The problem analysis project clarified the advantage of team decision-making. A team is strengthened by having a balance of powers within its structure. For example, powers of influence help decision-makers market a decision solution in order to make changes. The power of expertise is instrumental in critiquing a solution and its relevance to a problem. Team D found the power of expertise to be critical when the solution selection and analysis of the decision was conducted. Confusion in completing the project resulted from the lack of clarity regarding relevant criteria rather than from a lack of understanding the decision-making process. Nevertheless, team efforts enabled decision-making and allowed the team to analyze the success of their plan to correct the credit account process for the case-study organization.
Team D identified that the case-study organization was experiencing a problem with accounts receivable credit processing. The credit accounts were not being processed timely in order to reflect an accurate picture of the accounts receivable status on month-end financials. Symptoms of the problem included inaccurate financial statements and an employee retention issue. The organization also experienced a cash flow problem resulting from high-dollar credit accounts, which were satisfied in one month rather than being expensed over several months. The team's tasks included defining goals and objectives, evaluating problem impacts, identifying problem causes, analyzing solution alternatives, choosing an optimal solution, and developing an implementation and evaluation plan.
Framing the Problem
Defining organizational goals, objectives, and choosing the tools or techniques that would be used to frame the problem were part of the decision-making process. The case study revealed accurate financial statements, time management skills, efficient accounts receivable processes, and timely refund processing as the organization's goals. In order to meet the goals, specific objectives were identified: (a) a reporting responsibility to stakeholders, (b) a timely reimbursement to patients, and (c) a healthy work environment for employees. The main value of the organization was determined as responsibility to stakeholders.
Learning Team D used the brainstorming technique to frame the problem in the case study analysis. De Janasz, Dowd, and Schneider (2002) say, "Brainstorming is a tool used to stimulate and capture creative thoughts and ideas. It involves the creative generation of many ideas to solve a problem" (chap. 19, p. 4). Each team member presented thoughts and ideas by posting them in the learning team newsgroup, allowing ideas to flow easily and without constraints. Once ideas were communicated, team members asked questions and clarified...