Case Study-AW-Q116

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SiteROCK’s Military Management Culture

The high-tech, dot-com culture is not usually associated with the values and norms that characterize the military. However, managers of the thousands of dot-coms that went belly up in the early 2000s might have benefited from some military-style disciplined values and norms. Indeed, a few dot-coms that survived the shakeout did so because their managers used military-style rules and SOPs to control their employees and ensure high performance. One of these companies is SiteROCK, based in Emeryville, California, who’s COO, Dave Lilly, is a former nuclear submarine commander.

SiteROCK is in the business of hosting and managing the websites of other companies and keeping them up and running and error free. A customer’s site that goes down or runs haywire is the major enemy. To maximize the performance of his employees and to increase their ability to respond to unexpected online events, Lilly decided he needed to develop an institutionalized role orientation and develop a comprehensive set of rules and standard operating procedures (SOP) to cover all the major known problems that demonstrates the ability to work effectively in a team. Lilly insisted that every problem-solving procedure be written down and codified. SiteROCK now has over 30 thick binders listing all the processes and checklists that employees need to follow when an unexpected event happens. Their job is to try to solve the problem using these procedures which helps in assess the work and development needs of individuals.

Moreover, again drawing from his military experience, Lilly instituted a “two-man” norm: Whenever the unexpected happens, each employee must immediately tell a coworker and the two should attempt to solve the problem together which demonstrates the ability to work effectively as a team. The goal is simple: Develop strong norms of cooperation to achieve the quick resolution of a complex issue. If the existing rules don’t work, then employees must experiment, and when they find a solution, the solution is turned into a new rule to be included in the procedures book to aid the future decision making of all employees in the organization.

At SiteROCK, these written rules and SOPs have resulted in values that lead employees to achieve high levels of customer service which is as a result of working effectively as a team. Because the goal is 100% reliability, detailed blueprints guide planning and decision making, not seat-of-the-pants problem solving, which might be brilliant 80% of the time but result in disaster the rest of the time? Before SiteROCK employees are allowed in the control room each day, they must read over the most important rules and SOPs. And at the end of a shift they spend 90 minutes doing paper work that logs what they have done and states any new or improved rules that they have come up with. Clearly, SiteROCK has developed a company-specific testament that symbolizes to employees the need for sustained, motivation, and cooperative effort.

Question 1. Assess why a manager should study and analyze the culture of its organization?
Question 2. What kind of service did SiteROCK provide to companies?
Question 3. What SOP in SiteRock helps demonstrate the ability to work as a team or in a team?
Questions 4. Summarize the statements evidencing increase in motivation at SiteRock and how did this help the organization

Case Analysis Assignment

Objective. The case analysis assignment is a written report (case study) on the Business Policy & Strategy practices of an organization with the main emphasis on highlighting exceptional or excellent Business Policy and Strategy practices and techniques.

Choice of organization. The company you select may be one of your choosing, but it should be locally based, (not etisalat, Du, Pepsi, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried chicken, Emirates, RTA, Dewa,) one that has displayed exemplary practices or achieved excellence in some way. The company may be large or small; for profit and not-for-profit. It could be a fairly new startup or a long-established company, but there must be enough information available about the company to provide data for you to prepare a thorough report. I repeat it has to be a local organization/business.

The Content of your Report. The report may be thought of as a short case study of the organization to analyze the importance of the business policy and strategy of the business, identify micro (big) and macro (small) forces that shape the business strategic direction through SWOT analysis, develop skills to determine companywide strategy and prepare a comprehensive analysis of the business strategic plan. Also find their, diversity plans, motivation plans, values, job attitudes, job satisfaction, importance of planning, steps in decision making process, communication, conflict and negotiations, organizational culture, effective management teams, managing in a Global environment, change management in organization, organization structure and its importance, etc., and how and why they have succeeded (or failed!) . This is not a comprehensive report about the entire workings of the company or a report on its products. The emphasis is on Business strategy and Policy.

Research Methods. In order to gather the information, you will want to use the World Wide Web, the Libraries and their databases, financial data, the organization’s Annual Report, and interviews with key management personnel (via phone, e-mail, or in person). You will most likely gather more information than you can put in the report, so you will be expected to take only the best and most relevant data for the report (do not include material to “pad” the length).
Once you narrow down your data, organize it into a logical report (beginning, body, and ending) which has a summary and logical conclusion.
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Because this is not a long, comprehensive report you must concentrate on the most important key aspects (attributes) of the company’s Business Policy and strategy practices in the business or organization. Therefore, you should delimit your information to one or two key areas of Business policy and strategy (e. g., importance of business policy and strategy, micro and Marco forces, skills in determine companywide strategy, problems associate with long-term strategy formulation and implementation and analysis of corporate’s strategic plan) and how this area or areas make the company excellent


Read the case below and answer the following question.

Malcolm Shakesheff is at a crossroads in the development of his business. Three years ago, he left his job as a successful sales representative to develop his own company, Shakesheff Web Design, which has grown beyond his wildest expectations. The company was an extension of what was initially Malcolm’s hobby in terms of a practical skill he possessed in designing simple internet websites for friends and family. The company’s success is principally down to Malcolm who has single-handedly performed the sales function whilst his wife, Penny, has managed the business. Malcolm has received backing from the bank that means doubling the size of his business.

In particular, Malcolm now needs to employ three new salespeople who will be based in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh respectively to provide countrywide coverage. Although he has always been successful in selling and indeed his new company’s growth is down to his personal selling skills coupled with his knowledge of IT and web design, he has never before had to manage a sales force, and certainly not for his own company. Within the next three months, however, Malcolm has to decide what sort of persons he needs and then recruit and select them. He must then train and manage them. Quite simply, despite his extensive experience as a salesperson, he is concerned about where to start. He recognizes the importance of getting this right, as the whole future of his company will depend on the qualities and management of his own salesforce.

QUESTION: Advise Malcolm regarding what should be the key elements in recruiting, training, compensating and motivating his new sales force.

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