Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company Meet Montgomery Gisborne, a graduate of Ryerson University in…

Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company

Meet Montgomery Gisborne, a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, with a rich history in electric vehicles. Since 1994, Gisborne has served on the executive of the Electric Vehicle Society, Canada’s largest electric vehicle organization. In 1996, he constructed an electric car to compete in the 1997 American Tour de Sol Solar & Electric Car Rally and placed tenth out of 50 entrants. His electric car placed first in 2003. Gisborne formed the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company in 2005 to bring electric boats to the market. The Loon was a custom-designed, six-metre pontoon-style prototype—a boat designed with 738 watts of solar panels overhead, serving as both a source of solar energy and a roof. With a cruising speed of 5 knots (9.3 km/h), the six-metre, eightpassenger Loon weighed in at 1000 kilograms, slightly heavier than a gas-powered version. Today, Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company offers the commercial version of the Loon (6.7 metres, 1000 watt [peak] solar array, with a top speed of 8 knots [14.8 km/h]) and the Osprey (9.75 metres, 2000 watt [peak] solar array, with the same top speed as the Loon). Montgomery Gisborne has a lot of money riding on the successful commercialization of the electric boat—over a quarter of a million dollars to be more precise. At $35 000 per Loon, almost twice the price of a comparable gasoline engine–powered equivalent, it could be a tough sell, requiring a seasoned sales professional. The trouble is, Gisborne is not only the salesperson, but he is also the production engineer, the web page designer, and the advertising and promotions manager: it’s a one-person show. No small surprise that when he received his first order for twelve boats, his eighteen hour days were not long enough! Personally scrambling to come up with enough materials to construct twelve Loons was a challenge. But Gisborne’s efforts were followed by disappointment when the buyer who ordered the boats was restricted to purchasing only five boats by his foreign government. Gisborne recognized that he could no longer do it all himself, so he hired some local talent to assist in the production of the boats and a part-time publicist to promote his creations. The publicity work has paid off, generating a significant order from Australia as well as deals coming in on the Internet. Now the question is: Which organizational structure will best suit the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company?



1. Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company is a start-up company. Many contemporary organizational designs do not lend themselves to the reality of start-ups. In your view, which of the contemporary organizational designs are inappropriate? Explain.

2. Which approach to decision making—centralized or decentralized—would be most beneficial for Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company? Support your answer.


3. Do you feel that a concerted effort to involve key stakeholders would offer the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company a sustainable competitive advantage?

4. One possible organizational structure for the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company would be to hire a small number of full-time employees who contract out certain aspects of the work such as hull fabrication, electronic components, boat interior components, advertising, accounting, and final assembly. Many aspects of running the company could be undertaken remotely. Would a network organization be an option for the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company?


5. Organizational structure refers to the formal arrangement of jobs within an organization. Suppose you have been retained to develop an organizational structure for the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company. First, discuss which of the purposes of organizing support the need for an organizational structure in this company. Second, given the need for flexibility, adaptability, and nimbleness in this start-up company, which organizational design would you recommend for the company at the moment and why?



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