Great Little Box Company Case Study

Problem Statement Idea Points

– The company’s original informal, simple structure has moved on to an organic structure has now outgrown itself. How does GLBC implement a structural revival and still retain and absorb customers in a market that is no longer suffering an economic down turn. How can this new structure be used against the competition in a global market

– How do we influence and delegate various levels of Authority and Legitimate power to employees to further organizational efficiency
– How do we implement different concepts of power type to our current and future organizational design?
– With the acquisition of new companies, interorganizational conflict will arise.

Structural and personal factors lead to conflict in organizations. What key factors can we work on to heighten Emotional Intelligence?


– We can see that the company started as a small structure. The power was in the hands of Robert Meggie ” taking orders to making sales calls to running one of the machines and shipping out the completed orders.

– Expert Power has been implemented through the hiring of a recently laid off salesperson from one of its largest companies (supply shipping first). The member of the organization “Upped our business 80 percent overnight”
– and highlighted the importance of a strong sales force

– Eventually Meggie required the skills and expertise of another person (for sales and marketing) Meggie was then responsible only for administration and production (we can see a change into a slightly more divisional structure, based on the services) –
* Administration
* Production

– The Six types of OD structures can fall under two comprehensive categories (Mechanistic and Organic) we can identify GLBC as being closer to the organic side.

(No one company can be purely be from one side or the other)

– We can see that size is increasing for the company (Absorption of Parrot Label (label capabilities), Vanisle Packaging (P provider on Vancouver Island), and Action Box Company (Lead provider of protective packaging in BC). This also forwards the Formalization and Specialization of the company. This in turns decentralizes decision-making.

– The past economic downturn had the small, agile company cut into an edge in the market. However, the now growing expansion has the need for strategic leader ship that can facilitate access to the company’s capabilities and knowledge.

– We do not have any type of standardization information present for this company. We have nothing that points to identification of a standardization of company management. (Rules, Policies, Documentation)

– As the company is continuing to grow, centralization is also growing. This is demonstrated by the monthly meetings that Meggie administers. The information shared is a vehicle of empowerment for the people below him at the various locations.

– Meggie also meets with everyone twice a year in groups, to provide “a state of the nation” (Centralized Authority Structure)
– It is possible to assume that as the complexity of the structure increases, so does the political element of the strategic decision processes- As the company grows Meggie may be faces with a problem where he may have to balance efficiency orientation and the quality orientation of the organization.

Problem Analysis

– Information Technology and communication systems can lead to interworking with the company. These companies are less hierarchical and more engaged into external networking.
– This will deter a delay in decision-making, and increase the quality of the decisions being made. The right information is meeting with the right people. And no one is being overloaded with data.

– Coordinating plans can be not as effective in a changing structure, if the it is designed poorly
– GLBC at times may experience powerlessness can due to existing staff being grouped with newly acquired companies, and experience conflict. (Changing OD Structure)
– We must share power between people to project empowerment to the people?

– Information Power is the access and control to information that can be used by managers to establish power. We should use current technologies to share the proper information to the right people

– A high level of Vertical Differentiation must be in place for the organization to consider growing in size (global market).
– Horizontal Differentiation must be at a level where the needs of the customers are met by the specific Organizational Units (domestic and foreign operations). Conflict can arise from the improper grouping of processes. Refer to page 253 (Technology)

– Formalization, specialization, standardization, and centralization.
– Must allow the proper authority to make key decisions, but allow the parent firm to allow the goals of the organization to be in check at the same time. Page 253 (Size)

– Structural Factors can lead up to a cause of conflict in an organization. We can identify this through the specialization of companies that have been absorbed by GLBC.
– In a big box company, Interdependence will become prevalent. All the groups rely on each other to create the finished product. It one section where to fail, it will be easy for one of the groups to blame another group.( Negative Consequences )

– Functional Conflict – Can be used to promote new solutions to problems and promote creativity.

Recommended Solutions

– We want to lead up to a semi – autonomous system. Where organizations can self-manage and controls themselves. o The negative consequence in choosing this route is the possibility if a section of the company to lose track of the focus of the company. o A section might be given so much freedom that they can lead to a huge economic loss in not in check o Can be positive due to authority based decisions to be transferred completely to another autonomous unit, thus having speed and being unhampered by politics. o Delegation of tasks (Semi-Autonomous) will always answer to the organization but still be allowed to do its own thing

– Authority, Legitimate Power – Can be deployed to specific people with the use of information technology (For an example, Microsoft Domain Networks with separate Organizational Units) the proper people with have the proper knowledge, (The higher ups can be exposed to more but not actually work with it, people lower in the hierarchy can see less but more action orientated with it. (Goal setting mechanism)) o Very similar to authority, Based on mutual agreement of the structure and the target.

We must make it visible to all workers, who is where and what they can do. o The negative side is that, people can choose to ignore people they do not respect. And later be swayed by referent power (They persons charisma) o It’s crucial to identify the group’s main source of authoritative inspirations and deploy someone who can meet the power needs. o A engineer is more likely to Expert Power and Reward Power more than the other power types. We can tell this by their personality type ENTJ INTP (Intuitive types). Perhaps even if we have a lot of EN** we can find a charismatic person that can a lot of expert power J

– If we cannot show a proper power structure to a changing organization, we may find people attempt to resort to political power to gain power. For an example, character assassinations. People may start to take favourites or put down people that will not help them achieve their power goals. -People may try to gain people under a personal agenda book

-Make themselves look socially better
-Influence people without using power ethically

– To deter this, again legitimate power can be instilled
– Vertical Differentiation
– We have to have solid management with Authority. Progression up the company is clear and hierarchical. Communication flows vertically up and down
– Disadvantages

We have individual containers for each section of a geographical area that is in charge of it owns sales, BUT Production is to remain consistent across all locations to have the brand product remain the same. The respective marketing is left up to the location is thus does not have to answer to the higher ups CEO in the company. This will prevent information overloading with the OD. The (Project Manager) will have the ability to work in two difference areas. As a regular projects manager in the Marketing Dept and as a functional Production manager.

The right people to complete the tasks will be pulled from the locations thus leading to a organisations intimacy through the location. Also this provides for a need for achievement and affiliation. People will not feel like they are stuck in a certain area. In addition, the ability to flex positions would be present. Once they task is completed staff can be returned or combined with several structures creating a hybrid entity.