Calendar of Events
November 1998
December 1998

Monday, November 16

Virtual Organization Workshop begins. Teams are announced. All students are invited to visit the VOW web page ( to learn more about the project, the participating schools and faculty, and the available communication and collaborative tools.

The "Tool Box" on the VOW web page contains links to two different web-based personality tests that teams may choose to explore, and tips on working in a virtual team, working cross-culturally, and using Lotus Notes, NetMeeting and videoconferencing.

Team members from George Mason University will send their partners at the other schools information on how to access the Lotus Notes database that has been set up to facilitate each team's work.

Between now and November 20, the team members should establish that they have accurate email addresses for each other, start to get to know each other, and decide how they will work together as a team on the Jacobs Suchard change management and consulting case. They should discuss team goals, roles, norms and sanctions, as described in the team contracting assignment. The purpose of the assignment is to help the teams get organized.

Team Contracting Instructions

Creating a team contract can help clarify team norms and goals, and ultimately improve team performance.

Your contract should outline the behaviors your group agrees to and supports. At a minimum, your contract should include the goals, roles and norms for your team.

Goals - The measurable, expected outcomes from your group work.

Roles - Roles specify who is responsible for what on the team. Some possible roles for case analysis teams include:
bullet meeting coordinator, assembler of the final paper, writer of the diagnostic section, writer of the recommendations section, writer of the implementation section
bullet change expert, technology expert, consulting expert
Norms - Norms specify the behaviors the team believes are important to achieving its goals. Often norms can be identified by discussing what has gone wrong (or right) on previous collaborative efforts.

Sanctions - Measures your team will employ to control or prevent undesirable behaviors while working on the project.

Feel free to use the sample contract below as a model.

A Sample Team Contract

Our goals are to improve the coordination of work between Technical Sales and Operations, raise customer satisfaction, and reduce delivery time.

Team roles will consist of a team leader, a scribe and an observer. These roles will be rotated among the group members.

To achieve our goals we agree to (norms):
bulletWe will be on time for scheduled group meetings
bulletEach member is expected to attend all group meetings. If unable to attend, the team member must notify the group of the intended absence (preferably at the prior group meeting) and arrange for another member to take over his/her responsibilities.
bulletWe will come to each meeting with assignments completed. Maximum utilization of time is key.
bulletEveryone will actively participate in each meeting.
bulletWe will have bi-weekly 2-hour meetings.
bulletWe will encourage open discussion and be willing to try new ideas.
bulletLast, but not least, we will learn from each other.
Sanctions - We will check with team members who seem to be violating our agreed-upon norms. If their behavior doesn't improve, we will ask the leader to discuss the behavior with them. Ultimately, if the behavior doesn't improve, the member risks receiving poor peer evaluations.

November 9, 1998

Pat Smith
Lynn Falkowski
Syd Hayden

Friday, November 20

Team contract assignment due. This should be approximately one page in length and a copy should be turned in to each of the three project professors (Cramton at GMU, Pennarola at Bocconi, and Rousseau at CMU).

Each team may email a copy of the team contract to Professor Cramton at Professors at Bocconi and Carnegie Mellon will give their students instructions as to whether to turn in an email copy or a paper copy.

Friday, November 20 - Friday December 4:

Teams should analyze the Jacobs Suchard change management and consulting case and write a five-page paper describing their conclusions. Here are the details:

Specific Instructions for the Jacobs Suchard Case

Jacobs and Zinser have asked your team to answer the following questions for Jacobs Suchard:
  1. What is your assessment of the goals of the organization in the change process and the organization's readiness for change? (1 page)
  2. What are your specific recommendations for change at this point in the organization's history? Pay attention to the role structure and technology can play in improving the coordination between global brand sponsors, manufacturing managers, general managers and the EVP. (2 pages)
  3. What action plan do you recommend for implementing the changes? Specify a timeline including the initial steps in the change process, the management of the change process and the institutionalization of the change. (2 pages)
You can use appendices to illustrate points if necessary.

Thursday, Nov. 26 - Important note

This day is an important family holiday in the United States called Thanksgiving. It began as a day to give thanks for the autumn harvest and to share its bounty. Customarily, people spend the day with their families. Many people travel considerable distances to spend the long weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with family.

We ask that students at George Mason and Carnegie Mellon universities work out a way to fulfill their obligations to their teams despite the holiday. However, we also ask that students at Bocconi appreciate the importance of the holiday and the likelihood that their American partners will be travelling to see their families, and try to make some accommodation.

Friday, December 4

Jacobs Suchard case analysis due.
bulletStudents at Bocconi will present their analysis in class that day.
bulletStudents at George Mason should email to Professor Cramton ( a copy of the team's paper on December 4 and turn in a paper copy in class on Monday, December 7.
bulletStudents at Carnegie Mellon should email to Jeanne Wilson ( a copy of the team's paper on December 4 and turn in a paper copy in class on Thursday, December 10.

Updated 11/16/1998
Contact Information Copyright 1998 George Mason University