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Acme Productions Human Dynamics Analysis

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ACME PRODUCTIONS OVERVIEW

Acme Productions is one of the largest independent, full service television and video production companies in the country. Acme Productions was founded in 1981 and originally headquartered in Northern Virginia until 1991 when it expanded to a custom designed building for television production located in Washington D.C. With a full time professional staff of over 70 employees, Acme Productions has grown over 220% since the recruitment of a new President & COO in 1998, but in recent years their growth become unstable and profitability figures have started to decline (See Exhibit 1).

Acme Productions has been a pillar in the Washington DC production community for over 23 years, offering remote production, studio production, program playback services, production management, editing, graphics production and design, film-to-tape transfer and color correction, audio editing/mixing, original music, video duplication, distribution via satellite, fiber and the Internet. Over the years, the company has invested over 40 million dollars in state-of-the-art technology and facilities.

The company’s client base is both vast and diverse, and Acme Productions is known for its creative talent as well as the state-of-the-art technological resources. Acme Productions currently produces several highly rated broadcast television series for several of the top cable networks such as HBO, Showtime, MTV, Comedy Central, The Discover Channel, Animal Planet and ESPN. The company’s mission is to offer exceptional broadcast production management services, experienced technical staffing, creative production development and an unsurpassed broadcast production infrastructure. Their goal is to meet the needs of their clients and facilitate their vision from concept to completion. Their clients include major networks, government agencies, corporations, and independent producers. Acme Productions clients leverage their talent, experience, and infrastructure, to create full-scale live events, broadcast specials, and series. Today Acme Productions is known for its extreme flexibility, efficiency, high quality standards and customer service.

IDENTIFYING THE ISSUE

Acme Production was a struggling company with low profitability and limited success up until 1998. That is the year that the Board of Directors decided it was time for a change and recruited a new President & COO, Mr. Bill Smith, to turn the company around and take the company to the next level. Mr. Smith quickly developed an aggressive 5-year business plan to turn the company around. This involved sweeping changes throughout the company to introduce and incorporate a new philosophy, technical infrastructure and managerial structure. Mr. Smith was seen as a visionary with a keen sight on the future and an aggressive pacesetting and coercive leadership style (Goleman). Initially there were sweeping changes, which created an old vs. new atmosphere among the employees.

The company only had around 45 employees and no Human Resources department. The Board of Directors and the new President felt the company was too small for a Human Resources department. Unfortunately, without consultation from a Human Resources point of view the implementation and transition to the new strategy and goals of the company from a human capital perspective was not effectively addressed. This oversight and aggressive timeline created a rift in the attitudes of the existing employees vs. the new employees and new management, which were being brought into the company.

Mr. Smith’s vision and aggressive new strategy for the company enabled the company to rapidly grow over 220% in just over 5 years. However, in the wake of the financial success of the company, the morale and motivation of the employees seemed to have not been a focus of the growth and became more apparent as the financial success of the company reached a plateau.

Currently there are classic indicators of a morale and motivational issue among the employees at Acme Productions. There are several key indicators of morale and motivational issues in the company:

1. A High level of employee turn around in all departments of the company and at all levels including management. Out of the over 70 current employees, only 7 of them were employed with the company in 1998.

2. An open distrust of employees on management as well as underling distrust between the various levels of management combined with the perceived perception that management expects the employees to deliver

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