Case 2b (Organizational)

Information Technology Business Cases
Case B-1
The mill manager of a paper mill with over 700 employees received
some disturbing news from a recent climate assessment. His mill
was ranked the lowest in the entire company on employee
satisfaction with communication. He was disturbed because he
routinely answers employee questions via e-mail and writes a
regular column for the mill newsletter. On the same day he received
the bad news about the climate assessment, he read a column in the
Wall Street Journal about making your own videos and posting them
on the Internet (see Mossberg, WSJ, 2.8.2007, B1 or He has charged your task force with
answering the following questions: 1) Should he start updating the mill via these Internet
videos? (All employees have access to the web but do not necessarily have a dedicated
terminal.) If so, what protocol should he use (e.g. length, frequency, content, etc.)? 2)
How should he reconfigure and re-orient his existing channel choices (e-mail, column in
mill newsletter)? 3) If he makes these changes how should he determine the effectiveness
of the strategy?
Case B-2
Your group is serving as the TA for a professor. He has become enamored with the use of
video clips in the classroom. He has challenged you to 1) illustrate 5 core class concepts
using video clips from the web, 2) integrate video clips into the exam format, and 3)
based on solid research (e.g. focus groups, surveys, observations, and/or the literature),
develop a list of ROTs about the appropriate and inappropriate use of video clips in the
Case B-3
Chancellor Shepard has become deeply concerned about the pervasive use of PowerPoint
in the classroom. He believes it undermines critical thinking. He has charged your task
force with rigorously investigating his concern. Based on your research he has asked you
to 1) document specific instances in which PowerPoint undermines critical thinking, 2)
document specific instances in which PowerPoint encourages critical thinking, 3) develop
a set of guidelines about the proper and improper use of PowerPoint in the classroom, and
4) craft a strategy for educating the faculty about your guidelines.
Case B-4
You’ve been asked to advise a local judge about the impact of television cameras in the
courtroom. She will be presiding over a high profile case involving the murder of a local
student by a college professor. She has the following specific questions:
 How will the technology impact court proceedings?
 How will the technology impact the rights of victims, the public, and the
accused? What are the ethical implications of the technology?
 What are the pros and cons of allowing live television coverage?
 What are other media alternatives that might prove useful?
 Would your consulting firm recommend live television coverage? Why or
why not? If not, then what are other legitimate alternatives? Why are these
Develop a well-reasoned response to the judge’s query.
Case B-5
UWGB is considering offering more courses on-line. You task force is charged with
evaluating whether this is an appropriate policy. In particular, the Chancellor has asked
you to answer these questions:
 What other universities offer on-line course work?
 Who would be the major competitors? Can UWGB compete with these schools?
 What would be the unique competitive advantage of UWGB? (if any)
 Should on-campus courses be interchanged equally with on-line courses?
 Are some classes better suited than others to on-line instruction?
 Is the quality of instruction the same for on-line and on-campus courses?
 Is the faculty equipped to teach on-line? If not, then what do we need to do to get
them equipped?
Develop a policy recommendation and provide specific examples of your suggestions.
Case B-6
The CEO of a large insurance company is frustrated by the organization’s communication
system. She tells your task force: “We have fax, e-mail, computer conferences, voice
mail, employee publications, quarterly meetings, and about any other media you can
think of ..... but we still can’t seem to get our message across. There is so much
information out there in so many forms, much of which is redundant, that I’m confused
half the time”. She has asked you to develop a protocol for when and for what purpose
each of the media should be used. She is particularly concerned with developing a
comprehensive strategy for determining what messages should be transmitted via what
channels. She is a very assertive person and will fully scrutinize your rationale. Develop
the strategic protocol for the system as well as the technologies.
Case B-7
Your task force has been asked to evaluate the effectiveness of current communication
channels used to provide information to prospective students at UWGB. In particular, the
administration is concerned with the following issues:
 How do we know if the current channels are effective? Are there other
channels that would be more effective?
 Are we spending our resources wisely on the existing channels? If not, how
could we improve our efficiency?
 Should the protocols we use for the channels be changed in any way?
 What is the proper mix of channels to meet the needs of potential students?
(e.g., encourage the “best and the brightest” to come to UWGB)
 How should we systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the channels and
Provide a well-reasoned action plan to the administration.
Case B-8
A mid-sized management-consulting firm has asked you to make a report on two
different issues. First, they want to know the criteria by which they should evaluate their
own website. Second, they want to know the criteria by which they should evaluate the
effectiveness of their clients’ intranet sites. Specifically, they want answers to the
following questions:
Part 1: Evaluating their own website
 What content categories do their competitors have on their websites?
 What features do their competitors have on their websites?
 What features create a competitive advantage?
 What is the relationship between the website and the “bottom line”?
 What criteria should be used to evaluate their website?
Part 2: Evaluating their clients’ intranet sites
 What content categories do most companies have on their intranet sites?
 What features do most companies have on their intranet sites?
 What features are essential for communication effectiveness?
 What is the relationship between the intranet site and the “bottom line”?
 What criteria should be used to evaluate an intranet site?
Use your research and class principles to answer the firm’s questions. Provide specific
examples of websites/intranet sites that fulfill and fail your criteria.
Case B-9
The Chancellor has noticed that some major universities are video taping the lectures of
some of their most distinguished faculty members. Then the universities are making the
lectures available on-line (e.g. WWW). The Chancellor is concerned and intrigued by
these developments. In particular, the Chancellor has asked your task force to answer
these questions:
 How wide-spread is this trend?
 What is the purpose of allowing universal access to the course content?
 Does the access influence the quality of the degrees offered by the institutions?
 What is the upside of this trend? Downside? (Note there are many audiences to
 What, if anything, should UWGB do in response to this trend? If you recommend
that UWGB join the trend, then you should specify which classes and faculty
members should be involved. Provide your rationale.
Develop a policy recommendation that you could present to Chancellor and faculty.