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Managerial Excellence - an in Basket Exercise on Managerial Decision Making

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There are 4 caselets. Read each one of them and comment on motivational techniques that can be used to handle the situation.

Time duration: 20 minutes including the reading time


Pranjal was 32 year old HR professional. An MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune and had worked with Haldia Petrochemicals and Hindustan Lever Limited. He had a total experience of 14 years in these firms.

He was exhilarated when he was offered the post of Vice President in a large wall to wall whole sale freezer and storage unit- Metro Whole sellers, cash and carry India Ltd. Metro was a German setup, trying to expand their operations from Bangalore in India.

Pranjal had rich experience behind him but was not introduced to SAP Implementation for HR function. Pranjal was received by the HR Manager- Ms. Khyati Shah who had been in the system since their first day of operations. Khyati had all the tacit and explicit knowledge of the organization and knew the nuances of SAP implementation as well.

Getting into the groove was not difficult for Pranjal, but SAP related work was something that he was not able to manage. To his surprise, Khyati was not very helpful. It was not very long before he understood why. This information was what gave her power. By not sharing this knowledge, she had gained a position of being non dispensable. Pranjal found it very irritating but decided to be diplomatic. He needed the time and tact to first understand the process and then assert his position. Often he found himself cowing down in front of her.

Soon, he started receiving complaints from staff members about Khyati’s bully behavior. She was calling people names and not sharing any knowledge or data with other people. Besides she was into politicking behavior which was making the team members withdraw and get depersonalized. More often than not when someone approached him with a compliant, Pranjal maintained a neutral stand. He would verbalize that what was being done was not correct, but he wouldn’t take any action. He wanted peace for some time with Khyati. Not that he thought she was irreplaceable, but having her for sometime would help him take control over things faster. After one or two complaints, people stopped approaching him. And there was a silent neglect on some team members part. Deadlines were missed, there were small group cribbing which came back to him through informal channels. There were some occasions when the team apathy lead to customer escalations as well. When he confronted the person in concern, he maintained that he did not know how to do things and was waiting for Khyati “Madam’s” instructions.

He felt his team slipping away. He had overheard statements about himself in team which were not in very good taste. His credentials were being questioned. More than anything else, his own conscience was pricking him for having been a party to bully behavior by not taking an action.

Assume the role of Pranjal, and decide what you should or could do to get the team motivation and spirit back.

Facilitator’s Case Discussion Points: Organizational Justice, power and politics, Laisez Faire leadership, risk mitigation, role clarity, knowledge management system


Jayesh had joined a medium sized KPO- AnalyzeAtoZ Pvt. Ltd  recently. The firm dealt with outsourced business of Research and Analysis, Business Consulting, Information Sciences, Database Management and Database Architecture. Presently the firm had a volume of business in database updation and reposition for a large online recruitment portal. The point of customer delivery was to validate candidate phone numbers and address and update the master file.

 The team size was of 80 people. Jayesh was the project manager and reported directly to the Director operations and the owners. He was supported by three team leaders and then the Associates who made the calls for validation. The team worked in two shifts, one team of 8 people who validated candidates for US and Canada and the other team that worked for Asian addresses.

As per his analysis, a caller could make and validate about 180-200 addresses in a day. His present problem was a girl called Neha Jaiswal. Neha was a graduate from a local college and was known to the owners. She came from a business family herself. Neha’s average call rate was 120-150. The team leaders deliberately gave her leaner load as beyond 120 calls her error rates in call record and updation on the master software increased.

Jayesh frequently saw her on coffee machine and often chit chatting with her friends on the workstations. Once or twice he had given her a message by pointing out to the team leader to check if her work was over and if she was chatting after finishing the work or at the cost of the work. He had warned her that she should not chat and waste time of hers and of others.

However, there was no visible change in her behavior or performance. On the contrary, she had started telling the HR Manager that Jayesh had an attitude problem.

What should Jayesh do to get performance out of Neha?

Facilitator’s Case Discussion points: theory X and Y, Idle time management and control, setting up just and equitable processes for efficiency management, Attitude change tactics


Radha Ram was the general manager of a large pharma manufacturing company- ABC Ltd. The industry was witnessing a turbulent time. The international FDA provisions were becoming binding, the competition had increased. There were plenty of small owner manufacturers which had come up and were eating into the business of large manufacturer.

ABC Ltd had been operating with a loyal set of employees since last 15 years. Most of these employees had the tacit knowledge required for the day to day running of the company. While day to day operational efficiency was optimal, the market share of ABC Ltd was continuing to go down. Added to this was the premise that Radha Ram had just joined the company. Metaphorically, it was as though he had to save a boat from the sea storm.

The mandate from top management was to turnaround the company to create a market No 1 position. Loyalty, hardwork, passion was of great value for the firm.

Radha Ram called for a meeting of key officials in the system and sought their opinion. He tried to thrust upon them the relevance or need for change. It was very clear that the pace at which the market was changing, some drastic steps in terms of innovation, new product design, patenting the existing recombinations etc were to be prioritized.

The entire team agreed in principle for the mandate, however at implementation stage, most resisted change. People were used to fixed ways of doing things and external knowledge was condoned. People feared being out of comfort zone and also threatened by anyone who was bringing in the market updates.



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