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Sally’s Dilemma: Making Tough Choices In Collaborative Visioning

Karl A. Hickerson Ph.D. (St. Ambrose University)
David J. O’Connell DBA (St. Ambrose University)
Arun K. Pillutla Ph.D. (St. Ambrose University)

Publication date: 1 May 2008


This case involves an experience in large group visioning, specifically the processes of developing and building consensus around institutional goals and objectives. It takes place at a point roughly halfway through the process. The protagonist, Sally, is the project coordinator. At this point in the process, the participants have collectively invested hundreds of hours in the creation of widely diverse ideas for the future of the university. Her dilemma is the challenge of maintaining the commitment and support of the participants as the vision is reduced to a much shorter and more focused statement.

The case is based on archival data and interviews with 40 of the 300+ participants who were engaged in the process, including Sally, steering committee members, faculty, staff, and outside stakeholders (alumni and members of the board of directors). The Instructor's Manual provides key questions for future large group process consultants, OD professionals and students of organizational behavior and leadership, including references from the OD and visioning literature. An Epilogue provides the actual decision at the time of the challenge and its rationale.


Hickerson, K.A., O’Connell, D.J. and Pillutla, A.K. (2008), "Sally’s Dilemma: Making Tough Choices In Collaborative Visioning", , Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 3-19.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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