Larry Gammon, newly elected president of the Easter Seal Foundation of New Hampshire and Vermont, was meeting with a consultant from Easter Seals National to review the Foundation’s current situation. He had requested some assistance in addressing several thorny issues he faced in determining the future directions of the organization. On one hand, he was attempting to evaluate the impact of his predecessor’s decision to restructure the organization from a single entity into one with four corporate subsidiaries, and the impact this had had on the quality of decision-making and the level of conflict in the organization. On the other, he was attempting to assess the reasons underlying a growing deficit in the organization’s operations, and the changes he might make in order to give the managers of the subsidiaries greater incentives to operative in a cost-effective manner.
The National Easter Seal Society began in 1919, playing a service and advocacy role for disabled people. Since its inception, many government and private agencies had entered the rehabilitation movement. National Easter Seals continued to operate, but also to reassess its role, in light of changing demographics, new technology, and the presence of other organizations in the rehabilitation market.
The New Hampshire Easter Seal Society was incorporated as a statewide organization with membership in the National Easter Seal Society. Membership in the National Society brought to affiliated organizations the power of the Easter Seals name, the availability of consulting services, and, perhaps best known, the fund-raising power of a National Telethon.
The Easter Seal Foundation of New Hampshire and Vermont was a $7 million nonprofit organization. Directed by a volunteer board, it provided services to the handicapped, viewing that term in a very broad way. Under its sponsorship, elderly citizens were transported and the possibility existed for housing provisions, as well. Physical and vocational intervention also was offered to a population of diverse ages in diverse settings. The organization owned a facility in Manchester, New Hampshire, where some of its work was based, and offered contract services in other settings. It also owned a summer camp in New Durham, a building in Plymouth, and recently had taken on a building in Vermont, as well.
For over twenty years, the Foundation had operated under the leadership of Robert Cholette, Mr. Gammon’s predecessor. Mr. Cholette took the organization from a budget of $89,000 and a staff of 11 to its current size.
Mr. Cholette also altered the organization’s strategy and structure in significant ways. Faced over fifteen years ago with an erosion in its client base due to the emerging role of hospitals in delivering similar services, the organization—known at the time as the New Hampshire Easter Seal Society—began a process of diversification. Early in his tenure, for example, Mr. Cholette acquired the franchise for the Goodwill Industries, an organization devoted to vocational training, and to recycling salvage clothing and other goods. Ten years later, he divested Easter . . .
- What are the principal problems that Mr. Gammon faces? Please classify these problems into the areas of strategic, organizational, and management control.
- As a consultant to Mr. Gammon, how would you recommend he resolve these problems?