Case study

The morning project team meeting promised to be
an interesting one. Tensions between the representative
from marketing, Susan Scott, and finance, Neil
Schein, have been building for several weeks now—in
fact, since the project team was formed. As the project
manager, you have been aware that Susan and Neil do
not see eye to eye, but you figured that over time they
would begin to appreciate each other’s perspective
and start cooperating. So far, unfortunately, that has
not happened. In fact, it seems that hardly a day goes
by when you do not receive a complaint from one or
the other regarding the other team member’s behavior,
lack of commitment or cooperation, or general shoddy
performance.
As the team gathers for the regular project status
meeting, you start with an update on the project tasks,
any problems the team members are having, and their
assessment of the project’s performance to date. Before
you get too far into the meeting, Susan interrupts,saying, “John, I’m going to be out of town for the next
10 days visiting clients, so I can’t make the status meetings
either of the next two Fridays.”
“That figures,” Neil mutters loud enough for all
to hear.
Susan whirls around. “I have another job around
here, you know, and it involves selling. It may be convenient
for you to drop everything and come to these
meetings, but some of us have other responsibilities.”
Neil shoots back, “That’s been your excuse for
missing half of the meetings so far. Just out of curiosity,”
he continues sarcastically, “how many more do
you figure on blowing off while hanging out poolside
on your little out-of-towners?”
Susan turns bright red. “I don’t need to put up
with that from you. You bean counters have no clue
how this business works or who delivers value. You’re
so busy analyzing every penny that you have permanent
eyestrain!”
“Maybe I could pay attention if I didn’t have to
constantly stay on the backs of you cowboys in sales,”
counters Neil. “I swear you would give our products
away if it would let you make your quarterly numbers,
even if it does drive us into the ground!”
You sit back, amazed, as the argument between
Neil and Susan flares into full-scale hostility and
threatens to spin out of control. The other team members
are looking at you for your response. George, from
engineering, has a funny expression on his face, as if to
say, “Okay, you got us to this point. Now what are you
going to do about it?”
“People,” you rap on the table, “that’s enough.
We are done for today. I want to meet with Susan and
Neil in my office in a half hour.”
As everyone files out, you lean back in your seat
and consider how you are going to handle this problem.
Questions
1. Was the argument today between Neil and Susan
the true conflict or a symptom? What evidence do
you have to suggest it is merely a symptom of a
larger problem?
2. Explain how differentiation plays a large role in
the problems that exist between Susan and Neil.
3. Develop a conflict management procedure for
your meeting in 30 minutes. Create a simple
script to help you anticipate the comments you
are likely to hear from both parties.
4. Which conflict resolution style is warranted in
this case? Why? How might some of the other
resolution approaches be inadequate in this
situation?

INSTRUCTIONS:
It involves that the student read the case study and answer all questions at the end of the case study in a 4-5 page paper.It must include substantial support from at least two (2) scholarly journal articles on project management.

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