Case Study: Peppercorn Dining
Peppercorn Dining is a college dining facility on the All-American University campus. The labor force is made up of full-time workers, temporary workers and student workers. Roger, Lynn and Erica, partners from the Square One Consulting firm were having lunch one afternoon at Peppercorn when Drew Randall, Peppercorn’s manager recognized Erica who had worked there a few years earlier. From their conversation with Drew, the consultants learned of a few issues that began to tear at the framework of Peppercorn Dining. Drew stated that staffing had become an issue as fewer and fewer students wanted to work at the dining facility. Drew recognized the symptoms but could not pin point the root cause of a bigger problem that plagued the Peppercorn’s workforce. To make up for the staffing shortage, temporary employees were hired, which caused conflict between the student workers and the full-time employees. Drew would enter into a contract with the consultants to get their unbiased, external point of view as to what the bigger problems at Peppercorn were.
Entering and contracting is the first step in the organization development (OD) process and in this case, the process went pretty smoothly. Drew expressed his concerns and stated that his goal was to “increase productivity and to improve the morale of the workers” (Cumming & Worley, 2009). With Erica being a former employee and having relationships with current employees at Peppercorn, the consultants benefited and could negotiate the contract quickly. The consultants were able to save time in identifying the organization’s culture, informal practice, and sources of power as well as Erica was already familiar with the language of the organization and would be able to provide insight into the cause of many of the restaurant’s problems. The contract included the consultants’ fees as well as a proposed schedule with dates and times they would like to be at the dining facility.