Management Case Study

ManagementCase Study

Thispaper will focus on the dilemma faced by Sally Dawson, who iscurrently a line manager at SilkQueen, a manufacturing company ofhigh-quality fabrics. The use of different methods of leadership usedby managers and other senior officials in organizations is the focusof this paper. The dilemma faced by many managers is whether to usemanagement styles that focus on the productivity alone or one thatcreates a better relationship with their subordinates. The option forhigher productivity usually leads to huge profit gains for anorganization. However, the relationship of the workers with theirsupervisors usually tends to deteriorate. This is because the workerswill start feeling that the working conditions they are under are toomuch to handle, and they only comply for fear of losing their jobs.This results in dissatisfaction and resentment from the workers tothe managers. This creates a very hostile work environment. The formof management can be the participatory style. This is where themanager or supervisor works closely with their subordinates. Itensures that no major decision is made without the consultation ofthe employees. This results in a very friendly work environment wherethe senior officials are treated with respect, and there is noresentment. An organization with such a working environment benefitsgreatly as productivity tends to increase, as the morale of theemployees is high (Avolio &amp Yammarino, 2013). The followingdiscussion will focus on Sally Dawson and the approach she has totake in the choices she has about her future career path. The prosand cons of each venture will be well defined and at the end, asufficient recommendation and its subsequent implementation plan willbe added.


SallyDawson has been a line manager at Silk Queen for about three months.Despite her academic qualifications, cross-cultural managementskills, her vast international experience and her 15-year workexperience in the field of Human Resource Management, she faceshostility and resentment from her subordinate workers. She seemsunfazed by this hostility as she rarely interacts with the workers.Her strategy to improve productivity by changing the working hoursand creating night and day shifts worked well in only one sector.This was the productivity that increased by 20%. The workers werevery unhappy with these hour changes. They felt that they should havefirst been consulted before Sally made such a big decision. When thisissue is brought to the attention of the General Manager, MichaelRibero, he calls Sally to his office and tells her about the worker’sgrievances. Sally is appalled for she saw herself as an efficientmanager considering her record of accomplishment, especially in theAsian plants. She feels that her efforts are not being appreciatedconsidering how much of her social life she has had to sacrifice forthe company. She now considers quitting her job to open aconsultation firm. Therefore, the main problem is whether she staysand finds a way of relating better with her subordinates or to justpack and go and be her boss.


SallyDawson is exceptionally talented. With three degrees in HumanResource Management with 15 years of experience in the same field,she seems unstoppable. Added to these qualifications is fluency inMandarin and Bahasa, a vast international travel experience andcompetence in cross-cultural management skills. Having worked in sixdifferent Asian countries for the fabric manufacturing company calledSilkQueen, she gets a transfer to the main manufacturing plant inAustralia to become a line manager. This is a position that is mainlyfor men in that plant. Although the company employees are mainlyfemale, the position of line manager has always had men. Sally is,therefore, the first female line manager.

Withinthe first three months, since she started her job as a line manager,Sally’s reputation among the plant workers is terrible. The workershad expected that since she was a woman, her management strategywould have been nurturing and caring. However, she seemed like shewas not concerned at all with the plight of the workers. The maincause of disagreement began after Sally implemented a new strategy toincrease productivity in her section. With her move from Asia toAustralia, Sally wanted to change her focus on her job. She workedhard until she came up with a strategy that would increaseproductivity in the plant. She decided to increase the plantoperation hours from the usual ten hours to around the clock. Sheplanned the whole transformation well, reducing the number of hourseach worker had to work in a day from ten to eight and then dividinga full day into three eight-hour shifts. The shifts ran as follows6am-2pm, 2pm-10pm and 10pm-6am. This strategy resulted in a 20%increase in the production within those three months, and thepercentage was set to get even higher with more time.

Eventhough Sally’s strategy was very beneficial to the organization,her efforts were not taken as well as she had hoped. Her main problemwas that she had brought about this transformational strategy withoutconsulting any of the workers at the plant, the shareholders and anyother person of interest with the SilkQueen Company. The workers feltthat they were blindsided with this new strategy since none of themhad any say in it. Sally had thought that she had helped the workersby cutting down their working hours in a week from fifty to fortyhours while receiving the same pay as before. The workers felt thatthe new strategy made the ones working the morning shift to come towork two hours earlier than before, which was a nuisance. Others whohad children to worry about felt that paying for a babysitter was tooexpensive. Other workers started spending less time with their familyespecially those who were on the afternoon shift. Sally had given theworkers the option of choosing the shift they preferred. This was theonly part of the whole strategy that the workers had been given somepower over. They were too scared to refuse the new strategy as mostfeared they might lose their jobs. Sally also practiced an indirectform of leadership or management. She was not involved with hersubordinate workers, and she was frequently locked in her office. Shenever visited the plant to interact with the workers and to get afeel for their working conditions. The workers treated her withhostility and indifference due to her antisocial behavior. They feltthat Sally was not concerned at all about their welfare. This was anew experience for Sally because while she was in Asia, she used thesame style of management yet the workers treated her with respect.The General Manager upon learning about Sally’s predicament, hecalled her to his office at the headquarters. Sally assumed that shewas going to receive praise for the increased productivity she hadachieved in only three months. However, what the General Manager toldher and the complaints that he had heard from Sally’s subordinatessurprised her. The manager needed her to use a more participativeform of leadership than what she was currently practicing. Sally wasdumbfounded she had not expected such an outcome. She felt that notall the sacrifices she had made, working late hours, the transfersacross Asia and a lack of social life were appreciated. She begancontemplating whether she should quit the organization and open herconsultation firm on cross-cultural management.

Leadershipand power could have been effectively used in this situation. Sallywas not simply a manager she was a leader since she came and changedthe daily operations and working hours within the plant. Herstrategies were transformational since they quickly began to showpositive results. Her main problem was that she failed to consultwith any stakeholders involved with the plant, more so her workers.If she had consulted the supervisors of the different sectors she washeading, the response for her strategy would have been much morepromising. The department supervisors would have given her the rightapproach to take when it came to the change of working hours. In thecase of the shifts, the supervisors would have provided lists ofworkers with children, and they would have divided the list usingthis as a factor. The workers with young children would have beengiven the 6 am to 2 pm shift so that they have adequate time to spendwith their children. If she had taken this approach, she would havegiven some form of power to the workers. This would have made themhave a better opinion of her. The hostility towards her would havereduced, and she would have received more respect from hersubordinates (Briggs et al., 2012).

Sallyshould have also worked on a better approach when it came to managingthe plant. Her initial method of managing might have been successfulin Asia where she was a foreigner. When she came back to Australia,she was back to being a local and should not have expected tocontinue the same approach that worked in the foreign country. Sheshould have been participating more in the processes that take placewithin the factory floor. She should have been more concerned withthe lives of her workers and be concerned with all the difficultiesthat faced hem. This would have generated more trust from theworkers, and they would not be planning to take a vote of noconfidence in her. These new management skills would have ensuredthat the workers are more motivated, and spirits would have been highon the plant (Briggs et al., 2012). This could have resulted in aneven greater increase in the productivity.

Sallyshould have also tried another approach where she would have dividedthe workers into groups or teams. Each team should have its dailytarget to achieve, and the quality of work produced should bemaintained at a high level. This would have created a healthycompetition among the workers and work productivity would haveincreased substantially. The work of Sally would have been to overseethe operations of these teams without the need interfere directly.This would have created a better workplace environment leading tobetter work performance from the subordinates (Goetsch &amp Davis,2014).


Theoptions that Sally Dawson faced were whether to quit her job and toopen a consultancy firm on cross-cultural management or she couldremain in her position and try to implement the changes that theGeneral Manager hinted to her. This part of the options analysis willconsider the two scenarios with their pros and cons.

Quittingher job


• Sheis very skilled at cross-cultural management with experience ofseveral years. Starting and running a consultation firm will be veryeasy for her.

• Shewill be her boss and therefore, she will command all the respectsshe deserves.

• Shecan have flexible working hours to ensure that she revives her sociallife.

• Withher vast experience in international travel, she has met andinteracted with many individuals and organizations. Getting clientsfor the consultancy firm will not be a problem.

• Shewill be able to implement any policy or strategy without the fear ofa possible vote of no confidence.

• Shewould achieve self-fulfillment as her hard work will get appreciationregarding the returns obtained after clients pay the consultationfees.

• Shewould substantially increase her financial status since 100% of thefirm’s assets will be hers, and it will be up to her to divide thereturns.

• Shecan get some enticing tax benefits by being self-employed.

• Shewould have avoided workplace politics.


• Therecould be instances of irregular working hours especially when thereis a lot of work to finish, and the firm may still have a shortage ofstaff. This could lead to overworking and fatigue.

• Employeesof some of the companies that may hire them to offer assistance donot like some consultants. This would result in difficulty inachieving their work as the provision of resources is difficult.

• Sallywill fail to learn the proper style of management that would havemade her earn the respect of her workers.


• Shewould have implemented the participative method of administrationthat would make her employees feel that she is concerned with theirworking conditions.

• Shewould have benefited from learning the importance of consulting heremployees before making any major decisions.

• Shecan cause transformational strategies to the company that willsignificantly help the company.

• Withina few years, Sally’s hard work will pay off, and she will get apromotion to a more senior managerial position.


• Shewill still be working for an organization and therefore she will beunder constant supervision.

• Itwill take time before her promotions take place and this may requirea lot of patience.

• Hersocial life will still be at peril as she will be working long hoursat the plant trying to restore the management crisis.

• Itwill be long before she can achieve independent financial statussince most of her hard work will be to the company’s benefit.

• Officepolitics in the company will still affect her.


Thebest option for Sally Dawson to take would be to stay in the companyand work on better management skills. This option will enable her tolearn and interact with her subordinates. This ability will benefither in future when she gets a promotion to a much higher positionwithin the company. Another rationale for her remaining in thebusiness is that she has built a fifteen-year career that has spannedover six countries while working for the enterprise. Wastage of thislong history of work should not occur over a minor disagreement withher direct supervisor. Over the fifteen years that she has worked forthe SilkQueen, she has gained a lot of information and useful tipsthat may ultimately benefit her in the future. The skills sheobtained while working for the company is another added advantagethat she has gotten. All these talents may be some of therequirements that will be used to consider her for a top positionwithin the company. In the meantime, Sally should focus on a moreparticipative form of leadership, and she should work hard to get therespect of her workers. She should also concentrate on theproductivity of the plant but this time, she should ensure that allthe workers are aware of the strategies that she has planned. Sheshould also form a closer bond with her workers by visiting thefactory floor regularly and chat with the workers. This will build arelationship that will lead to trust (Avolio &amp Yammarino, 2013).Once this is achieved, the workplace environment in the plant will besubstantially less hostile.


ForSally Dawson to remain as a line manager at SilkQueen, she has tochange hefirstement strategies. The initial step would be to call ameeting where all the workers should be present. Sally should admitof her shortcomings after she took over the plant and assured theworkers that that trend will not be repeated. She should convince herworkers that she will consult hem before making any major decision,and she will listen to their opinions. She should immediately startcreating a rapport with her workers and start knowing details abouttheir lives. This will ensure the workers trust her more, and theywill be able to work under her (Avolio &amp Yammarino, 2013).Eventually, the performance of the plant will continue improvingwithout the need for creating disgruntled employees within thecompany.


Thispaper discussed the case study of Sally Dawson and the predicamentthat she faced. After finding out from her immediate supervisor thatshe was facing a mutiny within the plant, she was contemplatingquitting her job and starting her consultancy firm. Therecommendation that was presented was that she should remain in herposition and change her management approach. As a transformationalleader, Sally is a very useful member of the company. With heringenious strategic methods of improving production within the plant,the only thing lacking was her social skills. It is, therefore,evident that good management skills should incorporate people skills.The need to communicate with one’s subordinates is crucial increating healthy relationships that would ensure one is trusted bytheir workers. Managers should also learn to consult their workersbefore passing forth any policies. Workers who are given strategiesand policies to follow without prior consultation makes them resentthe management. They would feel like rules are enforced on them andtheir work performance may start to drop. For an organization tooperate smoothly and maintain high productivity, the workplaceenvironment should be friendly enough to promote this (Goetsch &ampDavis, 2014).


Avolio,B. J., &amp Yammarino, F. J. (Eds.). (2013). Transformationaland charismatic leadership: The road ahead(Vol. 5). Emerald Group Publishing.

Briggs,A. R., Morrison, M., &amp Coleman, M. (2012). Researchmethods in educational leadership and management.Sage Publications.


Daft,R. L. (2014). Faculty Director, Leadership Development Program (forOwen MBA students), Owen Graduate School of Management, 2005–2006..Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Owen Graduate School ofManagement, Vanderbilt University, 2001-2003 Ralph Owen Professor ofManagement, Vanderbilt University.

Goetsch,D. L., &amp Davis, S. B. (2014). Qualitymanagement for organizational excellence.pearson.

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