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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

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Questions for discussion:

  1. What does the Penn State situation tell us about the importance of and need for control?
  2. 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?
  3. In this situation, the university basically violated the principle of progressive discipline. Why is this acceptable? Discuss circumstances where progressive discipline would be appropriate.
  4. 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)?


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