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(Solved) Lauren Morales Dick Spencer Case 1 Case Study 1: Dick Spencer MGT 585 Professor Stephanie Pane Lauren Morales Date Submitted: 06/18/2015 Lauren...


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Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 1 Case Study 1: Dick Spencer MGT 585 Professor Stephanie Pane Lauren Morales Date Submitted: 06/18/2015 Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 2 Dick Spencer, a highly intelligent MBA graduate and high-achieving businessman, began
his post graduate career in the sales division of the Tri-American aluminum corporation. As a
salesman he was adept, efficacious, and highly productive in terms of sales volume. As Dick
Spencer gained some tenure in the Tri-American corporation he began to realize that he
possessed a desire to no longer work in the sales division of Tri-American and to further his
career within the firm in an administrative position. The case of Dick Spencer provides a classic
example of the obstacles and learning curves an employee or even recent graduate may have to
hurdle when transitioning him or herself into the role of a manager. In this case study we will
look at the factors of Dick's knowledge and skill set that led him to be among the top salesman in
his firm, while also addressing the factors that contributed to his rocky transition into
management as Dick began to move up into higher ranks of Modrow and Tri-American. Later in
this case study we will re-visit an incident that left a strong impression on Dick and discuss
varying actions and decisions that Mr. Spencer could have taken and done differently to
ameliorate or avoid this incident entirely.
Dick Spencer began his salesman position with Tri-American at the age of 22 upon
graduating from his Master's in Business Administration program. In the sales arena Mr. Spencer
was extremely successful for many reasons: his charm and natural sales ability, his knowledge
from his undergraduate and masters programs, his youth, and his ability to build relationships.
Based off commentary by his fellow salesman, Dick Spencer was described by his work
colleagues as charming, good looking, and humble, being that even though he set the sales bar Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 3 higher for the other guys in Tri-American, he still acted like a “normal guy” on the few occasions
they socialized outside of workplace. According to a 2011 research study conducted by
Johnson, Rowatt, and Petrini, “Honesty–Humility correlated positively with supervisor ratings of
overall job performance...over and above the five other main factors in the model (Emotionality,
Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience).” Dick's charming
nature and humble attitude greatly contributed to his ability to close large deals as a salesman.
As we know from the case notes, Mr. Spencer's background and education were in the
business field of studies. A masters' degree in Business Administration helps to prepare one for
the different types of roles that a person may find within a corporation whether those roles be in
the financial sector, in the human resources arena, or within the production components of a firm
such as manufacturing and sales. Masters of Business Administration programs are very much
integrative and highly work intensive endeavors. “MBA['s] [are] perceived by many people as a
passport to senior managerial roles and... it's students are concerned with improving career
prospects.” (Baruch & Peiperl, 2006). The fact that one has to be highly motivated to enter and
even complete an MBA program speaks volumes about Mr. Spencer's work ethic. Because of
Dick Spencer's educational background and knowledge this would directly affect his impressive
sales performance in his early years at Tri-American.
Another contributing factor to Dick Spencer's success in the aluminum sales division was
his age or what some may call his stage in life. We know know from reading the case that Dick
was 22 years old when he began his sales career with Tri-American. Unfortunately, because of
the time intensive nature of his position and the fact that Dick had to travel far to meet with Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 4 various business prospects, he was soon divorced from his wife. However, for Mr. Spencer's
current position as a salesman, this change in his life could not have happened at a more
opportune time. Dick Spencer was young and now unbound by pressures of marital life or by the
responsibilities of having a family. In Richter, Schraml, and Leineweber's 2013 research study on
the effects of work and family conflict, the conclusion was made that an imbalance between
work and family or non-work related activities was a major stressor on relationships, health, and
job performance. Richter et al., also described in their study that, “individuals with a strong need
to prove their competence and … individuals with high performance-based self-esteem, are at
increased risk to suffer from feelings of stress.” (2013). After the divorce from his first wife,
Dick was then able to travel freely and to further sales prospects without the stress of having to
answer to an upset partner or family. Dick Spenser was at the point in his life where he could
focus all of his energy, attention, and efforts into his sales successes.
The last major factor that contributed to Dick's successful run in the sales division was his
natural ability to create relationships. As we have read in the case this was demonstrated first
hand during a weekend on the golf course when he was able to build a friendly rapport with the
President of Tri-American Corporation. In the article “Personal Selling and Sales Management:
A Relationship marketing perspective,” Authors Barton Weitz and Kevin Bradford focus on “the
increased attention on long-term, buyer seller relationships” and come to the conclusion that
“building relationships rather than making short-term sales,” will positively affect a firm's
reputation and profit margin (1999). Just as any firm recognizes the importance of building
certain business relationships with its suppliers and partners as a way to cut costs, Dick Spencer Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 5 also used his charm and charisma while building relationships with his sales prospects as a way
to ensure a sales contract and thus financial success for himself and Tri-American Corporation.
While Dick Spencer was successful from the very start of his sales career, when he finally
found himself in the management role he had requested, this shift from salesman to manager did
not prove to be as natural and easy for Dick as sales. While Dick was successful from a
production and financial standpoint, he had a difficult time leading those that were in positions
under him. There were many factors at play that caused Dick Spencer to have a hard time in his
new management role but the factors that caused him the most issues were first and foremost the
fact that he had never been in a managerial role prior to his time at Tri-American., secondly
cultural differences and ideology, the family-work dynamic, and lastly but most importantly
micromanagement on Dicks part stemming from his prior troubleshooting position.
By the time Dick Spencer was promoted to managerial positions, he had spent the entirety
of his post graduate career working for Tri-American. The first and most obvious factor in his
tribulations in this role stem from the fact that he was never in a position that deemed it
necessary for Dick to manage anyone other than himself. He started out as a salesman and in this
position Dick’s income and schedule depended solely on himself. Selling is centered on
convincing— convincing a prospect that he or she needs a particular good or service that they
didn’t know they had a need for. These sales relationships are superficial the majority of time,
but when one is in a management role, convincing and superficiality need to be put aside for a
more humanistic type of relationship. Dick even stated to his colleagues that Human Resources
coursework made up some of his worst marks in his business studies. Tri-American may also be Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 6 to blame for this lack of experience. Dick had asked for an administrative role; however, it was
not clear that Tri-American Corporation invested any kind of leadership training on Mr.
Spencer's behalf. In “Becoming a Leader” training and leadership development were found to
be the greatest factors in issues that new MBA graduate managers faced (Benjamin & O'Reilly,
2011). In his assistant manager role in England, he also had to answer to other superiors and was
often times afraid to speak up about ideas he had regarding plant operations. This fear of
speaking up coupled with the simple fact that he was a first time manager undoubtedly put him
behind the learning curve to be successful in any managerial roles he would come to hold in the
future. However not all hope was lost for Dick Spencer; according to Benjamin and O'Reilly
(2011), “managers clearly would benefit most if these developmentally challenging experiences
occurred earlier in their careers rather than later.”. After reading the case material we can see that
Dick Spencer, a now more successful and tenured manager, was looking back on his past
tribulations that were invaluable lessons for his future successes.
As we know from Dick’s background, he was an American MBA graduate that was sent to
assistant manage plants in the United Kingdom and eventually manage a Canadian plant as vice
president. I believe that the ideological and cultural differences as far as production and
management roles are concerned played a large factor in his tribulations at these plants overseas.
A recent article from the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management attempts to
analyze the differences between American management versus Canadian management styles.
The findings are quite interesting in that while the researchers did find some common cultural
similarities between the two nations they did conclude that, “differences in dimensions of Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 7 cultural values and attitudes have important implications for managers.” (Dheer, Lenartowicz,
Peterson, and Petrescu 2014). For the managerial differences for two countries that border each
other to be so different, there is no doubt that cultural differences among British and American
management styles which stretch across an entire ocean also lead to tribulations for Dick in his
new role.
We touched on the family and work life balance earlier in this case study, but now it is
important to look at this dynamic as it pertains to Dick’s management role. As a salesman Dick
Spencer was a young and a recent graduate, but as he came into his plant management roles, he
had by that time remarried and started a family. He moved his wife and children half way across
the world to England; moving is already stressful enough, but adding the pressures of adjusting
to a new country and culture just add fuel to the proverbial fire. As was stated in the previous
paragraph, while assistant manager at the British plant Mr. Spencer felt he couldn't speak up and
this may have caused him to have feelings of organizational injustice. A psychological study by
Judge and Colquitt (2004) on the effects of organizational injustice found that “[t]he presence of
justice seemed to allow participants to better manage the interface of their work and family lives,
which was associated with lower stress levels.” Unfortunately Dick was unable to juggle his
work and family life and retreated from the stress of the day to day and pressures from his family
by immersing himself into bettering the plant. However, his distance exacerbated these familylife pressures from both his wife and children which then morphed into a cyclical stress spiral.
Before Mr. Spencer’s plant supervisor positions, he was given his first shot on the
administrative side of Tri-American Corporation as a trouble shooter. Dick was excellent in the Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 8 trouble shooting role and garnered praise from the company’s superiors for his cost reducing and
departmental face lift endeavors. Unfortunately his strengths in troubleshooting caused him to
have micro-managerial tendencies as a supervisor. A Canadian Management study warned of the
serious implications micromanagement may have for firms stating that, “[it] demoralizes
workers, and leads to significant declines in productivity and performance in the long run,”
(Dowden, 2011). Dick spent too much of his time attempting to troubleshoot each department
which lead to time being wasted in meetings and for issues with his lower level managers
resenting him. Even at the firm where major restructuring was going on, and with projected
losses as a result, Dick still pushed to cut costs wherever possible instead of focusing on
production and generating a profit for the corporation.
Reccomendations—Decision Making and Problem Solving
The siding incident was one that brings to the surface the culmination of all the troubles
Dick was having in his vice-president role. Dick wanted to try a new way of disposing aluminum
siding, and after speaking with the foreman about several reasons why this idea would not work,
Dick forcibly removed all equipment from the recycling department so as to make the workers
use the disposal methods Dick had found out while on his sweep of the department. Dick came to
find however that even though extreme measures had been taken to ensure the workers dispose
of materials his way, the disposal process would not be changed.
There are many ways Dick could have ameliorated or even avoided this incident. The first
recommendation I would have made for Dick Spencer would to be for him to not let his internal
emotions affect his dealings with the foreman in this situation. “Regulating emotions in order to Lauren Morales
Dick Spencer Case 9 change attitudes and behaviour towards promoting peace is vital,” (Helperin, Cohen-Chen &
Goldenberg, 2014). I feel that had Dick been able to regulate his stress and emotions, the
interaction between him and the foreman would have not been so argumentative. Because of
Dick's emotions running high he was rash in his decision making about removing the saws; had
he controlled these feeling better then he would have been able to listen and understand the
foreman's warnings about why his way of scrap disposal was not feasible.
The second recommendation I would have given Mr. Spencer would be to step out of his
troubleshooting mode of thought where he was evaluating the situation from a cost reduction
standpoint. Collins and Collins 2002 study outlines the costly effects of micromanagement and
concludes that “[it] can be advantageous in certain short-term situations... however, the costs
associated with long-term micromanagement can be exorbitant.” Collins and Collins (2002) also
conclude that micromanagement can drastically reduce the morale of workers while leading to a
high employee turnover rate and lessened productivity. Because his troubleshooting background
bled into his management role this caused Dick to have micro-managerial tendencies. If he were
a troubleshooter for that department, then his actions would have made more sense but as a
manager he needed to have faith that the supervisors under him were running each division
properly.
Lastly I would recommend that Dick Spencer improve his human resources skills
particularly his emotional intelligence and interactions with supervisors and employees.
Boudreau and Lawler (2014) examine the impact that managers with stubborn tendencies and
poor human resource skills have on a firm. These researchers findings show that, “the more Lauren Morales
10
Dick Spencer Case
organizations pursue a bureaucratic and low-cost-operator approach to management, the less
their organization engages in advanced strategic activities...[to]add value to the
organization.”(2014). If Dick had not been so obstinate and more receptive to the warnings of
his subordinates then the siding incident would have been a non issue. Dick Spencer needs to
take the people skills that made him a top tier salesman and incorporate them into his
management style so situations such as the siding incident no loner arise. Lauren Morales
11
Dick Spencer Case References
Baruch, Y., & Peiperl, M. (2006). The impact of an MBA on graduate careers. Human Res
Manag J Human Resource Management Journal, 10(2), 69-90.
Benjamin, B., & O'reilly, C. (2011). Becoming a Leader: Early Career Challenges Faced by
MBA Graduates. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 452-472.
Boudreau, J., & Lawler, E. (2014). Stubborn traditionalism in HRM: Causes and consequences.
Human Resource Management Review, 24(3), 232-244.
Collins, S., & Collins, K. (2002). Micromanagement--A Costly Managment Style. Radiology
Management, 24(6), 22-35.
Dheer, R., Lenartowicz, T., Peterson, M., & Petrescu, M. (2014). Cultural regions of Canada and
United States: Implications for international management research. International Journal
of Cross Cultural Management, 14(3), 343-384.
Dowden, C. (2011). Building a Business Case Against Micromanagement. Canadian Manager,
36(4).
Halperin, E., Cohen-Chen, S., & Goldenberg, A. (2014). Indirect emotion regulation in
intractable conflicts: A new approach to conflict resolution. European Review of Social
Psychology, 25(1), 1-31.
Johnson, M., Rowatt, W., & Petrini, L. (2011). A new trait on the market: Honesty–Humility as a
unique predictor of job performance ratings. Personality and Individual Differences,
50(6), 857-862. Lauren Morales
12
Dick Spencer Case
References Cont.
Judge, T., & Colquitt, J. (2004). Organizational Justice and Stress: The Mediating Role of WorkFamily Conflict. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(3), 395-404.
Richter, A., Schraml, K., & Leineweber, C. (2015). Work–family conflict, emotional exhaustion
and performance-based self-esteem: Reciprocal relationships. International Archives of
Occupational and Environmental Health, 88(1), 103-112.
Weitz, B., & Bradford, K. (1999). Personal Selling and Sales Management: A Relationship
Marketing Perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 27(2), 241-254.

 


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