Complete Case # 12, “The Wallingford Bowling Center” on pp.C-14 through C-15 in the back of your textbook. Answer the end-of-case questions and submit your answers where designated in Blackboard.

Instructions
Write your case study paper according to APA style guidelines including cover and reference pages. The cover page should contain a running head, page number, and byline. The body of the paper should include an introduction, narrative (body), and conclusion. These three sections should discuss the case study contents and provide the reader with adequate information that when the questions are answered, the reader is able to make a connection between the case study and the question responses. Please address the questions in a comprehensive and scholarly fashion; additional citations and references are expected. The page length for this assignment should be 3–5 pages excluding cover and reference pages. No abstract is required for this assignment; however, a table-of-contents is.

POINTS: 100 TOTAL

Formatting – APA Basics
•1” margins all around
•Double-spaced from beginning to end
•Times New Roman Font
•12-point font size
•Indent beginning of paragraphs one-half inch
•Use headings as necessary:

?Introduction (Use title of the paper, not the word introduction)
?Narrative (Body of the paper)
?Conclusion
?Question 1
?Question 2
?Question 3
?Question 4 (as necessary)
?References 

Chapter 3

MANAGERIAL DECISION MAKING


USING THE “UNFOLDING CASE”
WILL FORD’S MANAGERS MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS TO STEER THE COMPANY BACK TO PROFITABILITY?

TT
Teaching Tip:  Ford has put together a great series of videos (there are 30 of them) on the changes occurring at Ford.  In “Ford Bold Moves Ep. 1: Change or Die” the company sets up the history of Ford and some of the problems facing the company. In “Ford Bold Moves Ep. 29: A Year of Bold Moves” the company outlines the changes made in 2006, including the introduction of Alan Mulally as CEO of Ford. Use these videos to give students a background for the case.


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CONCLUDING CASE: THE WALLINGFORD BOWLING CENTER

Case Summary:

The owners of the Wallingford Bowling Center wish to increase the profitability of their organization.  With a prime location and exemplary facilities, the owners believe the company is capable of producing a larger return on investment to them.  They are in the process of conducting a thorough study of the organization (as well as the industry and their competitors) in search of methods to increase the organization’s bottom line profit margin.      

Chapter Topics Related to the Case:

•	Discuss the concept of decision making 
•	Identify advantages of group versus individual decision making 
•	Discuss the disadvantages of group versus individual decision making  
•	Identify and discuss methodologies for effectively managing group decision-making  
•	Identify constraints that face decision-makers of organizations such as Wallingford 

Case Discussion Questions:

1.	Apply the decision-making process described in the chapter to this case.  What is the major problem facing Wallingford?  List five specific alternative solutions that could be implemented to solve that major problem.  

Suggested Responses:

As described within the chapter, the decision-making process is comprised of six distinct steps or stages.  These include:  (1) Identifying and diagnosing the problem, (2) Generating alternative solutions, (3) Evaluating the alternatives, (4) Making the choice of alternatives, (5) Implementing the decision, and (6) Evaluating the results of the selected decision.  

While students may provide various answers to respond to the questions posed above, the anticipated responses should resemble the following type of information identifies below.  As suggested within the case study, the prominent problem facing Wallingford is that of maximizing capacity and sales dollars or more simply stated, filling the vacant time slots with paying customers.

The list of five alternative solutions that could be implemented to solve the problem identified above may include (1) Closing the business during the slack time, (2) Offer incentives such as reduced rates during the slack times, (3) Increase advertising that promotes the “special rates” available during the slack times, (4) Provide incentives such as free shirts, free shoe rental to groups and individuals that bowl during the slack times, and (5) Hold contests with small cash prizes for individuals and teams that participate during the slack time.  
 
2.	As General Manager of this company, how could you utilize and manage the group decision-making process and technique to improve company profits?  Which employees would you include in the group?  

Suggested Responses:

As indicated by the text, utilizing group decision-making has potential advantages not afforded by individually made decisions.  These advantages include availability of obtaining more information, generation of a variety of perspectives, and generation of intellectual stimulation. 

In the case of Wallingford, group decision-making could be utilized to help alleviate the current problems experienced by the company.  By allowing others to have input, more alternatives would be generated.  This would bring to light differing ideas and perspectives to the situation facing the company.  It would be imperative for the group members to be apprised of the problem at hand and steered toward maintaining focus to that issue.  In order to effectively manage the group decision-making process an effective leadership style must be developed, constructive conflict must be accepted, and creativity among the members must be encouraged.    

A suggested student response for whom to include in the decision-making group may include full-time, front-line employees who handle customers during peak times.  These individuals would know what customers find appealing or lacking about the company.  These people could offer new perspectives and insight for the alternative generation and selection process.  Students may offer their own perspectives on this question segment.            

Additional Discussion Questions:

1.	Based on the information provided within the case study and text chapter, do you foresee the Wallingford case as demonstrating a scenario in which utilization of group decision-making may prove to be advantageous to the company?  Explain.   According to the text information, what are the disadvantages associated with using a group for decision-making?  Discuss how the leaders of Wallingford could most effectively combat these disadvantages.     

Suggested Responses

The suggested student responses should resemble the following information.  

The Wallingford case study does demonstrate a case in which group decision-making would prove advantageous to the company.  This would be accomplished by the generation of new ideas and perspectives to apply to resolving the problem.  

Disadvantages associated with group decision-making include a single member attempting to dominate the process, the occurrence of satisficing, groupthink, and/or goal displacement.     

Wallingford could most effectively manage its group decision-making process by first developing awareness of the potential disadvantages indicated above.  Once awareness has been achieved, this company would be able to divert the process away from falling into these group “traps or pitfalls”.  Wallingford could accomplish this by ensuring group focus remained on the task at hand, establishing a group leader at the start of the process, and encouraging beneficial constructive conflict within the group.    

2.	The case discusses various methods the owner’s have applied in attempting to resolve the company’s problems.  What methods have the owner’s of Wallingford utilized?  According to the text chapter, organizational decision-makers face various constraints when making important decisions.  Identify these constraints.  Discuss how these constraints could impact upon the decision makers of Wallingford.       

Suggested Responses:

In order to attempt to resolve the problems at hand, the owner’s of Wallingford have undertaken financial record study, conducted an analysis of the current operation such as identifying peak and slack operating times, and performed a comparative analysis of other industry businesses.      

Restrictions facing the individuals who make decisions for companies include financial, legal, market, human, and organizational constraints.   

These constraints could affect the owners – the decision makers - of Wallingford by limiting the decision/actions that can be undertaken by them.  For instance, the market is only so big for this company so its actions/decisions must keep this in mind.  Also, the availability of finances and the number of staff limits the degree to which certain alternatives may be undertaken.

SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO THE END-OF-CHAPTER QUESTIONS

1.	Discuss Ford Motor Company in terms of risk, uncertainty, and how each handled their crises.  What is the current news on this company?

Alan Mulally faced significant uncertainty when he took over Ford Motor Company.  No one was sure whether or not the venerable automaker could survive.  But Mulally had faced such uncertainty before, at Boeing, and he had proven that he was capable of making over a large organization.  In this way, Bill Ford moved the company from uncertainty in the risk-taking arena, to a place where there was at least the probability of success.  Mulally has taken an optimizing approach at Ford - closing non-productive factories, eliminating companies that are not in line with Ford’s core product, such as Aston-Martin and Volvo, and focusing on creating a small number of well-designed cars with “wow” features such as the “Sync” audio system developed by Microsoft.  Results are not in for Ford as of October, 2007.  Mulally is still downsizing the company, and he has made a significant number of changes in senior management throughout Ford.  Plans are in place to move forward with a reduced number of automobile frames, and to sell the same model car worldwide, rather than spending the money to design and build different cars in different countries.  But as Joann Muller, noted in a recent article in Forbes, “Creating one Ford will take years. The automaker needs to recoup the enormous investments in plants and equipment it has already made before it starts consolidating vehicle development. The clock is ticking. The company wants to be profitable again by 2009, but economic headwinds, including higher commodity costs and a housing slowdown that affects pickup truck sales, make it a slog.”    

2.	Identify some risky decisions you have made.  Why did you take the risks?  How did they work out?  Looking back, what did you learn?

Students may have problems relating to this question since they may not see themselves as having made very many “risky decisions.”

For some of them, going to college was a risky decision.  It certainly represented a major commitment of both time and money.  Why did they decide to go to college?  How is it working out?  What do they think they have learned from the experience?

A decision to report a fellow worker for stealing, or for the use of inappropriate language, or a refusal to work overtime might be examples of risky decisions in a work environment, whereas declining to go out with a gang or group of friends or buying a secondhand car might be good examples in a personal context.

3.	Identify a decision you made that had important unintended consequences.  Were the consequences good, bad or both?  Should you and could you have done anything differently in making the decision?

Very seldom do managers have all the information they need to precisely predict all the consequences of a decision.  Even when a manager can assess the likelihood of various consequences, risk exists if the probability of a particular action is less than 100%.  

Students may describe both positive and negative unintended consequences.  Attempt to have them identify or articulate whether the decision was high to low uncertainty and high to low risk.  In addition, have students notice whether they used the formal six-stage decision-making model, if they operated purely from intuition, or used some combination of both. In each student’s particular case, ask if one approach would have been more effective than the other would.

4.	What effects does time pressure have on your decision making?  In what ways do you handle it well and not so well?

Time pressure both enhances and inhibits decision making.  Students who are procrastinators are likely to respond that they need a deadline or some other form of time pressure in order to make a decision at all.  Other students make talk about the fact that making quick decisions may prevent them from making the best decision, because they don’t take time to explore enough options.

5.	Recall a recent decision that you had difficulty making.  Describe it in terms of the characteristics of managerial decisions.

Students probably will answer this question in very different terms.  For example, they might discuss the problems inherent in buying a secondhand car:

Lack of structure	There is no specific or structured decision-making process for buying a secondhand car.

Uncertainty			The purchaser, in most cases, knows very little about the car and its condition.  Even an expert can be fooled.

Risk				The risk is that they will find they have bought a lemon and thus lost their money.

Conflict				The individual may not want to buy a used car but may not have the money to buy or lease a new one.  The individual’s parents may wish him or her to buy a safe, reliable vehicle while a close friend may be urging something sporty.

6.	What do you think are some advantages and disadvantages to using computer technology in decision-making?

The advantage of utilizing computers in executing decisions would be that the computer not only makes more information available to the manager for decision-making but also enables him or her to apply statistical methodologies to this information.  The manager can, for example, input a mass of data into a previously defined model and determine which course of action is consistent with the model. In this sense, computer technology improves the “rationality” of the decision-making process.  It is a logical decision given the data provided to the computer and the model that the computer used.  

Disadvantages would include “garbage in, garbage out.”  Another disadvantage is where the computer requires judgment or experience on the part of the manager.  Judgment cannot be substituted unless an expert system is used.  The computer can only handle those aspects of the decision that can be quantified.  Many other factors (both organizational and personal) are normally taken into consideration when making a decision.  Furthermore, in the end, the manager must still make the final decision.  He or she must take into consideration a number of intangible factors before making a final decision.

7.	Do you think that when managers make decisions they follow the decision-making steps as presented in this chapter?  Which steps are apt to be overlooked or given inadequate attention?  What can people do to make sure they do a more thorough job?

Figure 4.2 illustrates a six-step process which decision makers should take, beginning with (1) identifying and diagnosing the problem, (2) generating alternative solutions, (3) evaluating alternatives, (4) making the choice, (5) implementing the decision, and (6) evaluating the decision.  The key word is “should.”  Only rarely does a decision-maker have perfect information and unlimited time in which to make a decision.  Most decisions are made under pressure with limited information.

As to which steps are apt to be overlooked or given inadequate attention, an argument can be made for each step—under different circumstances:

?	Identifying and diagnosing the problem. While the problem is usually easy to identify, the diagnosis is often bypassed in a rush to implement a change.  The result is that managers often implement actions, which do not address the true nature of the problem.

?	Generating alternative solutions.  The typical manager is often content with two or three whereas further thought might well suggest a far wider range of alternatives—some of them much more creative than those selected.

?	Analysis of alternatives.  This is possibly the area most overlooked.  A manager under pressure is likely to make a decision on qualitative rather than quantitative information and on the available information rather than on perfect information.  Furthermore, the analysis is often relatively superficial as opposed to an in-depth evaluation.

?	Making the choice.  A manager bases his or her decision on the information available at the point in time when a decision has to be made, even if delaying the decision would allow for the gathering of more information and thus a better decision.

?	Implementation of the decision.  One often sees wide variations between the original decision and the way it was implemented for two reasons:

•	The attention of the individual who made the decision is now often focused on other issues.  He or she is no longer focusing on the implementation.

•	Implementation is often passed on to a subordinate who may not have a complete understanding of the decision or who may choose to implement it in a very different way from that intended.

?	Evaluating the decision.  This step is often ignored although it can be a highly valuable step in the learning experience.  It is ignored because the manager has other more pressing issues to consider and because there is often a reluctance to conduct a post mortem on one’s actions—especially when the outcome was not the one intended.

Managers can do a lot to make sure they do a thorough job.  A group meeting, for example, may result in a far better understanding and diagnosis of the problem, and a brainstorming session may result in a far wider, more creative set of alternatives.  An analysis of the data needed to make a rational decision will help steps three and four, and a detailed set of implementation procedures accompanied by assigned responsibilities and reporting deadlines will help in implementing the decision.

Conducting an evaluation of the decision can be helped by a formalized reporting process (the completion of a form at the end of the project or activity) and by leadership from top management in the interest of ensuring that future decisions are more thorough.

8.	Discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of using a group to make decisions.  Give examples in your experience.

Advantages:

?	More information is available when several people are making the decision.
?	Wider range of perspectives and approaches to problem solving.
?	Better analysis: “Two heads are better than one.”
?	Intellectual stimulation: A group session can unleash people’s creativity.
?	Group members will understand the decision better if they were part of the process.
?	There will be greater commitment to the decision.

	Disadvantages:

?	Domination of the group process by one individual.
?	A tendency to compromise so that all members of the group are satisfied, leading too poorer decision-making.
?	Pressure to avoid disagreement.
?	Goal displacement with the original goal of the group being replaced by another goal.

9.	Suppose you are the CEO of a major corporation and one of your company’s oil tanks has erupted, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into a river that empties into the ocean.  What do you need to do to handle the crisis?

There are a number of very different elements affecting the CEO’s decision-making process under these circumstances, and it may be useful to have the student’s list and prioritize the actions.  Students probably will not agree as to the order in which they should be handled.

?	Contact the appropriate local, state, and federal authorities—a number of notifications will be legally required, and this will enable the authorities to mobilize their resources.
?	Alert the communities down river—again so that they can take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the effect of the spill.
?	Mobilize the company’s own resources to handle the spill—hopefully, the company will have a definitive, written plan of action ready to be implemented.
?	Prepare a statement for the media indicating the nature of the spill and the steps, which are being taken to minimize the effect.
?	Ensure that you are available at all time to the media and that you present a realistic and cooperative posture.

While the spill itself is important, the public relations aspects are equally so and it is important that the CEO handle this aspect of the disaster in a professional manner.

The instructor might ask students whether or not they feel the CEO should be totally honest in dealing with the media.  Are there dangers inherent in being honest?

10.	Look at the mistaken assumptions described in Table 3.4.  Why do such assumptions arise, and what can be done to overcome these biases?

These mistaken assumptions arise because management may:

?	Not be fully aware of the situation.
?	Not wish to admit (to either itself or to the outside world) that a crisis exists.  “If we ignore it, it will go away.”
?	Have a misplaced belief in their own skills and capabilities or those of their personnel.
?	Believe (quite sincerely) that the situation, however bad, can be covered up by an effective advertising and public relations campaign.

11.	Identify some problems you want to solve.  Brainstorm with others a variety of creative solutions.
	
This question represents a good opportunity for some lively and amusing discussion.  For example, how to get a good grade in this class might be an appropriate topic for discussion!  Or how to ask somebody to a dance?  Or how to propose marriage?

Or you might use the example of the two attorneys who share a reception area and two offices.  They want to replace the dark brown color with something more attractive but can’t agree on what color to adopt.  Children under 10 can normally suggest 30 or 40 possible solutions (including the shooting of one partner by the other) while college students are usually limited to 20 or less.