Greyhound Lines

1 January 2017

The problems are time consuming to response the telephone calls, congestion, system crash, long waiting period, poor customer services and lose of customer confidence. 1. Was the decision facing Greyhound executives, programmed or non-programmed? Decisions made by a manager can be classified as programmed and non-programmed (Schermerhorn, 2011). Programmed decisions refer to solutions that are planned in advance from the previous experience and execute it to solve the routine problems (Majumdar, 2010).

Managers use these decisions to solve common, direct and anticipated problems (Ramarao, 2010). On the other hand, non-programmed decisions refer to specific solutions that are made for unstructured problems (Majumdar, 2010). These problems are new and unanticipated (Majumdar, 2010). A manager has to resolve the problems in a condition of uncertainties and lack of information (Ramarao, 2010). Some non-programmed decisions must be made in time of crisis which means that an unpredictable problem can lead to tragedy if not being figured out immediately and properly (Schermerhorn, 2011).

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Greyhound executives faced non-programmed decisions. The problems can be proved in the case study, ‘the company was operating on paper-thin margins and could not afford to dispatch nearly empty vehicles or have buses and drivers on call to meet surges in demand’ and solved by ‘put together a reorganization plan that called massive cut in personnel, routes and services, along with the computerization of everything from passenger reservations to fleet scheduling’. Apart from that, the introduction of Trips created problems.

Examples given in the case study are ‘the time Greyhound operators spent responding to telephone calls dramatically increased’, ‘many callers could not even get through because of problems in the new switching mechanism’, ‘the computers were so swamped that it sometimes took 45 seconds to respond to a single keystroke and five minutes to print a ticket. The system crashed so often that agents frequently had to hand-write tickets’ and ‘customers stood in long lines’, ‘missed connections’. Non-programmed decisions should be applied in these situations.

Based on the case study, the reduction of workforce lead to few problems, which are ‘discourtesy to customers increased’ and ‘the number of passengers plunged sharply, and regional rivals continued to pick off Greyhound’s dissatisfied customers’. Greyhound executives faced non-programmed decision to overcome the problems. In my opinion, Greyhound executives should improve the decision made to ensure the company development. 2. Do you think Greyhound executive should have used the classical model, administrative model, political model or judgmental heuristics approach? Which do you believe they used?

Discuss. Classical model is a prescriptive model (Schermerhorn, 2011). Manager that practices classical model achieves goals that are known and agreed upon, strives for certainty by consolidating complete data, owns good criteria to evaluate alternatives, makes decisions rationally and logically based on economic condition (Joshi, 2011). On the contrary, manager that implants administrative model is an intuitive thinker (Schermerhorn, 2011). Individual makes decisions in a situation that is full of ambiguities, lack of knowledge on the options and their results (Joshi, 2011).

The satisfying decision is the first alternative that comes to mind (Schermerhorn, 2011). Decision making focuses on organizational rather than economic condition (Joshi, 2011). Political model emphasize on coalition building among members in organization (Bartol, 2008). Decisions made are complex because of the closely resembles of the real situation in which most managers and decision makers operate (Bartol, 2008). Disagreement and conflict over problem and solutions occur.

Judgmental heuristics approach is created by 2 concepts, which are availability heuristics and satisfying (Schermerhorn, 2011). Availability heuristic is a decision maker’s propensity to base decisions on information that is readily available in the past experience (Schermerhorn, 2011). Satisfying is choosing a method to solve a problem that meets a minimum level of acceptance (Schermerhorn, 2011). Greyhound executives should have used classical model instead of administrative model. They should clearly define the problems before making decision. According to case study, roblems such as ‘the time Greyhound operators spent responding to telephone calls dramatically increased’ and ‘discourtesy to customers increased’ will not happened if they manage to clarify the problems before applying the solutions. Greyhound executives introduced a new system with the employees have limited knowledge on the system itself. This can be shown in the case study, ‘the human resources department pointed out that terminal workers often had less than a high school education and would need extensive training before they could be expected to use the system effectively’.

They should introduce a system in a condition of certainty. Besides, they should consider all the suggestions made by the member of the organization before consolidating an optimizing decision. Nevertheless, they failed to do so and this is shown in the case study, ‘To reduce operating costs and improve customer service, Greyhound’s top executives put together a reorganization plan that called massive cut in personnel, routes and services, along with the computerization of everything from passenger reservations to fleet scheduling.

However, middle managers disagreed with the plan’. In conclusion, Greyhound executives should have used classical model to solve the problems, which is an individual making decisions with the complete information. 3. Analyze the Greyhound’s case in term of the five steps of managerial decision-making process. Do you think top executives paid adequate attention to all the steps of the decision-making process? If you were a Greyhound executive, what would you do now and why? Managerial decision-making process is divided into five steps.

They are identifying and defining the problem, generate and evaluate possible alternatives, select a preferred solution, apply the solution and evaluate the outcomes (Cliffs Notes, 2012). Identifying and defining the problems is the first step in decision-making process. This stage plays a crucial role in determining the way to resolve a problem (Schermerhorn, 2011). Greyhound executives did this step. The problem faced by Greyhound are clearly stated in the case study, which is ‘the company was operating on paper-thin margins and could not afford to dispatch nearly empty vehicles or have buses and drivers on call to meet surges in demand’.

Next step is generating and evaluating possible alternatives. More information is collected and analysed to generate the alternatives (Cliffs Notes, 2012). The pros and cons of the possible solutions should be clearly stated. This stage encourages the commitment of more people in order to generate more ideas. Cost-benefit analysis is using in this stage by comparing the cost and the expected benefits of an alternative (Schermerhorn, 2011). Greyhound executive did not commit this step as they have no time to bring out lot of alternatives.

After generated and evaluated the possible alternatives, we should choose a preferred solution (Cliffs Notes, 2012). Classical model and behavioral decision model can be seen clearly in choosing a solution (Schermerhorn, 2011). Classical model describes an individual making decision with complete information in a certain situation (Joshi, 2011). Behavioral decision making model describes an individual choosing solution with incomplete information in an uncertain situation (Schermerhorn, 2011). Since the Greyhound executives did not generate alternatives, they choose the first satisfying alternative that comes to the mind.

Once the solution is being chosen, we should implement the solution. Actions will be taken to solve the problems. Goals are set to be achieved (Schermerhorn, 2011). According to the case study, Greyhound executives accomplish this stage by ‘putting together a reorganization plan that called massive cut in personnel, routes and services, along with the computerization of everything from passenger reservations to fleet scheduling’ in order to cut down the operating cost and improve customer service. Lastly, results should be evaluated to complete the decision-making process.

If the expected results are not achieved, the process must be recycled for corrective purpose (Schermerhorn, 2011). Based on the case study, ‘many felt that huge workforce reductions would only exacerbate the company’s real problem regarding customer service’, the executives should formulate corrective solutions after knowing the alternative that being chosen is failed. However, they did nothing in this stage. In a nutshell, Greyhound executives actually accomplish the first and the forth steps and partially or did not accomplish the other steps.

If I am a Greyhound executive, I will create a 24 hours customer service hotline. This helps the company to collect and gather the customer feedback. Then, the company executive will analyze the collected data and response to the customer’s complaints. By doing this, the company can improve customer service and built up the customer confidence. Furthermore, Greyhound Lines should hire more experienced and higher education employees to operate Trips. Other than that, providing extensive training to the existing employees is another way to improve the knowledge on operating the computerized systems.

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