Team Dynamics at Initech

7 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Lynn Isabella

Lynn Isabella

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jack Hager

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Someone wise once said, “A job worth doing is worth doing together.” Yet why is it so difficult to work together as a team? This case presents the story of a team whose relationships are strained and deteriorating in a business where teamwork is essential to the success of the business as a whole. Individual team members begin to care less and less about their ongoing employment with the company and this manifests itself through blatant insubordination, lack of focus on team success, and power plays against team leaders. Readers put themselves in the place of the protagonist who recognizes the situation needs addressing. This case is based upon real experiences, but the company and team members are disguised. It works well in modules on managing teams and will help students develop an ability to diagnose and design useful interventions for issues that teams encounter.

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0876

TEAM DYNAMICS AT INITECH

Cash Jackson sat in his office on a windy spring day in 2006 and wondered what to do next. As the vice president of supply-chain management at Initech, a Chicago-based company, Jackson needed to figure out what to do about the supply-chain operations team. The team was underperforming, morale was low, and many team members were contemplating leaving the company. Since the team was key to the success of the business as a whole, something had to be done. Jackson thought that an assessment of the team's dynamic might be the first place to start.

Initech Company Background

Initech was a privately held firm headquartered in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The company provided supply-chain services to the Burger Barn quick-serve restaurant system. Ron Burgundy founded the company in 1947 to provide distribution services to Burger Barn restaurants in the Chicago area. Burgundy was a personal family friend of Ray Graham, the man who had made Burger Barn what it was. As Burger Barn grew, Initech grew with it. By 2003, Initech handled all the packaging procurement and distribution for the 13,500 domestic Burger Barn restaurants. The company also managed the distribution of all promotional items for Burger Barn, including kids' meals, toys, and Monopoly games. Initech was an expert in supply-chain distribution and promotion execution. Although the business was privately held and financial data was not released, annual revenues were estimated at $ 1 billion. The firm only employed 200 people. The risk to Initech's business was that Burger Barn was its only customer and in the tradition Graham started, all business transactions were sealed with a handshake—no contracts. At all costs, it was absolutely vital to the survival of the company to keep Burger Barn happy.

The Supply-Chain Operations Team

. . .

Keywords: Teamwork, managing teams, dysfunctional, team player, teamwork

Suggested Citation

Isabella, Lynn and Yemen, Gerry and Hager, Jack, Team Dynamics at Initech. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0876. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1281874

Lynn Isabella (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4818 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/isabella.htm

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jack Hager

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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