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Cracking the Whip - Analysis of Management Systems

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Analysis of Management Systems

Adam Martin

Cracking the Whip

Executive Summary

After a downsizing of the Department of Technical Services (DTS) and the early retirement of the director of the company, Harmon Davidson was named the new director of headquarters managers. One of his new responsibilities is to be in charge of a comprehensive six-month survey of the headquarters management structure and process. Harmon Davidson will have to supervise the work of a pre-selected survey team. The team leader, Al Pitcher since to be a great feed for the position due to his background. However, no even two weeks after the surveys started to be conducted Davidson started to receive calls from customers and other departments within the organization complaining about the way the survey has been performed. Davidson decided to speak with Pitcher about the issue. Unfortunately, these managers find themselves in disagreements and cannot come together to identify the real origin of the problem and the way in how to solve it. They have to find a solution before the problem continue to grow. In this case of analysis, we will explore further the issues that this company is experiencing and we will suggest the way to resolve them.  


Cracking the Whip

Key Characters

Harmon Davidson is the new director of headquarters management. Davison had been asked to return to headquarters management office after five years after a downsizing at the Department of Technical Services (DTS) (Draft, 2013 p. 514). One of Davidson tasks in his new positions was to be responsible for a comprehensive six-month survey of the headquarters management structure and process. This survey had been already promised to the White House as the agency’s next phase of management reform (Draft, 2013 p. 514).  

The survey team has already been selected by Walton Drummond, the director of the company whom had take and early retirement. The team consisted in five-person group including two experienced management analysts, a promising younger staff member, an intern, and Pitcher, who was assigned as the team leader (Draft, 2013 p. 314).

Pitcher, the team leader of the survey group was fresh from the Treasury Department where he was part of a similar survey. Davidson was impressed with Pitcher’s motivation and attitude. He seems to be an ideal employee working extended hours, presenting lengthy reports and up to date with organizational theories.

Organizational Facts 

DTS had make a commitment with the White House by promising some surveys as the preface of the agency’s management reform.  The director of the company, Walton Drummond had retired earlier than what it was expected. He appointed Al Pitcher as the team leader for the survey team. Unfortunately, due to his unexpected retirement and extended mountain climbing expedition in Asia, Drummond was unavailable to explain his survey plans to Pitcher (Draft, 2013 p. 514).

The company has recently going to downsizing at the department of technical services leaving room for Harmon Davidson to be appointed as director of headquarters management. One of Davidson’s main duties was to be responsible for a six-month survey of the headquarters management. As mentioned earlier, the survey team had been previously selected by Drummond and Davidson first impression about it was that the team will be efficient based on the member’s background. Although there were many good characteristics about the team leader of the survey group, Al Pitcher, he also seemed uninterested in DTS’s history and culture and was paternalistic toward top managers assuming that they were unsophisticated and unconcern about modern management (Draft, 2013 p. 514).

Situational Facts 

Harmon Davidson faces a challenge with his new position at DTS. He had not held a management position as the director of headquarters management for a long time and was placed in this position after an unexpected earlier retirement from the former director, Walton Drummond. He found himself in a new position supervising a team preselected by the former director. Davidson thought Pitcher was a good team leader and trusted in the first impression he had from him. Unfortunately, this first impression started to changed when the survey was barely a week old and Davidson received the first call from furious customer.

This first call was from the assistant secretary for public affairs. She called to complain about how the supervisory staff was upset with the comments they received. She said: “this guy Pitcher sounds like he wants to remake DTS headquarters over-night. Who does he think he is?” (Draft, 2013 p. 515). Davidson approached Pitcher about this matter and his answer was that he had told them that they would tell them how to fix the issues. Davidson asked Pitcher to avoid giving future feedback without consulting with them before. Two weeks later, Davidson received another complain from Technology Development Director Phil Canseco. He was as unhappy as the assistant secretary was few weeks ago. Canseco said “I think you have to rein in this survey team a bit” (Draft, 2013 p. 515). He explained to Davidson that several managers that were scheduled for the survey were working on 24-hour turnaround due to an important project they were working on. He told Davidson that he asked Pitcher to postpone the interviews and that Pitcher refused to even consider changing the appointments.

After Davidson became aware of Pitcher repetitive attitude, he decided to talk with him again about the matter. Pitcher was in no mood for either introspection or reconsideration about the way to conduct the survey.


In normal organizations, disagreements are likely to occur between managers and the employees. This case is a clear example of this. We have Davidson who represents the top manager concern more about analysis, Pitcher was the leader of the survey group who based all the decisions in one person’s opinion ignoring other factors. As a consequence, the case study not only reflects a conflict between managers but also employees unhappy with Pitchers attitude.

In addition, one evident problem is that there is resistance to change. Pitcher felt that as far as his knowledge on the latest organizational theories, the rest was not important. He made drastic decision without giving importance to the organization’s culture. He did not take in consideration the way that other employees and manager would react to his actions. There were issues that needed to be addressed but Davidson and Pitcher could not work together to identify and resolve them. Pitcher did not know or did not accept that he had challenges or that he could be wrong on some of his decisions. It is a challenge to correct someone who does not feel that he or she has a weakness or a problem.



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