Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies


Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies


Article excerpt

Case Overview

The Toluca case series is a largely autobiographical account of an American senior executive's first major assignment as the Gerente General (General Manager) of a troublesome plant in Mexico. As the sequence of events are described neither the ultimate success of this specific assignment -at age thirty overseeing 650 foreign workers--nor his later promotion to the role of President and CEO of the Corporation seventeen years later, are foreshadowed in the earlier cases. This case series is not only decision-focused but also focuses on the antecedents of a formal decision. Namely how a problem or opportunity might be framed as understanding--and the elements of an "Emergent (or Evolving) Plan"--coalesce overtime. As a result, this case series presents instructors with an opportunity to model the value of reflection-in-and-on-action which is at the heart of the five century old Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. For example, at many points there is space for classes to think at multiple levels about the significance of the events that have been described, and how the participants may perceive the problem. Accordingly, this case is also about the development of an executive's habits of thought, action and values, the development of young manager into a senior executive, changing an organizational culture, technology transfer within a corporation, and the challenges of managing a foreign subsidiary during a turnaround.

Research Methods

This decision case was based on the following primary source. Information about the company and direct quotes were obtained from Jim Joseph's lived experience.

The real names of people mentioned within the case have been disguised.

Learning Outcomes

In completing this assignment, students should be able to:

Toluca Module A:

A1. Articulate the dilemma faced by management in allocating talent

A2. Compare and contrast corporate culture and societal culture

A3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an autocratic leadership style vs. a transformational leadership style

Toluca Module B:

B1. Describe the planning required in order to have effective communication between management and employees

B2. Assess the efficacy of a collaborative style of conflict resolution

Toluca Module C:

C1. Describe how an effective leader gains visibility for their project in a large organization

C2. Outside of a personal skill set, summarize other elements necessary to change a toxic culture

Discussions Questions:

Toluca Module A:

A1. Why would management choose to reassign Ed from the seemingly important ERP system implementation project and send him to Mexico? (LOA1)

A2. Does Ed have a responsibility to understand Mexican culture as well as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as he is directing resources to make the Oneida Mexicana operations more consistent with the Oneida corporate culture? (LOA2)

A3. Why did Floyd feel the need to lead with an iron fist and why did Ed decide to take a different approach? (LOA3)

Toluca Module B:

B1. What are the pros and cons of the timing and implementation of the communication day? (LOB1)

B2. What other options did Ed have to resolve the payroll problem? Could the conflict have been avoided? (LOB2)

Toluca Module C:

C1. How did Ed decide it was time to involve Oneida headquarters? (LOC1)

C2. What is the strategy that Ed used to achieve his initial goals of 1. stabilizing the organization, 2. creating a team that worked with the Mexican trait of collectivity not against, 3. Increasing visibility and resources from headquarters? (LOC2)

Answers to Discussion Questions

Toluca Module A

A1. Why would management choose to reassign Ed from the seemingly important ERP system implementation project and send him to Mexico? …

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