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This case should be read in conjunction with the marking criteria checklist Available on FLO.
Outlined below are a number of issues with personnel at Cransten Business Services. Imagine that you are a consultant who has been called into assist by providing evidence-based solutions to help resolve the issues and help to increase productivity. Use the content covered in BUSN9248 to propose solutions including journal references where possible.
Cransten Business Services is a business and accounting services firm that offers advice to a variety of small and medium businesses and operates in the southern area of a city with about 1.5 million people. It is affiliated with a national company that has a number of offices around the country.
The firm was started by Johanna Cransten who has an undergraduate accounting degree and MBA and has been running the business for 15 years. Over time the business has grown from being a one person operation with a number of contractors to a firm that now employs 27 people. About 3 years ago Johanna felt that she was overloaded with managing the day-to-day operations of the business and employed an administration manager, a customer services marketing manager and a workflow scheduling manager to oversee the business operations.
The role of the administrative manager is to manage the day-to-day operations of the firm and create a more corporate environment. The customer services marketing manager spends most of the time out of the office engaging with prospective clients and gaining new business and the workflow scheduling manager is concerned with providing quality and timely service to clients.
On the advice of the administration manager the structure of the business was reorganised so that it now has a series of project teams that are semi-permanent dealing with different categories of customers (ie. accounting, IT services and financial advice). A number of new team leader roles have been established and the reporting structures of the existing employees have changed. The team leader roles do not have control over hiring, firing and salary arrangements but do have some input into bonuses and undertake employee performance appraisals and report back to the team at the top.
In recent times the administrative manager has made a number of changes to the way the business operates which has necessitated the implementation of a number of new policies which require additional
reporting to be undertaken from the 'bottom up' which is creating considerable additional work load for the customer services marketing manager and the workflow manager. They are unhappy as the considerable additional reporting is hindering the ability to network and obtain new business. Then for existing clients, work is not being completed in a timely or efficient manner, which in the past has been a positive feature in attracting clients. This is impacting on the team behaviour and causing conflict between the administration manager and the customer service arms of the business. Key players of the business are:
Robert (Administration Manager) Robert is responsible for creating and implementing policy, establishing a corporate mindset in the business and managing the human resources. Robert is keen to introduce a number of new policies to bring the firm into the twenty-first century. These include the number of hours that people are expected to physically attend the office, detailed marketing plans and sales targets, workflow schedules and tracking of customer complaints. Robert's personality sees him behave in a rather rigid, forthright and inflexible way.
Anita (Customer services marketing manager) Anita's job is to engage with prospective clients and gain new clients for the business. The recent company policy mandates that she must spend at least 30 hours a week in the office leaving her with 7.5 hours for networking and visiting prospective clients. In addition, she is now required to meet a sales target of 5 new clients per week. Anita is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the sales target due to the seemly onerous requirement imposed by the administration manager to attend the office for extended hours. Anita is generally an outgoing, hardworking, customer focused sales marketing manager.
Tim (Workflow scheduling manager) Tim is responsible for providing quality and timely service to clients. With the introduction of the new hours and reporting requirements, Tim has become frustrated with the administration manager who insists on micro-managing the workflow schedules thereby creating considerable extra work for Tim. The flow on effect has been an increase in customer complaints as well as extreme frustration and a decrease in productivity of the employees.
Lindy (Team leader customer service) Lindy is responsible for collecting the data required by the administration manager in relation to sales, marketing, workflow and client complaints. Lindy is the person who must constantly 'annoy' people for 'statistics'. Since the introduction of the new reporting regime Lindy no longer respects the administration manager and has lost motivation.
The situation is particularly difficult because of the freedom that existed under Johanna Cransten's leadership and the fact that the administration manager has implemented a number of bureaucratic policies that has caused significant conflict and issues of power and influence within the business services team.
Johanna is aware of these issues but because of her strong focus on the accounting side of the business and limited time to focus on this issue she is unsure of how to manage the situation. She has been talking to some of colleagues at similar firms' interstate about how they have dealt with these issues and they suggested that she bring in a consultant to identify the symptoms, conduct an analysis, identify possible interventions, determine the success of previous interventions, design and evaluate your own intervention and make some recommendations. You are that consultant. Johanna is an evidence based person and requires you to provide a theoretical grounding for your recommendations.
Please prepare your answers using the headings from items 1 – 4 provided in the case analysis scoring guide (see the course outline on pages 21 and 22).
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The background of the case has stemmed from the introduction of the new administration manager in the company. The administration manager made a large number of changes in the organisation structure of the company. These changes created a lot of unrest in the company and also affected the morale of the employees. The employees were comfortable with their previous boss and had independence in their work. With the change in their organisation structure, they have lost a lot of independence, and they are overloaded with work. As a result, new businesses have reduced, and the margins have gone down.
This analysis aims to find out ways to intervene and make changes to improve the situation.
As organisations grow, the need for delegation becomes important. The source of the problem was not the appointment of the new administration manager in order to delegate, but the administration manager's way of bringing in new changes in the organisation. The symptoms of the problem based on the case are: