Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Slastyona Confectionary (B): The Factory General Manager

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Slastyona Confectionary (B): The Factory General Manager

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The subject matter of this case is leadership and managerial competence. The case has a difficulty level of four; it is appropriate for senior level and first year graduate students. The case is designed to be taught together with the Slastyona (A) case, or in a follow-up class for approximately 1/2 hour. The B case requires 1 hour of outside preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

The B case is designed to complement the Slastyona Confectionary (A) case by providing additional information on Wilton Winchester's leadership and competencies by providing a verbatim interview transcript. Winchester is the General Manager of Slastyona's Factory A. A team of management consultants completed a compensation project in the Slastyona A case and was to do a follow-up assignment that included interviews with managers. The B case begins President Jeffrey Walker asking the consultants "what they have learned" after interviewing Winchester. The rest of the case contains a transcript of a semi-structured interview with Winchester, designed to elicit comments that reveal behavior indicative of his leadership and managerial competencies.

SLASTYONA CONFECTIONARY (B)--THE FACTORY GENERAL MANAGER

Jeffrey Walker, President of Slastyona Confectionary, waited in his office for an informal meeting with Martina Espinosa, Director of Human Resources, and the management consultants who had been hired for a follow-up assignment after their recently completed compensation study.

Walker had asked the consultants to think again about what might need to be done at Factory A in Nizhniy Novgorod before changes in the pay structure could be implemented. He was convinced that a number of potential issues needed to be explored. After all, Factory A was intended to be the flagship manufacturing site in Russia, at which product innovation, new process technology, and manufacturing management training and development would be experimented with in the coming years. Whatever happened at Factory A would surely have an impact on the remaining 4 (soon to be 5) factories and throughout the whole firm in Russia.

Following their report with compensation policy recommendations, Walker had asked the consultants to "take another look" at Slastyona, and in particular at Factory A. What potential organizational and staffing issues needed to be planned for? What additional support did Moscow need to provide to Nizhniy Novgorod? What about the leadership and management competence of the people at HQ and in Factory A?

The consultants had begun to address his questions by carrying out a series of long interviews to assess managers at Moscow HQ and in Nizhniy Novgorod. In fact, they had interviewed Walker himself for about 3 hours, with tape recorders to capture every word! Their approach was semi-structured; they asked each manager to tell three "stories" in his or her own words. The first story was supposed to be about a success the interviewee had personally achieved at Slastyona. The second story was about a failure at Slastyona or elsewhere, and the third about either success or failure. Based on these interviews, the consultants would prepare reports about the competencies and cognitive capabilities of the managers, with recommendations for development.

Although the reports were still being prepared, Walker wanted the consultants' "unofficial" view of Wilton Winchester.

APPENDIX: PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF WINCHESTER INTERVIEW

Subject: Wilton Winchester, III

Age: 52

Company: Slastyona

Job: General Manager, Factory A

Interviewer: S

[Introductions, background, explanation of the 3-story format.]

S Very good, okay! So, I would like you to tell me three stories, about anything that interests you. Start with a success story, if you can think of one. Please tell me the title of your story before you proceed. …

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