1. DESCRIPTION: The first section in the case is the Description. C
2. DIAGNOSIS: This is where you determine the cause of the problem. It is very common for students to deal with “symptoms” rather than the root problem. Keep asking yourself the question “why?” And if you can keep explaining, you are probably still dealing with symptoms. Look for the problem that if fixed, all the other problems will go away.
, Andrea has been a model employee for three years, but recently the quality and quantity of her work has been suffering and fellow employees are getting annoyed at having to pick up the slack and throw out inferior parts. You are getting a lot of complaints from her co-workers. What’s the problem? Disgruntled employees? Rejected parts? Why are they disgruntled? Why are the parts being rejected? Because Andrea’s work performance has declined. Why? Because she’s lazy. Maybe. But keep probing — Why do you think so? Because she’s been coming to work late. Why? Because her day care provider quit and her back-up system failed and she’s worried sick about her kids and keeping her job. If we solve the last problem, the tardiness, disgruntled employees, and work performance problems all go away.
3. *** THEORY ***: In the course of determining the cause of the problem or its solution, we need to use organizational theories and concepts to help inform our analysis. This is the most critical part of your paper — indeed, of every paper you will write in this class. What has somebody already thought about that might help explain why something happened and/or how we might fix it? Aim for a model. Review “What the Heck Is Theory, Anyway?” in your Syllabus. Your book is filled with theories, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of other sources — texts, journals, authors’ web pages — that also suggest systematic ways of looking at the world.
You should aim for “peer-reviewed” sources. These are easily found by going to theAcademy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Sloan Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Personnel Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Executive, Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management (www.IBAM.com), Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Management Studies & Strategic Management Journal (See how to use the library in the Assignmentsarea.)
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel — see what’s out there. There are at least 30 different theories that could apply to every case. There is no, one, best theory to use for any one case. Your job is to pick one or two that make sense, explain in detail how they work, and then explain how they relate to the case — how they help to explain, manage, or predict behavior.
, if we revisit the “What The Heck Is Theory, Anyway?” section in the “” folder, and look at our work-family conflict theory, we find that it has many salient ingredients or variables in relation to Andrea’s story. After explaining what the theory proposes, I might use it to justify suggesting that Andrea’s organization institute some sort of family supportive policies because according to the theory, such policies will increase Andrea’s sense of control over her personal affairs, which will decrease her perceptions of work-family conflict (increasing her sense of balance), which will decrease her experience of stress (level of anxiety), which may improve her work performance, lessen the necessity of her tardiness, and improve the morale of her co-workers and herself. Then the complaints will go away, Andrea might even break her previous performance records, and the organization decreases the odds of having to recruit and train a new employee — a win-win solution!
Remember: Using multiple perspectives, or “triangulation,” often leads to a richer solution, but use caution in selecting more than two — you won’t have the space to do any of them well.
4. PRESCRIPTION: Based on what you determined caused the problem, you must now recommend a solution. This should entail both short term and long term prescriptions. What do we need to do right now in order to bring the problem under immediate control? What should we do in the next few months to prevent this problem from ever happening again?
While there are no definitive “right” answers, it IS possible to prescribe a answer. For example, if a business is scrambling to meet its payroll next week, a solution suggesting that the owners enroll in a couple of finance and human resources classes would be totally inappropriate because it would take too long to implement, i.e., by the time they completed their classes, the company would have folded.
5. FALLOUT:Even if your recommendations are followed to the letter, there are still things that could go wrong. What are they? Perhaps someone who is offered a promotion will say no. Maybe the recommended training will not be well received. What if a key employee’s family decides to relocate? What environmental factors could impact the outcome?
* NOTE *Buttress your remarks with current literature. Your presentation should be informed by related articles in scholarly journals (i.e., peer-reviewed) or the popular press that are related to the description, diagnosis or prescription of your case problem. These articles should be referenced in your paper according to APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines (see your Syllabus for access to APA resources) and incorporated into your presentation. BU has one of the best online libraries in the state, so please take advantage of your privileges as a student and access the thousands of full text articles available for your use. (See how to use the library or access the OB LibGuide in the Assignments area). If you have any questions about using the library, call our staff toll free (800.756.7920). They are very friendly and will walk you through the process.