Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2008

TerraCog Global Positioning Systems: Conflict and Communication on Project Aerial

by Michael Beer and Sunru Yong

Abstract

TerraCog, a successful privately held high-tech firm that develops GPS (global positioning system) and similar products for consumer markets, has recently been caught off-guard by a competitor's new product that makes novel use of satellite imagery. When TerraCog pursues development of a directly competing product, dubbed Aerial, the projected costs threaten to scuttle the project. The key unit managers gather in a pair of contentious meetings that feature anger, blame, and bewilderment, but produce no effective conclusion. At the end of the case it falls to Emma Richardson, a newly-promoted executive vice-president, to push the group toward a go/no-go decision.

Keywords: communication; organizational behavior; Meetings; decision making; leadership; group dynamics; human resource management; conflict; Technology; Leadership; Conflict Management; Competition; Groups and Teams; Organizational Culture; Human Resources; Communication; Decision Choices and Conditions; Crisis Management; Technology Industry;

Citation:

Beer, Michael, and Sunru Yong. "TerraCog Global Positioning Systems: Conflict and Communication on Project Aerial." Harvard Business School Brief Case 082-184, April 2008.