BA420 Organization Behavior – Homework

#1 Instructions:1. Discussion – 75 words2. Plagiarism free3. Need by Sunday, June 30 1:00pm ESTBA420 Organizational BehaviorDiscussion forum: ConflictYour textbook lists “groupthink” as one of the contributing factors that led to theChallenger disaster in 1986. “Group polarization”, “brainstorming”, “nominalgroup technique”, “devil’s advocacy”, and “dialectical inquiry” are alsotechniques or situations that can affect group decision-making…some positivelyand some negatively. Choose one of these six factors/techniques and describe a situation where you have seen (could be personal experience or research found) the technique used in agroup decision-making situation and evaluate the strength of thedecision-making that occurred and analyze the impact the factor/technique hadon that result.#2 Instructions1. Writing assignment: 2-3 pages2. APA format3. Plagiarism free4. Need by Monday, July 1 2:00 p.m. ESTRead the Case Study and answer the following short essayquestions.The case focuses on John Lasseter, who currently is the creativehead of Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, both of which areowned by The Walt Disney Company. The case chronicles Lasseter’s interests inanimation from a young age, the relationship he developed with the Disneyorganization, his developing interest in computer-animation and consequentdemise at Disney Studios, his subsequent award-winning success with computeranimation at Pixar Studios, and his recent ascension to creative head ofDisney’s Animation Studio as part of the Pixar-Disney merger.The case provides a marvelous illustration of the many types of interpersonal power¾ reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert that exist within an organization. Thecase also shows how power can be used to promote the well-being of theorganization and its members or to benefit specific people’s interests at theexpense of others’ interests. Herein, the two faces of power positive andnegative come into play. Another linkage between the chapter material andthe case occurs in the form of concerns about the ethical versus unethical useof power. Finally, the case can be used to explore the concepts oforganizational politics and political behavior in organizations. Organizationalpolitics often has a negative connotation, and some of the case facts lendthemselves to reinforcing this negative connotation.Power and Politics in the Fall and Rise of John LasseterJohn Lasseter grew up in a family heavily involved in artistic expression.Lasseter was drawn to cartoons as a youngster. As a freshman in high school heread a book entitled The Art of Animation. The book, about the making of theDisney animated film Sleeping Beauty, proved to be a revelation for Lasseter.He discovered that people could earn a living by developing cartoons. Hestarted writing letters to The Walt Disney Company Studios regarding hisinterest in creating cartoons. Studio representatives, who corresponded withLasseter many times, told him to get a great art education, after which theywould teach him animation.When Disney started a Character Animation Program at the California Instituteof Arts film school, Lasseter enrolled in the program after encouragement fromthe studio. Classes were taught by extremely talented Disney animators who alsoshared stories about working with Walt Disney himself. During summer breaks,jobs at Disneyland further fueled Lasseter’s passion for working as an animatorfor Disney Studios. Full of excitement, Lasseter joined the Disney animationstaff in 1979 after graduation. However, he soon met with disappointment.According to Lasseter, “[t]he animation studio wasn’t being run by these greatDisney artists like our teachers at Cal Arts, but by lesser artists andbusinesspeople who rose through attrition as the grand old men retired.”Lasseter was told, “[y]ou put in your time for 20 years and do what you’retold, and then you can be in charge.” Lasseter continues, “I didn’t realize itthen, but I was beginning to be perceived as a loose cannon. All I was tryingto do was make things great, but I was beginning to make some enemies.”In the early 1980s, Lasseter became enthralled with the potential of usingcomputer graphics technology for animation but found little interest amongDisney Studio executives for the concept. Nonetheless, a young Disneyexecutive, Tom Willhite, eventually allowed Lasseter and a colleague to developa thirty-second test film that combined “hand-drawn, two-dimensionalDisney-style character animation with three-dimensional computer-generatedbackgrounds.” Lasseter found a story that would fit the test and could bedeveloped into a full movie. When Lasseter presented the test clip andfeature-length movie idea to the Disney Studio head, the only question thestudio head asked was about the cost of production. Lasseter told him the costof production with computer animation would be about the same as a regularanimated feature. The studio head informed Lasseter, “I’m only interested incomputer animation if it saves money or time.”Lasseter subsequently discovered that his idea was doomed before he everpresented it. Says Lasseter, “[w]e found out later that others poked holes inmy idea before I had even pitched it. In our enthusiasm, we had gone aroundsome of my direct superiors, and I didn’t realize how much of an enemy I hadmade of one of them. I mean the studio head had made up his mind before wewalked in. We could have shown him anything and he would have said the samething.” Shortly after the studio head left the room, Lasseter received a callfrom the superior who didn’t like him, informing Lasseter that his employmentat Disney was being terminated immediately.Despite being fired, Lasseter did not speak negatively of the Disneyorganization, nor did he let others know anything other than the project onwhich he was working had ended. His personal admiration and respect for WaltDisney and animation were too great to allow him to do so.Lasseter was recruited to Lucasfilm by Ed Catmull to work on a project that“turned out to be the very first character-animation cartoon done with acomputer.” Not too long afterwards, Steve Jobs bought the animation businessfrom George Lucas for $10 million and Pixar Animation Studios was born.Lasseter became the chief creative genius behind Pixar’s subsequent animatedfeature film successes like Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, and TheIncredibles, among others.In 2006, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs consummated a deal forPixar to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Iger points out that, inmaking the Pixar acquisition, Disney wanted to protect Pixar’s culture whilegiving it “a much broader canvas to paint on.” Instead of Disney absorbingPixar into its culture, Iger gave Pixar executives “Ed Catmull and JohnLasseter control of Disney’s animation operations, with the mission to get theold studio’s computer-generated efforts up to par.”Iger wanted to reinvigorate animation at Disney, and as the top creativeexecutive at Pixar, John Lasseter was viewed a key figure in achieving thisobjective. Lasseter “is regarded by Hollywood executives as the modern Walt[Disney] himself [with capabilities] ¼ thathave made Pixar a sure thing in the high stakes animated world.” Former DisneyStudios head, Peter Schneider, says Lasseter “is a kid who has never grown upand continues to show the wonder and joy that you need in this business.”Current Disney Studio chief, Dick Cook, says that Lasseter is like the famousprofessional basketball player, Michael Jordan. “He makes all the playersaround him better.” According to Iger, “[t]here’s no question that animation is a great wavemakerfor the company. We believe we have a very vibrant creative engine there,mostly driven by Pixar, and we hope that Disney Animation will once againexperience glory days too. We believe we’re on the right track.” Cook notesthat Disney was the king of animation for a decade from the mid-1980s to themid-1990s. Cook continues, “[b]ut I think the biggest challenge in any matureorganization is how do you continue to evolve and press the edges of theenvelope, and I think it’s fair to say we stopped doing that.” He also observesthat getting Catmull and Lasseter “was like a giant shot of adrenaline to thesystem.”Lasseter now oversees development of movies at both Pixar’s and Disney’sanimation studios. Says Lasseter, “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to haveall these new roles. I do what I do in life because of Walt Disney—his filmsand his theme park and his characters and his joy in entertaining. Theemotional feeling that his creations gave me is something that I want to turnaround and give to others.”Without a doubt, Lasseter is realizing his dream, and very successfully toboot. Bolt, a recent production of Disney Animation Studios, received a Goldenglobe nomination in late 2008 for best animated feature film. And Wall-E, aPixar Studios production, was nominated for the same award as well. JennieYabroof, a reporter for Newsweek, writes that “Lasseter himself has playedperhaps the biggest role in the elevation of the lowly cartoon” to the animatedfeature film.Lasseter’s influence at Disney extends well beyond the animation studios. Thereconstitution of the Disney theme parks’ submarine ride is a great example.Refurbished as a take-off on the animated film Finding Nemo, “the rideresurfaced with whiz-bang video and audio effects that allow the animated seacreatures from Finding Nemo to seemingly swim and talk in the water.”“Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is emblematic of Disney’s effortsto keep its parks relevant in a digital age.” Two other projects, based on thehit movies Cars and Bolt, would not have been possible without Lasseter and hisPixar colleagues’ hands-on input, says Bob Iger.What a professional journey. Being fired by Disney Animation Studios for tryingto be too creative, then ultimately becoming the chief creative animationgenius for both Disney and Pixar!This case was written by Michael K. McCuddy, The Louis S. and Mary L. Morgal Chairof Christian Business Ethics and Professor of Management, College of BusinessAdministration, Valparaiso University.Answer the following Essay questions and explain your answers with concepts from thereading.1. What forms of interpersonal power are evident in the case? Provide evidence tosupport your answer.2. In what ways do the two faces of power appear in this case?3. Does the firing of John Lasseter from Disney Studios and the events leading upto his firing demonstrate the ethical use of power? Explain your answer.4. Did the firing of John Lasseter indicate the existence of political behavior inthe Disney organization?5. Describe a situation, from your experience, where political behavior in anorganization contributed to benefit or detriment to you or someone else.

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