Last Updated 28 Mar 2021

Aston Blair Case

Category Investment
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At the end of the case, Bacon finds himself in a difficult situation due to the leaking of confidential company information. This major problem stemmed from the fact that Bacon withheld an important document from Meir and the rest of the task force team. Dr. Cornelius was informed of Bodin’s 6 summary statement report which suggests that the regional sales managers were consistently overstating their sales estimates in order to ensure adequate inventory and rapid delivery.

Bodin shared his findings with Bacon and Reiss, in confidence, and they all agreed that none of the information would be presented in the August 4th presentation or to the task force team until Bodin had the opportunity to discuss everything with his boss; Vice President Jed Burns. Unfortunately Bacon left the paper on his desk, where Meir was able to read it, and then passed on the information to Dr. Cornelius. Cornelius has taken it upon himself to schedule an appointment with Burns to reveal Bodin’s findings and that situation ignited Bacons current problem.

Reiss, who witness the entire ordeal, is now extremely upset with Bacon for allowing others to obtain the confidential information and is fearful of the consequences it will bring for Bodin, once Burns finds out. The entire problem stems from the confidential information Bodin provided to Bacon. One of the factors that has caused Bacons current problem was that he didn’t take precautionary measures to hide the document. By leaving it on his desk, he facilitated the information to other people. Another factor that might have caused Bacons problem is his lack of communication.

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Perhaps if he has shared the information with his task force team they would have understood better and not leaked the information to other people in the company before the scheduled time. Another obvious problem for Bacon was the tension between him and other people in the company. Meir was not very supportive of Bacon and his leadership role, and felt Dr. Cornelius rightfully deserved the title. Because the team wasn’t united and didn’t rightfully support each other, it lead to a dismembered team at the end.

Early 1991 – Price of gold declines and sales forecasts continue aggressive for Aston-Blair results in excessive inventories of overvalued gold, silver, and platinum. June 12 – Wynn Aston III asks Peter Casey (vice-president of marketing) and Chris Trott (vice-president of corporate planning) to reexamine the company’s procedures for forecasting sales. Together they decide to create a taskforce and select Michael Bacon (special assistant to Chris Trott) to head the team investigating forecast problems. July 23 – Meeting set up with Trott, Casey, and the market managers for August 4 to present progress and recommendations.

July 24 – Meeting between task force members is called. Everyone attended except Meir (who was gathering data in NYC). It was decided that more information needs to be gathered and prepared for Burns to review prior to presenting to market managers; August 4th deadline not likely to be met. August 4 – Meeting begins well and takes a dive once Meir presents. Market manager’s questions validity of research. A break is called to cool off heated arguments and meeting is set to reconvene at 3pm. Confidential information is discovered that may implicate Emile Bodin’s knowledge of foul play within the company.

Michael Bacon faced with several dilemmas needing immediate resolution. 3. Stemming from the first meeting when the team was assembled, there was a lack of communication and a lack of leadership. Bacon did not take charge and let Holt have the lead. Reiss finally spoke up for the teams and direction the they should take. Bacon never made an assertive decision and always seemed to be guided, even by his team. Since the team divided into subgroups they never fully developed a unified team relationship. Another problem was the design of the team.

It was obvious that there was resentment from team members that the younger associates were put in charge of the assignment. The sales managers were angry that this task force team was coming in attempting to tell them how to do their jobs and change the way they do things. Overall there was too much conflict and resentment to get anything accomplished What didn’t happen, that should have, on the day of the presentation was during the break, Bacon could have called a meeting of all the task force members and taken the time to unify everyone.

He could have emphasized the importance of the task force and their recommendations and reassured everyone he was there to support them. He could have also gotten feedback from the members and used the time to develop a plan for what the team needed to do when they returned to the meeting. Another one of the major issues was the lack of information sharing between team members. Bacons major problem stems from the fact that he withheld an important document from Meir and the rest of the task force team. What Bacon could have done, but he didn’t, was taken a moment to inform everyone of the new knowledge that came to light.

Perhaps had he done so, the task force member would have felt a better sense of cohesiveness and finally team unity. Pros – More time is needed to sort through the information and provide a good argument for report. Cancelling the meeting would allow adequate time for additional research to commence. By cancelling the meeting, relationships with marketing managers could have more time to be re-established and improved. Information can be reviewed and supported by upper management By cancelling the meeting, the Vice President could be brought up to speed on the gathered information and perhaps intervene himself.

Cons – canceling meeting gives sense of not being prepared properly thus losing influence (clout) Following through on meeting and successfully delivering message will show confidence in report findings. Delivering information before it may leak incorrectly will cover anyone providing that information and saving face for Bacon and team If they cancelling the meeting, it would put a blemish on their professional reputations for not being able to get the job done on time.

Aston Blair Case essay

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