Chapter | Group Communication: Cases for Analysis, Appreciation and Application | 2010

Utilizing Team Member Expertise Under Pressure

by Heidi K. Gardner and Erin McFee


Pressure intensifies on a strategy consulting team as they deliver a critical project, and the team manager faces a dilemma about her changing role on the team. Although she had been the key decision-maker in the early weeks of the project, Julia Narino now finds that her team increasingly discounts her deep client expertise while deferring to the senior partner's more generalized contributions. Trouble arises because the client expects the team to deliver a highly customized solution that absolutely requires Julia's expertise. This case presents an opportunity for students to analyze two prevailing aspects of organizational life: working in teams and working under pressure. This case also offers a platform for instructors to introduce the concept of threat rigidity to the class and explore some of the team behaviors that result from this condition.

Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Managerial Roles; Organizational Culture; Projects; Groups and Teams; Behavior; Customization and Personalization; Consulting Industry;


Gardner, Heidi K., and Erin McFee. "Utilizing Team Member Expertise Under Pressure." Chap. 18 in Group Communication: Cases for Analysis, Appreciation and Application, edited by Laura W. Black, 143–148. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2010.