Case: “The Problem Deputy” Chapter 2

  1. Can you identify the main sources of blocks to thinking in this instance? What should Bill do?

Bill is facing a combination of perceptual and emotional blocks in the given case study. Perceptual block disables people to properly perceive the outside world while the emotional block is makes people jealous and anxious in a given situation (Proctor, 2013, p.23). Following is a detailed overview of Bill’s blocks and their actual causes.

Perceptual Blocks: Bill is not sure what are going to be the implications of the decisions he makes related to Kurt. Bill has observed that there is a mixed opinion about the personality of Kurt in the organization as some people like him while others hate him. Bill is unable to perceive the actual personality of Kurt. This lack of making a proper decisions may cause an avoidance behavior during organizational decision making when tough decision has to be made (Friedman and Förster, 2005).

Emotional Blocks: Kurt can be a nice person to sit with and talk about different topics. Bill has found a kind of emotional attachment with Kurt and he thinks that he is capable of changing but needs time. Bill thinks that Kurt is an interesting person despite of the negative side of his personality.

What Should Bill Do?

Newell and Simon (1972) proposed a problem solving technique called Conceptual Problem Solving Process that can be utilized by Bill to resolve his issues. Following is a detailed overview of the three stage process and how Bill can benefit from it.

Stage 1: Recognize the task environment: Bill needs to understand the circumstances that may have happened in the past or near future that lead to him being preferred over Kurt. Take the opinion of all the concerned people in the organization including Kurt.

Stage 2: Transform into the person’s problem space: Bill need to focus on what are his exact goals in the organization instead of looking at the big picture. He needs to emphasize on running the department smoothly.

Stage 3: Process the data and move towards the goals: There is a bid decision to be made. That is about the future of Kurt. Bill needs to set down and brainstorm all the information he acquired from talking to different people at the department and Kurt. Then he needs to think what is good for the department. He will then be able to make a decision about the future of Kurt as part of the organization or let him go.