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Managing Individual

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Warren Oats was a highly successful employee for American Auto Suppliers, a Chicago-based company that makes original-equipment specialty parts for Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Because of his excellent performance as a maintenance engineer, Oats was promoted to a high executive position supervising a division of more than fifty staff distributed in different locations.

Oats was confused. He has tremendous experience as a an engineer but non as a manager, sitting in his office thinking about his new managerial responsibilities, he came to the conclusion that the key issue is the question of how to push the employees to work harder, increase their input and record new successes for him and the company.

Oats thought that what had helped him to be a successful employee and to get promoted is his way of doing things. So he determined to lead the staff to adopt that way. He started by introducing new rules and regulation that would change the culture of the division so that employees follow his steps in accomplishing their tasks. He announced new monetary incentives for more productivity. He re-designed the work flow, reformulated work groups, and changed a number of operational procedures. He also canceled the idea program that was going on because he believed that it is not needed as he had all the successful ideas that led him to his promotion.

With the desire to succeed, Oats instructed his first-line supervisors to monitor their employees and to eliminate all inactive time; in addition he asked them to identify those who would not be obedient to the new way of working. He also decided to cancel the previously scheduled monthly meeting with all the groups.

All in all, Oats thought, things should be going much better. Output should be up and that his approach should be resulting in much higher levels of productivity and profits and consequently an addition successful story for him as an employee.

But that was not happening. Oats sensed that people weren’t doing their best. Performance reports indicated that output was only marginally higher than it was before his appointment. But the Human resources department of the company started to notices that absenteeism and sick leaves rates gone up, turnover had increased substantially and recruitment, selection of new staff, and training costs had gone up as a result.

The management decided to deal with the situation and conducted an investigation. Oats couldn’t see the need and explained the situation by the fact that people were resistant to change.

In a desperation Oats accepted the management offer for him to represent the company in different county. The company has decided to use its reputation for quality and dependability to win over customers in Japan.

Oats knew he did not have time to learn Japanese, but he had heard that many Japanese executives speak English, and the company would hire a translator anyway. The toughest part about leaving the United States was persuading his wife, Carol, to take an eighteen-month leave from her career as an attorney with a prestigious Chicago law firm. Carol finally persuaded herself that she did not want to miss an opportunity to learn a new culture. So, armed with all the information they could gather about Japan from their local library, the Oats headed for Tokyo.

Known as an energetic, aggressive engineer back home, Warren Oats wasted little time getting started. As soon as his office had a telephoneвЂ"and well before all his files had arrived from the StatesвЂ"Oats made an appointment to meet with executives of



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