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Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 8 Workplace Rules

Setting: Small Biotechnology Firm; Your Position: Director, Project Development

Your firm was formed five years ago to pursue some radical new ideas which have great promise in controlling the advancement of Alzheimer's disease. The group of five scientists you direct is very dedicated to their work, but a series of unanticipated problems has arisen which has caused them to fall far behind schedule. Although the group members are well paid, their major incentives revolve around the work itself. You believe strongly in "self-management" and have encouraged them to set their own working hours. In addition, when the pressure gets too intense or unexpected frustrations arise, you encourage them to take time off so that they may return with renewed energy and a fresh perspective.

Today your boss, a vice president recently hired from a large pharmaceutical firm, came down to see you and informed you that four of your group were playing ping pong in the lunchroom at 3 P.M. This incident was described as the "last straw" in a series of events that had apparently been bothersome over an extended period of time. Two weeks ago your boss had arrived at 7:30 A.M. only to find one of your physiological scientists sleeping on the sofa in his office. Last week your boss had come down to your area in the mid-afternoon seeking an answer to a pressing question and had found no one there, including you.

You explained that you knew nothing about the first two events, though you saw nothing wrong with a friendly game of ping pong during a coffee break. The last incident was clearly your responsibility. The group had worked until 3 A.M. for several nights in a row, and you had suggested that they take advantage of a beautiful spring day by enjoying a relaxing stroll through the adjacent bird sanctuary.

Apparently your defense fell on deaf ears. The VP referred to your management style as "anarchy" and gave you a week to develop and implement a new set of rules and regulations covering working hours, work habits, and the like. Failing that, you are certain that your superior will be the one to issue the new rules and regulations.

All of the employees in your section are under 35 and have degrees in biology, neuroscience, or psychology. These common factors of age and formal education have resulted in a highly cohesive group with strong support for the discretion which they have currently.

Your answer: Facilitate

Decision SignificanceHow important is the "quality" of the decision, i.e. to what extent does the decision have material, strategic impact on your clients or beneficiaries inside or outside of the organization. (click for details)   Group ExpertiseDoes the group collectively have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem and or make this decision? (click for details)
Importance of CommitmentTo what degree will the implementation of the decision require the support and cooperation of the group to be effective? (click for details)   Interaction ConstraintAre there time or geographic constraints which would prevent you from bringing the team together (physically or by telecom) to make the decision? (click for details)
Leader ExpertiseTo what extent do you, the leader, have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem or make this decision? (click for details)   Team Competence How competent is the group at working together as a team in solving problems or making decisions. The issue is not their factual or analytical technical knowledge, but rather their ability to work together synergistically. (click for details)
Likelihood of Commitment How likely is it that the group would accept your decision as the best course of action even though not included in the decision making process itself. (click for details)   Time/Dvpt PreferenceChoose the importance of time and development individually or use the values specified by either the Time or Development Driven model.(click for details)
Goal AlignmentTo what degree are the members of the group committed to the achievement of the oganization goals which are at stake in this decision? (click for details)      Value of TimeThe value of time varies with the number and intensity of other activities confronting you and your group. Considering your current workload, rate the value of time. (click for details)
Likelihood of DisagreementHow controversial is this decision likely to be among the members of the group? (click for details)      Value of DevelopmentHow important is it to you to develop the capabilities of your group or team, i.e. increasing their knowledge, their commitment to the organization, and their effectiveness in working together? (click for details)
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