CASE: THE HEXADECIMAL COMPANY
The Hexadecimal Company is a medium-sized manufacturing firm supplying computer components to many international computer manufacturers. Initially the company produces traditional computer keyboards, but competition from cheaper labor markets in other countries forced it to change its products. It now licenses OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) technology from Kodak and designs and produces high-tech products such as thin film keyboards for hand-held computers and flexible electronic pages (less than 1/100 inch thick) used in e-books. With John Zoltan as president, the company has experienced rapid growth since its beginning and is now moving into advanced electronics from the electromechanical assembly of the past.
John Zoltan recently attended a university executive seminar, and was so impressed that he brought in the professor as an OD practitioner. At one of their meetings, they decided that Zoltan should start an internal OD group to help achieve the organizational excellence he desired for his company. Zoltan ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal, and he and the practitioner selected four young M.B.A.s. These four and one young internal prospects from HR were formed into what was called the OD Group.
THE OD GROUP
The OD group was housed in an old conference room and began with a high level of enthusiasm and energy. The members of the group ranged in age from 23 to 34. The members were Pete Loomis, 25, M.B.A., a behavioral specialist who had done training in industry; Kay Hughes, 27, M.B.A., who had been a sales representative prior to graduate school; Bill Heller, 26, M.B.A., specializing in group dynamics, with no industry experience; Indar Kripalani, 34, M.B.A., with OD experience in the military; and George Kessler, 23, with three years of experience in the HR department.
The group spent their first month getting to know the members of the organization. They held weekly conferences with John...