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MOT 6813 The University of Texas at San Antonio General Manager Case Study

MOT 6813 The University of Texas at San Antonio General Manager Case Study

Question Description

Request: Read the following case and then answer the case in depth. There is no word limits for each question yet it is expected to be full answers, well thought, supported by external references. There is a total of 5 questions.

Case: You are a general manager of a construction company. Your company has just received an RFP (request for proposal, or tender) for a project in the Eagle-Ford area which involves building a multi-use facility. This particular multi-use facility is a 6 story (floor) building with shops on the first floor and condos on the upper 5 floors.

Your chief estimator is conservative, meaning that he has a tendency to overestimate tasks, or exaggerate them, to allow for risk. Your job superintendent is not so conservative, meaning that he is more of a risk taker, since he is in complete charge of the project and feels that he can control every aspect of the construction effort. He has complete confidence in his abilities, and has been in the business for over 30 years. He knows many ways to contain costs by being smart about scheduling, use of materials, performing tasks concurrently, prudent exercise of overtime, etc.

You, these two people just discussed, the company owner, an accountant, and another estimator, are the people that usually sit in on the decision making prior to submittal of bids to customers. The final decision is that of the owner, although he usually asks for a “straw vote” before making his decision.

Let’s look at the motivations of the parties concerned. The owner’s primary motives are getting business, which means minimal or no profit if necessary, but maximizing profits when possible. If the owner is people-oriented, he may be motivated to get business at times just to avoid layoffs, and to keep the doors open. The estimator’s chief motives are not to be wrong (a professional core value), and to qualify for bonuses (to be discussed later). The superintendent’s motives are to demonstrate that he is a professional just like the estimator, and to maximize profits to show off his abilities and efficiencies. As the general manager, your motives are to get a bonus, and to keep the organization running smoothly, also you are responsible for the bottom line, i.e. profits.

Currently, the chief estimator, superintendent, and you get a bonus for each contract they bring in and successfully complete. This bonus is 3% for each of the others, and you receive 1.5%.

The Questions:

(1)What can you do to foster harmonious relations among the various key “players” within the company given that this is a pressured environment?

(2)If you are responsible for the bottom line, and the owner makes all of the final bid decisions, how does that affect your ability to manage?

(3)What is meant by the sentence, “the estimator does not want to be wrong”?

(4)The owner appears to be a “hands on” kind of person ( like Jerry Jones – owner of the Dallas Cowboys). As such, his presence in decision making sessions could conceivably influence events in the proposal review sessions. What could he influence even if he were not the only vote caster?

(5)If the owner “bowed out”, and let you take over the bid review meetings, what would you do differently, if anything? Would you possibly allow all to vote, would you cast the only vote, or restrict the voting to a subset of the participants?


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