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Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 26 A Critical Government Contract

Setting: Manufacturing Firm; Your Position: Manager, Custom Products

In the past your group has lost a great deal of business due to inflexibility in manufacturing processes. You are part of an experiment to rectify this problem. Your newly created position is manager of custom products, i.e., those requiring special engineering and adaptation of the firm's standard lines. The manufacturing would continue to be done by the various departments involved, but your new group would be responsible for doing any necessary re-design or coordination. Each of the four manufacturing departments chose one person to work with you in this experimental unit. You played no role in their selection, and so far, you have not been impressed with the skills of those selected, their attitudes toward the project, or even their ability to work together collaboratively. It is apparent that none of them relish their new assignment and that each would not be unhappy if they were returned to their previous assignments.

One of the first potential orders came from a large government agency requesting a proposal for a very substantial contract. If you land the project, the manufacturing would be done by one of the departments and would require little in the way of coordination by your group. Given the importance of this proposal and your uncertainty of the capabilities of your group, you have written the first draft of the contract proposal.

The final task is to estimate the costs. In many respects this phase is the most critical. You have strong competition in this field, and too high an estimate could cause your firm to lose the contract. On the other hand, too low an estimate could cause the company to face the choice of losing a great deal of money or defaulting on the contract. You have had lots of experience in cost estimation, and this part of the project should be fairly easy for you.

Your answer: Decide

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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