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    Make a Case for Industrial Services of America

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    Each of the diagnostic models presented in Module One had particular strengths and weaknesses. The Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model is particularly strong in terms of Inputs. Therefore, for this part of the case, you are to analyze the Key Inputs of Industrial Services of America, Inc.

    From the reading you will see that there are four input categories:

    Environment (factors external to the organization)
    Resources (factors internal to the organization)
    Organizational history (Persistent Traditiona)
    Strategy (goals, objectives and strategic initiatives)

    You will see that the Key Factors in the first three input categories should support and integrate with the Strategy Input factor.


    Start by reading the article by Nadler and Tushman you downloaded from the Background page. Again, read pages 35 to the top of 43. This will tell you how to go about completing an analysis of Key Inputs.

    Refer to the assigned and optional readings in the background for this module.

    Review Case Analysis since it is so important in this final course. The purpose of a Case is to show that you have thought critically about the subject matter that you are learning AND to make an argument for a Claim about the specific situation in the Case assignment. Stephen Toulmin has developed an Argument Methodology that is very useful in Making a Case. To review Case Analysis and Toulmin's Argument Methodology, go to Making a Case page.

    Making a Case.

    The purpose of a Case is to show that you have thought critically about the subject matter that you are learning AND to make an argument for a Claim about the specific situation in the Case assignment. Toulmin has developed an Argument Methodology that is very useful in Making a Case.

    There are three Primary Elements in an Argument: the Claim, the Grounds, and the Warrant.

    The Claim is what you are trying to get people to accept. The Grounds are the evidence and all the information and data that you have to show why the claim should be accepted. The Warrant is underlying assumption or premise that is the general basis of the situation.

    The Claim can be a statement about a belief that you want to people to accepts and believe in them themselves, or it can be an action that you want people to do, such as buy a specific product, go somewhere, or some other action.

    The Grounds can be information and data that you obtain from different sources, such as research from the written references, interviews, discussions, personal observation, content from other media such as TV and radio. It can also be from calculations you have done using data from some source. The more evidence that you have, and the more readily acceptable the source of the data and information is, the better the argument and the easier it will be to Make a Case.

    The Warrant is the underlying general premise that is usually self-evident and that most people will agree on (but not always.)

    An Example of Making a Case.

    The organization we are studying for the Cases in this course is the Excellent Manufacturing Company (EMC), which is a small publicly traded company on the NASDAQ [Not really, it is fictitious]. The EMC provides fasteners and other hardware devices to the construction and home improvement markets in the Midwest region of the United States. This company has some specific issues which I will discuss in some detail below. Given the set of OD models from Falletta, which includes the most popular and useful, one of these models will be useful in analyzing the OD situation of EMC [this is the Warrant]. The model that I think is the best for analyzing EMC is Tichy's TPC Framework model [this is the Claim]. According to Faletta (1999), in this model all of the variables are interrelated and includes the environment as a variable and considers inputs, throughputs, and outputs. And other research has found that others in the realm of OD (Ref1, Ref2) say that the TPC model provides a strong approach for analyzing relationships among leadership and strategy, financial decisions and operational issues. Based on research of EMC, I have found that it has three issues which would benefit from some changes via OD analysis. Issue 1 is that EMC seems to have no real corporate strategy as it appears to be drifting from market to market (Ref3). Issue 2 centers on the investments EMC has made recently in its manufacturing facilities and equipment. Is there any alignment with any sort of strategy? (Ref. 3) And Issue 3 focuses on the fact that EMC has developed some quality issues around its Plasti-brak product line (Ref.4). Based on my analysis above, the evidence indicates that the TPC model is particularly strong with issues of strategy, financial investment, and operations (quality issues). Therefore the model should do well in determining how these issues interact with each other at EMC, and point the way to some possible solutions. Based on the evidence about the TPC model and the issues of EMC, the TPC model will provide a good OD analysis for EMC.


    Falletta (1999). Organizational Diagnostic Models: A Review & Synthesis.

    [End of Example]

    NOTE: in this example you see the highlighted colored sentences that are the Warrant and the Claim. The rest of the paragraph provides the Grounds, the evidence and data that substantiates the claim. You see that this evidence comes from the research of the information provided by the references and the analysis of the strengths of the model. Also, note the logic making the connection between the model and the issues.

    More about Argument Methodology

    Here are a few websites with more information about Toulmin's Argument Methodology.

    http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/making_argument/toulmin.htm Retrieved on 8/24/11

    http://owlet.letu.edu/contenthtml/research/toulmin.html Retrieved on 8/24/11

    Note that there are additional elements of an argument such as the Backing, the Qualifier and the Rebuttal. The Backing provides some evidence about the Warrant and hence backs it up. The Qualifier provides some possible conditions where the Claim may not hold. The Rebuttal provides evidence and information about the opposite view of the claim. Using these additional elements strengthens the argument and shows additional Critical Thinking.


    Make a Case for one of the following propositions: The inputs at Industrial Services of America, Inc. consisting of Organizational Environment factors, Internal Resource factors, and Historical Tradition factors, [highly support, partially support, or do not support] the company's mission. (Choose the level at which the Strategy is supported by the other factors.)

    TIP: The "Optional Material" provided below contains several journal articles that take an open systems view of organizational analysis. If you want to get a "feel" for what comes out of this type of analysis, feel free to check some of them out.

    Make a Case for which OD model you think is the best for doing an OD analysis for Industrial Services of America, Inc., based on several current issues the company is facing. There are several parts to this assignment.


    Case Expectations: In order to make this case, you first need to identify the Key Input factors in the first three categories. And you will also need to identify the specific strategy of the company. So the paper consists of the two main parts:

    Identify and discuss the Key Input factors from each of the four input categories (at least two each).
    Explain why these are critical (consider the strategy and how important each one is in providing support)
    Make the case as to whether the Key Input factors in the first three categories support the Strategy (classify the strategy according to Porter's three generic competitive strategies).

    You will not be able to identify all of the inputs in such a short paper, so

    First identify the most critical inputs in each of the first three categories and justify WHY they are critical. Also explain what effect the inputs from one category have on inputs from the other categories.

    Then discuss the organization's strategy and classify it according to Porter's three generic competitive strategies. How well does this strategy fit with the environmental, resource and historical inputs you identified?

    Make a Case for your proposition as to how the Key Inputs support the Strategy. You must support your analysis with objective evidence. Sources of information for the entire project may include organizational documents and reports, articles in newspapers and trade publications, even interviews and personal knowledge (though you should corroborate this when possible.) Be sure to cite your sources and provide a bibliography for each module's case.
    Write up your case in a 4-6 page paper (not including Title Page and References).

    Citations and References MUST BE IN APA FORMAT.

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    Solution Preview

    Key Inputs of Industrial Services of America, Inc:

    Industrial Services of America, Inc is a company which deals in recycling stainless steel, scrap, and the provision of waste services. The company has its operations in two segments that are recycling and waste services. The main operation of the company is in the United States and Canada. The company has its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky (Industrial services of America, Inc, 2011).

    Key input factors:

    Nadler Tushman provides four input categories such as the environment, resources, organizational history, and strategy. The environment includes the markets and the suppliers. Under resources, we have employees and capital. The organizations history inputs include key strategic decisions and the leadership behavior. Under strategy we have organizations mission and tactics.

    The above inputs are critical since organizations markets refer to area where the company disposes its products and services with an aim of generating a profit. The suppliers on the other hand are the individuals who provide the company with raw materials that they will require for operating their business. Employees and capital inputs under the category of resources employees and capital are considered critical since the employees will provide the required labor to the company and the capital input will be used in the acquisition of assets which are required by the organization.

    The key strategic decisions input are critical since the organization operates under the strategic decisions made and the leadership behavior determines how the employees within the organization will also behave. Finally, the inputs under strategy such as the organization's mission and tactics are important since it is composed of the statements which provide a goal for the ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution makes a case for the industrial services of America.