Erik Peterson Case Part I What Problems Essay

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Erik Peterson Case Part I

What problems are facing Erik Peterson?

Internal Factors

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCBs). One of the most significant problems that Peterson faced was the lack of communication throughout the CelluComm organization. A number of people were hired or placed in positions without the communication that would typically be expected. Peterson actually did not know who he reported to, so he was unclear on specific functions that he was responsible for as well as his relationship with other people in the CelluComm organization. Peterson initially made some mistaken assumptions about working directly with Jenkins when he joined CelluCom, and did not seek clarification that would have filled in some of these gaps.

Inadequate human capital. Peterson also lacked specific working knowledge of the cellular industry that was necessary for him to perform well, and Hardy also lacked similar experience. Hardy was therefore unable to mentor Peterson in the areas where he needed coaching.

Lack of high performance work practices (HPWPs). Peterson was also given a significant amount of responsibility, but was not given the authority to go with it. He was second-guessed on a number of decisions, even though there were probably no rules or guidelines that he was specifically told to follow.

Lack of high performance work practices (HPWPs). Peterson also had problems with the team that reported to him. Curt Andrews's success was critical for their project, but yet his performance was marginal. It was inexcusable that Andrews continued to run out of radios, and that Hardy refused to transfer and replace Andrews. The fact that Andrews was involved in ongoing conflicts with Melissa, Trevor, and Todd were further indications of how difficult a problem Curt posed. CelluComm set Andrews was up for failure by placing him in a position for which he lacked the required skills during a timeframe which didn't allow him much of a learning curve. This personnel mismatch then became Peterson's problem.

It should also be mentioned that Andrews' references to himself as a "male chauvinist" were unacceptable and contributed to a hostile work environment for the women in the organization.

Lack of organizational effectiveness. Peterson faced problems with his handling of salary issues for both Melissa and for Trevor. Erik failed to get the appropriate input from HR, which department appears to have been missing in action throughout much of GMCT and CelluComm's operations.

Lack of organizational effectiveness. Peterson faced another personnel problem with putting Stevana Hanes into the construction coordinator position. His delay in informing Mike Delavo made matters worse for the three of them.

Lack of high performance work practices (HPWP). Peterson's concern that Hardy was insecure in his relationship with Jenkins was another problem for Paterson. The reorganization that brought Dash in as VP only worsened Hardy's situation.

Lack of high performance work practices (HPWP). Peterson's relationship with Cantor and Green was another problem once they took on the zoning challenges, especially since Peterson was not comfortable asking them to report their status to him.

External Factors

Lack of organizational effectiveness. One of the problems Peterson faced was the necessity to meet external deadlines and system specifications. Peterson was required to have 16 of 21 cells operational at the time that the system would be turned on. Less than 16 cells would provide inadequate coverage for cell signaling. Less than full coverage of the GMCT service would result in dead zones and dropped calls and create customer service issues. This would in turn put GMCT at a competitive disadvantage, with potential sales lost to NET.

Lack of structural capital. Another problem for Peterson was the need to get 16 cells operational by the agreed turn-on date, which required the timely delivery of equipment. Peterson also had no control over the four-month delay that Jenkins caused by not deciding on dual-mode radios until February. Likewise, the decision by headquarters to have all power supplies to include backup batteries also contributed to scheduling problems for Peterson, as did the decision to change the frequency reuse pattern. While there issues arose because of internal decisions within CelluComm, they created problems with suppliers who were external to GMCT and CelluComm.

Open systems. Zoning problems were another challenge for Peterson, another external factor that was also affected by lack of support for his decisions by Hardy. As an organization, CelluComm lacked the open systems perspective.

Lack of organizational effectiveness. The local utility presented another problem for Peterson with their delays to the make-ready process.

2. What are the underlying causes of these problems?

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCBs). The underlying cause of ineffective internal communication is poor OCB. By not keeping each other informed, CelluComm and GMCT did not support their company's social and psychological context. CelluComm and GMCT personnel took part in counterproductive work behaviors (CWs) that affected their organizational effectiveness. Knowledge acquisition, sharing, and use did not happen in a way that would encourage HPWPs.

Inadequate human capital. Not just Peterson, but Hardy, Curt, Trevor and others all possessed insufficient human capital, the knowledge required to do their jobs, which in turn affected their organizational effectiveness.

Lack of high performance work practices (HPWPs). The underlying cause of CelluComm and GMCT lacking HPWPs was their lack of internal systems and structures that would facilitate employee and company success. Established procedures should have been set up but were not; information should have been passed back and forth but was not; clear lines of reporting should have been set up but were not.

Lack of organizational effectiveness. CelluComm and GMCT personnel lacked an open systems perspective, when it came to their interactions with the local telephone company and local communities.

Lack of structural capital. The underlying cause was putting people into positions who were lacking in human capital, the knowledge necessary to do their jobs. They in turn contributed to a lack of structural capital which showed up in CelluComm's and GMCT's inadequate procedures, especially shown by their haphazard approach to decisions about their equipment and their impact on scheduling.

3. How effective has Peterson been in taking charge of the Hanover startup in terms of a) managing the new operation and b) providing leadership?

Managing the New Operation

Peterson gets mixed reviews for his effectiveness. Peterson effectively identified Curt as one source of scheduling problems, but was unable to get Hardy's cooperation in transferring him to a position that better matched his skills. Peterson also hired or transferred people to perform critical tasks that needed doing. On the other hand, Peterson avoided asking for resolution or information when necessary and was more comfortable with just avoiding conflict. Peterson was also indecisive on more than one occasion.

Providing Leadership

Peterson showed leadership in trying to promote a spirit of cooperation within his team. He also tried to resolve problems that he ran into. At the same time though, he failed to show leadership by not addressing some challenges proactively, such as telling Delavo that he would be reporting to Stevana. Likewise, the issues with Todd and Trevor's salaries could have been better handled with more planning and research.

4. What actions, if any, should Peterson take to turn the situation around and prepare for his meeting with Chip Knight?

None of Peterson's problems lent themselves to short-term solutions that could be turned around in time for Chip's visit.

Improve communications. The most that Peterson could do in the short-term would be to identify the problems he's facing, along with possible solutions, as well as give Chip current status. To make sure that they cover everything, Peterson should provide Chip with a formal agenda and status report for their meeting.

Erik Peterson Case Part II

1. What went wrong during management's visit, and what could Peterson have done differently?

One of the things that went wrong was Peterson didn't manage his managers and he continued not to communicate. Neither Jenkins nor Knight provided an agenda, and Peterson didn't ask for or propose one. Consequently Peterson had no idea what to expect, was always in reactive mode and made to feel ill at ease.

Knight's reassurance to Peterson that he need not worry about Jenkins' and Dash's visit was just not accurate information. Given the consistently poor communications within CelluComm, Knight probably shared as much as knew, and Jenkins and Dash probably had not made clear the purpose for their visit. Worse yet, for several months they did not appear to have communicated much of anything to Peterson as to what was expected of him. For example, if Jenkins expected significantly more than 2000 subscribers at turn-on, how was it that this was Peterson's first time hearing about it during this visit? Again, was the HR department asleep at the wheel? Peterson's compensation and performance should have been determined by specific metrics and goals, and the number of subscribers, which correlates to revenue Peterson brought in, should have been a part of that formula.

For his part, Peterson had not asked enough questions prior to the visit, didn't know what to expect and was poorly prepared.…[continue]

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