Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Scenario: Atlantis Global Corporation
In the 21st-century global economy, talent management has become a key strategic tool, which places greater responsibility on the shoulders of human resources (HR) managers and senior leadership in organizations. The ability of organizations to manage their global talent efficiently makes the difference between success and failure, competitive advantage and bankruptcy. Rapidly changing connectivity, technology advances, economic and business transformations, the ever-emergent competition, demographic changes, and the coming to age of a new generation of workers are having an impact on talent supply and demand.
The quest to gain a competitive advantage and tap into new and emerging markets has created a significant shift in organizational operation and growth patterns. Organizations today are increasingly operating across their home continents and beyond. Companies are no longer operating in silos.
Atlantis Global Corporation (AGC) is a multinational organization that engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of electronic circuit boards for use in high-definition TV screens. Although the design centers are located in the United States, the bulk of the manufacturing processes are carried out at their overseas subsidiaries. The electronic circuit boards are primarily sold to Original Equipment manufacturers located in North and South America, Africa, and the Asia/Pacific region. Headquartered in the Midwest United States, AGC has subsidiaries in three locations, on three continents: Subsidiary A in Asia, Subsidiary B in Africa, and Subsidiary C in South America. In all three locations, the subsidiaries are located in industrial parks or centers. These locations were selected for strategic reasons, including an abundance of raw materials for the company’s products, the availability of a labor force, and a rapidly growing customer base. Within the industrial parks, it is not uncommon to find two or three organizations competing in the same market segment and for the same labor force.
As part of its global human capital staffing strategy, AGC relocated several key people to leadership positions at each of the three subsidiaries. By placing key personnel from headquarters in leadership positions, AGC assumed a unified culture. Senior leadership envisioned that the subsidiaries would be self-sustainable in 2 years and profitable thereafter. A lot of capital, both tangible and intangible, has been committed to making the subsidiaries functional.
AGC has approximately 84,000 employees, most of whom are highly skilled and specially trained in the operations they perform. On average, it takes 3–6 months to fully train employees in each of the many operations of the parent company and its subsidiaries. Although the head count at the three subsidiaries has remained fairly constant, there have been a number of employees who have left the company for a variety of reasons. As employees leave, others are hired to replace them, but no one knows the exact number of employees who left the company or the reasons why they have separated.
At the subsidiaries, line and middle managers are concerned with having the right number of employees at each function or workstation. The operations manual, which the line and middle managers follow religiously, indicates that all staff must be fully trained and certified before they should be allowed to work on their own. Further, this requirement indicates that if someone has been certified before leaving the company, he or she must be retrained and recertified if rehired—no exceptions—even if his or her absence has just been a week. On the other hand, a trained and certified employee who is out on vacation or medical leave for a month is not similarly required.
Since operations began in the three subsidiaries, AGC has failed to meet its financial obligations, and profits are lagging. This is beginning to show in the company’s balance sheets and is taking a toll on the organization’s financial bottom line. Although the company’s structure is designed for adaptability in a fast-changing market, several other factors were overlooked when the company selected locations for the subsidiaries. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Intercultural communication issues
Political and regulatory conditions of the host country and the subsidiaries
Diversity and multiculturalism
Employee retention and motivation issues
An overall global human capital strategy that takes into account the home and host country nationals
AGC, often considered the leader in this market, is in jeopardy of losing that title when the end-of-year reports come out in 3 months. This is a critical time for the organization and the senior leadership team is very concerned. They need to find out what is happening to the organization, report to the shareholders, and rectify the situation.
John Dawson, the CEO, COO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors at AGC, is deeply concerned about the future of this company. Past strategies have not advanced AGC to a leadership position in the global market. John believes that he has done everything that can be done to optimize the company and is reluctant to change the present strategic course. He is a reluctant risk taker and must be convinced that changes to the organization have value before changing direction.
John is currently working with Shawn Williams, the newly recruited Director of Global Human Capital Management at AGC. His priority is to help diagnose and address the company’s human capital issues. Shawn brings with him extensive experience in resolving global problems, and he is recognized as an expert in the field of change management and viewed as a motivational leader. John and Shawn will be meeting soon to align goals and set a new strategic path for Atlantis Global Corporation.
As the new external consultant for AGC, you will be working closely with Shawn to establish a cross-cultural team that will address the company’s global challenges. You will provide guidance and recommendations regarding each objective and anticipated outcome. This is a critical assignment because failure could lead to the dissolution of AGC.
3 Individual Project- Change Management Principles and the Impact on the Management of Global Human Capital Unit
Assignment Objectives – Evaluate (Analysis) and apply HCM data, measurement, and reporting tools
Deliverable Length: 10–12 slides (+ title and reference slides); Speaker notes of 200–250 words per slide
Weekly tasks or assignments (Individual or Group Projects) will be due by Monday and late submissions will be assigned a late penalty in accordance with the late penalty policy found in the syllabus. NOTE: All submission posting times are based on midnight Central Time.
Respond to the following scenario with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. Be substantive and clear, and use research to reinforce your ideas.
Additional Information: Both you and Shawn realize that without significant levels of change, AGC will not survive in its present global environment. It is important to use a change management process to appropriately diagnose the problems at AGC and determine the root causes. You both met with the 12 members of the cross-cultural core team to begin the change process. After the meeting, you and Shawn get together to compare notes and to discuss next steps.
“John told me he wants us to provide him with the details about our change management plan for AGC,” Shawn says.
“Sure,” you say. “A PowerPoint presentation like we did last time would probably work well. I think we could cover everything in 10–12 slides (plus title and reference slides) with speaker notes of 200–250 words per slide.”
“John wants to see a step-by-step plan with explanations,” he says. “He was fairly specific in an e-mail about what he wants. I can forward it to you so we can both be on the same page.”
“Okay,” you say. “I’ll look for that so I can put the presentation together.”
Later that afternoon, Shawn’s e-mail arrives with the following list of components that must be covered in the presentation:
A step-by-step plan for change management and justifications for each step at AGC
An analysis of the current state of AGC. (i.e., What are the problems in this company that have led to the development of Shawn’s team?)
A list of the potential benefits you can expect from the change management plan
The reasoning behind the need for a diagnosis of AGC and why it is considered one of the most critical components of the team’s plan
An explanation of the diagnostic process that was applied and the type of data that was collected
In addition to John’s list, you determine that the following questions must be addressed, as well:
What would happen if the diagnostic step was not conducted?
What would happen if the diagnostic step was poorly researched and evaluated?
What types of data will be gathered, from whom, and how will they be analyzed?
Based on the diagnosis of this organization, what have you determined to be the potential root cause (or causes) of its existing problems?
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