Business Management & Administration Module

The following is my example of the intellectual skill of Comprehension, which includes the combined skills of Translation, Interpretation, and Extrapolation. I have read the following communication on “Using Groups to Make Better Decisions”. Now I shall use the skill of Comprehension to obtain the meaning of the Case Study titled “Groupware Fiasco” that follows the informative communication.


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By Madeline DeFeo The Dean of Human Services and Humanities (HSH) at Southern University is Dr. Susan Pollard, who wanted the HSH division to operate more efficiently. Her role as Dean takes up much of her time outside of the office, so she gave much of the responsibility to the new Associate Dean – Dr. Eve Gordon, while she is away from the office. There were many changes at the college that the Dean and staff needed to address.

For example, the President of the university was recently promoted to Chancellor, so someone had to temporarily fill his shoes until the position was assigned to someone permanently. There were also many other changes, therefore the acting president quickly made changes by demoting and replacing people, like a chess game, which left a vacancy that was eventually filled by Dr. Eve Gordon, within HSH.

The dean depended on Dr. Gordon to manage the office and staff while she performs her other duties, but Dr. Gordon was hesitant to make any sudden changes, although they were urgently needed. It was Dr. Pollard’s choice to bring in a consulting team that helped to improve communications and resolve conflicts for others.

The suite secretaries were responsible for 20 to 30 faculty members and only asked for help, from Angela Sommers the Senior Business Coordinator and Suite Secretary Supervisor, when necessary. Their work was endless, and Ms. Sommers understood this because the division secretaries also relied on the suite secretaries for the information they needed to complete their tasks.


All of the division secretaries’ work became unbearable, so Angela took this issue to Dr. Pollock for review. Angela also spoke about how Martha Shipley, Dr. Gordon’s Secretary, was not doing her share of work which was causing conflict amongst all of the secretarial staff. Angela stated the issue escalated when Dr. Gordon took charge of the division office staff, so Dr. Pollock said the necessary changes to improve this department, will be made. Each division secretary received an assignment at some time, from Martha’s desk. This upset the secretaries and questioned what Martha’s responsibilities were. As time passed, no one wanted to help their equals, or the suite secretaries who only asked for their help if it was of grave importance.

Team effort dwindled because of the “it’s not my job” attitude in the division office. The division secretaries only spoke amongst themselves because they knew Dr. Gordon would label them as uncooperative or instigating, if they tried to relate their feelings to Dr. Gordon. They lost their trust in people.

The ages of the women in the group had a 35 year span starting from age 25. A suite secretary name Diane enjoyed her job because she was able to work on her own. Danielle spoke with the other department’s staff members from time to time, only to obtain information regarding appointments with the dean, ook orders, and scheduling events. Martha’s work also ended up on Danielle’s desk, so Danielle usually heard all of the complaints about Martha and acted as the groups’ liaison.


Dr. Pollard’s attempt to use the consulting team that designed the Groupware project, did not work well at HSH since it did not have the proper elements required. A computer programmer does not have the proper organizational development or communication skills, so many of the employees had doubts, and the program was failing.

However, in March of 1996, the administration of HSH came to an agreement that the secretarial staff would go to a series of Groupware software sessions. This decision was not appreciated by all involved, because some of the secretaries were concerned about getting behind even further, by being away from the office and their work. Martha asked Betty and Maureen if they saw the e-mail from the dean, and they claimed that they did. But unlike Martha, Betty though it was a good idea because there was much tension in the office that needed positive solutions.

Maureen was upset because she claimed she did not have the time to waste for two hours each Friday for a month, and she felt their voices would not be heard, and nothing will get resolved. This is now the facilitator used the Groupware software. All of the secretaries from both divisions were united in a room, and seated in the shape of a horseshoe, with a computer in front of each person so they could type their responses. There was also a large screen by the facilitator, and when the participants were asked to answer questions, the answers could be viewed by all, anonymously.

Some of the questions that were asked by the facilitator included what they thought the problem is, in the division. Some responses were that there is a lack of communication and not enough teamwork in the office. After everyone entered their information, the facilitator made a list of the responses that had similar reactions, and the lack of communication became the number one answer. Eventually, the facilitator went through all of the problems and gave them an order of priority and concern, according to the participants’ views, and then each issue was addressed separately.

It was then up to the respondents to make suggestions on how to resolve the issue(s), anonymously, by typing them into the computer. There were many issues that needed to be resolved, therefore, the facilitator listed and continued this process until all of the issues were discussed and solutions were reached. The facilitator would then put the results together in a formal outline report, and give a copy to each participant and Dr. Pollard. This process works well because it contributed to a larger input by the workers, and they felt comfortable saying what they really felt.

However, there were many unfavorable reasons, like when a participant complained about an issue or subject, sides of agreement, or disagreement would follow suit by others. Other Groupware disadvantages was that there was no teamwork because everyone replied individually, the final report took two months to be handed out, and the accuracy of the report was questionable. As the Groupware process proceeded, it was clear that responses did not stay anonymous. There were more disagreements as the sessions continued, such as should a man or woman be a manager.

When Danielle heard this, she responded that gender does not make a manager. Martha and Danielle had a difference of opinion about what gender a boss should be. At this point, the facilitator did not know how to continue, and Danielle felt this process would not work for them because everyone figured out who said what.


There were discussions the following week pertaining to the groups last session and topic. Danielle recalled some conversations with the secretaries, and everyone knew what was said and who said it. Danielle finally realized that the age of the women was an issue because the older women resented working under the younger ones.

All the women, including Danielle, had different reasons for their beliefs of who should manage who, etcetera, because they were all part of different era’s and beliefs. In the remaining weeks of the program, participants just wanted to complete the final sessions and hand in their reports, which would later be submitted to the dean and Associate Dean. After a meeting was called, the Administration slowly disregarded the reports, and in time everyone went back to their normal routines.

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Business Management & Administration Module. (2016, Dec 09). Retrieved from