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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2008

Mitchell Langbert, Michael Stanchina and Donal Grunewald

This case study aims to illustrate the interaction of organizational culture, human resource (HR) policy and firm performance. It contrasts the cultures of two…

Abstract

Purpose

This case study aims to illustrate the interaction of organizational culture, human resource (HR) policy and firm performance. It contrasts the cultures of two science‐driven organizations – the Navy's nuclear submarine force and Merck, the large pharmaceutical firm – and traces the reaction of one individual to two organizations – the United States nuclear navy and Merck & Co., a large pharmaceutical firm.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a case study based on field interviews and secondary sources.

Findings

The task‐oriented culture of the submarine fleet is compared to Merck's relations and team‐oriented corporate environment. Management skills such as flexibility, power and influence, interpersonal communication, self‐awareness and goal setting can influence career outcomes. Managerial skills are important in all settings, but a given style's efficacy is contingent upon organizational context. Adaptability is important, as is personal mission. Thus, the case examines how organizational culture, HR policies and leadership interact with an individual's career outcomes and organizational performance as well.

Research limitations/implications

Because this is a case study it is not generalizable. However, the issues depicted in the case have been recognized in the managerial skills literature. The case study serves to illustrate and deepen managerial skills concepts.

Practical implications

This case study has illustrative value as well as hypothesis and theory‐building value, but is not generalizable.

Originality/value

There is relatively little research on the specifics of how to apply managerial skills in a corporate setting. Hence, the case covers important, sensitive material of practical and theoretical value.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 October 2009

This paper aims to contrast the cultures of two organizations – the US Navy's nuclear‐submarine force and large pharmaceutical firm Merck – through the experiences of

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contrast the cultures of two organizations – the US Navy's nuclear‐submarine force and large pharmaceutical firm Merck – through the experiences of former naval officer turned pharmaceutical salesman, Howard Roark.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper starts and finishes with Howard Roark's appraisal. It considers the history of Merck, and Admiral Rickover and the nuclear navy, and explains Roark's employment history.

Findings

The paper shows how Roark's challenges in adjusting to Merck were interpersonal and political, and how leadership skills need to be adapted according to the environment.

Practical implications

The paper gives an insight into managerial skills, human resource strategy and organizational behavior.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates the importance of being able to adapt to different organizational cultures.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 17 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

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