Stephen Bergstrom is the new corporate controller of a multinational company that has just overhauled its organizational structure. The company is now decentralized. Each division is under an operating vice-president who, within wide limits, has responsibility and authority to run the division like a separate company.
Bergstrom has a number of bright staff members. One of them, Bob Garrett, is in charge of a newly created performance analysis staff. Garrett and staff members prepare monthly division performance reports for the company president. These reports are division income statements, showing budgeted performance and actual results, and they are accompanied by detailed written explanations and appraisals of variances. In the past, each of Garrett’s staff members was responsible for analyzing one division; each consulted with division line and staff executives and became generally acquainted with the division’s operations.
After a few months, Bill Whisler, vice-president in charge of Division C, stormed into the controller’s office. The gist of his complaint follows:
“Your staff is trying to take over part of my responsibility. They come in, snoop around, ask hundreds of questions, and take up plenty of our time. It’s up to me, not you and your detectives, to analyze and explain my division’s performance to central headquarters. If you don’t stop trying to grab my responsibility, I’ll raise the whole issue with the president.”
1. What events or relationships may have led to Whisler’s outburst?
2. As Bergstrom, how would you answer Whisler’s contentions?
3. What alternative actions can Bergstrom take to improve future relationships?