When dealing with matters of discipline one of the important principles to be applied is the need to be seen to be fair and consistent. This is one of the arguments for having a disciplinary procedure. If people are treated fairly and consistently then there is often little ground for complaint. It is notable that frequently in the tribunal cases that lead to an award for unfair dismissal, the case is won or lost because the employer did not treat the employer fairly or as prescribed by a procedure not because the employer had no grounds for dismissal. The case which follows illustrates this.

The PrintaPosta Co is a small printing firm specializing in printing posters. Its work is varied and the firm has built up a reputation, in the face of fierce competition, for its artwork and ability to produce high quality color work. The firm employs 28 people in the design, production and dispatch departments. The atmosphere is friendly but it often gives the impression of frenzied activity as the firm endeavors to achieve delivery dates. On occasions it takes on too much work but would rather overstretch itself than lose orders.

The production section employs 15 people and is headed by a print worker of 24 years’ experience. Jack Hall knows his trade well but has found life more than a little difficult in recent years because of the changes in technology. Jack has been with the firm since it began 15 years ago and the firm is very loyal to him for his hard work and dedication. Jack helped the firm through the first, difficult years and often he put in many more hours than he was paid for, just to see the work completed. The founder of the firm is aware of Jack’s shortcomings but relies on him to run the production side of the enterprise while he concentrates on the design side. Jack is a good manager and can get the best out people.

As a result of the added complexity of printing work and the need to keep up with the technological developments in the field, PrintaPosta created the post of Technical Supervisor last year. They recruited Phil Coggins, a young, recently qualified print technician to take on the technical side of the production section’s work. This left Jack to concentrate on managing the department. Phil settled into the job relatively quickly and proved to be very good at his job. The firm is happy with the appointment and many of the technical problems that the firm had have now been solved.

However, there is one grave difficulty that has arisen. Phil has a drink problem. He has taken to going out at lunch times to meet his drinking partner and often comes back incapable of doing much work. On many occasions, Jack has had to take Phil home in his car to ensure that Phil does not cause a disturbance or get into any danger. This has been noticed by the operatives in the section but the matter had not been brought to the attention of anyone else. Jack feels rather protective of Phil because he relies on him so much for the technical support he provides. If anything Jack has covered up for Phil and tries to be very discreet in dealing with a situation, he finds rather embarrassing.

Lately the situation has deteriorated so much that Phil has taken to having Monday mornings off quite frequently to recover from his heavy weekend drinking sessions. To cover himself when he returns he certifies himself sick as suffering from something other than a bad hangover. Jack tries to support Phil by making excuses for his absences but finds it more difficult on the occasions he returns to work drunk. Nothing has been said to Jack by any of the production department workers but he detects some unease about the situation and is lost to know what to do. He has spoken to Phil about the situation and Phil recognizes that he needs to moderate his drinking but then, after a period of time off, falls back into his bad habits again.

One morning Pam, an operative on one of the new, recently installed machines, comes to see Jack. She tells Jack that she has had a lifelong friend staying with her from Canada and the friend is due to return to Canada that day. Pam asks if she can finish two hours early that day so that she can go to the airport with her friend. Jack, being under considerable pressure to finish a number of jobs that day, including the one on Pam’s machine, says he cannot allow her the time off. He says that he had intended to ask her to work over that night to finish the work. Pam becomes very irate and says ‘You can let that lazy, drunken technician of yours have days off to go drinking but not an hour off for someone who never has any time off. We’ve noticed you taking him home after lunch because he’s had too much booze. But you wouldn’t take me to the airport in your car. I’ve had enough of this two-faced lot here’. At which she storms out the office, slamming the door.

Pam returns to her machine but is unable to concentrate on her work. At break time she tells all her colleagues about the incident. They support Pam and say they are prepared to back her. Still feeling incensed she changes and leaves the works without saying anything to Jack. She tells her friends they can tell Jack that she’s in the pub waiting to stop Phil having too much to drink at lunch time.
Pam turns up for work the next day.

Question 1
Paragraph 2 state that PrintaPosta Co employs 28 people. Evaluate why the 28 people is on one hand are considered as a cost and on the other hand are considered assets to the firm? For 3 marks answer the question and provide an example from the case study where the founder treated an employee as an asset? (3 marks) – 250 words

Question 2
Identify from the case study where the employees of this firm were considered as autonomous work group and discuss how the inclusion of Phil Coggins drastically affected the success of the autonomous work group? (3 marks) – 250 words

Question 3
What is the most common and potentially the most effective organizational form of individual developments proposed by Handy (reader)? Discuss how effective would the proposed development model be if Jack was to apply as a strategy to develop Phil for his drinking behaviour? (3 marks) – 250 words

Question 4
Critically evaluate the application of delegation approach of job design and its problem from the creation of the post of Technical Supervisor that Phil filled from the Production Manager’s (Jack) shortcomings? (3 marks) – 250 words

Question 5
The creation of the Technical Supervisor position is an implemented change necessary for the improvement of PintaPosta’s operation. Evaluate the different types of powers that Jack had as Production Manager compared to Phil’s Technical Supervisor position? (3 marks) – 250 words