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Case Study #1 : Alex and Dave (Due in Week 4)

17 May

Case Study #1 : Alex and Dave (Due in Week 4)
Alex is the general manager of Allied Software Corporation’s Tysons Corner, Virginia division
office. His company develops large software systems for the defense department. Alex has
four program managers reporting to him, each with a program worth between $3 and $6
million. Dave was one of those program managers. Recently hired, Dave wanted this job to
work out well. Dave’s team was made up of 15 system analysts and programmers working on a
one-year program worth about $4 million. The program had a short turnaround time for a
program of this magnitude and Dave felt that the deadlines were almost impossible to meet. In
fact, he was facing a critical deadline on Monday and it was Friday. They were already a week
late. Moreover, some of the department computers were down for service and a few of his
people didn’t seem familiar enough with the programming skills needed to create this part of the
software. Still, he needed this job to work for him so complaining to Alex was out of the
question. Dave knew that some of his subordinates were very disgruntled about being
overlooked for the job Dave now held and they may take the opportunity to criticize him. Nine
of the 15 department members were old timers at the job while the remaining programmers were
there only two years. The department was noted for being good and while tensions ran high
everyone seemed to work well together in a crunch. Dave knew he could count on his team to
meet deadlines, but did not know why they always had to be in crunch mode to get the group to
work together. He guessed this coming weekend would be one more crunch. Dave was fairly
sure that Alex was not aware of the department dynamics and he wanted to keep it that way least
Alex think that he could not handle the job. He and the department would just make the
deadline work by putting in some long weekend hours.
Alex arrived at work one Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. By 8:01 a.m., every member of the
finance department was lined up outside his office complaining that someone had stolen all the
computers right off their desks.
Robbery foremost in his mind, Alex searched the departments and by 8:15 a.m. he knew the
answer. No robbery had occurred. The computers were not taken from the building but just had
been moved. All of the computers from the finance department had been found on the desks of
Dave’s engineering team. Alex instructed the financial staff to leave the computers on the
engineer’s desks for now, until he could figure out exactly what happened. The financial staff
was understandably ready to tar and feather Dave, but Alex was able to keep everybody calm
until Dave came to work.
The first of his team to arrive, Dave came in at 8:30. Immediately upon his arrival Alex asked to
see Dave in his office, alone. “What the heck happened, Dave?” Alex did not yell it out, but he
emphasized the word “What”.
Dave calmly explained that his team had promised the customer that specific work that was
overdue would be in the customer’s hands by Monday morning. The team decided the only way
to get it done was to work through the weekend. By Saturday afternoon they realized they were
not going to get it done unless they had more computing power. So they took the computers off
the desks of the finance department. They worked through Sunday and late into Sunday night
and delivered the product to the customer very late Sunday night for its promised time, Monday

morning. When they left late Sunday evening they were just too tired to put the computers back
on the desks of the financial staff. They just thought they would do it in the morning. Dave
assumed that the others would be there at the usual time of 7:45 to return the computers. He did
not think it necessary to leave a note.
Still a little upset but thoughtful, Alex asked, “Why did you need more computing power?” “We
just did not have enough machines up for everyone to use. The service guy was not due until
Tuesday.” Dave replied. “Why didn’t you have the work done before this?” Alex asked. Not
looking him in the eye, Dave said, “We hit a few snags on the programming end of things and
we just couldn’t get past them. It cost us a week’s time, so being late already we all decided that
we would work over the weekend to get the material in on Monday.” “While I appreciate your
team meeting the deadline, which was the most important task, Dave, not letting the finance
department know that the machines could be found in your offices or leaving a note was not a
good decision. They lost a lot of time without computing power today.” You need to address Joe
and his department and explain the debacle.
“My bigger concern here” Alex continued, “is that your department seems to need a crisis to get
the work done. This isn’t good. Do you have any ideas?” Anxious to deflect Alex Dave said, “I
think you and I should work closer to set more realistic deadlines with the customer. Also a
better service policy would help.” Alex nodded his head, but was not convinced. Alex asked
Dave if he thought more computers or different software would help. Dave replied, “It couldn’t
hurt.” Thinking he dodged a bullet. Dave left Alex’s office and went straight to the finance
department to mend fences. He felt better when he left there and went back to his department.
It appeared that Dave needed help in some way but Alex wasn’t sure what was needed. Dave left
Alex feeling uncomfortable and he was still unsure if he had gotten enough concrete information
to solve his dilemma.
Alex decided to have an informal meeting of Dave’s department and get the rest of the staff’s
opinions. The meeting seemed to yield the same answers Dave gave. However, Alex’s suspicion
that there was more information to be gotten was confirmed. He noticed that everyone kept
looking at Dave and each other trying to take Dave’s lead and not suggest other ideas. Also,
Dave seemed miffed that the team had to be consulted after he had given Alex his
opinions. Alex left the meeting wondering if he was making more of the last minute crunch
time phenomena than was necessary. Maybe he should take Dave at his word; work on the
deadline setting and get him a new service policy.
After reviewing his concerns with his own supervisor, Alex decided that he wanted to learn more
about Dave’s department and how they operated. He asked Dave to have dinner with him after
work. He did not discuss work at all, but only personalities. He just wanted to find out more
about him to try to determine if he was controlling the troops or just new to the job and eager to
please. Alex discovered that he had some similar interests with Dave but most importantly that
Dave just found out his wife was expecting their first child. Dave was worried about being a
new father and doing well in his new job. Alex also discovered that Dave was encountering
some resistance among the older members of the team. They were testing Dave, Alex
gleaned. They did not trust Dave. Armed with this new information, Alex decided that Dave

needed to do something similar. He told Dave to take his team out to Dave and Busters for lunch
for the afternoon where they could play games like many of the team enjoyed doing and getting
to know one another. The only conditions were that Dave was to make sure that he teamed the
younger members with the older members Dave was also to play with them. Further, the games
chosen had to be new to everyone! (Dave needed to get help from Dave and Busters for that
one.)
The following Monday Dave’s department hit Dave and Buster’s. The groups compared scores
at the end of the first round and the younger members were winning. After the second round the
younger members were still ahead so Dave shook up the groups by placing some of the younger
members with the older members. The scores not only improved for all the teams but the scores
among the teams were also closely matched. Dave noticed that the older members, forced with a
new game, listened to the younger ones because their initial scores were higher. By the end of
the afternoon there seemed to be a new respect for each other that had not been there before. The
older members seemed to listen more and react less especially to Dave.
Back in the office with the encounter fresh in their minds, Alex and Dave decided to break the
team in to groups again, mixing younger members with older members, and posed the problem
of resources and scheduling again. Dave’s fear of losing his job was now removed from the
meeting. The older members less reactive to change and armed with a better understanding of
Dave created a new atmosphere to the exchange of ideas. The younger talent who now felt their
ideas would be listened to felt more like they could discuss ideas rather than stay silent. The
“new” team discussion resulted in the following information:
· Scheduling was too client-driven, not taking into account the teams capabilities
The projects assigned to Dave’s team did not have any content flow, one time it was
health care, next time food processing. It was hard to find ways to apply previously
developed material as it seemed the team always had to reinvent the wheel.
The problem that cost them the overtime weekend.
Hardware service issues were limiting the number of computers available.
The older IT guys needed more training on the newer hardware and software techniques
but because of the workload the training had not taken place.
Computer hardware needed to be updated.
It was uncertain that Dave’s team needed more help if they had updated machinery and
training.
Weekly reviews within the group were held to keep from duplicating work and to keep
Dave organized with his assignments, an issue that previously had contributed to
weekend work.
Team members would enjoy more down time with each other that allowed everyone to
refresh their ideas.
Alex, now armed with the revelations from Dave’s group wonders about his other three IT teams
and whether they have similar issues. Should he incorporate the other teams into the decision
statement or keep it initially limited to Dave. His questions make him seek additional
information. The costs of new hardware for all 15 computers would run $75,000 ($5,000 per
computer). Educational training for everyone would cost $25,000. (For the older ones only

$10,000) The cost of hiring a new tech would be $175,000 including benefits. The cost of a new
hardware service policy giving “white glove” treatment is likely to be $20,000 more a year than
the current policy, but he was promised that time would be kept down time to less than three
hours as opposed to the 24-48 hour policy they currently have.
In speaking with his other program managers Alex discovers they have the same service
problems as Dave, but less project turnover because the assigned projects to date have been
larger. They take longer to produce and have less content turnover. Deadlines are fewer
because they have more lead time for projects. He sees that in the other departments that
training is needed for some of the older members, although fewer in number than in Dave’s
department. However, the program managers would like more help. They feel they do not have
enough staff and while the hardware for the most part is sufficient two new computers in each
department would be beneficial. Alex reviews this information with his supervisor and is given a
budget of $400,000 to solve the problems in the entire Tysons Corner division.
Assignment 1 (Due in Week 4)
Purpose:
In the first four weeks of this class students explored the idea of how people make decisions and
how the application of a decision making process can increase the likelihood of a better set of
decision outcomes. Students will be assigned a case study that they will read and apply a
decision making process to make a decision. The case study can be found under week 4 content
area.
The purpose of this assignment is for students to demonstrate they understand that decision
making is a process that can be used to make decisions with better outcomes for the business.
Assignment Instructions:
Step 1:
Review “How to Analyze a Case Study” under Week 4 Content.
Step 2: Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point
font. The final product will be between 3-4 pages in length excluding the title page and
reference page.
Step 3: Review the grading rubric for the assignment
Step 4: Follow this format:
Title page with title, your name, the course, the instructor’s name;
Introduction paragraph in which the decision process is described and its significance in
business. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper but is typically
written after writing the body of the paper (Questions students responded to
above). View this website to learn how to write an introductory
paragraph: http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan/intro.html
Body Paragraphs
Summary paragraph. A summary paragraph restates the main idea(s) of the essay. Make
sure to leave a reader with a sense that the essay is complete. The summary paragraph is
the last paragraph of a paper.
Step 5: In writing a case study, the writing is in the third person. What this means is that there
are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or
your” (second person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this
link: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person

Step 6: In writing this assignment, students are asked to support the reasoning using in-text
citations and a reference list. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an
associated in-text citation and vice versa. View the sample APA paper under Week 1 content.
Step 7: In writing this assignment, students are expected to paraphrase and not use direct
quotes. Learn to paraphrase by reviewing this
link: https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase2.html
Step 8: Read critically and analyze the scenario provided under Week 4 Content.
Step 9: Write down or highlight key facts from the scenario. Consider making an outline to
capture key points in the paper.
Step 10: In your paper, respond to the following elements of decision making:
Explain each step of the process using the class reading material applying to the fact
pattern. The decision maker is Alex and should be done through Alex’s perspective;
Create a decision matrix;
Discuss consequences, bias; stakeholders, risk, uncertainty and linked decisions;
Discuss the implications of Alex using critical thinking skills in the decision making
process and how critical thinking can help Alex make future decisions.
Step 11: Using the grading rubric as a comparison, read through the paper to ensure all required
elements are presented.
Step 12: Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.
Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a first measure;
Have someone who has excellent English skills to proof the paper;
Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC). The EWC will
provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement.
Step 13: Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder.
ASSIGNMENT. Case Study #2: American Tool and Die (Due Week 6)
As the sun rose on a crisp fall morning, Kelly Mueller’s Learjet touched down onto a small
airstrip outside Tupelo, Mississippi, and taxied toward the hangar, where a festive crowd
gathered to await the arrival of Toyota’s CEO. This morning, the governor of Mississippi, along
with local politicians and business leaders from the automobile industry, would celebrate the
construction of a new Toyota plant on a 1,700-acre site in Blue Springs. The new plant would
produce 150,000 Highlander sport utility vehicles each year. The energy and enthusiasm of the
crowd was palpable. The new plant would give hope to a local community that had been hit hard
by the recession.
The purpose of Mueller’s visit was to assess new business opportunities for the company she
ran for her father, Vince Brofft, CEO of American Tool & Die (AT&D). Mueller joined the
company in 1998 after working for 15 years as an engineer at two U.S. automakers. Then, after
seven successful years as chief operations officer at AT&D, this scrappy dynamo convinced her
father she was ready to be president. Energetic and tireless, Mueller took over the helm of
AT&D, an auto parts manufacturer that sold braking and ignition systems directly to the top
three U.S. automakers. Mueller was a mover and while she did her homework she liked to make
decisions quickly and by herself. Having worked in large organizations before she often had to
make decisions with others and while she could do this the thought that she would get to do
things on her own in the small business was intoxicating. With 195 employees, AT&D was
located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, among dozens of other automobile parts suppliers in the
Upper Midwest. AT&D, established in 1912 by Mueller’s great uncle, had a long history in
Farmington Hills. Mueller had often talked with employees who would recount stories about
their fathers or grandfathers working in the same Farmington Hills plant—the last of the original
manufacturing operations in town.
Mueller was in Mississippi to research moving AT&D’s plant close to a foreign automaker.
The foreign automakers, particularly Honda and Toyota, had been quickly grabbing market share
away from the big three automakers, who had severely cut production as the economy worsened.
As inventory started stacking up on dealer lots, U.S. automakers curtailed production in order to
cope with the sudden drop in demand. Next, they put the squeeze on parts suppliers to lower
prices. That’s when AT&D leaders started feeling the crunch and watching their financial picture
turn grim.
Mueller faced an unprecedented challenge to survive this economic downturn and save her
family’s company. She pleaded with her father to think creatively and shake up the status quo at
AT&D to avoid bankruptcy. Her plan was to forge into new markets and court foreign
automakers. This plan would require closing the plant in Michigan and opening one near the new
Toyota facilities in Mississippi. Her father adamantly resisted this plan even though he knew she
was right. “Dad,” a recent text message explained, “we have opportunities here in Mississippi.
There’s no future in Michigan. We can’t sit around waiting for the big three to come back! It’s
adapt or die!”
Back at the Farmington Hills plant, Brofft pondered his daughter’s “adapt or die” theory and
considered an alternative to moving the plant to Mississippi—a move that would cause 195

employees to lose their livelihood in a small, close-knit community. Brofft agonized over
choices that could dismantle a company that his family had built. He was sickened by the
prospect of laying off employees who were like family. He didn’t want to move but the thought
of leaving Michigan was paralyzing the decision process. He always made decisions in the past
by consulting with his plant manager and good friend Joe Carney. Now he had to let his daughter
in on the process and he just wasn’t sure he could open his mind to her ideas. As an alternative to
moving the plant, Brofft considered ways to stay in Michigan. The only feasible option was to
drastically cut payroll costs. To do so, he needed support from the local union.
Brofft called a meeting with the plant manager and union leaders to explain AT&D’s dire
financial situation. He urged them to make concessions in the employee compensation agreement
and explained that these plans would save the company from certain bankruptcy. Assuming he
could win their support, Brofft proposed three strategies to the local union reps to keep the
company financially afloat: (1) reduce worker wages by 10 percent for one year; (2) mandate a
two-week, unpaid furlough at the end of December; and (3) downsize the number of employees
by 30 percent. Exasperated, the local union leaders could barely restrain their anger. They were
adamantly opposed to all three ideas. Yet probing beyond the fray, Brofft sensed the fear that
lurked under the union reps’ gruff exterior. He sensed their vulnerability, but could not break
through the reactionary bark that protected it. If union leaders would not cooperate, the plant
would have to move and everyone in Farmington Hills would suffer.
In the meantime, Mueller held several successful presentations with local Toyota executives
while in Mississippi. “I’ve made progress, Dad,” she said in a voice mail. “I can tell it’s going to
be a long and drawn-out process, but they are very impressed with our product and historical
strength. They’ve agreed to another meeting next month.”
Sources: Karen E. Klein, “Survival Advice for Auto Parts Suppliers,”
BusinessWeek (June 16,
2009), http://www .businessweek.com/pri.t/magazine/content/09_62/s0902015954839.htm
(accessed November 12, 2009); Amy Barrett, “Auto-Parts Suppliers Brace for Downturn,”
BusinessWeek (February 13, 2009);
http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jun2009/sb20090616_816915.htm (accessed
November 12, 2009); and Toyota, http://www.toyota .com (accessed November 12, 2009
Assignment 2 (Due in Week 6)
Purpose:
In week four we examined biases that occur in making decisions as individuals and the effect
they can have upon the process. In week five, we focused on individuals making decisions within
an organization and in week six group decision making within the organization.
The purpose of this assignment is to have the student demonstrate how individuals and groups
can have differing ways of making decisions and when each should be used in business to its
best effect.

Instructions:
Step 1:
Review “How to Analyze a Case Study” under Week 4 Content.
Step 2: Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point
font. The final product will be between 5-6 pages in length excluding the title page and
reference page.
Step 3: Review the grading rubric for the assignment
Step 4: Follow this format:
Title page with title, your name, the course, the instructor’s name;
Introduction paragraph in which the decision process is described and its significance in
business. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper but is typically
written after writing the body of the paper (Questions students responded to
above). View this website to learn how to write an introductory
paragraph:
http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan/intro.html
Body Paragraphs
Summary paragraph. A summary paragraph restates the main idea(s) of the essay. Make
sure to leave a reader with a sense that the essay is complete. The summary paragraph is
the last paragraph of a paper.
Step 5: In writing a case study, the writing is in the third person. What this means is that there
are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or
your” (second person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this
link:
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person
Step 6: In writing this assignment, students are asked to support the reasoning using in-text
citations and a reference list. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an
associated in-text citation and vice versa. View the sample APA paper under Week 1 content.
Step 7: In writing this assignment, students are expected to paraphrase and not use direct
quotes. Learn to paraphrase by reviewing this
link:
https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase2.html
Step 8: Read critically and analyze the scenario provided under Week 6 Content.
Step 9: Write down or highlight key facts from the scenario. Consider making an outline to
capture key points in the paper.
Step 10: In your paper, respond to the following elements of decision making:
Apply the decision process to create a decision statement;
Explain the factors in play for the father and daughter that could affect the decision
making;
Explain the pros and cons of group and individual decision making;
Explain the factors (e.g. bias, consequences, decision making styles) at work in the case
for the could affect decision making for a team;
Discuss the authority the team should have and why. Discuss the best type of group
decision making team for this situation. Who should comprise the team;
Step 11: Using the grading rubric as a comparison, read through the paper to ensure all required
elements are presented.
Step 12: Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.
Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a first measure;
Have someone who has excellent English skills to proof the paper;
Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC). The EWC will
provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement.
Step 13: Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder.
ASSIGNMENT #3: SunPower
Assignment 3 (Due in Week 8)
Purpose:
This assignment focuses on change and the implementation of a decision. This project allows
students to demonstrate what they have learned in weeks 6-8 by applying the course material to a
business decision. Students will evaluate the interaction with stakeholders, management of
decision consequences and change in implementing a decision. Students should review all
learning activities and assignments to ensure an understanding of key concepts.
The purpose of this assignment is to have the student demonstrate how implementation of a
decision involves change within an organization.
Instructions:
You are the CEO of SunPower, Inc. The job of implementing the Board of Directors’ decision
to move the company to New Mexico has been delegated to you. Before anything can be done in
carrying out the decision, the consequences of implementing the decision must be
evaluated. Stakeholders are vital to the organization and it is necessary to consider how the
decision will impact them. Also, the decision will impact the business concern so be sure to
consider all aspects of how the decision will impact the business.
Then create a plan that will address the changes that will occur as a result of the decision’s
implementation. The reasons for the choices you have made in the plan should take into account
the material discussed in class and focus on communicating and creating change.
Step 1: Review “How to Analyze a Case Study” under Week 4 Content.
Step 2: Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point
font. The final product will be between 5-6 pages in length excluding the title page and the
reference page.
Step 3: Review the grading rubric for the assignment.
Step 4: Follow this format:
Title page with title, your name, the course, the instructor’s name;
Introduction paragraph in which the decision process is described and its significance in
business. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper but is typically
written after writing the body of the paper (Questions students responded to
above). View this website to learn how to write an introductory
paragraph:
http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan/intro.html
Body Paragraphs
Summary paragraph. A summary paragraph restates the main idea(s) of the essay. Make
sure to leave a reader with a sense that the essay is complete. The summary paragraph is
the last paragraph of a paper.
Step 5: In writing a case study, the writing is in the third person. What this means is that there
are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or
your” (second person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this
link:
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person
Step 6: In writing this assignment, students are asked to support the reasoning using in-text
citations and a reference list. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an
associated in-text citation and vice versa. View the sample APA paper under Week 1 content.
Step 7: In writing this assignment, students are expected to paraphrase and not use direct
quotes. Learn to paraphrase by reviewing this
link:
https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase2.html
Step 8: Read critically and analyze the scenario provided under Week 8 Content.
Step 9: Write down or highlight key facts from the scenario. Consider making an outline to
capture key points in the paper.
Step 10: In your paper, respond to the following elements:
Identify and discuss consequences to stakeholders and the business concern that will be
impacted by implementing the decision;
Develop a plan for implementation that addresses the change.
Use a model of change as part of the Implementation Plan
Step 11: Using the grading rubric as a comparison, read through the paper to ensure all required
elements are presented.
Step 12: Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.

 
 

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