Project Essay Questions

Answer all questions

Your career at Big Tech continues somewhat uneventfully.  However, you come into work one day and there appears to be a crisis.  A senior vice president, your manager’s manager and your manager are in your cubicle (sorry, no office for you yet) and they are very agitated.  An important customer claims that the results of one your analyses was based on inaccurate data that you failed to spot and, as a result, they have wasted $ 7 million on ineffective advertising.   Not only is the customer demanding a refund of the $50,000  they were charged for the report, they are threatening to move $50 million in business to a competitor, and to sue Big Tech for misrepresentation of their services.


The customer is angry to be sure. but it is not easy to move $50 million in business and none of Big Tech’s competitors could handle an account that large so it would have to be spread over several companies, something the customer does not want to do.  Further, the data that you analyzed were approved by the customer so if there were any errors in it, they did not come from you.  Indeed, you are the person who knows the most about the project, what was done, and why the customer’s claims are not accurate.


The SVP, your manager’s manager and your manager want an explanation to prepare a response to the customer.  They are not pleased in general and they are not pleased with you. They have a face-to-face meeting with the customer in three hours, and they want answers now.


Part I


Question 1:  Who has more  power in this dispute–the customer or Big Tech, Inc.?  Why? (15 points)


It is important to have a good sense of which party has more power in a dispute.  Using concepts from the course (especially the lecture), analyze who has more power in this dispute.  If  you understand how power works (its sources and uses), this is a very straightforward analysis that can be conducted in less than one page.



Question 2: Who has more power in deciding how to respond to this crisis, you or your manager or the SVP?  Why? (15 points)


Again, consider the sources and processes associated with power.  Keep in mind, the question is not asking who has more power in general (that would be  the SVP), but who has more power in framing a response to an angry customer. As is the case with Question 1, this question can be answered in less than one page.






Question 3: Based on your answers to Questions 1 & 2, what do you tell the three agitated managers in your cubicle? (20 points).


Explain how you would respond to this crisis.  Your  answer will depend on how you answered Questions 1 and 2.  Be brief and to the point and address the issue at hand.  Keep in mind that you are dealing with angry, agitated people, and they see you as responsible for this mess.  You should be able to answer this question in about one page.


Part II



You survive the crisis and decide that you want to stay at Big Tech for three more years.  You realize that to get a good recommendation when you leave, you are going to have to “fit in” by learning and adopting the Big Tech culture so that you become a  true “Big Techer.”


Question 4:  How would you go about learning and living Big Tech’s culture?  How would the culture be communicated?  What should you do to learn it quickly?  (25 points)


This question asks you to explain how you would go about learning a corporate culture.  Dimensions of culture are very important in answering this question so focus on how you would come to understand the key elements of Big Tech’s culture.  What would you do? What would you pay attention to?  What would you learn from your observations?  You can answer this question succinctly in about 2 pages.



Question 5: How will you know when you were fully socialized and accepted as “Big Techer?” What are the signs, signals, rituals, etc.?   (25 points)


It is important to know when one has successfully made the transition from outsider to insider.  Explain how you would know when you transitioned to being seen as a valued member of Big Tech.  What would change in how people treated you?  What privileges would you gain and why?  Have a think and review your answer to Question 4 in answering this question.  You should be able to answer this question in about one page.

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