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Webster Industries Case

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The Webster Industries case is as a prime example of how the consequences of poor decisions and immoral judgment can damage a company's reputation. In the case, the many shortcomings of a mismanaged team paralyzed the company.

The team's insensitivity toward applying the layoff process equitably shows that the team had little accountability for the accuracy and ethos of the team's decision. The apparel production manager summarized the situation well when he said, "...too many people had to pay for the mistakes of their managers....too many instances of individuals having been retained long after they had ceased to be effective (Webster Industries-B)". Team members also showed little competence in performing their tasks by failing to incorporate any alternatives (such as a hiring freeze, voluntary exit incentive program, or reducing salaries) into a workforce reduction proposal. Consequently, the team's decision-making process became handicapped as the team fell victim to the allure of simplicity, lack of accountability, and ignorance of plausible alternatives. Before the actual selection process began, management should have provided detailed training to managers who were involved in the process including an overview of the reasons and business justification for the reduction in force and careful instruction on the selection procedures and schedule. Although Brown clearly had more experience than Stevens, Carter did not include Brown in his discussions. The team thus lost Brown's experience, which could have benefitted the process with more diversity and disconfirming information. Because he was demoted by his boss, Brown likely had much less fear of presenting disconfirming information than did Stevens, whom Carter had just promoted to take up Brown's position. Stevens expressed his feeling of guilty when he said, "I did not like the rush-rush atmosphere.



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