Kenworth Motors Case Study




This case is a narrative recount of an organizational development (OD) consultant on his business trip to Kenworth Motors’ Seattle truck manufacturing plant.

Question 1

How well did the OD consultant prepares for the meeting with Denton? Would you have done anything differently?

I think the OD consultant didn’t well prepared for the meeting with Denton because he didn’t put some times to do research about the Kenworth Motors background and it’s current situation as well as make some research about Denton through internet or work network. I would do more research about the company and Denton to ensure that I know the situation that I am dealing with and it helps to provide Denton with more accurate consultant as i would have more knowledge about the company works. Robert Denton whose the plant manager of Kenworth Motors is having issue with his two new managers which one of them handle the purchasing and inventory and the other handle personnel. Both managers are coping with Denton very much but somehow Denton still feel like they aren’t jelled together as a team quite like what he’d hoped therefore making doubt on Denton mind on what he should do to make the team relationship stronger and more focus on the overall benefit of Kenworth Motors. Denton appointed the OD consultant for a meeting to talk it out about his issue and hopefully come up with an answer to his problem. The cause of his problem is most likely from the way they interact with each other, Denton might have not spend enough time to learn and understand his new managers therefore create a gap in his team work. The other possibility is that the two managers are still new and still trying to cope with the new working environment, which create a distraction in their work.

Question 2

In the discussion between the OD consultant and Denton, what was effective and ineffective about the consultant’s behavior?

During the initial contact, the OD consultant was effective in establishing empathy and trust. Creating rapport and trust helps building up mutual understanding and improving engagement of both parties in during the consultation process. Because of consultant’s intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, the consultation progressed effectively and the manager was soon willing to disclose organizational information. The OD consultant tried to identify any problems in relation to the manufacturing operations by questioning. As the answers were provided by internal personnel, Danton, who was an internal agent from the organization, the consultant soon realized that the initial inquiry process was ineffective in identifying possible problems in the operations. Lastly, the consultant was effective in explaining the pros and cons of having an external agent in the OD investigation.

Question 3

How effective was the contracting process described in the last part of the case? What is the scope and clarity of the agreement?

The contracting process was effective as described in the last part of the case. The initial contracting only took a brief time to be done. The agreement covered an idea of a retreat weekend, the ultimate purpose of the idea, the time and venue of the retreat, the schedule outline of the weekend, and the cost associated with the event and the OD consultation service. The initial contract planning was relatively insufficient in terms of clarity. The consultant failed to explain clearly on his role and responsibility in this event. He did not explicitly define his actions to achieve the goal of the weekend retreat. He failed to establish a comprehensive action research plan and result measuring method of the proposed event.

Question 4

How would you design the upcoming retreat?

I would plan to find somewhere far away from the company, I think the OD consultant, Bob Denton should have a dinner with his managers at first, because the OD consultant and Denton need to understand and learn more about these managers. The OD consultant needs to know more about Denton as well. Dinner always helps people to get closer and interact more. And then they can have a meeting to learn and understand their personalities and thoughts about the current job and their future plans.


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2. CUMMINGS, T. G. & WORLEY, C. G. 2008. Organization Development and Change, SOUTHWESTERN CENGAGE Learning.

3. GALLOS, J. V. & SCHEIN, E. H. 2006. Organization Development: A Jossey-Bass Reader Jossey-Bass Business and Management

4. ROTHWELL, W. J., STAVORS, J. M. & SULLIVAN, R. L. 2009. Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Leading Change, Pfeiffer.