Hindustan Lever Research Centre (HLRC) was set up in the year 1967 at Mumbai. At that time the primary challenge was to find suitable alternatives to the edible oils and fats that were being used as raw materials for soaps. Later, import substitution and export obligations directed the focus towards non-edible oil seeds, infant foods, perfumery chemicals, fine chemicals, polymers and nickel catalyst.
This facilitated creation of new brands which helped build new businesses.HUL believes in meritocracy and has a comprehensive performance management system, which ensures that people are rewarded according to their performance and abilities.
Almost 47% of the entire managerial cadres are people who have joined us through lateral recruitment. Over the years many break through innovations have taken place. Hindustan Lever Research gained eminence within Unilever Global R&D and became recognized as one of the six global R&D Centers of Unilever with the creation of Unilever Research India in Bangalore in 1997.
At Bangalore R&D center, a team of 10 scientists were appointed for a project on ‘shampoo’ line. Suranjan Sircar heading the team as Principal Research Scientist with thesupport of Vikas Pawar, Aparna Damle, Jaideep Chatterjee, Amitava Pramanik asResearch Scientists. Suresh Jayaraman & Punam Bandyopadhyay were ResearchAssociates.
Vikas Pawar came up with an idea of pet shampoos during brainstorming with the team.“Hey, why don’t we target the pet care segment because in India, pet industry is being seriously looked at as a growing industry. I had been working on this concept for a few weeks & have done some initial research as well”, said Vikas. “I think we should just focus on the dog segment & bring out a range of shampoos that are breed specific”, contributed by Aparna Damle, who was a new unmarried scientist in the company.
“Oh that’s a really great idea, a breakthrough” said Jaideep & Amitava appreciating Aparna.The idea given by Aparna got support from both colleagues & head. Vikas was although not comfortable with his credit being taken away. He also felt that creating brand specific shampoos would not be a profitable innovation thus, no point concentrating efforts on that. With this in mind he put his point forward but couldn’t gather consensus. After the discussion, Jaideep & Amitava being friends to Vikas, consoled him & showedconfidence in his plan & thoughts.
“We understand what you are going through. The idea was yours & Aparna took all your credit. Don’t worry we are with you & be careful from next time.” Nevertheless, in the meeting Aparna presented her proposal for the idea mentioning requirements & chemical details. The meeting began with motivational speech & plan of action by the head of the team.
A lot was discussed in detail & tasks were allotted along with deadlines. Immediately after the presentation Jaideep & Amitava approached Aparna & eulogized her research & proposal reiterating the importance of breed specific range of shampoos. Vikas lay aside his ego & went ahead with full dedication & commitment, however during the tenure of the research he noticed poor attitude of team members. Punam was not regular with deadlines; she submitted her research on breeds four days after deadline.
Suresh was asked to coordinate with members looking into chemical research but Vikasobserved him most of the times in the recreation room, so he asked him “Hi, so what’s the progress in chemical research so far?” Suresh replied that he had done whatever he was asked to do by senior scientist. He reported this lack of commitment & proactive attitude to Suranjan Sircir & asked for an action against them. “Hmm… I know what’s happening in the team. I have worked for 20 years in this industry & from my experience I know what to do & when to do”, he retorted back.
Finally the project got completed 4 months after deadline. Vikas went back to the lab; sitting & wondering at the flaws in the group. Q1 Analyze group behavior of the team. Study the informal & formal groups In this case.Q2 Point out flaws in the group & recommend solutions to overcome them. Group Behavior Case Study Analysis
The general picture that emerges out of the aforementioned case is that of confusion, a clear lack of leadership and one that is filled with group politics. It is worsened by thegeneral negative attitude among the members and on a whole a lack of clear cutcamaraderie among the whole members that really takes away a good bit of performance among the members. Some observations:
• With the given information, vikas as a person deserves special mention for he is the one who seems to have a holistic personality and a right kind of employee to guide the organization to the next level of success.
He is the one employee who in my opinion seems to have the kind of constructive thinking for the sake of the organization as well as doing full justice to his job. He is honest, hardworking and apparently one who is on the lookout for new ideas as he was the one who came up with one during the brainstorming session and also he had done some research on his own behalf regarding the same. •
Aparna as a new member of the team appears to be a very ambitious, intelligent girl who is also a very opportunist. It is evident from the fact that when vikas presented before the group one idea that was at the best a path or a general view of what is to be done it was aparna who was quick to grab the opportunity andnarrow the broad idea into a more narrow and specific direction .thus she seems to convey a very positive and a strong urge to perform on the job. Yet it is also clear that she doesn’t seem to be having a regard for her colleagues as it was apparent that almost ‘stole’ the vikas’s idea and took the full credit to her name even without sharing the honors with vikas.
She seems to be a very high on the Mach scale. • Jaideep and amitava appears to share good relationship between them as a good clique. They are very positive minded people, it is clear from the fact that they really appreciated aparna, a newcomer to the organization and realizing well before that she was a very ambitious employee wasted no time in extolling her work as this will appease her desire for support and recognition among fellow workers, something that is very important. Among the formal groups
it is very clear that there is a proper structure in the organization with Suranjan Sircar heading the team as Principal Research Scientist with the support of Vikas Pawar, Aparna Damle, Jaideep Chatterjee, and AmitavaPramanik as Research Scientists. Suresh Jayaraman & Punam Bandyopadhyay are Research Associates. The formal group of research scientists appears to be a very able team as they are able to resolve and step aside their personal differences and