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Class Discussion Incidents

Negotiation in ActionThe Quad Sensor Project

Dave Dogers, an experienced project manager, was assigned the project of designing and setting up a
production system for an industrial instrument. The instrument would undoubtedly be quite delicate, so
the design and fabrication methods for the shipping container were included in the project. Production of
containers capable of meeting the specifications in this case were outside the experience of the firm, but
one engineer in the container group had worked with this type of package in a previous job. This
engineer, Jeff Gamm, was widely recognized as the top design engineer in the container group.

During the initial meetings on the project, which was organized as a weak matrix, Dogers asked Tab
Baturi, manager of the Container Group, to assign Gamm to the project because of his unique
background.Baturi said he thought they could work it out, and estimated that the design, fabrication of
prototypes, and testing would require about four weeks. The package design could not start until several
shape parameters of the instrument had been set and allowable shock loadings for the internal
mechanisms had been determined. The R&D group responsible for instrument design thought it would
require about nine months of work before they could complete specifications for the container. In addition
to the actual design, construction, and test work, Gamm would have to meet periodically with the
instrument design team to keep track of the project and to consult on design options from the container
viewpoint. It was estimated that the entire project would require about 18 months. Seven months into the
project, at a meeting with Dave Dogers, the senior instrument design engineer, Richard Money, casually
remarked: Say, Dave, I thought Jeff Gamm was going to do the package for the Quad Sensor.
He is, why? Dogers replied.
Well, said the engineer, Gamm hasnt been coming to the design team meetings. He did come
a couple of times at the start of the project, but then young McCutcheon showed up saying that he would
substitute for Gamm and would keep him informed. I dont know if that will work. That package is going
to be pretty tricky to make.
Dogers was somewhat worried by the news the engineer had given him. He went to Gamms office, as if
by chance, and asked, How are things coming along?
Im up to my neck, Dave, Gamm responded.
Weve had half a dozen major changes ordered from Bakers offi ce (V.P. Marketing) and Tab has given
me the three toughest ones. Im behind, getting behinder, and Baker is yelling for the new container
designs. I cant possibly do the Quad Sensor package unless I get some helpquick. Its an interesting
problem and Id like to tackle it, but I just cant. I asked Tab to put McCutcheon on it. He hasnt much
experience, but he seems bright.
I see, said Dogers. Well, the Quad Sensor package may be a bit much for a new man. Do you mind
if I talk to Tab? Maybe I can get you out from under some of the pressure.
Be my guest! said Gamm.
The next day Dogers met with Tab Baturi to discuss the problem. Baturi seemed depressed. I dont know
what were supposed to do. No sooner do I get a package design set and tested than I get a call changing
things. On the Evans order, we even had production schedules set, had ordered the material, and had all
the setups figured out. Im amazed they didnt wait till we had completed the run to tell us to change
everything. Baturi continued with several more examples of changed priorities and assignments. He
complained that he had lost two designers and was falling further and further behind. He concluded:
Dave, I know I said you could use Gamm for the Quad Sensor job, but I simply cant cut him loose. Hes
my most productive person, and if anyone can get us out from under this mess, he can. I know
McCutcheon is just out of school, but hes bright. Hes the only person I can spare, and I can only spare
him because I havent got the time to train him on how we operate around hereif you can call this
The two men talked briefly about the poor communications and the inability of senior management to
make up its collective mind. Then Dogers suggested,
Look, Tab, Quad Sensor is no more screwed up than usual for this stage of the project. How about this? I
can let you borrow Charlotte Setter for three or four weeks. Shes an excellent designer and shes working
on a low-priority job thats not critical at the moment. Say, Ill bet I can talk Anderson into letting you
borrow Levy, too, maybe half time for a month. Anderson owes me a favor.
Great, Dave, that will help a lot, and I appreciate the aid. I know you understand my problem and you
know that I understand yours. Baturi paused and then added, You realize that this wont take much
pressure off Jeff Gamm. If you can get him the designing help he needs he can get more done, but I cant
release him for the amount of time youve got allocated for the Quad Sensor.
They sat quietly for a while, then Dogers said,
Hey, Ive got an idea. Container design is the hard problem. The production setup and test design isnt
all that tough. Let me have Gamm for the container design. Ill use McCutcheon for the rest of the project
and get him trained for you. I can get Carol Mattson to show him how to set up the shock tests and he can
get the word on the production setup from my senior engineer, Dick Money.
Baturi thought a moment. Yeah, that ought to work, he said. But Gamm will have to meet with
your people to get back up to speed on the project. I think he will clean up Bakers biggest job by
Could he meet with your people on Thursday?
Sure, I can arrange that, Dogers said.
Baturi continued. This will mean putting two people on the package design. McCutcheon will have to
work with Gamm if he is to learn anything. Can your budget stand it?
Im not sure, Dogers said, I dont really haveany slack in that account, but . . .
Never mind, interrupted Baturi, I can bury the added charge somewhere. I think Ill add it to Bakers
charges. He deserves it. After all, he caused our problem.

Q1.What categories of conflict occurred in this project? At what stage was the project?
Q2. What negotiation techniques were used here? How successful were they?

Selling New Area Codes to Consumers Who Dont Want Them

After analyzing the area code problem for some time, BellSouth received permission from all regulatory
and organizational authorities in December 1994 to proceed with splitting South Carolina into two area
codes and install the new code, 864, in the upper northwest region of the state. The project task was
massive, yet the conversion of all equipment, databases, and associated systems had to be completed
before the existing prefixes ran out in 1218 months.
However, in spite of the demanding technical challenges, one of the most difficult tasks facing the
project team was confronting the dilemma that this conversion was a product that South Carolinas phone
customers absolutely did not want! Nevertheless, the exploding demand for fax machines, cellular
telephones, pagers, additional residential phone lines, Internet service, and other such recent
technological innovations required additional area codes to make them operative. Here was a basic
conflict: selling a populace on the need to change their area code so they can use the new innovations
they are purchasing.
The problem was exacerbated by the lack of time to involve the populace in the decision-making process
and options available: changing the area code boundaries, using multiple area codes in the same region,
splitting an area code region and adding a new code, and a few others. BellSouth thus adopted a variety
of measures to communicate the need for the new area code to their customers:
Developing a regional advertising campaign
Sending out promotional brochures
Putting inserts into customer bills
Contract with an inbound telemarketing company to handle calls and provide information
Informing all employees who had customer contact about how to explain the need
Establishing a South Carolina Area Code Assistance Hotline

As the new system went live on May 1, 1996, the changeover was smooth and uneventful, a tribute not
only to the technical ability of the project team but also their marketing prowess. Of course, the customers
did not have any choice in the matter, but they could have made the process much more difficult and time
Q1. Did BellSouths customers want new area codes or not? What was the true nature of the problem
Q2. Why did BellSouth have to change all the area codes instead of simply using the new codes for the
new devices?

Pritchard Soap Co.

Samantha (Sam) Calderon is manager of a project that will completely alter the method of adding
perfume to Pritchard Soaps Queen Elizabeth gift soap line. The new process will greatly extend the
number of available scents and should result in a significant increase in sales. The project had been
proceeding reasonably well, but fell several weeks behind when the perfume supplier, the Stephen
Marcus Parfumissary, was unable to meet its delivery deadline because of a wildcat strike. Under normal
circumstances this would not have caused problems, but the project had been subject to a particularly
long evaluation study and now was in danger of not being ready for the Christmas season. The major
scheduling problem concerned Pritchards toxicity lab. Kyle Lee, lab manager, had been most cooperative
in scheduling the Queen Elizabeth perfumes for toxicity testing. He had gone out of his way to rearrange
his own schedule to accommodate Sams project. Because of the strike at Marcus, however, Sam cannot
have the perfumes ready for test as scheduled, and the new test date Lee has given Sam will not allow
her to make the new line available by Christmas. Sam suspects that the project might not have been
approved if senior management had known that they would miss this years Christmas season.

Q1. What was the source of change in this project and how will it affect the projects priority? What are
Sams alternatives? What should she do?

Sutton Electronics
Eric Frank was still basking in the glory of his promotion to marketing project manager for Sutton
Electronics Corporation manufacturer of electronic fire alarm systems for motels, offices, and other
commercial installations. Erics first project involved the development of a marketing plan for Suttons
revolutionary new alarm system based on sophisticated circuitry that would detect and identify a large
number of dangerous gases as well as smoke and very high temperatures. The device was the brainchild
of Ira Magee, vice-president of research and the technical wizard responsible for many of Suttons most
successful products. It was unusual for so young and relatively inexperienced an employee as Eric to be
given control of such a potentially important project, but he had shown skill in handling several complex,
though routine, marketing assignments.
In addition, he had the necessary scientific background to allow him to understand the benefits of
Magees proposed gas detection system. Four weeks into the project, Eric was getting quite worried. He
had tried to set up an organizational and planning meeting several times. No matter when he scheduled
the meeting, the manager of the manufacturing department, Jaki Benken, was unable to attend. Finally,
Eric agreed that manufacturing could be represented by young Bill Powell, a Benken protg who had
just graduated from college and joined Sutton Electronics. However, Eric was doubtful that Powell could
contribute much to the project. Erics worry increased when Powell missed the first planning meeting
completely and did not appear at the second meeting until it was almost over. Powell seemed apologetic
and indicated that plant floor crises had kept him away from both meetings. The project was now five
weeks old, and Eric was almost three weeks late with the marketing master plan. He was thinking about
asking Ira Magee for help.

Q1. Do you think that Eric should involve Magee at this point? If so, what outcome would you expect? If
not, what should he do?


1. This example highlights the presentation of a problem of mutual interestmeeting deadlines more
often at the earliest opportunity (when the problem is observed). Superior is open-minded and asking for
I once was given the responsibility for managing a small group of technicians engaged in turning out
critical path schedules. I spent some time trying to get organized and involved with the group, but I
sensed a hostile atmosphere, accompanied by offhand sarcastic remarks. At the end of the day very little
work had been accomplished.
The next day when I came in, I called the group together and told them that we were falling behind, and
asked them to help me find a solution. After the initial distrust had been dissipated, the group produced
some good ideas on work reallocation, office arrangement, priorities and techniques. I told the group that
all of their agreed-upon suggestions would be implemented at once, and their reply was that the backlog
would be cleared in three days and would not build up again. Within three days the backlog was gone,
the group worked together better, and for the six months I was in charge, schedules were always ready
before they were required.

2. This example highlights emphasis on facts in determining the best resolution of conflict. Both had
strong convictions but one willingly moved to the others position when facts indicated that this position
was best.

The project engineer and I disagreed about the method of estimating the cost of alternative schemes in a
highway interchange. Neither of us could agree on the others method. Eventually I was able to satisfy
him using algebra. We were both happy with the result.

3.This one highlights an emphasis on facts and the conviction that by digging and digging, the truth will be
discovered. Although the superior had a vested interest in the old system (a product of his thinking), the
discussion was never personalized. That is, it did not involve me versus you, but rather a comparison
of two systems, two concepts or two ideas.

About a year ago I developed a new system for processing the accounting of the inventory of obsolete
material on hand in our plant. It was my estimation that it would prove to be an easier system to operate
and control and would also involve a considerable monetary saving for the company. When I approached
my boss with the system, he immediately turned it down as he had developed the present system and
was sure it was the best possible system. As I was sure my new system was superior to the present one,
I then convinced him to join me in analyzing a comparison of the two systems, pointing out the strengths
and weaknesses of the two. After a period of evaluation involving many differences of opinion, we were
able to resolve that my system had definite merit and should be brought into operation.

4. This example highlights the fact that through problem solving both parties can benefit. Instead of
compromising, the issues are discussed until a solution completely satisfactory to both is found. Often this
is superior to the ones initially favored by the separate parties.

In theBoard of Education, there were eight inspectors of Public Schools and four superintendents. Last
February the inspectors were given the assignment of developing an in-service plan for the training of
teachers for the school year 196869. The inspectors gave the assignment to a group of three of their
number who were to bring a report to the next inspectors meeting. I was not a member of the in-service
committee but in conversations with the committee members I discovered that they contemplated having
an in-service program for two teachers from each school (there are about 85 schools) once a month for
the entire year in mathematics. I felt that this would be a very thin coverage of our 2000 or so teachers.
Consequently I worked on a plan whereby utilizing two Thursday mornings a month and the specialized
teaching help available in, every teacher would have the opportunity to become involved in an in-
service training session in a subject of his or her choice once during the year. At the inspectors meeting
the subcommittee presented its report and after some procedural wrangling I was permitted to present my
plan. The two were diametrically opposed and it looked as if my plan would be voted down except the
chairman suggested that both plans be presented to the superintendents.
At the meeting of the superintendents, the subcommittee made its report and I presented my plan. As the
meeting progressed there was some give and take and instead of one or the other being discarded, both
plans were adopted.
For this school year mathematics is stressed for the first eight Thursday mornings (their plan in a rather
concentrated form); then for the next eight months on the second and fourth Thursday my plan is used.
We came out of this meeting with a combination of the two plans which was better than either one