You will develop an analysis of a case study. The analysis should reflect a sophisticated understanding of the course concepts and theories relevant to the case. The essay should be supported by information from research-based publications, such as textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, or other sources providing relevant guidance on the topic. The analysis should be presented in APA format (consisting of in-text citations and a reference list.
Read the Vigilance Project Case Study. In the form of an essay and per the instructions above, respond to the following questions:
- Why is this case about team conflict?
- What conflicts do you see developing?
- How is distance affecting team dynamics and performance?
- What do you think about the decision to appoint subteam sponsors?
- What problems can it solve?
- Which problems might it not solve?
- In what ways have culture influenced team interactions?
- Describe how emotional intelligence can improve the team dynamic.
1 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. Student Workbook EMPLOYEE AND LABOR RELATIONS The Vigilance Project— Case Overview Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 2 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. Case Overview/synOpsis This case follows a project team as they work to implement a safety database tracking system within a major international pharmaceutical company. The company was formed through the merger of two organizations. Team members are located in the United States and in France, and conduct much of their work virtually. In spite of their technical skills and abilities, the team struggles to collaborate; after more than a year of work, key conflicts remain unresolved—many of which are not apparent to all team members. The case concludes with senior management appointing process advisors and implementing a conflict escalation process. Whether these interventions are effective or even appropriate remains an open question for students to explore. Review this case as if you are a consultant hired by the company to improve the team’s dynamics, or as if you are the senior manager for the division in which the project is taking place. As you read, keep in mind that the case is written primarily from the perspective of the Americans on the team. Look for the merits in their points of view, but consider how the same facts might be interpreted differently. Case Learning Objectives 1. Conflict. This case challenges students to recognize emotional concerns underlying many aspects of team and interpersonal conflict. 2. Distance. This case encourages students to think of distance as something more than just physical separation. Students will recognize that distance can also be understood in terms of stress-induced or stress-related, psychological, social, cultural and identity-based separation. 3. Team Process Interventions. This case provides students the opportunity to think about the challenges of reversing counterproductive team processes in the midst of compelling deadlines. In doing so, students must take into account the ways in which cultural differences and the effects of a merger interact with team dynamics. Case Discussion Questions As you read this case, try to develop answers to the following questions or other questions your instructor may assign: •Whyisthiscaseaboutteamconflict?Whatconflictsdoyouseedeveloping? •Howisdistanceaffectingteamdynamicsandperformance? •Whatdoyouthinkaboutthedecisiontoappointsubteamsponsors?Whatproblemscanitsolve?Which problemsmightitnotsolve? The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 3 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. vigilance project Case Description PharMed International HeadquarteredinFrance,PharMedInternationalisoneoftheworld’slargestpharmaceuticalcompanies.Itwasestablished twoyearsagowhentwoformidablepharmaceuticalcompanies,ValMedandPharmCO,combined.Althoughofficially termedamerger,inpractice,itmightbetterhavebeendescribedasanacquisitionofValMed,aSwiss-basedcompanywith extensiveU.S.operations,byPharmCO,aFrench-basedcompany. Likeallpharmaceuticalcompanies,PharMedisobligatedtokeepdetailedrecordsofhowitsdrugsperform.Todoso, PharMedreliesonsophisticateddatabasesystemsthattrackandrecordadverseeventsassociatedwiththeuseofits productsunderdevelopmentandalreadyinthemarket.TheDrugSafetyDivisionofPharMedischargedwithfulfilling thisobligation.ThedivisionisheadedbyLancePaulson,M.D.PaulsonisbasedintheUnitedStates,butthedivision hasmanagersandemployeesinnumerouscountries.Paulson’sdeputydirector,FrancineD’Aubigne,M.D.,islocatedin France. The Drug Safety Division is in the process of implementing a new adverse event database system called Vigilance, which will be used by division employees around the globe. The data entered into the system will be used to generate reports the company is obligated to provide to various regulatory agencies around the world (in the United States, for example, that agency is the Food and Drug Administration). The two-year project began about one year after the merger. Project Team Structure The core team responsible for designing and implementing Vigilance has three members in the United States and four members based in France. They include employees from the Drug Safety Division, as well as employees from the company’s Information Systems (IS) Division who are dedicated resources for the Drug Safety Division. From the United States: •Thecommunicationleadfortheproject,FrankLanigan,isfromtheDrugSafetyDivision.Laniganischargedwith keeping all managers in the Drug Safety Division updated on the status of the project. •Thevalidationlead,CarolReynolds,isalsofromtheDrugSafetyDivision.Herroleistoensurethatthesystemis fully tested and that all test results are documented before releasing the system for use. •Thetraininglead,MikePowell,isfromtheDrugSafetyDivision.Heischargedwithmakingsureusersaretrainedon how to use the system. From France: •Theprojectmanager,DidierAmrani,isfromtheISDivisionandworksatcorporateheadquarters. •Theglobaluserlead,KarineBareaut,ispartoftheDrugSafetyDivision.Herroleistoensurethatthesystemmeets the tracking and reporting needs of the Drug Safety Division. •Theglobalinformationsystems(IS)lead,MerlineBucquet,isfromtheISDivision.Herroleontheteamistoensure that the system (including software and hardware) is appropriately integrated and compatible with other company systems and applications. •Thequalityandcompliancelead,FabriceLemaire,ispartoftheISDivision.Hisjobistoensurethatthesystem meets all the regulatory requirements of government agencies worldwide. The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 4 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. Inadditiontothecoreteam,fivesubteamswereformed.ThesesubteamseachhaveauserleadfromtheDrugSafety DivisionandanISlead,andreportdirectlytotheuserlead(KarineBareaut)andISlead(MerlineBucquet)respectively. Each team also has two to four additional members, most of whom are involved with the project on an intermittent basis. Overall,halfofthesubteams’membersarelocatedintheUnitedStatesandhalfarebasedinFrance.Theorganization chart on page 8 provides an overview of the Vigilance project team structure. An administration subteam, located in the U.S., is responsible for ensuring that Vigilance maintains separate databases for each product in all it strengths. For example, if a particular medicine was sold as a 10 milligram pill and also as a 20 milligram pill, Vigilance must separately track any adverse events for both size pill dosages. AU.S.-baseddataentrysubteamischargedwithidentifyingallofthefieldsthatwouldappearonthesystem’sscreens.A workflow subteam, with members evenly divided between the U.S. and France, is responsible for determining the ways in which the system automatically passes work from one user to the next. For example, a case entered into the system would typicallyfirstbehandledbyadata-entryclerkbeforebeingtransferredtoamedicalevaluationexpertandfinallytoa reportingofficerwhowouldsubmitthecasetoregulatoryauthorities. A French-based migration subteam is responsible for mapping all the data from the legacy (existing) systems to Vigilance. Finally, a French-based report subteam is charged with designing the reports that will be generated from Vigilance. While each of these subteams has a different focus, they are interdependent. For instance, if the data entry subteam failed to includeaparticulardatafield,themigrationsubteamwouldnotbeabletomoverelatedlegacydataintothenewsystem. MostoftheU.S.coreandsubteammemberswerepreviouslyemployeesofValMed.Attheproject’sstart,theywere lookingforwardtoworkingonthisinitiative.Beforethemerger,severalofthem,includingallofthoseonthecoreteam, playedkeyrolesineffortstodevelopasimilarsystemcalledPerspective.Theworkhadbeenintenseandtime-consuming, buttheteammemberswerestimulatedbythatproject.Theyputinlongbutcollaborativehoursandwerenearlyfinished whenthemergeroccurredandimplementationofPerspectivewasputonhold. Severalmonthslater,thenewlymergedorganizationdecidedtoscrapPerspectiveinfavorofVigilance.Thereweretwo mainreasons.First,havingbeendesignedbeforethemerger,Perspective’scapacitywastoosmalltoaccommodatethe needsofthelargerorganizationcreatedthroughthemerger.Inaddition,itwasnotclearthatPerspective’sdesigncould supportthenewbusinessprocesses(e.g.,workflowprocedures)thatwereimplementedpost-merger.ThePerspectiveteam members were disappointed, but understood the rationale for the change in direction. As work on Vigilance began, those whohadbeenapartofthepreviousprojectlookedforwardtosharingthebenefitoftheirexperiences.Notlongafterwork on Vigilance began, however, their enthusiasm waned. The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 5 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. Core Team Dynamics The Vigilance core team, some of whom had worked together before, started the project by holding a one-day, face-to-face kick-offmeetinginParisatthecorporateheadquarters.Meetingasonelargegroup,allprojectteammembersattended, including those on the subteams. There were formal introductions to ensure everyone knew each other. The roles of the various subteams were articulated and the project timeline established. “At the time,” recalls Frank Lanigan, “the proposed schedule seemed reasonable and the subteam structure made sense to us all. Looking back, however, there was no opportunity to really get past formalities. It would have been good for the core team to have also met separately for more in-depthdiscussionsabouthowwewouldworktogether.Noneofthateverhappened.”Aftertheinitialmeeting,mostof the core team’s subsequent interactions were conducted via weekly teleconferences. These teleconferences were frequently cancelled by Didier Amrani, the project manager, without notice and without him having sought input from the rest of the team as to whether there were issues they wanted to discuss. Didier strongly controlled the way meetings were run by restricting the kinds of information that was exchanged and the ways in which it was exchanged. In and of itself, this would not have been a problem for many of the team members. As CarolReynolds,thecoreteamvalidationlead,explainedwhenshewasinterviewedforthiscase,“It’saprojectmanager’s job to monitor what occurs during team meetings. The problem with Didier’s approach, though, was that he was too autocratic to be practical.” For instance, he frequently put together an agenda for meetings without input from other team members. Further, he would allot only 10 minutes for other issues not on the agenda and only if time permitted. Early in the project’s life cycle, Frank Lanigan, the communication lead, presented a communication plan to the core team during one of their conference calls. Didier remained quiet during the presentation and offered little in the way of comments on the plan presented; however, following the meeting he called Frank, stating that nothing was to be presented at core team meetings without his prior knowledge. Frustrated and angry, Frank became more withdrawn; he felt that as a part of the core team, his discretion and expertise were being undermined. When there was discussion, many of the U.S. core team members felt their ideas were given little or no consideration. As MikePowell,thecoreteam’sleadfortraining,oncequippedtohisAmericancolleagues,thenormhereis“don’tprovide your opinion until asked—at which point they’ll tell you what your opinion is.” At various points throughout the project, theU.S.teammemberstriedtoraiseissuesandsuggestionsbasedontheirexperienceswithPerspective.However,their France-basedcoreteamcolleagues(allofwhomhadbeenpartofPharmCOpriortothemerger),especiallyDidier, consistently responded negatively to any input based upon the previous project. In fact, it had gotten to the point where it seemedthatanymentionofPerspectivewasconsideredtaboo. CommunicationacrosssubteamswasakeypointtheAmericanmembersofthecoreteamwantedtostresstotheirFrench colleagues.FromtheirworkonPerspectivetheyhadlearnedhowimportantitwastokeeppeopleinformedofwhatother subteamsweredoing.“Systemdevelopmentisdynamic,”explainedCarolReynolds.“Wehadlearnedhowquicklyanytwo subteams could head down different paths if the communication and coordination was not as dynamic as the work itself.” She went on to stress that too frequently, the result would be one or both teams having to rework their design—creating time delays that rippled throughout the project schedule and leading to bad feelings within the team. “It’snotthatourcolleaguesinFrancewantedpoorcommunication,”MikePowelladded,“buttheywerecommitted todealingwiththischallengethroughachainofcommand.Karine,theglobaluserlead,andMerlinetheglobalISlead, wantedtobethefocalpointsforpassinginformationacrosssubteams.Thatmayworkfineintheory,butnotinpractice. Instructing the subteams to communicate through the user and IS leads slowed things down. Anyone who has ever played the grapevine game knows how much gets lost when layers are added between the start and end of a communication chain.” Referring to the physical distance that separated some of the subteams, he stressed, “It’s not like we could even relyoninformalcommunicationinthehallstofillinthegaps.” The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 6 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. The Core-Core Team In many instances, decisions which could have been made collaboratively by the core team were not made that way. Instead, Didier, acting unilaterally or at best in consultation with French team members, made decisions that were then communicatedbacktoU.S.teammembersasbeingfinalized.Increasingly,U.S.teammembersfeltasthoughtheirinput was not valued and that their perspectives were not being given due consideration. Inonetellingexample,duringacoreteamteleconference,theteamwasdiscussingimportantdataentryfieldsthatwould need to be included in the system. Among other things, these unanticipated additions were going to affect system report generation as well as eventual training. As the team was exploring the implications of the changes, Didier stopped their discussion by declaring that the team as a whole need not be concerned. Referring to himself and his French colleagues, he said it was an issue that could be taken up by the “core-core team.” To the Americans on the team, the remark only reinforced their sense of alienation. InMay,roughly10monthsaftertheprojecthadbegun,thecoreteamasawholehadagreedtoincludeabriefcross- cultural awareness workshop as part of an upcoming face-to-face status-update meeting that again would include members of both the core team and the subteams. The Americans had hoped to use the workshop as an opportunity to discuss and improveteamprocesses.OnlylaterdidtheU.S.teammemberslearnthatthisportionoftheprogramhadbeencancelled. When Didier was asked about the change of plans, he said that top management made the decision. In subsequent discussions with some of those senior managers, however, it was discovered that they were not involved in the decision and that it had been made by Didier. The U.S. team members were disappointed that the workshop had been cancelled, but their biggest concerns had to do withtheunilateralwaythedecisionwasmade.Moreover,theless-than-truthfulreasongivenforcancellingtheworkshop severely undermined what little trust and rapport remained. As the project moved past the midpoint in its life cycle, the Americans on the core team were increasingly reluctant to raise issues and participate fully in conversations. Enthusiasm for the project had all but ceased to exist, and U.S. team members even began thinking twice about providing their European colleagues with information. Tensions Spread to the Subteams Thesubteamscontinuedtofallbehindschedule,butthedeliverydateremainedfirm.Thetimelineslippageswereobvious, but almost no one was willing to discuss them openly—least of all the Americans on the core team. “It was easy for us to see how the slippages were related to subteam communication breakdowns, but we’d been down that road so many times we didn’t know how to raise it anymore,” explained Frank Lanigan. “BylateAugust,”CarolReynoldsadded,“wecouldseehowfrustratedourcolleaguesonthesubteamswere…some informal communication was possible among U.S.-based subteams—we could only assume the same kinds of things might beoccurringinFrance—buteventhatwaslessthanideal.”AccordingtoMikePowell,therewasnothingsubtleaboutthe mounting stress and confusion: “Tensions had gotten to the point where people were actually storming out of meetings becausetheywerefrustratedbywhattheywerebeingaskedtodoonshortnoticeorwithoutsufficientinformation.” InSeptember,theU.S.coreteammembersfelttheyneededtoescalatetheirconcerns.AfterconsultingwithCaroland Mike,FrankapproachedLancePaulson,theheadoftheDrugSafetyDivision.AccordingtoFrank,Lance,whowasalso based in the U.S., took his concerns seriously and promised to act. “I assumed,” said Frank, “that meant Lance would work through Didier, perhaps coaching and counseling him on how to open up dialogue and communication within the core team and throughout the project overall.” The Vigilance Project—Case Overview 7 © 2008 SHRM. Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D. Instead,Lancechoseanotherapproach.Hesentane-mailmessagetotheentiredivision,notjustthoseworkingonthe Vigilance project. The message was sent under his name and that of his deputy director, Francine D’Aubigne, who was located in France. Colleagues, When we launched the Vigilance project by forming the core team and subteams, we expected that all team members would collaborate to develop best practices for a new safety database system. We anticipated that this would mean building on lessons learned from past projects and processes and taking into account evolving regulatory requirements and thoughtful consideration of other best practices. We appreciate the challenges this project poses and understand the time pressures this project requires. Our success depends not just on what we know but how we work together. As team members, everyone must remain professional and open to different proposals and opinions. It is crucial that we consider ideas fairly and ultimately act in the company’s best interest. We do not expect total agreement but do