TELS 3340 Organizational Leadership & Supervision
R. Riley, Ph.D.
Case Study #4 – Ch. 7-A p. 194
Developing a Decision-Making Style
➤ CASE 7-A: Developing a Decision-Making Style
Every supervisor brings a unique personality, varied experiences, and a variety of training to the decision-making process. Some supervisors are risk takers; some value certainty. Some supervisors are creative and intuitive; others are logical and rational. All supervisors are called on to make decisions and choices, which requires careful thought and information. Supervisors need to understand how to go about this process and the basic tendencies that may affect their process. Toby Lyman has been hired as a supervisor in the new services department of a medium-sized call center. This department is responsible for assisting existing customers in using new services in a telecommunications call center. Other departments transfer calls to this department to alert customers to new services. The call center has high expectations for the results of this department. Toby’s background is in sales and customer service at retail companies where she has also developed good problem-solving skills. A manager in a retail company where Toby worked is now a director and Toby’s boss at the call center.
In the new services department Toby is one of four supervisors, each of whom has four to six associates to supervise. Two of the supervisors have ten years with the call center and five years as supervisors in the department. The other supervisor was recently transferred to this department from another department where she was a supervisor. At the meeting in which Toby accepted the position, her new boss said, “Your sales background will help shake up our department and get people thinking in new ways.” On the first day at the call center, one of the other supervisors welcomed Toby by saying, “Glad to have you; we’ll take it easy on you until you understand how we do things here.”
The new job is under way and there are decisions to make about people transfers, working hours, vacation coverage, customer handling, and website revisions, to name just a few. Toby is torn between a desire to fit in and another to recommend some actions that she suspects would work better in the call center. She knows that one path (fitting in) is conservative and has little risk. The alternative recommending changes) might be the kind of action that makes her stand out.
RESPONDING TO THE CASE
1. In her new job, how might Toby make use of the knowledge she has about decision-making styles?
2. How would Toby benefit by examining the styles of her boss and those of the other supervisors?
3. In a popular television show The Apprentice, we see a particular style of decision making. Identify other public personalities by their decision-making styles.