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Case Study

Learning Outcomes:

  • To explain the human dynamics and their implication to small group dynamics.
  • To analyze group dynamics using the Open System Model.
  • To identify and briefly explain the Versatility Skills needed to guide a small group to work together.
  • To devise a brief plan of action.

Scenario:

Sheriff Jessy James filed his application yesterday to run for his 3rd term as Sheriff of Santa Lopez County: population 912,265.  He did not expect opposition.  To his surprise, he learned from his Chief Deputy this morning that a successful business man and a retired Chief of Police who moved to the area three years ago, have also filed their candidacy. He was also told that the candidates will be arguing that morale has significantly dropped during the current administration and the agency suffers from not having cohesive and trusting relationships internally and especially externally. 

While discussing the situation with his spouse Peggy, the sheriff realized that employee morale has in-fact dropped in the last 12 months.  He really does not know why since he has been away from the office a lot to attend National Conferences and select family vacations.  Peggy encourages the Sheriff to assign FTO Adams, Deputy Jackson, Lt. Scott, and Sgt. Thomas to a committee to assess the situation and implement an action plan to enhance constructive agency culture and employee morale. Sheriff James accepted her recommendation, held a meeting with the 4 members and gave them 15 days to devise a plan.  Furthermore, he assigned FTO Adams to serve as the committee chair.

Committee Members:     

Deputy Quincy Adams has been an exemplary Deputy, Instructor and Field Training Officer for the agency for the past 27 years.  As a patrol deputy, he believes that it is his duty to assure agency employees are treated with respect and dignity and he tries his best to live his life professionally and personally with integrity, knowledge, loyalty, humility, honesty, sincerity, courage, intelligence, impartiality and kindness.

Deputy Melissa Jackson is a new corrections deputy with 2 years on the job.  As a millennial, she is a multitasking pro who can juggle several responsibilities at once. She knows social media because she is living it.  Deputy Jackson needs to feel that what she is doing is important and that she is on the right track.  She is frustrated by the agency’s lack of adequate training and the “good old boy” culture.  She is currently evaluating her options to stay with the agency or pursue an MBA degree locally. 

Lt. Randy Scott oversees the training department.  He joined the agency about 29 years ago and isn’t afraid to put in a hard day’s honest work.  He is an independent and self-assured individual who likes good competition.  He recently attended and graduated from the FBI NA.  Although his captain is expecting him to hold a “train the trainer” program to teach select commanders about the leadership skills he learned, he seems reluctant which creates some animosity between him, the captain and other agency commanders.  While he is not bothered by it, he is looking forward to his retirement next year.

Sgt. Sandy Thomas, who recently transferred to 911 Operations, has been with the agency for about 14 years.  She is quiet but also very assertive and is not afraid of confrontation.  She applied, tested and interviewed for a Lieutenant’s position twice.  In both cases, she did exceptionally well on her written test but did not pass the interview.  She feels the board discriminated against her because she is a female.  She is currently looking for a position with city and state police agencies.

Group Dynamics:

FTO Adams holds the first committee meeting but finds himself in a tough situation.  The members show no interest and/or enthusiasm to be in the group.  Although he attempts to create some sort of group cohesiveness, the first session ends very fast; the only agreement is to meet again in 5 days.

FTO Adams immediately meets with the Sheriff and requests that he make changes to the committee.  To his surprise, the Sheriffs say, “Peggy and I were intentional in selecting the committee members because we believe diversity and group conflict actually create the right committee dynamics to perform this task.”

Resolution:

  • Assume you are FTO Adams. Describe your interest in and understanding of the situation as a senior officer of the agency. Analyze the group dynamics using the Open System Model discussed in this phase of the course. 

Consider:

  • Personal or individual characteristics
  • Situational characteristics
  • Group structural dimensions
  • Group process variables

Identify and briefly explain how you would use following skills to have the group accomplish the assignment:

  • Conflict Management
  • Group Cohesiveness
  • Self-Management
  • Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management
  • Problem-Management and Opportunity Leveraging
  • Team and Organization Development
  • Versatility Skills

List and briefly explain the actions you would take to have the committee complete the assignment

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