MGT 300 Section 2
Team Exercise 1
- Prior to the September 16 session, read the Jeremiah Bigatallio case that follows the instructions in this document. Take notes to help you discuss with your team. On September 16 I will be checking each team for attendance and for having notes about the assignment.
- In class on September 16, your teams will have approximately 45 minutes to work on the exercise.
- The exercise is due September 30 at 11:59 p.m. Your team will submit one 4-5 page (double-spaced) paper through the "Turnitin" function on Blackboard. We will discuss your answers in class on that day.
Jeremiah Bigatallio will need to effectively diagnose the situation in order to determine the best alternative courses of action. Your job is to focus on the diagnosis part and on the perceptual processes that may influence diagnosis.
Discuss and write about the following items:
- What does the case tell us about motivation, ability, role perceptions, and situational factors? (5 points)
- What specific motivation, ability, role perception, and situational factors should Bigatallio want to learn about to help him diagnose the situation? (15 points)
- Describe how he should go about finding out how these MARS factors influence performance and behavior in his unit. (10 points)
- Discuss several perceptual problems (from Chapter 3) that may make it difficult for Bigatallio to discover the “truth” about the situations and the problems? Explain how. (10 points)
Jeremiah Bigatallio’s Leadership Challenge
Written by Alvin Turner, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
Jeremiah Bigatallio was eager to start his new job at InterContinental Communication, a high tech company near Boston. Jeremiah, a civil engineer, joined the organization because it was a relatively young, growing, and dynamic organization which claimed in a brochure five years ago that its work environment was modeled on that of Microsoft. Jeremiah was hired as Director of Engineering Services to supervise a staff of twenty-five. The staff includes ten engineers, seven technicians and eight lab assistants.
Mr. Bigatallio’s predecessor’s was John Angle who was fired for just cause. The official reason for his dismissal was not made public, but it is well known that he was having trouble managing his staff as well as interacting with other departments. First, most of the engineers did not get along with one another; some have not spoken to each other for more than two years. Second, the technicians disliked the engineers because they were seen as arrogant prima donnas who were only concerned about themselves. The engineers did not have any respect for or confidence in the technicians. They felt that the technicians were a group of bungling incompetents who should all be sent back to trade school. Third, both of these teams were in almost complete harmony in their contempt for the lab assistants, all of whom they felt were lacking in initiative, vastly over-paid, vastly under-qualified, and were more concerned with abusing overtime privileges and about being promoted than achieving and maintaining minimum productivity standards.
Other line and staff departments’ heads were very upset with John Angle. The head of corporate financial control was dissatisfied with him because his department was constantly over budget allocations, particularly because of the excessive amount of overtime worked by his staff. He did not keep good records and did not submit accounting information on time. A recent audit revealed major financial irregularities of more than $300,000 in salaries. And there are also concerns about potential misappropriation of $250,000 of a government grant program. People in other departments (research and development, manufacturing, quality assurance) were very displeased with John Angle because the internecine warfare ongoing in his department made it difficult to work with anyone in engineering. This lack of communication, and frequent substandard lathes, dies and, design surveys resulted in backed-logged work and unnecessary overtime expenses. And when communication did occur, the engineering unit’s performance was generally unreliable.
John Angle believed in self-directing and autonomous work teams. Consequently, he believed in empowering his subordinates to make decisions, feel responsible for the successes of the department as well as their own successes. John provided little or no direction or support for his subordinates. He did not articulate his vision, leadership style, or expectations to his subordinates. He felt that they were highly trained professionals who should know what is expected of them and should be ‘willing to do the right thing.’ He also felt that by been self-regulating and solving their own problems as they arise, employees would learn from their own mistakes. He saw this as the best way for employees to grow and develop on the job and for the organization to realize maximum output from workers.
John Angle viewed himself as a progressive liberal thinker whose new-age leadership style would transform and motivate employees to achieve great things. He believed that sharing power would enhance employees’ self-worth and energize them. He also believed in maintaining a convivial work atmosphere. Thus, absenteeism and lateness were overlooked. Angle was also fairly lax in enforcing work rules and work productivity standards. As a consequence of the laxity in discipline and absence of enforcement of work standards, employees took advantage of these situation and work at their leisure, they were frequently late or absent and (mis)managed other aspects of their own work schedule. They also took frequent coffee breaks and tended to work substantially higher amount of overtime relative to other employees in the organization.
When Jeremiah was hired, he was told that he had the full confidence of the CEO and his vice-presidents to clean up the mess in the engineering department. He was given four months to fix all the existing problems in the department.
On his first day on the job, Jeremiah sat down in his office and typed on his laptop, ‘What type of leadership style should I use on this diverse team of individuals?’ Then he stopped to retrieve a note from his pocket that he found under his door that morning. It said: “Try changing our overtime around here and we will cut you down to size!”