Sigitek case Essay

This essay has a total of 1329 words and 7 pages.

Sigitek case

Barriers and Drivers to change facing Smithers:
Smithers has in his favor experience in reengineering business processes from when he was
and engineering service manager. His style of personal management aided him in instituting
corporate culture changes in a manor that was well received by Sigtek employees. This
experience was needed given the long-standing organizational differences that Smithers
faced between Sigtek's engineering and manufacturing divisions.

Another challenge faced by Smithers was the different management style of his counterpart,
Richard Patricof, who was vice president of operations. Patricof's focus was not on
results or productive feedback from employees. He felt that style and a tolatarian
approach to personnel management was best suited for this total quality (TQ) training

Other barriers Smithers faced was the possibility that employee expectations on the
success of this new program may be too high given previous attempts to change Sigtek's
differing engineering and manufacturing corporate culture. It would be difficult to unite
these two internal organizations.

The major drivers to the success of the TQ program was that Sigtek was in desperate need
of a change in its processes or face the risk of going out of business. This rift between
operations and engineering would drive the company into the ground given the weak
leadership of the President, Charles Bradley.

How efficiently was change introduced?
The team at Sigtek established a set of goals for the implementation of the TQ program. An
outline of the training process was created and presented to senior management. The
response was non-plus, which instilled a great amount of concern to Smithers. The cold
response from senior management clearly indicated that their support in the implementation
o this new program was questionable. Sigtek's approach to change involved choosing one
manager from the engineering and operations sector respectively to be trained as site
instructors for TQM. They in turn would train other employees to implement TQM. There was
already a history of discontinuity between Smithers and Murphy. There was no unified team
effort between these to key players.

Signs of failure also came when Patricof handpicked a cross-functional group of managers
to form a site Quality Improvement Team, which was to coordinate and facilitate the
implementation of TQM. This was a mistake. The one sided selection only deepened the
divide between operations and engineering given the lack of corporate diversity on the

Smithers lost credibility with the first TQM graduates given the basic concepts being
taught proved ineffective when employees attempt to implement what they learned. Employees
saw first had that their efforts were ineffective in resolving a simple bouncing cart or
protruding electrical outlet problem. Smithers and Murphy clearly did not have the support
of senior corporate management on the TQM concept.

After a month into the training program, activities of the Quality Improvement Team was
virtually transparent. Little follow through could be seen, which only deepened employee
belief that the program should not be taken seriously.

What should have been done differently?
As Kotter outlines in his book Leading Change, any new program has a marginal chance of
success without the backing of senior Sigtek management. Successful changes in corporate
culture can only be accomplished when the major players in the organization are unified.

Smithers should have established open communication with operations management early on.
When the TQM program began to falter, he only expressed his frustration and concerns about
the program to a close circle of people in the engineering group, and seemed to never have
an open, in-depth talk about this problem with Patricof or other senior managers from
operations group.

Smithers failed to create effective mechanism and practices to solve the problems he had
identified. He reflected a lot, but did little to establish better understanding and
communication between the engineering and operations sectors. He did not design specific
viable motivation and reward system to encourage employee's participation in management.
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