Case Study on Teamwork Problem
Case Study Summary Mike Garcia and Jill Hendrickson have been butting heads for months at work. Mike is a manufacturing manager at Auto Safety Products, which is a firm in the Midwest that designs and produces automobile seat belts and infant and child safety seats.
Jill is a design engineer for the same firm. Top management at their work instituted concurrent engineering, a team-based system that integrates manufacturing and design processes. Concurrent engineering is intended to eliminate the problems that often occur in industry when designers are unaware of the needs of manufacturing.
Through concurrent engineering, management hoped to improve attention to all elements of the product life cycle and manufacture a quality, low-cost product that will meet user needs. The company was also hoping to decrease the amount of time it takes to move from initial conceptual design to actual production.
Both Mike and Jill are on the team working on toddler booster seats. This is an important product for Auto Safety Products, as research has indicated that parents do not use safety seats once children reach toddler age. The reason for this is because they are difficult to use in cars and uncomfortable for the children.
Thus the team at Auto Safety Products worked to make the seats easier for parents to use by making them more comfortable, more portable, and more compatible with a range of automobiles from small sports cars to sedans to minivans to SUVs. Mike is 55-years-old and has worked in manufacturing for most of his life.
He has spent the past 22 years working at Auto Safety Products. Mike has always felt some animosity toward the design side of the firm. He found the engineers unwilling to listen to the problems faced in manufacturing.
He often complained that the design department generates projects that run into all sorts of problems once they hit manufacturing. He approached the new concurrent engineering program at his work.
Jill is 25-years-old and is a mechanical engineer who has been with Auto Safety Products since her college graduation. Jill is assertive and strong-minded; she believes she has to be effective in the male-dominated world of engineering. She learned about the concurrent engineering concept when she was in school and she believes it can greatly improve the effectiveness of design and manufacturing.
Unfortunately, it has not worked at Auto Safety Products. The manufacturing side has not really bought into the process, and management did not take the time to introduce the team management system properly and train people to work together. Jill has a hard time with Mike Garcia, who is the lead manufacturing representative on her team.
Jill and Mike had to work together frequently on a booster seat design in a variety of vans. Their inability to work together has gotten so bad that their supervisor had to set up a meeting to help them deal with the problem.
Adam Shapiro is the project supervisor at Auto Safety Products. He oversaw the booster seat project team that Mike and Jill worked on. Adam knows the two of them have not hit it off on the concurrent engineering team and had decided that the conflict had gotten to the point where he must step in and help them settle it.
He brought them in individually and asked them about the problem and what the problem was. Jill was the first person Adam talked to. According to Jill the problem is that Mike would not listen to her ideas and downplays the contributions that design can make to concurrent engineering.
On the other hand she sees design as the most important part of the concurrent engineering process. Jill suspects that Mike has problems with her because she is young and a woman, and this has made her push even harder for her point of view on project disagreements.
After Jill discussed the problem with Adam, Mike was the next person to discuss the problem with Adam. Mike thinks the concurrent engineering system and the booster seat team in particular is a joke. He says that the design engineers are still trying to push their ideas down the manufacturing’s throat and he’s tired of it.
Also Mike would like to go back to doing things the old way. However, if he is forced to continue with the concurrent engineering system, he refuses to give in to every one of Jill’s ideas. Case Analysis Questions 1a.
What kind of predispositions are Mike and Jill taking into this conflict situation? Mike believes that engineers are “uppity” and unwilling to listen to the problems dealing with manufacturing. As a female engineer Jill feels as though she needs to be effective in the male-dominated world of engineering 1b.
How might these predispositions influence the way the frame the conflict and the way they approach each other? These predispositions are definitely negatively influencing the way Mike and Jill approach each other. Obviously they are going to automatically approach each other negatively because of their opinions. 2a. If Mike and Jill were to attempt to deal with this conflict on their own, what conflict style would you recommend? If Mike and Jill were to attempt to deal with this conflict on their own I would recommend that they use the compromising conflict style.
Compromising will allow you to achieve both of your goals, resulting in a “win-win” situation instead of a “win-lose” situation. 2b. Given what you know about Jill and Mike, do you think they would use an effective conflict resolution style? No, because when the problem first arose they had a hard time coming to a common ground resolution. I believe if it wasn’t for Adam they would have never resolved the problem. 3a. If you were Adam, how would you approach this conflict? If I was Adam, I would sit them both down together and have them write down the benefits that each of them bring to the company.
b. What strategies should you use to help Mike and Jill deal with their ongoing problems? A strategy that I l would use is integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining, the conflicting parties are trying to maximize gains for both parties (Miller, 2012). The bargainers discuss issues that could lead to a more creative solution to the problem at hand. Outcomes of integrative bargaining are often solution that allow both parties to benefit, and communication tends to be marked by open disclosure, careful listening and multiple communication channels.
I believe this is the perfect strategy to use because with both Mike and Jill having problems with each other and the way they do things, if Adam uses this strategy I think you would solve problems for both people. 3c. Would you consider bringing in a mediator to help them work through their issues? I think there should be a mediator in the meeting as well, just in case things would get intense and they could not come up with a fair compromise. 4a. How would a feminist approach to conflict see this situation? They would see this situation that Mike is wrong and Jill is right.
They would see it this way because a feminist approach would say that men don’t listen to women and they don’t take them as serious as other men especially in the workforce.
4b. Is it possible to use an alternative model that would recast this situation in a more productive frame? No because I think Adam handled this situation the right way by bringing Mike and Jill in and have them discuss the problem. This way is more productive because they can express themselves without knowing what the other person said. You can cover more ground by one-on-one problem solving.
Effective Student Teams: A Faux Hiring and Peer Evaluation Process Student team projects provide benefits to the education process and provide experience that is valued by some employers. But team projects can be a source of conflict.
Due to free-riding, scheduling problems and differing goals, there are fertile grounds for team conflicts. Therefore, there needs to be a better method of forming teams and a process to assure shared goals by team members (Lane 2011). The author Michelle Lane discussed the Faux Hiring Team Selection Process. In this process there are six steps to form and select a team.
Step one is the selection of interviewers. Step two is posting interviewee’s applications for review by classmates and interviewers.
The third step is to hold a “Job Fair” where a faux interview process occurs. The fourth step is the selection of personal top choices by both interviewers and interviewees. The next step is the instructor team assignment. Finally the forming and the signing of the team contract is the last step. Results In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the faux hiring process, two classes of 40 students each were studied in the fall semester 2009.
Independent T-Tests showed no statistical difference between the two classes in terms of age and GPA.
In the first class the teams were assigned randomly by the instructor and in the second class the job fair approach was used. The teams were used for two projects that took place over the semester. One project involved the use of the CAPSIM simulation. The second project was a business study requiring research, an interview and a class presentation of their findings. Each project was worth 20% of their course grade.
(Lane 2011) The effectiveness of the faux hiring team assignment was assessed in two ways.
The first way was the total team points earned from the simulation and the business projects were compared using a t-test of mean group differences. The results were significant with the faux hiring teams scoring higher than the randomly assigned teams. The second assessment was at the end of the semester, students were asked to fill out an anonymous online survey about their team experience. There were 43 respondents to this survey.
19 were from the instructor assigned teams and the remaining 24 were from the faux hiring teams. The results show that the faux hiring teams had stronger scores on shared goals, and had fewer conflicts.
This article relates to our case study because it is an example of a way to prevent teamwork problems. This article basically says to go through an interview process to find a good team that has common goals and would get along to avoid conflicts. Whereas the case study does not use a process like this and Mike and Jill have a problem and are unable to resolve it.
What is Expected from Supervisors This article was about how the past 10 years that team members enter the workforce as well as management or leadership emphasis influences different images of supervisors.
There were certain features of management discussion during the past decades that are used as instruments in addressing the contributing research question: What is still expected from management and leadership? Liisa Huusko found that team member who are not the same age have different images of supervisors. Thus they wait partly for different actions within team organization. Human Resource Management issues seem to be included in supervisors’ duties in every decade. For example, encouraging and career-development matters do not appear until the 1980s.
Furthermore, different kinds of computer-aided control systems are not able to respond to quick changes and uncommon situations relating to everyday duties. The image of supervisors that workers take for granted must be taken into consideration during the changes and shifts between responsible actors. This article relates to our case study because it shows that age does have an effect on teamwork. Age makes a difference because the older people want to do it the way they have been used to all their life and not want to change with younger generation as well as the technology that is changing.
Some older generation refuse to update their technology and it is having an effect with teamwork. Finally, this goes with the case study because this article presents a male-female problem, where the male refuses to listen to the female’s idea.
NBA Lockout: Can Both Sides Agree on Basketball-Related Income? I obtained this article from the Los Angeles Times Newspaper. The article was written and published on October 28, 2011. It talks about the National Basketball Association (NBA) lockout and how the players union and the owners are struggling to agree on terms for salary cap and other issues.
This is an example of teamwork and the problems with teamwork. For example, the NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and Spurs owner Peter Hold said the players union offered a decrease from 53% to 52. 5% but wouldn’t discuss anything further if owners wouldn’t offer more than 50% (Medina, 2011).
With the two sides going back and forth and unable to come up with a number they could agree they have brought in a mediator to help with negotiations. But even with the mediator the two sides still have not agree on terms. Thus, the NBA season is in jeopardy. NBA Commissioner David Stern has already cancelled all games through November.