Imatron Case Analysis By Team Synergy Problem Identification The Remote Imaging Division (RID) of Imatron is responsible for the development of a satellite camera to monitor environmental threats for the U. S. government. This project is of tremendous significance because it will provide future technology and profitability for Imatron. The project has a strict schedule to meet in regards to the requirements or else penalties will be placed on the company if the deadlines are not met. There appears to be conflicts of intra-group dynamics within the team as well as individual cooperation differences.
The differences of opinion between Lovas and Bennett have become hostile and have alienated others within the group. The bitter relationship is threatening the entire project and has placed tension on Gary Pinto, who is running out of time and options in deciding the best application for the system. Pinto is aware of the dynamics surrounding the two main protagonists. He has been very conscientious when dealing with the conflicts and is very accommodating to the entire group as they appear to be negatively affected by the conflict presented by the two individuals.
There seems to be gossip and behind the scenes communication that is relating to the project. This appears to be causing more complications to the process. It also seems that the team is encountering social loafing because no one wants to get involved in the conflict between the two engineers. The lack of communication between the two leads, and their inability to work together, is resulting in unaccomplished tasks. Problem Analysis There are several underlying problems within this team. Bennett and Lovas are both unwilling to compromise and collaborate their designs which is holding up the entire project.
The two engineers are very competitive because they both feel they are more knowledgeable than the other. Because of this conflict, team members avoid speaking up during meetings. They are being asked for input by Pinto and they seem to be accommodating rather than giving their perspectives. During the meetings there are no open-ended discussions or effective problem solving. There appears to be divergent thinking happening but no compromise is being obtained. The biggest issue is the lack of trust within the team.
Bennett and Lovas are unable to form an effective partnership due to this issue. The lack of trust could also lead the group to losing faith in Pinto because he has been struggling to fix this situation between Bennett and Lovas. With the lack of trust, it is more than likely that the perception of the abilities of the all three senior members is being questioned. All three of these problems directly correlate with each other. The correlation can be viewed in reverse. The lack of trust within the team stems from the feeling that Pinto cannot resolve Lovas and Bennett’s conflict.
This distrust in the projects leader causes the lack of communication between members because honest opinions could potentially lead to more conflict. These two problems are caused because of the two mechanical engineers’ unwillingness to see how each other’s input and criticism could benefit the project as a whole. Ultimately, there is very little respect for each other’s expertise and talents. Currently, the situation is problematic for everyone and it’s hard to detect which needs could benefit from this lack of trust, respect, and communication.
The main root of the three problems is that the two engineers have two very different ways of thinking. The most apparent benefit is that Lovas’ organized and methodical thinking, and Bennett’s risk taking approach could lead to a prototype that is well thought out during the planning process, yet very innovative during the execution process. It is difficult to see how the team could benefit from the different perspectives because these two members must realize the benefits first. Another underlying cause to these problems is Pinto’s lack of direction in the project.
Having the two engineers create two alternative designs was the easy, yet ineffective way to deal with this issue. Creating two alternate prototypes forced a situation where one of the two engineers would be made to feel inferior to the other. The actual outcome, Lovas creating the superior model, was predictable, and the worst possible because Bennett is less graceful in admitting defeat and will take a larger emotional toll. If Pinto would have been stronger initially and forced the two designers to create one model this situation would not have arisen.
This situation does have a beneficial aspect in that an almost usable model has been created, and with the proper leadership here on out the team could really make something amazing. Pinto now will have to nurse Bennett’s ego, but if done well enough could stimulate a situation where Bennett is able to throw his creativity into full gear and adapt Lovas’ model so that it will meet the lightweight criteria. Lovas’ somewhat viable model will be the key in implementing an action plan that will address the teams inter-personal issues and create a product that will end with Satera being a success.
Action Plan Both Lovas and Bennett have their unique qualities that they bring to the table that differentiate them from one another. Gary Pinto has been described in the case as being known for his honesty and respect. It has been established that he combines praise for team member’s strengths and provides constructive criticism for their weaknesses. Gary Pinto’s first objective to meet is his duty to select which support structure was preferred over the other for the protection of the imaging system. The clear winner was Lovas’s honeycomb structure which withstood the vibration in the testing lab.
However, Pinto is facing a tough decision of whether the honeycomb structure is feasible to meet the criteria for Satera. Unfortunately, it was deemed too heavy and would need further expertise. The second objective that Gary Pinto must fulfill is altering the honeycomb design to one that meets Satera’s criteria. Pinto can only accomplish this through sufficient help of his team. Pinto should look to the team’s expertise and notice that Bennett has an expertise towards innovative ideas and may be able to come up with a way to make the honeycomb design lighter o fulfill the necessary requirements. Gary Pinto can use both Ira Lovas and David Bennett to their full potentials by having them work together to complete a well-rounded support structure for the imaging system. The issue at hand is getting Lovas and Bennett to cooperate. Gary Pinto can gain success for this project by sitting down Lovas and Bennett to explain to them both through the techniques of supportive communication. This technique of supportive communication will explain what each individual brings to the table and how it can benefit the team as a whole.
He can describe Lovas’s superb design and then explain the issues with the support structure being too heavy. Pintos can then turn to Bennett and describe his strengths of innovation and ambition, then direct him through a problem-oriented route to help Lovas make the design lighter. By sitting both Lovas and Bennett down to support them and validate what each of them brings to the table, Pinto can rely on them working together to achieve a common goal at hand.
A downfall to this proposed solution of bringing Lovas and Bennett together to implement each of their strengths is the factor that they may altogether dismiss the idea of collaboration. This is a serious risk that Gary Pinto faces due to the animosity that Lovas and Bennett have directed towards one another. The best solution to counter this unanticipated scenario is by motivating Lovas and Bennett through a paid bonus if they are able to meet the fast approaching deadline. Another key aspect of the conflict is that David Bennett seems to be the aggressor in the issues with Lovas.
Bennett seems to be affected more by the lack of trust in his innovative ideas. By Pinto allowing Bennett to work with Lovas to complete this design, he can be motivated to take the lead on future projects based on the potential success of this current project at hand. Pinto can further encourage Bennett by promising that if the project goes well, he will establish a Research and Development department in which Bennett will be the sole leader of the improvement projects. This will be a paradise for Bennett and provide him plenty of opportunity to implement his unorthodox ways to come up with innovation.
Such a plan will help encourage Lovas as well, since he will have fewer clashes (if any) with Bennett’s cognitive style and will have more chance to stay concentrated on the projects. The proposed solution of having Lovas and Bennett work together is feasible in time, money, and resources. Gary Pinto has a strong set of team members and must use them to their full potentials. By motivating them and creating awareness to their skillsets, Pinto can open the door to success both in this project and in future projects, by creating interpersonal relationships, and strengthening overall team cohesion.
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