Decision Making at the Top: the All-Star Sports Catalog Division

Presented by: Aleš Žďárek

Prague, November 4, 2009

Case 1
General Managers and Decision Processes

University of Pittsburgh
EMBA Worldwide Program
Transition to a General manager
Professor John E. Prescott, Ph.D.


What is your recommendation, why and what challenges are presented by your recommendation?

Current situation

In the case “Decision Making at the Top: The All-Star Sports Catalog Division” is explained the current decision making process, consisting from five stages, 1. Framing the Problem, 2. Identifying Alternatives, 3. Analyzing Alternatives, 4. Making the Choice, Ratifying the Choice.
The decision process is not conducted by Senior management team as a whole, except the stage “Framing the Problem”, which is done in the second-hour of Monday management team meetings. The other stages are conducted by “subgroup”, consisting from two to four senior managers and president of the ASC division.
In the case there is explained that the decision making process should be improved. Current situation is rationalized – that it is caused by managerial style of current president of the ASC division, who does not want its managers to be involved into conflicts and prefers off-line handling them.
In the case are presented three basic options, how to improve the decision process in the company.
The three options are:
    • Engage the entire staff in a more “team-oriented” approach to decision making.
    • Formally establish a smaller “top management team”, consisting of only three to four key staff members, to chart the division´s strategic direction.
    • Fine-tune the existing decision-making process by changing the group´s rules and norms


  1) I think the senior management team should be narrowed, to become more flexible and more able to accept decisions (in fact I agree with consultant´ second recommendation). I believe that the optimal size of the managerial team...