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Topics: Human resources, Vice president, Management Pages: 7 (1489 words) Published: May 10, 2014

Sonoco Case Analysis
Sivaraju Kuraku, Dhaval Parekh, Bhavin Shah and Jyminor Guerisma RIT
Graduate Writing Strategies
Dr. Patricia Poteat

Many will agree that it is sometimes easier to start from scratch than to build upon and/or restore someone else’s accomplishment. There can be several reasons for that and can be sited only two of them in the context of this case. First, people see things differently. Depending on one’s personal background and past experiences, they will tend to take a perspective on a situation that is somehow already familiar with them and thus makes it easier for them to deal with. Second, executives have different leadership styles and will tend to lead their group accordingly. This background information is important when it comes to analyzing case of Sonoco Products Company case study as it relates to changes in human resources function at 100-year-old company looking to better support the company’s strategy. The Senior Vice President of HR led a taskforce that proposed two options for the HR restructuring. Which option reveals best in this situation and why? In this case analysis, two options were brought forth by the taskforce led by the Senior Vice President of HR and a decision needed to be made on which option is the best. The first option according to the paper is a centralized “HR function in which the majority of services would be handled by one of four centers of expertise (p. 10).” In term of advantage, this option will reveal cost saving while improving the administrative process. The second option is an hybrid system where all the divisions would be involved directly into the staffing processes and all other aspects link to that such as compensation and benefits, etc. The advantages of the second option are seen in the direct involvement of managers with staffing and the linkages between HR and businesses. The downside is seen in the difficulty to actually make changes happen and to determine the limitation of each sector.

It is obvious that the choice was not just a matter of personal preference considering that many factors had to be taken into account judging by the advantages and downside. This is why the best place to look for an answer to that question is in the reasons why Cindy Hartley, Senior VP was called on board. Other than the cost saving need, the three main reasons for her presence were to ensure top level accountability for talent management, to provide a more even distribution of HR and to support the company’s new growth strategy. These three reasons are mostly fulfilled in the hybrid considering the involvement of divisions with staffing, succession planning, personal programs, compensation, and benefits. On the first reason, the hybrid model allow for a more decentralized departmental specific initiatives and functions to be performed leaving more rooms for employees to be recognized when taking initiatives that benefit the whole company. Moreover, the need to achieve a more diverse workforce is also a given in such a system. Which option makes more sense given that in the changing packaging industry, “only the flexible survive”? Summarize what was happening in the packaging industry at the time of the case and how those changes influenced the business strategy and ultimately the HR restructuring.

Starting from the late 1990’s, the packaging industry was marked with both opportunities and challenges that later call this sector to adjust in the use of new technology and consumer approaches. Judging by the data, consumer packaging represented 70% of industry production revenues (p. 3). Added to that fact, aluminum and plastic packaging will bring more popularity to that industry. However, changes in the world order would increase the focus more on price than the quality, value and services (p. 3). Companies in the sector either moved overseas to cut on expenses or chose to merge or close altogether. This is not to...

References: Fox, C. 2004. HR: A Hybrid Approach for Business Solutions. Retrieved from
Thomas, D., Groysberg, B., & Reavis, C. (2004). Sonoco products company (a): Building a
world class hr organization. Harvard Business School, Boston, MA.
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