Discussion Questions for Week 14
How could Stanley get away with what he had done?
Stanley was in a good position to go scot-free because there was no evidence of his involvement on the messages he drafted for Ted and Kerry. In truth, the anguish of Stanley is unnecessary since his current problem is a result of basic error.
What is the real benefit to Stanley?
The real benefit to Stanley is that he has the power of lower participants. He can alter the information that is expected to reach either Ted Shelby or Kerry Drake to his own advantage. Additionally, Stanley manages to save his reputation in the company if he manages to get away with his actions. In this case, we cannot rule out the possibility of Stanley receiving a career promotion. Salvaging his reputation is therefore a good benefit to him.
Is Stanley acting dishonest or unethically?
Stanley is acting both dishonestly and unethically at the same time. Stanley’s actions represent a case of ethics being substituted by opportunism. From his position, Stanley is dishonest because he does own up to the fact that he the message he sent to Shelby on behalf of Kerry was his won words or views and did not represent Kerry’s own. In this case, he should have been honest and made it clear that he was the sender of that message. The aspect of being unethical comes through when he realizes his error but fails to act upon it.
Could an event like this happen in an organization?
Indeed, events such as these do happen in organizations. Chapter 51 is named “ghosting for gain”, implying that employees in an organization may not own up to their own mistakes or errors with a view of achieving their goals or benefits
At what point does exaggeration in business become unacceptable?
Exaggeration in business becomes unacceptable when it affects the productivity of the business, or compromises its values and morals. Exaggeration is not harmful if the best interests of the company are not affected.
Upon receiving an ambiguous message like “exercise on this” why does a subordinate not just ask the supervisor what he meant?
This is because, asking such a top management question, one implies that the employee is not intellectually equipped enough either to understand what the management meant or that the management staff is incompetent by not making themselves clear.
From your previous experience, do you have any stories that are similar to this one?
I have been in this kind of situation at one time when participating in a local soccer match in my home area. Our coach was one who was authoritative and hard to please. There was this occasion in a soccer match when he called me up from the substitute’s bench and play. However, his instructions were ambiguous but he required me play a striker’s role high up the pitch rather than a defender’s role. The opposition team was taking a corner kick against us and I ended up scoring an own goal. The coach and most of my teammates blamed me for the loss.
What are the communication lessons of this episode for those in the position of leadership?
The main lesson is that those in the position of leadership should be clear about what they mean and what they expect while passing down information to their subordinates. That is the information should be accurate.
Why is Ben not promoted?
Ben is not promoted because he opposed the company’s move to install the PIP program at Pawtucket.
Why is Ben resistant to pressure but not immune?
Ben is resistant to pressure because, as the plant manager at Pawtucket facilities, he has some form of authority and control over the decisions involving the plant’s future. However, he is not immune to the pressure because the top-level management of the company and other plant managers are synchronized in their decisions regarding their support of the PIP program.
What is likely to happen if Ben resists the program?
He is likely to be fired as the Pawtucket facilities plant manager.
Will he eventually have to accept a version of it?
Yes, that is if he values his position as the current plant manager at the Pawtucket facilities.
Why is Marsh not willing to fire Ben instead he is willing to get another vice president?
This is because he wants to offload the burden of having to fire Ben himself. This is also because he knows the vice president will follow orders because of his high level of authority.
What is the significance of the title “The point of no return”?
The title is referring to the decisions the employees and managers make in their daily routine. Some decisions have consequences that cannot be reversed.
Do all organizations tend to grow and die?
Some organizations exhibit growth and continuity while others grow successfully, and may be forced to shut down due to certain actors such as liquidation.
If not, which ones tend to grow and die?
Companies like these grow when the economic environment is favorable and then when the conditions shift to unfavorable, they are unable to stabilize themselves and as a result, they die.
What are some of the reasons why organizations grow and die?
Organizations grow because of government support, good management from both the technical professional staff and the technical clerical staff and a favorable economic environment. On the other hand, organizations die because of poor financial management, poor decision-making by the management and unfavorable economic environment.
Have you ever found a job where you were paid to do very little or no work?
What are the lessons learnt from this chapter?
One lesson is that organizations should have professional financial management to survive for a long-term period. Organizations should also practice good decision making so that unforeseen occurrences like economic depressions can be easily managed.
How do the lessons of this chapter apply to what is happening now?
A majority of organizations are currently closing down during these times of recession because they made bad financial decisions.
How does Kenny Sypher get away with it?
Kenny Sypher gets away with it because there is no proof of his involvement.
Why does Kenny Sypher drag his feet too much?
Kenny drags his feet too much because he wants to perform his tasks with precision every time.
What does the director’s payoff matrix look like?
+10 is a very favorable outcome
+5 is a moderately favorable outcome
0 is a neutral outcome
-5 is a moderately unfavorable outcome
-10 is a very unfavorable outcome
When the director orders extra work to be done, why does Sypher not comply?
The director orders extra work to be done when the company has not been able to reach its target or achieve its daily work goal. Sypher fails to comply because of machine failure.
How is Sypher’s situation similar to or different from Stanley’s situation in chapter 9?
Sypher and Stanley’s conditions are similar because both of them preferred to approach their situations with caution rather than with haste.