Description: Recent events at Penn State University, while certainly reflecting a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly, provide a unique opportunity to explore several aspects of management. The decision to use this situation as a basis for discussion should be carefully considered.
Source: J. W. Miller, & R. Bachman, “Paterno Ousted at Penn State,” Wall Street Journal
Date: November 10, 2011
Questions for discussion:
- What does the Penn State situation tell us about the importance of and need for control?
- Discuss how the different types of internal/external control played out in this situation. What makes self-control unreliable here? Why did bureaucratic control fail? Why did clan control initially fail, but then succeed (note: how clan is defined will matter here)? How did market control prevail?
- In this situation, the university basically violated the principle of progressive discipline. Why is this acceptable? Discuss circumstances where progressive discipline would be appropriate.
- The situation is now being handled at two levels (university, justice) and could potentially involve a third (NCAA). Should an after-action review take place? If so, which entity should be responsible and what would be the result (i.e., what controls should be affected and how)?