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Current management strategy

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Design Inc., a successful commercial art studio, is a brainchild of its founder, Bill Klee. Its motto ,which is also Klee’s personal motto,” Perfection or bust.” The business was started in 1979 by Klee, a well-know figure in the industry and a perfectionist as well, though at first Klee was desired to found an academy while not just a business, where talented young artists and designers can perfect their skills.

I have been employed by Design Inc as a change agent to investigate into the company and produce a management report which will consider its current organisational culture from individual, group and organisation levels, communication channels among staff and customers, and offer a rationale for change strategy or strategies to this company effectiveness.

In this report, I will try to evaluate its current management strategy success and failure from analysing its organisational culture. Furthermore, I will give some recommendation for Design Inc. to improve its effectiveness for future development.

1.0 Management strategy in Design Inc.

The organisational structure, culture and management styles all affect the performance and operation of an organisation. Going on to comment that he wished to ‘encourage continuous learning at both individual and organisational level, and loves to demonstrate commitment to the ethos of a Learning Organisation’. Walton (1999,P166)

1.0.1 Management Style

“An army of lions led by a sheep is no match for an army of sheep led by a Lion ! ” (Grint, 1995 ) The management style of managers or leaders of groups use is vital for the whole group. There are five basic functions or styles of management used in an organisation or business. They may be used in a large or small scale depending on the size, objectives of the company or the type of activity and legal form that goes on in a company.

1) Forecasting – This is the process of predicting what will happen in the

future, it is important that forecasts are an accurate picture of the future. In Design Inc., Klee gave each recruit a view that they would build together an academy, where talented young artists and designers can perfect their skills. And it really worked that made Klee put together in a short order a talented and enthusiastic team of artists and designers.

2) Organising – This is the process of arranging and being responsible for work that is being carried out by individuals. It’s interesting for this aspect in Design Inc. In my point of view, Klee is the whole process and he is the only thread to connect all work which carried out by all artists and designers. All individuals only need to repeat their work to reach perfection which Klee asked. Then Klee connected all of these work together. Whatever the result is, this kind of organising is really poor for the whole company management.

3) Commanding – This is the process of leading a group by giving commands or orders and expecting them to be fulfilled. Klee’s personal motto ,which is also company motto is ‘perfection or bust’. He used it to attract his staff and put it into their work as a principal and a belief. In Design Inc., everyone tried to do their job to excellence. For instant, they reviewed their artwork as many as a dozen times or more, which would be done three or four times at another studio. It’s good for their reputation, and realized the promise that Klee told their potential clients the best commercial artwork in the city.

They even applied this standard to their new staff interview after their top layout artist left the firm. However, it’s not easy to get a perfect recruit in the actual world. This resulted to Klee fulfilled his extra responsibility till now and no more new replacement.

4) Co-ordinating – This is bringing various tasks together into one single operation. In Design Inc., their product is to supply commercial artworks for customer. This need a team work with all artists and designers and group’s working efficiency is important for their output quality. Klee motivated the group with his perfection motto. And it worked, employees reached a commitment to excellence within their field. They spent much of their leisure time to discuss work-related matters. Through the communication, employees can know more about others’ point and may get new idea for design work, which is very important for such art work .

5) Controlling – This involves a senior member of staff directing, inspecting and modifying the work that is being done. Klee encouraged his staff to argued their colleagues work to help them upgrade work quality, though this also made their conversations acrimonious and suffered their long-time friendship. At the same time, they can’t endure outsiders question the superiority of their work. This made them questioned themselves internal time after time until they sure their work is the best. For example, workers agonized to get every last detail of a project right for each project. Though there is no real perfect artwork, their rigours and positive attitude helped to establish their quality reputation. It improved the group’s output and reached Klee’s promise that they can do the best artwork in the city. I think this is what Klee needs in the end.

1.0.2 Culture

A culture of an organisation is best described by the values and beliefs of the people who are involved in the business (Mumford,1993,P155).It is the way an organisation does things over time. Staff mainly will display the culture of the business in the ways in which they interact with customers, suppliers and colleagues. Decision-making and the way they are made show the culture of an organisation. Culture determines what a group pays attention to and monitors in the external environment and how it responds to this environment.

There are many types of cultures that organisation may have:

1) Power or Club culture – These types of culture is reliant of the owner or the personality of the owner, this is the person who will make the key decisions based upon these cultures. The organisation will only recruit like-minded people to run the business if there are people who do not share their views they will not succeed in the organisation. This sort of business with this culture will have a loose and informal structure in a small business.

2) Role culture or bureaucracy – These types of culture tend to have jobs that are more important than the person and can be done many people. There is a strict control on the limits of every job. For these types of businesses there seams to be a large importance on rules, routine and procedures. This sort of business with this culture will have hierarchical and informal structures.

3) Task Culture – These types of culture are structured so tasks and projects can be completed by teams and team players, which is very important in this type of organisation. In these teams there may be one or two specialists to deal with the type of task. On completion of a task a team will have a high level of satisfaction due to a job well done.

In my point of view from its management style, my assumption is that Design Inc. has a strong power/club culture. The pleasant role about power culture is that manager holds the power within the organization, is focused on power. The company’s motto, ‘perfection or bust’, is also its founder, Klee’s personal belief. This gave company positive influence at first. Klee chooses who ever they want to employ on the business. Therefore they choose people with knowledge, skills and with good qualifications. Basically they opt for the person that they personally want, an individual that owner would prefer, they focused on personality and select a good, skilled employee. And they use their unique approach to attract these potential members, which is the most satisfying job of his life.

Through this way, Klee was able to put together a short order a talented and enthusiastic team of graphic artists and designers. Many of Klee’s turn of phrase-“no compromise with mediocrity”, “the best or bust,” “perfection is our only concern”, became part of most staff members vocabulary. And in such power culture, employees were enthusiastic about the company and they spent much of their leisure time together to discuss their work. Under this power culture of its founder, Design Inc. employees worked long hours, coming early and leaving late, and reviewing artwork might be done as many as a dozen times or more. It’s no doubt that Klee’s personal power is vital for the whole efficiency. That’s what the power culture said that the managers would have knowledge of everything that is happening in the organization.

However power culture has it’s down’s. It wouldn’t be pleasant for employees because they are not allowed to share their own point of view. With time move on, their bluff statements which got from their boss turned to be hollow sentences. In such culture, Klee is a core soul of the whole organisation. In Design Inc, Klee was everywhere, advising on layout, suggesting new creative approaches for one piece of work, consulting on the choice of colour and typeface for another. With time move on, though employees repeated those vocabulary, people would feel a certain hollowness in their bluff statements, because it’s Klee’s personal motto, while not each individual’s.

Furthermore, Klee’s perfection principal made people work in high stress. Most of staff actually less confident as they want let on and they spend much their spare time to work. But life is not only work, that’s why its top layout artist select his family at last to get another job. And at the same time, in such culture, employees were afraid of changing. When external environment changed, they turned nervous and can’t accept new blood to their organisation. For example, when the layout artist left the company, till now, they can’t get a new one to replacement. After all, it’s okay if the business is limited in a small bound which Klee himself can control everything.

1.0.3 Organisation Structure

Structure can affect performance by having a well-designed structure, which will motivate the workforce to work towards objectives, it will help the organisation to respond quickly to external changes, staff will be able to innovate which will be responsive to customers, with this decision making is quick and effective and having a well designed structure will improve business performance. Structure can affect performance by having a poorly designed structure, therefore there will be poor motivation and low morale around staff, there will be a lack of personal and professional development, there will be a low level of creativity and innovation, it will cause inappropriate delegation.

The organisation will be difficult to organise and there will be a poor overall business performance. Design Inc. has a typical power culture in its organisation, which also determines it has an informal and loose structure. In this studio, I can’t find any functional department, such as administration, marketing or HR, except a group of artists and designers. Everything is Klee’s responsibility, even took place of layout artist work, when the one left the company. Furthermore, from its failure on interviewing new layout artist, we can see another management problem in the organisation. Klee wanted to hirea new recruit which would satisfy all employees. It’s a good willing, which is impossible to realize in practice. It proved that his selection standard of new recruit was wrong and he has a poor HR management acknowledge, though he did good in the beginning.

2.0 Rationale for change strategy or strategies

After analysing Design Inc. management strategy, I identify the rationale of its effectiveness is its organisational culture, power culture from its founder’s personal belief. ‘Perfection or bust’, this motto turned to be a standard and principal for all employees in the work. This help Design Inc. gain a quality reputation in the industry, which help them to be a successful commercial studio. However, this power culture type made it has a informal and loose structure which is bad for the company management. And when internal and external factors changed, it turned to be a vital aspect to avoid the company further development. As we all know, all the organizations’ culture isn’t static: because the internal and external factors influence culture change, so culture will change. Most organisations start with power cultures. Then, as they mature and became less dependent upon the founder, they tend to become role cultures.

When the role culture needs greater flexibility, there might be a further change towards a task culture to fit the requirements and needs of each part of the organization. According to Burnes(1991, cited in Burnes,1996, p.115): assumed that culture is locked into personal values, beliefs and norms of organization, because these conceptions’ change is difficult. This type of organic culture will be slow if there isn’t major shock to the organization. It’s a big problem whether organizational culture can be changed or not. Schwartz and Davis (1981, cited in Burnes, 1996, p.118) suggest that: it should compare the strategic significance(importance to the organization’s future) of the change with the cultural resistance when an organization is considering any form of change. They term this the ‘cultural risk’ approach.

1) recruitment, selection and replacement -organization ensure that appointments strength the existing cultures or support a culture change, that can affect culture management. Organization can change the culture by using removal and replacement; For Design Inc., they almost have no change of their employees since the business started, expect one layout artist leaving. I think the studio can try to hire some recruits to replace Klee’s extra responsibility ,even more. Then the founder will have more time to think about its academy aim and whole company management, while not only be forced to do detail work. All organisations need new blood for new sight and idea, especially for such artwork studio.

2) socialization -which is especially critical in fragmented organisational cultures. I think Design Inc can try to ask help from professional management consultancy. An existing or new culture can be provided by induction and subsequent development and training for acculturation and for improved interpersonal communication and teamwork by such consultancy; The studio has lost its organic aim, the training mission, which was vital for motivating their employees. I think it’s time to do these work to help company to absorb new culture theory.

3) Performance management/reward systems -organization can highlight and encourage desired behaviours which may (or may not) in turn lead to changed values through using performance management/reward systems. Klee used his unique intangible reward to motivate his staff to work hard. However, for the studio’s sustainable development, it’s necessary to build a performance reward systems to motivate all staff, including psychological and substantial reward.

4) leadership and modelling – executives, managers, supervisors can reinforce or assist in the overturning of existing myths, symbols, behaviour and values, and demonstrates the universality and integrity of vision, mission or value statements; participation – it is essential that participation of all organization members in cultural reconstruction or maintenance activities and associated input, decision making and development activities if long-term change is to be achieved in values, not just behaviours. Leaders at the executive level are the principle source for the generation and re-infusion of an organization’s ideology. What constitutes organisational culture and its perceived role in organisational are argued, resting on perceptions of culture either as a historically-based, change-resistant, deep social system which underpins all organisational strategy and action, or as just one aspect of the total organisational system, manipulable though surface structures such as rewards.


Organisations such as a personnel department will be more concerned with the individual or team and how they are doing. Communication will be very important here in order to listen, hear , understand and react to any personnel related issues. Honesty and trust are also crucial in order to build up an effective relationship. Companies whose main objective is to provide a quality product or service will look for leaders who can communicate effectively the standards required and the implications if this is not achieved.

Generally speaking, the management strategies of Design Inc. is okay at the moment due to its small business bound and its founder’s strong personal controlling. However, if Design Inc is desire to have a further development, it has to change part of its strategies first. It should allow each employee to have a clear view of objectives and guiding principles. Yet again, organization culture is important but management is not just few points to cover, it is complicated and is an interlinked problem. Design Inc. had a bad structure, which can be considered as a failure. Many of its problems are interlinked, and causes a flow of consequences of privatisation and so on. In broad, Design Inc. management strategy is not suitable for its sustainable development. It’s time to do some thing to face internal and external environment change.


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