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Case Analysis

In: Business and Management

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MGT 3319 CASE INSTRUCTIONS - 2014
Use the format for all cases that follows these instructions is used. Use MLA or APA to format citations and references. 1. For the cover page, provide the case name, name of student and date submitted. If it is a team case, provide the team number and names of each team member. 2. Each case will provide a. A synopsis of the case, b. Statement of the problem, c. Provide alternatives with analysis of each alternative to solve the problem using concepts studied and d. Reach a decision or conclusion that solves the problem and recognizes further consideration. Conclusions are based on evidence provided in the analysis of alternatives. 3. A minimum of two scholarly references will be used. Keep in mind this is a minimum requirement. Websites are NOT considered scholarly references. Wikipedia will not be used as a reference. Use the reference librarian for assistance. 4. Cases are turned in on Blackboard on the date noted. Cases turned in late are subject to point’s reduction. 5. The last page of the case will be the team evaluation. 6. If selected, teams will present their cases in class using good presentation skills, e.g., not reading the information. The team presentation can influence the points awarded. After the last page of this case are presentation guidelines. 7. These instructions also apply to the final case.

If the case is done as a team, attach to the case the “Team Evaluation.” The scores on the Team Evaluation do not affect the case grade; the thoroughness of the Team Evaluation does. The purpose of the Team Evaluation is for team development; to improve future team projects. A copy of the team evaluation is provided in the Course Introduction. It is permissible to provide the evaluation handwritten.

Example Case - Peer Review for Conflict Resolution

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Your troubles began when the teenage clerk at one of your convenience stores wrestled a gun away from a would-be robber. On hearing the story, your friends said, "How brave!" and "Did you give him an award?" but you and the other managers in the company all had a very different reaction. You know you will have to fire the employee for violating a long-standing and well-known company policy against heroism. Convenience store robberies are a common occurrence, and if your (mostly young) workers, manning dozens of stores, begin to attempt behind-the-counter vigilantism, you will have a serious problem on your hands.

Despite the unanimous mind-set of your management team, you realize that firing the employee outright may create negative fallout among the other employees. At least one employee in particular is likely to vocally protest the firing. As you sit with your team trying to decide how to resolve this issue, one of your managers proposes implementing a peer review process at the company. A panel of employees would be responsible for arbitrating disputes and resolving any disagreements between how managers enforce the rules and how employees experience those rules being enforced.

Advocates trumpet the benefits of peer review systems. Peer reviews are practical and cost-effective, particularly compared with formal legal arbitration, and they allow disputes to be resolved internally. Because peer reviews give employees some say in the outcome of disputes, the employees are more likely to find the decisions credible and acceptable. Many managers also like peer reviews because they help to avert the backlash that a manager may experience for unilaterally disciplining an employee who has violated company rules.

Detractors, however, say that peer reviews may give employees too much control over the management decision process. Review panels effectively diffuse the decision making function throughout the organization in a way that is counter to the centralized decision making of traditionally structured companies. In addition, creating and maintaining peer review systems requires a commitment of time and resources. Employees lose work hours (and thus productivity) when they participate on panels. And management should consult with a knowledgeable attorney to make sure that review panel procedures conform to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dictates about work teams. The process must be shared with all employees, who also must be trained in the process. And what will you do if employees reverse a management decision?

Nonetheless, the number of companies using peer review systems is increasing as their popularity grows. One consultant alone has over 500 companies, including Kodak, Hooters, Marriott, and Red Lobster, using his peer review process.

This case focuses on historical management theories, roles of managers and functions of management.

SAMPLE COVER PAGE
Case Analysis: Peer Review for Conflict Resolution
Team 6
Name:
Name:
Name:
Name:
Date

Case Analysis: Peer Review for Conflict Resolution

Synopsis

A teenage clerk at a convenience store wrestled a gun from a potential robber. Company policy states that acts of heroism cannot and will not be rewarded for fear that it is risky to promote self defense in a dangerous situation with young defenseless employees. The management team unanimously decides that the current employee who attempted the heroic behavior needs to be fired for not promoting company policy; however, this will cause a potential uproar with the other employees. Other companies of comparable size, structure and employee demographics use peer review systems to arbitrate disputes and resolve employee and management disagreements. In convenience stores, many employees are entry level working as students or part time workers to support added family income.

The proposed agreement is to adapt a new peer review system that allows disputes to be dealt with internally. It would be composed of a panel of employees who would be responsible for working with management and employees alike when it came to rule placement and enforcement against all employees. Supporters of peer review state that it is practical and cost effective; employees are more agreeable with the decisions. Critics argue against too much employee control, not time effective and potential backlash and reversal of management control.

Statement of the problem

The problem centers on keeping the employees motivated to do a good job and understand that company policy is to ensure their safety and serve our customers. This case considers if a peer review system should be adopted. The managers of the company see the role of management to motivate and encourage workers as part of the leading function of management, but consider a key role of managers as disturbance handlers by responding to larger problems that demand immediate action, such as in this case. Investors see the main role of managers is to act as entrepreneurs by adapting their units to change. However, investors are also concerned with liability of allowing employee groups to make decisions. Investors’ concerns may be focused due to a framing bias. The main concern of customers when shopping in the vent of a theft or robbery is their safety. Employees consider their control of the work environment as an important part of their motivation. However, this view may be biased by a narrow self-interest and their role of not being able to see the overall functions of the company as a whole. In addition, we need to consider if the values present in the organizational culture support the peer review system and if it would add value to employees and customers.

The main problem is does the firm implement a peer review process in the convenience store? Can we ensure that customers feel safe, employees are motivated and the possibility of future legal action is reduced?

Analysis of alternatives

Mary Parker Follett’s theory of integrative conflict resolution is the best justification for peer review (Williams, 2008). She believed the best overall outcome could be achieved by management and employees from different areas of the organization coordinating their efforts to resolve problems in an integrative way. Because peer-review systems can pull panelists from a wide-variety of job descriptions, share decision-making power and focus on control of the facts rather than the personalities, peer-review is definitely justified by Follett’s theories.

In addition, bureaucratic management provides justification for peer-review panels in as much as peer review seeks to enforce rules in a consistent manner. That, like bureaucracy, which is defined as the exercise of control based on knowledge, expertise, or experience, peer-review participants might be in the best position to understand the facts related to an incident. Bureaucracy, however, has for one of its tenets a strictly formed hierarchy and chain of command, which run counter to the more egalitarian idea of peer-review.

Contrary to Follett and bureaucratic management support for a peer reviewed process, Lipsky, Seeber, & Fincher (2003) and Rahim’s (1992) perspectives on organizational conflict see that employees will compete for power, and social status, using their own system of ethics, beliefs and values that can create confirmation bias and resolve issues always in favor of employees if such panels are organized. In addition, administrative management would not support peer reviews because it thrives and depends mainly upon the decisions management must make and the enforcement of those decisions. The role of the manager in administrative management is resource allocator and managers do not have time to discuss rules and regulations with each employee; therefore they supply a set of rules and demand the employees’ compliance with them.

What employees may not know is that convenience store robberies are comprised of 6% of all robberies, but are among the most highest in workplace homicide (Retno and Audhesh, 2014). Even though the percentage of robberies appears relatively small, the factors are greatly increased as Petrosino and Brensilber (2003) discusses:

Injuries can result from an employee’s active resistance or from the offender’s misreading the employee’s nervousness or hesitation as resistance. When faced with an employee who chooses to actively resist and is in a face-to-face confrontation, robbers may resort to injuring the worker to avoid apprehension. Higher injury rates are consistently found to be correlated with measures employees take during the robbery (p.29).

Another main concern is also the development of the organizational culture, the pattern of acceptable underlying assumptions, beliefs and values of what behavior is supported by management and employees and not in the overt behavior (Schein 1985). While codified rules and company policies may provide guidance as to acceptable behavior, the organizational culture provides that acceptable behavior in the organization may not always be found in the policies of the firm.

Needless to say, the biggest problem in this scenario is how anyone does, manager or employee, reprimand the accused for his/her actions during a life-threatening situation where they may not be thinking like they usually would?

Decision

People react to tense situations very differently, and a lot of times without any thought of rules or regulations, just a thought of safety. This employee acted in a respectable manor given the situation and although it is not company policy to keep an employee who defies the rules, an exception will be made under this circumstance. The employee will not be commended on his actions and will need to know that if the given situation were ever to arise again, he/she will know the company policy and adhere to it, or be terminated.

The different historical management theories provide some support for a peer review process to be used. While this fits a management process of empowering employees, it may not add value to providing customer support for safety and concerns of investors in added liability. While this case and decision falls under the controlling function of management, more planning must be done. Managers have the knowledge to work effectively with employees, must be good listeners and communicators (human skills), and most importantly assess the relationships between the different parts of their companies and the external environment and position their companies for success (conceptual skills). Management must consider how the rules for this sort of behavior are created and ensure it is disseminated to all employees and that it becomes part of the organizational culture. While peer reviewed panels may be successful in some firms, the culture and employee demographics in this organization do not support their use.

Well-managed companies are competitive because their workforces are smarter, better trained, more motivated, and more committed. Furthermore, companies that practice good management consistently have greater sales revenues, profits, and stock market performance than companies that don’t. Finally, good management matters because good management leads to satisfied employees who, in turn, provide better service to customers.

References

Retno, T. & Audhesh K. (2014). Online customer service and retail type-product congruence. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 21 (1), 69–76

Petrosino, A., & Brensilber, D (2003). The Motives, Methods, and Decision-Making of Convenience Store Robberies: Interview with 28 Incarcerated Offenders in Massachusetts. In M. Smith and D. Cornish (eds.), Theory for Practice in Situational Crime Prevention, Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 16. Monsey, N.Y.: Criminal Justice Press.

Lipsky, D. B., Seeber, R. L., & Fincher, R. D. (2003). Emerging systems for managing workplace conflict: Lessons from American corporations for managers and dispute resolution professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Williams, C. (2008). MGMT. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.

Schein, E. (1985). Defining organizational culture. In J. M. Shafritz, & J. S. Ott (Eds.), Classics of organization theory (pp. 430-441). NY: Wadsworth Publishing.

Team Evaluation

Team: _Example______________________________________

Instructions: Indicate on the scales (1 low, 7 high) your assessment of your team and the way it functions by checking the number on each scale that you feel is most descriptive of your team. | |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 | | |1. Mutual Goals |Lack of common understanding of assignment | | |X | | | | |Clear understanding of assignment | |2. Interdependence |Team members rarely seek to understand issues, experiences, and skills of teammates | | |X | | | | |Team members actively seek to understand issues, experiences, and skills of teammates | |3. Commitment to Synergy |Team decisions are usually win-lose; individuals promote their position exclusively | | | | |X | | |Win-win decisions are actively sought by all team members | |4. Accountability |Accountability is based on functional objectives; members participate/ contribute little to team goals | | | | |X | | |Team members hold themselves and others mutually accountable for achieving team results; all members participate/contribute to team goals | |5. Empowerment |Usually reluctant to make decisions and take actions to produce results | | | |X | | | |Usually willing to make decisions and take actions to produce results | |6. Interpersonal Communications |Closed and Guarded | | | |X | | | |Open and Participative | |7. Trust |Little trust | | | |X | | | |Trust is evident | |8. Problem Solving/Decision Making |Members have not agreed on an approach to problem solving and decision making | |X | | | | | |Members have a well-established, agreed on, and utilized approach to problem solving and decision making | |9. Conflict |Conflict is evident but is ignored or is not constructively resolved | | | |X | | | |Conflicts are constructively resolved | |10. Facilitative Leadership |Leadership is rigidly viewed as a role or assignment; often inhibits creation and accomplishment of team goals | | | |X | | | |Leadership is flexibly shared and facilitates creation and accomplishment of team goals | |Comments (Required - What one area was successful; what one area is where we can improve, etc.):

We all wanted to do well with the case; however, it did not seem like a win-win for the team – too many individuals wanting a good grade. With the first case, most team members looked to one person to tell them what to do rather than take the initiative to discuss the case; we agreed the leader is more a facilitator. Trust was low and team members agreed they need to trust each other and not be judgmental on each other’s work. The team needs to agree on a process and timeline to solve the cases.

Presentation Guidelines

The following presentation guides are from the School of Business Presentation Rubric.

• Superb organization; clear introduction; main points well stated and argued, with each leading to the next point of the talk; clear summary and conclusion.

• Very creative slides; carefully thought out to bring out both the main points as well as the subtle issues while keeping the audience interested.

• Natural, confident delivery that does not just convey the message but enhances it; excellent use of volume, pace etc.

• Keeps the audience engaged throughout the presentation; modifies material on-the-fly based on audience questions and comments; keenly aware of audience reactions.

• No time variance.

Here are some helpful points for your Power Point presentation

Make sure your text contrasts with your background

Do not use too many slides. Limit the presentation to 5 to 6 slides:

Title

Synopsis

✓ Problem statement

✓ Alternatives

✓ Conclusion

Keep information on slides to a minimum

Bullet comments

Not more than 5 bullets of 7 to 9 words on slide

Use large print

Don’t use yucky backgrounds

Tacky clip art stinks

Use an easy to read font

Don’t make spellling misstakes

Charts, tables, etc. are nice

Use the Master Slide in Power Point to get a consistent style

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