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Kenworth, Case Study Example

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Words: 660

Case Study

The case describes in detail the discussions between the consultant and Denton which were meant to clarify the organization issues. In what ways were these discussions effective or ineffective for the OD practitioner? Are there other questions that might have been asked to clarify organizational issues?

Overall, these discussions were not productive in facilitating understanding of the company’s situation.  The consultant essentially asks the principal what the problem is, and then follows up with several suggestions on how to proceed. I don’t believe the session was effective for the OD in that he really didn’t understand the organizational problems of the firm.  The consultant could have asked a number of different questions to get at the problems including: Why do you think employee interviews would not be useful?  How is management’s relationship with the workers?  If you could change one thing about how the company is currently run, what would it be?

How does the OD consultant prepare for the first meeting?

The OD consultant prepares for the meeting by conducting research; however, the majority of time is spent on thinking regarding what he wanted his “emotional and professional posture to be.”

Think of different ways the consultant may have prepared for the initial meeting.

There are a number of different things the consultant could have done in order to prepare for the meeting. While doing company research is likely a necessary condition to go into the meeting, it is not a sufficient one.  For example, the consultant could have talked with industry analysts about what the current consensus on the company was.  The consultant could have also spoke with suppliers (privately, of course) or other industry insiders to try and understand what the company’s current issues were.

I think one of the main problems with the consultant’s approach is that he didn’t really have an objective or insider’s look at the industry going into the interview. By focusing on hisprofessional demeanor, rather than acquiring base knowledge of the company, he was unable to ultimately lead the conversation in a more helpful direction.

The case describes how the consultant and Denton determined future consulting activities. How were the mutual expectations, time and resources and ground rules determined for the project? How would you [student] have done it differently?

The plan for action essentially arose as a function of default. Denton did not feel comfortable with the consultant interviewing employees, and thus agreed to the other (less risky) option: a management retreat. I don’t think there is an issue with such an arrangement being formal or informal- the deeper problem probably lies in the consultant suggesting a solution that is comfortable for the client, without necessarily addressing existing problems.

In this case, the OD consultant brings up the issue of trust with regard to retreat design. Why is it important and what impact will it have on retreat planning and implementation?

Trust is an important issue because the retreat is meant to be a platform to address underlying issues in the company’s management- some of those issues may not be pleasant or to be exposed in the open.   Because the process may be contentious (and even painful) the executives will need to trust that the consultant is undertaking a process that will ultimately help the company.

Why do you think Denton agreed so quickly to holding a retreat? What implications might this have regarding the intervention and addressing the real issues of Kenworth Motors?

Although this is pure speculation, Denton likely agreed to the management retreat, in part, because it was the path of least resistance.  The consultant’s earlier suggestion that employee interviews might lead to increased tensions clearly steered Denton away from that option: That fact should have sparked concern in the consultant regarding Denton’s ability to face and deal with the issues in the company.  If this analysis is ultimately correct, the management retreat will effectively serve as a placebo for the organization’s problems- unlikely to do much harm, but also unlikely to help solve the root problems.

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