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Leadership in Markham Instruments Company Essay

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2021

Introduction

Markham was founded in 1917 by Markham to specialize in production of mechanical measuring instruments. Markham modeled all his employees to inculcate the values of excellent technical skills and close ties such that the company looked like a close knit family. The company recorded a remarkable growth from the time of its inception through the period of Second World War and the post second world war periods. This paper takes a close analysis of the Markham Company.

Problem list

As we have seen, Markham expected his workers to be close to the other and uphold certain values that propelled the company to great heights. However as time progressed the company came under new management and the original engineering staff were replaced by new workers who were not well groomed to uphold the Markham values. This was the bedrock of all the problems that the company faced. In 1959, the company was faced with a problem of replacing the production superintendent Ed Green, due to what the company’s president Roger Finlay and Vice President Frank Robert termed as personality problem which deteriorated the relationship between Ed and other executives in the company.

It is stressed that the personality problem with Ed had made it difficult for the production department to coordinate with other department in the company. But this problem can be traced to have developed for a long period of time since Roger took over as the president of the company.

During the Second World War, the company was overstressed in its production capacity and the demand for is products. The company resulted to employing short time measures in order to achieve its production targets. Those who were employed had little knowledge of what it meant to work as a family as advocated by Markham. This caused erosion of the company’s culture which is very important in maintaining relationships between different workers in an organization.

There were problems in the executive since the departure of Markham and taking over of Rogers. Ed Green joined the company in 1945 and immediately discovered that malpractices and collusions between executives were costing the company a lot. Having discussed with Finlay, Ed was given the post of plant Superintendent but material control, purchasing and inspection units were taken to another department. This was followed by an ensuing battle by the production department led by Ed to regain those former three units back to their jurisdiction. This was perhaps what led to the ensuing constant problems between Green and other departmental managers whose cause can be many and valid.

The problem of disputes has continued in the company especially between Ed and other executives. This hampered the relationship between the production department and other departments especially engineering and sales department. They have reached a point where they are hampering the operations of the company since different departments cannot operate. The problem is compounded by the fact that it is affecting the core department in the company which is the production department. It has also affected the relationship between other key department like sales and engineering. This conflict if not checked could paralyze the operations of the whole company.

These are some of the problems that seem to hamper the operations of Markham. They have been expressed as resulting from Green’s personality deficiency but there seems to be some other dimensions of these problems. All of them cannot be caused by Green alone.

Employees’ sentiments

Many of the workers who were employed to the company post-Markham period found it difficult to uphold the values that Markham had build and which formed the company’s culture. This caused a lot of problem to the company.

With the 1947 transfer of the production department from Finley’s hand to Roberts made the workers in the department feel as if they had been left out. They felt like Finlay had turned his back on them. Although Ed was not liked by the executives cycle, workers who were under him liked him very much and regarded him as a good production manager. In 1951, workers felt cheated when the controller of the department was made the vice president and Ed was locked out since they felt closer to Ed than the controller.

By 1959, the production department had hired more than 600 employees. All the employees in the production department were not registered with a trade union. In addition they were subjected to hourly pay basis which included a liberal profit-sharing program. All these contributed to low morale among the production staff which had an effect of lowering the productivity of the workers.

However in the company there are several factors that control behaviors of the employees and their performance in the company. First the work values institute by the founder Markham has been the base for the formation of the company culture. The culture of hard work, attention to details, attentions to technical requirements, and coexistence as a family have been important aspects that has helped the company to propel to greater height.

They have influenced the quality work that has made the production department to prosper and grow. Apparently, it is observed that the divisions in the company starts to emerge after the entry of new blood of workers who have little regards to the working values set by the founder. The old employees in the company still practice the values to creating an atmosphere that foster a feeling of togetherness as a family. This has one of the driving forces for the company and has helped to bond its employees for a long time.

The employees have recognized their leaders following these principles. They have remained loyal to the company and its operation doing their best always for the company. They are so much personified to their top management such that when Finlay leaves the production department, they feel like he is turning their back on them. This shows that they have much confidence in him which raises their working morale. They heave the same recognition and respect to their departmental heads.

However this aspect of being so much attached to their top leadership does not auger well with the company. Apparently, the problems in the production department seem to have started when Finlay left the department. This had an effect of eroding the confidence people had in the leadership of the department and the respect they paid to the leaders of the department. This loyalty sometimes may turn to betrayal by the same workers. (Bhargava et al., 1992)

Internal and external systems

At the time of its foundation it was easy to control the internal system of the company duet to its small size. Markham was able to control the production and other departments in the company. In the era of World War II, there were not formalized control methods in the production department. When Ed was hired to head the production department, he started introducing specialization and control in the production department. When Pat was hired he introduced more systematic production methods and procedures which finally led to high production at a lowered cost.

The production department was organized in such a way that there was interaction between departments. The department was headed by Frank Roberts who was the executive vice president. Under him was Ed Green who acted as the department’s superintendent. Under Green fall 7 units which comprised the production department.

Pat Mulcahey headed the planning and scheduling department. Under him were production control foreman, purchasing expediter, and internal expediter. This department was involved in planning production and projecting the market needs production demands for the company.

There was also a traffic manager in the production department. Under the traffic manager was the shipping foreman. This unit was concerned with the logistics in the department. The shipping foreman supervised the transfers of produced goods from the department to other areas.

Maintenance manager was responsible for maintenance in the department. Maintenance department like any other company is usually responsible for maintaining the machines. It ensures routine check to ensure the machines are functioning properly in the production department.

The fabricating and finishing unit was headed by Dana Hersey. This was eh department which was involved in actual production of instruments. It had two foremen and two assistant foremen. There was the machine shop foreman and an assistant foreman, and there was finishing foreman and an assistant foreman.

The assembly unit was headed by Allen Browning who was the Assembly manager. This department was responsible for assembling parts from the fabricating and finishing unit and assembles them to final products. These department ad four foremen and their respective foremen. There was mechanical assembly foreman and assistant foreman, final assembly foreman and four assistant foremen, subassembly foreman, component foreman and repair foreman.

This represents the internal organization of the department and the flow of activity. This organization ensured that there was a clear flow in the production process and a delay or inadequacy in production could be easily traced to any unit in the system. It is worth noting that this system encouraged a lot of discussion between the heads of different units who worked under Ed. Green also held a lot of consultation with other managers before making any decision. Managers were most involved in planning for their tasks to be accomplished.

The external system however was not so cohesive as the internally system in the production department. The external system represented a flow of commands from the persistent of the company to the executive vice-president who headed the production department and other vice presidents. Roger Finlay was the executive President of the company. Under him was Robert Frank who was the executive vice-president and also headed the production department. Under Roberts were vice president controller who headed finance accounting, purchase and material control. Jack Harper and Vince Silvera headed purchasing and material control respectively. Then there was Edward Green who was factory superintendent and controlled the production department.

There was a vice president for sales who was Herb Olson. The sales department handled industrial sales, laboratory sales, laboratory marketing, laboratory services and advertising.

Under the president of the company president there was the director of engineering. This department was divided to research and development and engineering services unit. Under research and development there was laboratory electronic design, industrial electronic design, mechanical design, special services, special components, an electromechanical. Under engineering services there was production engineering, quality control and engineering administrator.

Internal fighting’s and their effects

The fighting’s going on in the company takes many dimensions. There are conflicts between the managerial class and at the same some conflict between the employees and the company. Definitely, this conflict appears to be more in the managerial class than in the employees.

This fight can be seen as a struggle starting with the elevation of Ed Green to handle the production department. With the removal of some units in the department and their consequent placement in other department, the production department is left with little influence in the company, a situation that is bringing a struggle in the company to regain control of the company. Ed Green and the production staff thinks that they have a right to take control of the material control, purchasing and inspection units again as they were removed from the department when Ed took over.

When Green was hired in the company and unearthed a money laundering conspiracy in the company, he made many enemies. The current fights and struggles in the company could be a result of these earlier encounters between Green and other managers. Although the division is being attributed to personality deficiencies of Green, to some extent we can see something more than just personal differences in the whole saga.

This is clears since all those working under Green have no problem with him. They refer him as an efficient manager with good performances record. The same sentiments are echoed by company president Finly. But the problem seems to rest with the vice president Frank who says that Green is intolerable.

These conflicts and divisions could have far reaching effects on the operations of the company. This is because it will become constantly difficult to coordinate the operation of the company with divided departments. The operation of a company is dependant on the coordination that exists between different departments. The input of the production department is very important in determining the operations of the company since it is seen as the backbone of the operations of a company. (Connors, 1997)

At the same time employees in the company are fighting for their rights to be free. This is because they have been oppressed in major ways. They are fighting for the right to join the unions and be represented in workers union. Workers union fights for the rights of the employees. In the company the employees are also paid on hourly base which means all leaves are unpaid. This is another cause of their fight. Subjection to hourly pay means that workers are getting less pay. The employees are also fighting for the stability of the company due to internal conflicts going in the company. In 1947 they had expressed their dissatisfaction with movement of the production department from Finlay.

Given the position of the president of the company, I would not fire Green. Though he seems not to get well with other employees, his performance record is good and he has done a marvelous job for the company and for the production department in general. The first approach to this problem would be to investigate the matter well before making the decision. This would involve investigating the matter well. There is evidence that Green is not getting along well with other management due to his personality but as a president I would use this difference to an advantage. Green has a good performance record which can be aped and translated to all other department. The president acknowledges that he gets well with Green and does to see a problem with him except a little bit of his personality. (Eadie, 2000)

Taking into consideration that no human being is perfect, I would reconcile Green and the vice president who seems to be the route cause of the problem. This narrows down to theories of understanding personalities. There are those people who would like to feel to be on top of everything always. That is the vice president. There are others who want the best performance in everything they get into and would not tolerate seeing people interfere with their work; that is Green. Keeping in mind that employees are the most important asset that a company holds, I would move to make sure that I don’t lose the diverse employees that I have in the company. (Gellerman, 1990)

Firing one of them would give a victory to the other which could translate to more conflict with others. This is especially in areas like this production department where workers under Green seems to have so much confidence and trust in him and at the same time seems to express a degree of dissatisfaction with Frank who is the vice president. This is clearly expressed in event where Green failed to be given a vice president post which they thought he deserved than the rest. Firing Green would move to erode the confidence that workers have on the department which could lower their working morale.

References

Bhargava, S. & Sinha, B. (1992): Prediction of organizational effectiveness as a function of type of organizational structure. Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 132.

Connors, T. D. (1997). The nonprofit handbook; New York: John Wiley.

Eadie, D. (2000). How to design effective nonprofit boards; Dallas Business Journal, Vol. 23(44): 232-45.

Gellerman, S. (1990): Organizational dynamics. American Management Association.

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