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Elektra Case Study

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Elektra Products, Inc.
Barbara Russell, a manufacturing vice president, walked into the monthly companywide meeting with a light step and a hopefulness she hadn’t felt in a long time. The company’s new, dynamic CEO was going to announce a new era of employee involvement and empowerment at Elektra Products, an 80-year-old, publicly held company that had once been a leading manufacturer and retailer of electrical products and supplies. In recent years, the company experienced a host of problems: market share was declining in the face of increased foreign and domestic competition; new product ideas were few and far between; departments such as manufacturing and sales barely spoke to one another; morale was at an all-time low, and many employees were actively seeking other jobs.
Everyone needed a dose of hope.
Martin Griffi n, who had been hired to revive the failing company, briskly opened the meeting with a challenge: “As we face increasing competition, we need new ideas, new energy, new spirit to make this company great. And the source for this change is you—each one of you.” He then went on to explain that under the new empowerment campaign, employees would be getting more information about how the company was run and would be able to work with their fellow employees in new and creative ways.
Martin proclaimed a new era of trust and cooperation at Elektra Products. Barbara felt the excitement stirring within her; but as she looked around the room, she saw many of the other employees, including her friend Simon, rolling their eyes. “Just another pile of corporate crap,” Simon said later. “One minute they try downsizing, the next reengineering. Then they dabble in restructuring. Now Martin wants to push empowerment. Garbage like empowerment isn’t a substitute for hard work and a little faith in the people who have been with this…...

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