e. g. the engineers) and thus end up making questionable decisions is proof that SlickOil’ s management did not consider the temporal stability among workers in the manufacturing department.


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