An Analysis of the Donna Dubinsky Case

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 November 2016

An Analysis of the Donna Dubinsky Case


In Donna Dubisky case, Donna was facing challenge of changing distribution system. She needs to deal with change because it was affecting her at professional level. She has had a promising career at Apple Inc. she had a support from her boss, Ray weaver. The dilemma was that she feels what she is doing is best for company; therefore she was putting her job at risk.

Company Background:

Apple was a leading PC manufacturer in US. Head Office is in Cupertino, California. In 1977, after launch of Apple II, Apple market shares had risen to 42%. In 1983, Scully, the finance president of PepsiCo joined Apple as president he was invited by Jobs, to bring marketing discipline to Apple. As company market share was declined to 24%.when Scully joined he simplified the structure of organization by centralizing product development and product marketing in just two divisions. It reflects the mix functional and geographical organization, and 7 divisions were directly reporting to Scully. After introduction of Macintosh in early 1984 Apple was unable to retain market share because of its high market entry cost. Apple failed to reach projected sale level. This situation creates tension between Apple II division and Macintosh.

Donna Dubinsky:

Donna graduated from Yale, worked in commercial bank for 2 years. Then she did MBA from Harvard University. In July 1981, she joined Apple as customer support liaison. Within 4 years, she became Director of distribution and sale administration. Donna reported to Roy Weaver. Why Donna was successful in her organization?

* She was very direct and intelligent
* She don’t consider her career, she fought for her subordinates.
* She always have company interest in her heart
* She was confident and have nonpolitical views
* Ready to take risks.
* Power of presence
* She had refined and formalized Apple distribution policy * She introduces simple, systematic, efficient system. Her employees were pleased with that system * Donna was the one who realized the need of system for planning and analysis.

What Challenges Donna is facing and why?

1. Steve Jobs proposed to dismantle existing distribution system and replaced by just in time method. Because instead of high operating revenues, Apple’s market share were declining 2. Sales forecasting pattern was difficult and in efficient, which causes excess or shortage of inventory. It was costly and critical to Apple profit. Donna needs to improve the forecasting techniques. 3. Jobs had invited Donna in past to be a part of Macintosh team, prospect was rejected by Donna. Therefore, Job may be making irrational changes. (Assumption). 4. She was betting her career and taking the distribution change issue too personally. 5. After the structure changed, they have their new boss. Weaver and Donna both were uncertain about the relationship with their new boss. 6. Moreover company shares were declining showing firm was unable to cope with competitive market. It could be due to structure change from top to bottom which is unacceptable. Hence fast changes in industries are unacceptable.


1. Lack of actions in sale forecasting side, as it is causing high revenues. Donna should look sale forecasting pattern. 2. Donna and Weaver had presented their plan to develop additional distribution center at wrong time which initiate the conflict. 3. Since Job was interested in projects only, in order to overcome sale issues of Macintosh, he targeted the distribution system to minimize expenses. As quoted in case “ In order to defend themselves, they [the macintosh Division ] went on attack” 4. Donna‘s boss Weaver was confused and since she dependent on weaver for most of her decision she was unable to solve the problem, as quoted “Roy had been best mentor I could have asked for. He always gave me just enough rope. yet available whenever I needed his advice and guidance”

5. Weaver was also in defensive position therefore he was unable to find any solution. 6. While Coleman was preparing distribution strategy proposal. donna was waiting for Weaver response and unable to take decision Donna was at shock and disbelief .she thought that such a change can take place is unacceptable this hinder her to think rationally. 7. She was not able to allocate enough time in preparing strategy review task. She requested for extension but soon realized that their request didn’t work and they have to present their distribution review strategy on early January. Their boss Campbell was not taking their staff in confidence he should coordinate Weaver before accepting Scully’s invitation to present distribution review. 8. Donna missed her first chance by misunderstanding the situation. This put her in defensive state. 9. After task force formation Donna wasted her most of energy in criticism instead of finding solution. 10. Donna was not getting what the Problem is?

11. She was not able to communicate within team. She was not cooperating with team. It diminishes her position within company. 12. Task force was one more chance to find the middle ground but Donna failed to find alternatives and solution. 13. In Leadership seminar Donna should not charge Scully about employees are not getting direction from him. She needs to control her nerves. She should be ethical. As a middle manager, it is Donna responsibility to find out the solution of issues. At that time she seems to be run away from the situation. 14. Donna lost her good judgments, her self-reflectiveness and thoughtfulness, leading her totally negative.

15. They don’t have any alternative plan, the “Just in time method” based on fact that dealer place order to manufacturing assembly and after assembling they shipped the order by federal express. It has only few outcomes i.e. it reduces inventory cost, carrying cost, and warehouse. In contrast draw backs are large, no customer complain center, ignore of offshore manufacturing product, dealer technical is not feasible for implementation. 16. Donna lacks political ability which hinders the process of working with top management. she felt she had no support from top management. According to theory concept: Power 1is define as the potential of individual to influence another individual or group. Influence in turn exercise of power to change behavior, attitudes or values of that group or individual Organizations are political entities, political conflict over scarce is inevitable, giving the challenge of managing in contemporary organization.

There will be more political conflict if organization has more interdependence, diversity, and resource scarcity. There are prevention factors that help to reduce the amount of conflict. When people have shared goals and values (due to leadership or strong culture) a common perspective about how critical resources should be distributed and critical contingencies handled is more likely. In contrast there are precipitating factors that exacerbate the conflict in an organization. There is more likely to more political conflict in organization when subordinates goal and value do not exist.

Or strong leaders fail to define a vision behind which people are aligned and motivated. In addition, during time of organization crises when uncertainty and stakes tend to increase, people can even lose sights of those things they do in fact hold in common e.g. sever down turn. Whether or not political conflict will lead to destructive or constructive outcomes depend on how key player respond to it. Political conflict can be irreconcilable and can escalate out of control. Power and influence are the mechanism by which the inevitable political conflict in organization can resolved. Sources of positional power

* Formal authority
* Relevance
* Centrality
* Autonomy
* Visibility
Sources of personal power
* Expertise
* Track record
* Attractiveness
* Effort
Power Tactics:

People use more than rewards, threats, and information to influence others. In everyday situations people use a variety of power tactics to push or prompt others into particular action. There are plenty examples of power tactics that are quite common and employed every day. Some of these tactics include bullying, collaboration, complaining, criticizing, and demanding, disengaging, evading, humor, inspiring, manipulating, negotiating, socializing, and supplicating. These power tactics can be classified along three different dimensions: softness, rationality, and laterality (Falbo & Pepalu, 1980; Raven et al., 1998). Soft and hard

•Soft tactics take advantage of the relationship between person and the target. It is more indirect and interpersonal (e.g. collaboration, socializing). Conversely, hard tactics are harsh, forceful, direct, and rely on concrete outcomes. However, they are not more powerful than soft tactics. In many circumstances, fear of social exclusion can be a much stronger motivator than some kind of physical punishment.

Rational and non-rational

•Rational tactics of influence make use of reasoning, logic, and sound judgment, whereas nonrational tactics rely on emotionality and misinformation. Examples of each include bargaining and persuasion, and evasion and put downs, respectively.

Unilateral and bilateral

* Bilateral tactics, such as collaboration and negotiation, involve reciprocity on the part of both the person influencing and their target. Unilateral tactics, on the other hand, are enacted without any participation on the part of the target. These tactics include disengagement. * People tend to vary in their use of power tactics, with different types of people opting for different tactics. For instance, interpersonally oriented people tend to use soft and rational tactics (Falbo, 1997). Machiavellians, however, tend to use nonrational tactics. Moreover, extraverts use a greater varitey of power tactics than do introverts (Butkovic & Bratko, 2007). Further, men tend to use bilateral and direct tactics, whereas women tend to use unilateral and indirect tactics (Falbo & Peplau, 1980). People will also choose different tactics based on the group situation, and based on who they are trying to influence. It is interesting to note that people also tend to shift from soft to hard tactics when they face resistance (Carson, Carson, & Roe, 1993; Teppner, 2006)

Assessing power Dynamics

In assessing the power dynamics in a given situation you need to identify:
1. Identify the interdependencies
2. Determine the sources of power of relevant parties
3. After interdependent parties have been identified analyze the relevant differences in term of goals, values, stakes and working style among them.
4. Analyze broader context how much potential for political conflict exists?
5. Periodically update your diagnosis.

The Exercise of power2
1. Met out resources
2. Shape behavior through rewards and punishments
3. Advance on multiple fronts
4. Make the first move
5. Win opponents by making them part of your team
6. Removes rivals
7. Don’t draw unnecessary fire
8. Use personal touch
9. Persist
10. Make important relationships work
11. Make vision compelling Donna characterized herself as a thick skinned and non-defensive, one manager commented “she is not a political animal” Before taking her job into risk, Donna should confirm that either top management knew about her credibility, her position is defensive and critical after arguing with Scully in “Leadership experience”. Moreover Jobs need to clarify his objective about changing distribution system.

It could be infer from theory if you want to influence your power you need to win opponent by making them part of your team or make you vision compelling. Donna should not take this conflict personally; she took wrong step by betting her job. She asked for 30 days extension to get her own strategy presentation ready Moreover she argued that she doesn’t want to work with task force, finally she gave ultimatum to Campbell to give her 30 days or she would resign.


1. Jobs should cooperate with Donna if he wants his idea forward. Because Donna is only one who can handle customer service affairs, and she knew about implementing distribution strategy. 2. If Donna really wants to exercise her power she should identify the conflict, about just in time method, current warehousing method etc. After identifying conflict then she should make plan for decision making, and finally come out with some solution to stay or to change the distribution system. 3. Donna need to identify capability and feasibility of Just in time method on that basis she can prepare her distribution strategy review report.

4. More over if company goes for adopting just in time method they will be working against Apple value, Empathy for customer, solving customer problem, all six distributions are involve in customer service. Closing them will contradict the value. 5. After Donna ultimatum, it is turning point, if her boss doesn’t allow her 30 days and accept resignation Donna will lose bet and company will also lose valued employee, in this situation there will be loss of both. But organization would go head according to Jobs policy. 6. If they allow Donna 30 days then it’s high time for her to prove herself. 7. Company can also ask her to present her report in 30 days otherwise they will accept resignation if she failed to present it clearly.


  • Subject:

  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 November 2016

  • Words:

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