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MediSys Corp: The IntensCare Product

Development Team
Donnellon, A & Margolis, JD 2009, Harvard Business Publishing, no. 4059.

Andrew Kuszczakowski

Question 1
Creation of Executive Committee
Product Development Process
Different Decision Making Process
Question 2
Product Delivery and Modular Design
Points of Conflict
Resolution Strategy
Regulatory Compliance
Points of Conflict
Resolution Strategy
Question 3
Personal Goal
Organisational Goals
Influence Tactics
Question 4
Team versus Group Analysis
Team Development Tactics
Appendix A Decision Making Style: Formation of Executive Committee
Appendix B Decision Making Style: Implementation of Cross-Functional Teams
Appendix C Conflict Map: Product Launch Date
Appendix D Conflict Map: Modular Design Issue
Appendix E Conflict Map: Regulatory Compliance
Appendix F Merzs Organisational & Professional Goals
Appendix G MediSys Corporation: IntensCare Structure

Question 1
Art Beaumont joined MediSys Corp in January 2008. Within weeks he introduced a series of
changes. What were those changes and how did he go about making them? If you were Art
Beaumont what would you have done under the circumstances? Support your opinions with
appropriate evidence.

Beaumont identified areas in the corporation that he believed required changes in order
for MediSys Corporation to continue to grow its business. He identified a lack of
strategic focus within the corporation and he realised the need to be the first to market
with innovative products.

Creation of Executive Committee

In reaction to the lack of strategic focus, Beaumont created an Executive Committee
comprising of the five Vice Presidents that reported directly to him. Beaumont was hired
into the role of President to sharpen the strategic focus of the corporation. Based on the
Vroom, Yetton and Jagos normative decision making model, it appears Beaumont
made this decision in an autocratic (AI) manner (DuBrin, Dalglish & Miller 2006). It
would appear that this decision was based on information that was available to him,
together with intuition and perhaps his professional experience.

Product Development Process

In order to be first to market with new products, Beaumont saw the need to speed up
product development times. Nohria, Joyce and Roberson (2003) suggest that an agile
corporation can deliver innovative products and anticipate events rather than reacting
when it may be too late. Beaumont set about formalising a fast-tracked product
development process by ensuring that the critical functional areas work in parallel from
the conceptual stage to final production. It appears that Beaumont also made this
change in an autocratic manner, as per Vroom, Yetton and Jagos normative decision
making model (DuBrin, Dalglish & Miller 2006).
Different Decision Making Process
In Beaumonts position I think I would have followed a different decision-making
process. There is no question that Beaumont identified some valid problems within
MediSys Corporation that required some decisions to be made. To his credit, Beaumont
acted quickly and forcefully however I believe he did not consider all of the stakeholders
that would be impacted by his decisions.
In Beaumonts situation, I would make use of Vroom, Yetton and Jagos decision-
making tree (DuBrin, Dalglish & Miller 2006). Based on my analysis (Appendix A) of the
decision to form the Executive Committee I would have adopted an autocratic (AII)
decision-making style. This approach involves gaining information from the Vice
Presidents and the board of MediSys Corporation before making a decision.
Applying the same model to the use of cross-functional teams, my analysis (Appendix
B) suggests the adoption of a group-based (GII) decision-making style. My approach
would involve meeting with the Vice Presidents of the functional areas to discuss the
goal of faster product development times. The role I would play would be to provide
direction but also to empower the group to design the product development process and
make the final decision. I suggest that senior managers within the functional areas
would be formed into a committee to design the process, with guidance from their
respective Vice Presidents. Senior managers would discuss possible solutions with their
teams and reach compromises with other functional areas senior managers.

Question 2
There is a significant amount of both underlying and obvious conflict in MediSys Corp. What
conflicts have you ascertained? What conflict resolution strategies would you recommend for
each situation? Support your recommendations with evidence.

The key areas of internal conflict that I have identified in this case study include the
pressure of launching the product by August 2009; the incorporation of a modular
design into the product; and, the need to meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Product Delivery and Modular Design

Points of Conflict
Pressure is being exerted by Merz on the engineering team to meet the product delivery
deadline and to incorporate a modular design. Merz believes that her concerns are
aligned with delivering the most profitable product for MediSys Corporation. Being first
to market with the IntensCare product will provide greater possibility of product
profitability, which is a key driver for Merz. Beaumont has made it clear that the
corporations reputation is on the line and has made it a requirement that MediSys
Corporation are first to market with IntensCare.
The engineering team is dealing with a number of technical issues and their task is
made difficult by recent staff cutbacks (hence scarcity of resources). The delivery of the
software (that was outsourced to India) is delayed. This is the first time that MediSys
Corporation has outsourced the software development function. The conflict map
related to the product launch date is shown in Appendix C.
The requirement for a modular design has not been formally specified or approved in
the design of the product. Bret OBrien, the Senior Engineering Manager has declared
that he will make a demand to be let off the team if Fogel doesnt get Merz off his
back. Considering OBrien is a valuable team member, Fogel will want to keep him in
his team, so it is in Fogels interest to resolve this conflict. To date, Fogel has adopted
an avoidance position regarding the conflict within the IntensCare team. The conflict
map regarding the modular design issue is shown in Appendix D.

Resolution Strategy
In reviewing the conflict between the engineering team and Merz, common ground
between parties exists (i.e. everyone appears to be committed to delivering a profitable
product). The key issue is around the timing of delivery and what will be delivered by
August 2009. I believe this conflict is best resolved by Fogel (as Product Lead) acting as
a mediator to broker a win-win scenario, through a collaborative conflict-handling
style (Thomas 1976). A collaborative approach is most suitable if there is a desire for
both parties to satisfy their own concerns and those of the other party (Thomas 1976).
An ideal outcome would be a resolution where the engineering team commits to a
modular design, however in order to meet the immediate deadline this design will be
incorporated in the next release of the product.

Regulatory Compliance
Points of Conflict
The issue of regulatory compliance acts as a point of conflict between Baio (Regulatory
Affairs) and Merz (Marketing), OBrien (Engineering) and Mukerjee (Software). In this
case, Merz, OBrien and Mukerjee appear to downplay the importance of the regulatory
process being implemented by Baio. This gives Baio the feeling that the team is not
committed to ensuring regulatory requirements are met. It appears that Merz, OBrien
and Mukerjee see regulatory requirements as an overhead that simply slows down the
path to market. OBrien suggests that they Regulations simply throw up roadblocks in
front of everyone. The conflict map for the issue of regulatory compliance is shown
in Appendix E.

Resolution Strategy
Since launching a product that does not comply with regulatory requirements poses a
significant risk to MediSys Corporation, Baio is entitled to hold a competitive position,
according to Thomas (1976) conflict handling model. This creates a problem for Fogel,
in that Baio could make it difficult for the IntensCare team to meet their product launch
deadline. In this situation, I recommend that as the Product Lead, Fogel should educate
OBrien, Mukerjee and Merz on the importance of the role of Regulatory Affairs and to
encourage these parties to adopt an accommodating conflict handling style (Thomas
1976). By accommodating Baios position, there is a possibility for the parties to work
more collaboratively to meet the product launch date.

Question 3
Valerie Merz is facing a professional dilemma. What are the personal and organisational goals
she is working towards? Describe the power she has at MediSys Corp. What influence tactics
would you recommend that Valerie use to achieve her goals?

Personal Goal
In terms of Merzs personal goals, the case study does not provide specific details on
what these may be. It is also interesting to note that Merz has an MBA from Stanford
University, which is a highly regarded teaching institute in the heart of Silicon Valley in
California (Stanford University n.d.). Merz graduated in 2007, so it appears that this is
her first job after completing her MBA studies. It is interesting to note that Beaumont
recognises that that Merz is potential GM material. My observation is that Merzs
behaviour may correspond to the pattern of the Home Run Hitter, as described by
Waldroop and Butler (2000). I assume that Merz is personally driven to move into a
senior management position in MediSys Corporation.

Organisational Goals
MediSys Corporation have set a goal of launching an innovative, world-class product by
August 2009. Merz can contribute to the achievement of this goal by ensuring that
IntensCare is a profitable product (I see this as Merzs key organisational goal). Being
first to market with the product would place the corporation in a strong position
compared to its rivals. Merz also believes that a modular design is the key to gaining a
competitive advantage in the market-place and will improve long term profitability of the
product. Meeting immediate organisational goals and delivering a profitable product
should contribute to Merzs personal goals (see Appendix F).

Influence Tactics
Merz can improve the possibility of achieving her organisational and personal goals if
she can align key people in the organisation with her goals. Tactics can be adopted to
persuade and influence, however the consequences of such tactics should be
considered. Bartol et al (2003) suggest three possible outcomes (resistance,
compliance, commitment) depending on the power exerted by a leader.
In terms of position power, by her own admission Merz does not have legitimate power
over the technical teams as they are not expected to comply with her decisions (Zand
1997). Coercive power could be used, however Bartol et al (2003) suggest this can lead
to a resistive reaction and therefore it is not recommended. Merz may be able to exert
personal power, in particular referent and expert power (DuBrin, Dalglish & Miller 2006).
It would seem that Merz may lack the charismatic traits based on her interactions with
OBrien and Baio.
Rational persuasion can be an effective influence tactic when both parties share a
common objective (Yukl 1990). My suggestion is that Merz should identify the
specifications that will deliver MediSys Corporation a competitive advantage (perhaps
through suitable market research) and based on this, use rational persuasion tactics
with the technical team. To support this tactic, Merz should also enter into consultation
with the technical team, as this is more likely to result in team commitment (Falbe &
Yukl 1992).
In parallel with these activities, Merz should look to form coalitions with key people,
such as senior managers in the corporation. I strongly recommend avoidance of political
game playing. However, Merz should recognise the need to be politically savvy and be
aware of internal organisational politics. Forming coalitions can help to keep Merz gain
this awareness and importantly, Merz may be able leverage favours and make use of
bargaining with coalition members to help her achieve her goals (DuBrin, Dalglish &
Miller 2006). For example, she could adopt bargaining tactics to gain more allocated
resources to the IntensCare engineering team. Formation of coalitions much also
provide Merz with informational power from such interactions.
In terms of tactics that could be adopted externally, Merz could make use of rational
persuasion and referent power to influence her customers in the marketing of the
IntensCare product. This could help achieve greater sales revenue and hence increase
product profitability.

Question 4
It would seem that the IntensCare team at MediSys Corp is not functioning effectively and
therefore not achieving its strategic objective. Is it currently a team or a group? Who should be
responsible for the development of the team and what tactics would you recommend the leader
adopt to enable the teams to function more effectively, as a team?

Team versus Group Analysis

I believe that the current IntensCare team is currently a group, not a team. However,
within this group there is a technical team that has worked on the product for quite
some time and therefore is a reasonably well-functioning team. The technical team is
involved in active problem solving and working towards delivery of the IntensCare
product and consists of Fogel, OBrien and Gersen (see Appendix G). Mukerjee is also
part of the technical team but plays less of a role as he is spending a lot of time in India
with the outsourced software development effort. Within the IntensCare core group,
there are representatives from Marketing and Regulatory Affairs. The interactions within
the IntensCare core team appear to be individualistic and there is a lack of a shared
common goal, resulting in a lack of cooperation and teamwork.

Team Development Tactics

In this situation, I believe that Jack Fogel (as the Product Lead) should be responsible
for team development. Beaumont identified Fogels lack of business focus. Fogel seems
unwilling or unable to engage the Marketing and Regulatory Affairs representatives to
promote assimilation into the team. Leadership of the team has been made difficult by a
lack of underlying business processes for the development of new products. For
example, Merz has a desire to see a product with a modular design, however there
appears to be no formalised way to resolve this issue. Instead, the issue has been
simmering away unresolved and creating a point of conflict.
New teams usually move through distinct development phases as they mature, these
phases include forming, storming, norming and performing (Hitt et al. 2007). There
are number of tactics that can be applied to progress the team to the performing phase
as quickly as possible.
The IntensCare team requires the Product Lead to build trust amongst members and
promote cooperation and teamwork. I suggest that the first step is to align the team to a
common vision and communicate this direction to the team (Kotter 2001). This serves to
align the team to a common purpose.
In terms of decision-making, the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership model
suggests that the leaders role depends on the ability and commitment of team
members (Hersey, Blanchard & Johnson 2002). It appears that MediSys Corporation
has competent and talented people, although there may be some insecurity or slight
unwillingness of team members. As per the Situational Leadership model, I suggest that
the Product Lead should encourage the group with a participative style of
leadership (Hersey, Blanchard & Johnson 2002). This will help in gaining buy-in from
team members and allow them to feel a sense of ownership.
The group is currently operating at varying levels of urgency, for example Gerson
seems unperturbed by the tight deadlines. The Product Lead should regularly challenge
the status quo and create a sense of urgency amongst team members.
As the team achieves set milestones, these achievements should be celebrated by the
team. This will help the team to create an identity, which is important in the development
of effective teams. Building on team effectiveness, the Product Lead should understand
the relative strengths and weaknesses of the team members and there may be scope to
address weaknesses through training programs.
It is unclear from the case study whether there are cultural differences within the group;
however I suggest that leaders should adopt an adaptive strategy in such a
situation (Brett, Behfar & Kern 2006). Understanding cultural differences will allow the
leader to adopt the most effective motivational strategy. Team diversity can also be
leveraged in problem solving as a greater breadth of perspectives can be incorporated,
with possibilities for high quality decisions.
External to the team, the Product Lead should work with the Executive Committee to
ensure that the right balance of individual and team-based rewards can be provided to
the team (Thamhain 2004). Currently, individual team members do not report to the
Product Lead but continue to report to their individual managers. The corporations
structure should be addressed to ensure team members report to the Product Lead,
which would also provide the leader with legitimate power.

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Development Team', Harvard Business Publishing, no. 4059.

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Appendix A Decision Making Style: Formation of Executive

Question: Should an Executive Committee be formed to promote a more strategic
focus within MediSys Corporation?

Appendix B Decision Making Style: Implementation of Cross-

Functional Teams
Question: Should cross-functional teams be used as a mechanism to accelerate the
product development process?

Appendix C Conflict Map: Product Launch Date

Appendix D Conflict Map: Modular Design Issue

Appendix E Conflict Map: Regulatory Compliance

Appendix F Merzs Organisational & Professional Goals

Appendix G MediSys Corporation: IntensCare Structure