The Groupware Fiasco

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Group decision making Pages: 5 (1548 words) Published: November 30, 2013

Group Presentation: Groupware Fiasco
Polk State College


The Groupware fiasco begins with a struggling human sciences and humanities department at a university that has just experienced radical changes. The dean of the HSH division, Dr. Susan Pollard, enlists Dr. Eve Gordon to increase the efficiency of the division in her absence and decides the division’s secretaries - suffering from poor communication, gossip and animosity about unfair workloads - will complete a Groupware project to improve the situation. This paper analyzes factors that contributed to conflict; examines the pros and cons associated with group decision-making and; discusses whether Groupware was successful or not, how laissez-faire leadership can lead to dysfunctional behavior and how to manage stress in the workplace.

Group Presentation: Groupware Fiasco

Group work and brainstorming has led to many brilliant advances in today’s business world but group work doesn’t always “work.” Poor management and egos coupled with unclear objectives, lead to disaster and conflict - the Groupware fiasco is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Several factors contributed to the conflict among staff at the HSH division office. Recent structural changes shocked and discombobulated employees and also made Dr. Eve Gordon leery of making changes or “rocking the boat” when she took over her position. Secretaries seemed to have blurred job descriptions, which allowed efficient workers to be over loaded, and less efficient workers to slack since their work was pawned onto those already at max capacity to “keep the peace.” Open lines of communication didn’t seem to exist which caused anger to fester and denied managers the benefit of employee complaints and input that would have allowed for problems to be addressed. This type of communication breakdown caused characteristic problems including the creation of uncertainty, sharing resources, poor teamwork, rumors and gossip (Joseph). Add in what seems to be a lack of internal structure, Gordon’s laissez-faire leadership style and defensive avoidance (procrastination) reaction toward making decisions and the “perfect storm” is born. Gordon’s laissez-faire leadership style and defensive avoidance reaction toward making changes played a pivotal role in the escalation of problems and animosity in her division (Manktelow). Laissez-Faire, a French term meaning “leave it be” characterizes a leader or manager, such as Gordon, who does not get involved in managing unless they need to (Manktelow). She is not proactive in identifying the problem(s); thinking up solutions; evaluating the solutions and selecting one; and implementing and evaluating the solution chosen as is characteristic in rational decision making. Instead, Gordon procrastinates when making decisions – possibly with intentions to “pass the buck” to Dr. Susan Pollard, in hopes that Groupware would work before the problem escalates to a point where she is forced to react (Kinicki). While laissez-faire leadership can have a positive effect by empowering employees and increasing their job satisfaction, without clear job descriptions and an understanding of their roles in an organization, they just aren’t as productive. “When people work together - each person contributing to their area of expertise - great things happen. “’Every person in your organization is important to its success. When you’re the leader, spend quality time with your people to stay connected.’ The leader must know his or her role and help other people understand and carry out their roles” according to Bob Seelert, chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi (Hopkin). Without sufficient knowledge, skills, or motivation to do their work effectively, employee morale and work productivity will and did – in this case –suffer (Manktelow). Dr. Pollard’s top priority as dean of HSH is to create and maintain a productive...

References: Barringer Last, B., & Ireland, D. (2012). Entreprenuership: successfully launching new ventures. (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Hopkin, Michael . "Lead on Purpose." Lead on Purpose. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. <>.
Joseph, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Kinicki, Angelo, and Brian K. Williams. Management: A Practical Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2011. Print
Manktelow, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Segal , J. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Thompkins, Teri (2002). Cases in Management and Organizational Behavior (Volume 2). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
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