The Monthly Report
17 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Anne Grey and her colleagues have been hired as consultants to help CEO Jeff Henning of Commuter Vans Company to clarify its organizational identity and strategic direction. Grey's part of the project focuses on organizational communication. After skimming Henning's monthly report, she has some serious questions and feels that if Henning is sincere about improving CVC's sense of identity and direction as a business, he will have to write this report and manage organizational communication differently.
THE MONTHLY REPORT
Anne Grey's mind was filled with questions. As an early step in this consulting engagement, she had just finished reading the most recent monthly report for CVC. The report was written by the company's president and CEO, Jeff Henning, who 24 years ago was CVC's first and only employee. CVC had evolved dramatically in the past several years, and now, in February 2002, Henning led a 140-person company operating throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Due to a series of ownership changes and acquisitions, Henning was concerned that CVC's organizational identity had become fragmented, impairing the company's business focus and efficiency. Henning reasoned that hiring someone with an external perspective might help him and the company clear up the organization's sense of ambiguity.
The Evolution of the Company
During preliminary research and interviews, Grey and her team learned that CVC had been through some very trying times and that matters had reached a breaking point. Originally known as Commuter Vans Company, CVC originated at Chrysler during the energy crisis of the 1970s as an employee benefit. The idea was to help employees save money by pooling them into vans that would bring them to work. Soon CVC became a Chrysler subsidiary, offering services to the general public, first in Minneapolis and then later in major cities throughout the United States. CVC had found a niche market in the Transportation Demand Management industry, which was concerned with managing traffic and congestion. For individuals driving their own cars to work or taking public transportation such as buses and trains, CVC offered an effective commuter alternative by providing van-pooling services.
The vast majority of van drivers were volunteers, but for a short time in a few select cities, CVC hired drivers for “para-transit” services, such as public transportation for disabled people. Tragically, in the mid-1990s in Philadelphia, one of these hired drivers caused a terrible accident. The driver's van, which had no passengers at the time, crossed a median and hit a car head-on. In the car were two sisters who had just come back from trying on wedding dresses. One sister was killed and the other permanently disabled. An investigation showed that CVC had done a proper background check but had not learned that the driver had a record of substance abuse. Publicity about the crash was devastating, and, as a result, Chrysler decided to put up CVC for sale to cut its risk exposure.
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Keywords: internal communication reporting, communicating business strategy, organizational communication, organizational identity
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