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Juniper Products Company – Politics in Teams

CASE STUDY, ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
IIM Kozhikode, 11 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Prof. Jatin Pandey, Asst. Professor and Arijit Goswami, PGP Student - Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode

Case Preview

Juniper Products Company – Politics in Teams

Ashit Khanna (Ashit), the HR Manager of Juniper Products Company, was in his chamber worried on how to tackle the group led by Samiksha Sharma (Samiksha). As he had his coffee, he pondered on what had happened to the team which functioned well in the beginning but was no longer as effective. He wanted to know what went wrong and what he should do to rectify the situation.

Juniper Products Company

Founded in Bengaluru in 1986 by Suman Kaushik (SK), Juniper Software Company (JSC) was one of the largest Indian technology giants catering to outsourcing, technology consulting and information technology services (Annexure I). SK had started JSC upon being disgruntled by the mundane job at an Indian IT company, which he was working for, after having graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Over the years, JSC consolidated its operations and acquired more clients and the company was renamed Juniper Products Company (Juniper). These value-based acquisitions enabled inorganic growth and brought in capabilities that would have been costly to build organically. The economic reforms of 19911 lent a huge opportunity to cater to increased number of companies worldwide. However, Juniper did not lose sight of its organizational values. The company always professed the importance of values, team dynamics and collaboration at work; as a matter of fact the company philosophy emphasized the need for working in cohesion with all stakeholders, thereby creating a positive work environment through its policies......

Exhibits

Exhibit I: ‘Mail World’ Project Team

Exhibit II: Appraisal System

Exhibit III: Performance Appraisal-Samiksha’s Feedback/Inputs

Exhibit IV: Appraisal Ratings of The ‘Mail World’ Project Team

Annexures

Annexure I: The Hierarchy in Juniper Products Company


1 Economic reforms of 1991 comprised of shifts in economic policy. Liberalization led to government regulations getting slackened. Privatization allowed private entities to participate in business. Globalization led to consolidation of economy at global level.

Teaching Note Preview

Juniper Products Company – Politics in Teams

Synopsis

This case introduces the concept of organizational politics and what are the factors that promote political behaviors in organizations. The core issues of the case are the individual and team level factors that promote political behaviors in organizations. The case describes in detail how a project team, formed under a self-serving manager, initially performs well but how the team dynamics change over the course of time as groupism develops within the team. It further delves into the nuances of performance appraisal and the parameters for measuring success, which in turn breeds political behavior amongst employees. This office politics results in some of the team members getting disenchanted with the project assignments and thereby lag behind other team members.

Juniper Products Company, based out of Bengaluru, is an IT-enabled Services (ITes) provider for Solar Pharma Company based in the United States. The former bags a project from the latter, wherein the senior management is of the opinion that high performance in their deliverables may lead to repeat business from the client, as well as open up a new portfolio to acquire projects of similar nature from that industry vertical. A team that bonded so well in the initial phases, calling itself a ‘family’, frittered away into fragments as certain employees formed a group and targeted a few others in order to outshine.

The case throws light on how the team members displaying high political behavior justified their attitudes and actions, and how the manager, who’s ‘ideally’ expected to be poised and unbiased, legitimized them in the name of performance. The team dynamics have been overlooked, exposing the hollowness in the appraisal system, wherein some became victims of corporate political nexus. It results in a bad experience for some employees and increases chances of talent attrition. The HR manager is in a dilemma over how to manage the situation.

Pre-requisite Reading

Chapter on Power and Politics from Organizational Behavior (16th edition) by Robbins, Judge and Vohra.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for either of the following courses in MBA or Executive MBA programs:

• Organizational Behavior
• Human Resource Management
• Career Management
• Performance Management
• General Management

Assignment Questions

I. What do you think is wrong in Juniper?
II. When did the problem start?
III.....

Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Classroom Discussion Dashboard

Exhibit (TN)-II: The Schema of Factors that Influence Political Behavior at Work

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Abstract

This case introduces the concept of organizational politics and what are the factors that promote political behaviours in organizations. The core issues of the case are the individual and team level factors that promote political behaviours in organizations. The case describes in detail how a project team, formed under a self-serving manager, initially performs well but how the team dynamics change over the course of time as groupism develops within the team. It further delves into the nuances of performance appraisal and the parameters for measuring success, which in turn breeds political behavior amongst employees. This office politics results in some of the team members getting disenchanted with the project assignments and thereby lagging behind other team members.

Juniper Products Company, based out of Bengaluru, is an IT-enabled Services (ITeS) provider for Solar Pharma Company based in the United States. The former bags a project from the latter, wherein the senior management is of the opinion that high performance in their deliverables may lead to repeat business from the client, as well as open up a new portfolio to acquire projects of similar nature from that industry vertical. A team that bonded so well in the initial phases, calling itself a ‘family’, frittered away into fragments as certain employees formed a group and targeted a few others in order to outshine.

The case throws light on how the team members displaying high political behavior justified their attitudes and actions, and how the manager, who’s ‘ideally’ expected to be poised and unbiased, legitimized them in the name of performance. The team dynamics have been overlooked, exposing the hollowness in the appraisal system, wherein some became victims of corporate political nexus. It results in a bad experience for some employees and increases chances of talent attrition. The HR manager is in a dilemma over how to manage the situation.


Pedagogical Objectives

The case addresses the following objectives:

  • To introduce participants to the concept of organizational politics, especially in case of teams
  • To understand why and how political behaviours are exhibited in organizations
  • To understand how political behaviours can be addressed in organizations

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for either of the following courses in MBA or Executive MBA programs:

  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Human Resource Management
  • Career Management
  • Performance Management
  • General Management



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- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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