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Stephen Zhang’s Opportunity Case Study

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Updated: Dec 26th, 2019


The success of any organization or business is based upon the types of leaders and their leadership qualities. One of the qualities that are required of an executive is having a vision. Visionary leaders are necessary in order to transform the business and make it a success.

Most executives continuously make poor decision despite spending most of their time on making people decisions. Morale and emotions in the workplaces are important aspects to understand since they play an important role in the effectiveness and productivity of the employees.

Organizations should strive for excellence in order to become a leader in wealth creation. Excellence could be shown in the way the organization organizes its teams. For a team to perform well, it needs to posses certain characteristics and observe certain values. The business environment is an ever-changing one.

Due to advancements in technology, various changes occur in order to bring about processes that are of high quality and that ensure efficiency. This brings about competition among similar businesses.

In order for an individual organization to survive, it must devise ways of maintaining its position as the customers’ choice. Appreciation and management of diversity is important for the success of any organization.

Overview and Analysis

Managers should recognize that the successful management of excellence within the organization would inevitably lead to successful wealth creation.

Due to the excellence assured by the Nobel Consulting Company during its early development, it was able to get a RMB28-million order from a certain company that processed soft drinks.

Its success in this business prompted other leading companies to seek services from Nobel Consulting. These included the automobile assembly, manufacturing and telecommunications companies, among others.

It is evident that though most executives spend the majority of their time on people decisions, they continue to make poor decisions in this area. Frank Chan, for example, made several bad decisions when it came to important matters. One of his greatest failures was in employee appraisal.

He did not show appreciation for his employee’s efforts. Even when one did a good job, he did not show appreciation by rewarding them. This had a negative impact on employee satisfaction and morale. This is evident in the way Shen reacted to Chan’s leadership by simply walking away.

Zhang felt equally dissatisfied and was in a dilemma when Shen called him to inform him of an opportunity to go work with him and get a better pay package and working conditions. Frank was also a dictator. This is evident in the way he made decision.

He always considered his decisions final and always brushed off opposing opinions. He also made it clear in writing that he (the boss) was always correct.

There is a difference between underperforming teams and well-performing teams and several factors influence each. Nobel Consulting Company valued teamwork. Frank Chan described the company’s employees as a big family. He also organized dinners and parties for all employees in order to cement the feeling of family.

He also showed appreciation at individual level since he made sure that every individual received a cake during his or her respective birthdays. In addition to this, the Salema Project was successful since the team had a well-defined division of labor. This is characteristic to a well-performing team.

Organizations usually search for visionary leaders who can transform businesses. As shown in the case study, Frank Chan saw a leadership trait in Shen that would benefit the organization. He had the ability to handle negotiations and was very well connected.

Upon recruitment, Shen added value to the organization since he brought several new client leads to the company.

His expertise was appreciated and he became the only individual in the company whose opinions mattered to Frank. Zhang also described Shen as a performance-driven leader who generously rewarded good performance.

In this hypercompetitive environment, organizations cannot simply survive. They need to be excellent at whatever they do. At some point, Nobel Consulting faced stiff competition due to entry of more consulting companies within the Chinese market.

In addition to this, the new firms came in with new levels of quality and efficiency. This challenge came at a time when Nobel was facing several challenges.

Firstly, many of Nobel’s clients had decided to set up their own operations in the country since they had matured. This had cost the company the loss of between 60% and 70% of its revenue. In order for Nobel to survive in that market, it devised ways of gaining customer loyalty.

It did this by lowering its costs and through its credibility. Managers of today’s organizations are being called on to integrate their operations with a rapidly changing external environment.

Managers should also understand how to incorporate and manage diversity in order to foster high levels of creative thinking and steadfast competitive advantages. Nobel Consulting values diversification and this may be seen in the way it diversifies it clientele. This is important if the company seeks to grow its business.

Effective executives know when a decision has to be based on principle and when it should be made pragmatically. As for the case of Frank, his decisions were not characteristic to that of an effective executive. He made several bad decisions and did not welcome suggestions or differing views from employees.

Morale and emotions in the workplace can be difficult things for managers to both understand and handle. However, it is important to recognize the important role they play in organizational effectiveness and productivity.

From the case study, Zhang came out as a leader who did not understand the role of employee satisfaction in the organization’s effectiveness and productivity (Clark, 2009). He did not promote his employees even after they worked for several years and displayed exemplary performance.

Employees in the organization did not even want to listen to, let alone talking about issues to do with promotions since it was an emotional issue. The person who finally broke the ice was Shen. He had been promised a promotion severally but did not get it.

The boss (Frank) had promised to promote him to partner in less than three years but later postponed it to a later date. Even when time finally came, he was still reluctant to give Shen the promotion and this explains the confrontation and argument.

Problem Definition

From the case study, several problems have been observed in regards to Frank’s leadership. The issues observed include the following:

  1. Employee dissatisfaction – employees in the organization did not feel secure while working in the organization. Despite their experience and long service, they were not assured of promotions. This had an effect on their morale.
  2. Lack of proper reward system – employees felt like they were not properly appreciated for hard work.
  3. Job security – according to the policies, an employee was to be given a month’s notice in case there was need to terminate contract. However, Frank fired an individual on a week’s notice and another after a three-day notice.


Employee satisfaction is very important for any organization since it improves the individual’s productivity. There are several ways that Frank could improve employee satisfaction. One way is by praising the employees when they work hard. Sincere words of praise would make the employee feel appreciated.

He can also build a strong relationship with employees by improving communication. Frank was very mean with promotions. He should understand that employee growth is also important for the organization (Locke, 1976). Employees should be given opportunity to go up the ladder of success.

If he listens to employees’ problems and find ways of solving them, the atmosphere at the workplace would be good for working. The employer should reward above-average performance.

This could be in form of pay rise, gifts or financing for a vacation. Frank should also ensure that there is job security so that employees should not have to worry about losing their job with no proper cause (Clark & Postel-Vinay, 2009).


Proper leadership is one that ensures that the employees enjoy working in the organization. Therefore, employee satisfaction is key. Frank Chan is an example of a bad leader since he did not put the employees’ interests at heart. He made all the decisions by himself and opposed different views.

He did not follow the correct procedure when it came to the firing of employees. He also failed to keep his promise concerning promotions and this caused Shen to storm out and start his own company. Zhang also considered leaving the organization due to the same reason.

Managers should learn to appreciate employees and offer them opportunity to grow within the organization. This is vital to ensure employee satisfaction since it enhances their loyalty and effectiveness. These ingredients are necessary for the productivity and survival of the organization.


Clark, A. (2009). Job satisfaction in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 34(2), 189-217.

Clark, A., & Postel-Vinay, F. (2009). Job security and job protection. Oxford Economic Papers, 61(2), 207-239.

Locke, E. A. (1976). Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Palo Alto, C.A.: Consulting Psychologists Press.

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