SkillsForTomorrow: A Management Team in Crisis
(6 pages of text)
A management consultant has been hired to fix the morale issues at a branch of SkillsForTomorrow (SFT) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States. SFT is a government-sponsored organization tasked with helping at-risk young adults gain vocational training toward preparing them for a successful work career. Several factors appear to be influencing the morale of the SFT management team. Unfortunately, some of these factors point directly to the sponsor of the consulting project, the executive director at SFT Harrisburg. The consultant must identify the root causes of the management discord and derive a solution that can help solve the various issues. At the same time, the consultant will need to consider the political and interpersonal aspects of the consulting relationship between herself and the executive director in crafting and presenting a solution.
The case presents a common scenario in management consulting — a client/sponsor who may be unwilling to hear what the consultant has to say. The student is placed in the role of the management consultant and given information on the Harrisburg location’s performance relative to benchmarks and other locations, along with a series of interviews with SFT Harrisburg’s managers. The objectives of the case are for students to:
- Analyze and diagnose task/interpersonal conflict that is detrimental to team/organizational performance, and then develop solutions.
- Understand the unique features of the client-consultant relationship, and how these can impact the formulation and delivery of consulting recommendations.
- Understand the complexities of data analysis and interpretation within organizations.
- Explore issues of favouritism, “inner circles” and workplace romance within organizations.
The case can be used in both upper-end undergraduate and graduate courses in management, organizational behavior or teams. The issues and context for the case align well with the general topic areas of teams, leadership, conflict, collaboration and communication.
United States, Large, 2012
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