By Dorothy F. Olshfski

Stories how state-level public executives and executives in Tennessee make a decision and enforce coverage.

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The notion of the “wrong problem” in managerial work is the perspective of someone using a different problem definition (“My interpretation of the political environment does not support that definition of the problem”), or personally disagreeing (“I would offer an alternative definition of the problem”). Mitroff (1998, 9) says that all management mistakes can be traced to one fundamental flaw: solving the wrong problem precisely. This “frame blindness” is described by Russo and Schoemaker (1989) as the inability to visualize multiple conceptions of the same situation.

The task at hand is seen through the prism of one’s past experiences. The ideal meshing of tasks for efficiency to one commissioner became a totally mixed up organization to his successor, a problem that had to be fixed. Perspective: Commissioner Identified by Walking Around Two commissioners indicated that they had accepted the position as department head without any preconceived notions of the problems facing the department. Both commissioners headed the Department of Transportation, so their definition of problems facing the department expands on the subjectivity of problem identification.

The governor, getting into the second administration, issued an executive order. It was his intention to eliminate all duplication by state government. So, we realized the duplication and the grocery store industry realized the duplication, and we all started to eliminate all of that. This issue was identified by the governor’s office, traveled to the agencies, then down to an assistant commissioner’s desk, attracting the involvement of interest groups along the way. Problem identification was not contentious; all parties agreed that duplicate inspections should be halted.

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