Case Study on HR Issues: Supervisory Support

Joseph a plant level worker has been twenty years of experience, in Zeal Zink Ltd, a large scale industrial establishment in Maharashtra. He is hard working, competent, punctual and reliable employee of Binani Zink Ltd. He is having good interaction and interrelation with his superiors, co-workers and other members in the organization. The management has better impression and appreciation about his performance and commitment. The only disagreement the management has on him is his affiliation to one of the trade unions in the organization. Management didn’t have any impression towards the existence of trade unions within the organization as they believed that trade unions are to mislead and exploit the work force and a big hurdle in the smooth progress of the organization.

To make Joseph more work oriented, management decided to promote him to supervisory level. The promotion decision is beyond his expectation. He found himself very happy with the situation and felt obliged to the management. Only hard working, competent and skilled employees are promoted to the higher position. The supervisory positions in the organization have better compensation packages, power and authority in relation to the responsibilities. Joseph highly motivated to work for the organization and felt highly obliged towards the management. He acquired better acceptance and recognition in the supervisory position from his superiors and co workers within short span. He performed his duties in accordance with the expectation of the management.

As per the official communication, Joseph met one of the senior level officials Mr. Kiran in his cabin. Kiran detailed new responsibilities and tentative targets to Joseph, inducing management expectation on him. After making some formal discussions, Kiran started informal discussion with Joseph enquiring employee’s welfare, satisfaction level and many other topics. He enquired about Josephs family members also. During the conversation Kiran also enquired about Joseph’s trade union activities and his strong affiliation to them. He informed Joseph that management is unhappy about his trade union affiliation, as he performs a managerial role in the organization. He demanded the gradual separation from the trade union and asked him to work for the management for better career. Kiran asked him to think about it and take a decision without loosing time. Reserving his comment on Kiran’s demand, Joseph returned to his plant.

Kiran’s demand to quit the trade union membership was really disappointing to him. He has of the feeling that to protect his rights and privileges; all along trade union has been with him. With the existence of trade union, employees feel safe and secure in their job. Many questions aroused in his mind, that “shall I quit the trade union? Is it fair to quit the trade union as they supported to me in many contingent situations? Will the management support me in my future? Do they follow their promises? Who am I, a Worker or a Manager?… as there is wide disparity between employees and employers? As many employees have similar experience in the past, is it safe to do so? Many conflicting thoughts made him more confused to take appropriate decision in this matter.

Though he had plenty of information about management approach towards employees in the organization, he decided to take a decision in favor of management, considering future prospects. As an initial step he started getting aloof from many of the trade union meetings and activities in the organization. The trade union has close observation about their party men. They observed the changes in the attitude and behavior of Joseph. Trade union leadership demanded clarification from him. Joseph continues to get aloof from the trade union activities by showing some personal grounds and engaging himself more on work activities. He informed management that he started his gradual separation from trade union. Management become quite happy about his decision and extended full support in his occupational career.

Having a peaceful mind, with a decision to involve the work more, as a managerial supervisor, he started his newly allotted task. His new task required more members and that to be accomplished as a team. Supervisors form different department also took part in the task performance. Though the members worked as a team there they had to follow the timely instructions of the senior managers. They don’t have that much of freedom and autonomy to take decision on production and to take initiatives to achive the target with better alternative measures. As per the guideline of the top management they have performed their duties and responsibilities. Joseph and other supervisory members worked hard to get the predetermined result, as expected by the management.

The annual production statistics published. The department where Joseph has been working reported low level performance. The inspectors pointed out problems that related to quality level.  The top management as usual flayed junior – middle level mangers and supervisors who are in charge of the department, low level performance. While the middle and junior level managers, as usual, redirected those allegations to the supervisors and members in the department, showing their sheer negligence and lack of commitment on their part. The supervisory members especially Joseph who all along worked hard to get better output, disagreed with the allegation made by the superiors. He has of the impression that, after all they simply followed the instructions of their superiors. The supervisory members decided to meet top management to inform them the real facts. They drafted a memorandum and handed over the same to the top management officials, indicating the real situation that went on poor outlay.

After two days top management asked Joseph to meet Kiran, the Senior Manager in the organization for further discussion of the problem with due consideration to the memorandum. Kiran informed the top management decision about the issue that they totally dissatisfied with the performance of the supervisory members. During the meeting, Kiran informed Joseph that, as a step to curb the situation and maintain the quality of the production, top management decided to transfer few of the supervisory members to the other departments and taken decision to transfer a few members from this organization to the sister concern. The transfer list contains Joseph’s name also. Kiran informed Joseph that, his knowledge and competency are not sufficient to handle new responsibilities as it require more training and attention that he required to get it from other organization. Kiran also informed Joseph that management decided to withdraw extra incentives that extended to them as the nature of transfer is more of a training program and punishment one.

Joseph shocked to hear management decision in this matter. He got totally depressed about the management decision. He felt that here management has shown their vested interest, partiality to protect middle and junior level managerial members. They try to protect management members from negative consequences and corrective measures from the top. He management decision to transfer him and his fellow supervisory members to different departments in other sister concerns is a measure to marginalize and victimize them. He could not find any justification on the part of management. Joseph felt that instead of understanding the problem in an impartial way management tried to resolve the issue by developing new strategies that safe guard the management and victimizes the members. He felt that the attitudes of the management always behave as ‘big bosses’ and never going to change. He felt that mangers do not have any intention to support employees in their crisis.

Joseph became more aggressive decided to continue his membership in trade union and forwarded the complaint to trade union indicating the victimization.


1. Is the management’s attitude towards the trade union justified?
2. Does the annual decline in the yearly production reflect Joseph’s inefficiency as a Manager?
3. “Business World indulges in Organizational Politics by showing carrots of Career Planning”. Comment.
4. Does this case reflect Joseph as a poor decision maker?
5. How theory of equity and theory of expectancy related to this case study?

Hints for the Case:

This case deals with the management attitudes towards the low and middle level trade unions .This is explained by taking the case of Joseph who has member ship in both trade unions and also a plant level worker. Because of his hard working management decided to post him in the supervisory level. Once in an official conversation Kiran one of the senior level officer advised him to terminate the member ship with trade union and also offers more opportunities if he terminate the membership .finally he decided to leave from trade unions .But when the annual production summery produced josephs team performance was very low, and because of this reason management cut all the incentives. Management also transferred him to their sister concern. Finally Joseph understood the management strategies and decided to continue with the trade union.


  • Management’s strategies to eliminate trade unions
  • management attitudes towards low and middle level trade unions
  • Joseph’s wrong decision to continue with trade unions
  • Inability to take correct decisions
  • Strategies to avoid un skilled workers