Reaction Paper

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Written by W. Gale Cutler (Research Technology Management, March-April, 1998, pp. 57-58)

This article presents a typical human resource problem concerning some dispute between the head of a research department and one of his subordinate leaders on dealing and handling a product safety problem.

It was during R&D Budget planning meeting in WYZ Company when the head of Electrical Engineering Research, Bob Bateman along with others group leader do the 1998 budget deliberation; and part was to tackle the request for research projects; like addressing product safety problem like shock hazard. Shock occurs upon contact of a body part with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current. Normally, this expression is used to describe an injurious exposure to electricity. Correcting such problem would cost the company a lot of time, effort and resource charge to company’s expense.

As the head of the research team, Bob Bateman imposed that the request is too insignificant for a modification of the current control system of the said product. As the manager of that department, he always sees the overview of the research operation and come up with the idea the all in the group are heavily loaded by a day’s work; and it is a waste of time, money and effort for the group to get in to the details of problem in view of the fact that there are only few case of reported shock hazard by customer. Bob is a type of manager that is the autocrat, doesn’t take influence by it support group and more on the retroactive side.

Covering up the truth and their worries of being sued, they agreed that no trace of modification request should exist in any form, shredding the modification request from one of their support group was an option for Bob; as if such requests never happen. Decision made during the planning meeting are based from some experiences on the other company experience such complaints, even though...
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