responses for 3 easy in two or three sentence for each one please
(1)-Three Problems with the IntensCare Product Development Team
1- Individual Level-Motivations and Attitudes
Every team member had their own motivations for working on the project. Aaron Gerson was the scientist who came up with the idea for IntensCare. Bret O'Brien focused on his idea of a non-modular design for the product, and was described as passive aggressive. Jack Fogel was project manager concerned with scheduling regular meetings, but not as business-focused as Art Beaumont preferred. Dipesh Mukerjee headed software design and immediately outsourced the project to India. There is a sense he was overconfident in his plan. Valerie Merz handled marketing and wanted the product to be module-based, which conflicted with O'Brien's design vision. Her aggressive personality placed her at odds with multiple group members. Karen Baio was in charge of regulatory affairs and it appeared Dipesh and Valerie tested her patience. While each team member had their own motivations for their respective responsibilities, the team failed to identify a "bigger picture" goal. They appeared to only be a team in name, not in practice.
2) Group Level-Communication
Communication was either problematic or nonexistent throughout the project. Issues and concerns were only brought up between a couple members as opposed to the team as a whole. This was due in part to the difficult personalities of certain members, most notably Valerie Merz. Team members kept issues to themselves to avoid conflict with others. Dipesh Mukerjee's time in India made it difficult to establish communication with him and work out the issues he faced with software development.
The two issues identified above led to this third problem. Lack of effective communication and a collective goal ultimately slowed down productivity. Everyone became more concerned with the deadline and failed to appropriately work out challenges as a team. The team became increasingly splintered due to differing visions of what the product needed to be, and conflicting attitudes prevented adequate communication. By the end of the case, the problems with development in India, a finalized product design, and an overall clear path toward the deadline remained unresolved.
Based on the OB model, the MediSys case poses a plethora errors that could have been avoided or resolved from the inception of the plan president Art Beaumont created.
The biggest problem the group faced was the lack of communication of each other’s needs. The further the project developed, the less each member was communicating and forthcoming of their needs. This led to private meetings and members alienating one another. It also reared petty gossip which caused even more stress to the already tension fueled team.
Another problem with MediSys was the lack of an understanding of goals on an organizational level. When Beaumont was hired, he was in charge of putting out a product that could keep the competition at bay. He wanted speed and nothing else. While his idea of forming a team with a lead from every department was well-meaning, he did not assess each team member’s ability to work together with other departments. Each department and department head had a different understand of what Beaumont was seeking. On a group level, the team could have clearly stated and outlined their goals for the project; allowing a concrete outlook on what needed to be done, rather than have an abstract goal.
Lastly, the lack of respect within the group caused power struggles and animosity. This is especially seen in the case study when Valerie Merz was describing her frustration with Jack Vogel and the team about their perceived doubts of her leadership and competency. While Merz was confident in her abilities due to her previous experience, she felt that she had no say to motivate her team to keep going, despite feeling that she was greatly responsible for the company’s profit and losses. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of values of each member, which caused the animosity and stress-induced decision being made under pressure.
I believe if the team discussed their goals with management (including the president) and discussed their individual strength and weaknesses from the beginning, the whole process would have been a bit smoother. By setting these clear standards, it would have been easier for the team to see the grand picture that Beaumont had while simultaneously keeping their individual goals/tasks in sight.
The three levels of analysis in the Organizational Behavior model simplified the relationship that employees have in a workforce in the individual, group and organizational levels. In the “MediSys Corp: The IntensCare Product Development Team” case, the following were the 3 major problems I identified:
- Attitudes and Stress- The attitudes that colleagues have about each other can impact greatly their performance in an important company project. When the attitude is negative the working environment becomes stressful, which adds stress to the rest of the team. Valerie Merz is an example of this, she mentioned that she felt as if she needed to be on top of everyone to make sure all of them were on track with their assignments because any delay would impact her performance. Her negativity makes her very difficult to work with, where one colleague even decides to possibly be taken out of the project in order to avoid her paranoia. This would only affect the overall organization's productivity since it may delay the company's launch of the new product. Other members of the project were also influenced by their view of their fellow colleagues, for example, Karen Baio, who even labeled herself as an obstructionist, found many of their colleagues hard to work with. When this mentality and tension exists among employees it is difficult to create a culture where everyone is working together towards the same goals.
- Group Cohesion- Group cohesion measures the extent in which members of a group support and validate one another at work.Throughout the case study there is evidence that the group was not working as a team, thus affecting their performance. This is influenced by their attitudes and the fact that they are working under stress. MediSys Corp has their competition also trying to launch a similar product and the CEO has established a difficult launch date. Deadlines can be stressful and can impact everyone's behavior. However, when there is an incredible amount of stress involved with a project, the CEO should assign a great leader to lead the pack. In this case study the attitude towards the project lead was not a positive one. In one part of the passage, the project lead, Jack Fogel is called "the good guy" because his ability to lead the project and keep everyone aligned and on track is questioned. This is not an attitude to have towards the project manager, because the lead should have skills that encourage and motivate the team to perform effectively. If we enter into an assignment with this attitude towards the one person leading the team, the team may not function properly and that is what is happening with the IntensCare Product development team.
- Withdrawal Behavior - This case study did not have examples of extreme cases of withdrawal behavior. I think the case ended with a cliffhanger for a reason, but I also believe the attitude from one particular associate did foreshadow the possibility of a withdrawal and that wasn't Valerie Merz. The case study mentioned that Brent O'Brien felt that his team was receiving an increasing amount of workload, that the project was "a mission impossible" and in the end only Valerie Merz and Jack Fogel were going to receive "all the glory" and recognition for this new product. These are signs of withdrawal that will impact the performance of an individual and may cascade over to other teams. The company needs to improve their culture in order to promote more of a citizenship behavior where employees exceed expectations and go beyond their roles to accomplish a goal. A great example of that was Aaron Gerson who took initiative and had a great relationship with his colleagues.
It is certain that there are many areas to improve among the attitudes and behaviors of this group while they work in this project. The CEO and project lead should work on motivating the team to have a cohesive-driven group, to change their attitudes towards each other, and possibly encourage a more citizenship behavior mentality.