individual named Carl is presented with specific problems that require specific solutions within a specified timeframe. Alternatives and solutions for the problems Carl must address are presented along with recommendations for Carl.
In early April, Carl Robins, the new campus recruiter for ABC, Inc., successfully recruited several new hires in spite of having been at his new job for only six months; this was his first recruitment effort. He hired 15 new trainees to work for Monica Carrolls, the Operations Supervisor. He scheduled a new hire orientation to take place June 15, hoping to have all new hires working by July. On May 15, Monica contacted Carl about the training schedule, orientation, manuals, policy booklets, physicals, drug tests, and a host of other issues, which Carl would coordinate for the new hires. Carl assured Monica that everything would be arranged in time.
After Memorial Day, Carl was at his office and pulled out his new trainee file to finalize the paperwork needed for the orientation on June 15. While going through the files, Carl became concerned. Some of the new trainees did not have applications completed or their transcripts on file, and none of them had been sent to the clinic for the mandatory drug screen. He then searched the orientation manuals and found only three copies with several pages missing from each. Frustrated, he went for a quick walk.
Upon his return to the office, he decided to check out the training room for the orientation. There, he found Joe, from technology services, setting up computer terminals. Carl reviewed the scheduling log and found that Joe had also reserved the room for the entire month of June for computer training seminars for the new database software implementation. Carl panicked. He went back to his office, put his head on his desk, and thought to himself, "What am I going to do?"
III. Key Problems
Carl has a real problem since not all of the recruit files are complete, neither has the recruits submitted to physicals or mandatory drug testing. In addition, Carl has to come up with orientation manuals and a location for orientation and training since the training room is reserved for another activity.
The key issues at hand in this specific scenario are as follows:
(1) Incomplete recruit files;
(2) Incomplete physicals and drug testing;
(3) Orientation manuals incomplete; and (4) Lack of location for orientation and training.
According to the Center for Organizational Management "in planning and managing projects, the project manager frequently encounters problems and faces critical decisions. In order to gain control of the situation, project manager need effective skills to identify and clarify issues, analyze and resolve problems, as well as to make right decisions to move the project ahead." (p.1) The problem analysis asks, "why an issue happened and what is the cause and effect relationship?" (Center for Organizational Management, 2012, p.1) Decision analysis asks, "which is the best course of action to resolve an issue?" (Center for Organizational Management 2012, p.1) Execution Analysis asks "how to minimize risk and enhance opportunity when implementing a plan or action?" (Center for Organizational Management, 2012, p.1)
David H. Jonassen (2010) writes "Well-structured problems typically present all elements of the problem; engage a limited number of rules and principles that are organized in a predictive and prescriptive arrangement; possess correct, convergent answers; and have a preferred, prescribed solution process." (p.2) Jonassen writes, "ill-structured problems…are the kinds of problems that are encountered in everyday practice. Ill-structured problems have many alternative solutions to problems; vaguely defined or unclear goals and constraints; multiple solution paths; and multiple criteria for evaluating solutions; so they are more difficult to solve." (2012, p.1) Jonassen reports as well that problems experience variation in terms of their complexity as the complexity of a problem "is a function of the breadth of knowledge required to solve the problem, the level of prior knowledge, the intricacy for the problem-solutions procedures, and the relational complexity of the problem." (2012, p.1) Jonassen (2012) writes that another and final dimension of problem solving is "domain specificity. In contemporary psychology, there is a common belief that problems within a domain rely on cognitive strategies that are specific to that domain." (p.1)
The problems that are addressed by Carl are structured problems because they require specific solutions or in other words, Carl is well aware of precisely what the problems are and what solutions are needed. Therefore, there are several alternatives available to Carl. First, he can inform his supervisor that he failed in projecting the potential problems that he faced with the recruit orientation initiative and ask for assistance in resolving the problems at hand or Carl can attempt on his own, with a lack of experience to resolve the problems himself. It does appear that he would be able to resolve the incomplete recruit files and the physicals and drug testing issues as well as finding a new location for the orientation and training. It is not as clear whether Carl has the experience and knowledge to resolve the missing pages from the orientation manual effectively.
V. Possible Solutions
The first thing that Carl must do is ensure that the recruit files are complete and this will be something he can do through contacting the recruits one-by-one and assisting them with completing the information needed on their files and transcripts. Secondly, Carl can ensure that all recruits submit for physicals and mandatory drug testing in time for the scheduled orientation. Third, Carl will have to find a new location to hold the orientation and training. It is the opinion of this writer that Carl will necessarily have to request assistance from his supervisor in order to effectively replace the three missing pages in the orientation manual and will then have to send the manuals to a printer or will have to reproduce the manuals himself by use of a computer and printer.
It is only natural that Carl is embarrassed and feeling that he failed in planning the orientation and training and the problem is that Carl not only procrastinated but as well he failed to mitigate for potential problems at the onset of the assignment. Despite the fact that Carl may be embarrassed it is recommended that he relate his shortcomings to his supervisor and that he confide the situation to the supervisor to receive the benefit of the supervisors' superior knowledge and experience as to how this situation can be handled the most efficiently and effectively as Carl is running out of time to have all the loose ends tied up in time for the recruits orientation and training sessions.
Carl should go ahead, contact the new recruits, and ensure that their transcripts and files are complete. Secondly, Carl should make sure that all new recruits submit for physicals and mandatory drug testing. This will remove two of the problems that exist clearing the way for Carl to concentrate on the orientation manual and finding a new location for the orientation and training sessions with the new recruits.
After Carl has accomplished the first two tasks of completing the new recruits files and transcripts and ensuring that the new recruits submit for their physicals and drug testing, Carl should contact his supervisor and inform his supervisor about the missing three pages from the orientation manual. It is likely that the supervisor has the information needed to replace the three missing pages readily on hand. Carl should speak with the supervisor concerning whether he should reproduce the orientation manuals himself via use of a computer and printer or if the supervisor recommends that the orientation manuals be sent out to a printing company for reproduction. It is likely that the organization has a printer that they use for such things.