DISCUSSION QUESTION: 1 PAGE
Consider the six key elements of organizational structure defined in Chapter 15 (Foundations of Organizational Structure) and discuss how you view the importance or significance of one or more of them as it might relate to your current or former workplace.
They are: Work Specialization, Departmentalization, Chain of command, Span of control, Centralization and decentralization, Formalization.
EXERCISE: 2-3 PAGES
Read the Ethical Dilemma at the end of Chapter 16 called “A Bankrupt Culture." (ETHICAL DILEMMA BELOW).
Prepare and submit your answers to the following questions:
- What does this story tell you about the effect of top management on organizational culture?
- Denise Brown, a former member of the Tribune's management, said, "If you spoke up, you were portrayed as a sissy." How would you have reacted if you witnessed some of these behaviors?
- How can you determine when a line has been crossed between a fun and informal culture, and one that is offensive and inappropriate?
ETHICAL DILEMMA: A Bankrupt Culture:
Like many newspapers, the Chicago Tribune is in trouble.
The 165-year-old paper was bought by real estate mogul
Sam Zell in 2007, who promptly filed for bankruptcy. That
didn’t surprise experts. What Zell did next did.
Zell hired Randy Michaels as the Tribune Company’s
CEO. Soon after Michaels arrived, he launched an attack
on the Tribune’s culture. In an informal meeting with a
group of fellow Tribune executives, Michaels said, “Watch
this” and offered the waitress $100 to show her breasts.
The group was dumbfounded.
But Michaels hardly stopped there.
Michaels was fond of a culture that included “sexual
innuendo, poisonous workplace banter, and profane
invective.” One press release announced the hiring of
Kim Johnson, who, it was said, was “a former waitress at
‘Knockers—The Place for Hot Racks and Cold Brews.’”
Another executive reporting to Michaels sent links to
raunchy Web sites in e-mail messages. Michaels was heard
loudly discussing with other executives he had brought
with him the “sexual suitability of various employees.”
When some complained about the change in the culture,
Michaels rewrote the employee handbook. “Working
at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word
that you, personally, might not use,” the new manual
stated. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share.
You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That
is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important
to the creative process.” It then concluded, “This should
be understood, should not be a surprise, and not considered
Eventually Michaels was forced out, but the damage
had been done. The Tribune continues to operate in
bankruptcy and more than 5,000 employees have lost
their jobs. In retrospect, Zell has called his purchase “the
deal from hell.” It appears he appointed a CEO to match
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||07/23/2015 05:00 pm