You are on page 1of 4

Case 1 The Virtual Environment Work Team (Summary)

T.A Stearns was a national fax accounting firm whose main


business was its popular tax preparation service for individuals. The
work as carried out in a virtual environment by four programmers in
the greater Boston area. Tom Andrews is a tax lawyer, a graduate

of the University of Maine and a former hockey player there. At


35, Tom has worked on the programs for six years and is the
longest-standing member of the team. Along with his design
responsibilities, Tom is the primary liaison with Stearns. He is
also responsible for training new team members. Cy Crane, a tax
accountant and computer science graduate of the University of
Massachusetts, is 32 years old, married, with two children ages
four and six. Marge Dector, a tax lawyer, graduated from Penn
State University, is 38 years old, married, with two children ages
eight and ten. Megan Harris, tax accountant and graduate of
Indiana University, is 26 years old and single. When Cy developed
a program using his superior programming skills to reduce his manhours and increase productivity, he told about it only to his colleagues
so that they benefit from it and enjoy some leisure time. He didnt tell
about it to Dave because he feared that since his program helps in
doing the work of four people by only three people, one of them might
lose their job because of him. Another reason contributing to his
secrecy was that their team would get only 5% of the profit generated
by the aid of their innovation only for three months which was very
less in comparison to the leisure time they had. The group even
increased the quality of their work so as to not arouse any suspicion.
But Cy made the terrible mistake of telling about his program to a
member from another group which aroused Daves suspicions. Dave
was wondering for a few weeks after the implementation of the
program as to why the production time had decreased and the quality
of work had shot up. He got his first inkling form an e-mail he
intercepted from Marge to Cy thanking him for his brilliant thinking.
Dave tried to confront Tom trying not to create an embarrassing
situation but got no further leads. He did not even tell his boss about
his suspicions since quality and productivity were up. But one day
Dave learned that Cy had boasted about his trick program to a person
from another team in the company. Dave decided that the matter had
gone out of hands and pulled the reins by inviting Cy to lunch and
asking him to explain what was happening. This method was wise and
effective as it gave a sense of security to the offender who pleaded
guilty immediately but insisted that the reasons were justified so as to
protect himself. This manner of interrogation and his good use of

intellect to cover an embarrassing situation shows that he is an


effective team leader. Also he respects the sentiments and feelings of
others which makes him a considerate man leading to his effective
team leadership.

Case 1 (Answers)
1. Why is this group a team?
This group is a team because they had shared leadership roles, the
team has individual and mutual accountability, the team has a specific
purpose which is to prepare a highly technical both in terms of the tax
laws they cover and the code in which they are written, the team also
has a collective work products like they solve big problems through
programming such as creativity the macros and last the team
discusses, decides and does real work.
2. What characteristics of the team predispose it to making ineffective
decisions?
One of the basis of ineffective decision is their communication
because they only discusses their work through email rather than
meeting each other every day. Second is their time because they are
all focused on finishing their job as early as they can so they can do
more activities thats why they creates a macro. Third is the
leadership, single leader had dominated between them they had
established norms for the group and leads from own value system.
3. What are the characteristics of groupthink are manifested in the work team?
Illusion of invulnerability . There is excessive optimism and risk taking.
As we can see here there is excessive optimism and risk taking
behavior shown by the team as they kept the innovation to themselves
having optimism regarding that the management wont easily find out
about it. Also the risk taking behavior can be seen when they ignore
the company policy for their own benefits.
rationalizations by the members of the group to discount warnings.
This can be seen when the members ignore the threat of being caught
and when Dave hinted Tom he rationalized thinking if everythings all
right why does Dave has to worry.
An unquestioned belief in the groups Inherent Morality . The group
ignores questionable ethical or moral issues or stances. Here the group
ignores the moral issues and stances by keeping the innovation to
themselves knowing about the company policy of suggested rewards.
Working for Stearns for a long time they should have been more loyal.

Self-censorship of any deviation from the apparent group consensus.


This can be easily seen in this case as no one person came out with
the truth unless it was finally out
Illusion of unanimity silence is interpreted as consent. Here Cy and
Tom swore the other members to the oath of secrecy thinking what
they thought was everybodys thinking but this actually might not have
been the case.
Self -appointed mind guards who protect the group from adverse
information. In this case study Tom was the self-appointed mind guard
who kept the information of Dave hinting to him about the innovation
to himself thinking that there would be nothing done as long as the
work was done well and company was in profit.
4. Has Dave been an effective group leader? What should Dave do now?
Yes, Dave is an effective team leader because he knows how to
converse with employees in different situations without offending them
in any way. In this case when Cy developed a program using his
superior programming skills to reduce his man- hours and increase
productivity, he told about it only to his colleagues so that they benefit
from it and enjoy some leisure time. He didnt tell about it to Dave
because he feared that since his program helps in doing the work of
four people by only three people, one of them might lose their job
because of him. Another reason contributing to his secrecy was that
their team would get only 5% of the profit generated by the aid of their
innovation only for three months which was very less in comparison to
the leisure time they had. The group even increased the quality of their
work so as to not arouse any suspicion. But Cy made the terrible
mistake of telling about his program to a member from another group
which aroused Daves suspicions. Dave was wondering for a few weeks
after the implementation of the program as to why the production time
had decreased and the quality of work had shot up. He got his first
inkling form an e-mail he intercepted from Marge to Cy thanking him
for his brilliant thinking. Dave tried to confront Tom trying not to
create an embarrassing situation but got no further leads. He did not
even tell his boss about his suspicions since quality and productivity
were up. But one day Dave learned that Cy had boasted about his trick
program to a person from another team in the company. Dave decided
that the matter had gone out of hands and pulled the reins by inviting
Cy to lunch and asking him to explain what was happening. This
method was wise and effective as it gave a sense of security to the
offender who pleaded guilty immediately but insisted that the reasons
were justified so as to protect himself. This manner of interrogation and
his good use of intellect to cover an embarrassing situation shows that
he is an effective team leader. Also he respects the sentiments and

feelings of others which makes him a considerate man leading to his


effective team leadership.