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Leading Change

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University of Phoenix

Leading Change


MBA 520

Good Sport is a company that has just invented a new line of portable fitness equipment called XtendSport. In order for the product to make it to the marketplace, several departments within Good Sport must come to an agreement so the next phase of the project can be implemented. In addition, several organizational and leadership issues must be addressed to ensure the longevity and success of the company. Several organizational structures are in use by companies such as span of control, centralization, departmentalization and formalization. Departmentalization is the structure that is present with Good Sport.

The organizational structure that best describes Good Sport is faces a departmentalization structure. Departmental structure aligns employees with their specific activities. Within this particular structure at Good Sport there also exists a functional structure, which is a form of departmentalization. This structure groups employees around the specific area they are most familiar with. “A functional structure organizes employees around specific knowledge or other resources. Employees with marketing expertise are grouped into a marketing unit, those with production skills are located in manufacturing, engineers are found in product development, and so on,” (McShane& Von Glinow, 2005, p.15). At Good Sport, the functional structure is comprised of the executive, middle, and lower management teams. Each of these are departmentalized according to specific areas of expertise such as finance, production, R& D and sales. For example, at Good Sport the Vice President of the sales department only deals with issues relating to sales and how feasible a plan is from a sales perspective while the Vice President of the production department at Good Sport deals with production issues such as how certain products will be produced. The overall goal of the company and its employees is to make sure that XtendSport makes it to the market so that the company is successful. This makes the culture at Good Sport a dominant one because regardless of any conflict or issues that may arise, the primary objective of everyone is still for XtendSport to be successful. “When discussing organizational culture, we are actually referring to the dominant culture, that is, the themes shared most widely by the organization’s members” (McShane& Von Glinow, 2005, p.5).

Good Sport also has internal dynamics present such as power structures and politics. The company has several executives such as CEO Karl Anderson, which leads to an automatic legitimate power because he can request certain actions and behaviors from his subordinates. “Legitimate power is an agreement among organizational members that people in certain roles can request certain behaviors. This right partly comes from formal job descriptions as well as informal rules of conduct” (McShane& Von Glinow, 2005, p. 5). In addition, there exists a referent power structure at Good Sport. Karl Anderson the CEO sets the goals the company needs to accomplish and everyone who respects his wishes is expected to follow suit if they would like to maintain their position. This power is also automatic because he is perceived as the person at the top who knows best and ”the relationship between a leader’s referent power and subordinates’ job satisfaction will be stronger under low levels of work-group cohesiveness and spatial distance between the subordinate and the leader than under high levels of these variables,” (Yagil, 2005, p. 387). Power through control of information flow is the last type of power structure present at Good Sport. This is evident when CEO Karl Anderson is replaced. He was considered an autocrat because he tried to gain power over his subordinates by controlling the information that was given to them. While several different types of power structures occur within the infrastructure of Good Sport, politics are also prevalent in the company.

Politics are also a part of the organizational culture at Good Sport. Matt Fernandez, Senior Manager of Production was passed over for the promotion to become the next CEO of Good Sport and he was not happy. Tamara Watkins, Vice President R&D, is uncomfortable dealing with her former subordinate as a peer. Samuel Olsen, Vice President of Sales, is not sure of an R & D person becoming Vice President of Production. Additionally, team managers and team members are talking and have reservations because they are not familiar with my management style. During the Good Sport simulation, while selecting choices on what moves to make to resolve these issues, the decisions that yielded the highest satisfaction were those that involved politics like taking someone to dinner, meeting them informally (coalition formation), making them feel comfortable (ingratiation) to secure my agenda, or me giving up some type of power to them. These are the result of organizational structure and culture since power and politics are an integral part of any organization. Someone has to be the leader and with this responsibility comes the reality that subordinates want to attain as much power as they can by conforming to the organizational culture. In essence, it is inherent in the current power structure of Good Sport for employees to want to succeed and move up in the company whether through merits or politics, which in this case adversely determines the culture of this company. While these are some of the political issues present at Good Sport, several decisions are not available in the simulation that could have been offered.

Decisions that could have also been made in the Good Sport simulation beyond those offered also can be of value to the company. In the "Sales Work Culture" screen of the simulation, one option that could have been mentioned is to allow the employees in the sales department to try out the XtendSport equipment themselves to get a hands on feel for it. When moving to the "Production Work Culture" screen of the simulation, an informal invite for drinks or dinner should have been extended to Matt Fernandez so that his management style could be learned. Lastly, at the "Empowerment" screen in the simulation, it should have been suggested to also conduct an awards ceremony for those who do outstanding work. Although these are ideas that could have been offered beyond the scope of the simulation,



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