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Morgan and Sunderland’s Management Styles Case Study

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Updated: Nov 29th, 2019

Sunderland’s Management and work style

Sunderland’s management style is a combination of autocratic. From the case study, it is evident that coworkers consider Sunderland’s management style to be formal but effective. A formal management style is autocratic and employees are required to completely follow instructions issued by the top management to the letter.

Sunderland is described in the case study as “always setting expectations at the outset of a project” which have to be achieved. Sunderland uses the autocratic approach to ensure organizational project goals and objectives are achieved. According to the case study, Sunderland is highly valued because she ensures that project goals are achieved as required.

Sunderland is described as having a “great strategic mindset”, which implies that she is highly focused and inflexible. Sunderland’s autocratic management style provides her with a competitive edge in pushing for the development of the best ideas and products for the client. Her focus is on the best product that best suits the needs of the customer. She strives to be efficient in planning, organizing, and directing employees to provide the best solutions to the client.

Sunderland is described as a “doer” in her working style. The case study describes Sunderland as a focused, inflexible, demanding, and a single minded person. Doers execute tasks with a lot of attention to detail, a description that Sunderland fits well into.

Sunderland has a legitimate source of power because of the position she holds in the company. Her position is based on experience and professional qualifications which fit into the job description she holds. In addition, she holds expert power because of her skills, knowledge, and experience from previous positions held in other companies. She also holds coercive power which enables her to influence the people to perform according to the expectations of the customer.

An assessment of Sunderland’s emotional intelligence shows her to be able to control her emotions. That is because she was able make decisions while keeping her emotions under control.

Morgan’s Management and work style

The case study shows Morgan’s management style to be informal and some aspects of the leisure’s faire approach. It is an informal approach that is evident from the relaxed atmosphere Morgan enjoys working in. In addition, Morgan endeavors to strike a balance between “competing interests and priorities”. Morgan provides support and gets involved in executing tasks, by working hand in hand with the employees.

Morgan’s sources of power are legitimate, expert, and referent because of the position he holds in the company. Morgan was recruited to the position because of prior experience, knowledge, and academic qualifications.

The source of Morgan’s expert power is the experience and knowledge he gained as a project manager in different companies before getting the current position. Evidence shows Morgan to be supportive, and partners with the employees, which shows that he has developed person connections with the people he works with, which qualifies him to have referent sources of power.

Morgan’s work style is reflected in his ability to develop close working relationship with other employees and his dislike of Sunderland’s management style. Morgan is emphatic and ensures that he makes employees feel great.

That is evident in from case study where Morgan says that he cannot “imagine working in the bureaucratic labyrinth of a large company” and continues to assert that he values an environment where “where everyone had a seat at the table”. Morgan likes a relaxed working environment, where he creates vision for the people, thinks outside the box, and deliberately tries new ideas to provide the best solution for the customer.

Morgan’s emotional intelligence is based on a cognitive approach where he endeavors to reason with emotions. That is best illustrated in the stamen on how Sunderland understood Mike on the way he can “defend his ideas to the extreme and can get excessively argumentative when things don’t go his way”.

That is in addition to the response Mike make to things that he is interested in, in this case, the interest Mike has in client details, and in understanding the strategic background of any training program to achieve the client’s training needs and organizational goals.

What is going on

Mike Morgan called Nunez who refused to take his phone calls because Atain’s account director was the only authorized person and only point of contact with Gramen. By giving a call to Nunez, mike was in direct breach of protocol or Attain’s communication policy, an act that could generate negative relationships with the client. Mike is rebellious because of “trying to challenge the client’s ideas and develop content that is outside the box”. Morgan wants to think outside the box by contacting the client directly.

Morgan seems to work outside the formal organizational structure of doing things and attempts to test new ideas without due consideration of the formal process of evaluating case studies.

Morgan knew very well that his approach of solving client problems could not be in tandem with Sunderland’s strict formal management style. Morgan tried to contact Nunez to test and influence her to accept his unproven ideas which were based on an unproven and single case study, which Nunez had advised him to conduct further research on, to be able to make reliable conclusions.

Morgan also likes challenging the ideas of Attain’s ideas and in this case, had gone further to contact Nunez directly to influence decision making. Morgan knew that Sunderland was not knowledgeable on the “impact sales and financial strategies had on working capital, day’s sales outstanding, and bad debt expenses”.

Nunez called Sunderland because she was the only direct point of contact with the Gramen Equipment Company to inform her of the persistent calls from Morgan. She was professional and did not want to indulge in a breach of the formal organization of running the business.

Sunderland vs Morgan

The relationship between Morgan and Sunderland is not cordial. Sunderland has a strong inclination to authority and regard for the formal organizational structures. On the other hand, Morgan does not have a strong regard for the formal structure of organizations.

Morgan does not value the formal reporting relationship existing in the organization and regards Sunderland to be harsh on him. She seems not to be flexible, but dictates terms in accordance with the client’s needs, a fact Morgan opposes. The strained relationship is further illustrated in the decision Sunderland makes to have a face-to-face meeting with Morgan instead of giving him a call and the contemplation of reporting the incident to Chama.

Initiating positive change

There is need for Sunderland to identify the need for change, the areas of conflict such as Morgan’s insubordination and the conflict between her and Morgan. Employees’ poor comprehension of Attain’s communication policy, employee roles and responsibilities, respect for authority, better working relationships between employees, and the need for all employees to work as a team toward achieving organizational goals and objectives.

To initiate positive change, it is important for Sunderland to define a clear change management strategy. The strategy should encompass the scope which includes the people who are affected. In this case, the people in the management hierarchy seem to be the source of conflicts, with the typical example being the conflict between Morgan and Sunderland. In addition, the conflict between the two parties seems to have created a group of employees loyal and positively regarding Morgan, while other employees regard Sunderland as being too hard and cruel on them.

The tools and techniques used in bringing about change should include a definition of the scope, which in this case should cover the entire organization. Sunderland should clearly understand the size of change required the number of people to be affected, and decide if the change should be gradual or radical.

According to the case study, the change should be gradual to ensure each member is prepared for change and understands the need for change not to make employees discontented with Sunderland’s management approach which could destroy their morale. It is also because different management styles are practiced by different leaders, which needs a participatory approach to change employee perceptions.

Sunderland should identify areas that may lead to resistance to change, evaluate the value system that could be brought about because of initiating change, and understand the background of each employee.

In particular Morgan’s background is critical in initiating a positive change in him regarding subordination to authority and compliance to organizational communication policies and other policies that might be created regarding employee interactions with clients. It is important for Sunderland to create a qualified change management team who understand the need for change.

A communication plan is critical to create employee awareness on the need for change and in being part of the change process. Each employee should be sufficiently made aware of the risks involved if change is not initiated and the reason for being part of the change process. To be effective, Sunderland should formulate a change management plan that factors different audiences, stakeholders, and the employees in general.

Sunderland should start the positive change process by educating to level management team, then middle level managers and supervisors who could be at a better position of educating employees for the need for change.

A training requirements document should be developed which provides precise and detailed management requirements, skills and knowledge requirements, and the need for each supervisor to develop specific training programs for change.

It is important for the change to be effective in maximizing a return on investment, by identifying the impact that the change will bring to the organization in terms of its performance of the core business pursuits. At the end of the change process, Sunderland and the change management team should measure the impact caused by introducing new changes to the organization. The area of focus should be change in employee behavior which is the basis of making positive and effective changes.

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"Morgan and Sunderland’s Management Styles." IvyPanda, 29 Nov. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/management-change/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Morgan and Sunderland’s Management Styles." November 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/management-change/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Morgan and Sunderland’s Management Styles'. 29 November.

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