Bob Knowlton at Simmons Laboratories
Introduction Simmons Laboratories are in a difficult situation following Bob Knowlton’s sudden, unanticipated resignation. This paper outlines what Bob Knowlton could have done differently and identifies specific ideas about teams, organizational culture artefacts and underlying assumptions and organizational and personal values that could have resulted in a positive outcome. Question 1 Appreciation for honest dialogue amongst his team would have aided Bob Knowlton in ensuring supportive team norms. Knowlton had concerns from the first night he met Fester, yet he remained silent. He neglected to be open and honest with his team and with Jerrold, his boss. Knowlton could have demonstrated honest dialogue without personal affront when Fester commented on team ideas, satirically describing how they led to a “high level of mediocrity.” By not addressing Fester’s comment, Knowlton placed Simmons Laboratories theory of “small research teams being the basic organization for effective research” at risk. Knowlton could have stated Simmons Laboratories theory of small research to Fester in confidence after the meeting. By doing so, Knowlton would have increased common understanding and in a non offensive way informed him of Simmons Laboratories underlying theory, as lead by Dr. Jerrold. Knowlton could have actively managed the conflict that was occurring within his team rather than exercising avoidance or withdrawal from the situation. By avoiding the conflict team members were experiencing he may have increased frustration for all team members. Avoidance ultimately led to the leadership of the group being taken over from Knowlton by Fester. Fester could have used a collaborative approach to deal with team conflict which would have shown respect for existing team members and given them the opportunity to openly discuss the issues arising since Fester joined the team. Although Knowlton did privately discuss the matter with two...
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