Team Collapse at Richard, Wood and Hulme LLP
(10 pages of text)
Case (Gen Exp)
In 2008, a senior associate at Richard, Wood and Hulme LLP (RWH) was amazed at the speed with which the audit team for an important client of the firm was rapidly falling apart. Two members had just been fired presumably because they did not pass their chartered accounting qualification examinations; team morale had grown non-existent; there were difficulties in completing the engagement due to lack of preparation from both RWH and the client; there were doubts about the commitment of particular individuals; and with the audit falling behind schedule, the senior associate perceived an absence of strong leadership from the partners of the firm. He did not understand why the team had been so unfocused from the start of the engagement, as prior years’ engagements had been quite successful. He was unsure how to proceed. What would he tell the client? What should he do to keep this audit on track and keep the team together?
The case can be used in undergraduate and graduate courses involving organizational behaviour, leadership, and teams. The specific objectives are three-fold:
- To introduce students to complex conflict situations that can affect the performance of teams in professional services industries (e.g. accounting).
- To suggest that factors influencing team development can have serious consequences for team performance.
- To develop students’ skills to identify, mitigate, and overcome conflict situations.
The case can be taught during an 80-minute session. The case can be taught during an 80-minute session. It can be co-taught with a professor from accounting who can provide additional detail on the work involved in the auditing process.
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Canada, Small, 2008
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