Case Study: The problem deputy
The condition Bill is faced with points to a variety of blocks that he is facing due to different sources. I would like to discuss these blocks in the following discussion with the sources that are causing these blocks.
There mixed point of views in the department about Kurt, the deputy head of department. Some people were critical of Kurt and hated him. They wanted him to retire soon. We could argue that these mixed perception of the personality of Kurt among different staff members. This mix of perception created an uncertainty about the outcome of the decision that Bill has to make and he resorted to a behavior of avoidance (Friedman and Förster, 2005).
Bill was new to his present job. He needed some experience to practice his authority in a meaningful manner. Kurt on the other hand was a seasoned person and was much more experienced that Bill. If fact he considered himself to be an eligible candidate to which Bill has been appointed. This level of the experience variable was creating a lack of self-confidence for Bill and he felt indecisive about how he should handle the situation.
It is stated in the case study that Bill found Kurt “an interesting person, though he had reservations about him”. As Bill finds Kurt an interesting person, he could be let to believe that he can, with time build a meaningful relation with Kurt. There are reservations, of course, but on an emotional level there is a soft spot as well.
What should Bill do?
In my opinion Bill could incorporate the Conceptual problem solving process suggested by Newell and Simon (Newell and Simon, 1972). This is a three-stage process:
- Recognize the task environment. Understand and perceive the present and past events that have taken place in the department that lead to him been appointed instead of Kurt. Inquire about the opinions of the staff members and what Kurt’s point of view is.
- Transform into the person’s problem space. Identify what Bill’s goal is? In the present case we can see that Bill want to run the department smooth and gain experience with time to learn to do his job more effectively. He must be specific about what he want to do.
- Process the data and move towards the goal. Bill need to process all the data he got from the staff members and Kurt. Also he needs to derive inferences on what he thinks is the best interest of the department. Then he has to decide if he want to keep Kurt or he is sure that his presence is not in the interest of the overall performance of the department and want to fire him?