From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Publishing Corporation Takes Steps to Address Low Morale
04 May 1996 20:41:32
95368 Publishing Corporation Takes Steps to Address Low Morale
By Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--A senior official of the Presbyterian Publishing
Corporation (PPC) says low employee morale and other critical
organizational issues have been addressed and responsive measures
Price H. Gwynn III, PPC board chair from Charlotte, N.C., reported to
the General Assembly Council (GAC) Sept. 28.
Gwynn met here Aug. 28-29 with more than 20 PPC employees to conduct a
board-authorized employee attitude survey. Among other concerns, Gwynn
said, employees told him they were distrustful of management, fearful over
job security, upset by what they claim is favoritism showed by some
managers and outraged over an alleged affair between two PPC officials (see
"NEWS BRIEFS," Oct. 6, 1995, # 9540).
The PPC board of directors met here Sept. 25-26 in primarily closed
session to discuss these issues and propose strategies for enhancing
employee morale, staff development and future management.
"Approximately one-third of our people are unhappy campers ... and
have expressed a kaleidoscope of emotions," Gwynn said. "The board took
this report with great seriousness and we probed these allegations at
length and we've reached certain decisions."
Created in 1993 by the GAC, PPC has experienced severe organizational
difficulties since its inception. In addition to struggling to attain
economic stability and fighting declining sales of some of its product
lines, the corporation has downsized from 175 employees to 80.
According to Gwynn, the PPC board has approved a series of staff
reorganizations designed to more effectively utilize leadership and
strengthen PPC's overall capacity to address future business opportunities.
In addition to the creation of a unified PPC Curriculum/Westminster
John Knox Press (WJK) production department, the board approved a search
for a person to fill a new position, that of Westminster John Knox Press
And following the board's September meeting, PPC treasurer Doug Deatz
was appointed to oversee PPC Curriculum Publishing. Deatz's new position,
which will become effective by Jan. 1, 1996, will be vice president for
curriculum and denominational operations.
Gywnn said charges of unfair bonuses and "inflated performance
ratings" for certain PPC employees are easier to refute than allegations of
favoritism, since "accusers can point to all decisions that favor the
alleged recipients as evidence for their claim." However, Gwynn said,
charges that bonues were awarded unjustly can be disproved through the
corporation's financial records.
Quoting a 1995 PPC board study of decision-making patterns within the
corporation, Gwynn said, "there may have been some imbalance, some tunnel
vision, some preference shown to a division, a department or an individual.
We use the words may have been' because we're not sure.
"But if a bias had existed, we do not believe that it's intentional or
malicious. Nor do we believe that it will continue from this day
forward," Gwynn said. "Following this corporate catharsis, it's our hope
that we can declare an internal truce, cool the unrest infesting [PPC],
heal the hurt, and reclaim the high ground."
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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