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Nogo Railroad

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NoGo Railroad has some issues within their organization starting with their ancient communications process which needs immediate attention of an experienced manager. However, the operations manager has decided to promote the chief dispatcher Dave Keller who has little to no experience in managing the communications department. This organization has a history of resistance to change which is causing a major problem for the future of this business. Brown (2011) states, “Change is a way of life in today’s organization, but organizations are also faced with maintaining a stable identity and operations in order to accomplish their primary goals” pg. 5. In order for change to be successful it must be carefully planned by the managers and successfully implemented slowly to make certain they don’t scare away the employees. On the macro level this organization has several issues which will eventually cause this company to become extinct. Their processes are “archaic traditions”, their hiring process consist of mainly hiring family members of current employees. Also the employee’s contracts which guarantee pay even if there is no work will soon bankrupt this organization.

Issues on the micro level are mainly the culture of this organization and the norms that they have become accustomed to and are reluctant to change. In my opinion this is detrimental to the success of this organization and will hurt them in the long run if it continues. Brown (2011) states, “Some patterns of behavior may be functional and may facilitate the accomplishment of organizational goals. Other patterns of behavior or cultural norms may actually inhibit or restrict their accomplishment” pg. 10. The morale of the employees is extremely low. Majority of their employees and managers are highly resistant to change and will form groups to oppose any new changes the company tries to implement. The staff and managers are comfortable in doing things the way they are used to and oppose change because it may result in layoffs. This is a major issue due to the nepotism and high rate of family members working for this organization. No one wants to be the reason one of their family members loses their job.

This is why a change in their work environment is problematic for the employees and the organization as a whole. I say this because if they continue to perform with this low rate of change and development, eventually some competition will come and put this organization out of business. Then the employees and their families can suffer an even greater loss if none of them have jobs due to their lack of commitment and resistance to change in this organization. Another issue on the micro level is the lack of support from upper management. Dave realizes the changes that need to be made but he is unsure if he will have the support of the manager who promoted him to make these changes. Dave knows if the employees rally against him, Allen Yates may team up with the majority which could mean he will be out numbered. This will result in him being outnumbered, demoted and/or possibly fired. Either way he is in a hopeless situation.

He can end up unemployed, or demoted and then ostracized by the rest of the employees due to his efforts to change their work environment. The causes of their issues are a result of lack of commitment and resistance to change. Brown (2011) states, “As the environment changes, organizations must adapt if they are to be successful” pg. 32. The employees performance is less than satisfactory and since majority of them are family members they do not have to worry about being reprimanded for their mediocre work ethics. The entire structure of this organization is a result of inappropriate division of labor. The clerks and telegrapher which make up the communications department have too many unnecessary limitations as far as their daily responsibilities are concerned. Clerks which are mostly females are chained to their desk with nothing to do and no desire to learn more to help out the telegraphers mostly men, whom are constantly traveling working too many hours which is hurting the organization financially.

Technology has no place with this organization due to the fact that knot tying is an important function for the telegraphers to communicate with engineers driving trains. This company is in desperate need of an IT department since the telegrapher’s jobs are so ancient but it is extremely dangerous and risky and they can easily result in severe life threatening injuries. The Goals and Values Systems are basically nonexistent since there is nepotism and featherbedding affecting the behaviors of the managerial staff and employees. Everyone in this organization are either looking out for their best interest or their family members. There is no concern for the growth and advancement of this railroad as a business. As long as they are receiving paychecks they can care less if this organization has a future in the railroad business. Although there are consequences in implementing changes, there are some alternatives that need to be considered if this organization wants to remain a profitable business.

One major change has to be renegotiating these employee contracts, duties and acceptable performance standards. The non-existent responsibilities of the fireman position needs to be quickly eliminated. The responsibilities of the telegraphers and clerks should be combined into one position that both women and men are required to do every part of this job without any limitations. The technology or lack thereof needs to be updated and overhauled and professionally managed by an IT professional. The next issue that needs to be carefully addressed is the culture and their resistance to change. While employees should be allowed some input on what happens within an organization they should not have that much control over the end results. This group resistance is an unacceptable practice in a growing work environment and it can no longer be tolerated.

Upper management needs to support their managers and make certain the employees understand that importance of these changes and the fact that the behaviors resisting the change will not be tolerated. If Dave can successfully get upper management support then he will be able to implement the necessary changes. If this railroad wants to be around for another 50 years then changes are definitely necessary, and they must begin with the individual positions and building employee morale and commitment to the organization as a whole. Dave most definitely needs to take some leadership training classes to help him better manager his team ad rebuild a positive culture for NoGo Railroad. The changes will eventually result in the elimination of some positions and require some individuals to be laid off. As a result Dave with the support of upper management needs to reassure the employees who remain that these changes are necessary for company to become successful in the future.


Brown, D. R., and Harvey, D. (2011). An experiential approach to organization development (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson. ISBN 0-13-610689-7

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