MHR405 Lecture 5: Case Study.pdf

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Published on 18 Feb 2015
School
Ryerson University
Department
Human Resources
Course
MHR 405
Professor
1
The Brewster-Seaview Landscaping Co.
Part 1
During the summer of my freshman year in college, I worked for a small private landscaping
company planting shrubs, seeding new lawns, cutting grass, and tending flower gardens. The
company was located in my hometown of Seaview, N.J., which is a rural community on the coast
about 80 miles from Philadelphia. The company was owned and run by Joe Brewster, a 45-year-
old man who had lived in Seaview all his life. He had started the company some years ago and
not only handled the paperwork (payroll, bills, estimates, and so on), but also worked along with
the crew six days a week.
The crew consisted of five guys ranging in age from 17 to 20 years. We all lived in towns around
Seaview and had gone to the regional high school, which was located in Seaview. Only two of us
were attending college, but all had been hired personally by Joe following a short, informal
interview. I can’t be completely certain about the others, but I think all of us and several others
sought the job because we needed work, enjoyed the outdoors, and had heard that Joe paid well
and was an OK guy to work for. Working hours were from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an hour off
for lunch, Monday through Saturday. Once in a while we’d work overtime to help out some
customer who had an urgent need. Each worker began at the same base wage and was eligible for
bonuses based on the number of customers he or she referred to Joe that actually resulted in a
landscaping contract. Also, we were hired with the understanding that hard workers would be
rehired the next summer at a higher wage. Several of the crew I was part of had been rehired
under this policy.
Most of the customers we serviced lived in Seaview, knew Joe personally, and seemed to respect
him. Joe owned one truck which he used to transport all of us and necessary supplies and
equipment from job to job. Each morning he would read off a list of houses that had to be
completed that day. He would then leave it up to us to decide among ourselves who would do
what task while at a particular house. We also were the ones who determined by our work pace
how long we would spend at each house. In doing the work itself, we were able to use our own
ideas and methods. If we did a good job, Joe would always compliment us. If we lacked the
necessary know-how or did a poor job, Joe was right there willing to help us. At each house, Joe
worked along with us doing basically the same work we did. He dressed the same as we did and
was always very open and friendly toward us. He seldom “showed his authority,” and treated us
as equals. Although our workday was scheduled to begin at 8, Joe never became upset or
penalized us if we were 10 or 15 minutes late. Our lunch hour was usually an hour long starting
anytime between 11:30 and 12:30 depending on what time we, the crew, felt like eating. Each
member brought his own lunch to work and anytime during the day could take time off to go to
the truck for a snack.
The crew itself became very well acquainted, and we were always free to talk and joke with each
other at any time and did so. We enjoyed each other’s company, although we did not socialize
after hours. We also became very friendly with the customers. They were always eager to talk to
us as we worked, and Joe never objected. All in all, the job had a very relaxed, easygoing
atmosphere. I for one felt little pressure to hurry and, like the others, respected and liked Joe very
much.
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Document Summary

During the summer of my freshman year in college, i worked for a small private landscaping company planting shrubs, seeding new lawns, cutting grass, and tending flower gardens. The company was located in my hometown of seaview, n. j. , which is a rural community on the coast about 80 miles from philadelphia. The company was owned and run by joe brewster, a 45-year- old man who had lived in seaview all his life. He had started the company some years ago and not only handled the paperwork (payroll, bills, estimates, and so on), but also worked along with the crew six days a week. The crew consisted of five guys ranging in age from 17 to 20 years. Seaview and had gone to the regional high school, which was located in seaview. Only two of us were attending college, but all had been hired personally by joe following a short, informal interview.