05 Apr Which characteristics of excellence were lacking in this task force? Which characteristics of excellence were evident in this task force? ?How would you assess Kim as a leader? 4
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Starts with a Bang, Ends with a Whimper
Review the case study “Starts with a Bang, Ends with a Whimper”. In a 1 page paper, answer the following questions based on the case study.
1. Which characteristics of excellence were lacking in this task force?
2. Which characteristics of excellence were evident in this task force?
3. How would you assess Kim as a leader?
4. What actions would you take (internally or externally) if you were the leader of this task force?
How Safe is Safe?
Review the case study “How Safe is Safe”. In a 1 page paper, answer the following questions based on the case study.
1. As a company, would you describe PPI as having an identifiable philosophy of moral values? How do its policies contribute to this philosophy?
2. Which ethical perspective best describes PPI’s approach to safety issues? Would you say PPI takes a utilitarian-, duty-, or virtue-based approach?
3. Regarding safety issues, how does management see its responsibilities toward its employees? How do the attorneys see their responsibilities toward PPI?
4. Why does it appear that the ethics of PPI and its attorneys are in conflict?
Starts With a Bang, Ends With a Whimper
A faculty member, Kim Green from the Management Department, was asked to chair a major university committee to plan the mission of the university for the next 20 years. Three other senior faculty and seven administrators from across the campus were also asked to serve on this committee. The president of the university, Dr. Sulgrave, gave the committee its charge: What should Northcoast University be like in the year 2020? Dr. Sulgrave told the committee that the work of this task force was of utmost importance to the future of the university, and the charge of this committee should take precedence over all other matters. The task force was allowed to meet in the president’s conference room and use the president’s secretary. The report of the committee was due in two months.
The task force members felt very good about being selected for such an important team. The team met on a weekly basis for about two hours each time. At first, the members were very interested in the task and participated enthusiastically. They were required to do a great deal of outside research. They came back to the meetings proud to share their research and knowledge. However, after a while the meetings did not go well. The members could not seem to agree on what the charge to the team meant. They argued about what they were supposed to accomplish and resented the time the committee was taking from their regular jobs. Week after week the team met but accomplished nothing. Attendance became a problem, with people skipping several meetings, showing up late, or leaving early. Team members stopped working on their committee assignments. Kim didn’t want to admit to the university president that the team didn’t know what it was doing; instead, she just got more and more frustrated. Meetings became sporadic and eventually stopped altogether. The president was involved in a crisis in the university and seemed to lose interest in the committee. The president never called for the report from the committee, and the report was never completed.
How Safe Is Safe?
Perfect Plastics Incorporated (PPI) is a small injection molding plastics company that employs 50 people. The company is 10 years old, has a healthy balance sheet, and does about $4 million a year in sales. The company has a good safety record, and the insurance company that has PPI’s liability policy has not had to pay any claims to employees for several years. There have been no major injuries of any kind since the company began.
Tom Griffin, the owner, takes great pride in the interior design and working conditions at PPI. He describes the interior of the plant as being like a hospital compared with his competitors. Order, efficiency, and cleanliness are top priorities at PPI. It is a remarkably well-organized manufacturing company.
PPI has a unique approach to guaranteeing safe working conditions. Each year, management brings in outside consultants from the insurance industry and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to audit the plant for unsafe conditions. Each year, the inspections reveal a variety of concerns, which are then addressed through new equipment, repairs, and changed work-flow designs. Although the inspectors continue to find opportunities for improvement, the overall safety improves each year.
The attorneys for PPI are very opposed to the company’s approach to safety. The lawyers are vehemently against the procedure of having outside auditors. If a lawsuit were to be brought against PPI, the attorneys argue that any previous issues could be used as evidence of a historical pattern and knowledge of unsafe conditions. In effect, the audits that PPI conducts voluntarily could be used by plaintiffs to strengthen a case against the company.
The president and management recognize the potential downside of outside audits, but they point out that the periodic reviews are critical to the ongoing improvement of the safety of everyone in the plant. The purpose of the audits is to make the shop a secure place, and that is what has occurred. Management also points out that PPI employees have responded positively to the audits and to the changes that result.
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