Hairline cracks show in Compaq re-org

Q Confidential foot bone not connected to mouth bone

Internal strains caused by the rapid re-organisation of Compaq are taking their toll on the way the company works, according to a stream of insiders at the firm. A number of people close to the matter have told The Register that Compaq is experiencing difficulties integrating its network of European call centres, particularly at its ex-Digital Reading site, which has been designated a flagship site for the whole of the region. The Reading call centre was one of Digital's (Compaq's) open systems support centres and is intended to become a coordination centre for a number of other call centres in the European (EMEA) region. One employee at Reading has told The Register that the approach that new Compaq CEO Mike Capellas is taking, from the top down, is being obstructed by an approvals system which effectively stops rapid change, although such change is essential for the company to compete successfully. The process means that many people working at Reading who are dedicated to changing things quickly are becoming frustrated and leaving the company, according to the source. Another employee who has just handed in his notice said that the business process meant that while the salary was good, he did not feel part of the company and there was no recognition for the long hours and dedication he and other staff put into the firm. Many of the disillusioned staff were quitting to go to Compaq competitors, including the internally hated Sun Microsystems, he added. The top down process meant that managers wanting to improve the situation were restricted by a so-called "Compaq Confidential" policy from telling their own staff, and subsequently that meant the staff resisted changes which they never felt a part of from the start. The lack of consultation was causing employees at Reading to vote with their feet and take more lucrative employement elsewhere, he added. Closed door conversations were inducing an atmosphere of suspicion in the company. Staff working the 12 hour night shift have few if any facilities, he added. Highly paid consultants from outside are also undermining the atmosphere, he added, while local managers waited, sometimes for months, before getting approvals for decisions which should be made in days. The hierarchy effectively put the lowerarchy in Compaq Confidential handcuffs. Compaq was not available to comment on the reports at press time. ®

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