Principles & practise of Management – Case – LOSING A GOOD MAN


Read the following case and answer the questions given at the end.


Sundar Steel Limited was a medium-sized steel company manufacturing special steels of various types and grades. It employed 5,000 workers and 450 executives.

Under the General Manager operation, maintenance, and headed by a chief. The Chief of and under him Mukherjee Maintenance Engineer. The total was 500 workers, 25 executives, (Production), there were services groups, each Maintenance was Shukla was working as the strength of Maintenance and 50 supervisors.

Chatterjee was working in Maintenance as a worker for three years. He was efficient. He had initiative and drive. He performed his duties in a near perfect manner. He was a man of proven technical ability with utmost drive and dash. He was promoted as Supervisor. Chattejee, now a Supervisor, was one day passing through the Maintenance Shop on his routine inspection. He found a certain worker sitting idle. He pulled him up for this. The worker retaliated by abusing him with filthy words. With a grim face and utter frustration, Chatterjee reported the matter to Mukherjee. The worker who insulted Chatterjee was a “notorious character” , and no supervisor dared to confront him. Mukherjee took a serious view of the incident and served a strong warning letter to the worker. Nothing very particular about Chatterjee or from him came to the knowledge of Mukherjee. Things were moving smoothly. Chatterjee was getting along well with others But after about three years, another serious incident took place. A worker came drunk to duty, began playing cards, and using very filthy language. When Chatterjee strongly objected to this, the worker got up and slapped Chatterjee. Later, the worker went to his union – and reported that Chatterjee had assaulted him while he was performing his duties.

Chatterjee had no idea that the situation would take such a turn. He, therefore, never bothered to report the matter to his boss or collect evidence in support of his case.

The union took the case to Shukla and prevailed over him to take stern action against Chatterjee. Shukla instructed Mukherjee to demote Chatterjee to the rank of a worker. Mukherjee expressed his apprehension that in such a case Chatterjee will be of no use to the department, and. the demotion would adversely affect the morale of all sincere and efficient supervisors. But Chatterjee was demoted.

Chatterjee continued working in the organisation with all his efficiency, competence, and ability for two months. Then he resigned stating that he had secured better employment elsewhere. Mukherjee was perturbed at this turn of events. While placing Chatterjee’s resignation letter before Shukla, he expressed deep concern at this development.

Shukla called Chief of Personnel for advice on this delicate issue. The Chief of Personnel said, “l think the incident should help us to appreciate the essential qualification required for a successful supervisor. An honest and hardworking man need not necessarily prove to be an effective supervisor. Something more is required for this as he has to get things done rather than do himself.” Mukherjee said, “l have a high opinion of Chatterjee. He proved his technical competence and was sincere at his work. Given some guidance on how to deal, with the type of persons he had to work with, the sad situation could h.ave been avoided.” Shukla said, “l am really sorry to lose Chatterjee, He was very honest and painstaking in his work. But I do not know how I could have helped him; I wonder how he always managed to get into trouble with workers. we know they are illiterates and some of them are tough. But a supervisor must have the ability and presence of mind to deal with such men. I have numerous supervisors, but I never had to teach anybody how to supervise his men.”


(a) Identify the problems in this case.

(b) Do you think the decision taken by shukla is in keeping with the faith, trust and creating developmental climate in the organisation? Critically evaluate

(c) How would you help in improving rough and tough behavior of employees?



Read the following case and answer the questions given at the end.

ABC manufacturing

The ABC Manufacturing Company is a metal working plant under the direction of a plant manager who is known as a strict disciplinarian. One day a foreman noticed Bhola, one of the workers, at the time-clock punching out two cards his own and the card of Nathu, a fellow worker. Since it was the rule of the company that each man must punch out his own card, the foreman asked Bhola to accompany him to the Personnel Director, who interpreted the incident as a direct violation of a rule and gave immediate notice of discharge to both workers. The two workers came to see the Personnel Director on the following day. Nathu claimed innocence on the ground that he had not asked for his card to be punched and did not know at the time that it was being punched. He had been offered a ride by a friend who had already punched out and who could not wait for him to go through the punch-out procedure. Nathu was worried about his wife who was ill at home and was anxious to reach home as quickly as possible. He planned to take his card to the foreman the next morning for reinstatement, a provision sometimes exercised in such cases. These circumstances were verified by Bhola. He claimed that he had punched Nathu’s card the same time he punched his own, not being conscious of any wrongdoing.

The Personnel Director was inclined to believe the story of the two men but did not feel he could reverse the action taken. He recognized that these men were good workers and had good records prior to this incident. Nevertheless, they had violated a rule for which the penalty was immediate discharge. He also reminded them that it was the policy of the company to enforce the rules without exception.

A few days later the Personnel Director, the Plant Manager, and the Sales Manager sat together at lunch. The Sales Manager reported that he was faced with the necessity of notifying one of their best customers that his order must be delayed because of the liability of one department to conform to schedule. The department in question was the one from which the two workers had been discharged. Not only had it been impossible to replace these men to date, but disgruntlement over the incident had led to significant decline in the cooperation of the other workers. The Personnel Director and the Sales Manager took the position that the discha rge of these two valuable men could have been avoided if there had been provision for onsidering the circumstances of the case. They pointed out that the incident was costly to the company in the possible loss of a customer, in the dissatisfaction within the employee group, and in the time and money that would be involved in recruiting and training replacements. The Plant Manager could not agree with this point of view. “We must have rules if we are to have efficiency; and the rules are no god unless we enforce them. Furthermore, if we start considering all these variations in circumstances, we will find ourselves loaded down with everybody thinking he is an exception.” He admitted that the grievances were frequent but countered with the point that they could be of little consequence if the contract agreed to by the union was followed to the letter.


(a) Identify the core issues in the case

(b) Place yourself in the position of the Personnel Director. Which of the following courses of action would you have chosen and why?

(i) Would you have discharged both men?
(ii) Would you have discharged Bhola only?
(iii) Would you have discharged Nathu only?
(iv) Would you have discharged neither of them? Justify your choice of decision.
(c) What policy and procedural changes would you recommend for handling such cases in future?



Read the case and answer the questions given at the end of the case.

PK Mills

PK Mills manufactures woolen clothes. Over the years, it has earned an envious reputation in the market. People associate PK Mills with high quality woolen garments. Most of the existing employees have joined the company long back and are nearing retirement stage. The process of replacing these old employees with younger ones, drawn from the nearby areas, has already begun. Recently, the quality of the garments has deteriorated considerably. Though the company employs the best material that is available, the workmanship has gone down. Consequently, the company has lost its customers in the surrounding areas to a great extent. The company stands, in the eyes of general public, depreciated and devalued. The production manager, in a frantic bid to recover lost ground, held several meetings with his staff but all in vain. The problem, of course, has its roots in the production department itself. The young workers have started resisting the bureaucratic rules and regulations vehemently. The hatred against regimentation and tight control is total. The old workers, on the verge of retirement, say that conditions have changed considerably in recent years. In. The days gone by, they say, they were guided by a process of self-control in place of bureaucratic control. Each worker did his work diligently and honestly under the old set-up. In an attempt to restructure the organizational set-up, the managers who have been appointed afterwards brought about radical changes. Workers under the new contract had very little freedom in the workplace. They are expected to bend their will to rules and regulations. Witnessing the difference between the two ‘cultures’ the young workers, naturally, began to oppose the regulatory mechanism devised by top management. The pent-up feelings of frustration and resentment against management, like a gathering storm, have resulted in volcanic eruptions leading to violent arguments between young workers and foremen on the shop-floor. In the process production has suffered, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The production manager in an attempt to weather out the storm, is seriously thinking of bringing about a radical change in the control process that is prevailing now in the organization.


(a) What are the core issues the case?

(b) Do you agree with the statement “The problem, of course, has its roots in the production department itself”? Reason out your stand.

(c) Critically evaluate the finding that old supervisors complain and new workers to resist any type of control.

(d) What type of control system would you suggest to the company to improve the production?



The AB Steel Plant

The Vice President for Production at the AB Steel Plant was giving the Production Department Manager, Mr. Singh, a hard time for not doing anything about his work group which was perpetually coming late to work and was behind schedule in the performance quotas for several months now. The vice President’s contention was that if the production’ crew was consistently tardy, the production process was delayed by about 15 minutes on an average per member per day, and this was no way for the department to meet the assigned quotas. “They are losing about 6 to 8 hours of production time per member per month, and you don’t seem one bit concerned about it,” he yelled at the manager. He added that he was pretty upset about the ‘lax management style’ of the manager and very clearly stated that unless the manager did something about the tardiness problem, another manager who can manage the crew effectively’ will have to be found.

Mr. Singh knows that he has an able and good group of workers but he also realizes that they are bored with their work and do not have enough incentives to meet the production quotas. Hence, they seem to respond to the situation by taking it easy and coming late to work by a few minutes every day. Mr. Singh has also noticed that they were taking turns leaving the workplace a few minutes early in the evenings. Even though Singh was aware of this, entire he pretended not to notice the irregularities and was satisfied that once the workers started their work, they were pretty good at their jobs and often helped to meet rush orders whenever they knew that Mr. Singh was in a bind.


(a) What do you think is the real, problem in this case?

(b) How do you perceive the stand of Mr. Singh? Analyze critically.

(c) What intervention should Mr. Singh use to rectify the type, of situation he is presently confronted with? Discuss giving the reasons.

(d) Discuss the implications of effecting them with your recommendations.



Dealing with an Employee’s Problem

Ms. Renu had graduated with a degree in foreign languages. As the child of a military family, she had visited many parts of the world and had travelled extensively in Europe. Despite these broadening experiences, she had never given much thought to a career until her recent divorce.

Needing to provide her own income, Ms. Renu began to look for work. After a fairly intense but unsuccessful search for a job related to her foreign language degree, she began to evaluate her other skills. She had become a proficient typist in college and decided to look into secretarial work. Although she still wanted a career utilizing her foreign language skills, she felt that the immediate financial pressures would be eased in a temporary secretarial position.

Within a short period fo time, she was hired as a clerk/typist in a typical pool at Life Insurance Company. Six months later, she became the top typist in the pool and and was assigned as secretary to Mrs. Khan’ manager of marketing research. She was pleased to get out of the pool and to get a job that had more variety in the tasks to perform. Besides, she also got a nice raise in pay.

Everything seemed to proceed well for the next nine months. Mrs. Khan was pleased with Renu’s work, and she seemed happy with her work. Renu applied for a few other more professional jobs in other areas during this time. However, each time her application was rejected for lack of related education and/or experience in the area.

Over the next few months, Khan noticed changes in Renu. She did not always dress as neatly as she had in the past, she was occasionally late for work, some of her lunches extended to two hours, and most of her productive work was done in the morning hours. Khan did not wish to say anything because Renu had been doing an excellent job and her job tasks still were being accomplished on time. However, Renu’s job behavior continued to worsen. She began to be absent frequently on Mondays or Fridays. The two-hour lunch periods became standard, and her work performance began to deteriorate. In addition, Khan began to suspect that Renu was drinking heavily, due to her appearance some mornings and behavior after two-hour lunches.

Khan decided that she must confront Renu with the problem. However, she wanted to find a way to held her without losing a valuable employee. Before she could set up a meeting, Renu burst through her floor after lunch one day and said:

“I want to talk to you Mrs. Khan”

“That’s fine,” Khan replied. “Shall we set a convenient time?”

“No! I want to talk now.”

“OK, why don’t you sit down and let’s talk?”

Khan noticed that Renu was slurring her words slightly and she was not too steady.

“Mrs. Khan, I need some vacation time.”

“I’m sure we can work that out. You’ve been with company for over a year and have two weeks’ vacation coming.”

“No, you don’t understand. I want to start it tomorrow.”

“But, Renu, we need to plan to get a temporary replacement. We can’t just let your job go for two weeks”.

“Why not? Anyway anyone with an IQ above 50 can do my job. Besides, I need the time off. “

“Renu, are you sure you are all right ?”

“Yes, I just need some time away from the job.”

Khan decided to let Renu have the vacation, which would allow her some time to decide what to do about the situation.

Khan thought about the situation the next couple of days. It was possible that Renu was an alcoholic.

However, she also seemed to have a negative reaction to her job. Maybe Renu was bored with her job. She did not have the experience or job skills to move to a different type of job at present. Khan decided to meet with the Personnel Manager and get some help developing her options to deal with Renu’s problem.


(a) What is the problem in your opinion? Elaborate.

(b) How would you explain the behavior of Renu and Mrs. Khan? Did Mrs. Khan handle the situation timely and properly?

(c) Assume that you are the Personnel Manager. What are the alternatives available with Mrs. Khan?

(d) What do you consider the best alternative? Why?