First published in the AAC student magazine titled "At The Lennon Wall"
ANGLO-AMERICAN COLLEGE IN PRAGUE (B)
Mark Andersen, Anglo-American College
Joan Winn, University of Denver
Case Objectives and Use
This case is intended for an undergraduate course in management or organizational behavior. This case can also be used in a course on entrepreneurship or conflict management. The case is positioned to discuss the managerial and organizational skills needed to bring a company through the stages of start-up, stabilization, and growth. Interpersonal and inter-group conflicts permeate the case, first as the young organization's needs exceed the skills of its young founder, and then with conflicting managerial styles and perspectives as various individuals vie for power. Cultural differences play a subtle role, as the differences in style between British, American, and Czech managers exacerbate differences in individual style. The lack of staff permanence and continuity, financial stability or predictability, and managerial and leadership competence have threatened the survival of the organization. The case focuses on the growth and development of an American-style college in Prague and the successes and conflicts among the management team. This case is based on field research, in cooperation with the host organization.
The Anglo-American College in Prague (AAC) was started in 1991, shortly after the Velvet Revolution ushered in the Czech Republic's new era of independence and market-driven competitiveness. The underfunded state universities' inability to supply the multinational companies' desires for English-speaking managers and employees, provided the opportunity for new providers of university-level education. AAC had no trouble attracting students and faculty, but sparse funding kept its administrative staff lean and facilities and student support services poor. Jansen Raichl, AAC's founder and visionary, had kept AAC afloat with a combination of personal control, financial support, and hard work. Despite his efforts, student and faculty discontent reached crisis proportions during the spring semester of 1994. Most of the founding board left to start a new, competing college and subsequent disagreements among the remaining faculty and administration resulted in changes in leadership and a reorganization of the governing board and administrative functions of the college.
This case chronicles AAC's turnaround from 1994 through 1996, and highlights
the pulling together of the administration, faculty and students to save the
college. The hiring of a new Administrative Director and the acquisition of a
permanent building brought renewed enthusiasm and cohesiveness among the faculty
and students. Aggressive fundraising efforts enabled AAC to reopen its doors
with better equipment, a library, and computers. The deft negotiations skills of
AAC's new Administrative Director are contrasted with his secretive and
controlling management style. Further management difficulties prompted another
round of faculty and student unrest, and a move by the executive committee to
oust the Director who had been so pivotal in AAC's turnaround just two years
Contact Person: Joan Winn, University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, Denver, CO 80208, 303-871-2192, fax 303-871-2294, internet: firstname.lastname@example.org.