Case Study

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Dr. David Pope arrived at his office at 8:10 in a foul mood. One of his children kept him up half the night with a flu. He is usually able to spend a couple of hours in the evening at home reading reports from his department heads, but the sick child had precluded last night. His secretary greeted him cheerily and handed him three phone messages that have come in already.

Dr. Pope was the director for engineering for the Seagraves Corporation. Two of the messages were marked urgent: he decided to return George Jamison’s call first. Jamison was the head of plant engineering. “Dave, we had a bad fire at the North Plant last night. It started in the window air conditioner checkout line. Looks like they’ll be out at least a couple of weeks unless I can work my people overtime,” reported Jamison. After some discussion, Pope authorized Jamison to work as much overtime as necessary to get the line going again. Jamison promised to keep Pope posted on progress. Next Pope called Dr. John Bush, the director of research and development.

BUSH:Thanks for returning my call so promptly, David. I was talking to Pat Wright at a cocktail party last night, and he told me that there is going to be trouble at the new products committee meeting tomorrow morning. Seems Sherry Smith has decided that our waste treatment plant is inadequate to handle the additional load from the degreasers needed for the new refrigerator line I knew we’d have nothing but trouble putting a consumer advocate on the committee.

POPE:What brought about her concern?

BUSH:Seems she read an article about river pollution and went down and talked to one of the operators at the treatment plant.

POPE: Okay, John, don’t worry. I’ll bring a copy of that study Jamison’s people did. That ought to satisfy everyone’s concerns. Maybe you should call on me at some appropriate point in your presentation, and I’ll say a few words in this regard.

BUSH:Great, I’m sure glad I went to that party and ran into Wright. That would have been a nasty shock to have gotten hit cold.

As he hangs up, Janice, his secretary, enters and reminds him of his 10 o’clock appointment and his intention to call the company plant attorney.

JANICE: Here’s the mail. Nothing much except a budget request from industrial engineering and a research proposal from material engineering. Oh, yes, Joe Land stopped by and wants to see you when you’re free. He said it was something to do with that new engineer he wants to hire. I almost forgot: the flight you wanted to Washington was booked, so I put you on the 4 p.m. flight on the tenth. Pope quickly went though the mail. He signed without reading the proposal from the materials group to a government agency; dictated on his recorder a negative reply to an invitation to speak to a regional meeting of ASPE, on the excuse that he would be out of town; noted on his appointment calendar the date of the United Way (of which he was a member) board meeting; and read the request from the Industrial Engineering Department for a new minicomputer and made some notes on it requesting clarification of certain portions and further justification for why they could not use the company’s CDC 7600 computer.

It was now 9:15; he called Janice in and asked; “Who is this meeting at 10 o’clock with?” Once told, he asks Janice to arrange for his administrative assistant to be present at the meeting. He also told her to call Joe Land and tell him to come on up. Picking up the phone, he returns the call of George Wallace, the general sales manager. Wallace’s secretary says he is out of the office but will call back. As Pope hangs up, Joe Land enters his office. For the next 30 minutes they discuss the pros and cons of two applicants who have been interviewed for a lead engineer’s job. They finally agree on one of the applicants, and Pope tells Land to get together with personnel on the salary to be offered but to check him first...
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