Memo

ORGANIZATION BEHAVIOR CASE STUDY 6

To:Tom Malone

From:

March 16, 2015

Subject:Sourcing informationabout a client’scompetitor

Problem

Findingtherightinformationabout thecostandthemanufacturingprocessof a newtypeof chipthat has beendevelopedby a client’scompetitoris themajorproblemthat needsto beaddressed.Theinformationis criticalfortheclientsince itwill helpin thedevelopmentof a chipthat is newin themarket,butaccessingthatinformationis a challenge.

Conclusionandrecommendations

Asa projectleader,Martha McCaskey, is in an ethicaldilemmasince all theavailableoptionsforaccessinginformationabout thenewchipwill leadto someconcernsorfacesomechallenges.CompletingtheSilicon 6 projectwill helpSelerisgetmoreprojectsfrom theclientin thefuture.Martha McCaskey expectsa promotionto thepositionof a groupmanagerfollowingthesuccessfulcompletionof theSilicon 6 project.Therefore,gettingtherightinformationabout themanufacturingprocessas wellas thecostof manufacturingthenewchipmeansa lotto Martha McCaskey’s careerandSeleris’sgrowthandprofitability. Out of thethree (contactingex-employees, competitor’sequipmentmanufacturers,andindustryconsultant)availablealternatives,theuseof industryconsultantto sourcetherightinformationis themostviable option.

Theuseof theservicesof an industryconsultantis recommendedin thiscasebecausetheconsultantwill provideprofessionalandreliableinformationthat can beputinto practice.In addition,sourcing informationfrom industryconsultantis thesimplestapproachthat can helpMartha McCaskey avoidethicalissuesrelatedto integrityandhonestyat workas wellas proceduresforaccessingproprietaryinformation.Theothertwo optionswill not helpMartha McCaskey accessinformationthat is usefulto theclient.Forexample,Martha McCaskey doesnot knowof anyex-employee wholefttheclient’scompetitorfirm in therecent.AlthoughMartha McCaskey managedto contactequipmentmanufacturersof thecompetitor,theywereclosemouthedandnot willingto supplyinformationpertainingto thetypeof equipmentthat thecompetitorhadorderedandits operatingcharacteristics.

Factors

Customersatisfaction:The client’ssatisfactionis based onthecapacityof Seleristo getinformationabout theprocessof manufacturingthenewtypeof chipandtheassociatedcosts.

Corporateimage:Getting therightinformationusingdishonestmeansmight damagetheimageof Seleris.

Easeof implementation:Although there are differentwaysof accessinginformationabout theprocessof manufacturingthenewtypeof chipandits cost,thealternativeshavevaryinglevels of easewith which Martha McCaskey can implementthem.

Ethics:The methodusedto accessproprietaryinformationcan resultin unethicalpractices,inspiteofthefactthatSeleris’spolicieson ethicsare generalandvague.

Alternativesolutions

Contacttheex-employees of theclient’scompetitors:This involvesfindingthenamesandcontactsof peoplewhoworkedin theSilicon 6 plant.However,theseex-employees must haveworkedwith theplantwithin thetimethatthecompetitorhavebeenmanufacturingthenewchipin orderto ensurethattheyhavecredibleinformationabout themanufacturingprocessaswell asthecostof manufacturingthechip.From thepreviousinstancesin which thisalternativehas beenused,representativesof Selerisroutinely paidcompetitor’sex-employees in orderto enticethem to providesensitiveinformation.

ContactingSilicon 6 Plant equipmentmanufacturers:This alternativewill requireMartha McCaskey to requestindividualswhomanufactureequipmentusedby theclient’scompetitorin producingthenewtypeof chipto provideher with theinformationabout theprocessandthecostof manufacturingthechip.Thisis a reliablesourcebecauseitwill helpMartha McCaskey getfirst-handinformationfrom peoplewhoproducingthenewtypeof chip.However,equipmentmanufacturersmight be unwillingto supplytheinformationfollowinga perceptionthatdoingsois an equivalent of betrayingtheplant.

Usingtheserviceof an industryconsultant:This is a professionaltransactionin which a professionalwhopossesknowledgeabout theprocessandthecostof manufacturingthenewchipwill supplythatinformationto representativesof Selerisat a fee.

Comparingsolutions

Payingex-employees to providesensitiveinformationabout their formeremployeris unethicalbecauseitcontravenestheprincipleof confidentiality. Thedifficultyof gettingex-employees makesitdifficultto implementthisoption.Equipmentmanufacturerscan providemorereliableinformationthat will satisfytheclientthan ex-employees. However,themanufacturersmay not be willingto supplytheinformation.Thismakesitdifficultto implementthisoption.

Usingtheserviceof an industryconsultantsimilarto equipmentmanufacturerwill helpMcCaskey getreliableinformationthat will satisfytheclient.Thisalternativehas limitedchancesof engagingin unethicalpracticescomparedto theex-employee’s alternative.Althoughitis an expensivealternative,itis easyto implementsince itinvolvesschedulingformalmeetingswith theconsultant(See Appendix 1).

Implementationplan:Sourcing informationfrom an industryconsultantStep1: Identify differentconsultantswith relevantinformationabout productionof chips.Step2: Select andcontacttheconsultantwith informationabout thenewchip.Step3: Schedule meetingsandinformtheconsultantabout thepurposeof engagement.Step4: Attend themeetingandinterviewtheconsultant.Step5:Confirm thattherightinformationhavebeenobtained.Step6: Analyze theinformationandpresentitto Selerismanagement.Step7: If approved,presentitto theclient.(SeeAppendix 2 fortimeframe andpersonsresponsiblefortheimplementation)

Appendix1: Factors for decision-making

Alternatives

Decision Factors

Corporate image

Ease of implementation

Ethics

Consumer Satisfaction

Contacting ex-employees

Negative image of Seleris

Difficult to get reliable ex-employees

Violates the principle of confidentiality

No satisfaction (ex-employees may not posses quality information)

Contacting manufacturers

No effect on Seleris image

Manufacturers are closemouthed

Manufacturers fear betraying Silicon 6 Plant

High level of satisfaction if successful (manufacturers posses first-hand information)

Contacting an industry consultant

Positive image of Seleris

Ease to organize formal meetings

No ethical concerns

High level of client satisfaction (information is obtained from experienced professionals using formal procedures)

Appendix 2: Plan implementation

Role

Time

Person responsible

Identification of consultants

3 days

Project leader

Selection of appropriate consultant

1 day

Project leader

Contacting the selected consultant and scheduling meetings

4 days

Project leader

Interviewing the consultant

1 day

Project leader

Analyzing the data collected

3 days

Project leader

Presenting the findings to management

1 day

Project leader

Presenting the findings to the client

1 day

Project leader