Qualitative Case Analysis Garden Depot


QualitativeCase Analysis: Garden Depot

Mainproblem: Role confusion at Garden Depot





GardenDepot is a family owned company that mainly operates in Barrie,Ontario. The company’s range of operations includes lawn care,gardening, floral, customized landscaping, and sprinkler systems.


GardenDepot is facing three major problems. First, irregular recruitment ofnew employees has resulted in the employment of members of staff onthe basis of family relations instead of competence. Secondly, thefirm has inexperienced employees who cannot handle businessoperations as expected. Lastly, role confusion is rampant within theorganization.


Irregularrecruitment at Garden Depot has been caused by the lack ofestablished recruitment policies and procedures. Recruitment ofemployees on the grounds of family relations has been caused by lackof organizational ethics policy. Role confusion has been caused bylack of proper job description policy.


Thereare three major goals that can help Garden Depot overcome its presentchallenges. The first goals should be the assignment of specificroles and responsibilities to all employees. Secondly, the firmshould aim at establishing teams as platforms for sharingwork-related experiences. Lastly, the firm should aim at appraisingthe performance of all employees.


Thereare three major alternative actions that can help Garden Depotaddress the present problems. First, the company should establish ajob description that covers all job position it offers. Secondly, thecompany can create work teams comprising of new recruits and olderemployees to help them share experiences. Lastly, the firm canconduct an employee appraisal to determine the strengths andweaknesses of each employee and assign duties that are within theabilities.


Thiscase analysis recommends that Garden Depot should create an effectivejob description policy. The policy should be implemented in fourmajor steps, including the formation of a job evaluation anddescription team, actual job description process, informing andtraining employees on their new roles and responsibilities, andevaluating the effectiveness policy in addressing the underlyingchallenges. Garden Depot should consider an employee appraisal systemas a contingency plan should the job description policy fail.

QualitativeCase Analysis: Garden Depot


TheGarden Depot is a private company located in Barrie, Ontario. Thecompany was started in 1985 by Murray King and Glenda King, and itdeals with lawn care, gardening, floral, customized landscaping, andsprinkler systems. Apart from its founders, the company has othermembers of staff, who including Janice Bowmen, Dave Sampson (generalmanager) and Deereck Sinclair (Murray’s son-in-law and thelandscaping manager). One of the most significant events held by theGarden Depot include the holiday express referred to as the Taltree,which involves the celebration of Christmas. The major problems thatthe organization is facing are lack of experiences members of staffand clear definition of roles in between various departments. Thiscan be addressed by focusing on the execution of duties in specificunits, including inventory, customer care, marketing, andadministration.


Currently,the Garden Depot is facing three categories of problems that threatenits going concern. The first problem is improper or irregularrecruitment of employees. From the case, it is evident that theGarden Depot failed to conduct the proper recruitment procedures, butthe company instead took off seasonal employees to hold criticalpositions within the organization. For example, improper recruitmentprocedures resulted in the recruitment of Deerek Sinclair, who was ason-in-law of Murray. The major problem is not the Sinclair’spresence in the firm, but his negative traits (such as lack ofinterest in work-related responsibilities, lack of cooperation, andcasual approach) that has contributed to poor performance of theorganization. Adequate recruitment policies and procedures should beurgently put in place to help the company recruit employees on thebasis of their abilities instead of family relations.

Thesecond category of problems is the presence of unhelpful employeeswho have no capacity to handle business operations as expected. It isevident that the three key players in the operations of the GardenDepot are not up to the tasks they are expected to perform. MurrayKing is depicted in the case as a person who does not have theability to do proper planning, uses informal approaches, lackseffective interpersonal communication skills, and engages indysfunctional as well as relationship conflicts. Sinclair, on theother hand, has poor customer relationship skills and has no priorexperience and the knowledge of landscaping. Janice did not know herroles and performed duties that belonged to Sinclair. An urgentsolution is required to ensure that the firm has acquired experienceand competent members of staff.

Thethird problem is role confusion where employees do not know what theyare expected to do. Third, the Garden Depot lacks proper jobdescription and established organizational departments. This hasresulted in confusion within the organization since duties andresponsibilities of each employee are not clearly defined and theirrespective departments cannot be identified. This is the major causeof confusion among employees because they do not know who shouldperform which task. For example, Janice cannot be blamed for doingthe tasks that belong to Sinclair. This is a serious problem thatrequires an urgent solution in order to enhance efficiency within theorganization and save the firm from the deterioration in the overallperformance.


Thethree major problems that the Garden Depot is facing have been causedby lack of fit between the three basic elements, namely employees,organization, and task. The first problem, improper recruitment ofemployees, was mainly caused by the lack of pre-determinedrecruitment policies and procedures to guide the organization on hownew employees should be hired. This has resulted in the recruitmentof unqualified and seasonal employees to work during the summerseason with an expectation that they will be laid off during theoff-peak. This represents the lack of fit between the organizationalpolicies and tasks that employees are expected to play. Consequently,the Garden Depot has suffered from the decline in quality ofservices, lack of proficiency, and delivery inconsistent.

Thesecond problem, recruitment of unqualified and unhelpful members ofstaff, was caused by lack of organizational ethics policy. This isconfirmed by the fact that Sinclair was hired on the grounds of hisfamily relations with Murray instead of basing his recruitment on thetransaction handling capabilities. Sinclair, who was the son-in-lawof Murray, was appointed and given the roles of responding toconcerns raised by clients, deploying landscapers, quoting jobs fromclients’ homes, and invoicing landscaping jobs that had beencompleted. However, Sinclair had no prior experience in landscapingand customer relations. Recruitment of unqualified employees and theassignment of roles to members of staff without prior experience wasthe major cause of lack of fit between the organization (policies andprocedures) and tasks.

Thethird problem, role confusion, role confusion, was caused by lack ofclear job description and the prior determination of recruitmentcriterion. It is evident, from the case, that the responsibilities ofall employees at the Garden Depot are not defined. Consequently,employees are confused because they do not know who should performparticular tasks and when the tasks should be performed. The GardenDepot relies on seasonal employees, who are mainly students, to carryout important functions. Definitely, there is a lack of cooperationbetween employees and seasonal workers and agreed amount that shouldbe paid for each function. For example, lack of cooperation betweenSinclair and Janice is detrimental to the performance of the GardenDepot. Role confusion within the firm is a confirmation of lack offit between employees and tasks.


  • To ensure that all employees are assigned specific duties and responsibilities.

  • To establish work teams as the basis of sharing work-related experience between the old and new recruits.

  • To appraise the performance of all employees and determine their capabilities.


Thereare three alternative actions that the Garden Depot should take toaddress the present challenges. First, the management should evaluateand create a proper job description policy that covers for all jobpositions offered by the organization. The rationale behind thisaction is that clear definition of roles and responsibilities reducesconfusion among the members of staff and increase efficiency in allorganizational operations (El-Hajji 12). The effectiveness of thisaction will be job description will be determined by determining itscapacity to reduce role confusion among members of staff.

Secondly,the management should create work teams composed of newly hired andexperienced employees. This will provide an opportunity for them toshare knowledge and experience, thus enhancing efficiency and overallorganizational performance. The effectiveness of this action can bedetermined by assessing the level of cooperation between the newhires and experienced employees as well as the capacity of the newemployees to execute their mandates as expected by the organization.

Third,the management should start conducting a formal appraisal of employeeperformance. The appraisal system helps in the determination ofemployees’ weaknesses and strengths (Khan 68). The effectiveness ofthis action can be evaluated by the capacity of the Garden Depot tocomprehend the capabilities of all employees and allocate them tasksthat they perform the best. This can be assessed on the basis ofemployee satisfaction and efficiency in performing tasks assigned tothem.

Recommendation/ implementation

Jobdescription is the most appropriate action that will address thecritical challenge facing Garden Depot. Job description is the bestchoice because it will reduce all confusions among employees byensuring that all of them are aware of their roles andresponsibilities. Although the other two alternatives (creating ofwork teams and job appraisal) are viable, the priority should be thereduction of confusion through a clear definition of roles andresponsibilities.

Therecommended solution, the establishment of a job description policy,will be expected to list all roles as well as the responsibilities ofeach member of staff. The performance of each employee shouldhenceforth be assessed on the basis of their roles assigned in thejob description policy. This recommendation, job description, shouldbe implemented using internally available resources (such as humanresources) to avoid the cost of hiring experts.

Theimplementation process should follow four major steps. First, themanagement should form a team of employees in a week time. The teamshould then list and describe (determining duties andresponsibilities) all the job position within a period of four weeksand submit the report to the top management. The top managementshould then approve the report and organize the training program toensure that all employees are informed about their new roles andresponsibilities within a period of five weeks. The effectiveness ofthe job description should be evaluated on a monthly basis andchanges made to make it better.

Thejob description policy should be designed in a way that will make iteasy for the management to make decisions affecting employees. Inaddition, the job description policy should form the basis of otherHR policies, such as compensation for every function, which is stilla challenge at Garden Depot. The formulation and the implementationof the job description policy will require the full support of thetop management.


Thesuccess of the implementation of the job description policy should beevaluated after six months starting from the first day of itsimplementation. The policy should be replaced by a new strategy thatinvolving the formation of work teams composed of both experiencedand newly recruited employees. However, the implementation processcan be brought back on track by inviting the comments of allstakeholders regarding the implementation process and its impact ontheir functions. Employee resistance to changes in their present jobpositions can be a significant barrier for the implementationprocess. Garden Depot should take the employee appraisal system as acontingency plan to ensure that the firms’ performance is improvedat all levels.


El-Hajji,M. Some recent trends in writing job description for the purpose ofjob evaluation: A reflective view. AmericanJournal of Contemporary Research1.3 (2011): 6-14.

Khan,M. Role of performance appraisal system on employees’ motivation.Journalof Business and Management 8.4(2013): 66-83.