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Thomas Green Case Analysis Assignment

Question #1

1. I feel that Green is underperforming in his new role. I can attribute this to a few things:

I believe Green felt as if he had “paid his dues” and deserved this promotion, even though he had only been in the account executive role for such a short period of time. He wanted to “come in and dazzle them at Dynamic Displays”. Once he got the promotion, he felt as if he could take his foot off of the gas. He did not go into the new role with the same passion he had before. Also, Green assumed that since he had McDonald’s “endorsement”, she would be looking out for him, and would not let him fail.

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Green has not been able to adapt himself well to the new role. He is still more focused on the sales aspect, rather than the strategies behind the scenes. This was something Shannon McDonald was worried about from the beginning. Even Frank Davis mentioned it to McDonald about a month after his hire: “He is thinking like an account exec that is only concerned with the sales aspect”.

He has also been openly negative about Frank Davis’ sales projections in meetings. It was in poor form for Green to disagree with Davis so publicly, especially when he has no experience with the planning and forecasting process. It is understandable that he is itching to prove that he is worthwhile and capable of taking over his new role; however, he could have handled it much differently.

I honestly believe that Davis thought Green was going to far exceed his expectations, or at least hoped he would. Especially when you consider the fact that McDonald hired Green directly. Davis’ reaction suggests that he expected Green to be more eager to please him and not completely take advantage of his newly assumed power. I would imagine that Davis thought Green would be appreciative of the opportunity given to him, and make every effort to impress Davis. However, Green has been successful doing things his own way, and feels that he doesn’t need to be micromanaged to be successful in this new role.

This just comes down to cultural differences between Green and Davis. It could be because of Green’s age or just his desire to be defiant. Green probably felt that as long as he got the sale, Davis would stay off his back. Either way, this is not a great way to start off this new working relationship. Davis was already upset that he did not get to choose the person for this position, and Green was even told this by McDonald. Green should have tried harder, from the beginning, to prove to Davis that McDonald made a good decision.

In the article, “Managing Your Boss”, authors Gabarro ; Kotter talk about how employees need to take an inventory of their personality, and how they can tailor it in order to keep a civilized working relationship with their boss: “You are not going to change either your basic personality structure or that of your boss. But you can become aware of what it is about you that impedes or facilitates working with your boss and, with that awareness, take actions that make the relationship more effective” (P.96).

In summation, I think that Green is 60% culpable for the situation he is in. He was being naïve to think that he could just step into the role and perform at a high level. He was unwilling to adapt to the new culture, and the management style of Frank Davis. He should have been doing everything within his power to put all of Davis’ suspicions to rest.

Question #2
2. I think that McDonald hired Green for two main reasons. First, I think it was because McDonald and Green have similar backgrounds. Both are University of Georgia graduates, and Georgia natives. Also, I believe that Green “cajoled” McDonald into hiring him. It states in the case that McDonald took Green “under her wing”. I think that Green saw that, and took advantage of the situation by aggressively campaigning for the position. He even traveled to corporate several times to meet with McDonald. At that point, McDonald probably felt that she had to hire him for the spot.

As a result of this, I will assign 20% culpability to McDonald for the current situation. She essentially hired an unqualified candidate based mostly off of a personal relationship. She should have interviewed other candidates first, and if Green was still chosen, she should have provided more training and guidance. It also seemed as if she was not taking the feedback she was getting from Davis seriously. She never really acted upon this feedback until January (4 months later). At that point, it is almost too late to interject. Given the fact that she hired Green, I feel as if she should have been more proactive and more involved in his first few months in the role. This is an important job and Green was not given much direction and support to succeed.

Question #3
3. I think that Frank Davis’ leadership style has been a mixture of both coercion and legitimate authority. Frank wants to use his power and title to get Green to work the way Frank is used to. Since that has clearly not been effective, he has resorted to coercion as a last ditch effort. At this point, he is essentially telling Green to either get on board, or he will be fired. It could also be because he wants Green to fail. If the latter happens, he could then replace him with a person of his choosing.

Frank has used both of these methods, I believe, because McDonald hired Green directly without Davis’ approval. As a result, he feels the need to establish the hierarchy quickly. Now, when Davis saw this not being effective, and Green kept on doing his own thing, he moved to using coercion. Now, he does have Green’s attention. However, using these methods will not provide a long-term solution to this problem. According to Clawson, “Coercion may get people to comply in the short-run, but it will not have the staying power of the more respectful sources of influence” (P.199).

For all of the above reasons, I will assign 20% culpability to Davis for the current situation. I think that Davis, from the start, should have used “Expertise Influence” with Green. He is essentially following the same exact career path as Davis. Therefore, it would make sense for Davis to use his past experiences to assist in Green’s development, and get more “buy-in” from Green. This is something Frank should be paying more attention to.

Right now, according to Clawson, Green’s “buy-in” is somewhere between Level 5 and 7 (between Apathetic and Active Resistance). However, because of Davis’ use of coercion, Green might have moved up to Level 4 (Compliance) just to please him. There is no other real meaning behind this compliance, but to just appease Davis. Had he used “Expertise Influence” from the beginning, we could easily see Green at a Level 2 (Engagement).

Question #4
4. I think that Green should try to compromise and collaborate with Davis in order to save his job. He worked very hard for the position, why give it up? Green will not be able to survive much longer at Dynamic Displays if he does not try to adapt his work style to fit Davis’ ideals. He could still maintain some of his work style, while still appeasing Davis. For instance, Green could agree to update his calendar more regularly and notify Davis of his whereabouts. Additionally, Green could work to get Davis his reports, but Davis could agree to not give him a hard time if the reports are not received right away. Since Green has no experience with forecasting, Davis should allow him to get more exposure and training, maybe another Senior Market Specialist or a Market Specialist could take time to work with him. Once Green has more experience with forecasting, his ideas would actually have more basis, and he could even end up agreeing with Davis’ original forecasts. I think that if they both agree to make some concessions, Green and Davis could both be happier and spend more time focusing on making Dynamic Displays successful.

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