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LEAD 300 Week 7 Discussion Boldflash Case Study

LEAD 300 Week 7 Discussion Boldflash Case Study


In preparation for this week’s discussion, focus on the Boldflash case,  You will also need to
do a little bit of Google searching on the flash memory industry.
Here is an interesting video by a chess master.
Nickols, F., & Ledgerwood, R. (2005). The goals grid: A new tool for strategic
planning. URL: http://www. nickols. us/strategic_planning_tool. pdf.
Mooney, C. (2011). The science of why we don’t believe science. Mother Jones, 11.

Now, assume you are Roger Cahill (Boldflash case

you are about to give a
presentation  senior management about  the fact that you are losing market share even
though they are in a growth market.
In your first post, what do you need to say about the situation?

In your second post start building a  Goals Grid for Boldflash..
You and your teammates will be building a unified Grid for Boldflash based on the
case and your research.

LEAD 300 Week 7 Discussion Boldflash Case Study


Roger Cahill has spent less than a year as head of the Mobile Division of BoldFlash, a flash memory component maker. On the corporate level, BoldFlash has adapted to an evolving and difficult marketplace, but the Mobile Division is struggling. The four groups within the unit refuse to work together, and the unit recently failed to capitalize on an important new product opportunity. To address the problems, Cahill has made a number of organizational and personnel changes since taking the helm. Facing low morale and eroding margins, Cahill is under pressure to meet his next challenge—reforming the product development process in an effort to save the Division.
Beer, Michael, and Rachel Shelton. “BoldFlash: Cross-Functional Challenges in the Mobile Division.” Harvard Business School Brief Case 124-438, May 2012.

Boldflash Case Study Summary

Boldflash Inc. was established in 1982 in Waltham, Massachusetts, engaging in the manufacturing of computer storage media, such as floppy disks, and various other product mixes. However, the company is presently facing challenging times due to a decline in innovative practices and customer satisfaction. Issues related to poor management and autocratic leadership have led to breakdowns in communication and teamwork. The absence of standardized reporting and clarity in departmental functioning has resulted in inefficiencies, hindering value creation for both the company and its customers. Consequently, there is an urgent need for organizational change and the introduction of innovative products to maintain competitiveness in the market.

Main Problems in the Mobile Division:

The Mobile division is grappling with several issues:

  1. Missing Market Opportunities:
    • Failing to capture the storage devices market for tablets.
  2. Competitive Price Pressure:
    • Facing pressure from competitors for price reductions.
  3. Slow Product Launch:
    • Inability to bring new products to the market swiftly.
  4. Redundant Customization:
    • Developing redundant customized chips for mobile markets.
  5. Misalignment with Customer Needs:
    • Struggling to commercialize technology developments due to a lack of alignment with customer needs.
  6. Organizational Culture Issues:
    • Unproductive conflicts between functional departments.
    • Lack of subcontracting; operations limited to its own plants.
    • Focused on organic growth with a reputation for quality.
    • Strong commitment to ongoing research, sometimes at the expense of results.
  7. Structure and Performance Metrics:
    • Manufacturing plants evaluated individually, operating as profit centers.
    • Manufacturing-specific metrics leading to isolation of plants.
    • Ineffective communication and collaboration between product development, sales, and marketing teams.

Responsibility for Cross-Functional Coordination:

Given the dynamic market changes, each functional group (marketing, manufacturing, sales, and product development) should share the responsibility for fostering cross-functional coordination. The reasons include:

  • Lack of well-defined roles and responsibilities leading to miscommunication.
  • Feeling of neglect among non-manufacturing employees.
  • Inefficient trial runs affecting delivery dates.
  • Sales selling products at any price, impacting margins.
  • Unmet revenue projections affecting the credibility of the marketing department.
  • Communication gaps between sales and product development.

Assessment of Cahill and His Predecessor:

Jim Harrison, the predecessor, had a top-down directive approach, fostering a compliant culture. He encouraged research but did not attend crucial meetings, leading to unclear expectations and communication issues.

Robert Cahill, the current leader, is not a quick decision-maker and faces challenges in leadership aspects. While attempting changes, such as separating sales and marketing and relocating non-manufacturing staff, execution issues arose.

Evaluation of Roger’s Changes:

The changes proposed by Roger Cahill, the replacement for Jim Harrison, were necessary due to external environmental changes and unmet organizational goals. However, the poor execution of these changes led to communication issues and resistance among staff.

Upcoming Meeting and Productivity Enhancement:

To increase productivity in the upcoming meeting, Cahill should focus on:

  • Designing a well-defined organizational structure with clear communication channels.
  • Setting distinguishable and achievable goals for different units.
  • Holding everyone accountable for unmet objectives.
  • Mandating attendance of various departments to eliminate in-group bias.
  • Encouraging a participative culture to boost employee commitment.
  • Monitoring plant progress through frequent corporate visits.
  • Communicating the rationale behind the changes to reduce staff resistance.

Additional Changes and Interventions:

As an OD consultant, additional changes and interventions would include:

  • Defining clear roles and responsibilities to resolve inter-departmental conflicts.
  • Building positive relationships with staff to create a trusting atmosphere.
  • Implementing communication and leadership programs to identify and nurture innovation.
  • Encouraging the product development team to balance technological advancements with day-to-day business goals.
  • Designing a matrix structure for improved collaboration.
  • Promoting upward communication for a participative culture.
  • Involving senior teams in driving change for a more connected organization at all levels.


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