Gulf States Metals Inc. (GSM) is a large nickel refinery plant that has suffered poor financial performance and is under the threat of being shut down by its parent company International Metals Inc. This paper aims to, firstly, analyse the issues that are contributing to the low performance, secondly, to provide some options for moving forward and thirdly, to present a set of substantiated recommendations. The analysis will be tackled through a multi-frame approach, incorporating a structural frame, human resource frame, political frame and symbolic frame as proposed by Bolman and Deal (1997).
Structural Frame Analysis
The structural frame asserts that organisations exist to achieve goals and objectives, and that they must be designed to fit the circumstances according to goals, technology and the environment. Organisations are thought to increase efficiency and enhance performance through specialisation and division of labour. To ensure that the divisions work together, appropriate forms of coordination and control are essential to ensure that individuals and units work together in service of organisational goals.
The structural frame also assumes that problems, and performance gaps, arise from structural defects and can be remedied through restructuring (Bolman and Deal, 1997; Burnes, 1996).
GSM's overall structure is hierarchical and based around functional groups. Directors are assigned to the main sections of the business according to function, these being operations, engineering and administration. Within these directorial areas there is a structure based around process and time. There are supervisors that oversee one of each the processes of material handling, copper extraction, cobalt extraction, ammonia sulphate extraction, and nickel extraction. There are also supervisors who manage production for swing, graveyard and weekend shifts.
In the case of GSM, there is an absence of integration to bridge the division between the operations and maintenance. The two areas are at odds and compete...