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ANSWERS TO CHAPTER 4 QUESTIONS

ANSWER 4.1
The director should take the following actions: (a) schedule
overtime to conduct as much testing as possible before product
shipment; (b) ship the product on time; (c) conduct a risk
analysis to identify conceivable failure modes and their
respective remedial solutions based on the best understanding of
the production team at this time; (d) get the team prepared to
respond to customers service needs; (e) review causes for
product delays and initiate a program to speed up the product
development process.
ANSWEER 4.2
The sales manager should proceed as follows:
A. Call a staff meeting, disclose the need of improving sales
effectiveness, review the specific recommendations of the
management consultants, and solicit the opinion from everyone.
B. Recite the advantages and disadvantages of the
recommendations from the viewpoints of the sales staff.
C. Invite ideas to promote sales effectiveness beyond the
consultants recommendations. Also solicit recommendations
regarding metrics to measure sales effectiveness in order to
monitor progress (e.g., sales dollar per staff, sales growth rate
per region, ratio of sales revenue to sales cost, number of sales
visits per staff, etc.).
D. Point out to all at the end of staff meeting that a careful
evaluation will be done to include all inputs provided by the
sales staff, that a decision on changes will be forthcoming, and
that everyone is requested to cooperate in implementing the
changes to be announced.
E. Decide on the changes to implement, either all or part of
consultants recommendation, with or without modifications based
on staff inputs. Select the metrics to measure progress.
F. Report back to the company president and implement the
changes.
ANSWER 4.3
The director should follow the steps enumerated below to make
a choice:

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A. Talk with the three managers separately and inquire about (a)
how their projects are coming along, (b) how their projects will
be adversely affected should one of their engineers be pulled
away for one month for a critical overseas installation job, and
(c) how they would manage to substitute staff to fill in the gap
from behind.
B. Listen carefully to understand the perceived adverse impact
and assess its significance from the departmental stand point;
what is important to the managers may not be as important to the
director who oversees the entire department. Assess the relative
feasibility of the recommended steps to substitute support.
C. Tell the managers that their inputs will be reviewed and he
will make a decision soon.
D. Compare the relative impact and feasibility of the three
options and choose one with the least impact, from the
departmental viewpoint, and with the most feasibility for
rearranging substitution.
E. Inform all managers of the decision and propose an engineer
who should be sent to assist. Check with the engineer involved to
secure consent before formally announcing the decision.
ANSWER 4.4
Situations like this happen in industry due to narrow-minded,
righteous people with a strong technical background and no sense
of perspective; these people may also have a hidden agenda to
upstage their boss. Managers need to properly deal with these
people.
A. Bill should ask Stanley to reprimand Henry for his righteous
and untactful disputes over technical issues raised before
Marketing, the internal customer.
B. Stanley should call Henry in and restate to Henry the
following points:
(a) Design was under a severe time constraint to respond.
(b) To satisfy Marketing, an internal customer to Design, a
reasonably good design is much better than no design at all.
(c) He is proud of Bill, who was able to work through the
night and come up with a design at such a short notice.
(d) Being one of the best designers on staff, Henry may
technically have a point in questioning the design simplicity and
performance expectation of the current design.

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(e) Questions on design differences and performance levels


are readily resolved in time, even after the proposal is made to
customer.
(f) Henry should have kept things in perspective and
refrained from citing his technical disagreement with management,
especially after his points were already made beforehand.
(g) Henry should avoid repeating such a mistake in the
future.
(h) Henry should apologize to Bill for the untactful airing
of technical disagreements before customers.
(i) Stanley has full confidence in Bill who is doing a very
good job. If Henry has other motives in mind, besides an untimely
disclosure of technical disagreement, he should forget about
them.
C. If Henry exhibits a rebellious/defiant attitude and refuses
to apologize to Bill, then Stanley should make arrangement to
transfer Henry out of Design. Bill and Stanley will no longer
have trust in Henry and his continued presence in the Design
Department will cause group morale to deteriorate. If Henry
expresses regrets and agrees to apologize to Bill, then Henry can
remain in the group.
D. Stanley should call marketing to reaffirm the use of the
current design for the job at hand. Marketing should proceed
with its proposal to the customer, noting that additional design
modifications may further upgrade the performance for the benefit
of the customer at no extra charge. Also inquire why the market
review meeting was called so late, thereby preventing Design from
doing a thorough job.
ANSWER 4.5
Jerry Lucas should do the following:
A. Hold a private meeting with Sanford to make the following
points:
Emphasize the critical roles and responsibility of managers
to build teamwork, cultivate employee morale and assure employee
satisfaction on the job. State the Director's expectations in
this respect.
Managers are evaluated both technically (e.g., getting all
assignments done on time, within budget, while attaining stated
objectives) and managerially (e.g., group morale, complaints,
employee satisfaction, employee cooperation). Remind Sanford of
the importance of building teamwork to his own career as manager.
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Recommend specific ways to strengthen managerial skills


(e.g., taking American Management Association (AMA)short courses
on supervision, how to build teamwork, how to resolve conflicts,
problem-solving and secision-making, etc.).
Ensure understanding and seek acceptance by Sanford of
managerial roles and responsibilities as stated above.
If the stated roles and responsibilities of building teamwork
are not acceptable to Sanford, then convince Sanford to take a
technical staff position, maybe a promotion in title, to continue
reporting to Lucas. Allow Sanford to pick 2 to 3 support people.
If the teamwork building concept is acceptable to Sanford,
then specify a 6-month period for Sanford to show progress.
Solicit his recommendations on how to delegate decision-making
responsibilities, to transfer information to people outside the
group, and to foster communication within the group.
B.

Hold a separate meeting with the section chiefs

State the importance of building a good working team where


everyone is expected to contribute. Ask for patience with Sanford
who has been on the job for 2 years. State that he wants Sanford
to try out for a 6-month period, and request everyone's sincere
cooperation. Welcome specific ideas on how to make the team work
together. Evaluate specific recommendations and form guidelines
for both Sanford and section chiefs to follow.
C. Meet with all Sanfords people, including Sanford and the
section Chiefs
Praise and identify specific assignments accomplished by
Sanford, each of the section chiefs, and others in the group.
State the importance of these assignments to the division.
Express the division's appreciation for each job well done.
Note difficulties in communication and concerns about the
group's effectiveness as a team. Expect everyone to work hard in
improving teamwork. All efforts will be recognized.
Request suggestions on how to augment teamwork. Welcome
direct communications to the director on teamwork progress.
Announce a review of teamwork progress in 6 months.
Invite Sanford and section chiefs, with spouses, to dinner at
home to underline the importance of working together (Optional).

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D.

Review in 6 Months

Transfer Sanford to staff position, if no sufficient


emendation in teamwork is accomplished. Promote within the group
or assign a new manager to take over the branch.
Praise everyone in the group if the branch is successfully
rebuilt. Both positive and negative efforts contributed by anyone
during the period are noted on employee's record.
ANSWER 4.6
Yes, the proposal should be accepted because of the following
reasons:
A. It is financially profitable for the company to do so.
Expanding into a new market in the target country at this time
will preemptively position the company for future growth.
B. Business transactions by the company must take into account
the interests of its stakeholders (e.g., investors, customers,
employees, suppliers and the community in which the company
operates). A profit-seeking company should follow its own
mission, vision and stakeholder interests to conduct businesses
and not becoming a tool to serve any special political,
environmental and labor interest groups.
A questionable assertion in the problem statement needs to be
addressed. Foreign investments and global trade are known to
indeed raise the local standard of living which in turn exerts
pressure on local governments to open up trade, upgrade working
condition, institute private ownership systems, induce more
demand for political freedom, and become more democratic. Well
known examples along this line include Taiwan, South Korea and
China. In contrast, by isolating Cuba and Iraq, the U.S.
government has not yet succeeded in driving out the dictatorships
there.
C. The company may express its serious concerns about the thirdworld countrys conditions by donating a part of its local
profits to build hospitals, schools, roads, web-sites and other
suitable humanitarian projects.
D. Business strategies of profit-seeking companies should not
serve a hidden agenda of ideological imperialism.
ANSWER 4.7
Cheves (1992) has noted the following characteristics of
effective leaders:

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A. Communicate and listen well by emphasizing clarity in


instructions and intensity in soliciting good ideas and feedback.
B. Remain approachable by being receptive and paying undivided
attention to people.
C. Delegate work to broaden responsibilities, develop people and
motivate others.
D.

Lead by example such as practicing "walking the talk."

E.

Read situations and people well.

F.

Teach well and challenge followers to learn.

G. Care about people by exhibiting an interest in others,


showing courtesy, and giving recognition.
H.

Be fair, honest and consistent.

I.

Give constructive criticism.

J.

Know how to accept criticism and learn from it.

Among the above, some engineers may have difficulty becoming


proficient in delegation (3), reading situations and people well
(5), learning how to criticize (9), learning how to accept
criticism (10), caring for people (7) and communicating (1).
(Source: G. k. Cheves, Characteristics of Effective Leaders in
System, A Supplement to Industrial Management, p. 4, July-August
1992).
ANSWER 4.8
The task force failed to communicate properly to shop floor
workers because of several reasons:
A. Only managers and supervisors were on the task force and they
have no direct hands-on experience in establishing options for
cutting waste. Shop floor workers who must implement the final
recommendations were excluded from the task force.
B. Bulletin boards are typically used for the company to
announce policies, safety rules and regulations, and other
directives. This one-way top-down communications mode generated
no feedback from the workers. A much better way to communicate
would have been a town meeting where the plant manager could
announce the initiative and solicit inputs from all shop floor
workers.

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C. By not having walked around the shop floor, the plant manager
failed to notice early on the negative attitude of workers toward
the task force, causing their final recommendations to be dead
on arrival.
The plant manager should have done the following:
A. Set up a quality circle type of team comprised only of shop
floor workers of different operations who have direct hands-on
knowledge of production and materials handling.
B. Delegate the responsibility of eliminating waste materials to
the team, specify objectives, assign a budget and offer needed
support (e.g., time off).
C. Announce the team membership and project objectives in a town
meeting, answer questions to clarify objectives and invite all
workers to make contributions.
D. Receive reports regularly and offer encouragement.
around the shop floor to stay in contact with workers.

Walk

E. Implement the team recommendations and offer rewards and


recognition to team members in the presence of their peers.
F. Announce the results of implementation periodically and hold
a picnic to celebrate when the objectives are met.
ANSWER 4.9
A. The section manager has no idea why the project was running
late. He did not bother to find out by raising questions.
B. The
project
project
project

speech started out with a questionable assumption:


delay was due to a lack of staff motivation. In reality,
delays could be due to factors beyond the control of the
team. The format of the speech was also wrong.

C. Based on his traditional autocratic leadership style and the


confusing message of equally sharing blame for a possible
project failure, staff interpreted his nicely worded speech as a
threat.
D. A better way is to walk around and chat with different team
members, soliciting ideas for speeding up the project, inquiring
about difficulties they might have encountered, and offering
assistance they could use.
E. Then hold a staff meeting to brainstorm about how different
groups within the section could expedite the project, catalog all
bottlenecks, define ways to overcome them, and offer resources to

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help. Talking like a team member is cheap. Working like a team


member is more productive.
ANSWER 4.10
It was wrong for the regional sales manager to renege his
responsibility to protect the companys assets by selling to a
customer who was suspected of having financial troubles. Some
companies in pending bankruptcy routinely purchase a lot of goods
to beef up their inventory, thus unethically taking advantage of
unsuspecting suppliers.
The regional sales manager should have done the following:
A. Consult other suppliers of this customer, exchange
intelligence with them, and evaluate the customers financial
situation. They also could hire a consulting firm or bank to do
due diligence with the customer involved.
B.

Inform her boss of the case of a likely defaulting customer.

C. Hold off the shipment of large orders and monitor the


accounts receivable activities.
D. Ship only after the previous order was fully paid or stop
shipment if it becomes clear that the customer is likely to
declare bankruptcy.
ANSWER 4.11
Team leaders who are weak in technical skills but strong in
group process skills do not command the respect and admiration of
technically talented team members. Team leaders with a background
in accounting, liberal arts, law, human resources or marketing
will have a hard time rendering judgment on technological
conflicts which are quite common between team members who are
technical professionals. Companies could engage consultants who
are versed in the pertinent technologies to support such team
leaders in order to ensure that the products developed by the
team are satisfactory from the technical standpoint.
ANSWER 4.12
Conflicts between technical professionals and managers exist
primarily due to: (1) the perspectives they each have for
example technological versus managerial, (2) the standards they
use to measure goal attainment, (3) the values they assign to
planned strategies and actions, (4) the technical knowledge
deemed essential in decision making, and (5) the personality they
each possess. Frequent communications in an open, honest and
direct manner will minimize such conflicts.

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ANSWER 4.13
It is a major decision for Company X to consider switching
material type. Key decisions factors involved may include the
following:
A. Customer preference - affected by considerations related to
weight, cost, competitive pressure and delivery schedule.
B. Supply sources long term procurement contract at favorable
financial terms.
C. Technologies advancements in methods for manufacturing
aluminum parts, pointing the way to better quality, lower unit
costs, or better corrosion characteristics of parts.
Such a decision is likely to be made at the level of Vice
President/Director of engineering in the absence of major
investment requirements for new equipment. Otherwise, a capital
budgeting proposal is needed to request for new funding which
must be approved by the company president or the company board of
directors.
ANSWER 4.14
Selecting employees is a major management responsibility
which must be carried out carefully. Each of the three candidates
has strengths and weaknesses. A practical way to select
employees is to decide on a rational basis the Kepner-Tregoe
Method:
A. Define the relevant decision criteria which are mutually
exclusive and collectively exhaustive. To be mutually exclusive
the criteria must be independent from each other in order to
avoid doubling counting. To be collectively exhaustive no
important criteria must have been excluded.
B.

Assign relative weights to each decision criteria.

C.

Rank each candidate with respect to each decision criteria.

D. Compute the weight score and choose the one with the highest
weighted score.
The person to be selected needs to coordinate work inside and
outside of the department. Certain traits and capabilities are
more important than others. Some are learnable while others are
not readily modified or improved. For the candidates on hand,
Table 4-1 outlines the appropriate decision-making process.

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The choice is to favor Candidate B. Once candidate B is on


board, the management should offer a mentor to help the candidate
quickly acquire relevant industrial and coordination experience.
TABLE 4-1. RATIONAL PROCESS FOR DECISION-MAKING
CRITERIA

WEIGHT

Being Sociable and Pleasant Personality

10

10

10

Coordination Experience

10

Relevant Industrial Experience

10

180

204

165

Weighted Score

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