Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Adding Value at H & H Financial Services, Llc.1

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Adding Value at H & H Financial Services, Llc.1

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

This field-based, disguised teaching case describes the birth and continued growth of H & H Financial Services, LLC and how that growth has impacted work processes and procedures. The data for this case was gathered through personal experience of the primary author and interviews of co-workers. The case was written primarily for an undergraduate class in organizational behavior although it has applications to courses in small business, human resources, and strategic management.

The case follows a new hire, Debbie Matthews, as she faces the challenge of dealing with what appears to be a dead end job in that she has little opportunity for job enlargement and enrichment. After 11 months of working at H & H Financial and do the same old job with little to no challenge and growth potential, she wonders if it is worth it for her to stay with the company. Complicating factors in her decision include being a single mother, attending graduate school, and a very tough economic job market.

CASE SYNOPSIS

The case begins with a description of Christopher Blake's birth and growth of H & H Financial Services LLC. Mr. Blake, finding that a large corporate financial services firm was more interested in selling product than helping its clients, founded a part-time financial services firm which put people's needs above sales goals. With the growth of his little start-up venture, Mr. Blake left corporate to work full time in his burgeoning business and ended up hiring Jane Sutton (a former office manager in his corporate office) and two recent college graduates. The firm grew, moved into new office space, and was then reorganized by the now "office manager" Jane who created two departments; supplier and customer relations. Each college graduate became supervisor of the department as Mr. Blake also expanded his side of the operation by hiring two new agents who he was personally responsible for training and managing.

The firm continued to grow and moved once again while retaining its "departmentalization by function" organizational structure. Mr. Blake continued to manage the "front office" (client contact) side of the business while Ms. Sutton managed all of the back office customer and supplier services through her supervisors. Although each supervisor ran a "fun" department Jane ran a much more formal operation where "playing" was kept to a minimum.

The case is written from the perspective of the character Debbie Matthews, a recent college graduate who was hired by H & H Financial right out of college. A single mother in graduate school, Ms. Matthews is at first highly elated about the job given her desire to learn everything that she can. Reality sets in though when after two months she finds that all of her questions about how things work in her office are answered by Ms. Sutton in basically the same way; you do not need to know.

At the end of the case Ms. Matthews is wondering whether she should stay with the firm given her flexible schedule and her need to take care of her daughter or whether she should quit and find a job that she can grow with and continue to learn.

INTRODUCTION

"That doesn't concern you" was the response that resonated through the halls; a rejoinder that Debbie Matthews had heard a thousand times from Jane Sutton, the office manager, and was likely to hear again and again. It was around September of 2008 and after working at H&H Financial for 1 1 months, this was the same retort to all of her inquiries. Ms. Matthews thought to herself "I can't take this anymore! Why is it that none of my questions ever get answered? Why am I not allowed to learn here? What is my value to the company? Why do I still feel like an outsider? Why can't I use and improve my skills? Why? Why? Why?" Ms. Matthews was fuming as she walked out of yet another one of Jane's tiresome monthly office meetings having lost all motivation and feeling completely defeated. …

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