Case Incident – “Working at ThinkLink” Essay Example
Case Incident – “Working at ThinkLink” Essay Example

Case Incident – “Working at ThinkLink” Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (561 words)
  • Published: July 14, 2016
  • Type: Case Study
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Case Incident - “Working at ThinkLink” Read the following case study and answer the questions asked. Mallory Murray had not had much experience working as part of a team. What little exposure she had had to teams was in her organizational behavior, marketing research, and strategy formulation courses. When she interviewed with Think Link she did not give much thought to the extensive use of cross-functional teams. She did tell them she worked well with people and thought that she could be an effective team player.

Mallory joined ThinkLink as an assistant marketing manager for software programs designed to help students learn algebra and geometry. Mallory’s boss is Lin Chen (marketing manager). Other members of the team she is currently working with include Todd Schlotsky (senior programmer), Laura Willow (advertising), Sean Traynor (vice president fo


r strategic marketing), Joyce Rothman (co-founder of ThinkLink, who now works only part-time in the company; formerly a high-school math teacher; the formal leader of this project), and Harlow Gray (educational consultant). After her first week on the job, Mallory was seriously thinking about quitting. Every decision seems to be a power contest. What makes her job particularly difficult is that she does not have any specific job responsibilities.

Mallory’s project team has a deadline only six weeks away, and they are at least two weeks behind schedule. Everyone is aware that there’s a problem but no one seems to be able to solve it. Neither Lin Chen nor Joyce Rothman is showing any leadership.


1. Discuss cross-functional teams in terms of their propensity to create conflict. Answer – The peer nature o

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team members is fertile ground for conflict. Add what appears to be nondirective leadership and there is a big problem. The intensity of the conflict is hard to gauge since we hear it only from the newest team member, but it does seem to be dysfunctional in that it is interfering with the task accomplishment of the group. This particular team appears highly diverse and highly participative—all elements that add to the potential for conflict.

2. What techniques or procedures might help reduce conflict on cross-functional teams? Answer – It seems that one key is to clarify intentions. This group’s conflict, especially from Mallory’s perspective, may be largely a function of the attributing the wrong intentions to the other. When it comes to reducing conflict, it seems that one of the best ways would be for Mallory to adapt a collaborating perspective, where she desires to fully satisfy the concerns of all parties. The intention of the parties is to solve the problem by clarifying differences rather than by accommodating various points of view. Also see Exhibit 14-4 for the major resolution and stimulation techniques that managers can use to control conflict.

3. If you were Mallory, is there anything you could do to lessen the conflict on the core project? Elaborate. Answer – This may be tough for students to answer, as they may say, “Well, I’m not the boss. What can I do?” Help students think about what behaviors they can model and what suggestions they can make to Chin to move the group toward resolution. Mallory (students) may also need to refer to earlier material that explains how in the

development of a group they will become much more productive as time expires and they get closer to their deadline.

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