The Junction Hotel
Welcome back to the Junction Hotel!
The complexity of organizations is often best understood in the context of familiar situations. In this book we do this through our innovative fictional running case study, the Junction Hotel. Instead of seeing theories as dry abstract models, in this book we use them as ways to make sense of the challenges the characters face. Through this case study we learn about the hotel’s characters, their personalities, backgrounds, and experiences, and the dilemmas they face. We see their emotions, reactions, and different interpretations of the same event.
Applying theory to real situations is suggested by learning theorists, such as Kolb and Gibbs, to be far more effective. It helps us understand real dilemmas and challenges that managers, workers, or society face. Just think of it this way: a manager does not try to motivate their staff because a textbook says that they should do it; rather, they look at ideas surrounding motivation because they are facing a problem that they need to solve. The theories covered in the book were largely produced in response to challenges in real life. So, as students read the theory in this book, we encourage them to try to relate the theories to their own experiences—cases they know from real life—and to our fictional case, Junction Hotel.
The running case is just that - it runs throughout every chapter of the book, showcasing a range of situations that are linked to the topics being discussed, providing students with clear examples of how the theory links to practice.
These situations are standalone for each chapter rather part of a linear overall narrative - students won't have to read the running case from cover to cover to understand what's happening, as context is provided for each situation - and they are separated from the rest of the text using clearly-signposted boxes as below.
Many of the running case boxes are also accompanied by Stop and Think questions. These short, reflective questions encourage students to consider the topics in light of their own experience, helping to further engage them to understand each topic.
Chief Executive of Second-Chance Consortium and owner of Junction Hotel
Ex-footballer Simon Chance is the CEO of Second-Chance Consortium of investment capitalists (largely from the football world), who buy failing businesses and turn them around to be profitable and successful. Believing in clear organisation, strong management and a disciplined and motivated workforce, Chance and his team have developed a strong track record of introducing sensible management practice to what they see as disorganised firms and putting them back on the 'straight and narrow'.
A workaholic, Chance is a highly driven character who, like in his football days, has a 'never say die' attitude. Having never fully emotionally recovered from the injury which destroyed his football career, Chance is in constant fear, although he would never admit it to anyone, that all his success might suddenly disappear. His success has come at a cost though. Already with two failed marriages behind him, Chance is perhaps looking for a more settled life.
Front of House Manager
Meg Mortimer has a 'been there, done it' attitude to life. Having worked at Junction Hotel for the last 25 years, she has been through numerous owners and initiatives. A canny and experienced manager, Mortimer has a great ability at appearing as though she goes along with the new initiatives of the owners whilst really keeping everything else the same.
Having started her career as a cleaner and working her way up through every job, Mortimer knows the hotel inside out and understands everything that goes on. Liking to keep a hands-on approach to the hotel, Mortimer prides herself on keeping up what she sees as its traditions of quality service, based on respect of staff and customers alike. Whilst accused by some of being a traditionalist, Mortimer sees her role as keeping the true spirit of the hotel alive.
Phil Weaver is a cocky, sometimes brash business consultant who believes he has the skills to fix any organisation. Always well dressed in sharp expensive suits, Chance's trusted advisor and drinking partner is largely self-taught. He believes he has developed a business system which he thinks could work in any organisation. A keen admirer of Fredrick Taylor, Weaver is obsessed with spreadsheets, business processes and lean management.
Weaver met Chance towards the end of Chance's football days, when he was working as a football agent. Using Chance's contacts, he worked hard behind the scenes building up the consortium whilst using Chance as a figurehead. Some people have criticised Weaver as using Chance as little more than a puppet.
A 40-something mother of two, Linda Wilkinson is the 'mother hen' of the hotel. A hard working and diligent manager, Wilkinson is highly protective of all her staff. She believes that being supportive and friendly brings out the best in people. Keen at advancing her career, Wilkinson has been struggling to balance family commitments and building her career. Wilkinson graduated from a local university some 10 years ago with a degree in business and management and has been considering taking on more qualifications in Human Resource Management.
A friendly and outgoing person, Linda likes nothing more than spending time with a small group of friends, but since the arrival of her children she has had far less time to do this than she would like.
A failed rock musician, Graham Effingham is an extremely self-confident chef who sees himself as 'God's gift'. A skilled chef with a fiery temper, Effingham is a notorious perfectionist who pushes himself and everyone around him to get everything right. This drive and ambition has resulted in him getting on the wrong side of Meg Mortimer and Linda Wilkinson on a number of occasions, and a number of waiters and waitresses have left with rumours of bullying. However, Effingham has maintained his position because of the following he is building for the restaurant and the critical acclaim that he has recently received.
Seeing himself as a bit of a 'bad boy' and 'ladies' man', Effingham believes that he can charm his way out of any situation. A hard drinking and straight talking character who always wants the last word, Effingham wants to live life to the full. However, having worked at Junction Hotel for 3 years, Effingham has been showing signs of frustration as he feels he does not get the recognition that he deserve.
Semi-retired accountant David Hunter works at Junction Hotel 2 days a week. Having run his own successful practice for thirty years he sold it 5 years ago and went into retirement. Meg Mortimer persuaded Hunter to become the hotel's accountant when they were going through massive financial trouble 2 years ago. Hunter was key in sorting them out at that point, and in selling the hotel to the Second-Chance Consortium. Whilst suspicious of them, he felt he had little option in promoting the sale as they promised investment and to keep it as a hotel whereas the only other investor wanted to convert the hotel into flats.
A naturally cautious person, Hunter likes to keep his routines. He is a regular on the golf course (which is where he met Chance) and spends most of his time building model airplanes.
Amy TurtleAt the weekends, Amy Turtle is the queen of the karaoke. A woman with a fiery temper, Turtle likes to have a laugh with her friends but will always tell you exactly what is on her mind. Brought up to always do an honest fair day's work, Amy Turtle likes hard work but not to do things that go against her principles.
Nina BiaginiNina is an ambitious, hardworking but slightly insecure person who has risen up the career ladder quite quickly. A perfectionist by nature, she likes to be ordered and on top of all the detail, and enjoys providing a high-class service. Nina Niagini takes her job very seriously and would happily spend all her time at work but is a little worried that maybe she is missing out on some of the fun activities that her friends engage in.