Please note: This issue’s contest is now closed. 

Feel free, of course, to still test your wits! The answer is posted below.

In each issue of Wharton Magazine, we’ll test your knowledge with a question often straight from an actual Wharton exam or course, crafted by one of the School’s esteemed faculty members. Submit the correct answer and you’ll be entered into our drawing for our new grand prize—a $400 gift certificate at the Wharton Store. This Final Exam challenge comes from Maurice Schweitzer, the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor and professor of operations and information management. Good luck!



The Basics:

Suppose that you are in a powerful position (e.g., you’re the manager) in a meeting with few allies. You have a specific objective in mind (e.g., you want to hire Mike), but some people in the room have concerns.

The Question:

If your objective in the meeting is to make a positive decision (e.g., to hire Mike), how should you structure the discussion and the voting rule?

1. Guide the discussion by having your allies start the conversation.

2. Sit back and allow consensus to develop on its own, asserting your opinion only as a last resort.

3. Require majority voting among the meeting participants to make the decision.

4. Allow debate to take place, then make your decision final no matter what.

5. Answers 2 and 4.

6. Answers 1 and 3.

The Answer:

The suggested, proven solutions for this type of situation involve:

a. Guiding the discussion:  Have your allies start the conversation.

b. Voting rules: Use majority rules (rather than unanimity).

Our answer is 6.

The Winner: 

Out of all correct submissions, one winner was randomly selected to receive a $400 gift certificate to the Wharton Store. (Prize may be subject to taxation; must be 18 years or older to win.)

That winner was … Jeff Schwartz, W’89.

Congrats, Jeff!