Week1 Topic #1 - PrOACT Approach

  • Question

Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa describe in their book an approach designed to help you make the best possible choice. They call it the PrOACT approach, and it addresses eight keys to effective decision making. Those keys are:

・Work on the right decision problem.
・Specify your objectives.
・Create imaginative alternatives.
・Understand the consequences.
・Grapple with your tradeoffs.
・Clarify your uncertainties.
・Think hard about your risk tolerance.
・Consider linked decisions.

Explore a major personal decision you made in the past, e.g., buying a house or car, choosing to return to school, changing jobs, getting married, etc.

1. Which PrOACT element(s) did you take into account before making your decision? How did specific PrOACT element(s) help you make the best choice?

2. Which elements were not considered, or not considered enough? What impact did overlooking those elements have on your choice?

  • Answer

My personal major decision was taking a leave of absence from my previous school and then going to the U.S. for an internship for six months.


In my junior year of my previous college, I had an opportunity to join a two-week training program in Silicon Valley sponsored by seven IT companies. We visited several ventures and entrepreneurs, and learned differences of its business culture from that in Japan. Through the training, I felt a sense of crisis to have a narrow view of things by seeing Silicon Valley's dynamism and diverseness.

Of course, Japanese market is relatively big, so it sounds enough for companies to focus on the domestic market. However, I understood rapid globalization will make it more competitive in the near future especially in IT industry.

Since I was already working part time at my current company at that time, I took a leave of absence from my school and started working full time to earn money to go to the U.S.. A year later, I luckily became a trainee of a training program for employees belonging to local companies supported by Okinawa prefecture. I got an opportunity to go to Silicon Valley again for the purpose of having an internship at a small venture run by a Japanese person.


The objectives were not only to enhance lack of my abilities including English, IT professional skills, and global marketing know-how, but also to know new technologies of high-tech companies and trends in the global market. Looking back, I should have set a more measurable objective.


I had an alternative choice to work for a company in Tokyo after graduating the college. Because Tokyo is the center of Japanese business, there are many of international firms. Actually, most of my company's clients are in Tokyo. But, I actually didn't consider this choice at that time because that was the only thing I was thinking about.


I gained a lot of valuable experiences through my six-month stay. Among them, what I built several valuable connections including engineers and entrepreneurs there was very special for me. I keep in touch with them and they always give me advice. Also, although my English is still not enough, I improved my English in some degree by a six-month stay in the U.S.. As a result, I could enter UMUC.


Because I could hardly become a full time student again after I came back to Japan, I made a hard decision to quit the college. I lost a college degree at the result. But, I've never regretted what I chose because I decided to do so by my own and that was a life-changing experience to me.

Week1 Topic #3 - What is Change?

  • Answer

I want to introduce a cycle of change from feature phones to smart phones in my company as below.

In the Dark

One of our core products is a mobile content conversion system for feature phones, which allows you to convert from a website for NTT docomo's i-mode to websites for multi-carriers' internet service. In the past, by using this technology which we developed it, we often used to develop web applications for feature phones.

See the Challenge

Apple announced iPhone SDK in 2008, and then Android SDK became available in Japan. After that, the numbers of cancellation of the conversion system increased with the advent of smart phones. We were aware that we need to change.

Get Started

Our marketing manager bought an iPhone and begun thinking to make an application by our own hand.

Roll Out

He gave a presentation on his iPhone app idea which was very unique and based on his experience as a musician.


We achieved to publish the first iPhone app on App Store within a year since iPhone SDK published.

Time to Move On

So far we have developed a lot of iPhone and Android apps, and optimized websites for smart phones. Also we added our conversion system to a new function which converts from feature phones to smart phone, so that the system is still our core product.

Week1 Case Study #1

  • Question

Students will complete a short case study of a business situation.


You are in a crowded conference room conducting an important business meeting when the ceiling springs a major leak and water falls from the ceiling tiles all over the conference table. The working papers and electronics are inundated. As the room darkens, everyone rushes into the dry hallway. No other problems appear to be occurring on your floor - only in your conference room. Maintenance is on the way.

Required Elements to include in the Short Case Study: ・ Identify the symptoms; ・ Identify the potential root causes and explain your reasoning; ・ Define the decision problem ・ Apply concepts learned in the first week to support your reasoning.

Required Formatting of Short Case Study:

・ This report should be double spaced, 12-point font, and three to four paragraphs in length excluding the title page and reference page. ・ Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and instructor’s name. ・ Include a reference page. ・ Use APA formatting for in-text citations and reference page. You are expected to paraphrase and not use quotes. Deductions will be taken when quotes are used and found to be unnecessary. ・ Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder in WebTycho.

  • Answer
Identify the symptoms

Since ceiling springs a leak, I assume that water leak from a pipe above the ceiling. According to an article (Scott Cornell, n.d.), water leakage symptoms appeared as ceiling stains, and that leads to fungi or mold growth, which darkens the stain from a brownish to black color. He also points out that damp carpeting, typically found near the walls is also a sign. In addition, an effective method to detect an invisible water leaks is introduced in a guid from Anglian Water Services Ltd ("A quick guide on how to detect a leak", n.d.), which if you suspect an invisible water leak, you check your water meter if the reading differs or does not after turning off all appliances that use water. In other words, when your monthly water bill is quite different from usual, that suggests the potential of water leaks.

Identify the potential root causes and explain your reasoning

The first question is why ceiling springs a leak from a pipe above the ceiling? There are two possible reasons: A pipe breaks by aging or by a human error. I think aging is more likely to happen because in case of a human error such as by a water supply work upper floor, it would affect a larger area, and people would hear a sound of breaking a pipe. The second is why the pipe gets older? The reason can simply be lack of periodical checkouts and replacement plans. The third is why they are lack? I think this is because people had never addressed risk assessments at their place of work. The fourth is why there is no risk assessment? I guess people had accepted this problem without risk assessments because any similar incidents never happened before. The fifth is why a similar incident had never happened before. Maybe the building is not so old, so this problem had never been exposed. However, since this incident just has happened, it is quite possible that the second time occur after this.

Define the decision problem

As temporary measures, people should move the working papers and electronics to safe place, and then repair the water pipe as soon as possible. In addition to that, I recommend making a risk assessment as permanent measures. Therefore, the decision problem is what action plans are included in the risk assessment.

Apply concepts learned in the first week to support your reasoning

I propose to make a checkout plan and a replacement plan. The checkout plan is decided to check out once a month or every two months by stopping all appliances and checking the reading of the water meter. The replacement plan is decided to replace water pipes in turn once in several years. These plans are based on PrOACT model as follows. Problems are no detection system and restoration plan exist now. Objectives are to decrease the frequency of occurrence and to be detected earlier so that it will be much less impact on future incidents. A possible alternative is to adopt sonic leak-detection equipment introduced by Developed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division as an effective method ("Leak Detection and Repair Programs", 2007). But, introduction of such equipment is not inexpensive, so making an assessment system by people is a priority. Consequences are to accomplish the objectives. A tradeoff is extra expenses are needed to operate the system. Hoever, as Lucky7, Teresa, Flickety, Davjohn and 10 others (n.d.) say that a water leak can also be very costly, so you can avoid the unexpected wasting money instead of the extra expenses.


Week2 Topic #1 - Triggers

  • Question

Review the material in Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa (Chapter 2). Consider either a personal decision you anticipate making sometime in the future or a decision that the organization for which you work is involved.

  1. Develop a problem statement for that decision.
    1. What is the "trigger," the initiating force behind your decision?
    2. Are there constraints included in your problem statement? If so, what are they? Do they prevent options?
  2. Develop a list of the fundamental objectives you want to achieve.
  3. Post your problem statement and objectives as a response to this topic.
  4. Be sure to use in-text citations and a reference list.
  • Answer

Problem statement: How can I be a valuable sales engineer? The trigger was my six month internship in San Jose, California. Therefore, that experience made me decide to return to school to enhance IT professional skills, improve my English, and obtain a college degree for future career moves. A constrains of my decision is that I cannot make the next step forward until graduating UMUC.

Fundamental objectives: In accordance with Step 1 to Step 2 of "Master the Art of Identifying Objectives" as indicated in Hammond et. al. (1999), I developed a list of my fundamental objectives as follows.

  1. Gain hands-on project experience in a variety of industries as a sales representative and a project manager.
  2. Improve my English communication ability.
  3. Extend high range of technological skills.
  4. Build a personal connections not only in Japan but also overseas.

Reference: Hammond, J.S., Keeney, R.L., Raiffa, H. (1999). Smart choices: A practical guide to making better decisions. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Week2 Topic #2 - Report on Stakeholders

  • Question

Select a current article from the news about a decision.


  1. provide an overview of the article;
  2. define the decision problem;
  3. identify the stakeholders and define their interests;
  4. assess the stakeholders' potential impact on the decisions;
  5. assess the potential impacts of the decision on the stakeholders. It is acceptable to use your imagination about stakeholders' reasoning;
  6. Finally, in the role of the decision maker, explain how you would accommodate the stakeholders' interests and minimize the impacts on less powerful stakeholders.
  7. Make sure you use in-text citations and a reference list.

This information will be posted in the Conference area and this part of the conference posting will account for 50% of the conference grade this week.

  • Answer
Provide An Overview of the Article

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer rolled out to require employees who work remotely relocate to company facilities. The employees must comply without exception or quit. The reason of this banning of telecommuting is that speed and quality are often sacrificed when they work from home, according to Yahoo. They also mentions they need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together. This changes begin in June (Kara Swisher, 2013).

Define the Decision Problem

I suppose Mayer intends to solve the problem of how the company drives innovation.

Identify the Stakeholders and Define Their Interests

Obviously, employees are most affected by the decision. The executives who want to achieve organization reforms are also involved.

In addition, this decision also be controversial for all of teleworkers who agree with the idea of flexible working such as engineers' communities in Silicon Valley. Because the decision goes against a recent trend for work-life balance. Actually, regular telecommuting grew by 73% between 2005 and 2011 in the U.S. (TeleworkResearchNetwork.com, 2012).

Interests of both employees and teleworkers in the communities are to be protected their flexible work style.

Assess the Stakeholders' Potential Impact on the Decisions

Since the employees and the communities are expected to resist this decision, Mayer and the executives might make concessions on minor points. For example, they might ban full time telecommuting but allow working at home once a week.

Assess the Potential Impacts of the Decision on the Stakeholders. It Is Acceptable to Use Your Imagination About Stakeholders' Reasoning

The decision probably generates resistance of employees living far away from their office or taking care of their children at home. However, they do not necessarily disagree with the idea of banning telecommuting. They may merely be against this change which they will lose their fundamental vested right.

According to Maurer (2010), a reason that people resist change is that we have a reaction to the mere thought of this change. In other words, we might agree with the idea itself, but our fear is so strong that our actions work against the change. Resistance is a force that slows or stops movement and a natural and expected part of change (Maurer, 2010).

From a viewpoint of Mayer and executives, it has also a purpose of employee screening. In other words, they might intend to measure and evaluate its employees' engagement and commitment, which helps to know who are reliable employees or who are not, to build a strong and cohesive company.

Finally, in the Role of the Decision Maker, Explain How You Would Accommodate the Stakeholders' Interests and Minimize the Impacts on Less Powerful Stakeholders

Everett Rogers (as cited in Maurer, 2010) mentions that getting new ideas across to others, compatibility that people must see the link to the old way of doing things is an important factor.

As Rogers suggests, to get the new idea across to employees, the company needs to provide its teleworkers with alternative options. For example, it establishes a day-care center for employees' children, or, it provides employees moving allowances.

Of course, it has to make every effort to make its workplace more comfortable for employees.


Week3 Topic #1 - Consequences & Alternatives

  • Question

Read the following case study and answer the following questions for this conference discussion:

  1. What is the decision problem (the decision that needs to be made)?
  2. What is the root cause of the issue?
  3. What are the symptoms of the issue?
  4. What are the assumptions you are making?
  5. Identify three alternative decisions that Alex can make. Explain and support your reasoning.
  6. What are the associated consequences of each of the the alternative decisions you identify?
  7. Make sure you use resources to support your answers.
Case Study

Alex was the general manager of a corporate division office. His company developed large software systems. Alex had four program managers reporting to him, each with a program worth between $3 and $6 million. Dave was one of those program managers.

Alex arrived at work one Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. By 8:01 a.m., every member of the finance department was lined up outside his office complaining that someone had stolen all their computers right off their desks.

The first question Alex asked was, “Had we been robbed?” By 8:15 a.m. he knew the answer. No robbery had occurred. The computers were not taken from the building, they had just been moved. All of the computer from the finance department had been found on the desk of Dave’s engineering team. Dave’s team was made up of 15 system analysts and programmers working on a 2-year program worth about $4 million.

Alex instructed the financial staff to leave the computers on the engineer’s desks for now, until he could figure out exactly what happened. The financial staff was understandably ready to tar and feather Dave, while Alex’s job was to keep everybody calm. Without any real information, Alex’s goal was to make sure everybody remained calm and didn’t come to their own conclusions.

By 8:30 a.m. Dave had arrived at the office, but none of his team had yet arrived. When Dave arrived Alex asked to see him in him office alone. “What the heck happened, Dave?” Alex didn’t yell it out, he just said it with emphasis on the word “What”.

Dave calmly explained that his team had committed to the customer that a specific deliverable would be in the customer’s hands by Monday morning. The team decided the only way to get it done was to work through the weekend. By Saturday afternoon they realized they were not going to get it done unless they had more computing power. So they took the computers off the desks of the finance department. They worked through Sunday and late into Sunday night and got the product delivered to the customer on time, Monday morning. When they left Sunday evening they were just too tired to put the computers back on the desks of the financial staff. So Monday morning when the financial staff arrived they found no messages, no thank-you notes, no explanations, and no computers.

Dave’s team had worked hard and had delivered the product to the customer on time. The financial staff was upset but the customer was happy.

  • Answer

What is the decision problem (the decision that needs to be made)?

Which should Alex give to Dave and his team? A penalty or a reward?

What is the root cause of the issue?

I analyzed two different perspectives of root causes as follows.

Why did Dave's team take computers off from financial department?

  1. The team needed more computing power to deliver to their customer on time.
  2. The project was a few days behind schedule due to one or more batch programs.
  3. In process of the integrated system performance testing, unexpected software bugs were discovered. So they needed to fix the bugs.
  4. Dave underestimated that kind of testing, so he had a lack of schedule control.

Why did Dave decide to do so without prior notice?

  1. The situation was an emergency and It was Saturday when he decided.
  2. Alex didn't clearly state that Dave is accountable to his boss when he devote any resources to his team from outside of it even if it is a holiday.
  3. Alex didn't communicate with Dave in these days, so that he couldn't know much of this bad situation.
  4. There was no weekly or monthly office meeting.

What are the symptoms of the issue?

  1. Overtime work hours of the project team members must have been increased with closing the due date.
  2. In process of the unit or unit testing, some kind of symptoms could be discovered.

What are the assumptions you are making?

I would decide to give a reward to Dave and his team for finishing the $4 million worth of project. However, I would treat that Dave didn't report to his boss to make a decision beyond his team as a problem. And I would hold an office meeting and announce that every program managers should comply with reporting requirements to prevent confusion in the office.

According to Drucker (2001), the purpose of a business is to create a customer and the measure of innovation is the impact on the environment. In this case, the team met the customer's demands at least, so they deserve a compliment.

Identify three alternative decisions that Alex can make. Explain and support your reasoning.

I identified two alternative treatments and a process alternative as follows.

  1. Give a penalty to Dave and his team for disrupting the office.
  2. Give a penalty only to Dave for disrupting the office.
  3. Announce only to program managers at a manager meeting.

The idea of a process alternative is referred from Hammond et. al. (1999).

What are the associated consequences of each of the the alternative decisions you identify?

  1. If Alex would take the first alternative, Dave and his team certainly lose their motivation and loyalty because they really worked hard to achieve their mission.
  2. If Alex would take the second alternative, managers including Dave probably lose their aggressiveness and passion because of getting a penalty even if he made a result.
  3. If Alex would take the third alternative, the other team members won't acknowledge this problem. It might be caused another similar incident by a member.


  • Drucker, P.F., & Ueta, A. (Eds.). (2001). Management: The basic principles [Essential Edition]. Shibuya, Tokyo: DIAMOND,Inc.
  • Hammond, J.S., Keeney, R.L., Raiffa, H. (1999). Smart choices: A practical guide to making better decisions. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Week3 Topic #2 - Groupthink

  • Question

Irving Janis coined the phrase, "groupthink" in the 1970's. This concept has become part of management lexicon as something to be avoided. I have provided symptoms of Groupthink according to Janis at the bottom of the page. I also have provided several short video clips about groupthink that you may watch. Watch these videos and then answer the questions below.

Examples of groupthink in History www.youtube.com/watch
Jonestown – an example of groupthink www.youtube.com/watch
How Groupthink Affects Organizations - Patricia Werhane www.youtube.com/watch
How to Counteract Groupthink - Patricia Werhane www.youtube.com/watch

Have you seen this is your work environment? Have you seen it elsewhere? And when you start to see groupthink in others, be careful that you aren't demonstrating the symptoms yourself. Discuss groupthink, your experience with it or your observations!

  • Answer

More or less there is sectionalism in many of organizations. Sometimes it encourages healthy internal competition; however, it can lower internal cohesion and lead to inefficiency. This might be because of differences in culture of each division. Those differences of culture can't be avoided because each division has a different role and a mission in an organization.

For example, sales department and maintenance department are likely to take a realistic stance. On the other hand, branding, product planning, or departments beginning with new business are likely to take risks for development of new markets. Of course, back-office sections have different views than both of them.

Therefore, managers who control each department should be fair and transparent and encourage cross-functional communication.

Sectionalism might be discovered when a department loses an attitude of permissiveness toward the others. In other words, loss of tolerance can be a symptom of sectionalism.

Week3 Topic #3 - Applied Project Topics

  • Question

Post your Final Applied Project Problem Here!

Students will select a topic for which you will give a short (3-5 sentences) description of the decision you are going to use in your final project. The decision must come from the business, non-profit, educational, or public sector of the economy. The idea of posting your problem topic into the conference area is to share your ideas and get feedback from the instructor and classmates on the topic.

  • Answer

The topic for my Final Applied Project will be that IBM decided to sell its personal computing business to China-based Lenobo in 2004. This topic is also referred in Hammond et. al. (1999).

The sellout must have been one of the biggest decisions and was definitely one of the most iconic events of its innovative changes from hardware manufacturing to consulting and systems integration.

Week4 Topic #1 - Risk Assessment Current Event

  • Question

Select an article on a current business or nonprofit organization decision in the news.

1. provide an overview of the article;
2. identify all the potential risks involved. It is acceptable to use your imagination; (consider boundaries, limitations, cultural influences, and stakeholders' expectations)
3. after identifying the risks, categorize your reasoning, as follows:

  • Low risk:May be acceptable due to low probability or limited consequences. Explain your reasoning for each risk.
  • Moderate risk:Moderate probability or consequences, which may be mitigated or minimized by some action or countermeasure. Explain your reasoning for each risk.
  • High risk:High probability and high consequences. This risk cannot be tolerated and must be fully resolved before the decision is implemented. Explain your reasoning for each risk.

4. provide in-text citations and references.

This will account for 50% of this weeks conference grade!

  • Answer

1. provide an overview of the article;

According to an article by Kageyama, Y. (2013)., Japanese mobile internet company Softbank announced to acquire the U.S. third-largest telecom Sprint Nextel for $20.1 billion. The combination of Softbank and Sprint will tie with AT&T for world's No. 3 mobile company by revenue after China Mobile and Verizon, according to Softbank. Actually, Softbank was the first carrier to offer the iPhone in Japan, so that by joining forces, Sprint and Softbank will become one of the top world smartphone providers. And, they plan to work together on 4G networks called LTE. This is the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese company.

2. identify all the potential risks involved. It is acceptable to use your imagination; (consider boundaries, limitations, cultural influences, and stakeholders' expectations)

Political risk: According to Shields, T. & Engleman, E. (2013)., the Department of Justice, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security asked the Federal Communications Commission to give them to assess the Softbank's acquisition because the company is provided network devices and base-station equipments by China-based Huawei and ZTE whose devices could expose American networks to Chinese spying. The Department of Justice, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security asked the Federal Communications Commission to give them to assess the Softbank's acquisition because the company is provided network devices and base-station equipments by China-based Huawei and ZTE whose devices could expose American networks to Chinese spying.

Financial risk: Both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have a large fiscal deficit now. Also, to achieve biggest ever overseas investment of a Japanese company, Softbank not only borrowed from Japanese major banks but also issued large amount of corporate bonds, even though the company bought eAccess, the fourth largest mobile carrier in Japan, for its enhancing LTE networks the last year. Also, communication area by each base-station of spectrum in the 2.5 to 2.6 GHz band Clearwire owns is small, so that the company will need to make a number of investments for facilities in the future.

Reputation risk to Japanese market: Because it seems hard for Japanese stock holders and users to receive benefits by the acquisition, the company might lower its reputation among them.

3. after identifying the risks, categorize your reasoning

I created a risk profile, which is a method explained in Hammond et. al. (1999), as follows by guessing alternatives, consequences, desirability scores, probabilities, and contributions.


  1. Softbank acquires Sprint Nextel which bought out Clearwire recently.
  2. Softbank invests more intensively in the domestic market instead of acquiring Sprint Nextel.


  1. Softbank makes Sprint's business into the black and develops its market share in Japan by enhancing brand image and achieving cost optimization.
  2. Softbank makes Sprint's business into the black but decreases its market share in Japan.
  3. Softbank fails Sprint's V-shaped recovery eventually and decreases its market share in Japan.
  4. Softbank overtakes NTT docomo in the domestic market.
  5. Softbank increases its market share in Japan.
  6. Softbank begins to decline in growth in Japan.

Desirability scores:

  1. 95
  2. 80
  3. 20
  4. 100
  5. 70
  6. 0


  1. 10%
  2. 50%
  3. 40%
  4. 5%
  5. 65%
  6. 30%


  1. 9.5
  2. 40
  3. 8
  4. 5
  5. 45.5
  6. 0

Although Softbank made excellent progress so far, I think it is difficult for the company to overtake NTT docomo in the domestic market unless it executes a bold strategy. Therefore, the choice Softbank decided is a low risk and acceptable as an overall strategy for growth.


Week4 Topic #2 - Change!

  • Question

Watch the clip on Ford Motor Company – Interview with Alan Mulally, March 2009. Mulally spent several years repositioning Ford, which took a great deal of change.

Ford Motor Company

Think of a major change that your organization or an organization for which you are familiar attempted to make. What was the change and was it successful? In making the decision for major change, was the organization guilty of psychological traps (chapter 10 from Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa) or did it fail to keep the change alive (use the "things to avoid" from chapter 8 in Maurer? Make sure to discuss particular psychological traps and things to avoid.

  • Answer

One of the most remarkable changes I come up with is Apple's reinvigoration directed by Steve Jobs. I think the biggest success factor is development of Mac OS X, based on NeXTSTEP which he developed at NeXT founded by him after puting him out from Apple. OS X forms the core layer for its successful products including not only Mac but also iPhone and iPad. Mac OS is well known for its beautiful graphical user interface, but character user interface through the Terminal application has contributed the most to attract many of developers today. In other words, the most admirable change from Mac OS 9 was to adopt a Unix based kernel to the next version of OS.

Week5 Topic #1 - Trade-Offs

  • Question

Discussion Question:

Making trade-offs is something we do all the time in decision making. We make trade-offs when we have to come to a decision and the alternatives do not perfectly match up with our objectives. Think of a past decision situation where you had to make one or more trade-offs in coming to your final decision. What was the situation, and what trade-off(s) did you made? How did the decision work out for you, given those trade-offs? (NOTE: This is more easily done by going through the PrOACT process.)

  • Answer

As I said in Week1 conference, I decided to take a leave of absence from my previous school and then went to the U.S. for an internship for six months. The trade-off was that I finally dropped out of the school after I came back to Japan. Instead I became a regular employee at the current company.

Week5 Topic #2 - Expanding Your Abilities

  • Question

In Maurer's Chapter 10, the author discusses various ways to expand the reach of what you are learning in this class. Hopefully, students won't complete the course and forget what you have learned.

Considering both the PrOACT model and Maurer's 8-step model for change, what will you do to ensure that you remember to use these two methodologies going forward in both your personal and professional lives. Use examples if you can such as working with direct reports, team members, and a management team.

  • Answer

Week5 Decision Matrix

  • Question

Create a Decision Matrix

Required Elements to include in the Decision Matrix:

  • select a professional problem.
  • generate four options?A, B, C, and D?as decision matrix rows. It is acceptable to use "do nothing" as an option.
  • to create decision matrix columns, select tangible measures such as cost, time, or specifications, as well as less tangible measures, such as style, utility, satisfaction, or service (see sample decision matrix below)
  • force rank each option (row) for each measure (column), where the best option for that column (measure) receives a ranking of 4 and the worst receives a ranking of 1.
  • when your matrix is complete, determine the best option?as you see it.
  • Provide your final matrix and discuss your reasoning for the ranking and the reasons why you did or did not choose the highest-ranking option. Students are expected to support their reasoning.

Required Formatting of Paper:

  • Two to three pages
  • Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and instructor’s name is separate from the page count.
  • Develop a decision matrix using the example process below
  • Include a reference page.
  • Use APA formatting for in-text citations and reference page. You are expected to paraphrase and not use quotes. Deductions will be taken when quotes are used and found to be unnecessary.
  • Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder in WebTycho.
  • Answer

Week6 Topic #1 - Linked Decisions

  • Question

As your text explains (Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa, Chapter 9) our future is affected by all of our decisions, but some decisions are clearly and necessarily linked to future decisions. Let’s start our discussion on linked decisions by starting with decisions and working backwards.

Trace an important decision that your organization or you recently made that was clearly linked to a previous decision.

For example, Lunden Associates lost 15% of their business due to not having the workforce in place to handle the sales orders. Lunden Associates had previously made the decision to offer a very lucrative severance package to all of their employees who were 55 years of age as a measure to reduce costs.

Describe an important personal decision you made or an organizational decision you are familiar with that was linked to a previous decision. What was the recent decision, and what was the past decision it was linked to?

  • Answer

Speaking of one of the greatest visionary entrepreneurs, many of people may come to mind of Steve Jobs. In his speech in 1983 in Aspen, he made amazing predictions about future digital life of us.

I abstracted his statements from Jason D. O'Grady (2012)'s article as follows.

Steve Jobs mentioned that:

  • in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars.
  • personal computer being a new medium of communication.
  • when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail.
  • we will have available networking in 5 years in the office, and in 10 to 15 years in the home.
  • Apple’s strategy is to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you.
  • the software industry needed something like a radio station so that people could sample software before they buy it.
  • since software is digital and can be transferred electronically through phone lines.

Furthermore, at the end of Q&A session, Jobs mentioned about voice recognition.

It's no exaggeration to say that not only he believed that internet and personal computers will become common, but also he foresaw the clear images of iPad, App Store, and iPhone Siri.

Week6 Topic #2 - Uncertainty

  • Question

Consider how the decision described in the previous discussion topic (Topic #1) may influence future decisions you might have to make?

For example, Lunden Associates decided that before a severance package was offered to employees, that they would perform a comprehensive evaluation of its employees so that the company would not be caught with a shortage of employees.

What future decisions might be ahead that would be necessarily linked to your most recent decision?

  • Answer

As a result, although the predictions are not necessarily given details, Jobs' predictions I discussed in conference #1 came true today. This is awesome. Actually, commercial Internet started in early 1990s, and mobile computing became common today as he said. Among them, a great computer in a book and a system that software is transferred through a network were developed by Apple itself as iPad and App Store. App Store was available with the release of iPhone 3G in 2008, and iPad was launched in early 2010.

Week6 Case Study #2

  • Question

Students will complete a short case study of a business situation.

Situation: Decision Time for a Small Business

Rest Assured is a small retail business specializing in bedding and bedroom accessories: mattresses, comforters, blankets, pillows, sleep ware, and small decorator gift items for the bedroom. The store’s goose down materials and high quality synthetic fabrics, along with its clear focus on customer service, have made the store a successful enterprise...until recently. The store opened eight years ago within the only shopping mall located in a small coastal town in the Northwest. The town has 8,000 people, but it swells to double that size in the summer when families and retirees make their way to the coast to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean for a week or two.

Rest Assured leases space in a rear corridor of the local shopping mall, back from the area that gets the most mall traffic. An advantage to their leased space is its large size that enables the store to display more of its product line than it would have if it leased one of the smaller spaces in a higher traffic area in the mall. It also costs less than spaces closer to the high traffic area.

The store is owned by a husband and wife. It employs three full-time people, and the store owner and his wife fill in when employees are ill or off on vacation. One of the store employees has been with the store since it opened; one was hired five years ago; the third came on board as a replacement hire for a person who left the store two years ago.

The store is advertised through the mall’s regular advertising programs. The owners of Rest Assured also purchase an ongoing ad that is run in the local movie theater in advance of the movies.

About a year ago, sales began dropping off, and expenses began outpacing revenues. Even the Christmas season, which is usually a tremendous boost to store sales, wasn’t enough to make up for the losses last year. One major issue at the heart of the downturn in sales was the addition of a new discount store in the mall. The new store specializes in discounted house wares including discounted bedding materials. This store largely relies on synthetic bedding materials made by Chinese workers, and it offers its products at significantly lower prices than the products offered by Rest Assured.

Another cause of Rest Assured's drop off in sales has to do with the local economy. It was dealt a major blow when the national economy slumped. Tourists pulled back on their beach vacations and retirees opted to stay at home for a while until the economy became more stable. The past few months have shown some evidence of increased visitors to the town and to the mall, though potential customers don't seem to be visiting Rest Assured as they have in the past.

When the owners of Rest Assured planned for their business, they developed a list of fundamental objectives important to them. Over the past eight years, they have tried to operate with these objectives in mind. The objectives are:

  • To achieve and sustain a profit level in the business that will help the owners fund their current lifestyles and prepare for their future retirement plans.
  • To provide fair and equitable treatment of employees by offering competitive pay and reasonable benefits in order to attract and retain the highest quality customer service employees for the store.
  • To offer Made-in-the-USA products as a way to express support for the country and its workers.
  • To demonstrate respect and appreciation of customers by seeking to understand their needs, offer products at reasonable cost that meet those needs, and interact with them in ways that ensure their long-term satisfaction and loyalty as customers.

Required Elements to include in Case Study #2:

  • Come up with four alternatives Rest Assured might consider in dealing with its financial problem. "Do nothing" can be one of the alternatives.
  • For each alternative, describe in general terms the consequences that would flow from its being implemented.
  • Select ONE alternative you think the owners of Rest Assured should implement and:
    • explain why you are recommending this alternative
    • identify the stakeholders that will be affected by the decision to implement this alternative and the likely impacts the decision will have on these stakeholders
    • identify any tradeoffs the owners might have to make in their fundamental objectives based on the alternative you are recommending.
    • Offer any change management suggestions you think might help in order to avoid or minimize resistance to this decision.

Required Formatting of Paper:

  • This report should be double spaced, 12-point font, with the following section headings:
    • Alternatives
    • Consequences
    • Recommended Alternative
    • Change Management Considerations
  • Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and instructor’s name.
  • Include an introduction and a summary paragraph
  • Include at least three in-text citations from your textbook. Use in-text citations if you cite additional sources from the Web or the UMUC library.
  • Use APA formatting for in-text citations and reference page. You are expected to paraphrase and not use quotes. Deductions will be taken when quotes are used and found to be unnecessary.
  • Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder in WebTycho.
  • Answer

Week7 Topic #1 - Wise Decision Making

  • Question

Select a person you consider as a wise decision maker in an organization -- either your own workplace or another workplace you have read about or are familiar with.

What is an example of a situation where that person demonstrated wisdom in decision-making? What did that person DO in that situation? Analyze the decision maker's actions using either the 10-core practices described in Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa (Chapter 11), or Maurer’s findings from his interviews of leaders who managed change well (Chapter 11, p. 174).

  • Answer

I chose Louis V Gerstner Jr., a former chairman and CEO of IBM who led the historic turnaround in the 1990's. Before Louis assumed the position in 1993, the company depended on hardware manufacturing including mainframes and personal computers. However, the situation was worst. In 1992, IBM posted annual loss of $5 billion, highest in american corporate history (Burgess, J. 1993). As a result, when he stepped down in 2002, the company reported $7.7 billion in profits and $87.4 billion in revenues in 2001, according to Bloomberg (2002).

After he became the CEO, he concentrated on highly profitable service based business instead of hardware business. He rolled out the concept of e-business within and outside the company and strongly executed it. He also implemented fundamental reforms within the organization. First, he created eight basic principles of leadership to guide the company's recovery. Then, he eliminated bureaucracy and motivated employees to be customer-focused. The wisest his selection I think was he decided not to break up into each division to maintain the advantage as the best system integrator in the world, although he was reducing costs exhaustively.

  • Instructor's response

Hi Yuji,

Do you think part of his wise decision making was from taking opportunity of emerging technologies in e business? How do you think the economy plays a role in wise decision making?


Week8 Topic #1 - Decision Evaluation

  • Question

The final step in decision making is evaluation. Did the decision meet your objectives? Did it achieve the decision criteria you set forth in evaluating your alternatives and coming to your choice?

Consider this final, winding up topic as a mini-evaluation of the decision you made in signing up for this course. At the conclusion of this course, you will have spent 8 weeks participating in a learning process about decision making. You have read information about the subject, responded to conference topics, completed course projects and participated weekly in video clips, a case study, and a movie. Now take some time to think about your personal learning objectives, whether those objectives were accomplished, and how you might use the information you learned here.

What were your personal objectives in deciding to take this course? Did you accomplish your objectives? What did you learn here that you intend to use, either in your professional or personal life?

  • Answer

What were your personal objectives in deciding to take this course? Did you accomplish your objectives?

Like many others, the main reason I chose this class was to take one of the requirements for my Business Administration minor. The second reason was I thought that decision making techniques can help my presentation, negotiation, and coordination to be more logically persuasive in my job. I think I met my objectives.

What did you learn here that you intend to use, either in your professional or personal life?

It was really good that I learned some frameworks for decision making such as PrOACT approach, root causes analysis, and decision matrix. Especially, learning analytical decision-making processes by using decision matrix and weighted ranking alternatives will be effective in practice.

  • Instructor's response


I am glad that your personal goals have been met in this class. I think this class can really help in many professions that require critical thinking using advanced decision making techniques. I am also glad that you were able to improve your process by including a decision matrix with weighted averages in your future planning. I do believe that you will me a much improved decision maker after this course. I wish you luck in the future.

Week8 Applied Final Project

  • Question

Applied Final Project

You are required to submit an applied final project in your Assignment Folder. This project is worth 30% of your final grade.

Required Elements to include in the Applied Final Project:

  • Select a decision to use for this final project. The decision must come from the business, non-profit, educational, or public sector of the economy. (You will identify your selected decision during Week 3 of our course.)
  • Research the decision using a minimum of six (6) articles. One article must come from UMUC's Library. No article from Wikipedia is acceptable. The articles must be correctly cited in text and at the end of the paper (Reference page) using APA guidelines.
  • Apply the PrOACT decision making model to your selected decision. Identify which elements of the decision making model you found. You must include in your paper the evidence that led you to determine that various model elements were present.
  • Apply The Cycle of Change model for change management to your selected decision. Identify which phases of the change management model you found. You must include in your paper the evidence that led you to determine that various selected phases of the model were present.
  • Evaluate the interaction with stakeholders, the management of risk, the management of tradeoffs, and the management of uncertainty in the decision that was made.
  • Playing the role of the CEO, develop a plan that monitors progress toward the decision's goals and how to keep the change alive.

Required Formatting of Applied Final Project:

  • This report should be double spaced, 12-point font, between five pages long and not more than 8 pages with the following section headings:
    • The Decision
    • The PrOACT Model
    • The Cycle of Change Model
    • Decision Evaluation
    • Decision Plan
  • Title page and reference page do not count toward the final page count.
  • Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and instructor’s name.
  • Include an introduction and a summary paragraph
  • Include at least three in-text citations from your textbook. Use in-text citations if you cite additional sources from the Web or the UMUC library.
  • Use APA formatting for in-text citations and reference page. You are expected to paraphrase and not use quotes. Deductions will be taken when quotes are used and found to be unnecessary.
  • Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder in WebTycho.
  • Answer

添付ファイル: fileBMGT317_AppliedFinalProject.pdf [詳細] fileBMGT317_CaseStudy2.pdf [詳細] fileBMGT317_DecisionMatrix.pdf [詳細] fileBMGT317_CaseStudy1.pdf [詳細]

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Last-modified: 2014-05-31 (土) 21:19:00 (3696d)