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Coast Guard Cutter Decision Problem

Case 1: The Sugar Substitute Research Decision

You are the head of research and development (R&D) * a major beer company. While working on a new beer product, one of the scientists in your unit seems to have tentatively identified a new chemical compound that has few calories but tastes closer to sugar than current sugar substitutes. The company has no foreseeable need for this product, but it could be patented and licensed to manufacturers in the food industry. The sugar-substitute discovery is in its preliminary stages and would require considerable time and resources before it would be commercially viable. This means that it would necessarily take some resources away from other projects in the lab. The sugar-substitute project is beyond your technical expertise, but some of the R&D lab researchers are familiar with that field of chemistry. As with most forms of research, it is difficult to determine the amount of research required to further identify and perfect the sugar substitute. You do not know how much demand is expected for this product. Your department has a decision process for funding projects that are behind schedule. However, there are no rules or precedents about funding projects that would be licensed but not used by the organization. The company's R&D budget is limited, and other scientists in your work group have recently complained that they require more resources and financial support to get their projects completed. Some of these R&D projects hold promise for future beer sales. You believe that most researchers in the R&D unit are committed to ensuring that the company's interests are achieved.

1. In reference to the Sugar Substitute Case (case 7.1), to what extent should your subordinates be involved in this decision? Select one of the following levels of involvement:

a) No involvement: you make the decision alone without any participation from subordinates
b) Low involvement: You ask on or more subordinates for information relating to the problem, but you don't ask for their recommendations and might not mention the problem to them.
c) Medium involvement: You describe the problem to one or more subordinates (alone or in a meeting) and ask for any relevant information as well as their recommendations on the issue. However, you make the final decision which might or might not reflect their advice.
d) High involvement: You describe the problem to subordinates. They discuss the matter, identify a solution without your involvement (unless they invite your ideas) and implement that solution. You have agreed to support their decision.

2. What factors led you to choose this alternative rather than the others?

3. What problems might occur if less or more involvement occurred in this case (where possible)?

Direction to follow
a. Situation
b. Key Issues
c. Problem
d. Alternative solutions
e. Selected solution
g. Implementation/Recommendation
h. Reference page

Solution Preview

1. In reference to the Sugar Substitute Case (case 7.1), to what extent should your subordinates be involved in this decision? Select one of the following levels of involvement:
a) No involvement: you make the decision alone without any participation from subordinates
b) Low involvement: You ask on or more subordinates for information relating to the problem, but you don't ask for their recommendations and might not mention the problem to them.
c) Medium involvement: You describe the problem to one or more subordinates (alone or in a meeting) and ask for any relevant information as well as their recommendations on the issue. However, you make the final decision which might or might not reflect their advice.
d) High involvement: You describe the problem to subordinates. They discuss the matter, identify a solution without your involvement (unless they invite your ideas) and implement that solution. You have agreed to support their decision.
c) Medium involvement: You describe the problem to one or more subordinates (alone or in a meeting) and ask for any relevant information as well as their recommendations on the issue. However, you make the final decision which might or might not reflect their advice.

2. What factors led you to choose this alternative rather than the others?
The factors that led me to choose the fourth alternative is the fact that the sugar-substitute project is beyond your technical expertise. For this reason you will ...

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