Over a six-week period, a task force led by Bacon performed an analysis and prepared a presentation for a group of market managers. As the case takes us through the sequence of events, a few problems and issues arose. I will break down and explain what I believe were the main problems facing Bacon, what the root causes of these problems were, and what he should do in both the short term and long term to rectify these problems. What are the main problems facing Bacon?
There are three main problems facing Bacon:
1. The first problem relates to the team dynamics. Bacon failed to organize the task force around team processes. The task force was not cohesive and did not develop the trust needed for a highly effective team. 2. The second problem relates to the power and influence of the task force. Individually, members of the task force had various sources of power but Bacon did not manage and leverage this power. In addition, Bacon did not effectively prepare the task force to influence and persuade the market managers. 3. The third problem relates to conflict. The relationship conflict between Bacon and Meir was problematic as Meir was not engaged with the task force and continued to work independently. In addition, Meir did not respect Bacon’s authority as chairman of the task force. What are the root causes of problems?
Starting with the initial task force meeting, Bacon did not establish roles, rules or goals and objectives for the team. To be an effective team, Bacon should have implemented a process for the task force to develop as a team. McShane notes that teams working together develop norms, cohesion, and trust, collectively known as team processes. These team processes would enable members of the task force to get to know one another, trust each other, understand and agree on their respective roles, discover appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, and learn how to coordinate (McShane and Von Glinow, 2013). As members learn to trust one another, they establish confidence to share information, thereby strengthening team cohesion. It was clear that the task force was not going to develop as a cohesive unit. As the meeting had an awkward start, Meir discussed the need of a forecasting model for the entire process and Holt ended up suggesting that the task force work in smaller subgroups; Bacon failed to take charge that structure the task force. While it appeared that the smaller subgroups were making progress, the collaborated effort was disjointed as Meir was working independently from the group. As noted by Gratton and Erickson, collaboration improves when the roles of group members are clearly defined and understood (Gratton and Erickson, 2007). During the July 24 meeting, (approximately 1 month from the initial meeting) the team (except for Meir) met to share findings. Due to the fact that Bacon was not meeting with the task force on a regular basis, Bacon was not enabling a process where all of the task members were involved in the group decision making process (Rothenberg, 2012) to support the recommendations for the Marketing division. The benefits of group decision making include generating more ideas and better alternatives, people thinking together to arrive at better decisions because of stimulation and different points of view – including rejection of ideas (Rothenberg, 2012). This is an important point as the task force should have been aware the market managers were resistant to changes in the past and kept this in mind as they develop new recommendations. Bacon failed to realize that Bodin and Reiss could have used more help with their analysis related to the Sales division’s inputs into the forecast and Meir should have been working collaboratively with Bodin and Reiss as their work was highly interdependent. McShane notes that high task interdependence motivates people to be part of a team (McShane and Von Glinow, 2013). As a subgroup working to analyze the Sales...
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