Kenworth Motors’, truck manufacturing operations is located in Kirkland, Washington, and has an excellent reputation for building a wide range of vocational trucks since 1923 (Kenworth). Robert Denton is the Plant Manager of the operations center and has been on the job for eight months. He contracted for an Organizational Development (OD) consultant, who shall remain nameless, and was highly recommended by a mutual colleague of Denton’s. The mutual colleague believed that the OD consultant could help Denton. Denton wanted an OD expert to evaluate the plant operations, since he believed that Kenworth’s management team was not working together, even though production of the plant was operating effectively and efficiently. After little to no preparation by the OD consultant, he drove cross-state to meet Denton at Kenworth Motors’ operations plant. Once arriving, the OD consultant made small talk with Denton, and introduced an option of interviewing workers even though there may be risks associated with this type of analytical method.
After Denton realized that was not a route he desired to go, the OD consultant offered to organize a retreat that would be geared towards finding causes of friction and dysfunctionality within the company. After Denton agreed to go this route he asked the OD consultant, “How would we do this”? And the OD consultant responded that Denton would just have to trust him (Cummings, T. G. & Worley, C. G.). Problem Significance
The problem in this situation is that neither Denton nor the OD consultant did their jobs by performing their research or following company processes, resulting in both parties jumping into a “plan” without any formal research, analysis, or planning. The OD consultant came across as very apathetic because he did not do his part in researching the company prior to the meeting and assumed he was pretty much handed a client based on his relationship with another client, who was a mutual friend of Denton’s. Denton, did not follow procurement management procedures, as most likely Kenworth Motors has processes on hiring outside consultants. It was not good management protocol by only taking the word of Denton’s colleague without verifying the OD consultant’s qualifications, experience, and success factors that would contribute to an effective assessment of the plant’s operations. In most cases, there would have been a request for proposal and a statement of work drawn up, so the OD consultant would know what the requirements of the assessment would entail. Analysis
There are several business mistakes that have been made throughout this case. First, the OD consultant did not conduct any type of research prior to arriving at the company. Second, throughout the case study, the OD consultant mentions several times that he was worried how Denton perceived him, instead of focusing on the best plan of action for the company, (Cummings, T. G. & Worley, C. G.). Third, the OD consultant was well aware of his own schedule, knowing that he would not have much time to commit, but went ahead and set up an appointment with the idea that he would not have to put in much work to complete the project.
It appeared that the OD consultant was only concerned with obtaining more clients through this new relationship. Fourth, after coming to an agreement on a course of action to take to better the relationship of Denton’s management team and to surface underlying problems that previously existed in the company, the OD consultant’s plan was solely to just “trust me” without a written plan of action in place; he was clearly “going off the cuff.” Fifth, although not stated, it is assumed that Denton was at fault for not following company processes when hiring consultants and he did not have a statement of what the work entailed (Cummings, T. G. & Worley, C. G.).
The OD consultant’s plan to go into this company with no prior knowledge, no prior research, virtually no valuable time to give, and an “off the cuff” plan was poor planning. According to the case study, Kenworth Motors was experiencing a healthy trend in the workplace, profits were up, and management was on top of their game within their departments; however, Denton believed that something was off in the organization. Because the OD consultant did not perform any research on Kenworth Motors, he did not realize that the assessment would require in-depth research to the cause of Denton’s perception of management not working together. It appears that the OD consultant is planning to use one of the three theories of planned change, the positive model, during his analysis.
This model focuses on what the organization is doing right. It helps members understand their organization when it is working at its best and builds off those capabilities to achieve even better results. Unfortunately, the OD consultant is not using the model effectively. To better put this plan into motion, it would be wise for the OD consultant to come up with a specific set of questions, interview the workers, analyze the results, provide findings and recommendations, and set goals and objectives to help move the company forward.
Cummings, T. G. & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organizational development and change (10th ed). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Kenworth Motors. About Us. [Online]. http://www.kenworth.com/about-us/