Henry Tam Essay

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MGMT E-4000 Henry Tam Case Study October 22, 2011 Henry Tam Case Study Answer 1: Understanding what went wrong during the Henry Tam case requires adopting a holistic systems thinking approach because of the complexity and multi-levels of conflict involved. One person or one facet of the MGI group was not solely responsible for the conflicting tensions that brewed, ultimately threatening the productivity and completion of the project. Instead, a hybrid of strikingly different backgrounds, clashing personalities, lack of agenda, absence of assigned tasks, mutual disrespect, and conflicting self-perceptions permeated to morph into a team that struggled from the business plan’s conception to completion. Whereas some conflict may be considered healthy or even encouraged within an organization, the conflict that developed within the MGI group was highly counterproductive because it involved, “poor listening, one-up-manship, power-plays for resources, perceived putdowns, and over controlling comments,” (MIC 1985: 3). Members of the MGI frequently cited a lack of communication based on clashing parties’ reluctance to respectfully listen to one another’s ideas. This likely developed when Henry and Dana, both HBS students, formed an alliance while Sasha, Igor, and Roman formed their own strictly by virtue of their shared history and background (Elfenbein 2003: 4-7). Almost immediately into the brainstorming process, Henry and Dana categorized Sasha as unaccomplished, unfocused, and unorganized. Ironically, Sasha viewed Henry and Dana, who viewed themselves as the de facto CEOs of the enterprise, as ‘interns’ (Elfenbein 2003: 7). The above factor(s) requires analysis from a systems thinking approach because of the myriad of issues it touches upon and affects. The difference in background led to ‘us-versus-them’ alliances, which further perpetuated
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