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Information Systems

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Essay title: Information Systems

With over five years experience in the field of information technology consulting for

various businesses, I have been contacted by Vandelay Industries to advise them based on the

review of two case studies. The two case studies are “The Human Moment at Work,” by Edward

M. Hallowell and “Restoring Trust at WorldCom,” by Jay W. Lorsch and Ashley C. Robertson.

I am now prepared to share my analysis of them along with some suggestions for an alternative

strategy that I feel is imperative for Vandelay Industries. First however, I will give a brief

synopsis of Vandelay for those of you unfamiliar with this company. Following that, I will give

a summary of each of the case studies that I was asked to read in order to formulate my

suggestion. Finally, using not only the case studies, but also the knowledge I have acquired from

other sources, I will formulate a long range suggested course of action, along with

recommendations for Vandelay Industries.

Vandelay Industries is a publicly traded company who is in the latex industry. They

manufacture and sell latex to wholesalers. Vandelay has been in this business for over 30 years

and their President and Chief Operating Officer is Kal Varnsen. Mr. Varnsen just recently took

over the company and has indicated to me, he is looking to find ways to change Vandelay from

their “old school” way of operating. Vandelay was previously run by H.E. Pennypacker who

was president of the company from the beginning. Formerly an industry leader in the latex

business, Vandelay has seen their enterprise fall behind the competition in several key areas.

“The Human Moment at Work,” by Edward M. Hallowell was published in the Harvard

Business Review in 1999. In this article, Hallowell takes an interesting view of how the growing

age of information technology can negatively affect the workplace. Hallowell’s background is

not as an executive, but yet in psychiatry where he has over twenty years experience. Time and

time again, Hallowell discuss the human moment, even in the title, which he defines as, “an

authentic psychological encounter that can happen only when two people share the same

physical space” (Hallowell, 1999). Hallowell also explains that for the human moment truly to

occur, their must be a person’s physical presence along with their emotional and intellectual

attention. In his opinion, these “human moments” are beginning to disappear from the work

place and life in general and that these absences could be destructive (Hallowell, 1999).

Hallowell focuses his article on some specific examples on how the absence of the human

moment in an organization can really be destructive. One of the examples that I found to be

insightful dealt with a gentleman named Ray who was a senior systems manager in a large

investment company. It was Ray’s opinion that not talking face to face with people as much as

he had in the past led to damaging results (Hallowell, 1999). He felt that electronic mail

communications have led to large misunderstandings with people’s feelings being hurt as well as

the focus being on the wrong information. Ray cited an example about an email he received

from a co-worker where a supervisor was copied on the note and in his opinion the e-mail had a

“peremptory tone” (Hallowell, 1999). In response to this note, Ray decided to send a pompous

letter back where he copied multiple individuals explaining what he had done. The result of this

response was that Ray had become this gentleman’s adversary, as opposed to what needed to be

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