1. How well is this team performing? (Scale of 1-5 effectiveness, 5 most effective).
Discuss. Team is not performing well. I can give 2 or maybe 3 at most for its effectiveness. Because firstly, there is a serious motivation problem. Beaumont’s new policy of cross-functional team to look at the bigger picture did not change the way of reporting and evaluation of the team members. They were working both in the project and in their functional area but they were evaluated only on the basis of performance on their functional area.
So there is no indication of extrinsic or intrinsic reward for the team performance. This situation is not motivational at all. Secondly, there are many kinds of conflicts in the team such as information conflict because of poor communication and relationship conflict because of personalities of the team members and the main reason for these conflicts may be the lack of motivation.
2. What external forces are affecting the IntensCare team’s behavior, culture, outcome? (i. e. , Technology, competition).
Discuss. Competition is the most affecting external force for the team.
Because the formation of cross-functional team and the time pressure created by Beaumont was just because of competition with two well-known public competitor. Another external force is technology. Since the software design and development for the monitoring system is outsourced to a firm in India it is difficult to control and monitor progress. Therefore, Mukerjee who is responsible for this task is spending most of his time in India and he can’t talk about the integration of software and hardware into the design with O’Brien who is senior engineering manager. Economic recession is another important external force. Because company had to make some companywide cutbacks and staff reduction which made the project more challenging and difficult for the team.
3. Describe and discuss the issues internal to the organization. (Functional structure, trust issues) Formation of cross-functional team for the project seems to be most effective way of new product development. However, diversity of the group is not managed properly and conflicts are not handled effectively because of poor communication. There is a serious degree of trust problem in the team.
For example, Merz has not much confidence in team members’ competence and she is not believing in their ability to deliver the product. Therefore, we can’t talk about a team efficacy for this team. Everyone asserts his/her expertise and experience but no one regards and trust each other’s. Lastly evaluation system of performance of the employees is a serious problem. While they were working both in the project and in their functional areas, they were evaluated only on the basis of performance on their functional area. This situation definitely destroys motivation of the team.
4. Describe and discuss issues in the IntensCare Project Team (goals, leadership, power issues, design of team and it’s dynamics, conflict). There are many kinds of conflicts in the team. First of all, there is a serious trust issue in the team which led to poor communication which is causing information conflict. For example, Jack and O’Brien didn’t inform Merz on engineering problems about data displays and battery units or O’Brien didn’t have information whether there is any update about delays with the software. Task interdependency is an inevitable outcome of parallel development system and this situation increases the tension of the team.
For example, O’Brien’s critical path depends on the software and similarly any major problems in product design would create delays in the marketing of the product. So if there is a problem at the bottom line, all project is affected by that problem as a whole. There is a value conflict between Karen Baio and the others. While she sees the project as an important healthcare initiative that will save many lives, the other team members, according to her, act like this whole project is some kind of game they are trying to win.
There is relationship conflict because of interpersonal differences. For example, almost no one likes Merz because of her aggressive attitude. Maybe the silliest conflict in the team is task conflict about the modular design of the product between Merz and O’Brien. While Merz is thinking modularity may be introduced in the second version, after the initial product introduction, she has not expressed that idea just because she doesn’t want to create an excuse for engineering to ignore the demand for modularizing anything.
O’Brien also had no intention of developing modules for the initial version of the system. However, since Merz didn’t reveal her actual view about the modules, they are in a serious task conflict. Time pressure created by Beaumont is also exacerbating these conflicts. Neither Fogel nor Merz do any coaching effort for the team work. Beaumont says that “if I jump in there and shout or accuse them, what I’d basically be saying that I don’t have faith in people I’ve assembled to get the job done, and I don’t think they’re giving it their best effort.
And that’s not what I should be doing. My job is to support them, not shout at them. ” However, the team itself is exactly in that situation and Beaumont even isn’t aware of that. He KNOWS what he should do, but he need to DO as well.
5. What should Merz do? (Go up, go across, going to team) In my opinion, the work style of the team is wrong, so what should Merz firstly do is to inform Beaumont about the conflicts and tension within the team.
To establish a cross-functional team for new product development is a common way but if there is a serious time pressure, as in this case, to separate the team from the formal structure of the rest of the organization and give it them some degree of autonomy can enhance both the motivation of the team members and the speed of the work. If Intensecare team members only work for this project and are evaluated and rewarded on the basis of performance in the project, most of the problems can be solved. Also there should be just one leader in the team who has good communicative skills and has a supportive leadership style.