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Comments from the steering committee

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Despite the comments from the steering committee, your manager thinks that your proposal thus far is sound, and encourages you to take the next step - conducting research.

Develop a presentation of your proposal to date. You will need to use both literature review and data, and your sources need to be credible and current, In the speaker notes elaborate on your outline and give references to support your claim. Include information on the following:

Introduction to your proposal thus far
Definition of the problem
a purpose statement
Pertinent data that you have gathered to help you formulate your decision
The type of data you will gather, how it will be collected and how will it aid in your research.

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You have just been hired by Juicy Red Tomato Company as a human resources consultant. Juicy Red Tomato Company (JRT), a tomato grower operating in Florida, hired you to investigate (1) the effectiveness and efficiency of its organizational structure, and (2) the selection and maintenance of managerial personnel. The reason why? Internal costs are rising, key personnel are leaving, and the company is considering expanding its operations.

You are not the first consultant; your predecessor had started to develop a proposal, but left suddenly. Review the proposal in progress, then add what is needed to complete this initial stage of problem definition.
(Use the first five steps of the Research Process for Basic and Applied Research, Figure 4.1, on the Sekeran, p. 56, for formulating a full research design). You are asking for the first five steps, but it seems that most of this is already completed in the scenario below. However, I wrote-out the five steps from your attached Figure 4-1 and filled in from the scenario.

Following is your predecessor's work:

Juicy Red Tomato Company is a tomato grower, operating in Florida. The company has been in operation for 15 years, during which it has grown at a rate of about 5% per year. Costs have remained steady for the first 10 years of the company's existence, but have grown by 2.5 - 4% over the past 3 years. Reasons cited by the company include unexpected temperature drops, pests, and increased labor costs. Management has tended to come from within the company, as long-term employees "rise through the ranks". Over the past year, several long-term, key personnel have left, citing that they had "no future" with JRT. On the bright side, JRT is poised for an increased rate of growth, through possible expansion of the business.

JRT has retained this consultant to investigate (1) the effectiveness and efficiency of its organizational structure, and (2) the selection and maintenance of managerial personnel. We will conduct internal and external research on the causes of the issues and present recommendations.

After preliminary interviews within the organization and research of the produce industry, and business cases with similar challenges, we have formed a hypothesis; that Juicy Red Tomato Company needs to invest in retention not only of its managerial personnel, but also front-line production employees. In addition, JRT needs to improve communication between production and operations, possibly by enhancing technology used by the company as a whole.
1. You are not the first consultant; your predecessor had started to develop a proposal, but left suddenly. Review the proposal in progress, and then add what is needed to complete this initial stage of problem definition
Use the first five steps of the Research Process for Basic and Applied Research, Figure 4.1, on the Sekeran, p. 56, for formulating a full research design.

1. Observation (Broad Area of research identified)

Juicy Red Tomato Company (JRT), a tomato grower operating in Florida is interested in determining: (1) the effectiveness and efficiency of its organizational structure, and (2) the selection and maintenance of managerial personnel. Internal costs are rising, key personnel are leaving, and the company is considering expanding its operations.

2. Preliminary Data Gathering (Interview, Literature Survey)

Completed preliminary interviews within the organization and researched of the produce industry, and business cases with similar challenges. The company has been in operation for 15 years, during which it has grown at a rate of about 5% per year. Costs have remained steady for the first 10 years of the company's existence, but have grown by 2.5 - 4% over the past 3 years. Reasons cited by the company include unexpected temperature drops, pests, and increased labor costs. Management has tended to come from within the company, as long-term employees "rise through the ranks". Over the past year, several long-term, key personnel have left, citing that they had "no future" with JRT. However, JRT is poised for an increased rate of growth, through possible expansion of the business.

3. Problem Definition (Research problem delineated)

The organizational structure needs to be more participatory and flexible at Juicy Tomato Company, as there seems to be a lack of communication between production and operations. Moreover, retention is high across all levels of staff, managerial personnel, as well as frontline employees.

4. Theoretical Framework (Variable clearly identified and labeled)
In this new environment of innovation and change, one of the primary management challenges is to design more flexible organizational structures. The participatory model of management must be founded on principles and values, which, together with a statement of aims, can form the basis of a mission statement. An organization needs a broad, shared vision of the future, an identity, a destiny, a perspective with regard to its goals and how they can be achieved, a management that knows how to get everyone to pull in the same direction and a leadership that is a driving force for change and which draws its strength from a culture of complete trust and commitment. Organizations are replacing their old vertical hierarchical structures with new horizontal or matrix based structures, linking traditional functions through inter functional teams, and establishing strategic alliances with suppliers, customers and even competitors. In fact, the organization of the future has a structure that can be reconfigured so as to make the best use of teams that are flexible and whose make up varies over time, in coordination with and as a consequence of the satisfaction of market needs and expectations, the behavior of competitors and other market factors, the acquisition of essential competencies and the formation of groupings to provide access to capabilities and resources for those who do not possess them. The management style must change from one of control to one of instruction and guidance. There must be a move to the concept of an organization without boundaries. An organization without boundaries has a structure based on a model that stresses the free circulation of individuals, information, ideas, processes, tasks and resources of every kind. (http://www.itu.int/itudoc/itu-d/hrdqpub/hrdq/hrdq86/part_ww7.doc).
To accomplish these ends, the right employee training, development and education at the right time provides big payoffs for the employer in increased productivity, knowledge, loyalty, and contribution (http://humanresources.about.com/b/a/190168.htm).

5. Generation of Hypothesis

Juicy Red Tomato Company needs to invest in retention not only of its managerial personnel, but also front-line production employees. In addition, JRT needs to improve communication between production and operations, possibly by engaging in the team approach and by enhancing technology used by the company as a whole.
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(See attached file for full problem description)

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