Freeman-Brown Private School Case Study Review

Assignment Instructions

The board of directors at Freeman-Brown Private School (FBPS) has hired you as part of a consulting team to review the situation and present your findings and recommendations. Write a paper (1,250-1,500 words) that discusses the case. Complete this assignment from the perspective of the hired consultants. Respond to the following questions:

  • Review how organizations interact with their external environment (as open systems and complex adaptive systems).
  • How effective was Freeman-Brown as an open system at the time of the closure? How effective was Freeman-Brown as a complex adaptive system at the time of the closure?
  • Review your reading this week on the internal environment of organizations. What is your evaluation of the organizational culture and organizational climate at the time the decision to close two campuses was made
  • What is your evaluation of the decision made by Dr. Murphy and Caudill? What is your evaluation of the process of going about the closure?
  • Was FBPS demonstrating social responsibility? Discuss the closure impact on three specific stakeholders.
  • Provide an explanation, using appropriate management theories, for how the administration could have handled the closure effectively with stakeholders? Include one theory from each of the following: the classical approach, the human relations approach, and the modern management approach.
  • You have been asked to suggest two goals: one long-term and one short-term goal for the future direction of FBPS. Justify your decision.
  • Present a concluding statement that integrates the 4 functions of management as a means to revamp management at FBPS and meets the recommended goals.

Sample Freeman-Brown Private School Case Study Review Paper

Freeman-Brown Effectiveness as an Open and Complex Adaptive System at the Time of the Closure

Organizations with open systems exchange information and resources with their external environment. However, they manage to control these interactions by generating permeable boundaries which permit necessary exchange while being shielded from external disturbances (Cummings, 2014). The interaction of the FBPS and the external environment as an open system during the closure of the Hampton and Culpeper campuses was poor and ineffective. The closure was considered abrupt to the families and the surrounding communities.The school denied intending to close following the leaked email, just to protect its administration from parents’ outrage. The school lacked healthy exchange of information with its external environment. There was no permeable boundary and hence there was no exchange of necessary information on time. The lack of this permeable wall also made it hard for the campus to understand the external environment, and hence it was unable to attract enough students to sustain the school operations.

Complex adaptive systems refer to dynamic systems which are capable of evolving with and adapt in a changing environment (Chan, 2001). The FBPS system was surrounded by a number of changes shortly before its closure. The external environment was experiencing financial crisis, intense competition from public schools that are independently operated and chartered. The school was unable to keep up or to adapt to changes that were taking place. They gave in to competition, losing most of their students to their chartered public schools competitors. They also failed to invest in school marketing probably due to tough economic crises that were being experienced by all in the country. It can thus be said that the schools complex adaptive system was ineffective.

Organization Culture and Organization Climate at the Time the Two Campuses Closing Decisions were made

Organization culture and organization climate are two different constructs for hypothesizing the manner in which people describe and experience their work environment. Organizational climate refers to shared views of and the meaning attached to procedures, practices, and policies experienced by workers and the behaviors that they observe attracting rewards and that are expected and supported. Organizational culture on the other hand refers to the shared primary assumptions, beliefs, and values which typified an environment and are taught to all new workers as the suitable way to feel and think, communicated by the stories and myths people tell regarding the organization ways of doing things (Schneider, Ehrhart & Macey, 2013). The FBPS had unfavorable organization climate before the closure of the school. Similar to parents and students, the administration and faculty were all in shock, meaning that they were hearing about the closure then for the first time. This implies that the school did not have internal communication process or policies that would enhance internal discussion or communication of critical decisions before they are communicated to other stakeholders. Workers were not consulted in anything and their welfare was not considered. They were dismissed abruptly with no prior notice or psychological preparations for job lose. There was neither dismissal procedures followed nor any policy that permitted the school to do. The organization had poor communication culture which did not promote collaboration or cooperation in evaluating situations and making decisions. The FBPS generally had unfavorable organizational climate and culture.

Decision Made by Murphy and Caudill

Based on the case study, the country was experiencing tough economic time and all organizations experienced financial pressure. Most schools closed during this period, and hence FBPS was not an exception. However, this does not justify the closure of the school. Tough financial times lasted from 2005 to 2011. The school was expanding during this time, trying to open new campuses, and to diversify by opening secondary schools. This means that the school was doing fine financially, despite the economic crisis in the country. New advancements gave hopes to its stakeholders and it was quite a disappointment to have an abrupt closure. The closure actually happened after the financial crisis settled down and the country economy was in recovery. The excuse given could have been resolved by other means such as marketing, improving administration and management operations among other measures, to enhance its competitiveness. The school had been in existence for decades. It had overcome many challenges in the past and managed to survive due to the quality of education offered. It was not therefore supposed to be shaken by new entries. It had the capability to stand up and reclaim its space. Thus, closing the school was not the right decision. It also tainted the image of the two remaining campuses.

The process followed to execute the closure was even worse. Based on the leaked email, the decision to close the school was made long time ago. However, the managers did not want to make losses by having the students withdraw before the end of the semester. This made them consider reassuring the parents, only to disappoint them later. Abrupt closure created crisis not just to the parents and students, but also the employees. The procedure followed was only beneficial to the management. It was cruel not to consider the future of the students and the livelihood of its workers. Lack of preparation created psychological distress to all stakeholders, especially when trying to determine what next. Students’ enrollment in other schools was closed, same as hiring process. The procedure thus, wrecked many lives forcing them to consider options that were not favorable to them due to lack of alternatives.

FBPS and Social Responsibility

FBPS failed in ensuring its social responsibility. The school had employed people from the surrounding, whose families’ livelihood depended exclusively on them. Abrupt closure of the school subjected these families into financial crisis, and psychological distress. The closure also impacted business people who depended on the schools directly or indirectly to increase their revenue. These include the school suppliers who provided various academic and non-academic materials needed in the school. Another impacted stakeholder was its customers. The organization promised to offer services to its customers only to leave them abruptly without an alternative. The parents were subjected to financial losses, since they were needed to look for new schools and pay for new schools requirements. Students were also required to search for a school that follows similar system as their previous school to enhance their adaptability. This demonstrates that the school did not consider its social responsibility, and that the closure decision was highly cruel to its surrounding.

Handling the closure based on Suitable Management Theory

According to weber’s administrative theory, any organization need to have rules and regulations that defines workers duties, that offer standard operating processes which govern all activities in the organization to facilitate coordination and offer certainty (Cole, 2004).FBPS lacked standardized procedures of communicating and handling crisis. There was no specific way to inform workers about their dismissal due to school closing or on how to compensate them for the losses they would incur following that decision.Thus, based on this theory, the organization required to have established a procedure that it would follow while dismissing any employee for any reason. With regard to human relation, the organization could have considered Maslow hierarchy of needs (Cole, 2004). Both customers and employees trusted that the organization could meet their needs. However, the act of abrupt closure depicted otherwise. Using Maslow theory the school could have considered their psychological needs by giving them the closure notice earlier enough to allow them to find an alternative while still continuing with their life in the school before its closure. This could have enhanced their career and future safety. According to chaos theory, the management needed to understand that sometimes change is inevitable due to the complexity of the organizations as they grow. However, the solution to this is not to punish the stakeholders, but to increase the energy needed to maintain its new complexity level. Understanding this could have made the organization to consider better alternatives rather than to close the organization. With better collaboration of other stakeholders, the organization could have managed to survive the trying times.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals for Future FBPS Direction

The short-term goals of the future FBPS director would be to rebuild the organization trust in the surrounding. The abrupt closure impacted life of most people in a negative way. This cruel act interfered with the trust the community had on the organization. It may therefore be hard to rebuild the school without rebuilding this trust. The long-term goal of the future FBPS director should be rebuilding the school to its initial level; before its closure. The school had a good legacy and exponential growth. This is not easy to attain, a lot need to be done to reclaim its position in the market.

Concluding Statement

The school director needs to improve her management function. Effective planning on how to run the school to avoid past failure through defining both long-term and short-term goals will be required. The director should organize on how to meet these goals by developing strategies on how to achieve them. The director should be in forefront on guiding others on how to attain the new organization goals, providing direction and resources needed. The director should also ensure that every operation is under her control to avoid losing the grip of what is happening in the organization. Being in the control will enable her to ensure that all processes are learning as required, and hence better results can be attained.


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