Henry Tam and the MGI Team Case - Main Managerial Problem
On the surface, the seven-member MGI team which comprised of Henry Tam and Dana Soiman – both current HBS MBA Students, Alex Sartakov – a Berklee College of Music student, Dav Clar – a MIT graduate student, and Alexander (Sasha) Gimpelson, Igor Tkachenko, and Roman Yakub – the MGI founders, seems like an ideal team, with each member bringing different experiences and technical skills to help with the business plan contest at HBS. However, as we will see in this paper, interpersonal dynamics, a lack of clear leadership, resulting in unclear team goals and individual roles, and a lack of healthy group norms, contribute to an ineffective team process at MGI. With the deadline less than three weeks away and the team without even a first draft of the business plan, Henry is certain that the team would not meet the deadline if it continued to function as it had so far.
Team Process is defined as the team members’ behaviors and interactions, occurring over time. It is through this process that all of the members’ expertise and knowledge, along with other inputs, functioning in the group environment, manufacture an output. MGI’s team process seems ineffective, resulting a lot of conflicts among the subgroups of the MGI team and inability to complete the business plan. At the “launch” of the team in Mellon Hall on HBS campus, it was clear that the team did not have any specific role for each of the team members, nor was there a clear leadership arrangement. “..It seemed to me that Sasha saw our role as business plan writers, specifically for the contest, whereas Igor understood the need for us to help with vision and strategy.” As a result, we see different expectation of roles and frustration among members. Added to problem during the launching process, other team members were added over next couple of meetings without any prior consultation of the team: Alex joined at the 2nd meeting and Dav joined at the 3rd meeting. This seeded an element of distrust in Henry and Dana and made them wonder whether Sasha needed actual team members, or the team members’ connections to the business plan contests. It is important to monitor how team members interact with one another at the very beginning of the team formation, as this sets the trajectory of team process. As the case details, the behavioral integration at each of the three components - quantity and quality information exchange, collaborative behavior, and joint decision-making - seems poor. We see that it is apparent that the information was not shared equally from the way that the 2 newest members of the team were added to the group. From the case, we also see examples of bad collaborative behavior between Sasha and Dana. In the second meeting, I feel that...