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The Case Of The Temperamental Talent

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The Case of the Temperamental Talent

Case study

Silvia Szaboova

class SM3

Table of contents

Introduction 3

Main issues 4

Findings 5

Pierre Casse 5

Steve Niven 6

Carolyn Boulger Miller 7

Lyle Miller 8

Own suggestion 9

Effective interpersonal communication 10

Conclusion 11

Bibliography 13


The aim of this case study is to analyze The Case of the Temperamental Talent and provide recommendations on what could be done in order to resolve the company problems that appeared in Tidewater Corporation.

First of all, before going into details let me introduce the main characters of the case. They are as follows:

Bob Salinger: CEO of Tidewater Corporation

Ken Vaughn: Head of Design Department

Harold Bass: Head of Human Resources Department

Morris Redstone: Reorganization Leader

Professionals Connecting Worlds

Tidewater Corporation, which was established in 1955, is a manufacturing company of luxury power boats and vessels. Recently, Tidewaters faced intensive competition with mainly Dutch and Italian Companies, which was proven by the fact of losing valuable market share. In order to face the strong competition on the global marketplace and remain the number one leader on the luxury boat market the management decided to make some steps to face the new challenge. The aim was to produce better boats faster than the competitors while having less cost. For this reason, Tidewaters management prepared a reorganization plan that involved cutting overheads, reducing long standing jobs as well as collapsing certain departments. All in all, the reorganization caused huge changes in Tidewaters and resulted a feeling of anxiety among employees. The biggest problem appeared to be putting the design division under the Product Development department. Probably in each organization there are some touchy people who are extremely hard to deal with and are absolutely resistant to change, thus Tidewaters was not an exception either. Here comes Ken Vaughn, the head of the design division into the scene. Ken was personally recruited by Bob Salinger, CEO of Tidewaters, who became his mentor at work. Their relationship was just excellent. They spent time not only at work but as they had common hobby they spent some weekends together with playing golf. Bob was satisfied with Ken's performance as he was creative, innovative and really smart to solve complex company issues. At the time, Ken was pleased with his position, as he felt both useful for the company and independent at work. He really enjoyed being the leader of Tidewater's design team. Certainly, Ken appeared to be a star and one of the key people in the company. On the other side, his personality was not what we could call stable, especially since the reorganization started. As he had some problems in his personal life as well, more and more often he became stormy, aggressive and tempered. Bob was warned to take attention to Ken's behavior. Consequently, he suggested Ken should see Harold Bass, the head of the human resources department, and join the employee assistance program. Things were becoming even worse, when Ken found out that the management plans to collapse his design department and put his team under the product development department. Ken absolutely refused to take part in the reorganization and showed no respect to Morris Redstone, who tent to be his new boss and also the reorganization leader. The reorganization showed only small progress, which was not for the sake of the company at all. Ken's behavior at work became unbearable. He not only missed important meetings, insulted his colleagues, became extremely uncooperative with other departments but broke his CAD/CAM monitor and made a mess in his office. What was also surprising was that he started riding on Harley-Davidson motorcycle and changed the way he used to dress at work reminding a "later day Marlon Brando".

Bob Morris and Harold all agreed that things have gone way too far and something must be done immediately. While Morris believes that the only way is to fire Ken, Bob and Harold still hope that there must be another way to put things back to their place.

Main issues

What I have identified as a main issue is the fact that Ken Vaughn's behavior in work and his attitude towards the reorganization plan has become both inadequate and intolerable in Tidewaters. Furthermore, he causes toxicity in the workplace, as well as insecurity and stress to all his colleagues. It is obvious that Ken's high performance at work was mainly driven by job satisfaction. However, in the new circumstances he lost job involvement and organizational commitment. He felt no more that he is valuable for the company, thus he did not want to be a part of it.

On the other hand, the case is not only about Ken's unstable behavior but also about the poor communication among the management and employees that let the problem gone so far. They missed to influence employees' perception of the changes in Tidewaters. As it is stated in the case study the primary question is whether "Ken Vaughn is too valuable to fire or too volatile to keep."


In this part of the case study I would like to introduce you four experts who have analyzed the recent situation in Tidewaters and came up with some alternative solutions. The point is not only to give recommendations on what should be done at this stage of the case but also to understand what has gone wrong and how could it be avoided in the future.

Pierre Casse



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