The Case of Wafer Express Inc.



Course Instructor


The Case of Wafer Express Inc.Lee Questin has lots of management challenges including time management and coordination of his subordinates. He is not able to manage his staffs and motivate them to work hard. It also seems that Lee does not understand most of the operations going on in the company. Moreover, Lee seems strains in his work because he cannot remember even Lazarus’ fifth year anniversary with the company. Lee is not sure about his abilities and responsibilities in management. There are also incomplete instructions and set of rules for manufacturing products which causes delays in operations and also raises the costs of production. Production engineers should come up with standardized way of building different products to reduce the delays and costs of operations (Buller & Randall 2-8).

In addition, the company is also faced by test failures which are regarded as serious problems and this may make customers be delayed. Product engineers should try to be as competent as possible to reduce various causes of test errors and other test related activities which consume most of their time. Part of improvements that need to be taken care of are proper documentation. Stopping interruptions especially while the product engineers are in the meeting with Lee may not be the solution to the problem because it would also mean that there would be delays during the meeting. Lee should just ensure that his engineers come up with effective layout on how to build different products. Lee should also come up with solid agenda in his meetings to ensure that important issues are raised at a particular time limit. Considering that time is an important thing for the company particularly the product engineers, he should therefore fix a particular duration for the meetings. Some of the agendas of the meeting should not involve problem affecting a single product engineer but general challenge facing all of them (Buller & Randall 2-8).

Moreover, Lee should also encourage product engineers to interact amongst themselves via various channels such as verbal or communication through mobile phones in case there is any problem in their work. There should be no time to discuss about wide company views in Lee’s meeting because these discussions may waste a lot of time. Lee should ensure that every issue raised in the meeting or amongst engineers that concerns the entire product engineering department is addressed and proper solution be found. Lee’s department does also not coordinate very well with the application engineers. Indeed there is a serious communication breakdown between application engineers and product engineers that even leads to customer dissatisfaction (Buller & Randall 2-8).

Furthermore, Lee should ensure that there is cooperation and good relationship amongst the two departments to minimize the issues arising due to communication breakdown. There is also a shaky relationship between manufacturing department and product department which derails the functions of the company. Relationship between Lee and his boss too does not seem promising. Sam is not giving Lee enough support to smoothen operations in the product engineering department. For instance he is not providing the under-staffed product department with more personnel to make work easier. Moreover Sam cannot give or mediate between Lee and Reese as a way of creating peace and motivating the workers. As much as Lee may try to be a good leader who intends to ensure that his department works well and achieves the best results as possible, he does not have good support to succeed in his duty and objectives (Buller & Randall 2-8).

OB Perspective

There is an increasing pervasiveness in job dissatisfaction and disengagement due to paradoxical organizational behaviors which has resulted into negative consequences for employers and employees. Management of job and work output is largely contributed by degree of job satisfaction and attitude towards work. Various issues concerning organization performance are never costly because they only need proper and timely implementation of actions. There are few issues that should not be taken for granted as far as performance and social co-existence within the organization is concerned. Various concepts such as motivation, leadership and communication are very vital in initiating success of a business. Employees have become very distrustful and unhappy while performing their duties thus causing organizational failures and customer dissatisfaction. This essay analyses some of the organizational behavior concepts that are necessary in Wafer Express Company (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225).

Effective communication skills entail good listening, non-verbal communication, team culture, consistency, clarity, and preciseness. Careful listening makes the communicator feel respected and appreciated whereas on the other hand careful listening reduces misunderstanding. A good listener shows interest to the information communicated, do not interrupt inappropriately, and is not judgmental. Lee could have listened to his juniors grievances and address them appropriately. He could have let them communicate only important information affecting them in the weekly meetings but not regarding company’s general information (Chaturvedi & Chaturvedi 27-40). However it is important to note that Lee exercises his communication skills to arrange for weekly meetings which are very essential. Sam and Reese are also not good in communication especially when it comes to providing feedback to information enquired. Whenever Lee raises issues regarding manufacturing engineering, Reese do not want to give a listening hear.

Communication greatly affects the daily operations of organizations and therefore, should be used effectively and efficiently. Better communication promotes employee morale and eventually boosts organization’s performance. Communication in Wafer Express is indeed very poor and therefore the management should ensure that effective communication is exercised for improved cooperation amongst employees. Every engineering department should have clear communication on what should be done from their leaders in order to avoid obstacles in operations. Top down communication right from the Vice president Sam Porter to the engineers via their leaders should be practiced (Chaturvedi & Chaturvedi 27-40).

Quality attention should be paid and the right effective method of communication be applied by considering cost, quantity, quality and the audience. Sam, just like Lee should effectively organize for forums where he can address employees’ grievances and understand weaknesses that may arise under his leadership. He should also be able to communicate target required for the departments to attain. Lee should also clearly communicate to his juniors about the mission and objectives of their particular departments. Communication breakdown must be avoided by using the most appropriate methods of communication where applicable. Skills and elements of communication are very vital in communication (Chaturvedi & Chaturvedi 27-40).

Team culture is another behavior concept that requires respect and team spirit among members. Members of a team should work towards a common goal with clear rules, regulations, and empowerment. Roles of every member of the team should be clear and respected by other members. Lee should ensure that all the team members work on their areas assigned properly as a way of boosting team’s performance. On the other hand, Sam Porter who is the overall head of application engineering and product engineering should arrange for a meeting that encourages team spirit amongst and within the departments. Consistency is another important aspect of communication where a leader practices honesty and open communication that allows subordinates space for discussion (Chaturvedi & Chaturvedi 27-40).

Finally, while communicating, clarity and preciseness should be encouraged. Whoever is communicating must be straight to the point and conclusive. Rules that all the engineers and other workers in the company should adhere to must be set by the seniors. Participation and engagement of everyone in decision making is very crucial in retaining and attraction of great people in a department (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225). If Sam could be able to mobilize all his juniors and encourage them to work hard towards achieving a common goal then there could be amazing results. Business itself is a team that requires highly motivated team spirit to catapult it to success. Inspiring employees is one thing that Howard believes in as it motivates them to share the company’s common goal (Banutu-Gomez & Rohrer 54-60).

Lee should allow for hands off approach where he encourages his juniors to work without interfering with them. He ought to encourage the team members to function independently and work out their problems by themselves. However he should avail himself for advice or assistance and offer little control over team members leaving them to tackle in their roles. Although this leadership style is recommended to a highly motivated and skilled team with an excellence of work performance, it usually leave the team struggling with little direction and motivation. It is vital to note this kind of style cannot be used on Wafer Express employees because they are not motivated (Banutu-Gomez & Rohrer 54-60).

Generally, there are skills or traits that an effective leader is required to have as explained by various theories both old and contemporary theories. Some of the main traits that appear in leaders are ambition, zeal, intelligence, self-directive, and self-confidence. At times, physical characteristics, capability, and persona may be important aspects used to summarize what a leader is. There are six distinct characters that popular effective leaders have such as honesty and integrity. In addition, drive, motivation, cognitive ability, and business knowledge are also other characteristics of leaders. These traits would definitely distinguish whether a manager will be an effective leader or not. Leaders are incredibly ambitious persons who are never afraid of taking inventiveness as well as people whom apart from willingness to lead, are especially ready to take charge (Gareth & Gill 35-45).

Furthermore, leaders usually have technical expertise in their businesses and are straightforward people who fulfill their promises. In Wafer Express, Lee does not fulfill his promise of doing documentation of the works of product engineering as he had promised Sam. This shows an element of distrust in his leadership. Leaders are individuals who do not fear taking risks and are very assertive and influential that admits mistakes and promotes trust and commitment to a vision (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225). Lee is not able to let his juniors committed to their duty because there are several mistakes done by his people as complained by manufacturing department. Leaders are emotionally stable, intelligent, discerning, and theoretically skilled who are able to show analytical ability, good ruling, and the capability to think strategically. Lee is unable to think strategically about challenges affecting his department especially after several foul cry from the manufacturing engineering department (Gareth & Gill 35-45).

The organization’s background and the values and associated behaviors of whoever is being led are in fact imperative while considering the leaders skills. Managers are usually needed to use these skills, which may be improved in training courses such as guidelines for decision-making, problem solving methods as well as appropriate use of power and influence. Leaders should be able to build trust to enable smooth and effective running of an organization. Lee has failed to use his power and influence to address the challenges facing his juniors. His department is constantly blamed by manufacturing engineering but he does not seem to have problem solving and effective decision making skills to stop these (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225).

Effectual leadership earns and keep others trust, have personal integrity, inspires trust among their followers, and ensures steadiness with what they promise their hanger-on. Nice leaders define and set a sense of mission by setting goals, priorities, and standards and ensuring the communication and implementation of the objectives set for smooth running of the organization (Gareth & Gill 35-45). However, Lee does not seem to set clear and achievable targets for his juniors since there are several issues arising in his department. Moreover, good and successful leaders acknowledge leadership as a responsibility rather than a rank by surrounding themselves with sharp and proficient people and do not blame others in case of failures. Lee is supposed to take responsibility in his department and set goals for his juniors. He should ensure that he addresses all the problems facing product engineering to reduce the blame and test failures (Gareth & Gill 35-45).

Lee need to engage in participative management style by involving subordinates in decision-making process through consulting group members. This is significant in promoting engineers ownership for the decisions. Nevertheless Lee should not be overtaken by his juniors’ participation by losing sight of the fact that he bears all the crucial responsibility of leadership (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225). A good leader supports participation and delegation intelligently and values group discussion and contribution from team members by maximizing their strong points in order to obtain best performance from the group. Although participative managers motivates and empowers the subordinates, there may be assumption that he is unsure of himself and that all issues are solved in the group discussions (Gareth & Gill 35-45).

Additionally, leaders may use motivation to reach goals by either positive or negative approach. Positive approach includes use of praise, recognition and rewards while in negative style comprises of punishment, penalties, potential job loss, threats, suspension and remands (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225). Task and employee orientation is the manager’s approach on the best way to get work done by using better methods, controlling the work surrounding, assigning work, and monitoring performance. Attitudes and behaviors of workers significantly affect the management and operations of firms regardless of the management style used.

Interview Response

Julie responded to the first question by admitting that she has had several occasions where her subordinates are just too reluctant to meet the deadline set. In many occasions there may be delays of supply of solar to her company’s customers due to failure to manufacture the products on time. She would talk to her team to work overtime and even over the weekend just to ensure the customer is satisfied and the company does not loss her customers. Because of additional incentives, most employees would always turn up.

On the other hand, James has also had numerous instances but the one he says that remains important to him was when he advised his subordinates to exercise positive attitude and corporate amongst themselves. There was division amongst the subordinates as the male ones felt that James favored two female employees compared to them. Male employees refused to understand until they were transferred to other retail shops because their performance went down. Additionally, Terry stopped two months allowance for her employees due to poor performance of the business. Employees threatened to sue her and four of them resigned.

Both the people I interviewed admitted that dealing with human being is not an easy task and that it requires high degree of caution. However Terry feels that as a boss she must use all the authority under her to ensure that the business does not fail.

Regarding challenges faced within the teams they work with, they all acknowledged that there have been many instances they disagreed with their groups. Julie recalled frequent cases where she has to push her team to work on solar panels and meet deadlines. She thought male employees did not like her perhaps because of her sex or her low profile attitude. Nevertheless, James and Terry who admitted challenges with their respective teams did not think that they were personally hated.

Interestingly, all the interviewees confessed that working as a group is a good thing. Though James thought that team or group politics may greatly affect teamwork and therefore individuality may be preferable. He further added that a focused individual is better than a million members of a discouraged and politicized team. Also, Terry shared almost similar thought that as much as she loves teamwork, at times a single individual may really bring it down. Three of them said that they normally talk to all of them in weekly meetings to clear air on any important issues raised. Julie carefully tries to listen to challenges affecting them and she admits that there have been marvelous results of late.

Julie feels that she is a transformational leader who has achieved great success with her team. She postulates that the team believes in her and she too believes in her team from the way she interacts with them. On the other hand, Terry feels that being that she is a quick decision maker and loves her team to work efficiently; she must be an autocratic leader. However, she admits that she has faced few challenges with her employees regarding this. They feel that she is pushing them to work. Interestingly, she says that success of her retail shop is attributed to her leadership style. Furthermore, James thinks that because his team do routine work, he does not like interfering with them. He says his leadership style must be Laissez-Faire and that the style has really improved performance of his team.

Indeed every leader is faced by numerous challenges in their teams but what makes a difference is the type of a leader or manager someone is. Dealing with subordinates is not an easy task unless they feel motivated. Both the interview and the Wafer Company case have revealed a lot about challenges facing leaders. The case and the interviews are very similar in numerous instances. Leadership indeed is all about motivating the employees and showing them visionary direction to follow.

Works Cited

Banutu-Gomez, Michael, and Rohrer, William. “Teams in Organization.” The Business Review, Cambridge 18.1 (2011): 54-60. ProQuest. Web. 9 Aug. 2013.

Buller, Paul F, and Randall S. Schuler. Managing Organizations and People: Cases in Management, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Mason (Ohio: South-Western, 2006. Print.

Chaturvedi, and Mukesh Chaturvedi. Business Communication: Concepts, Cases and Applications. Delhi: Dorling Kindersley, 2011. Print.

Gareth, Edwards and Gill, Roger. “Transformational Leadership Across Hierarchical Levels in UK Manufacturing Organizations.” Leadership & Organization Development Journal 33.1 (2012): 25-50. ProQuest. Web. 9 Aug. 2013.

Wagner, John A, and Hollenbeck, John. Organizational Behavior: Securing Competitive Advantage. New York, NY [u.a.: Routledge, 2010. Print. (Wagner & Hollenbeck 213-225)


Questions Raised

Is there job experience in which you had to talk and tell people what you felt and what is right for the company? How was their reaction

Is there any situation where you felt that you should be more cautious while handling company operations especially while dealing with subordinates?

Have you ever had a challenge while dealing with a team in which you are the leader and team members do not like you?

People either love working as a group or an individual. Which one do you prefer? How do you make your style effective?

What is your leadership style? What have you achieved with your leadership style?


Name: Julie Gircys

Phone number: 416 712 1488


Companies of interviewees: Mondial Energy and Beach Solar

Number of People Managed by Interviewee: 10

Venue of the Interview: Office

Name: Peter James

Phone number: 760 9871234


Company of interviewee: Starbuck

Number of People Managed by Interviewee: 5

Venue of the Interview: Restaurant

Name: Lucy Terry

Phone Number: 760 988 5432

Email: Terril@gmail.comCompany of Interviewee: A small retail shop

Number of People Managed: 8

Venue of the Interview: Within the retail shop