From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Publishing Corporation Takes Steps to Address Low Morale

Date 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   Web page: 


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