ThomasGreen: Power, Office Politics and a Career in Crisis
ThomasGreen: Power, Office Politics and a Career in Crisis
Thecase of John Green describes the dilemma of a senior marketingofficer who has a rapid promotion at work but has a problem seeingeye-to-eye with his boss Frank Davis. Green and Davis disagree oncertain issues related to their work such as the market projectionsand the proposed working styles. The tension between these twocolleagues grows further when Green fails to endorse the salesforecasts of rank Davis on grounds that they were either outrightfabrications or excessively optimistic. This leads to the creation ofa silent conflict between Davis and Green, which later cause thelatter to believe that the former is building a case against thatwould later lead to the loss of his job at Dynamic displays.
Thefundamental problem in the management of Dynamic Displays startedwhen the abuse of executive power begun. The power struggles betweenthe management officials affected the way the operations of thecompany were handled. The senior officials of the company played apart in the poor management of the company because they werenegatively influenced leading to a case of impression management.This is mainly clear in the controversial promotion of Thomas Greento the position of Senior Marketing Specialist. When Green learnt ofthe opening in this position in the company, he took advantage of thedisagreements between his boss Frank Davis and his bosses bossShannon McDonald to manipulate his way into the position.
Thefollowing analysis will evaluate the effects of fundamentalmanagement problems and abuse of power in a company on the productionof a company. There will be an in-depth analysis of the variousfactors that played a part in the promotion of John Green to theSenior Marketing Specialist position at Dynamic Displays. Followingthis case study, the essay will also analyze the importance oftraining employees and developing them before hiring them to handleany positions in a company and the importance of participativedecision-making and problem sharing that encourages employees to bemore productive.
DynamicDisplays is a company that was founded in 1990 to provideself-service solutions to financial institutions in the form of theAutomatic Teller Machines (ATMs). However, the company expanded in1994 and started providing self-service kiosks for Discover airlines.By 2007, the company had already managed to cover 60% market shareproviding over 1500 self-service kiosks to 75 airports (Sasser &Beckham, 2008, 1). The self-service kiosks gained so much popularitybecause they were able to make the passenger check-in process easierand also reduce its costs.
ThomasGreen joined Dynamic Displays in 2007 at the age of 28 for an accountexecutive position. He viewed this as a chance to climb quickly up tothe managerial position of the company. He told a friend that he knewthis company had a lot of opportunities for fresh new talent and wasready to get noticed immediately (Sasser & Beckham, 2008, 2).Within just a few weeks in the company, Green managed to secure acontract with a major airline where they were to speed up theroll-out of self-service kiosks in over twenty airports and alsoupgrade the software across these locations. Greenused some back channels to capture the attention of the SoftwareDevelopment Director of his division and also to push for his newideas but in the process this ruffled up some mid-level feathers.Thomas was aware that the penetration of the kiosks was not enoughfor them to compete with the web-based check-in services. The companyhad to show the advantages of using the kiosks such as the digitaladvertisement on the kiosks when they are not active and theprovision of cross-selling opportunities like the provision of travelpartners’ information links when they match the check-inpassengers’ information.
ShannonMcDonald, the division Vice President, hit it off with Thomas duringa training session in midtown. Both of them were alumni of theUniversity of Georgia and McDonald noticed the potential in ThomasGreen (Sasser& Beckham, 2008, 3).A Senior Marketing Specialist position opened up and Thomas knewabout this. During this following month, he made several trips toShannon’s office to present his marketing strategies and he finallygot the position. Later on, Thomas seemed to have sparked a brawlbetween him and his immediate boss Frank Davis, the marketingdirector when he publicly disagreed with his sales forecasts during acompany meeting. According to Davis, the company had seen a 10%increase in sales in the past five years and he projected that thisgrowth pattern would be maintained in the coming years with thegrowth of up to 15% in sales. However, Green disagreed with Davisstating that it was impossible to achieve a double-digit increase insales considering the fact that their self-service kiosks were incompetition with the web-based check-in services. From this day,Thomas felt like Frank was out to get him. Frank Later sent an emailto Shannon stating that the behavior exhibited at the meeting was outof line. He also warned Thomas that the next time he shows suchbehavior he will take more action and not just send an email to theboss. He also warned him that his job needs more than just his salessmart. He said that he needed strategy development, goodcommunication in the chain of command and also teamwork. Frank Davisalso warned Thomas Green that he needed to report all of hisactivities to him before handling matters related to the companymarketing strategies.
Aweek later after this scenario, Thomas received a letter from ShannonMcDonald that he had received complaints about his performance andthat he was being evaluated to determine whether he was fit for hisposition. At this point, he is faced with two decisions. He has theoption to do what his boss Frank Davis was asking even though he knewthat his ideas were not good for the company or to expose the ideasof Frank to Shannon and hope that he would redeploy him back to hisposition.
Overlookingthe negative sides of the ideas of his boss is an option that hasboth positive and negative implications for the company. Oneadvantage of choosing this option is that a better workingenvironment will be created between the two colleagues and this willmake it easier for them to work together for the benefit of thecompany (Sasser, 2011, n.p). However, just overlooking these ideaseven though he knows they are bad for the performance of the companywill, in the long run, reflect on his performance because he is stillthe senior marketing specialist and it is his job to make sure thesales projections are realistic enough.
Choosingthe second option, which is to talk to the marketing Vice Presidentabout the bad sales projections of his boss would certainly help thecompany to take care of this marketing problem, but it will widen thegap between the two colleagues, which will lead to the creation of anunfavorable working environment (Sasser, 2011, n.p). This willeventually reflect in the sales of the company in a negative way.Therefore, Thomas Green has to be very careful how he chooses tohandle this dilemma. The following is a recommendation of a good wayto handle the situation.
ThomasGreen is obviously faced by a set of problems that he could haveforestalled. Instead, in further worsening his relationship with hisboss by ‘exposing him,’ he should consider focusing on buildingtheir career relationship and this will make it easier for him toachieve his career prospects. Thomasshould have recognized the fact that he was not the person his bosswanted for the senior marketing specialist position and should havemade building a good career relationship between them a top prioritybecause it is important for them to work together. He insteadchallenged the authority of his boss publicly and failed to keep himinformed about his work, which jeopardized the validity of his boss’sposition. Thomasalso made the mistake of assuming that his ideas of the competitivethreat would automatically influence not only his boss but also therest of the employees. He builds no social ties with the otheremployees therefore, they had no reason to support his ideas. Allthe vice president received was negative comments about Tom’sperformance therefore, it did not matter whether his ideas werevalid or not. Losing her trust in him was inevitable. Fortunately,Thomasstill has the chance to repair the damage caused by his actions. Heshould ask by writing an apology to Frank for challenging himpublicly and try to keep him in the loop on whatever he is doing forthe company. He should acknowledge the fact that Frank has moreexperience and try to acknowledge some of his ideas.
Finally,he should try to reconnect with the vice president and apologize forthe incident with his immediate boss. Hemust understand that companies are just social systems filled withindividuals who care about their self-esteem. Any time he needs tosubmit new ideas, he should try a manner that exhibits teamworkrather than undermine the rest of the employees.
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Sasser,E. W., (2011). HBR Case Study: Challenge the Boss or Stand Down?Retrieved fromhttps://hbr.org/2011/05/hbr-case-study-challenge-the-boss-or-stand-down
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