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Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 15 Changing a Tradition

Setting: Military Academy; Your Position: Dean


For 200 years your institution has helped to prepare the future officers in the military. Legends abound about the great generals who have bestowed honor on their alma mater and many of whom are paid tribute by statues around the campus.

One of the areas of study in your academic program is leadership. The department head has recently retired, and you must find a suitable replacement. Traditionally, the position has been filled by a senior military officer who is battle-proven and has served as a role model for the students. There are many meritorious military officers who would be interested candidates, and the easiest course of action would be to choose one for this position. All of these candidates are male.

However, times are changing. The student body is about 20 percent women, and this percentage is likely to grow. The mission of the military has changed, embodying more peacekeeping than battle. The emerging disciplines of the behavioral sciences have provided a necessary scientific foundation for the study of leadership, supporting a somewhat different point of view from the "war stories" of the colonels.

You are contemplating a change of focus for the teaching of leadership at the academy, starting with a new kind of head for the department. While your advanced degrees are not in the behavioral sciences, you have taken many courses and have read widely in the field. You feel confident that you know the qualifications that should be sought and that such individuals exist within the ranks of the service.

The problem will be to get the support of the other department heads with whom a successful candidate will have to work. While they are a diverse group and seldom agree on educational policy, their overall bent is conservative. You have found from bitter past experience that significant departures from tradition, such as this one, tend to be met with strong opposition.

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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