Henry Tam/MGI Case

Henry Tam/MGI Case
Case overview
The MGI case investigates a team that is
comprised of
members who are involved in order to participate
in a school contest and
members who are trying to start a real business.
Our goal: Conduct a thorough diagnosis of
the MGI team’s processes in order to guide
our recommendations for how Henry Tam
can help his team.
Three former Soviet Union émigrés (Sasha, Igor,
Roman) have an innovative music puzzle game.
Good reviews but poor sales
Contact 2 HBS students (Henry, Dana) to
participate in a business case competition
Also contact MIT student (Dav) for MIT business
case and Berkeley School of Music student (Alex) as
music industry consultant
Henry Tam & Music Games International
Alexander "Sasha" Gimpelson, co-founder,
member of Music Educators' National Conference.
Mr. Gimpelson graduated from Columbia
University School of Engineering, and had
Harvard University MBA.
Igor Tkachenko, co-founder, is an award-winning
composer and pianist with an international
Roman Yakub, co-founder, is an internationally
acclaimed composer with rich experience in both
traditional and electronic/computer composition.
Henry Tam, HBS MBA student, with background
in investment banking & business development
Dana Solman, HBA MBA student, with
background in finance
Dav Clark, MIT Brain & Cog Science grad
student, with expertise in wave form visualization
& software. Interest in creative uses of music.
Alexander Jan Sartakov, Berklee College of
Musch student with major in Music Business
Mangement and Music Production. Expertise in
computer music applications. Cast of Characters
Team (2003)
Team (2007)
Questions about the case
What were the strengths of the MGI
What is your evaluation of the MGI
team’s process?
What were the root causes of the
team’s process problems?
Were the differences among the team
members a liability or an asset?
What could Henry have done earlier
to avoid the team’s problems?
At the end of the case, what actions
could Henry have taken to increase
the team’s effectiveness?
Class discussion
What are the team’s strengths?
 What is your evaluation of the MGI team’s process?
 What are the causes of any problems?
 What could the team done early to avoid problems?
 At the end of the case, what could Henry have done
to increase team effectiveness?
Diversity is a double edged sword
Diversity on job-related dimensions seems to
Diversity of many types of diversity (including
functional area)
Bring more ideas & skills into a group
Increase contact with stakeholders outside the group
Increase innovation and problem solving
Decrease internal communication quality
Increases tension & conflict
Decreases cohesion
Effects seems to decline with tenure
Williams & O’Reilly Review of Group Diversity
Distinguishing Between Task &
Relationship Conflict
Task conflict
To what extent are there differences of opinions regarding the task
in your work group
– How frequently are there disagreements about the task you are
working on in this work group,
– How often do people in your work group disagree about the work
Relationship conflict
Sample items for relationship conflict include How muc friction is
present in your work group,
– To what extent are personality clashes present in your work
group, How much anger is present in your
– How much emotional conflict is there in your work group
De Dreu & Weingart:
Meta-analysis on conflict, team performance & satisfaction
Both types of conflict associated with poorer satisfaction & performance
Average correlations, corrected for unreliability
 Task conflict X relationship conflict = .54
 Task conflict X member satisfaction = -.32
 Relationship conflict X members satisfaction = -.56
 Task conflict X task performance = -.20
 Relationship conflict X task performance = -.25
Average correlation broken down by type of conflict and type of outcome
K = 30 studies, > 2,000 respondents
How do you deal with
diversity-related conflict?
Communication, especially early on
To understand differences in language
– To understand others assumptions & values
– To identify clear, superordinate goals
Argue about issues, not personalities
What Do You Do About It?
Super-category – circle of inclusion
– Find cross-cutting categories
– Find superordinate goal
– Identify common enemy
Methods to get members to think of others as
individuals, not exemplars of their groups
– Contact hypothesis – get to know others in
context of equal status and communication
Mutual differentiation
Acknowledge differences
– Emphasize complementary
Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Banker, B. S., Houlette, M., Johnson, K. M., & McGlynn, E.
A. (2000). Reducing intergroup conflict: From superordinate goals to decategorization,
recategorization, and mutual differentiation. Group Dynamics, 4(1), 98-114.
Circles of Inclusion
Rust Belt
Bible Belt

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