BUS 520 – Task Force Committee Report : Issues and Solutions – Eastman Kodak Company

Task Force Committee Report: Issues and Solutions

Leaders address issues and propose solutions. As a leader, you’ll need to stay on top of events that may facilitate or hinder productivity. You must create and implement solutions to address these issues. This assignment exposes you to complex modern organizational challenges. The solutions you devise should reflect your learning and research of organizational and individual influences in the workplace.

Preparation

  1. Select an organization
    Select an organization in which current events have adversely affected
    productivity, requiring management to resolve an issue related to:
    corporate culture, managing diversity, leading teamwork, and
    developing motivational strategies. The organization should be one
    with which you are familiar — where you work now or have worked
    previously (business, nonprofit, government, or military). You may also
    consider other organizations in the news, such as Macy’s for the retail
    industry, United for the airline industry, Wells Fargo for the banking
    industry, etc. The focus is on finding solutions, but you should be
    somewhat familiar with the organization or industry.
  2. Plan your research
    Use research from the course textbook, company website, business
    websites (CNBC, Bloomberg, etc.), resources from the Strayer Library,
    or outside resources to develop solutions to the following questions as
    they relate to corporate culture, managing diversity, leading teamwork,
    and developing motivational strategies to achieve the organization’s
    goals and objectives. Your recommendations must be fully articulated
    and supported with appropriate detail and sources. Note: Wikipedia
    and web-based blogs do not qualify as credible resources.

INSTRUCTIONS
Imagine yourself as the task force committee leader at this organization. You have been tasked with analyzing hindrances to organizational efficiency. You must propose strategic solutions. Create a full report in which you do the following:

  • Describe the Organization and the Issue to Resolve Provide a brief description of the organization you selected. Present the organizational issue that adversely affected productivity and that you, the task force leader, will review and resolve.
  • Analyze Current Corporate Culture – How has the current corporate culture facilitated the development of the current issue? Research the organization, dig into the culture, and analyze how it contributed to this issue. Hint: Review the mission and vision statements as well as the corporate website.
  • Identify Areas of Weakness What are the organization’s areas of weakness? Using your research on organizational behavior approaches to corporate culture, diversity, teamwork, and motivational strategies, identify areas of weakness.
  • Propose Solutions – What organizational practices would you modify? What solutions should your task force recommend to management? As the leader of the task force, identify the suggestions you would present to the organization’s leadership with regard to modifying current organizational practices to resolve the issue.

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Eastman Kodak Company Task Force Committee Report

Kodak is a company that has been known historically for its role in photography. Established in 1880 and headquartered in Rochester, New York, the company grew to become one of the leading photography companies in America and the world (Eastman Kodak Company, 2018). However, beginning 1990s, the company woes began, which would later contribute to the company’s bankruptcy. The failure by the company to innovate owing to risk averse culture are some of the factors that led to near total collapse of the previous photography market leaders.

Organizational Issue that Adversely Affected Productivity in Kodak

            Since its inception, Kodak would later grow to be one of the leading companies in America and by 1994 the company was listed among the top 20 companies in fortune 500. According to (Griffin, 2017) the company had over 145,000 employees with revenues of over 13 billion in 1996. However, the impact disruptive technologies had started to be felt by 2005, when the company trimmed its workforce though it still recorded substantial revenues. Technology can exert great influence on an entire industry at its extreme form, especially if once successful companies such as Kodak fail to respond appropriately.

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            A lot of success in an industry can be a great source of complacency and this is what Kodak did, failing to respond to technological innovations that swept the film industry. According to (Gulati, Mayo & Nohria, 2014) disruptive technologies possess different set of attributes from sustainable technologies. Their attributes appear to satisfy a small segment or subset of the customer base and may appear to be of less concern a first. This is what these technologies appeared to Kodak as outlined in (Mui, 2012). According to the author, Kodak initially felt the film market would go digital and even conducted extensive research to determine its influence in the market. The result of the research revealed that digital photography would exert huge influence in future. However, the company felt that these influence would take time to be felt in the market and as such shelved their plans for digital photography. The result would be the downfall of the company and the current bankruptcy it is facing; the impact of disruptive technology.

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How the Corporate Culture in Kodak Contributed to the Current Issue

            The concept of organization culture or corporate culture refers to the set of beliefs, expectations and values, which are shared by the members of the organization and transferred from one set of generation to the next. Since organizations are human constructions, culture is embedded and transferred in form of explicit and implicit messages such as the adherence to the management orthodoxies, the philosophy of the organization and the behavior of the senior management (Albarran, 2013). Kodak’s corporate culture impeded innovation, contributing to the current problems faced by the company. 

            The major problem of Kodak lay with sustainable technology thinking. According to (Gulati, Mayo & Nohria, 2014) most of the organization employees did not want to invest in technology because it felt threatened by the new digital direction. Such organization culture where employees are rooted to their past practices interferes with the ability of a company to move forward. Albarran (2013) asserts that a combination of past success and the adherence to the orthodoxies of management hinders with the ability of a firm to plan for the future. Any new creative thinking and ideas that arise therein becomes stifled by the organization bureaucracy. This was exactly the case in Kodak, where the organizational culture held back creative and new ideas from being implemented early enough in the company.

            According to (Mui, 2012) though Kodak invented digital photography, it was its corporate blunders that contributed to its current stagnation. In 1975, the company’s engineer, Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera. However, Sasson asserts that the reaction from the management’s was, “that’s cute—but don’t tell anyone about it.”  Also, in 1981, one of the company’s leading retailer photo finishers, Sony, produced the first electronic camera. The company’s research regarding core technologies and their adoption curve produced bad news that digital photography had the potential to replace film photography. However, the company would not heed any of these, thanks to the adherence to management orthodoxies.

Areas of Weakness

            The major areas of weakness that contributed to the fall of Kodak are slow management response. Although the management knew the adoption of digital photography offered a threat to its core business yet they resisted all attempts to change its business model. According to (Kotter, 2012) there was a lot of complacency from the company management and no one was willing to turn the problem of disruptive technology into a huge urgency around a huge opportunity. In addition, there was poor employee motivation owing to inability of the company to listen to employee suggestions such that by the time the company tried to salvage its position in the market the number of employees had dropped by over 50%.

Proposed Solutions

            The greatest problem facing Kodak was the adherence to its management orthodoxies and poor responsiveness to changes in technology. Therefore, there is need for modification of the company’s strategy and corporate culture.

  • Since the photography market is dynamic, it is recommended that Kodak make quick changes and a change in its strategy. One of the weaknesses observed of Kodak was the slow nature to which the company management reacts to new technologies. In order to avert such future situations, it is important that the company show some urgency and a change in its strategy in order to meet the effects of change in technology.
  • The other recommendation is for the company to continuously reinvent itself through adoption of a corporate structure that supports sustainable technological thinking. The inability of Kodak to show urgency and adopt new changes occurred due to poor corporate culture. Adoption of a corporate culture that supports new ideas will ensure the company’s increased responsiveness to change.
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