Henry Tam and the Mgi Team

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The MGI Team Case Study is a lesson in the difficulties faced by a team with inadequate leadership. Indications of possible problems in the group’s functioning were evident even before the MGI team’s first meeting. At that time, the group consisted of the three founders of MGI and two Harvard Business School (HBS) second year students. The heterogeneous nature of the group was an area of possible conflict. Three or perhaps four different cultures were represented on the team. Two of the founders were from the Ukraine and remained very close to the culture. The third founder was from St. Petersburg, Russia and was considered by the other two members to be more Americanized. Dana, the first student selected to join the team, was the only woman and was Romanian. Henry Tam, the only American, rounded out the initial team. Differences in age also represented areas of possible difficulty in group dynamics as the two students were significantly younger than the founders. Members also brought either musical or business oriented skill sets to the team.

Although there appeared to be a common goal shared by the members of team – preparing a business plan for MGI – the group could come to no agreement about the direction the company should take and thus no agreement about the content of the business plan. The decision facing the group was a non-programmed decision and thus more appropriate to be decided by a group rather than an individual. However, the group’s process in coming to a decision about the direction of the plan was unproductive. The MGI Team’s process consisted of endless discussions and arguments about the relative merits of various directions the company might take. The root cause of the lack of progress was the fact that no clear leader emerged from the group. Igor, the most charismatic member of the founders and perhaps the most logical choice for leader, made it clear that he lacked business and organizational skills and effectively...
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