The movie chosen for the research of organization development (OD) concept and management is Atlas Shrugged: Part I, which is based on the famous novel by Ayn Rand. The movie illustrates the major elements highlighted by the author in her book, specifically politics, economic relationships along with philosophy. What is more, not only the general economic elements are analyzed, but the proper economic principles are mentioned as well. Therefore, the major goal of the current movie analysis is to present a proper example of management as well as organization development taking into account all the challenges in the world of business.
Edward W. Younkins refers to the novel as well as to the movie in the following way: “a treatise on political economy providing a literary treatment of proper economic laws, principles, concepts, issues, and themes, it portrays a growing crisis of interventionism and systematic government failure and presents a thorough defense of a totally unregulated market system.” (Younkins 123). The economic problem in the movie turns around the large railway family business of Taggart’s named Taggart Transcontinental. The two co-owners of the company have different ideas about the way of its management. James Taggart is more concerned about gaining money and not spending anything on future investments, whereas his sister, Dagny, is ready to make large investments in order to rebuild the business. In this particular case, the organization change concept is prevalent as Dagny is ready for any challenges in order to rebuild her business.
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To specify, Dagny made a revolutionary decision of buying Rearden’s metal that is considered much stronger than steel but is not approved yet, in order to change all the railway lines. She was ready to take this risk even though she was not completely sure of the quality of the metal she was buying. However, Dagny is depicted as a type of an entrepreneur, who always knows the right time and way to invest the money. This investment into Rearden Steel helped Taggart Transcontinental open new railway lines, which, in turn, provided new working places. In this situation, Dagny can be referred to as a change agent; therefore, the concept of change agent is prevalent here. In general, she is the person who aims at changing at least some aspects in her organization.
Rearden Steel is the company considered as one of the best examples of organization development. Mr. Rearden created a new type of metal, which cannot be compared to all other types existing at that time. Rearden could be regarded a proper owner and manager of his own company, ready for any challenges and confident in his business ideas. The world of large corporations is based on proper and timely contracts between the counterparts. The contract Rearden signed with Dagny Taggart helped his company grow tremendously, which was a win-win situation both for Taggart Continental and for Rearden Steel, even though Mr. Hank Rearden achieved less money than expected from Taggart Transcontinental. Nevertheless, it helped him to become known on the market and attract new clients. Consequently, the concept of a client is present in this case as Rearden had a particular interest in the development of Taggart Continental because of creating his own type of metal.
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The example of inappropriate management can be that of James Taggart, the Managing Director of Taggart Transcontinental. He worried about immediate income and was not ready for any changes, even though most of the lines in his railway were in horrible condition, which led to accidents and people’s deaths. The desire to increase the company’s and his own income resulted in a decrease in trust among the customers. It was the risk his sister, Dagny, was able to understand, and only her actions helped the company to develop. In the end, it was discovered that Rearden’s metal was really innovative and exceptionally strong, tougher, and cheaper in comparison to other metals used at that time. Good strategic type of thinking, as well as an understanding of various economic aspects, made Dagny a proper manager in comparison to her brother. However, as it is in any business, she had to go through a number of challenges competing with other companies on the market as well with her brother managing the company, who was not interested in any drastic changes to assist his company in growing. All these aspects including competition and negative influence of other entrepreneurs interested in the collapse of Taggart Transcontinental make the culture and climate as a prevalent OD concept, where culture and climate refer to the way an organization is managed.
The contract with Hank Rearden led to the development of Taggart Transcontinental due to the building of completely new lines with the Rearden steel. It was a revival of the whole Taggart business. All actions, which Dagny took as a change agent can be considered the intervention in the OD concept. Moreover, Dagny, according to OD concept, can also be regarded as a sponsor because she was responsible and legitimizing the change efforts on the OD.
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However, there were other factors influencing both the business of Taggart Transcontinental and Rearden Steel; for instance, competition. Most of the competitors to Rearden Steel and Taggart Transcontinental united against the before mentioned companies because they considered them the ones fighting for the monopoly on the market and wished to destroy them. There was even a special phrase used by those who deceived either Taggart Continental or Rearden Steel: “Who’s John Golt?” referring to someone, who started the movement against these two companies and offers individual benefits to the employees from Taggart Continental or Rearden Steel. This particular phrase was used during the whole movie and kept the viewers interested in the person called John Golt.
Furthermore, constant challenges Dagny had to overcome are worth mentioning. Not only was she risking to be left without the top employees, but she also had to put everything at stake by buying completely new engines as well as investing into the railroad itself. This is an example of ingenuity very much needed in top management positions. Having put everything at stake, Dagny left Taggart Transcontinental in order to start her own company and to come back when the time allowed to rebuild it. She even called her own company the Lines of John Golt.
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To conclude, the elements of the economics, philosophy, and politics present in the movie make it exceptionally interesting for the business owners. Economic aspects discussed before exemplify the proper ways of doing the business and highlight the mistakes usually made by all entrepreneurs. Political aspects present in the movie refer mainly to the government trying to control all businesses in the country. However, some companies managed to survive due to proper organization development. The philosophy interrelated with personal as well as economic and political decisions is present in all decision-making situations. Moreover, the OD concepts are crucial to the movie as all aspects of management are based on some organization development concepts, for example, the culture and the climate of the organization and the way it was influenced by the intervention of the agent and a sponsor (Dagny) as well as the impact of a client (Hank) on the revival of the business.