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Discussion Question assignment Week 1

Directions:Please read the memo and answer the following questions.
Company Setting:[The announcement reads, “Franklyn Named to New Corporate Post.”] Young men and women—and some not so young—gather around The Company bulletin board to read the details.
Memo:“Franklyn Named to New Corporate Post.”
The office of the President announced today that Ben W. Franklyn has been named to the newly established office of Corporate Director for Safety Programs.Mr. Franklyn moves from his post as plant manager at Portsmouth.
M. M. Marsh {company president} commented personally on this appointment. “Over the years I have seen a growing and essential need for us to develop a comprehensive, hard-hittingapproach to safety. In appointing Ben Franklyn to the new post of Corporate Director for Safety Programs, I am giving my personal support to this important effort. Mr. Franklyn’s long years of association with every phase of our manufacturing effort make him admirably qualified to drive this important program ahead.”
Replacing Mr. Franklyn at Portsmouth will be Edward Wilson Shelby IV. Shelby will hold the position of Acting Plant Manager with specific responsibility for the development of our new Expandrium {mythical company product} program. Ted Shelby has been staff assistant to the President, responsible for financial control systems.”]
Questions
1.What are the important phrases in the memo that have “hidden meanings?”
For example, the memo states that Franklin was “named to” his new position.Why do you think the memo did not say that Franklin had been “promoted to” the new position?
2.Did you pick up on any of the phrases which may contain “hidden messages” when you initially read the memo?
3.Can you think of similar memos you have read in the past which you would interpret differently now?

Directions:Please read “Stanley’s analysis” and answer the following questions.
[The gathering digests this announcement with an assortment of mumbles, grunts of approval, some envy, and some questions.] “But what does he know about safety?” one young man asks his companion. “It doesn’t seem right to me. With all that responsibility—Corporate Director—you’d think they’d have picked someone with real professional experience. Just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Over to the side a graying but still youngish man is shaking his head. The greeting tag stuck to his lapel reads, “Hi . . . call me Stan.” “Poor Ben,” he is thinking, “Wonder what he did this time?” “What do you think, Stan?” The young man addresses him in keeping with the tag. “Isn’t that a lot of responsibility for somebody without any real background?” “I take it you’re new with us, Jimmie?” (“Hi . . . call me Jimmie.”) “Well, don’t worry about it. Mr. Marsh and our other top executives know what they’re doing. Do you think they’d be where they are if they didn’t?”
Stanley is giving Jimmie a ritual answer, of course. For, in fact, Stanley could tell Jimmie exactly what is happening, but that is not the way the game is played in The Company.
First of all, read that announcement again, carefully. Notice the “named to” instead of “promoted to.” Also, it is a “newly established” office. That’s significant, too. Why now? Surely we haven’t just discovered the need.
Now read down a little bit. Ted Shelby is “Acting Plant Manager.” You would have thought the communications people would have massaged that one a little more. Of course, it is possible that The Company needed a Safety Director so badly that they couldn’t wait to find a permanent replacement—but, well, you get a feel for these things. Also, the “specific responsibility for, etc., etc. . . .” For that line read, “The new Expandrium program is SNAFU.”
Obviously, Shelby is Marsh’s hatchet man. Financial control people always are, and Shelby comes right out of Marsh’s office. He doesn’t know a damn thing about manufacturing and never will—because he’s one of the “new breed.”
And don’t let the Corporate Director business fool you either. Corporate Directors (of given varieties) come and go, but plant managers are crucial—though the ring of the title is not as exotic.
So what Stanley might have told Jimmie is simply this: “Look, Ben Franklyn has served The Company faithfully and well since he started as a machinist’s apprentice at sixteen. He’s tough and capable, but the business has passed him by. It looks to me like Ben got into some kind of hassle with the big boys over this new Expandrium line. And when Ben gets it in his head that he’s right, he’s not about to back off.This time Marsh has finally had enough. Ben’s about three or four years from retirement, so Marsh is going to ease him out of the way with a face-saving corporate directorship where he can’t do any damage. Ben doesn’t know a damn thing about anything but manufacturing, so you can’t just turn him loose in the china shop.But the rest of those poor bastards at Portsmouth are in for real trouble. Marsh wants that Expandrium line on time, and Shelby is out there to wield the axe. In other words, heads will roll. And that’s where the acting manager part comes in. You can’t go in there and rough up the troops, then expect them to love you. So when the dirty work is done, Shelby will be lifted. Then a permanent manager will be named to secure the peace.”]
Questions
1.Do you agree with Stanley’s analysis?
2.Can you identify similar examples of such staff changes in your own organization??BTW, yes, universities do make changes like this and do use similar language to describe them.
3.Why does “the company” go to such lengths to avoid stating that Ben has been forced out and replaced with a “yes man?”In other words, why wont management just come out and say what is really going on?

Directions:Please read the attached memo and answer the following questions.
TO:Faculty and Staff
FROM:Office of Vice President for Finance and Administration
RE:Increased Personnel Action Scrutiny
With the uncertainty surrounding the economy and how it will impact the University, the university has decided to take steps to minimize the likelihood of adversely impacting the jobs of faculty and staff.While not imposing a hiring freeze, we are implementing a more flexible approach.Effective immediately, the university will begin a process of increased personnel action scrutiny with the objective of ensuring whether it is essential that the university move forward with any recommended personnel action at the time proposed.This is a necessary measure due to current economic conditions.This process will apply to all personnel actions such as, but not limited to, creating new positions, reassignment of responsibilities that result in salary increase(s), filling new or vacant positions, position reclassifications and promotions, and non-routine salary increases.This applies to all benefitted faculty and staff positions, including emergency hires.This process will not apply to faculty tenure and promotion, nor personnel actions funded 100% by sponsored funds.
This process of increased personnel action scrutiny will begin with a form (see attached) that must be completed and submitted for consideration prior to any personnel action process being initiated.Recommended personnel actions will be evaluated based upon factors such as, but not limited to, the impact on accreditation, the impact on student recruitment and retention, whether they are mission critical, and/or provide a significant return on investment (ROI).Some examples of ROI benefits are that a proposed personnel action will bring in additional funding, additional students, or provide cost savings.
Colleges/Departments will need to complete the attached form.This form must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources, who will then forward the form to the Vice Presidents Committee for consideration.
The recommended personnel action will be evaluated by the committee and approved/disapproved.If approved, the College/Department will then need to proceed with normal Human Resources, Academic Affairs and/or Affirmative Action forms to initiate the appropriate process related to the recommended personnel action
The Vice Presidents will review all current open searches/recruitments.No offers of employment to fill current openings can be made without prior approval of the Vice Presidents Committee.]
Questions
1.On its face, this memo appears to simply state how careful the university administration is being to control costs in a tough economic environment.However, what hidden messages might this memo also contain?
2.Does this memo/policy change say anything about the management style of the president and executive counsel currently operating the university in question?
3.Why does the university go to such lengths to avoid stating that it is implementing a “hiring freeze?” In other words, why not just come out and say what is really going on?

 

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