As a global pharmaceutical company, Pf is continuously looking for ways to help employees be more efficient and effective. The company’s senior director of organizational effectiveness found that the highly educated MBA’s it hired to “develop strategies and innovate were instead googling and making PowerPoints.” Indeed, internal studies conducted to find out just how much time its valuable talent was spending on menial tasks was startling. The average Pf employee was spending 20 percent to 40 percent of his or her time on support work (creating documents, typing notes, doing research, manipulating data, scheduling meetings) and only 60 to 80 % on knowledge work (strategy, innovation, networking, collaborating, critical thinking). And the problem wasn’t just at lower levels. Even the highest-level employees were affected. Take, for instance, David Cain, an executive director for global engineering. He enjoys his job-assessing environmental real estate, managing facilities and controlling a multimillion-dollar budget. But he didn’t so much enjoy having to go through spreadsheets and put together PowerPoints. Now however with Pf’s “magic button”, those tasks are passed off to individuals outside the organization.

Just what is this “magic button”? Originally called the Office of the Future (OOF), the renamed Pf Works allow employees to shift tedious and time consuming tasks with the click of the button on their computer desktops. They describe what they need on an online form, which is then sent to one of two Indian service-outsourcing firms. When a request is received, a team member in India calls the Pf employee to clarify what’s needed and by when. The team member then emails back a cost specification for the requested work. If the Pf employee decided to proceed, the costs involved are charged to the employee’s department. About this unique arrangement, Cain said that he relishes working with what he prefers to call his “personal consulting organization.”

The number 66,500 illustrates just how beneficial Pf Works has been for the company. That’s the number of work hours estimated to have been saved by employees who’ve used Pf Works. What about David Cain’s experiences? When he gave the Indian team a complex project researching strategic actions that worked when consolidating company facilities, the team put the report together in a month, something that would have taken him six months to do alone. “Pf pays me not to work tactically, but to work strategically,” he says

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2-a Describe and evaluate what Pf is doing with its Pf Works

2-b What structural implications-good and bad-does this approach have? (Think in terms of the six organizational design elements)

2-c Do you think this arrangement would work for other types of organizations? Why or why not? What types of organizations might it also work for?

2-d. What role do you think organizational structure plays in an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness? Explain

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