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    Right-Way Supermarket Case

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    Fred Ferrell the store manager of the Right-Way Supermarket in Beaumont, a small suburban area of some 1,300 families. The store's staff consists of a produce manager, a meat manager and butcher, five checkers, four stockers, and a receiving clerk. The store operates six days per week from 9.00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

    Last week Mr. Ferrell hired Amy Caldwell to replace the store's receiving clerk. Since graduating from high school last June, Amy has worked for one other supermarket full time. She applied for the job at Right-Way to gain new experiences and because the job paid $1 more per hour than she was making at the other store. Amy likes the retail food business and hopes one day to manage a store of her own. She plans to start school again next fall.

    After two ten-hour days of training under Mr. Ferrell, Amy felt she knew the operation and procedures well enough to proceed on her own. But Mr. Ferrell thought otherwise. For the rest of Amy's first week, Fred Ferrell was looking over Amy's shoulder on a regular basis. It seemed that Amy couldn't do anything without Ferrell's checking it out for himself. Amy's tasks included the receipt, inspection, arrangement, and stacking of inventory received from a central supply warehouse owned and operated by the parent company. She was also responsible for the various inventory control procedures and related paperwork.

    Over the weekend between her first and second weeks, Amy studied the inventory procedures and records. She roughed out a system for streamlining the handling and felt she had found a way to reduce the amount of paperwork by combining several forms into one and using the computer system to print forms simultaneously. Amy felt if she could sell these proposals to Mr. Ferrell, not only his store, but all stores in the chain, could benefit. After some hasty calculations, she figured that nearly one hour per day would be saved and several hundred dollars in unnecessary forms could be eliminated.
    Amy started work at 6:30 a.m. the following Monday, full of enthusiasm. When Mr. Ferrell arrived at 8:00 a.m., Amy was waiting for him at the door, her notes in hand. Before Amy could speak, however, Ferrell asked her what she was doing up front. Amy replied that she had already handled this morning's deliveries and wanted to talk over a "proposal" with Mr. Ferrell. Ferrell then pulled out a piece of paper out of his pocket and began to go over each item on this checklist with Amy. When he got to item 10 on the list, Amy replied that she would take care of that this afternoon. Ferrell told her to take care of it now. Amy tried again to explain that she had some ideas to speed up the receiving operation. Ferrell replied, "You kids are really something else. You've been here a week and already you're running the place. What makes you think you know a better way? The procedures we use come from downtown. That is good enough for me. Now get to those cases out back."

    Discussion Questions:

    1. What motivational approach is Mr. Ferrell using?

    2. Amy has asked your advice. What would you suggest that she do? What are her alternatives?

    3. What advice would you have for the general manager of Right-Way's Supermarket parent corporation?

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    Solution Preview

    Let's take a closer look at these interesting questions.


    1. What motivational approach is Mr. Ferrell using?

    Mr. Ferrell appears to be using Theory X, which sets up an authoritarian controlling management approach. (http://www.allbusiness.com/management/management-theory/10205140-1.html).

    McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y motivational approach identifies polar differences in subordinates. These are two opposing perceptions about how people view human behavior at work and organizational life. With Theory X assumptions, management's role is to coerce and control employees, which Ferrell demonstrates through giving her a list of what to do and "told her to take care of it now." Theory X assumes that:

    ? People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever ...

    Solution Summary

    In reference to the Right-Way Supermarket Case, this solution provides assistance with the discussion questions. It discusses the motivational approach of Mr. Ferrell. It also discusses what type of advice to give Amy and what her alternatives are. It also provides suggestions for advice for the general manager of Right-Way's Supermarket parent corporation.