Discussion Questions for Week 14

Ropes Chapters 51-55
Chapter 51
How could Stanley “get away” with this, and what is the real benefit to him?
Is Stanley acting dishonestly or unethically?
Could an event like this happen in organizations?
At what point does exaggeration in business become unacceptable?
Chapter 52
Upon receiving an ambiguous message like “exercise on this,” why doesn’t a subordinate just ask his supervisor (or the originator of the message) what s/he meant?
From your previous experience, do you have any stories that are similar to this one?
Why do these types of situations develop in organizations?
What are the communication lessons of this episode for those in positions of leadership?
Chapter 53
Why is Ben not being promoted?
Why is Ben resistant to pressure, but not immune?
What is likely to happen when Ben resists the program?Will he have to eventually accept a version of it?
Why is Marsh not willing to fire Ben, but willing to get another vice president?
What is the significance of the chapter’s title, “Point of No Return”?
Chapter 54
Do all organizations tend to grow and die?If not, which ones tend to grow and die?
What are some reasons organizations grow and die?
Have you ever had a job where you got paid to do very little or no work?
What are the lessons of this chapter?
How do the lessons of this chapter apply to what is happening right now?
Chapter 55
How does Kenny Sypher get away with it?
Why does Kenny Sypher “drag his feet so much”?
What does the director’s payoff matrix look like?
Matrix Key
+10 is a very favorable outcome
+5 is a moderately favorable outcome
0 is a neutral outcome
-5 is a moderately unfavorable outcome
-10 is a very unfavorable outcome
Director orders extraDirector doesn’t order
work to be doneextra work to be done
Sypher complies
Sypher doesn’t comply
(because of machine
How is Sypher’s situation similar to and different from Stanley’s in Chapter 9 (“Rocky”)?

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