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Robin Hood Case Study

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Problems and issues that Robin Hood face

Robin Hood is facing numerous problems and issues, but I think the most pressing problem is the fact that the band of Merrymen has far outgrown the available resources in Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood’s faith in succeeding by strength in numbers is quickly becoming a contributor to their downfall. Income is low at this point as well, so purchasing supplies, whether near or far, will soon become impossible. If the men aren’t fed, the men can’t function.

Not only is the lack of available resources a problem, but the group itself is unorganized and is lacking sufficient leadership. The issue of the group’s decline in vigilance and discipline could lead to dire consequences, especially with the Sheriff actively searching for the band’s weaknesses, and this needs to be resolved immediately.

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Concepts that impact Robin’s band of Merrymen

  • Division of Labor: Other than the select few individuals (to be discussed later), the men have no individual or Specialized tasks.

    According to Henri Fayol, this concept is beneficial to the organization by allowing the men to specialize in a limited set of activities, thereby becoming more efficient and increasing their output (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 138). For example, rather than Much being solely in charge of provisioning, several men could now be in charge of smaller aspects of the task. One man could distribute only food, while another could handle arrows and other weapons. This would free up time for Much and give the other men an opportunity to become quite knowledgeable and skilled at their new tasks.

  • Unity of Command: Currently, Robin Hood is the only Commander or Leader of the Merrymen. With the number of members increasing rapidly, he doesn’t know or likely never met most of his men. The men are possibly wasting time and resources attempting the same tasks. If the band was separated out into a more traditional format of Manager, Assistant Manager, Supervisor and so on, each person would only have one person to answer to. This would make the use of resources more efficient, and the men could put their time to better use. Communication on tasks already completed or assigned to an individual would allow the men to focus on other essential tasks.
  • Centralization: All decisions are presumably being made by Robin Hood. The size of the group is entirely too large at this point for Centralized decision making. The Sheriff has been increasing the amount of spies in the area, and if the men should identify one, they need to quickly make a decision regarding the fate of the individual. Waiting for Robin Hood and his top men to make important decisions could result in the spy returning to the Sheriff with vital information or even a matter of life or death to his men. Empowering his men to make decisions would boost morale and confidence among the group as well.
  • Discipline: As the number of members grows, discipline is becoming harder to enforce. If only one person is enforcing the rules (Little John), the men are not likely to take either him or the rules seriously. As discussed with Unity of Command, each man’s direct supervisor would also enforce discipline. It would be much easier to communicate the rules to smaller groups by their group leaders than the less effective process currently in place.
  • Esprit de Corps: This concept speaks of team spirit and unity. Unfortunately the group is much disorganized and there is probably little to no unity in terms of morale or otherwise. The original band was united by their grievances against the Sheriff. As time passed, Robin was no longer concerned with the men’s motivation for joining the team. Cohesion within the group would prove to support motivation and productivity.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats


  • The men are all excellent archers and thieves and take pride in that fact.
  • Robin has a strong management team in Will, Little John, Scarlock, and Much.
  • The group is favored by the farmers and townspeople.
  • The Merrymen are well-known even in far-reaching areas of England.
  • The men have a strong willingness to serve.


  • Vigilance is quickly declining.
  • Their resources are declining as well with no plan to replace or renew them.
  • There is no real organization or leadership within the band of men.
  • Revenues are declining and there is no plan in place for alternative sources of income.
  • There is a lack of utilization of the men’s skills other than archery.
  • There is also a significant lack of skill development in other areas.
  • The newer recruits to the campaign are strangers and could potentially be the Sheriff’s spies.


  • Prince John and the Sheriff are not well liked by the people. Their removal is less likely to be contested by many.
  • The barons are beginning to dispute Prince John’s claim to the throne.
  • Some barons are already conspiring to return King Richard from imprisonment in Austria. If successfully executed, the Sheriff would no longer have support from Prince John as he would no longer be in power.
  • Robin Hood’s recruits from more remote areas of England may have contacts and resources previously unavailable to the band.


  • The Sheriff is becoming more organized and amassing more money.
  • Wealthy travelers are avoiding the forest due to the high cost of their goods being confiscated.
  • Robin’s competitor (the Sheriff) has strong political connections.

What concepts of motivation theory could Robin use

McClelland’s acquired needs theory (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 667) would be applicable in Robin’s situation. Assuming Robin will decentralize and departmentalize the band, he could start with placing key members in charge of each sub-group. Individuals with a high need for achievement should be put in charge of tasks such as bartering with outlying villages for goods and Intelligence-gathering teams since these would deliver immediate results, and these individuals would be participating rather than just giving orders. Men with a high need for affiliation would make excellent liaisons with farmers, townspeople, and with members of other villages. These people focus more on interpersonal communication which is needed for cooperation between groups. Their concern for reputation would be vital since the Merrymen need to maintain their alliance with these groups. Finally, those with the need for power will be beneficial for restructuring the organization and budgeting resources.

A process-based theory such as goal-setting would be highly beneficial since their goals seem to currently be a bit ambiguous. Setting SMART goals (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 685) could help in many aspects of their campaign. If, for instance, a group needs more weapons, the type of weapons should be determined (specific). Once the group determines that arrows are needed, it can be measured by calculating how many arrows are needed for each archer. Then a plan can be devised to obtain supplies and manpower (achievable). The group will then determine how fast arrows can be produced while maintaining quality (realistic). Finally a timeframe is required based on the needs of the men (timely). Although this is a simple example, SMART goals can and should be used on every level to give the organization a direction and effectively reach their objectives.

Issues of ethics and social responsibility

The main social responsibility issue I feel is the decline of resources in Sherwood Forest. The fact that game is becoming scarce is not only a problem for the band but also a problem for the townspeople as well. Although Robin Hood may have had good intentions (short of his personal vendetta) when forming the campaign, the fact that there is no plan in place to repopulate the forest with game or find an alternative food source is a result of a short-sighted agenda. This is an unacceptable consequence to be paid by the very people Robin set out to help.

The townspeople’s safety and rights should be addressed when considering the ethical implications of the campaign as well. The Sheriff only began obtaining more money and manpower as a result of Robin Hood teaming with others to fight against him. Since the Sheriff is so close to the vicious and volatile Prince John, this could pose a serious danger to the townsfolk. If the regent learns of particular alliances these people have with Robin Hood, the Prince could possibly order executions, violence, or imprisonment as a result of their relation with Robin.

Changing environmental elements

  • Economic Forces: The saying “the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer” applies in this situation. We assume that the Sheriff is collecting taxes from the poor, but not the rich. Since travelers are avoiding the forest, revenue is steadily dropping for the Merrymen. With less money for the townspeople and more mouths to feed within the band, this is a disaster in the making. This seems like the common people are worse off than when the campaign started the previous year.
  • Socio-cultural Forces:Robin Hood and his men are considered to be and revered as a group of bandits or outlaws that “rob the rich and give to the poor.” When in reality, the band originally formed as men who shared grievances against the reigning power. Those grievances may have been merely personal vendettas as was the case for Robin himself. All things considered, the Merrymen have created their own free society outside of the social classes breaking the very laws that oppressed them in the first place. As time is running out and food supply is dwindling, the men’s alliances may find that their previous situation was more desirable than the future outcome if the current strategy remains.
  • Political and Legal Forces: While it is true that the common people have been oppressed by the Prince and Sheriff, the campaign as it stands will only result in violence, further oppression, and possible depletion of much-needed resources. Due to the cultural of subjugation to a ruler, the Prince is not likely to agree to reasonable terms or a truce. The Sheriff’s favor with the Prince grows stronger with his gain in finances and manpower. Fortunately for Robin and his men, the barons are starting to question the regent’s right to the throne, with a few conspiring against the Prince.

Recommended leadership model

In this case I would suggest using the Transformational Leadership Model (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 504). Robin is obviously a very charismatic leader. He has grown the organization tremendously in the last year by employing the simple mission of bringing justice to the land. His followers are loyal to him and the campaign and come from miles around to join. Robin can inspire the men with a vision statement of “Defending the poor by removing the regent Prince and Sheriff from power.” By using intellectual stimulation, Robin can inspire the men to think creatively. They are not simply brute force, but key players to the organizations success. It is necessary to show individualized consideration among the men. The very core of the organization’s mission should be care and concern for the well-being of others. If the band as a whole cannot do this for their own men, they are less likely to do this for the people they are protecting. Robin’s chosen department leaders could benefit from Transactional Leadership as well, apart from passive management by exception.

How can Robin improve communication

Should Robin take my advice and divide the group into departments with trusted leaders among those groups, communication can be greatly improved to get the same message to all of the men, rather than relying on the grapevine. Once clear goals and objectives are set, Robin can communicate (clearly and concisely) his expectations, needs, and other pertinent information to his advisors. From there, the same information can roll downhill to managers, supervisors, leads, and further on. Periodically, Robin and his advisors should meet with each group face-to-face to gain information other than what his group leaders relay back to him. This can help with morale as well as filtering (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 574). By employing active listening techniques, misinformation will be kept to a minimum. Robin and his top lieutenants should personally meet with his contacts and alliances in the villages affected by the campaign. This will help build trust, keep them informed of changes to the Sheriff’s activities, and possibly gain support for the strategic changes to the organization.

What is the overall action plan? Mission? Performance objectives? Strategies? Action steps for implementation? The best option for Robin is to restructure the organization to fulfill the mission of getting rid of Prince John and the Sheriff. Although risky, the most efficient way to achieve their goal would be to join the barons in their attempt to free King Richard the Lionheart. Robin needs to address first the acquisition of revenue. To help raise the ransom money for the King’s release, a fixed transit tax is a more viable option. Although his men like their current motto of “rob the rich…” this is not a viable plan any longer. Robin should explain to his alliances in the village as well as his men the benefit of the tax. If travelers’ goods are not outright being taken, the transit tax could be set strategically so that it would be cheaper to pay the tax than to avoid the forest all together. With more travelers comes more money. The overall goals for the group would be to find a more sustainable source of provisions, increase revenues, gain intelligence, prepare for coming battles, and align with the barons to pay the King’s ransom.

To achieve this, the group will need to start by separating into departments such as Supplies, Revenues, Budgeting, Weapons Training, Intelligence, Liaisons, and Human Resources. Robin already has Chief Officers in place to cover the departments in Will, Little John, Scarlock, and Much. The men in general likely hold more talents than just archery. Once it is determined who should be in each group, leaders would then be determined to manage each one. Robin’s lieutenants probably have “go-to” people within each area, so choosing managers will be a less difficult process. The setup for each group should resemble as follows:


  • Food: Since the group is currently traveling to outlying villages for supplies, skilled farmers within the band would be moved to more than one outlying area to grow produce and raise cattle and poultry. This would help re-populate the forest by reducing the amount of poaching, and having more than one farm would ensure multiple supplies should one farm be attacked. The product would have to be brought back to the encampment, but this is how they are sustaining their supplies anyway. Various groups being stationed in more outlying areas will also allow for them to see how other travelers are avoiding the forest. A set amount of output will be the measurable goal for the farms determined by the number of men they are supplying to.
  • Provisions: Men skilled in bartering could take groups of men out to villages to trade their labor and excess produce for supplies. Since the men are all skilled archers, they could also trade or sell archery lessons as well. A set amount of supplies (quota) will need to be met in order to sustain the groups.


By providing their own source of food and supplies by trade, the band’s reserves will start to build back up. With a fixed transit tax in place, the volume of travelers will increase; therefore, revenue will become steadier. Men in the Revenue department will be trained by more seasoned men on how to collect the fare safely and effectively.


Each department will need to have a budget for maintaining operations efficiently. This includes financial matters as well as provisioning supplies. Under Much’s leadership, each department’s manager would be in charge of setting their budgets, and the supervisors of each sub-group in charge of distributing said goods. In regard to the villagers that receive pay-outs, Robin and Scarlock would first need to set out some type of contract that is agreeable between the band and the villagers. The pay-outs would be smaller with more money going into the reserves set aside for the King’s ransom.

Weapons Training

Unfortunately with the Sheriff gaining more men and power, continuous training is a must in the case of future combat. Under Little John’s advisement, top archers within every group would now be in charge of supervising mandatory practice and training sessions on a set schedule. Discipline would have to be strict to maintain vigilance among the men. The threat of attack grows higher every day, so the men would need to be trained in a military fashion to compare with the Sheriff’s men.


Since the Sheriff is gaining more men and spies very quickly, the Intelligence department would have to be highly trained and large in number. These men would likely have more autonomy in this factor since their situations may be unpredictable. Decisions would need to be made quickly in the event that the Sheriff’s spies were identified. The men cannot allow a spy to return to the Sheriff with information while waiting on decision from upper management. These men would essentially share Liaison duties since they would be warning villagers of the Sheriff’s intentions and informing the various groups of future attacks. Managers of these groups would report directly to Will Scarlett.

Another sub-group within this department would be teams of men gathering intelligence on rich travelers and tax collectors. This would be assigned to members of other groups as well since the encampment is now more far-reaching, and information is more easily obtained on this subject.


Finally, there will be a group of men whose main purpose is to travel among the groups to communicate information and deliver messages. As new recruits are allowed into the organization, their contacts in farther-reaching areas of England will be evaluated and scouted for potential “investors,” allies, or on the flip side, spies for the Sheriff. The Liaison department would also be in charge of contacting these potential allies and delivering this information to management. The Liaison group would need to be spread out and numerous to allow information to travel quickly. This group could also team with the Intelligence department to strategically spread bad information to the Sheriff’s men.

Human Resources

New recruits would be evaluated on their skills to decide which department would benefit the most. Backgrounds would be checked to detect potential spies of the Sheriff and to determine if the candidate was a good fit in the campaign. They would have to exhibit an understanding of the Mission and recognize that pay would be low before being allowed to join the band.

The forest’s travel routes will now be managed by the revenue department. The encampment itself will be disbanded and more resemble the small bivouac it originally started as. This will be staffed by Robin Hood, his Lieutenants, some department managers, and a training area for new recruits. Essentially this will function more as headquarters of the group.

The overall plan is to efficiently gain as much money as possible to fund the King’s release while being socially responsible for their impact on the forest and villages (Carpenter, Bauer, and Erdogan 326). While not outright attacking the Sheriff, the group must be ready to defend themselves at any time. If the encampment size is reduced, and the men can strategically spread bad information to the enemy, the Sheriff hopefully will be fooled into thinking that the Merrymen are less active and less of a threat. If the Sheriff is less aggressive in his campaign against Robin Hood, this could give the men more time to gain revenue and focus on strengthening their organization. With constant and accurate communication and stronger vigilance and discipline, the group can run like a well-oiled machine. Empowering the men and giving them all a unified goal in line with the organization’s mission and vision will increase productivity dramatically. Robin will need to strategize with the barons on their plan to release the King as well to determine timelines for the department’s goals.

Once the King is returned to power, future amnesty will be granted to Robin and his men. The regent Prince John will then be out of the picture for good. Without the Prince, the Sheriff will have no support from the King. Although this prospect of teaming up with the barons is risky, ultimately it is a better decision than doing nothing at all. The group could organize themselves into a more efficient band of thieves, but without a strategy to remove Prince John and the Sheriff, eventually the band will be captured or killed. The villagers will be worse off from having supported the Merrymen, and injustice will prevail. Succeeding in this task will prove to end the campaign benefitting everyone.

Works Cited

  1. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Ancient History: Management Through the 1990s.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 138-39. Print.
  2. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Need-Based Theories of Motivation.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 667-69. Print.
  3. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Process-Based Theories.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 685-86. Print.
  4. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Contemporary Approaches to Leadership.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 504-05. Print.
  5. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Communication Barriers.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 574+. Print.
  6. Carpenter, Mason, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan. “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Principles of Management. Vol. 1.1. N.p.: Flat World Knowledge, 2013. 326. Print.

Cite this Robin Hood Case Study

Robin Hood Case Study. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/robin-hood-case-study/

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