– Case Study Analysis (management)
Sustainable Energy – Background
Sustainable Energy is a relatively small, highly specialised private owned energy company. Three colleagues from the former Victorian State Electricity Commission established the company in 1994. Initially its major focus was the analysis of energy consumption patterns for companies that used large quantities of electrical energy. It then advised its clients on how to use energy more efficiently and effectively. Over the past twelve years it has built on its success and expanded its operations to include renewable energy and cogeneration strategies.
In 2007 the three colleagues decided to step back from the day-to-day operations of the company although they continued as Board Members. In July 2007 they appointed Dr Maree Nash as the new Chief Executive Officer. Dr Nash has particular expertise in cogeneration techniques. As well as CEO, Dr Nash was also appointed to the Board of Sustainable Energy.
The company’s mission is to be recognised in the energy sector internationally as the best in the field of energy analysis and energy solutions.
Structure of Sustainable Energy
Sustainable Energy has a permanent workforce of 65. It supplements this workforce with short term or casual employees at times of need. The company has three departments: the Analytics Department with 29 staff; the Renewable & Co-generation Department with 22 staff and the Administration Department consisting of accounts, payroll, human resources and support staff with nine personnel. The remaining staff complement consists of the Managing Director, her personal assistant, the Chief Financial Officer who is responsible to the Administration Department; the Chief Analyst, the Analytics Department and the chief scientist who is also responsible for the Renewable Energy and Co-generation Department. Although there are three Departments the structure is relatively flexible and staff from the different departments regularly work together on projects or when undertaking strategic planning.
The Business and regulatory context
Over the past four years Sustainable Energy has been affected by changing government policy, in particular the so called Carbon Tax. The Carbon Tax was legislated by the Gillard Government in the 2011 Clean Energy Bill and became operational on 1 July 2012. In the period immediately prior to the introduction of the carbon tax through to the September 2013 Federal Election Sustainable Energy experienced an increase in the demand for their services. As a consequence the company expanded.
In September 2013 with the election of the Abbott Government Sustainable Energy experienced a rapid decline in the demand for its services. Rather than panicking the Directors of the Company decided to take the opportunity to expand their international operations which at the time consisted of ad hoc consulting assignments principally in Thailand and to a lesser extent Indonesia. At an energy conference in the Indonesian city of Makassar in 2012, Dr Nash was introduced to the concept of social business and invited to partner with a local renewable energy company to develop small scale renewable and cogeneration units for remote villages in Indonesia. For the past two years Sustainable Energy has spent approximately $1.2 on this venture. The company is unsure when this joint venture will become profitable.
The staff in the company is highly qualified – eleven have doctorates, 24 have masters degrees and the remainder have highly specialised skills. The company prides itself on its technical/scientific expertise.
Three months ago the Board of Directors decided to commission a review of the company as part of the strategic management process. An external consultant firm was engaged to conduct this review and submit a report to the Board of Directors. The report will be used by the Board and the executive to develop a new ten year strategic plan.
The consultant reported that while staff had superior technical and scientific skills, a significant number of staff, especially those under 30 years of age appear to lack ‘soft skills’ such as business acumen and relationship building with clients. Many of these same younger staff reported that they often felt overwhelmed with the demands of the work. In particular they mentioned the challenges that they faced in prioritising work and in developing relationships with their colleagues and clients.
On the other hand the review favourably noted the collaborative work environment at Sustainable Energy.
A staff survey formed part of the review. The survey revealed that the majority of staff reported that despite the long hours and technical challenges Sustainable Energy was an exciting place to work. It is evident that the staff is committed to ‘making a difference’ and they were conscious of the need for more efficient use of energy in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Step 1carefully read the case.
Step 2Identify the issues contributing to the problems at Sustainable Energy
Step 3Select the three different issues that you think are the most important.
Step 4Link each of these issues to at least one different concept in the course: eg;
Humanist approaches to management
International political economy
Cultures of consumption
Step 5Analyse the issue in terms of the concept or theory of management.
Step 6Outline the actions that you would take as a manager in response to the analysis of the issue. Using theories/models from your studies, explain why you recommend these actions.
Step 7Use dot points to complete the table below. Upload it as an Appendix to your Exam Answers.
Step 8Now write a succinct response using the dot points in the table. Words: 750-1,000. The response should include the following sections:
a. Opening statement summarizing the case.
b. Statement identifying the key issues.
2. Analysis incorporating the three concepts that you identified in the planning grid
3. Recommendations that links the issue, the concept, the analysis and the proposed action.
a. Summarises the case and the key recommendation for improvement.
b. A statement that includes the key lesson learned.
IN TEXT REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY PROVIDED.
1. Completion of the Planning Table including, identification of the three priority issues, three different management concepts, a list of the literature used and key points in the analysis and recommendations. (4 marks)
2. Case Analysis that links the key issues (three) in the case with the relevant academic literature. Need to demonstrate a capacity to explain the key concepts and draw explicit links with the case. (7 marks)
3. Recommendations: clearly outlines the recommended actions that you would take to improve or develop Sustainable Energy. The recommendations need to be justified. (6 marks)
4. Coherency and writing (3 marks)
Case Study Analysis Plan
state and discuss each of the three issues in a table plan with the below
Problem , Issue ,Relevant management concept , key literature that you will use in your analysis (two and more per concept), analyse the issue in terms of the concept, recommend management action.