The Vigilance Project.

For the assignment, we discuss The Vigilance Project case. The project was launched within the pharmaceutical company PharMed International, a merger of ValMed (Swiss-U.S.) and ParmCO (France), to keep records of drug performance. During the first year of implementation, some conflicts arose and froze the progress. The essay highlights the key obstacles and probable solutions to the case.

Why is this case about team conflict? What conflicts do you see developing?

According to the project structure, there is a core team split into two locations – U.S. and France, and five sub-teams based in both locations in half. Thus, we can count at least seven groups involved. The problem became salient when teams stopped cooperating and communication was broken. That makes the issue a team conflict situation.

The ground for the disagreements may be caused by the following cases: leadership style, poor communication, competition, different values (Johnson, 2018).

After reading the article by Eric Feigenbaum, I have reason to conclude that the sequence of the problem might be the following. It starts from >Inter-group Conflict where roles and functions of teams are jeopardized. Then triggers >Role Conflict as it became problematic to perform members’ duties well. Finally, the issue boosts into >Interpersonal Conflict where participants took the situation personally and acted out of feelings. I assume there is >Maturity-Immaturity Theory too, for the project manager, Didier Amrani, may feel unconfident and therefore, behave defensive towards the team that had already experience with a similar project recently (Feigenbaum, n.d.).

How is distance affecting team dynamics and performance?

As we learned from the previous Unit, communication is crucial for management and a certain set of soft skills helps to ensure that information is effective and is delivered. For remote collaboration, the main communication channel is writing. Meanwhile, the channel has its limitations for the possibility of miscommunication, impersonality, lack of instantaneous feedback (Richards, 2017).

What do you think about the decision to appoint sub-team sponsors? What problem can it solve? Which problems might it not solve?

Resolving conflict through sub-team sponsors’ support has a host of benefits as mediation is an informal, flexible approach that has a confidential nature encouraging people to be honest and open (MindTools, n.d.). 

Meanwhile, it is proven helpful if all members agree to receive third-party help. Unfortunately, the Drug Safety Division head, Lance Paulson, neglected the fact and assigned sponsors without preliminary discussion with the teams.

In addition to technical skills, what does this case say about the kinds of skills that must be considered when staffing important projects?

While technical skills are empirical in work performance, we have to take into consideration such characteristics as organizational and communication skills, working style (logical, detailed-oriented, supportive, and idea-oriented), personality (values, perception, and attitude).

What conflict negotiation skills are most appropriate for this case?

Be that as it may, initially there is a conflict between two parties that makes two lists of desirable negotiation skills in the case.

The team from the United States 

led by Frank Lanigan

The Team from France 

led by Didier Amrani

It is hard, but do not take things personally at work.

Once a problem arises, keep focus on the solution and plan actions.

Define the problem in a simple statement.

Make sure your message is delivered.

If not, persist and explain in different terms.

Try to find common ground.

Consider third-party help.

Be positive and constructive in decisions.

Identify needs and clarify boundaries.

Be clean, clear, and contribute.

Be proactive as problem-solving depends on both parties.

Let the person explain themselves, and actively listen.

Do not talk behind people’s backs.

Show a willingness to compromise and collaborate.

Support culture of candor.

Being defensive is counter-productive.

Deal with personal issues and insecurity (do not let it affect work-related decisions).

Reconsider leadership style.

Inform others about the working style you perform in the workplace.

Support trust and respect for collaborative problem-solving.

Do not take things personally at work.

To conclude, the situation at PharMed International happened for the reason of being a complex task that consumes time and requires trust and openness. Unfortunately, the company culture and teamwork level are low for solving inevitable problems in the compound organizational structure. Moreover, the training of project leads in management and communication is not sufficient to mitigate the problem. Thus, mediation might be a solution as all members agree to involve the sub-team sponsors. Besides, it would be helpful to boost team leaders’ communication skills and implement soft skills training in the company.

Dominick, P. G. (n.d.). The vigilance project – case overview. Society for Human Resource Management.

Feigenbaum, E. (n.d.). Organizational conflict theory. Chron. 

Johnson, R. (2018, June 29). What causes employee conflict in the workplace? Chron.

MindTools (n.d.). Resolving Workplace Conflict Through Mediation. MindTools. 

Richards, R. (2017, September 26). The Disadvantages of Written Communication. Bizfluent.

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