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Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 18 Putting a Stop to Rumors

Setting: Fast Food Chain; Your Position: President and CEO

With modest beginnings, your company, a small chain of fast food restaurants scattered around the country, successfully penetrated the market with a range of products aimed at college students. You have been fantastically successful, and sales have doubled each year for the last five years. While you are not quite a threat to McDonald's or Burger King, your unprecedented performance has caused the entire industry to take notice.

About a month ago your success was threatened by rumors that your company has been a major contributor to anti-abortion groups. Fliers began appearing on college campuses and stories on social media alleging that your firm was giving money to many conservative groups, ranging from the Christian Coalition to fringe groups like the Ku Klux Klan. It appears that an organized boycott of your products is being attempted, instigated perhaps by one of your competitors. You don't understand the source or magnitude of the problem, but you do know that something must be done. There have been instances in which products had to be withdrawn from the market due to unfounded but widely circulated rumors of contaminants.

You are fortunate to have assembled a talented group of executives. Each of them is dedicated to the company, and their only liability is a tendency to compete with one another in group meetings. Each seems to be trying to prove that their idea is best rather than finding a "middle ground." On this issue you know that they are divided on what steps to take, a state of affairs which you feel reflects their lack of experience in dealing with situations of this kind. Some favor a "frontal attack," directly confronting the boycott through an advertising campaign aimed at those markets currently threatened. Others prefer an undercover approach, utilizing the services of private investigators to trace the organizers of the boycott and to then seek injunctions against them. Nonetheless, you will need their support in whatever is decided.

Your answer: Consult Individually

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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