Case Analysis: Zelte USA By Kimberley Coleman Strayer University BUS 520 Critique Meindle’s management and leadership styles. Meindle’s approach to management resembles a hierarchal structure, with orders coming down from the top with very little upward communication. He didn’t pay much attention to individual personalities. Maintaining tight control over all company operations was the way Meindle managed Zelte. He refused to allow other sales representatives to contact the company’s largest customers. Meindle also meddled in the day to day operational activities of the company.
For example, Meindle signed every purchase order, instead of letting the purchase manager sign for it. He reviewed every piece of mail that was delivered to the company. He was also rude and at times obnoxious. He degraded female employees. Spoke in German during company meetings to those who understood German, despite the presence of other non-German speaking managers. He made all of his office staff take lunch the same time that he did which was separate from the plant employees. He refused to allow other sales people to call on the company’s largest customers.
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He set unrealistic expectations for customers. Had sales people promise delivery between 5-6 weeks, however, the company normal delivery is 12-14 weeks. Despite all of Meindle’s negative management and leadership styles, he remained part of the team. He continued to work very hard and was also active in sales and help developed a reputation of providing high quality products in the industry. Critique Meindle’s use and misuse of the various types of power. The ability to achieve business goals and maintain profitability by being better than the company’s competitors was Meindle’s primary concern.
However, to accomplish this Meindle misused his power which led to unethical behavior. He secretly charged increase pricing to one of the company’s largest customer’s invoices, without notifying the customer. The customer found out and cancelled their two million dollar order. This customer represented 50% of Zelte’s annual sales. Meindle also used his coercive power in a hostile manipulative way by berating his subordinates in front of their peers. He fired two sales representatives for disagreeing with him regarding sales policies during a team meeting.
When coercive power is used it strains relationships which will lead to resentment and retaliation. Customers who were close with the sales reps were disgruntled with management’s brash judgment and wanted to pull their accounts. Meindle also had legitimate and expert power within Zelte. Han’s Meindle had proven his management ability for over 10 years in South Africa as a general manager. Dr Fischer believed that Meindle was ready to take on Zelte’s United States operations. Meindle utilized his expert power over his sales reps by controlling information which was done during his withdrawal phase.
Han’s would purposely withhold mail from his employees. Explain how cultural differences might have an influence in this case. The management team is unaware of the importance of culture in leadership style. Meindle lack’s the knowledge about the behavior of American employees and he also lacks confidence in his employees. He feels that he alone has the capacity for leadership and initiative. He appears less group and more individual oriented. Germans tend to expect from their own leadership role a more authoritarian, but also individual approach. (Lichtenberger, 1988).
According to the Article: German Management, German managers see themselves as technical experts and expect their subordinates to come to them with technical problems. They also help out with actual work. Meindle constantly checked to make sure work was being performed. He also maintained tight control over the larger customers. Only he could speak with them. He maintained a specific and technical approach to checking over his employees work by going thru their mail. For Americans, this is seen as micromanagement and he did not trust their judgment.
The American subordinates felt technical incompetence. Meindle paid less attention to individual personalities. According to Daniel Workman, analyst of Germany’s management style, “they resist change. German managers have a strong aversion to risk and a superiority complex”. This compels to Germans to maintain tight control of key management positions. What alternatives do the four managers have to solve the dilemma they face? ??? Tom Williams ??? Finance manager, who is tired of fighting with his boss. Doesn’t speak German, never traveled to Germany. Just live with it”. Doesn’t want to deal with making a decision, or ruffle any feathers. Tends to ignore what is going on and do nothing. ??? Lloyd Forrest – Production manager, who wants to provide good service to the customer and make sure that the customers are satisfied. Lloyd appears to be one who sees the overall big picture. He may be able to point out to Meindle the mutual benefits of working together and compromising. ??? Bob Holson ??? Sales manager, whose alternative option may lead to quitting the company.
He is not enthusiastic to how the company is being run. His approach to this situation should be minimized discussion or expression of feelings or subjective elements unless Meindle appears to be open to this perspective. Doesn’t speak German. Visit Germany briefly. ??? Dan Offerman- Youngest member of the Zelte management team, who seems to be more objectionable and possibly understands Germany culture moreover than his peers. Offerman has spent 2 months on company business for management training and indoctrination in Germany.
He also spoke German fluently and traveled to Germany for vacation and on a university-sponsored work study program. Therefore, Meindle may be more willing to listen to Dan on a one???on???one basis to hash out some of their overall issues. If that doesn’t work, Offerman should set up a meeting with Dr. Fischer about Miendle’s attitude as well as discuss some of the challenges that he and his team are facing, since he has also met Dr. Fischer once before. What are the implications of each alternative?
Morale has drifted into a constant downward spiral and employees have lacked trust in Meindle’s leadership. He was making employees appear incompetent; therefore, In order for employees to cover themselves with Meindle’s inconsistent behavior, they request his direction in writing instead of verbal communication. Other employees would also consider leaving if no change will be implemented. Those individuals who are task oriented started to work less intently. Individuals started to work at the hours they were assigned and nothing over and beyond.
Very little allegiance to ensuring work has been completed for that day. If the behavior of Meindle doesn’t change, Zelte’s customer base will diminish and his upper level management colleagues will refuse to work with him and may force his resignation. Work Cited Lichtenberger, Bianka (1998). In search of appropriate management transfer: leadership style of West German expatriate managers in the People’s Republic of China. International Journal of Human Resource Management; Jun90, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p73-86, 14p. Abstract retrieved November 23, 2008, from EBSCO HOST database