Case 1: The Sugar Substitute Research Decision
You are the head of research and development (R&D) * a major beer company. While working on a new beer product, one of the scientists in your unit seems to have tentatively identified a new chemical compound that has few calories but tastes closer to sugar than current sugar substitutes. The company has no foreseeable need for this product, but it could be patented and licensed to manufacturers in the food industry. The sugar-substitute discovery is in its preliminary stages and would require considerable time and resources before it would be commercially viable. This means that it would necessarily take some resources away from other projects in the lab. The sugar-substitute project is beyond your technical expertise, but some of the R&D lab researchers are familiar with that field of chemistry. As with most forms of research, it is difficult to determine the amount of research required to further identify and perfect the sugar substitute. You do not know how much demand is expected for this product. Your department has a decision process for funding projects that are behind schedule. However, there are no rules or precedents about funding projects that would be licensed but not used by the organization. The company's R&D budget is limited, and other scientists in your work group have recently complained that they require more resources and financial support to get their projects completed. Some of these R&D projects hold promise for future beer sales. You believe that most researchers in the R&D unit are committed to ensuring that the company's interests are achieved.
Case 2: Coast Guard Cutter Decision Problem
You are the captain of a 200-foot Coast Guard cutter, with a crew of 16, including officers. Your mission is general at-sea search and rescue. At 2:00 a.m. this morning, while en route to your home port after a routine 28-day patrol, you received word from the nearest Coast Guard station that a small plane had crashed 60 miles offshore. You obtained all the available information concerning the location of the crash, informed your crew of the mission, and set a new course at maximum speed for the scene to commence a search for survivors and wreckage.
You have now been searching for 20 hours. Your search operation has been increasingly impaired by rough seas, and there is evidence of a severe storm building. The atmospherics associated with the deteriorating weather have made communications with the Coast Guard station impossible. A decision must be made shortly about whether to abandon the search and place your vessel on a course that would ride out the storm (thereby protecting the vessel and your crew, but relegating any possible survivors to almost certain death from exposure) or to continue a potentially futile search and the risks it would entail. Before losing communications, you received an updated weather advisory concerning the severity and duration of the storm. Although your crew members are extremely conscientious about their responsibility, you believe that they would be divided on the decision to leave or stay.
1. In reference to the Sugar Substitute Case (case 7.1), to what extent should your subordinates be involved in this decision? Select one of the following levels of involvement:
a) No involvement: you make the decision alone without any participation from subordinates
b) Low involvement: You ask on or more subordinates for information relating to the problem, but you don't ask for their recommendations and might not mention the problem to them.
c) Medium involvement: You describe the problem to one or more subordinates (alone or in a meeting) and ask for any relevant information as well as their recommendations on the issue. However, you make the final decision which might or might not reflect their advice.
d) High involvement: You describe the problem to subordinates. They discuss the matter, identify a solution without your involvement (unless they invite your ideas) and implement that solution. You have agreed to support their decision.
2. What factors led you to choose this alternative rather than the others?
3. What problems might occur if less or more involvement occurred in this case (where possible)?
Direction to follow
b. Key Issues
d. Alternative solutions
e. Selected solution
h. Reference page
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