EHR205 Case Study – The Challenge of Working with Executive Teams When Andrew Sutton, an Organisational Behaviour Consultant, arrived to manage several days of meetings for an executive team, he was unaware of what was ahead of him. The team he would be working with was new to him, and although he had been warned that the team members were having some trouble working together, he knew little of the specific challenges they were facing. The team itself was in the insurance business.


EHR205 Case Study – The Challenge of Working with Executive Teams When Andrew Sutton, an Organisational Behaviour Consultant, arrived to manage several days of meetings for an executive team, he was unaware of what was ahead of him. The team he would be working with was new to him, and although he had been warned that the team members were having some trouble working together, he knew little of the specific challenges they were facing. The team itself was in the insurance business. Collectively, its members were responsible for overseeing more than 4000 employees and three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenue. It was a very senior team comprising exceptionally capable individuals; all of them specialists in their respective fields. With a team of this seniority, managing a business of this size, and with the amount of the members’ collective experience, it could be expected that they would be somewhat coordinated in their approach to making decisions and working together. But this was not the situation. The session for the first day of meetings was planned to cover the challenges of working together and the team’s collective direction as a company. At the very beginning of the first day, the team members were polite but it was clear they were not comfortable with each other. By 10.00 am the agenda had been abandoned after it became obvious that there were some grievances between the team members. People quickly became frustrated, started shouting, and kept bringing up issues from past interactions that revolved around issues of Context including leadership, trust, resources, and performance evaluation; Composition including abilities, personality, roles, and diversity; and Process including common plan and purpose, goals, and conflict. From his experience of working with executive teams from different industries, Andrew knew that many things can come in the way of teams functioning well. Andrew realized from facilitating workshops with executives that a group of high-functioning individuals doesn’t necessarily become a high-functioning team. Task: You are to write an analytical report relating to managing an executive team in an organisational behavior (OB) context. The task requires you to: i. Read the case study ‘The Challenge of Working with Executive Teams’ (see below). ii. Choose three specific areas to focus on; one from each category within the Team Effectiveness Model (see model below) i.e., one area from Context, one from Composition and one from Process. iii. Search and understand the literature for relevant concepts and empirical findings. iv. Write a report that provides an in-depth analysis of managing an executive team focusing on the specific areas you have chosen and using relevant literature v. Provide three clear recommendations on policies and practices for Andrew to manage the team. These recommendations need to be clearly derived from the in-depth analysis and supported by references.

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