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Human Resource Management Assignment 1 Sushil Bajimaya EMBA, Fall 2011, Roll: 30

1. Discuss the relationship between corporate human resources structure and operations at the plant level. What impact, if any, did that relationship have on the situation described by Newcombe? The corporate human resource structure has little or no access at the plant level. The corporate human resource department was successful in creating an HR framework for the whole company, but failed to address the need of human resource department at the plants. Whilst a human resource manager should be consulted for promotions or pay raise, employees have to consult with their plant seniors in absence of the same. Of course, plant seniors can provide recommendation to the human resource department for pay increments or promotions, but it seems that they are in charge for promotions of the subordinates. As it is said in the case that the company values its employees as much as its clients, even though the management may be committed to it, at the plant level, this is not actually implemented at all. This relationship had a very serious impact on the situation described by Newcombe. In absence of the human resource department in the plant, Bud Johnson had to ask for raise and promotion to his plant supervisor, Larry Braxton. This is also a typical case of plant supervisors not following the company policy. Even though the company has established benefit packages for employees, it is unclear that Braxton, the plant supervisor, informed about them to Johnson. This has harmed the relation of the company with Johnson, who was a quick learner and responsible employee. He helped out with the equipment operators job, which is out of his job description, even after being unsatisfied. This shows his commitment towards his work. Furthermore, the company wants to remain nonunion. If such discrimination happens repeatedly at the plants, then definitely, this status cannot remain unchanged.

2. How should Newcombe have handled this situation? Being the vice president of human resources unit, it is Newcombes duty to respond to Johnsons queries. Newcombe can take following corrective measures to contain the situation:

Human Resource Management Assignment 1 Sushil Bajimaya EMBA, Fall 2011, Roll: 30

a. First of all, Newcombe has to remain impartial towards both parties. She has to call Braxton for clarifications regarding Johnsons allegations. She should also hear out Johnsons side as well. This will give her a clear picture about the conflict between Johnson and Braxton. Of course, she doesnt want the Labor Department to interfere in her company. b. If Johnsons claim is right, then she might have to take corrective actions against Braxton, or maybe, promote Johnson to equipment room operator and transfer him to other plants, which is the major cause of dissatisfaction. c. Also, she can set a training program for plant supervisors for better human resource practices and company policies since conducting a training program is cheaper than setting up a separate human resource department. d. Since Johnson stayed in leave without providing any notification, she has to take some action against him as well. e. She can also redesign employee termination form and conditions in the company policies as firing an employee for un-notified leave for a day seem too harsh. This also includes reviewing employee handbook as well. f. Alternatively, she can issue a memorandum citing that employees file an application for promotions and pay rises to the human resources directly, along with the recommendation from the plant supervisor. She can also set up a communication channel in the company so that the employees can directly file in their complaints at the plants. g. She can setup an audit and supervising mechanism to monitor whether the company policies are properly implemented at the plant or not.

3. What, if any, disciplinary action should have been taken against the plant superintendent (Braxton) at the time of the incident? Firstly, Newcombe should investigate about the situation. She should interview both conflicting parties and other people in the plant. This provides Braxtons relationship with other employees. The company can take following disciplinary actions against Braxton:

Human Resource Management Assignment 1 Sushil Bajimaya EMBA, Fall 2011, Roll: 30

a. If majority of employees cite same level of dissatisfaction and concern, and the allegations made by Johnson over Braxton are true, and Braxton is a valued employee of the company, then the company could warn Braxton for future, conduct a coaching session or train him and make him more aware about the legal and governmental regulations affecting human resource policies. b. Another option would be to transfer Braxton to another plant citing as disciplinary actions against him. c. In the most severe case, the company can fire Braxton if he opposes to any of the alternatives provided by the company. 4. If Johnsons allegations were true, what are the legal ramifications of Braxtons behavior? If Johnsons allegations were true, then it would leave the company in a very serious position. The company will have to rethink about Braxtons position in the company. Asking an employee to sign an empty form is already a serious crime. Moreover, ticking the incorrect option (selecting to take another job instead of dissatisfied pay) is also a criminal act by providing incorrect information. In such sa condition, the company, and Johnson, both can take legal action against Braxton. If such a thing happens, then Braxton might not only lose his job, but also might be prosecuted as per the law. 5. Describe Mount Ridges business strategy. What is the relationship between its business strategy and its human resources practice? The business strategy of Mount Ridge Engineering Systems is cost leadership. The company vies gain keep competitive advantage by keeping the cost of production low. It achieves this by using efficient energy production plants, providing competitive pay to employees, but not very high so as to attract employees from the customers. Since its cost is competitive, it can sell energy to utilities. The company also plans to add two to three plants in the North East and supply their product to New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts where the demand for cogeneration plants is strong and state energy regulators are concerned with high energy prices.

Human Resource Management Assignment 1 Sushil Bajimaya EMBA, Fall 2011, Roll: 30

The company strategy and human resources practice are in same line for the company. The company has developed human resource strategy with the business strategy in plan. Hence, the company provides competitive but not high pay to the employees. Also, the company plans to stay nonunion by providing benefits to the employees. Also, as a sign of appreciation, the company organizes employee appreciation dinner in every plant and the management takes this dinner program very seriously. Also, these dinner programs are well appreciated by the employees.

6. What strategic human resource issues will Newcombe likely face as the company expands to the Northeast? How might this expansion affect the structure of the organization and its human resource department? With the likely expansion of Mount Ridge Engineering Systems in the North East, Newcombe, the vice president of human resources in the company, can face following strategic human resource issues: a. Labor unions: The company has strict policy to be nonunion. With growing number of plants and employees along with them, it will be very difficult to stay nonunion. Since the company expects to grow to 650 in employee size, Newcombe will have a hard time managing, formulating and planning HR policies that will be beneficial to all the employees and the management, and yet be nonunion. b. Governmental legislations: In the US, each state has different rules and regulations apart from the federal law. So, by expanding in other states, the company will have to abide to the rules and procedures regulating human resources specified by the government of each state. c. Overall management thought: So far, the companys main business strategy is cost leadership. Apart from this, the company has not made any plans or strategies with respect to the human resources working in the company. So, if the human resource rules and policies remain as ambiguous as now, Newcombe will definitely have to face a problem similar to Johnsons sooner or later.

Human Resource Management Assignment 1 Sushil Bajimaya EMBA, Fall 2011, Roll: 30

The proposed expansion might affect the structure and human resource department of the company in following ways: a. The human resource department can get understaffed over time. b. Since the human resource department is centralized, it can be cut off from the plants and hence lose communication with the employees. c. A problem similar to Braxton and Johnson might arise in any of the plants again. d. Each plant may require a separate department for human resources to handle complaints and issues of employees, which can increase cost for the company. e. The employees must know the company policies and should perform according to it. f. The handbooks, development programs and benefit packages that Newcombe created might be out of date, so they might need to be reviewed once in a while.