Westco Case Study

From Suntan’s perspective, family is her most important obligation. Now that her son is out of the house, she has more time available for her career and feels that she is ready to take on more responsibility, but John does not seem to have any intentions of letting her move up the ladder. John’s comments about Susan sound like he is not considering her for the program because she has not played enough politics within the organization.

Oscar, on the other hand, feels that he has put in a good effort and has proven that he should have the chance to join the management development program, but once again John gives less than a considerate when response when approached by Oscar. John’s comments to Kyle about Oscar seem to indicate that he is only interested in saving face for the company. He talks about Scar’s accent and also mentions that he was only hired because John was on leave. This is a classic case of the glass ceiling, where minorities cannot move up the ladder due to ignorant managers and poor diversity management.

The major organizational factor that is contributing to this problem is that there seems to be very little effort to manage diversity. Kyle is very concerned about employee satisfaction, which is good, but he needs to make a more conscious effort to make sure that all people are enabled to reach their maximum potential. For instance, according to organizational chart, there are two women in management positions, but Susan is being held back by John due to her age not her gender.

John is not letting Oscar gain any responsibility simply for his accent and does not even think he should have the job he has now. Oscar and Susan have fallen victim to John’s ethnocentrism. It seems that as a whole, Weston might value diversity due to the fact that there are two female managers and there are Latino managers in Detroit and Chicago, but John clearly does not know or believe that there are very real advantages to having diversity within a company. Kyle needs to implement a few changes around his office.

First he needs to have John go through some diversity management training so that he can see past his own perceptions and more effectively manage his department. For instance he might benefit from learning that when senior management better fleets the market, product launches are more successful. Kyle should also go ahead and enroll both Susan and Oscar in the manager development program. Enrolling them in the program is not guaranteeing them a managerial position and the whole company benefits from employees gaining leadership experience and knowledge.

If John’s concerns about neither Oscar nor Susan being manager material turn out to be viable then they will flesh themselves out in the training. This way John might see past his own perceptions, Susan and Oscar are given a chance to prove themselves, and Weston can benefit from gaining more diverse management. Three initiatives that Weston should definitely consider taking are mentoring programs, diversity task forces, and job rotation.

Mentoring programs are extremely useful when it comes to strengthening relationships and giving minorities access to informal political networks. If Weston is going to remove the glass ceiling held in place by people like John, they must first give minorities a fighting chance by giving them access to the networks that are not as easy for them to be a part of. One of John’s primary concerns about Susan was that she did not spend enough time with the other employees outside the office and that seemed to indicate a lack of dedication on her part to him.

The mentoring program would help eliminate the need for Susan to make such an effort outside of work, which has nothing to do with her performance and would insert her into the group that does meet outside of work. Diversity task forces are great for giving minorities a voice and helping management to gain knowledge and understanding of how to best manage their own diversity. Minorities would be given a chance to express their encores and demonstrate their value through these task forces and managers like John would be forced to address these concerns and see each of the strengths that these employees bring to the table.

Probably the most beneficial implementation in preventing similar situations to this one would be job rotation. John mentioned that he would never want Oscar handling a presentation in front of big clients, but he is only concerned with image, not Scar’s performance. Having Oscar handle a big presentation could actually help strengthen relationships with clients by showing them Weston is not so en dimensional. Job rotation gives managers a chance to see employees’ individual strengths and weaknesses so they can better place them in projects.

It also helps in understanding both other employees and the company as a whole. By instituting these changes, Kyle can expect a happier and more effective workforce. Realistically, the biggest limitations in instituting these measures would be time and resistance to change. It would take a lot of time to organize, plan, and institute the changes. The managers would have to take time away from focusing on things such as clients, rodents, and resources to focus on the new programs.

In addition, it is well understood that people feel adversely towards change, so there would undoubtedly be negative attitudes towards the changes by both managers and employees. According to the discussions held in class, these limitations can not only be overcome, but are worth overcoming for higher profits, higher employee satisfaction, and better relationships with consumers. Effective diversity management is essential in business practices today as it can mean the difference between a failing and a successful company.