Management Challenges and Symptoms
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski
15 The dysfunction of territoriality in organizations Graham Brown and Sandra L. Robinson Alex was the team leader in charge of developing a new program for WARE Inc. He had worked numerous months with his team of software engineers to develop this new program. Although he knew it was common for programs to be cancelled, he was still upset to learn that the company had decided that the product he developed was not viable. Fortunately, the code he was developing could be used as the base of a new program that the company decided was more lucrative and they wanted Alex to lead that new eﬀort. But Alex refused to turn over the code, even when the organization threatened him with a demotion. The company was faced with an awkward situation. What was going on? At ﬁrst glance, it appears Alex was manipulating the politics of the situation for personal gain. Much like the machine experts identiﬁed by Pfeﬀer (1981), who binned the manuals to ensure they were the irreplaceable sole operators of their machines, Alex was holding onto a valuable scarce resource. Yet, clearly, this could not explain it all. The company provided lucrative incentives, and Alex was going to lead the new program regardless. Moreover, Alex faced major repercussions from his actions and he knew his behavior was negatively impacting his reputation. The company was at a loss to deal with this predicament. Alex had produced the code using company resources, in company time, and...
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