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Organizational Behavior At Lewis And Lewis

4964 words - 20 pages

M. Martinez, Jr.December 15, 1996Decision MakingCase StudyOrganizational Behavior at Lewis & Lewis, P.C.Lewis & Lewis, P.C. is a small, Jackson-based accounting firm that employs thirty-five people and was founded by Phil Willis in 1968. It exhibits many interesting aspects of organizational behavior, which we will examine below from several perspectives. After examining the company's current policies and practices, we will evaluate its status in the transition from the 'old' to the 'new' model of organization, and recommend some changes that may improve the way Lewis & Lewis operates.From a Strategic PerspectivePhysical DescriptionLewis & Lewis, P.C. is located in a quiet ...view middle of the document...

The remainder of the office space is segmented with partitioning walls, forming a sort of cubicle labyrinth. In the center of this maze is a small kitchen where employees gather and converse informally. Adjacent to the kitchen is a small work area with copy machines and office supplies. In a corner of this floor is a set of uninviting stairs leading to the ground level, where the conference room is located. The conference room itself is spacious and handsomely decorated, with a large table and comfortable chairs, a video center with television and VCR. The seating is limited to fourteen people.Task and Job DescriptionTasks are distributed on the basis of specialization: auditing, tax, government and consulting. Very few tasks are performed by routine; each day may include new procedures for each employee.Jobs in this accounting firm are created by the customers' needs, and therefore vary greatly from client to client. Each employee does most of his work based on experience, not according to standard procedure. This individual-style process replaces clearly defined tasks in the firm. However, there is no job rotation between specialties.Coordination SystemsInformation flows very informally and on a personal basis. While this may create problems that will be discussed later, there are many positive aspects to this arrangement; it contributes to the family-like atmosphere that is very evident to the casual observer. The lack of a formally defined flow of information is in part caused by the many client contacts within the firm, but there is imbalance in the quality and quantity of information that each employee receives.Formal information flow is undefined between the vaguely defined divisions of the firm in part due to the nature of the accounting industry. Therefore, information flow is very vertical. Information is handed down to each department from the top (Phil, Brian and other partners), and from each professional to the shared administrative staff. Data from each individual professional division flowing back up to Phil and Brian goes through David.There are no general staff meetings at Lewis & Lewis. The only formally coordinated data-sharing medium are the partner meetings. In a busy month (those preceding April 15) the partners may meet two or three times, but throughout the rest of the year there may only be two meetings scheduled. Therefore, even among the partners, information flow is on a need-to-know basis only.There are very few task forces formed where people from different divisions work together on a project. The exception is an auditing team, created when the company embarks on an external auditing job and sends four or five people to the company being audited.The firm believes relationships with clients are of the utmost importance. They stress frequent contact with customers, but it is conducted at the discretion of individual responsible for the client's file, and with little or no coordination among other...

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